Which Modern Film Camera for the price of a Lomo..?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by richard_williams|2, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. I've always been impressed how much the Lomography guys seem to be able to charge for their cameras, but when browsing their site the other day, even I was surprised by the asking price of the latest incarnation of the LC-A, the 'LOMO LC-A+ White Special Edition', a bargain at 379 GBP ($621 USD):
    (if you get re-directed to the US site, you'll be offered it for a mere $399 USD - not sure what currency converter they're using, but it seems to be the same one as Adobe).
    It occurred to me that, for this money, I could buy pretty much any other 35mm Modern Film Camera ever made, with the exception of the real collectables, some Leica & Contax models, and one or two recent flagship SLRs.
    So, if I wanted to splash out the price of a Lomo (US or UK) on something less hyped, what should I go for? Extra credit if the gear automatically confers on me the ability to take edgy, unpredictable but always artistic images in a wash of lurid colours. Or just looks cool.
  2. I don't consider the product of such equipment to have any artistic merit. This might well be because I am a control freak and even when looking for the uncontrolled, I want to have as much control over it.
    Buy any used SLR, use Velvia 50 and some vaseline on the lens. Clean parts of the lens if you want added effect. Of course you probably don't look as cool as the Lomographers like to think themselves to be but if you are looking for final product why bother with looking the part.
  3. the 'LOMO LC-A+ White Special Edition', a bargain at 379 GBP ($621 USD):​
    Wow! Oh sorry, I meant WOW!
    For that much money, get a Canon EOS-3, 1V, Nikon F-100, or F5. If you're looking for something more retro and cool - a Voigtlaender R3A and a 50mm.
    Extra credit if the gear automatically confers on me the ability to take edgy, unpredictable but always artistic images in a wash of lurid colours.​
    Get a cheap 50mm prime. Sand paper the front element, and perhaps drop it on concrete a few times.
  4. A huge number of early AF cameras can be bought for under US$30 (e.g., Canon EOS 620, 630, 650), and many of the classic AF film cameras are available for less than a century.
    If you need Lomo, Holga, Diana, or Lobo(?) effects try a bottle-bottom filter as shown in my empirical test of the effects of filters on optical quality ( http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00WWb7 ) Light leaks can be emulated in post.
  5. You could achieve the desired outcome by buying an Olympus Trip 35 and long-expired budget film, and spending the balance on LSD.
  6. One of the easiest ways to get in is to find yourself a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. This is a 22mm plastic lens camera, fixed focus, fixed shutter, fixed aperture, manual wind, and it takes regular 35mm film. There are several clones of this such as the White Slim Angel and the Black Slim Devil both made by Superhedz. Here's a nice example of what to expect from 400 speed print film developed at the local Ritz Camera store.
  7. $400?? I thought the cheap stuff was supposed to be, you know, cheap. For that kind of money, I bet if I shopped around I could find a used F100 and 50/1.4 AF lens. Or an F90, 50/1.8 lens, a crate of expired film and a piece of cardboard to cut a hole in and put in front of the lens to make vignettes (for that Lomo look).
  8. JDM - A $30 SLR sounds like a sensible idea, but is far too cheap! I'd have to buy 15-20 of those to to equal the cost of the Lomo, and how would I carry them? The Lomo is able to store my £379 'investment' in a single convenient, pocketable package I can show off to all my New Media Design colleagues at the next Pop-Up gallery opening in Hoxton/Tribeca.

    Starvy - The artistic merit of the final product is of course entirely incidental. Quality is such a Bourgeois ceoncept, don't you agree? As the 6th rule of Lomography puts it - 'Don't Think' :)

    Art - The Vivitar looks like an interesting product that's even endorsed by Lomographers:
    Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way of buying it from their site at an inflated price.

    Jean-Yves - That sounds like a good suggestion, but it's hard to pay more than £60 for an Olympus trip even when re-conditioned and re-covered in funky coloured leatherette for the Lomo-style market ( http://www.tripman.co.uk ). I checked the UK government drug advice site ( http://www.talktofrank.com/ ) for details about LSD, and the effects do sound consistent with the Lomo aesthetic ('Colour, sound and objects can get distorted and you can experience double vision.'). However, at a street price of only '£1 - £5 a tab' it would be difficult to spend the rest of my budget while remaining in contact with Planet Earth.

