52 Cameras – Bonus – SMENA 8M

 

SMENA 8M on Impossible PZ Silver Shade

In honor of International Commie Camera Day on May 1st, I've broken out the SMENA 8M. This little Russian box of plastic is about as simple as they come. Film speed is set by adjusting a small ring inside the lens; this actually sets the aperture, which is indicated on the opposite side of the ring. Another ring on the lens barrel indicates light levels from bright sun through rain. Adjusting this varies the shutter speed, which is indicated on the bottom of the lens barrel.

The lens is zone-focus only, or as I've recently read elsewhere “guess-focus.” There are icons on the lens for close ups, portraits, groups, and landscapes. The Russian iconography is unusual but not incomprehensible.

Maximum film speed indicated is 250ASA, which corresponds to the minimum f=16 and maximum shutter speed = 1/250. It would be possible to shoot faster films in lower light conditions using a meter or knowledge of exposure levels, but the camera will not assist with this.

These cameras have a reputation for being both difficult to use and capable of producing very good photos. My example came all the way from the Ukraine, via eBay, still wrapped in its original plastic. I loaded a roll of FP4 over the weekend and hope to develop it tomorrow. We shall see.

Resources:

Camera-wiki review (strongly opinionated)

OrphanCameras.com doesn't have the manual, but I do. I will scan and add it to the 'results' post

eBay

 

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