New York LomoAmigo CS Muncy freelances as a photojournalist for a broad and high-profile clientele. He has worked with Lomography on creative projects in the past, but he has yet to showcase his talent using the LC-A Minitar 1 Lens.
His photographs taken with the LC-A 120 and Petzval Lens reflect his keen photographic style and sense of adventure. Now let’s see how C.S. Muncy fares with the Minitar 1, Leica M3 and Kodak Tri-X black and white film, and what he has to say about the experience.
Please tell us about your experience with the Minitar Lens.
Sure – so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lens was rangefinder coupled. Given the size of the lens, I expected it to be solely zone-focused (like the LC-A it’s based off of.) The rangefinder seems to be fairly accurate, though if you’re looking for fine detail I’d suggest stopping down an F-stop or two. It was made out of solid materials, so I didn’t have to worry about breaking it.
Mostly I tested it around random spots in New York City. I lucked out finding the gentleman in the astronaut suit near NYU — and he was a sport about having his photo taken.
What is your favorite feature or characteristic of the Minitar 1?
The fact that it was rangefinder coupled was a huge bonus. The lens has some peculiarities that are pretty interesting — it’s sharp in the center with some mild vignetting and heavier blur at the edges. This wasn’t unexpected, since the optical design is more or less identical to the LC-A.
Did you encounter any challenges?
You need to keep an eye on where your light source is coming from. If it’s hitting your lens from the side (and since there’s no lens hood) you can get some funky lens flare. You can see that in the image of the firefighters with their bagpipes. Just staying cognizant of where your light is coming from can help prevent this (unless, of course, you want it!)
What inspired you to take these photos?
This lens can be spectacular in a good street-shooter’s hands, so I took it with me as I traveled the city. Lots of random images — as I mentioned above, the man in the astronaut suit was a chance encounter at the south end of Washington Square.
If you could go back in time to an old assignment or shoot and take a Minitar 1 Lens with you, what would that be and why? Would it be a strictly journalistic shoot or a creative one?
I recently shot the Holi Festival of Colors, and I think it would have been interesting to give it a try there. A few years back I shot a nude body-painting party — again, it would have been interesting to shoot that with it. It might have also been interesting to shoot Occupy Wall Street with it.
What have you been working on most recently?
I just came back from two weeks covering Norco, California. Also known as “Horsetown, USA,” Norco has the highest percentage of horse owners in the country.
Do you have any advice for other users of the Minitar Lens?
Experiment with different films until you find what you’re looking for. I rather like the look of shooting with TriX, but I bet it’d be great with cross processed slide film or underexposed C-41 film. If you’re looking for sharper details, stop down a notch or two. And as I mentioned above, keep an eye on where your light source is.
Learn more about C.S. Muncy and his work on his website.