    Robert and Andy - Now we're talking! At around £159 at http://www.ffordes.com/ the F100 is still too cheap, but an F5 or EOS-1V with booster goes for £400. This, combined with the expired film, Vaseline, cardboard, sandpaper, and cheap filter tricks mentioned above looks like a promising way of getting Lomo quality at a similar price.
  9. Buy 1 holga for $29.99.
    Buy $300 worth of film & chemicals.
    With the rest of the money, go buy lunch ... and quit complaining. :)
  10. Bj - right now someone on ebay is selling '4 Rolls Kodachrome 64 35mm 36 exp Slide Film Lomo Xpro' for $29.95, so perhaps I should invest in 10 of those ('This is the opportunity for you to own a piece of modern history.'). Not sure why this auction has 'Lomo' in the title, but perhaps they know their market...
    The lunch idea is certainly appealing - think I'll start with an omelette: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/7690929/Worlds-most-expensive-omelette-for-90.html
  11. ...but why settle for a $29.99 Holga when you can get the White Stripes/Lomography $180 version:
  12. For the price of that Lomo you could get a spiffy excellent condition Nikon F100 from KEH and probably have enough left over for a decent lens.
    You could get a nice manual focus Minolta like an X-700 for far less than that, and likely have enough left over to load up on piles of underpriced Minolta glass.
    The possibilities for Lomo avoidance are nearly endless, really!
  13. Scoff at the $30 film slr, if you must, but you will notice a careful failure to list what lenses for those cameras generally cost these day-- a good place to store "excess value," I think :)
  14. I don't consider the product of such equipment to have any artistic merit. This might well be because I am a control freak and even when looking for the uncontrolled, I want to have as much control over it.​
    I see, so it's really all about the equipment and not the image. Using a pinhole camera, Holga, Lomo, Diana etc. is an exercise in seeing not equipment operation. You have total control over the process, the camera only makes an image of what you're pointing the camera at, and an exposure only when you push the shutter release. How much more control do you really need?
  15. Nikon 8008S, is an amazing ,feature laden, rugged machine. Possibly the best manual focus, AF camera ever built. Price: about $10-30.
  16. I bought a LN Nikon F5 recently for under $300. I have heard of new F100s in box for $250. I bought my LN- Nikon N80 from KEH for $80. Bodies are becoming giveaway items, but not lenses.
  17. I had indeed neglected the contribution that buying lenses could make to blowing my Lomo budget - thanks to all who suggested this. I'd like to go for one of the Nikon Defocus Control lenses, which ought to be useful for Lomo-style effects, but even paired with the N8008 (I actually have an F-801 somewhere) that's going to cost more than the white LC-A. But since the Lomo has a 35mm lens, and the F100 is a popular choice in this thread, then the Nikon 35/2 AF-D seems appropriate. http://apertureuk.com just sold one for £190, which combined with a £149 F100 body Ffordes has in stock right now, comes to £339, only £40 short of the Lomo. Of course the Nikon lens has the reputation of being pretty sharp, so I'm still going to need to degrade the image somehow. Maybe I should do this in style and pick up a Zeiss Softar filter, which ought to account for the rest of the budget. Obviously this gear won't have quite the same cachet as the white LC-A, but as the Lomo is currently out of stock (who could resist such a bargain, after all), it should serve as an adequate stopgap.
  18. I think I have it.....start with an old Hasselblad body and couple of backs (say $400)....get a Holga and cut out the lens.....better yet, make that an old Diana (a silly $100)....mount the lens on a Hasselblad lens cap.....find the crappiest, out dated 35mm film (10 rolls, $10) and spool them by hand in the dark into the backs. This way you get the coolness of a Hasselblad, the crappiness of the Diana/Holga, the unpredictability of rolling 35mm on 120 spools and the crazy look of pictures on sprocket holes. This will be the envy of all your friends. Wait, I still have $100 left. Go ahead and cover it in white cobra skin (http://www.cameraleather.com/colors/b&wcobra_snake.htm) That would be seriously awesome.
  19. Whats the whole fascination with those Lomo things and why would any one want to pay that much for one. Maybe I should start buying all those old weird plasic Russian cameras I can find in fleamarkets here for a few euros and sell them on Lomo forums for great profit.
  20. This one is even better.
  21. dlw


