The Lomo LC-A was introduced to the Soviet Union in 1984 as a camera for the people. The idea was to design a camera that anyone could use. Lomo took inspiration from the Japanese Cosina CX-2, but toned down the design with some Communist magic. The LC-A was the camera that changed the way I thought about photography. It gave me a lot of creative freedom, and the fact that I could take it anywhere and could use it in low light made it a game changer at the time. You can see some of my images taken the Lomo LC-A in this portfolio.
It seems funny now but when I got my LC-A in 1998 there was not much to choose from if you wanted a half decent camera that could fit in your jeans pocket, especially if you were on a budget. Compared with the proliferation of camera phones now, it seems quite bizarre that compact digital cameras did not exist then and did not become affordable until 2003.
For a brief period a slightly modified version the Lomo LC-A appeared, the LC-M, which was produced in very small numbers (under 1000). Apart from the LC-M, the LC-A remained the same for 22 years. In 2006 Lomography introduced the LC-A+ which featured a wider ISO range (100–1600 instead of 50–400), a multi-exposure switch and the ability to attach lens accessories.
In 2011 the LC-Wide was introduced, a wide angle version of the LC-A which I reviewed at the time of its release. Getting back up to date, 2014 sees the biggest change in the Lomo LC line up with the introduction of the LC-A 120, a medium format version of the good old LC-A. Medium format film negatives are 3.5 times bigger than 35mm film negatives so they produce higher quality pictures, especially when printed large. I haven’t used a LC-A 120 yet but I am quite eager to do so.
I’ve never been a big fan of the Holga or the Diana as I don’t see the point in spending money on medium format film which (per shot) costs three times as much as 35mm film to buy and process. Plus, because of the extra expense of 120 film, why put it behind a cheap plastic lens and in a camera with no light meter to speak of? But now there is a compact(ish) medium format camera with, hopefully, the quirky features of the LC-A, I for one can’t wait to give it a go.