$60 is still a far cry from $375. As much as I like them, no Lubitel is worth that for its quality as a camera- either original batch or current. They are plastic cameras made as cheaply as possible. That price is the markup for hipster cred, nothing else. Back in the 90s, when Dianas were scarce, $50 seemed reasonable for one if you REALLY wanted to shoot with an authentic old toy that used to be given away as a party favor, or you wanted it as a collectible, so a Holga (at one-third the price) wouldn’t do. But there is zero reason today other than the hipster tax that these cameras should sell for more than $10, now that they’re being mass produced again and sold in Urban Outfitters. Lomography is selling a lifestyle and an aesthetic, not a camera.
I wrote the piece and run the blog Kosmo Foto. Do you still have some of the pics from it? The camera aswell? It would make a great story.
The Lomo ones tend not to be. They tend to use better plastic, make improvements to common failure points and add features and niceties. Like I’m pretty sure that one has a glass lens. At that price you’re also getting a 35mm adapter kit, 2 photo books, and some other shit. It is $375 for a brand new camera kit. Not a camera that’s in the same state as whatever used one you picked up back in the day.
I’ve actually heard people complain about their Dianas because the plastic is too thick to reliably introduce light leaks with rubber bands.
My point was that you didn’t pay $30 back in the day either, because inflation. Check the prices these things are going on Ebay, about $50-$100 depending on condition. Plus shipping from Eastern Europe. So your probably not going to be paying $60 for a like new one today either. But I’m a little surprised they’ve actually held pretty close to what they were going for when I was in college a decade and a half back.
OH GOD. How dare a company that started as an art and design collective care about aesthetics, branding and marketing.
Look man these guys started making this stuff because supply became weak in the wake of disposables and digital. They turned into the company they are now because it kept the doors open. In the offing they helped keep a bunch of dead or dying film formats in production, cloned beloved emulsions that had gone out of production. And along with Mint, Impossible Project and a few others helped re-popularize film as a medium. To the point where some stocks are coming back.
Yeah the current branding is a little kids who need to get off my lawn for my tastes. But nobody is successfully selling this short of shit without leaning into that. You can call them posers and sellouts all you want, we’re just not living in a world with dollar beers and $15 plates of pasta anymore.
Hear hear. Without Lomography, there would be far less film around for its revival.
I don’t think there would be any outside of the bog standard Fuji 35mm they still make for family photos and disposables. I don’t think people realize how few stocks are still produced, since old product stuck around for so long. Or how small the operations trying to still do it are.
I have FYROM pictures handy but I’d have to scan them first. The camera is in storage I think but I’ll try to dig it out.
Some good points here (especially in your last couple of paragraphs), so I’m not going to quibble about some of the stuff I still disagree with.
I mourn Kodachrome SO MUCH.
Nice! At some point I need to scan all my Lubitel shots…
I loved the crunchy look x-pro’d Agfa RSX II had, and when the lomography version came out I was pretty skeptical it would have a similar cast and grain, but it’s fantastic.
While I’m not huge Soviet era camera enthusiast but I do have a FED 3b, a few of the Jupiter lenses and a few of the Helios lenses. I’ve found the cameras generally pretty good, the cheaper ones are definitely uneven in quality (which is why some people like them), but personally I’ve found the lenses to be way more random. Maybe it is my bad luck but a lot of the Helios lenses I’ve picked up over the years can be really variable - to the point that the results can look almost completely different between copies of the same version of the lens. I had 3 versions of the vintage Helios-44 and each of them have different results and sadly none of them produce results I entirely like. I’ve found a bit more consistency with the Jupiters, particularly some oddball Frankenstein’s monster ones I picked up where someone has adapted them to fit on oddball camera mounts (a Jupiter-17 for the original Olympus half frame Pen F mount and a Jupiter-9 modded to use on a micro 4/3). Again the look isn’t to everybody’s taste for sure but they are unique and helpful if you’re stuck in a photographic rut.
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