LOMO Smena 8m is one of the most famous Soviet cameras. In fact, Smena 8m is a symbol of the Soviet camera industry.
Smena 8m is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most massive camera in the world. In total, more than 21 million copies of Smena 8 and Smena 8m were produced.
These cameras were in almost every Soviet family. Most of the family archives were shot exactly by this camera. It was Smena 8m was the first camera of many Soviet and Russian photographers.
The camera, although extremely simple, has a unique style. It is very minimalistic, and the elements of design and control look great even today.
Of course, the Soviet industry was not very fond of innovations. This explains the fact that, in terms of functionality, the camera is no different from the very first Smena cameras released in the 50s. Nevertheless, this camera has a unique character and is loved by millions of people today.
The Smena 8M camera was produced at the LOMO plant from 1970 to 1995. And for all these 25 years, almost no changes have been made to the camera. Yes, this is so Soviet.
The camera was equipped with a Triplet T-43 4/40 lens with a single-layer coating. Focusing was done by a distance scale (located at the bottom of the lens) and a symbol scale (located at the top of the lens).
The aperture changes by a small ring around the front lens. It’s inconvenient at first, but you get used to it over time. The lens is really good for its price. This is a classic Cooke triplet. That is, the optical scheme was developed back in the 19th century. This gives the photographs a special retro charm.
The camera body is made of plastic with a nice mesh texture. The lens and the inscription plate on the front are made of aluminum.
Unlike the very first models, Smena 8m has a rewind mechanism, which is a good innovation (by Soviet standards).
But in the Soviet Union, a good innovation in one thing always led to some kind of simplification in something else. For example, the frame counter is located in such a way that it is easy to accidentally twist it with a finger.
So, what can we say about Smena 8m camera? This is a wonderful camera and a wonderful symbol of the Soviet Era. This camera is the embodiment of the entire USSR. Cheap, simple, massive but working and doing its job.
The lens is very simple, and literally from the 19th century. But this means that you get exactly what you are buying a film camera for – a retro effect on your photos.
The Smena 8m gives not only the feeling of retro photographs but the unique experience of using 100% Soviet photo equipment.
Photographs taken with this little soviet camera are truly atmospheric. And the very “cons” that I mentioned earlier give them this “atmosphere”.