Lomography or ‘Lomo’ cameras are fond of bringing back the experimental joy of cheap, low-fi analog film photography, and encouraging us to find beauty in all its non-digital imperfections, but there is a staggering variation to show off to choose! The best Lomography cameras and their output have more to do with fun about loyalty and happy accidents than with photographic perfection and pin-sharp details. You never quite know what you get from a Lomo camera and its 35-mm or 120-roll film or instant film packages until you look at the typically unique results.
That fact, as well as Lomography’s funky designs, lurid colors and seemingly crazy (or “inspired”) conceptual ideas, is central to the brand’s appeal. We are talking more about ‘garage quality’ than about gallery quality. Yes, Lomo cameras are the punk rockers of the photographic world, seemingly kicking against the smooth synth-pop of the purely digital biased, mainstream camera brands. They are also easy to use since most are simple point-and-shoot cameras.
A handful of Lomography cameras have started life as Kickstarter projects – so the social media channels are worth keeping an eye on, just like the company’s own website, where repeat questions and reformulations of existing or previous models are regularly used. held in new designs, sometimes limited or produced in collaboration with a specific artist.
The best Lomography cameras of 2021
Fujifilm instax mini 90
A classic-look instant camera that offers some advanced features
The Instax mini 90 looks great both on a shelf at home and in your hands when you’re out and about thanks to its absolutely stunning classic design that’s available in black, brown and red. With four modes to choose from, it’s equally suited to landscapes, macros, parties and even a kids mode to capture fast-moving subjects. The powerful flash fills the scene to balance the exposure, and the camera even features a bulb mode for photography with long exposure times. You can also shoot double exposures, making the camera ideal for photographers who want to be creative with their direct shots. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography camera.
Lomography Diana F+ with Flash
An affordable introduction to medium format photography and 120 film
Brightly colored plastic covers and functions that have been reduced to the minimum – meaning that all you really have to do (or can do) is point-and-shoot – all the features of a Lomo camera are present and correct here, including the fact that you need lighting conditions just right to take a picture. That said, there is now a version of the Diana F + with the option to cut a flash, which adds a certain amount of flexibility.
Core functions include zone focus with three positions, only one shutter speed (1/60 sec) plus apertures linked to lighting conditions, including pinhole, f/8, f/11, f/16. So to a certain extent, it is as much as this point and hopes ‘like something. Although the Diana F + camera is very affordable, there is a box of accessories for those who want to branch off and experiment even more. Don’t be too disappointed by the sometimes rough results you’ll get – the ‘hit and miss’ nature is all part of the charm of Lomography. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras that you can buy.
MiNT InstantFlex TL70 2.0
Best film camera under $500
Too often reflex cameras with two lenses have a boring viewfinder on the top, but the MiNT Instant Flex TL70 2.0 has completely taken care of that. The upgraded Fresnel viewfinder is incredibly bright and the same size as the film being used (instax mini instant), which makes composing and focusing through the magnifier incredibly easy. The cost of film is often something that puts off analog photographers, but the MiNT has developed a program for unlimited free films in exchange for free advertising when you shoot with the camera. There is aperture control and basic EV compensation for those who want more control over exposure, but there is no shutter speed option. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras.
Lomography LC-A 120
The best medium format film camera for beginners
A far cry from Lomography’s usual spotty film cameras, the LC-A 120 medium format camera is definitely a shot in the arm for the company when it comes to image quality. It can shoot to within 0.6 meters, making it ideal for focusing on certain smaller, or close-up subjects. The camera also performs well in all types of lighting conditions, with consistently good exposures. The camera is even suitable for long exposures thanks to its curtain flash, which can be paired with an external cable release and when the camera is mounted on a tripod. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras.
Polaroid Originals OneStep+
A fully-updated, Bluetooth-controlled instant camera with vintage looks
The OneStep+ grabs the past by the arms and drags it kicking and screaming into the future. The OneStep+ lets you shoot from your smart device via Bluetooth and unlock features like noise trigger, light painting and manual mode for photographers who like to take charge. The large battery extends shooting time and can be recharged thanks to the li-ion battery inside. Capture images on both iType and 600 film, but beware that many features cannot be used without a smart device and pairing via Bluetooth. However, usability is enhanced by the integration of a dual lens system for standard and portrait photography. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras.
Lomography Simple Use Film Camera Black & White
Disposable film camera for your first black and white film experiments
We are used to the Lomography analog cameras being very affordable, even cheap, but here is one that can actually be thrown away intentionally. Fortunately, this allows you to try out one of the company’s ISO400 black-and-white films. Equally useful is the fact that Lomo also offers its own lab for processing so that you can send the camera back to have your photos developed instead of having to chase someone to reproduce the results of your creative endeavors.
Although the camera itself may be affordable, if you become addicted to film photography that may prove to be more expensive in the long run. Especially if you pay for every stroke you make. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras that you can buy right now.
Lomo’instant Automat Glass Magellan
Imagine a cyberpunk version of Lomography’s Lomo’instant Automat
Although in most respects it resembles and acts like Lomography’s’ regular ‘Lomo’ Instant Automat, this’ Glass’ version has been given a rubber make-over, which, in addition to the fact that it looks somewhat retro-futuristic, is practically similar to it gives a surface for fingers and thumbs for a good grip. We do get different ‘glass’ for his look-alike here; a 38 mm lens that delivers an ultra-wide-angle lens of 21 mm in terms of 35 mm (the maker claims this is the first instant camera with a wide-angle lens), along with a brighter / faster f / 4.5 maximum aperture.
In theory, we get superior image quality with the most common snapshots and shots, although it is hard to say that the prints are no bigger than your lens card or bus pass. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras that you can buy.
Lomography Konstruktor F
A camera that arrives in kit form that you build from scratch for fun
As the model name suggests, the attraction here is being able to build your own camera using the included plastic kit. The upgraded version of the Konstruktor even comes with a PC connection for flash photography, but you need the hot shoe adapter in the optional accessory set (another £ 17). However, we felt that a lot of plastic panels, parts, screws, and springs needed to be assembled, so this is one that will reward those with a certain amount of patience and build agility.
As expected, like the camera body itself, the lens here is made of plastic and we get another 50 mm lens with a fixed focal length and an f/10 aperture. On a positive note, we enjoyed using the viewfinder at waist level and the view through the lens thanks to the resilient mirror level. That may be all of Heath Robinson, but it’s not without charm if you don’t mind doing the initial work in it. Overall, this is one of the best Lomography cameras that you can buy.