MrLeica.com BLOG: Leica & Film (Matt Osborne)

Leica Blog + Film Photography

Author – Matt Osborne

Leica Blog + Film Photography:  Portraits & Weddings

Reviews, Thoughts & Photos – Cameras, Lenses & Film




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MrLeica.com started in March 2013 after my Flickr followers kept asking me to share some of my thoughts.  The blog has now grown to 400+ articles!

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Mr Leica Blog

Leica cameras are my workhorse tools for all types of photography, both digital Leica cameras and Leica film cameras.  I also use medium format cameras such as Hasselblad and Mamiya (+ 4×5 large format cameras) and develop my film in house.  The majority of the blog content is either Leica camera related or film photography.  I photograph people; portraits, models, fashion, lifestyle, wedding photography so most of my photography is portraits, experimenting with various cameras, lenses and films.  Currently the digital Leica CL camera is my do everything digital camera but I shoot film whenever possible.

 I used to write technical articles for UK photography magazines so I just share the same information here.  I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as I find it is to document.

Matt Osborne

Follow “MrLeicaCom” on Social Media!

If you follow me on social media please come and say hi!  You should be able to find me as either MrLeicaCom or Matt Osborne.  It’s always great meeting readers.  I use Instagram the most for communication, Facebook less now. Flickr is used more to share photos, as is Pinterset.

Leica M9 - Me!



Hasselblad Portrait Photography – Polish Girls

Hasselblad Portrait Photography – Polish Girls

Here are 30 Hasselblad portrait photography images that I’ve taken in Poland. Photos shot with either a Hasselblad 500CM camera or Hasselblad 501C.

Hasselblad portrait photos taken in Poland

After writing up my latest Poland model photography trip on the flight home I realised that I always finish a blog post with “film photos to follow”. As the weeks and months passing me by in a blur I rarely remember to do this so here is the first in a series of posts. I will start to share some of my film photos shot overseas with models using various film cameras.

Hasselblad 501C + Hasselblad 500CM portraits

All the following photos were taken with a 6×6 medium format Hasselblad film camera. I used either a Hasselblad 500CM or Hasselblad 501C. Both cameras are great and pretty similar. Click any photo below to see the camera/ lens/ film/ developing/ model details. (Most images are the classic 6×6 square format but some were captured with a Hasselblad A16 645 film back).

Hasselblad 120mm Makro-Planar Portrait
Kodak Tri-X 120 Portrait
Hasselblad A12 Film Back
Hasselblad 80mm Portrait
Fomapan 100@800
Hasselblad A16 Back Portrait
6x6 Hasselblad
120 Ilford HP5 Portrait
Fomapan 100 Classic Portrait
501c Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 C lens
Zeiss 120mm Macro-Planar Portrait
Hasselblad 500 CM Portrait
Zeiss Sonnar Portrait
Sonnar 180mm Portrait
Hasselblad 500CM Portrait
Model and Horse
Hasselblad 180mm Portrait
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad Backfocusing
Hasselblad 180mm Sonnar f4
Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f4 CF
Hasselblad Portraiture
Hasselblad 500CM + T-Max
Hasselblad Headshot
Hasselblad 500CM

Hasselblad colour portraits

As I tend to prefer black and white film I don’t have many Hasselblad colour portraits but here is a small sample shot in Poland.

Kodak Portra 800 Portrait
Hasselblad Model Photography
Hasselblad Misfocused
Hasselblad 500CM Fashion

Here are some of my early colour portraits shot in Poland on Kodak Ektar 100 film with a Hasselblad – Kodak Ektar Portraits

More Poland Hasselblad portraits (earlier work)

If you want to see my earliest images shot with a Hasselblad see the link below. These photos are shot on the same location with the same camera and some of the same models. See who you recognise!

30 Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland (2015)

Hasselblad Fashion

Latest P0land photoshoots?

I’m just back from more Poland photoshoots so I will share the write up soon once I have gone through the digital images. (Film photos will then follow!) 😛

Poland photoshoots – write up and digital images

More Hasselblad camera blog posts!

More film photography articles you might like

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required!)

Mamiya 7 35mm Review (No 35mm adapter required!)

After enjoying shooting 35mm film in my Mamiya 7 (6×7 medium format camera) I thought I’d put a brief Mamiya 7 35mm review together with some sample images.

Mamiya 7 35mm film

Mamiya 7 35mm adapter kit

Firstly it is good to know that you don’t actually need to spend additional money on a Mamiya 7 35mm adapter kit. Yes the Mamiya 7 adapter helps for composition but there are cheaper options.

35mm to 120 film adapter (cheap version)

The cheaper way to shoot 35mm film in a medium format camera (like the Mamiya 7) is to use a 3D printed 35mm to 120 film adapter. They can usually be found cheap on eBay and will fit most medium format cameras.

