so i've always been interested in the quirky, wacky images that people now call lomo or lomographs, coming from the original russian optical company, LOMO. recently, as part of my dive into film photography, i got myself a 'vintage' russian Lomo LC-, complete with russian logo and markings, back from 1989. most people consider this camera, the original LC-A to be superior to the new Made in China LC-A+ that is selling on lomography.com for nearly 3 times the amount i spent
to be honest, compared to the manual film camera i use, with manual focus and exposure, this lomo is quite a bit more fun to use! see the subject, set the focus distance, and shoot. however, setting the focus distance has been a bit of a problem for me, and is definitely going to take practice before i start to get more in-focus results. for those of u who do not know wat i mean, the LC-A uses the focusing system knowng as Zone Focusing i.e. the lens focuses on (in the ase of the LC-A) four zones - these zones are distances from camera to subject. on this camera, i have options to set the focus to 0.8m, 1.5m, 3m, or infinity. so basically, u see ur subject, u estimate the distance from urself to the subject, adjust the little lever beside the lens, compose and click. sounds simple, but estimating distance (for me) is not that easy. apart from the shots where i can safely say its more than 3m, and i set to infinity, many shots have been out of focus.
of course, by accident, i HAVE got a few perfectly focused, and some really nicely exposed, with the beautiful soft feel to it, the dark vignettes, the bright colors.. and on some shots, the focus and exposure have both been almost perfect.. resulting in those rare shots of lomographic brilliance! that is how "lomographs" are produced
ive generally been using cheap negative film for it.. i do not see the need to spend more on high quality film, when ur not really using it for that purpose, in the traditional sense. however, another common practice in shooting lomo is using slide film, and cross processing it - that is, developing slide film (E6 process) as color negatives (using the C41 process) instead. this gives those really really wacky colors and streaks and all kinds of unpredictable stuff, that really makes it fun. havent tried it yet, but cant wait to. slide film can also give a different look to lomo work even if processed normally (E6 process). slide film costing over double the cheap color negative film that i usually buy, i have been rather reluctant until now, but i really should try it out. i really love this camera, u know :D
i've also got a Holga manual flash for it.. complete with color filters to get those crazy looks.. another thing i like about the old LC-A is the manual aperture control.. u usually use it set at auto, but when u adjust it manually, it sets the shutter speed at a fixed 1/60 - this may not sound very useful, but its great for using a manual flash - 1/60 works great as a flash sync speed. of course u could try using auto exposure with the flash too.. might be overexposed (almost definitely) but u might be able to drag the highlights back if u scan the negs.. all in all, this camera is great, fun.. lo-fi.. and very unpredictable. get one on ebay!
PS: for those of u who already have one, here's a great tip i read on lomography - its not my tip, and i give credit to the guy who wrote it but i cant remember the guy's username. anyway, if u want to use Bulb mode on the LC-A.. this feature is not available by default, but there's a little trick to it: set the ISO dial BETWEEN the highest and lowest setting. i.e. if ur camera has ISO of 50-400.. set it so that the little window that shows the speed is BLANK.. and that 400 is above it (and the "400" shows from the light detecting window) give it a shot, u'll know wat i mean if u try it.. its super simple. and when ur in a dark-ish light environment, press and hold the shutter for as long as u like! LC-A Bulb Mode!
another tip (i also read this somewhere, not my tip) - taking double exposures is a feature of the LC-A+ and many people choose this Chinese model over the great original one for this feature. however, its possible to take double exposures on the LC-A original too. shoot the first frame. then press down on the film disengage button on the bottom of the camera. press and hold this button, and wind the advance wheel. the shutter counter moves, but as u disengaged the film from winding, ur still on the same frame. take the shot, and u got a double exposure. u can repeat the step if u want a triple exposure or more :D however, i advice u to underexpose the second frame, as having two exposures can make things a bit too bright. to underexpose, just set the ISO setting to one higher than ur film speed i.e if ur shooting at ISO100, take ur first frame, wind (with film disengaged), set ISO speed to 200, and shoot second frame! easy