I guess if I am writing a film camera blog then this camera has to come up at some point. There are many sites dedicated to this camera and the whole industry it started. Such as this one. I also really like this site as he had some of the same issues as I did.
I did not find this camera in a junk bin. I went looking for it on eBay and finally found one for a fairly reasonable price. It arrived…and didn’t work. It has two red lights in the view finder and neither lit up at any point. I got in touch with the seller and he shipped me another, no questions asked. The first one had the logo written in Russian, the replacement has it in English. The red lights worked on the replacement. Incidentally, the seller said keep the first one, so I have shipped it off to be fixed. If it comes back working I will probably keep the one with the Russian writing and sell or give away the replacement.
As discussed in the second link, I also had a few issues with the replacement camera. I would forget to set the distance or my hands were not steady. I tried the “lomo” approach of shooting from the hip and it worked ok for streetish type stuff..but you really need to judge the distance well. Trying to capture a moving, excited dog was very tricky if not impossible with the slow shutter speed due to the a 100ASA film inside. The LC-A does have speeds up to 1/500th a s fast film should make things easier. That will be the next roll choice.
The replacement also had a wind-on issue and would skip a few sprockets. Again, I am hoping the one I sent for fixing will come back without this issue. I was pleased to see there were no light leaks on the replacement. As much as this camera is famous for them, I simply don’t like them. The are not cool, they are a sign of a broken camera.
So what did my first roll look like?
Of course I covered the faces of some students. They were interested in the camera, but very confused by the fact they could not see the photo straight away. They also assumed I could take lots of photos. When I got the distance correct the quality seemed to be better than the toy Holga I tried earlier. I also love the vignetting and the odd focusing. It is almost like the center is focused, but then it dissipates towards the sides.
I will try it again with a faster film and take more care with the zoning. I know that isn’t the lomo way, but it is what I like.
Sell or keep is not a question for this camera. I will decide which to keep if the original one is returned. Then I will keep the better working one, hopefully the one with the Russian writing. If it is not repairable I will keep this one, but I am unsure whether it will be a camera I keep loaded as I do prefer the olympus trip. I can hear the lomographers screaming noooo in the background.