Mamiya 7 panoramic photos

When I first got the Mamiya 7 camera I didn’t fall in love with it. A year or so later I decided to load the camera with 35mm film for fun and I really enjoyed the process. I often struggle with the “wasted space” in many of my 6×7 Mamiya images (*I usually prefer 6×6 vs 6×7 format) . The Mamiya 7 panoramic photos seem to let me capture just the good bits!

Mamiya 7 210mm Photo (Testing!)

Hasselblad XPan vs Mamiya 7 35mm

The obvious question would be why shoot Mamiya 7 35mm photos when you can just buy a camera built for the job, the Hasselblad XPan! I’m lucky enough to have a Hasselblad Xpan but I’m still enjoying using the Mamiya 7 instead, even with just the basic 35mm to 120 adapter and no Mamiya 7 35mm mask.

Advantages of the XPan vs Mamiya 7

For the cheap 35mm to 12o film spool setup that I use in the Mamiya 7, the Hasselblad XPan offers a few advantages.

  • XPan – 21 photos / Mamiya 7 – 15-16* photos (per 36 exp roll film)
  • Xpan & lenses – small compact setup / Mamiya 7 & lenses – bigger
  • XPan – Panoramic or standard 35mm / Mamiya 7 – 35mm pano only
  • XPan – Accurate 35mm frameline composition / Mamiya 7 – less accurate
  • XPan – Can load/unload film easily & quickly / Mamiya 7 – slow to load film and requires a dark bag (changing bag) to unload film

Advantages of the Mamiya 7 vs XPan

  • Mamiya 7 lenses – 43,50,65,80,150,210mm / Xpan – 30,45,90mm
  • Mamiya 7 – offers 6×7 + 35mm panoramic / Xpan – 35mm only

Mamiya 7 35mm panoramic photos

I’ve not been using the Mamiya 7 35mm set up long enough to include masses of example images of pretty models but here are some of my panoramic test photos so far. (I will add more example images as I take them).

Vertical Mamiya 7 pano portrait cropped down –
Mamiya 7 35mm Portrait
Standard horizontal format Mamiya 7 panoramic images –
Mamiya 7 65mm Portrait
Mamiya 7 35mm Review
Mamiya 210mm f8 Pano
Mamiya 7 35mm film
Mamiya 7 210mm f8 lens
Mamiya 7 35mm
Mamiya 7 35mm Panoramic
Mamiya 210mm lens

35mm film in other MF cameras

Prior to shooting 35mm film in a Mamiya 7 camera I had experimented with 35mm film in other medium format cameras. Using the same 35mm to 120 film adapter here is 35mm film examples from a 645 film camera and a 6×6-6×7 camera.

Fuji GA645 35mm photos
Fuji GA645 + Vision3!
Sprocket Holes
Fuji GA645 Pro - Test
Fuji GF670 35mm photos
Medium Format Camera + 35mm Film
Fuji GF670 + 35mm BW400CN
6x7 Format 35mm Film

Mamiya 7 35mm Summary

If you already have the Mamiya 7 camera and you fancy doing some panoramic images then the Mamiya 7 35mm adapter might appeal to you. If you are not expecting to use this set up a lot buying a simple 35mm to 120 film adapter will let you get the same results, just with a bit more faff. If you already own a Hasselblad XPan it is probably easier to just use the XPan. With the cost of fresh film continuing to increase, getting 21 photos per roll of 36 exp vs. 15-16* photo with the Mamiya 7 could be a deal breaker. Especially if you plan to shoot say Fuji slide film where the cost is now getting almost too much to consider. I will continue to enjoy shooting Mamiya 7 35mm photos for now until the novelty wears off. (If!)

Mamiya 7 hack! (35mm film)

I’m a simple guy and like the common sense approach to most scenarios. The problem I was faced with was the Mamiya 7 camera only gave me 15-16 photos per roll of 35mm film. The 5-6 wasted frames are just those used to equate to the same length of backing paper found on 120 film. To recap on 120 film, the start of the film roll is only backing paper then as you wind on the film the camera senses when the actual film starts (rolled within the backing paper). So for 35mm film even though all the film in a roll is useable the first section is wasted as equivalent backing paper length. Hopefully you can follow that!

DIY film hack

So if you tape a length of additional/ old 35mm film to the start of each new roll of film this section of film is used as the backing paper length. All the new unexposed film can then be used for photos which should give 22 photos per roll! 1 more than the Xpan! To discover the length of additional film needed I tore off the backing paper where the film started on a few rolls of B&W 120 film.

Did the Mamiya 7 hack work?

