Camera: Lomography Lomo LC-Wide Point & Shoot
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Film: Lomography Color Negative 400
Lens: 17mm f4.5 Minigon non-interchangeable lens
I often talk about how ones “shooting experience” is as important as the images themselves. Even amazing cameras such as the Ricoh GR1, I have sold off because the experience while taking the photos felt a little underwhelming. The Lomo LC-Wide is a variant of the Lomo LC-A+, the main difference is that it has a 17mm Minigon lens while the classic LC-A+ has Minitar 32mm lens. The LC-Wide has a fully automatic aperture and film speed, often considered an expensive toy camera, and just two manual focus settings. The shooting experience of the Lomo LC-Wide is literally binary, focus close or focus far, these are the only choices you get aside from where to point the thing. So why is it that I continue to use the Lomo LC-Wide 35mm film camera?
The first and last adaptation to the shooting experience with the Lomo LC-Wide is that I shoot it with an external viewfinder attached in the flash shoe up top. I have used a plastic-housed Voigtländer 15mm viewfinder as well as the circular all-metallic Voigtländer 15 viewfinder. This is a simple accessory with enormous affect on the shooting experience. The built-in viewfinder on the LC-Wide is small, very soft on the edges, and only shows around a 21mm field of view at best, not a 17mm field of view that the lens will capture on film.
I am a proponent of external viewfinders even on cameras where the built-in viewfinder offers a quality and honest view. No viewfinder of a rangefinder or SLR will be as bright as most external viewfinder. An external viewfinder is simply a window to the world and retains near 100% true-to-life brightness because neither a rangefinder mirror or lens aperture is incorporated in it.
The simplicity of the Lomo LC-Wide goes against my core notions of a pleasurable or entertaining shooting experience. But when I look at the world though that bright viewfinder and know my job is merely to point pick on of two focus points, I feel some mystery and relaxation that I am not in full control.