    Lomo, schlomo. I was in my local camera shop recently and there on display was this bright red Blackbird Fly TLR. I looked it over and it appeared that if one wasen't very careful, the damn thing would be broken in short order. The price tag was an astronomical $140/US. Hell, for that kind of money, I could nick a clean Yashica or Minolta TLR and have a right proper TLR that's actually capable of producing a good photo. Not to mention the Blackbird Fly is 35mm, not 120. The only thing positive I can say about the Lomo thing is it keeps people buying and using 120 film and helps keep it available for those of us who like 120 for what it's capable of.
  22. Yep I agree with that David at least it keeps some buying film but I can't help but feel a cheap used Praktica BC1 electronic would be a better bet than plastic junk.
  23. Buy 1 holga for $29.99.
    Buy $300 worth of film & chemicals.​
    Yeah, just don't buy your film from the Lomo Store (rip-off central).


    You could achieve the desired outcome by buying an Olympus Trip 35 and long-expired budget film, and spending the balance on LSD.​
    SWIM always preferred a TLR while tripping. The reversed image translated well with the heightened awareness, and the ease at which SWIM could approach subjects on the street made for some interestingly intimate portraits. It isn't all about wierd colors , distortions, and unpredictability.
  24. SWIM thinks Mark's elegant solution is worthy of serious consideration, and the stylish use of white cobra skin as a subtle homage to the limited edition Lomo is the icing on the cake. I'm not familiar with the Blackbird Fly, but do remember the original Lubitel, which is listed in my old copy of 'Which Camera' from 1983 (Price: £14; Verdict: 'At this price you can afford to give it a try and then chuck it out if you don't like the large negative sizes'). At £280 in the UK Lomo shop, this trial strategy seems rather less viable for its 'loving re-creation', but at least the Lubitel is in stock, which saves me wasting my money on inferior alternatives like the boxed Rolleiflex one UK dealer is advertising for £300.
  25. dlw


    While IMO the Lubitel may be a low grade POS, the Blackbird Fly ALMOST makes it look good. As a toy camera, I wouldn't pay more than $25/US, and even then it might only make a decent ornament for my desk. To use one is to risk breaking one. The optical quality us sub-Holga. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I work too hard for my money to throw it away on POS junk cameras. I know there are people who can't afford expensive, and high quality cameras like Rolleiflex's, but there are enough less expensive alternatives that are good performers available to waste money on crap.
  26. Actually, once I bought the holga (I splurged and got the one with a flash, $39.95), I picked up a pentax 645 with 75 mm 2.8 for $160.
    Still way ahead.
    Oh and I already have a couple of FM2n's. No need for anything more modern than that in 35mm. ;)
  27. If you can find a Ricoh 35R that would definitely fill the bill for a "lomo" type camera.. and also capable of some very nice results in the conventional sense. Allows scale focus, and manual exposure setting, as well as AF and AE. 3 element 30mm f/3.9 lens, and it can take filters. I had one for a while that I bought new for $25.00 from a canadian distributor. They are nice cheap 35mm cameras.
    Unfortunately I sold that.. but I still have a Ricoh r1e, and Rollei Prego 30, both with 30mm lens. The Ricoh is a 4 element, and the Rollei a 3 element lens. The venerable Olympus XA is another option.
  28. "While IMO the Lubitel may be a low grade POS" - I love my Lubitel!!
    Bought it in (I think) 1986 from Russian Technical and Optical Equipment on Holborn in London and it's been a pleasure to use for all these years.
    Not the most sophisticated camera for sure but bangs 'em out with all the gusto and raw dependability of communist era tractor digging turnips. I still try to use it once a month or so. Tend to shoot Ilford XP2 C41 process B&W film these days and it works just fine.
    I'd utterly recommend buying one to anyone who wants to try something different - though get one from an online auction for $30 - $50 rather than a trendy store. I doubt you will end up with a dud - there's so little there to break!
  29. I'm all for anyone who buys and processes film. For $600, I'd get a contax rts iii.

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