Saturday 24th of March saw the ‘Beers and Cameras’ photowalk around Birmingham, brought about by our hosts Richard, Robert James, Martin ‘Photowalk.Me‘ Smith and a certain Hamish Gill of this parish. The idea was that photowalkers would meet in a café at lunchtime, wander the streets of the UK’s second city taking pictures and stopping off for a beer or two along the way before something to eat (and some more beer) in the evening.
What they didn’t know when the date and location were set, was that a 5,000 strong gathering of the Football Lads Alliance was holding a march through the city (what they were protesting against or demonstrating, I’m still not clear). As this is someone else’s website, I’ll save my opinions about this ludicrous yobfest (oops) for a future post on my own blog.
Between our occasional encounters with the morons (sorry, I did it again), we had a great walk, with 15-20 attendees using everything from toy cameras and charity shop finds, through fancy Leicas and lovely medium-format back-breakers. The gentle pace of the walk was ideal, allowing time to pick out the pictures in the areas of central Birmingham that were new to many of us. We were a varied bunch, each with their own ways of doing thongs and it was great to finally put some faces to Twitter names.
Somewhere along the way, I asked Hamish if he had with him the Lomography Minitar-1 Art lens that I’d heard him talking about on the previous week’s Sunny16 Podcast. He generously offered me a go with it (whether he meant I could clear off for the afternoon with it was less obvious).
In case you’ve not come across it, the Minitar is the lens from the Lomo LC-Automat, the camera that started the whole Lomography movement. The Russian lens built into the camera is known for heavy vignetting, strong local contrast and bonkers colour rendition. This Art lens version has taken the same 32mm, f2.8 glass and re-engineered it into an M-Mount for Leica fit or for use on other cameras via an adaptor. It’s tiny; smaller than any pancake lens I’ve used in the past and barely bigger than a body cap.
I fitted it to my M Monochrom and gave it a spin…
The lens seems very well suited to street photography being discreet and close to the ideal (in my opinion) focal length for general use. It distorts quite badly towards the edges and vignettes at pretty much any aperture setting, but the results were far better than I expected. The contrast, especially when paired with a sensor as sensitive as that in the MMono, gives the centre of each image a tremendous crispness. I’d like to try it with some colour film on a sunny day and see how the colours are rendered.
Like most things Lomography, it’s not a lens for everyday use but is a whole lot of fun in small doses. I’d already found and bought one on Ebay, before I’d finished my train journey home from Birmingham.
To find a photowalk near you – checkout Martin’s site here – https://www.photowalk.me/
And read more about the day on my blog here – https://barnabynutt.com/
Sunny16 Podcast – https://sunny16.podbean.com/
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