Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.” I muse at what wonders Mr. Miller could have made with a refurbished LC-A, the lightweight yet sturdy, functionally versatile yet magically spontaneous little black Russian that continues to inspire a global community of analog souls.
Loosely based on the Japan-made Cosina CX-1, the Lomo Kompakt Automat was manufactured by the state-run optics manufacturer Leningradskoye Optiko-Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie (LOMO) in St. Petersburg from the early 1980s to 2005.
Today, some weathered and broken LC-As were given a new lease on life. Each LC-A Refurb was expertly revived by Lomography’s team of camera craftsmen to immortalize light once again in all of its 35mm glory. The built-in light meter, aperture priority mode and bright Minitar 32mm lens allows one to capture various moods of lighting: sultry night lamps, mottled shade, cloudy skies and sun-flared beaches. Moreover, the LC-A Refurb has film speeds of ASA 25 to 400; aperture of f/2.8 to f/16; focal range of 0.8 meters to infinity; and a shutter speed range of 2 minutes to 1/500 sec… all packed in a handy 250-gram body powered by three LR44 batteries.
Owing to this remarkable flexibility, my LC-A Refurb has been the quintessential companion to my many digital camera-free excursions for the past year, authentically capturing the mundane to the grandiose from my very doorstep to the stairways of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Ifugao highlands and the Temple of the Dawn in steamy Bangkok.
My favorite film to team up with my LC-A Refurb for daytime travel shots would be Lucky Super New 200, a beautiful color negative from China that doesn’t hurt the pocket even when you go all snap-happy with your adventures together.
At night, I load it up with fun-loving slide films like Fuji Sensia or Fuji Velvia and pair it up with a Lomography Ringflash or Colorsplash Flash to capture vibrant parties, concerts and other lively congregations. Sooner or later, you’ll find your LC-A becoming the life of the party, with strangers asking to have their grins and grinds soaked up by color-hungry film! And I’m telling you, this Russian loves the attention.
On the down side, the original LC-A is not readily compatible with some LC-A+ accessories (like the Wide Angle Lens or Splitzer). However, some lomographers have modified theirs by replacing the faceplate with one requested from LSI or taken from a discarded LC-A+ to accommodate LCA+ gadgets that expand the camera’s versatility.
All in all, the LC-A Refurb is a ravishing resurrected classic whose congeniality not only urges one’s feet to wander but more importantly inspires the mind’s eye to see the world in a different light.
Check out the LC-A Refurb microsite here