You’d think that Leica and Lomography would occupy opposite ends of the photographic spectrum, but the latter’s latest product brings the two together. The Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens takes the glass from the Lomo LC-A, the iconic camera that launched Lomography, and puts it in a new lens compatible with Leica M-mount digital and film rangefinder cameras.
The LC-A Minitar-1 is fairly wide and fast at 32mm f/2.8, making it a good fit for street photography. Along with the optics, it uses the same zone focusing system as the LC-A, meaning you can focus quickly by flipping a four-way switch. Unlike the LC-A, though, this lens also gives you rangefinder coupling and manual aperture control. It’s extremely compact and is available in black and silver finishes.
You could draw a direct line from the LC-A to Instagram
The LC-A, or Lomo Kompakt Automat, is a camera made by formerly state-run Russian company LOMO (Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association). Lomography the company was born when its founders secured rights to distribute the LC-A outside of Russia, though the current LC-A+ model is manufactured in China. Based on the Cosina CX-2, the LC-A is known for its simple automatic exposure system and the unique qualities of the 32mm lens; you could draw a direct line from its punchy colors and heavy vignetting to the Instagram filters of today. It's one of my favorite cameras of all time.
The LC-A Minitar-1 is the third in Lomography's Art Lens series, following the New Russar+ wide-angle lens for M-mount and the New Petzval portrait lens for Nikon and Canon SLRs. Like those lenses, it'll have pretty niche appeal: the LC-A+ itself is roughly a twentieth the price of the cheapest Leica M, though less expensive M-mount cameras like the Voigtlander Bessa film line might be a good fit. And if you're shooting digital, you'll probably still need to do a fair bit of post-processing to match the classic LC-A look. But as with everything Lomography, it's a product designed around the act of using it as much as the results.
The Minitar-1 LC-A is expected to ship in July for $349.