An online internet survey was conducted in April 2005, where Lomographers all over the world were asked their opinion on the follow-up to the LOMO LC-A. “Which functions on the camera should be retained? Which features were most popular? And should the follow-up LOMO LC-A camera jump on the bandwagon of digital photography or would it be better to stay true to the analogue snapshot camera?” These and many more questions kept going round and round the heads of the principal Lomographers in Vienna while they waited for enlightenment back from their internet community.
In 2005, after the final ending of the Russian production of the LOMO LC-A, pressure grew considerably at the Lomo headquarters in Vienna, to find an alternative supply source for the camera. Meanwhile, the Lomographic Society had become an organised, stable and global network. It sold and distributed all different kinds of analogue cameras, but it still hadn’t found an alternative for the Russian compact camera. After the disappointment brought by the numerous rejections in China, hope of finding a suitable factory for a new LOMO LC-A was fast disappearing.
However, an online internet survey was conducted in April 2005, where Lomographers all over the world were asked their opinion on the follow-up to the LOMO LC-A. “Which functions on the camera should be retained? Which features were most popular? And should the follow-up LOMO LC-A camera jump on the bandwagon of digital photography or would it be better to stay true to the analogue snapshot camera?” These and many more questions kept going round and round the heads of the principal Lomographers in Vienna while they waited for enlightenment back from their internet community.
The results were surprising and filled the Lomographic Headquarters in Vienna with euphoria. All the Lomographers showed their love for analogue cameras and definitely wanted to continue photographing using film! The survey yielded further confirmation that the LOMO LC-A should remain pretty much as it was and that maybe just a few new functions could be added. The majority of the global Lomographic alliance wanted the classic features of the LOMO LC-A – the automatic exposure, the Minitar 1 Lens, the night time long exposure function and the special LOMO LC-A focusing system to remain. They also sent in some important ideas for the Lomographers concerning new functional possibilities for the LOMO LC-A. The results from the huge online survey were extremely pleasing and motivating for the Lomographers in Vienna. The analogue enthusiasts and photographic film lovers throughout the world all felt the same. On no account did they want to see analogue photography and the great LOMO LC-A come to an end!
Taking into account the result, the first concept for the LOMO LC-A+ was born. “We’re making a 1:1 copy of the LOMO LCA, upgrading it with some useful improvements and features, and then mass produce it in China. The LOMO LC-A must live on, so that old Kholomyansky, our friend Lazar, Olga and all of us can continue to be proud of it!“ announced the Lomographers happily, following intensive discussions in the 15th district of Vienna.
Happy as everyone was, there was still the matter of finding a factory where the camera could be produced. The Lomographic Society stumbled across a reputable optical foundry in central China. Firstly, the Viennese group collected a few current Chinese camera models from this company, and shortly after dared to introduce the idea of the LOMO LC-A+ to the factory. They didn’t hold out much hope for acceptance. This reputable optical foundry boasts an excellent reputation in China and the rest of the world and is constantly developing its business. Interestingly it is also very similar to the LOMO PLC factory in St Petersburg and therefore became the perfect place to resume production of the LOMO LC-A. The factory was built in 1965 on the orders of Mao Zedong and in the same way as LOMO PLC, it was an amalgamation of several small works. At the beginning, the strictly confidential factory manufactured military products but in 1983 the factory was awarded a real name. Thereafter it concentrated on the market for civil cameras and today mainly produces camera parts in cooperation with Japanese manufacturers. Similar to LOMO PLC (see page 511 on the history of the factory) the Chinese factory stemmed from Communist times, has a distinct infra- and social structure (with a vast site including factory facilities, workers apartments, parks, a stadium and a hospital) and produces excellent optical glasses and cameras – what other factory could be more perfect for the continued production of the LOMO LC-A?
In spring 2005, the Lomographers introduced their concept of a 1:1 copy of the LOMO LC-A to the Chinese, and could hardly believe their ears. Instead of the expected “no” came the answer “We will study it.” A few months later the call came to say that a group of former employees, managers and engineers, had been found for the factory, who were ready to produce the LOMO LC-A and establish a manufacturing facility specifically for it. The managers of the Chinese Team were Mr. Li, Mr. Lee and Mrs. Li. And so a truly amazing project awaited the Lomographic world!
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