By Dan Finkelstein
on 1.28.09

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I have invested several thousand dollars into my digital photography habit, but, oddly enough, I find far more enjoyment in playing with a Russian-built film camera.

The Lomographic Society International (LSI) has started a grassroots-style movement that encourages people to return to using their old-school film cameras. These cameras are fed with the once quite common 35mm, as well as the full framed 120 film. There are several different models, but essentially they all work the same way – not a lot of electronics and a heavy emphasis on letting things happen. LSI has created a set of “10 Golden Rules” which range from getting as close as possible all the way to shooting from the hip; these “rules” inspire a new style of creativity and shooting outside the box.

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My first “lomo” was the LC-A , a stocky brick-like beast that has a clicky little wheel to advance the 35mm film to the next frame. Originally from Russia (with newer imports hailing from China), this camera is a throwback to a time when things were slower and photography was a solely naturalistic art, before the digital era.

At first I was a little taken aback, as I felt as though I was taking a huge step backward in time and technology merely for art and creativity’s sake. I slowed down and considered my shots before snapping away, as I’m prone to do with my digital cameras. I found that this little vintage camera gave me results that far surpassed my expectations.

Small levers on the front of the camera set the F-stop and focus, and the simplistic design was incredibly refreshing. The glass lens in the LC series gives the photos a unique vignetting and amazing vibrant colors that you’d swear were “shop’d” if you didn’t know better . Black and white film produced stunning results with a noir-like hue that reminded me of classic photos taken 50 years earlier.

I purchased the specially made ring flash (which comes with several adapters that allow for compatibility with most of the other Lomographic cameras) and found that I was able to get some amazing light that yielded some fantastic photos. There are a ton of other accessories available, such as several different lens adapters (fish eye and wide angle) and a pretty sweet underwater housing.

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The LC-A gave me a new outlook and appreciation on photography which carried over into my digital shooting as well. This camera should be a definite addition to your repertoire whether you are a seasoned professional or you just enjoy taking photos of family and friends. After you purchase your Lomo, be sure to bring it with you when you go out to meet ladies; I guarantee it will be a great conversation piece and a good excuse to photograph beautiful women.

Cost: $250 (Standard Package)

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