Komrades! Remember the Lomographic awesomeness of the ancient Lomo artifacts! The Lomo Smena Symbol is truly symbolic for it!
The Lomo Smena Symbol is one of my favourite cameras. It is the essence of Lomography. It exudes an air of antiquity (literally!), of ages and emulsions past. I wonder what stories it would tell me. I had the huge luck of getting one in almost mint condition with its black leather original carrying case. I just adore it!
The Smena Symbol is an improved variant of the Smena 8M, made 1971 to 1993. It still has the awesomely Lomographic 40 mm (a true normal lens for 35 mm format) f/4 T-43 lens and is extraordinarily resilient. It also has the pictogram zone focus distance and speed settings we have come to love and a bulb mode. The aperture ring is simultaneously used to indirectly set film speed and is located in front of the lens. It has a lever for its shutter release and another for film transport which are coupled, so no double exposures are possible. The take-up spool is actually made to take up film and is not difficult to thread like the Smena 8M. The viewfinder is basic, but then again, what do you need it if you’re going to be shooting from the hip?
Shutter speeds are from 1/15 to 1/250 s. The shutter release lever beside the lens is so soft you just want to keep clicking it.
The lens is awesome. It can produce super sharp images but also blow up your colours like you’re shooting with Velvia on amphetamines.
You get very quickly used to the operation and enjoy the total freedom it gives you. I admit to sometimes using ancient hand-held meters to provide adequate exposure, since there is no metering.
All in all, the Smena Symbol marks a milestone of Lomographic history. It is very robust, all manual, no batteries, blast from the past type of camera, with an excellent Soviet Lomo lens just perfect for wacky exposures and film experiments.
It is your duty to get your hands on such an honourable Lomographic artifact!