Lomo LC-M / Ломо Компакт-M / LK-M / ЛК-M

Pretty much everyone has heard of the Lomo LC-A, and if you’re reading this then you probably own one or know someone who does. But what about it’s lesser-known sibling, the Lomo LC-M? Never heard of it? Well read on..

The Lomo LC-M is one of the rarest cameras I own, and it took me ages to track one down. It was destined to be the successor of the hugely popular Lomo LC-A, but for some reason, it wasn’t to be. Only a few thousand were made during 1986/1987, whilst production of the hugely popular LC-A continued until 2005.

As you can see in the photo, it looks a bit different to the LC-A. Some people think it’s ugly – possibly a contributing factor to its (lack of) popularity. I think it looks lovely – the Russian text around the shutter is a great touch.

Apart from its looks, this camera has several major technical improvements over the LC-A. Firstly, its ISO goes up to 800, making it even better for shooting in dark/low-light conditions. This ISO setting comes with the cost of losing ISO25.

The camera also has a cable release screw-in hole. This is a very useful feature – I always found myself accidentally nudging or shaking my LC-A whilst holding the shutter button during long-exposures, leading to blurry pictures. It allows me to do self portraits thanks to a little clockwork shutter-release thingie I got. Or I can screw in a cable-release cord and do blur-free long exposures.

There are a few minor changes too – there is one light in the viewfinder (instead of the LC-A’s 2); it takes two batteries (instead of 3); the nearest focus is 0.9m (instead of 0.8); and the shutter mechanism is apparently better/more-reliable but I haven’t really noticed this.

Example photographs

Photos taken with this camera have the same characteristics as an LC-A – vignettes, accurate exposure, contastyness. I wasn’t expecting anything less.


You can view more photos taken with the LC-M in my LC-M set on flickr.

Buying one

LC-Ms are rather hard to find, but I got lucky and found a ‘cheap’ one on eBay. I initially had a few problems with the cheap camera. It had a few lightleak issues – easily fixed with new light seals. The camera was also missing it’s ISO Selector dial which meant I could only use ISO100 films. I managed to get a broken LC-A from eBay, dismantled it and salvaged the dial. The LC-A and LC-M share a lot of the same parts so it was a relatively easy operation.

If you can find an LC-M, I really recommend getting one – mainly because of the rarity factor. If you can’t find one, the nearest you’ll get is Lomography’s LC-A+ (it’s basically an LC-A with ISO1600 and cable release hole – sounds a bit familiar?).

Links of interest

Flickr group dedicated to the LC-M.
USSRPhoto camera profile.
Soviet Cams.

11 thoughts on “Lomo LC-M / Ломо Компакт-M / LK-M / ЛК-M”

  1. cool .. I just got mine too. LED light not working but meter is. The yellow and red wordings are kinda faded. damn. Paid 220USD for it. How much was yours?

  2. Wei – unlike the LCA, the LCM does not have a “battery indicator” LED on the left. It only has one LED for the exposure in the middle of the viewfinder.

  3. Yes I’m aware. I meant the led wasn’t going on/off (bulb died?) but the exposure meter is working fine ie. shutter speed is varying with different lighting condition.

  4. Wei – I’m not sure how many were made. My serial number is just over 2000, which means at least 2000 were built during 1987! Some were built during 1986 too.

    I’d estimate 3000-4000 were built in total.

  5. Now I’m struggling to make a decision..
    Another LC-M or a rare LC-A..
    I’ve turned collector of LC-A and its variants.. gosh.
    I own the Cosina CX-1 too (less vignetting compared to the LC-A), looking for the CX-2 =D

  6. Wei – go for the rare LC-As – there’s loads of different ones to collect! Although the LC-M is pretty rare (it can’t harm having two :))

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