I waited for a few years for this camera. In 2015 when I started getting excited about Lomography, the LOMO LC-A was hovering around US $90-$150. Figure in shipping and no chance in Hell of getting your money back from one of the countries that sold the camera, and it was way too much of a gamble. However, earlier this year I was able to procure one from a seller in the U.S. for right around $35 and I’ve now had a couple opportunities to cross swords with this crazy camera so here we go!
This camera is an interesting…thing. It’s about the same size as the Olympus XA and apparently made of some bulletproof metal (probably radioactive). But it has some interesting features. There are levers on both sides of the lens. The one on the left is the aperture providing settings from f/2.8 – f/16. The lever on the right is the zone focus, ranging (in meters?) from 0.8, 1.5, 3, and Infinity. I mostly kept it on 3 or infinity and f/5.6 or f/8 on my little outing.
It has Auto Aperture so I did set it to that for a few of the shots, but it tended to over-expose. I think this had to do with the age of the camera, but who knows ? It’s best to set it yourself for good images.
The photos from it are about as bizarre as any you could get from a Holga. Plenty of vignetting at the corners (even at f/8) and some nice pin cushion distortion. I say “nice” because I dig the types of images that come from goofy old cameras like the LOMOs and the Holgas. The camera is really unpredictable, too. I did set it on Auto for a bit and the photos were hit or miss. I had HP5+ in it and the camera has ISO control, so it was set at 400. But there’s no way to know exactly how the camera is going to react.
I’m not going to claim any of these photos are very good. I took them to test out the camera. Adding to the odd luck-of-the-draw exposure, a few had light leaks or lens flare I haven’t figured out. That could be because I accidentally put a partially exposed roll of film in the camera. The light leaks might have come from the other camera, but I can’t tell for sure until I run another roll through it.
As for the next roll, it’ll be color. Probably Fujifilm 200 since I have some stock of it left. I think I’ll shoot it on A mode at f/8 and see what comes of it.
The other less than interesting feature is the film advance wheel. It’s a smooth winding, toothed wheel that works well. The frames are spaced equally, albeit a tad close together.
I’m sure the next round of photos will yield more insight into this little camera. If nothing else, however unpredictable it is, it’s consistent and reliable. I didn’t miss any shots because of mechanical problems. The film advanced every time, the shutter release fired when I pressed it, and the lens cover retracted as expected.
Is it an everyday carry ? If you like the surprise of weird corners, soft focus, and pin cushion, sure. It fits in a pocket, can be operated one-handed, and the controls are easy to master. Otherwise, there are better everyday carry cameras.