The Lomo LC-A 120 was launched by Lomography in 2014. It is an automatic 120 film camera that brings the joy of the Lomo LC-A 35 mm to medium format. It is also a nice tribute to the camera that inspired Lomography.
The original LC-A was a Soviet built copy of the Cosina CX-2 from the 1980s. It was credited with inspiring the Lomography company and movement. In 2006 Lomography introduced the LC-A+ a version built for them in China. There are some variations all in 35 mm. Lomography is also known for promoting the Holga 120 cameras. So the introduction of the LC-A 120 feels like a nod to the past and a nice contribution to the present.
Operationally, the 120 is simpler than the 35. My original LC-A 35 had the option to select the aperture setting or leave it on A for auto. The 120 has fully automatic aperture and speed settings. It is still a zone focus with four zones. Close focus is .6m compared to .8m on my 35mm. Aperture range is f 4.6 to f 16 automatic selected. The speed is up to 1/500th, also controlled by the camera. They have added a multiple exposure option (I think this was added to the LC-A+ but was not on the original). One feature they both improved and made worse is the ISO selection. On the original is was a tiny window and a selection wheel that I found difficult to adjust. Now the window is larger and easy to see. The wheel is more exposed and simple to turn. Too simple. I found that the wheel was getting turned in my bag. My test roll was overexposed because the ISO had moved from the box speed. For future use I will be adding a bit of tape to the wheel. The film advance is auto stopping so you are not looking in a window to see if the film is advanced enough.
Styling is clear tribute to the original. It really does look and feel like a king size version of the original. It feels more plastic than the original. The original used metal for the top and base, the 120 feels like all plastic. Not in a cheap Holga way but still in a light weight, I could carry this all day and not notice kind of way.
I struggled with the first roll of film I loaded. Still not sure what I did wrong but the take-up spool slipped off and jammed. Mostly a waist of film. I also, had an issue with the ISO wheel staying where I set it. That has now been solved with a bit of tape. This test roll was overexposed because of bumping the ISO dial.
Even with my learning curve, I like this camera. It is not the who cares feeling of a Holga, but it is fun. It is more like the freedom of a decent point and shoot. I know it can deliver a decent image if I get the shot but also don’t feel the pressure to set up every shot and adjust the camera. The LC-A 120 may be as close as it comes to a medium format pocket point and shoot.
This is one of the few cameras I have shot that you can still buy new today. If you are expecting to pay Holga level prices, good luck. It sells new for over US$400. And finding them used is not easy. But if you want a medium format pocket-ish, point and shoot: the LOMO LC-A 120 is a great option.
Lens: Minigon XL 35 mm, f 4.5