Compact, temperamental but truly a marvel to hold and wield
When I first saw an LC-A+ from a friend last year, it didn’t really tickle my fancy.I was just starting at the time and I was too absorbed by the distorted and messed up images of the Fisheye 2 and Sampler cameras to give a hoot about what seemed to be merely a status symbol of older lomographers. Little did I know, a few months later, I would cave in. and give into the nipping desire of having on for myself just to see what the fuzz was all about.
I wanted my LC-A to be special, to have a history of its own and to have a lineage that would set it apart from more modern counterparts. When I first got her, she reeked of the old Russian smell that I would grow to adore like a scent of a loved one sorely missed. My LC-A was made in 1987 I asked the seller where it came from and what was the background of the unit. Like a mail order bride I was keen to know every little detail about her get to know what was to be my constant companion. I was saving what I thought was a special film for her first salvo. A roll of elite chrome expired for half a decade was languishing in my storage box just waiting to be used. And when I did, sadly it didn’t turn out too well as I failed to feed the film correctly. I was yet to find out that this little mishap would come to foretell what future me and my LC-A would have together.
The first thing you’ll notice about a refurbished or even a dead-stock LC-A is that the compact form bellies a hefty feel and excellent handling. Its much heavier than an LC-A+. I could go for a smaller flash unit or a more strategic shutter button lay out as the button gets a bit covered up by certain external flash units. I was skeptical at first with all the hype surrounding it, but this baby really delivers. The lens is the nearest thing to magic in my opinion and is the weapon of choice for many artists who are into analog photography. The lightmeter, while archaic does a splendid job of controlling exposure, add to that the ability to dial in film speed ranging from 25-400 ISO as well as f stops ranging from 2.8 -16 you pretty much satisfy he skill set of a noob and the intermediate photographer. When set at automatic the only thing you have to remind yourself is to guesstimate the distance of the subject. If you are still in the habit of looking through the view finder a setting indicator of a person, a parent and child, a group of three and a building which represent the four available settings for focus in meters 0.8m 1.5m, 3m and infinity.
Now comes the cons. Like many others, I have had the misfortune of getting the dreaded sticky shutter. A number of remedies are available online for those who are brave and for those who know of a trusted shop, the most likely culprit would likely be excess grease, faulty magnetic mechanisms or conked out electronics. Mine was caused by the former, it took a trusted repair shop for it to be fixed without the sticky shutter problem recurring now and again. At the end of the day the question is should you get one and honestly I would say that it’s not quite for everyone. But for me, despite the rolls I have wasted because of mishandling it or the shutter refusing to cooperate, I’m not even close to giving up on it. It behaves like a prima donna but when it performs, it does so like no other.
Check out the classic’s newest incarnation with the LC-A+ microsite here