Yes but not fully. I managed to get 18-19 photo per roll when using my DIY film hack but not 22. The camera still wastes the first section of film even with extra film added to the end, just less of it. The good thing is the DIY film leader can be reused each time if you just tape it to the new film each time. I have used the same DIY film leader 3-4 times so far without issue.

Related film blog posts

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!

  • My portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • My portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

Nikon FE2 Portraits (2 Models, 2 Rolls of Film)

Nikon FE2 Portraits (2 Models, 2 Rolls of Film)

Here are two rolls of Nikon FE2 portraits shot with models Zara and Sandra. All photos shot with a Nikkor 50mm f1.2 ai-s lens on the 35mm classic Nikon SLR camera.

Nikon FE2 vs FE and FM?

If you want to see how the Nikon FE2 camera compares to the Nikon FE and Nikon FM see my post from yesterday –

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 review comparison photo

More photos, less words!

This is a less wordy article to just share some example photos using the Nikon FE2 film camera. I have a habit of editing and posting one image at a time and then the rest of the images never get seen. Below you will see most of the images taken on each roll of 36 exposure film. (*Actually 38 photos per roll when using the Nikon FE2 camera).

Nikon FE2 Portraits - Nikon FE2 film loading

From camera to blog (quick workflow recap)

All the images shared were shot on my Nikon FE2 film camera. The film was developed at home per my usual process (in the kitchen sink!). Click the larger image of Zara or Sandra to link through to Flickr. Below each image I share the developing times, temps and chemicals used. Photos were scanned with a flatbed Epson V800 scanner using Silverfast 8 software. (I’m new to this software but I will share a post on it when I get time). Scanned images were uploaded to Lightroom, batch edited to adjust brightness then exported with a black border. No dust removal, no retouching, no local adjustments. (A few images are no pin sharp but I included them anyway to show my hit rate).

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 review - Photo of Nikon FE2 + 50mm f1.2

Nikon FE2 Photoshoot! (x2)

Model – Zara

Photos of Zara were shot local to me in Coventry. I loved this shoot where we walked around and I looked for backdrops or light I wanted to use in the images. I even had a lame attempt at an in camera double exposure. I will try again and improve. The weather was bright but overcast so the light levels remained quite constant. I metered the light in camera. Overall very happy with these images and new model Zara was awesome.

Nikon FM vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2
Nikon FE2 Contact Sheet - Zara

Zara Photoshoot: Camera settings + Film used

All images shot at f2 at 1/60 or more with the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens. Film used was the roll in the back of camera shot above – Ilford Pan 100 film (now reboxed and sold as Kentmere Pan 100 I believe).

Model – Sandra

During one of my London shoot weekends I met Sandra in a coffee shop for breakfast. I picked a small table in the corner with a beam of light coming down from an above window. The sun kept going behind clouds so the light was constantly changing. All these photos are very similar but except a few we shot outside afterwards. I requested the outfit and I was happy with the high contrast look.

Nikon FE2 Portrait
Nikon FE2 Contact Sheet - Sandra

Sandra Photoshoot: Camera settings + Film used

With the changing light the images inside were mostly taken at f1.2-f1.4 and those outside at f1.4-f2, at 1/60. For me the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens is a bit too soft when shot below f2 when capturing images on film, especially wide open. On the Nikon D800 at f1.2 it was OK as I could increase sharpness a huge amount in post processing. Film used in this shoot was bulk rolled 35mm Fomapan 100 film.


A big thanks to Zara and Sandra. I shot with more models but I don’t have time to list more sets of images right now.

Do you like this gallery style post?

If you like this style of blog post where I show a more ‘raw’ version of my images let me know in the comments below and I can try to do more going forward.

Leica M3 colour film post like this

I remember in one of my very early blog posts I shared images shot on colour film with Coventry model Gina. All images were shot with a Leica M3 and Kodak Portra film. I dug out the links (part 1 and part 2) so if you you are intersted see the link below. (Again any comments or thoughts are welcome!)

Nikon FE2 – Thoughts so far?

Loving the Nikon FE2 camera so far. I feel it has an unfair disadvantage vs the Leica film cameras as the Leica lenses I use cost much more and I think are far superior wide open. I have my eye on a new lens for the Nikon FE2 so watch this space. More testing and reviews coming soon! 🙂

Nikon FE2 Wedding

More Nikon Blog Posts!

Nikon mount lens reviews
You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

Nikon FM vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 Review (+vs F4 / F5!)

Nikon FM vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 Review (+vs F4 / F5!)

Are you looking to buy one of these 3 classic Nikon SLR film cameras? Can’t decide which one to buy? Hopefully after this review you will be in a better position to pick the right camera for you! (It also includes comparisons to the Nikon F4, Nikon F5 and a Leica!)

