The Smena 8M was an entry-level that was produced by the Soviet Union during the early 70s and is a manual toy camera — A great tool for amateur photographers and to those who want to start photography!
Smena or “CMEHA” is obviously a rough translation for “young generation” in English. True to its name, this camera is indeed a must for amateur photographers during the early 70s that it was produced under the famous LOMO factory in St. Petersburg. Surprisingly, this camera is low-tech with full manuals where you can adjust the aperture and shutter speed. However, the focusing part is sometimes the hardest — hence what photographers do is “guesstimate” the distance and shoot the subject. Inadvertently, the Smena 8M is like a plastic box that features a bluish-coated glass lens of 40mm T-43 Triplet lens. It may not be a fast lens but it certainly takes saturated and nice contrast photos. Sharp enough, this toy camera is made of plastic, has a leaf shutter and eats up 35mm film. This camera has a PC socket so you can sync your flash at any speed you want to choose.
To some, this camera is really a “true test of patience” when it comes to taking decent pictures. You cannot entirely focus on a subject while peeking over its viewfinder but practice makes perfect. The shutter release is often smooth nor too easy to press and can often invite blurry pictures if ever your hands are blocking the shutter cock. To take a picture, you have to first:
1. Choose the shutter speed (if you do not have any idea what this is, just simply align the red line in any of the following weather symbols just above the lens).
2. Choose your aperture (f/4 for dim light and f/16 for sunny — or whatever you want your picture to be).
3. Cock the shutter.
4. Press the shutter release (be aware that sometimes, one of your fingers might block the shutter cock release and it can help the camera gain some little long exposure hence, blurry or overexposed photos).
Smena 8M can truly produce great results especially if they are cross-processed. However, even though your shots are straight C-41 processed, the colors are punchy but you just have to study and practice most of all the focusing distance by some sheer “guesstimation”. Also, there’s a film counter that can be found in the upper portion of the back camera but many regard this little thing as “useless”.
To add some fun, you can double expose from a Smena 8M. After choosing your best shutter speed and aperture, cock the shutter and take a picture. Cock the shutter again and take again another picture. Voila, you now have a fresh boiled double exposure shot!
To be honest, I find this camera really interesting. It takes time to practice the focusing and everything but once you have mastered it, you may simply adore how this little plastic toy camera can create magnificent results. :)
And before I forget, you can also have the option to have a long exposure! Hit your shutter speed to B and press the shutter in 30 seconds to 5 minutes or whatever pleases you.