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The Smena SL was released by the LOMO factory in 1968 and stayed in production until 1977. The Smena name had been used by this factory for simple cameras since before WWII. Smena SL is the name in latin script; in cyrillic it is Смена SL. It uses a symbol-aided zone focusing and exposure system. The SL stands for SL System - Schnell Lade (Quick Load) cassettes, an eastern-bloc copy of Agfa's Rapid system for 35mm film.
Automatic exposure? Edit
Well, not quite. As you load the camera, you set the film sensitivity on the lens. This automatically sets the aperture. Note the scale is in DIN. DIN 25 corresponds to 250 ASA and with this setting all pictures will be taken at f/16. A scale from DIN 13 to 25 suggests that only 16–250 ASA films were used. Next step, judge the lighting conditions (see the picture below). A selector ring on the lens tube lets you select the weather from heavily clouded to very sunny. A small green rectangle moves to a position under a weather symbol. Actually, you just selected the shutter speed. Other Smena models have 1/15 to 1/250s shutter speeds, so by selecting very sunny, you probably select 1/250s.
Lets say you put in a 200 ASA film. The sensitivity selector on the lens put the aperture on f/16. You go out on a sunny day, which selects the 1/250s speed. Judging by the sunny f/16 rule that just works out fine.
The Smena SL takes twelve pictures on 35mm film. Just twelve? Yes, this was one of the limitations of the Rapid or SL system. The camera has a T.43 40mm/4 lens and a blade shutter with speeds of 1/15–1/250s. There's a clear Albada viewfinder with bright framelines. It has a cold accessory shoe and a metal transport lever. The body is made of ribbed plastic.
There are two main versions of the Smena SL.
- Early version (apparently made from 1968 to 1972) with silver lens housing and only latin script "Smena SL" on the front plate. Digital scales for distance and shutter speed are placed at the bottom of the lens only, and the lens rotates some 140 degrees only through its focusing range.
- Late version (made from 1972 to 1977) with black lens housing and cyrillic and latin script "Smena" on the front plate, with latin "SL". The lens is now unified with the Smena Symbol - aperture setting ring is enlarged, shutter speed scale is placed on top of the lens, digital and symbolic scales for distance are mixed together - the lens barrel can be rotated some 270 degrees during focusing.