As a nightlife photographer, I always try to keep discreet in order to capture everything organically. The lens that I usually use with my Sony A7 III is a 24 mm F1.4 lens, and even though I love this lens, sometimes it can be too bulky and conspicuous.
Seeing the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 2.8/32 Art Lens for the first time, I was blown away by how inconspicuous this lens was and even how it made my camera look even more discreet and analogue-like. I decided to it out for around a month to see how I could use it during some of my photography gigs. What made me even more excited is that the Lomo LC-A and its Minitar lens is what started the whole Lomography Movement in the 90s so I hoped to also get a feel of what it is like to shoot a Lomo LC-A by using its lens.
The first time I used this lens was during the local Fete Dela Musique celebration where each bar had different music programs ranging from the mainstream to the fringe. I was able to watch a few DJs before playing the disco stage. My usual rule is not to bring the camera when I am going to DJ but because of how light and easy it was with this lens I made an exception and shot a few of my friends while they were spinning.
For the next two days I took the camera out during the day to shoot some photos for the opening of a new pop-up store by the brand Fortune WWD. It was going to be a good opportunity to try the lens in daylight especially since I'm used to nightlife and clubs with lots of colorful lighting.
The pop-up was a great opportunity to photograph some of Manila's ever-growing creative community ranging from graphic designers, photographers, musicians, DJs, stylists, and everything in between. One of my highlights was also meeting Diego Castilo, who performed at the event. Diego was actually one of the first Lomographers in the Philippines. I tried to shoot discreetly so everything would be as natural as possible. The Minitar lens was able to get help me stay discreet because of its size and zone focusing which made taking shots very quick. I loved how I could really see the iconic vignette in the photos because it felt like I was using the real Lomo LC-A camera.
The next event I'd be going to was an underground experimental music party in my friend's garage. With a lot of younger people in the audience and a raging dancefloor, I decided to try out longer exposures and blurry shots to encapsulate the vibe of the gig. The show was reminiscent of the early days of Lomography where they'd throw DIY underground parties during the 90s and with the Lomo LC-A Minitar lens, it made me feel like I was shooting one of those events.
After taking a break for a few weeks I took out the lens again, this time to the listening party for Ena Mori's debut album. It was located in Hello Phono! a small vinyl bar in Quezon City with a swinging 60s space theme. With this, I also edited my photos for this set to be more psychedelic and colorful than usual. The lighting in the bar was an exciting challenge but the 2.8 aperture of the lens combined with the wide ISO capabilities of the Sony made it possible to capture sharp images in low light. Besides this, I again played around with long exposures and blur to try and capture the mood of the event. It was very fun and easy to shoot since almost everyone there was friends and family of Ena Mori and Offshore Records which made the atmosphere very fun and carefree.
I also took my camera to take pictures for the 24th birthday of one of my best friends. I didn't really think of how I was going to shoot beforehand but the Minitar lens was able to give me great photos without thinking much about what to capture. Again, it also helped me stay discreet so I caught a lot of my friends at their most natural.
For my last outing with the Minitar lens, I covered my music label's club night at Futurist. The venue was packed and they changed the lighting of the bar to give it a more clubby atmosphere with a smoke machine and laser lights that would pierce through the thick haze. The music was raging techno and everyone was on their feet moving to the strong kicks and harsh noise.
Since the lighting was very dark, I had to use my flash but I also was timing my shots with the flashing LED lights and laser lights. The smoke machine created this misty effect which I really enjoyed because it gave more characteristics to the pictures I took. I loved taking long exposures of the dancefloor because the added lights and haze created a truly strong atmosphere in the photos. This was also when I realized how easy it was to take photos with the lens with 4 step zone focusing system which allowed me to take close up to distant shots in an instant. With me on my feet and everyone moving around I got the hang of the focusing system during this event which made me appreciate the lens even more.
Having the Lomo LC-A Minitar lens as a companion to my Sony A7 III for more than a month was a fruitful experience. From capturing nightlife, experimental gigs, and house parties I really could bring this lens with me everywhere as it made my lightweight camera even lighter and hassle-free to put in my bag. The raw shots I got with the lens were amazing and it even made me experiment with how I edited photos due to the results of the pictures. Overall the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens 2.8/32 is the perfect lens to take for a night out. With its lowlight capabilities, easy-to-use focusing and great portability, you'll be able to get great shots at clubs, birthday parties, intimate gatherings, and everything in between.
Let us know your story with the Lomo LC-A Minitar Lens. Comment down below and tell us what camera you use the Minitar Lens with.