Are some Lomography cameras scams?

Discussion in 'Lo-Fi Cameras' started by marco5555, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. marco5555

    marco5555 Member

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    Hey guys!

    I was just wondering if some of you guys thought that for some Lomography cameras their prices are completely unjustified? I'm thinking of the Lubitel but same goes for many others!

    Please note: I don't believe that all Lomo cameras are scams, I love my Holgas and Sprocket Rocket.
     
  2. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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  3. marco5555

    marco5555 Member

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    Is that support?
     
  4. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Lubitel 166+ goes for $350 US. A Yashica-Mat overhauled by the best goes for the same, with a much better lens, a metal body, better viewfinder, etc. That would be my criteria- can I get something of better quality for the same? Then why pay so much?

    Find a Ciroflex from the '40s for $50 or less. Clean it up, and put the other $300 into film. Or do a Yashica 635 if you want sprocket holes, just leave out the mask.

    With the Lubitel, you get an instant community and instant recognition among a certain crowd. If that is worth it to you, go for it! The important thing is to be shooting and enjoying yourself. A Lubitel may not give me what I value in a camera but it might give you exactly what you value, and then it is worth every penny. Looking at your work on flickr, you're doing a lot, trying a lot of things. If the Lubitel is the camera you want to use next, do it. The worst that happens is you are out a little money; the best is that it takes you along to wherever you are heading next.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2011
  5. moki

    moki Member

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    Yup, they are... in my opinion. You've hit one of my favourite topics.

    Back when "Lomo" wasn't such a fad, I used to see Dianas and Pouvas at the fleamarket for almost free. Sellers even used to offer them as a little free extra when you bought something else. Now they cost about as much as a modern SLR in good working condition, though they're still the same cheap pieces of plastic... Why? Because some hipsters think, they can buy some kind of "lifestyle" with these cameras and are willing to pay for it. It's a free market and the demand is big enough to justify the ridiculous prices.
    When you buy them directly from the lomography shop and not used, it becomes even worse. These things (Holga, Lubitel, etc.) cost almost nothing to produce, even less than the shipping to Europe or the US, but the shop can have a profit margin of several hundred percent and still sell loads. I even built a few cameras that took similar pictures from cardboard boxes and scrap lenses - it's not difficult or expensive at all!

    Of course, there are a few nice and innovative cameras like the Sprocket Rocket or Spinner that can't really be substituted by anything. There are other panoramic cameras, but they're much more expensive and aimed at a completely different demographic.

    Quite honestly, I don't understand "Lomography"... don't get me wrong, I love some of the results, the style of shooting and the fact that it brings people to analog photography. I think, I could be classified as a "Lomographer" myself some of the time, but the whole "scene" is a complete mystery to me. Just can't get it into my head, why people go so crazy about it.

    /end of rant. Lomography-Hipsters please don't feel too offended.
     
  6. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    Scam? No. Seriously overpriced? Yes, and Lomographic Society International is doing a heck of a job of separating Hipsters from their money!

    Save your money and buy some old, cheap cameras on eBay or at Goodwill and spend the money you saved on film. You'll get the same or better results and will help keep old cameras out of landfills.
     
  7. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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  8. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I have a Lomo LC-A+, bought brand new from one of the Fashionista Lomo shops. It's incredibly over priced, but I'll admit I really like it as a camera. I'd say they're worth about 25% of the selling price, although they come with a a nice hard back book of photos, a nice wooden crate/box, and some other trinkets, which add to the value somewhat.

    Yes, they are crazy expensive for what they are, but so is an Leica M7 compared to a Bessa R3A. They're functionally the same, but one cost 10 times what the other costs. Sure the Leica is better built, maybe a bit prettier, and that makes it worth maybe twice the price? 3 times? 4 times? 10 times?

    The Lomo is the same, they are pricey for what they are, you could get a functional equivalent for 10% of the price. However, I would pay that premium because I like the camera, the results, and I'll admit it, I like the brand and the marketing. I'd buy a Leica too, for the same reasons.

    Whether it's better to get a second hand camera instead is up to the user, but I find it amazing and great in this day and age that in the past couple of years London has got *2* new Lomography shops, dedicated to film cameras and film photography. Some people would rather there was a Jessops there instead selling Casio Exlims or whatever, I'd rather the Lomo shop.
     
  9. himself

    himself Member

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    yes, definitely yes, even if only by happenstance. I say that as someone that owns 2 holgas and loves them.

    they have however, as everyone has said, become a trend. when I bought my first one only 2 years ago, the price reflected it's worth (pretty worthless) and I've since watched the price clime at a rate that is almost unbelievable.

    I bought an almost mint condition Yashica LM44 for less than the price I'd have to pay for a holga now.

    the reason I bought my first Holga was so I could chop it up and experiment with it... the reason I bought the second was so I could do the same. now that isn't really an option.

    Alas, it's become a fad and prices have gone up, but there is hope that when all the hipsters move on to whatever they move on to next (probably the holgarise app on the iphone) - there will be a whole lot of these cams on ebay
     
  10. marco5555

    marco5555 Member

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    Thank you! I suppose in buying an expensive Lomographic camera, you get nonphotographic payoffs, such as being 'vintage' or being cool. School yard politics much?
     
  11. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Pretty much. You can get a whole other set of payoffs by getting your gear at a thrift store and being in with the crowd who knows better than to be in with that crowd. There's no end to it. Just have fun and don't go broke.
     
