LOMO LC-A

I first heard of the LOMO LC-A camera on a rock climbing discussion website in the summer of 2005 when someone posted that the LC-A was the perfect camera to carry climbing. It was compact, they said, took great photographs and was very cheap. The camera is compact (kind of) and it definitely takes great photographs but cheap it is not. At least, not when compared to similar compact cameras.

LOMO LC-A

Originally, the 35mm Lomo LC-A (a.k.a. Kompact Automat) was produced by LOMO,  Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie (Leningrad Optical & Mechanical Enterprise) in Russia in 1984. It bears a striking resemblance to the Cosina CX2 which LOMO copied to create the camera for the masses in what was then the USSR.

The lens has a focal length of 32mm with focusing done by moving a lever on the side to focus at either 3 feet, 4.5 feet, 10 feet or infinity. The lever on the other side controls exposure with an “A” setting for auto exposure and apertures between f/2.8 and f/16 which use a shutter speed of 1/60s. The camera accepts film with speeds of 25 to 400 ISO. (Older versions of the camera do have the speed setting in the GOST standard however.)

LC-A 1s

The camera became a bit of a cult phenomenon after two Viennese students discovered the camera in 1991 while on a trip to Prague. They went on to found the Lomographic Society International (LSI), coined the phrase “Lomography” and successfully marketed the camera with a lot of hype.

But with all hype aside, this camera truly is a nice camera to use. The lens is sharp and there is a nice vignette to give that old time vintage feel. There is also something cool about the sound of the shutter going off – a nice “ping”.

LC-A 2s

LC-A 3s

LOMO stopped producing the LC-A in 2005. To fill the gap, LSI created a remake called the LC-A+ which was made by Phenix Optical Company in China. Originally, all LC-A+ cameras came with a LOMO produced lens but in July 2007, most LC-A+ cameras started to be made with Chinese lenses with only a few cameras still using LOMO lenses. Those LOMO lens cameras then became known as LC-A + RL (for Russian Lens).

LC-A 4s

While I can think of better cameras to take rock climbing, the Lomo LC-A is one of my favorite cameras and you can see more of my Lomo shots in my ’35mm Snapshot’ set on Flickr.

7 thoughts on “LOMO LC-A

  1. which one do you have?

    Hi,
    Just wondering which lc-a version you used to take these photos? I have the russian version which uses GOST numbers and cannot decide what film speed to use in it to get pictures that look like yours.

  2. Dave Post author

    All of these are with an ASA version of the LC-A but I do also use a GOST model from time to time.

    From research I did a while back the GOST to ASA is

    GOST-ASA
    16 – 20
    32 – 40
    65 – 80
    130 – 160
    250 – 320

    But film with some of those ASA numbers is not readily available so I round up

    GOST-ASA
    65 – 100
    130 – 200
    250 – 400

    There is a little bit of over exposure when you do this but with negative film there is usually enough latitude to get a usable image.

  3. James K

    some great shots here. i like the fairground swings one the best.

    i was lucky enough to snag a lomo for £40 off ebay recently. they really are distinctive little cameras. i’d definitely recommend one to anyone.

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