Russian climber Valentin Ivanov using a Smena Symbol. Photo: Technointorg

In this week’s Film Friday, from our pals at Kosmo Foto, we join up with a group of Soviet climbers prepping to summit Mount Everest. The year is 1982 and to document the expedition, the team decides to bring along five plastic Smena Symbol viewfinder cameras. A humble, simple-to-use unit – intended more for family-use than mountaineering – the Symbol proves to be the perfect companion for the trip.

Its lack of electronics, focusing aid or light meter meant fewer possible failure points, compared to other cameras of the era. And a simple weather-based exposure diagram on back made them easy-to-use. Plus, the plastic design cut down on weight, while still proving tough enough to survive slams into rock and ice.

But the team still had to make a few small modifications to these modest cameras, to survive the tough conditions. Read on…

Read: The humble Soviet camera that made it to the top of Mt Everest

About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at KosmoFoto and 35mmc.