Friday, April 12, 2013
I was surprised when I noticed that I hadn't posted about the Smena 8M before. I have had it for at least a couple of years although I haven't used it much. I got partly because I like Russian cameras and because I liked its red face plate.
When I opened the camera there was a finished roll of film in it. I developed the film and almost every image turned out well. The images are of a couple with a new baby. From some feed back I have received when posting the images to other sites the images may have been taken in the Urkaine the 1990's. So far these are the best found film images that I have developed. I made a post about the images and a gallery here.
The Smena 8M seems to have been aimed at those who needed a cheap camera but who also wanted to learn something about photography. It was made in the USSR from the early 1970's till the mid-1980's. The Smena allows for learning by giving a choice in shutter speed from 1/15 to 1/250, and apertures from f/4 to f/16. Nothing about the Smena is automatic. You even have to manually cock the shutter. Focusing is by guessing the distance. Most of the camera is made of plastic, however some parts like the lens an face plate are aluminum. This makes the Smena 8M a very light camera. Sometimes this lightness can be a problem since the shutter button takes a fairly hard push. That combined with the lightness of the camera can make camera shake a problem. Some people also have a problem keeping their finger out of the cocking lever when pushing the shutter. Although that wasn't a problem for me.
So the Smena isn't the smoothest handling camera. Where it redeems itself is with a good 40mm triplet f/4 coated lens. Its the kind of camera where if you know what you are doing you can get surprisingly good results. It is also the kind of camera that would reward a newcomer to photography who made the effort to learn. Even some of the lack of smoothness in the camera's operation can be seen as positive if looked at as something that forces the shooter to slow down and think about what he is doing.
Smena 8M Gallery