First roll from the Smena 8M: slightly expired Fuji Superia 400

Saturday was my Lomographers meetup, in Jackson. It was kind of blah, the town looked more interesting on paper. Like, every other building was on the National Historic Register, even if it was built yesterday. And we couldn’t even find the abandoned building that (allegedly) used to be part of the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System. I think it’s on the grounds and whoever took the photo that I saw just didn’t want to admit they were visiting someone there.

But it’s still fun to get out of the house and see other people and take photos. Lunch was good, too–we went to a BBQ place and I had a bacon blue cheese hamburger. And afterward we stopped off at the Port Hudson National Cemetery, which is on the way back to Baton Rouge. It’s kind of humbling, all those thousands of identical tiny white headstones. But next month (or rather, later this month) I’m going to have it at Fort Jackson, a decommissioned early 19th century masonry fort in Plaquemines Parish. That can’t help but be interesting!

However, the main objective of the day, for me, was to test out the Smena 8M, and mission accomplished. It took me like a half hour to figure out how to load it; eventually I realized that the original take-up spool had gone missing and the seller had included the guts of a 35mm film canister to make up for it. Which means the film lead has to be trimmed on both sides, instead of the one side, as it comes. The ends of 35mm rolls–the end that fits into the canister, not the end that sticks out–are very narrow. I’m also pretty sure that the lens cap is not original to the camera, it has threads on it, like the seller pulled it off a bottle. It was very thoughtful of them to include it, and to stick a little hammer and sickle pin through it–that’s just fun!

I like the camera a lot, it reminds me of the LC-A+ in that when it’s focused on infinity, you get perfectly clear photos; but when focused closer, things can get interestingly fuzzy, because there’s no focus aid and you’re always just guestimating. (With the LC-A+ it’s because there are only 4 focus settings, so you’re never really perfectly focused.) I didn’t notice any camera shake blur, either that trait has been exaggerated or I just have uncommonly steady hands. Maybe all those years of needlework!


487649-R1-20-4A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

See what I mean about “interesting fuzziness”?


487649-R1-23-1A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Nice saturation of color, too. It really is a good lens for a cheap camera. I believe the Soviets always had good optics factories, so even their “proletariat” cameras had quality lenses.


487649-R1-09-15A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487649-R1-07-17A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

487649-R1-00-24A, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I finished up the roll around the house when I got home in the evening. This shot really captures that lovely, golden late afternoon light. (It’s slightly double-exposed because it was the last frame. I could crop it out, but I don’t really mind it.)

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