5 frames with...

5 frames with a Smena Symbol – by Matt Evans

January 2, 2019

I can’t remember when or how I came to own my Smena Symbol, mostly because I’ve got two young kids and can barely remember what I had for dinner yesterday but at a guess I’d say I’ve had it for almost a decade. It’s one of those cameras thats always been there, not really screaming at me to use it but never failing when I do. According to the internet the Smena is a Russian made 35mm camera made by LOMO from the mid 70s. The body is an all plastic construction which is surprising because its really solid and has a bit of weight to it. Don’t be put off by all plastic though this thing can take a beating, I don’t think twice about chucking it in my bag unprotected.

The lens is a fixed length 40mm f/4 -f/16 with a leaf shutter, shutter speeds of 1/15 – 1/250 and even a Bulb mode. It’s probably one of the easiest cameras I’ve ever used, you simply turn the dial to match your ISO speed which automatically sets your aperture. Then the only things you have to worry about is zone focusing and picking your shutter speed either using the symbols on the top of the lens or the shutter speeds listed on the bottom of the lens barrel.

I have to say it’s a joy to use and can produce some great results. As you can see from my 5 frames I like to shoot with Fuji Sensia in mine and get it cross processed.

My IG – mattevansphoto

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  • Reply
    January 2, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Matt, what lovely colours and feel to the images, may have to try the cross process thing. I assume E6 film in C41 chemistry? particularly like the first and last images, almost painterly. Beautiful.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks! Yes cross process is e6 film processed with c41. It can give some interesting results and varies depending on the film stock.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    I know this is technically a film site, but those are fantastic lenses — as your wonderful pictures certainly show.

    By the way, the lenses are readily available on eBay and can be easily adapted with a helicoid to any digital camera and their size makes them somewhat of a “pancake” lens.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Bravo, your 3 landscapes, especially the first, look something like an 19th century oil painting.

    • Reply
      Matt Evans
      January 2, 2019 at 8:07 pm


  • Reply
    Nathalie Porter
    January 2, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Great shots, really shows what this camera can do. But while the last two look like what I thought most Fuji slides do after xpro, the first three have lovely colours – did you expose them in a different way or is it just a result of the xpro lottery?

    • Reply
      Matt Evans
      January 2, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      The first 3 are from a different roll that was devved at a different place, but they are all Shot on Fujifilm stock. I guess like you said it’s just a result of the CP lotto!

  • Reply
    Nigel Vernon
    March 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Lovely set of photos. I had one off these camera in the 1980’s it was called a Cosmic Symbol. Only ever used it for black and white underwater photography. Used with a housing, it was a poor mans Nikkonos 3.

  • Reply
    Andy Zofka
    May 5, 2019 at 9:46 am

    The very first camera I have ever used 🙂 I remember when my dad was showing me how to use it but I wasn’t that much into photography back then 😉 It must have been about 25-30 years ago. I actually asked him recently if he could dig it out from the loft 🙂

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