  12. marco5555

    marco5555 Member

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    My motto
     
  13. Brac

    Brac Member

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    As I understand it, production of the original Lubitel had finished. I guess restarting production, which would have involved trying to resource all the components (it's a lot more complex than a Holga) would not have been cheap. Also it probably only sells in low numbers, so the costs have to be recovered on only a smallish number of sales. Having said that, I think the price is incredibly high, and as it is still possible to get better quality secondhand TLR's for far less, I can't personally see the point in getting a Lubitel. As for the Holga's, Diana's etc I agree they are very overpriced for such basic plastic cameras.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    all new cameras are expensive / over priced
    it doesn't matter what kind.
    ones with a cult following are .. more-so
     
  16. himself

    himself Member

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    oh, I'm sure it would take more than that, you'd need the clothes, hair and such...

    anyway, the cheap ones and the expensive ones look and work the same, so you do get more than just a membership card.
     
  17. Lruw

    Lruw Member

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    I like my Holga and Lubitel, but I also paid $20 a piece for them. They are genuinely cool cameras, but not worth the Lomo price. The Holga does have a distinctive look whether you love it or hate it. If you like it, then buy one from Hong Kong for $20 instead of $50+ from Lomo or Urban outfitters. I bought the Lubitel from a Russian. It's a perfectly usable camera with a good lens, but it's not as nice as a Yashica or Ciroflex. The Lubitel is, however, much smaller and very adaptable to street photography if you stop it down and prefocus. It's not at all worth $300, though.
     
  18. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Overpriced, perhaps. But the "scam" that some deem to be Lomo is helping keep up the demand for 120 roll film, helping to keep it in production, and that can only be a good thing.

    ~Joe
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yeah! They are crazy, and so is the "lomo" film. This being said, I spent $80 for a Blackbird, Fly, and I feel that while it was a crazy price, I have got my money's worth. (I knew I would.) Normal retail price is $120, but some guy in England was selling them cheaper, so I got three. I got two for holiday gifts and one for myself.
     
  20. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Yep they are overpriced but so are Leicas and Hasselblads.
     
  21. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ...maybe, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. Having shot 6 different 35mm systems and 4 medium format systems over the years, I've settled on Leica and Hasselblad. Even though you can still make great photographs with any camera out there if you know how to use it, I've found that the quality of my prints are much better when I use negatives from these systems as opposed to my other ones. I think "overpriced" is the wrong term to use. I would say "more expensive".

    Given you can get similar results with pinholes or other cameras shot wide open, I see no reason to get a lomo. I borrowed one from the store this week, shot a roll and it's nothing special. The meter on it was about 2 stops under exposed and I had very little focusing freedom along with no choice in shutter speed. A very limiting camera in my opinion and not worth wasting time and money on. If you like the "look" it gives, you can keep your $50-250 and make your own pinhole or go to a thrift shop and pick up a cheap point-and-shoot and buy some film with the money you save. Many people like the lomo look, but fail to realize that much of it is just cheap optics (as well as a lens that doesn't quite cover the film it takes) paired with cross-processing slide film.
     
  22. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    People buy into the brand and that can sometimes be worth more than the physical object: you pay for the image as well as the camera. But this is also true of many 'cult' commodities; they do a job, but they also have an image. I suppose Hasselblads and Leicas are like that, I think Apple products are a good example also - functional tools with a cult following (and a high price tag).
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I remember in Poland in the 1980s, when there were shortages, ration cards, and long lines for goods, there were Lubitels a-plenty sitting on the shelves of camera shops, and I'd be surprised if they had cost more than $30.
     
  24. Moose

    Moose Member

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    I bought my Lubitel in about 1990 and paid £16 for it. I was ripped off as the RRP was only £12:errm: The prices on Ebay shock me as does the fact I now have a cult camera:cool:

    What does annoy me is the price rise in other cameras caused by the 'cheap' ones becoming so overpriced. A couple of years ago I would regularly see good Yashica TTLs going for £30 or less whereas now they seem to be going for very silly money - £200+ in some cases.

    I also notice out of date film selling for more than fresh in-date stock. Is this related?
     
  25. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Overpriced? That is up to you.

    Do you really want to shoot an LC-A or a Diana, or Holga? Is that the look you are going for or really need for your project? If that is the case, and you can afford it then the market value is there to justify the price.

    Are you looking for a camera that shoots film and you can put in your pocket but don't care if your photos have the LOMO look? You can lay your hands on a nice point and shoot pocket camera made by a major name camera company for about $10, you want brand new, you can get a whole lot of Kodak or Fuji single use cameras for the same money. These cameras will all take photos on film, and you could even create art with them, but the camera and photos will not have that LOMO look. So for someone that wants that look, these are overpriced.

    I have a Nikon N90s with a Tamron 28-200mm lens, the entire setup cost me around $150, that is my go to setup for most of my shooting. Some people would say that was too much. For me, this is the setup that produces photos that I like so it was worth it, I might have been willing to pay more than I did for it even.

    When something is a tool the price on it is a reflection of the work that went into it to make it function the way it does, when something is a fashion item the price is a reflection of what people are willing to pay to be hip and cool. Like designer clothing that ends up in piles to be made into rags, all fashion soon goes out of favor and something new takes it's place.

    Remember you can't equate your joy to the number of dollars you are willing to pay for it, but someone out there is going to try and figure out how many dollars they can get from you so that you can have something that makes you happy.
     
  26. nhemann

    nhemann Member

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    Here here bblhead,

    I think you nailed it with that one. I own a Diana and probably five other of lomo's cameras. I was never so terribly bothered by the price - though I simply refused with the Lubies. I get weary of the marketing campaign - the emails are incessant. Its like a beer commercial that advertises nothing but an improved can, there is no additional value to me as a camera and it all becomes image -I think Warhol would have loved what Lomo has been able to do. I don't care to own every color available, and pay a premium for it.
    However, I like to use my Diana and the gonzo attitude that they push was a real eye opener into where photography can go. I think their greatest value is in the "Damn! I can do that too" Style of inspiration