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Cosina CX-2 (Pic: Stephen Dowling)
(Pic: Stephen Dowling)

Lomography’s Patient Zero wasn’t, as you may have thought, the infamous LOMO LC-A.

The Leningrad camera-maker’s designers got their cue from an innovative design from one of Japan’s second-tier producers, Cosina. The CX-2 was unveiled at the Photokina photographic show in Cologne in West Germany alongside the CX-1; legend has it that Soviet general Michail Panfiloff demanded that LOMO produce a replica that could be given away to loyal Communist Party cadre.

The CX-2 was produced for a handful of years, and was relatively obscure until the 1990s, when the Lomography movement turned the LOMO LC-A into a cult compact. It suddenly got a new lease of life, more than a decade after being discontinued.

In this video, Kosmo Foto looks at what set this camera apart from its contemporaries – and caused such a stir with its Soviet admirers.

As you might have read the in-depth review on Kosmo Foto a few months before, the CX-2 has an odd feature which made it unique among compact cameras – a faceplate that when twisted 90 degrees both opened the lens cover and readied the camera for action.

Released at the dawn of the autofocus age, the CX-2 was partly a camera from a different age, with zone-focus operation that requires you to choose the right distance by eye, and a classic thumb wind a la cameras like the Olympus XA. Inside, however, the camera’s computerised brain could choose both aperture and shutter speed, and leave the latter open for as long as 30 seconds – rendering trippy low-light scenes for those didn’t want the bright glare of a flash.

Come the 1990s, and the Lomography-inspired dive into expired film, cross processing and esoteric effects, the CX-2 found a niche alongside the Soviet camera it inspired.

Watch the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Kosmo Foto’s YouTube channel.

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Stephen Dowling
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23 days ago

“Cue” is a very polite term… 🤷‍♂️😏😅