Nikon FE2 Portrait

Nikon film cameras

The 35mm Nikon FM SLR film camera was one of my first cameras when I first got into film photography (See FM example images). I tend to shoot with Leica film cameras now for 35mm film but as the years have gone by I have picked up a Nikon F4 and a Nikon F5. The Nikon F4 and F5 are both more modern Nikon autofocus SLR cameras. The Nikon FM is a much lighter, simpler design, as are the Nikon FE and Nikon FE2 models.

Why more 35mm cameras?

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 camera review
Rangerfinder film camera restrictions

Although I love my Leica film cameras, shooting with a rangefinder camera will give photos with a different look to those shot with an SLR camera. Why? Leica rangefinder camera lenses usually only focus as close as 0.7m-1m. There are exceptions such as using Leica lenses with close focus goggles like the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR lens or Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lens. SLR cameras however can focus closer than 0.7m with most regular lenses such as a 50mm. Some SLR telephoto lenses can be 1m or further closest focus.

Cheap vs Expensive!

As you are probably aware Leica cameras and lenses are not the cheapest. I’m fortunate enough to use them but I prioritise cameras over most other things in life. As a camera is only a tool I thought it might be nice to use only cheap £100 cameras for a bit. My plan is to use two Nikon SLR cameras for a planned up coming trip. I would then leave the Leica film cameras behind.

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 review photo

Two became three!

As I’ve written on here before I have my dumb moments. My head is always full and I bounce from idea to idea constantly. I will put the dumb moments down to lack of sleep but that might be unfair on sleep! As I already had one Nikon SLR camera I wanted to get a second film body. My first stop was YouTube to see which was the “best Nikon SLR camera” to get.

Kodak Portra 400 Colours

Best Nikon SLR camera?

The best Nikon SLR camera is different for everyone depending on your personal preference and needs. There were so many different Nikon film cameras made over the years it is all a bit mind boggling when you come to buy one. All these cameras shoot 35mm film and they all capture photos. Most Nikon SLR cameras will accept the same Nikon mount lenses so the only variable really is the functionally and form of each camera model. That and of course the price! The different film camera prices vary widely depending on which camera model you chose. Help YouTubers! Time for me to get researching. Cue hours of camera review binge watching/ listening/ reading!

Nikon F3

One of the seemingly most raved about Nikon SLR cameras is the Nikon F3 (and the many Nikon F3 variants). I was buying into the rave reviews until I looked at the replaceable viewfinder and compared that to my existing Nikon FM. The weight of the Nikon F3HP model is 200g heavier than some of the earlier camera models like the Nikon FM. If I want heavier Nikon SLR cameras with all the bells and whistles I can just use my Nikon F4 or Nikon F5 which are better than the F3 as they also offer autofocus (and many more updated features). (The Nikon F5 is an awesome camera!) For now however I wanted lightweight and super simple camera to travel with. More like a Leica M film camera.

Nikon FM vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2

Nikon FM

As mentioned, the fully manual Nikon FM camera has served me well so far. Weighing only 570g it is almost the same weight as a Leica M4-P film camera (560g). This is a good thing. I wanted a cheap lightweight Nikon SLR setup for travel. My Nikon FM was ready to be used but I wanted a second SLR film camera body. One camera will be to shoot black and white film and the second camera body will be loaded with colour film.

Nikon FM & Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS

Nikon FE vs FM

Me being dumb. After more YouTube reviews I became more aware of the Nikon FE camera. The Nikon FE has a built in light meter and seemed to get better reviews than the Nikon FE2. The Nikon FM is fully manual and can be operated without any battery. This is how I have used the FM camera to the extent that I totally forgot that it had a built in light meter! (Doh!) My fault for always jumping between so many different camera systems rather than mastering just one!

After watching two or three videos I noticed that they all seemed to be very pro Nikon FE. I spend a few days watching eBay then once I spotted a good deal I pulled the trigger and got myself a nice condition Nikon FE body. This would be my second lightweight Nikon SLR body. That is all I need for my trip. Done.

Nikon FE2

If you are like me you keeping reading reviews on your new purchase until it arrives. As soon as it arrives you never watch another similar review (you just find something else you think you really ‘need’ and the process starts all over again!). (Or is that just me!?) Reading up on the just purchased item probably helps pass the time while waiting for delivery and gets you up to speed on what to expect for when it arrives.

In this instance watching more Nikon F YouTube videos was a mistake. I binge watch when I review cameras and gear so I probably watched three more (plus) Nikon FE related videos. This time however all the YouTube videos seemed to be pro Nikon FE2 and saying it was better than the Nikon FE (that I’d just bought!)(Doh!).

35mm Wedding Photography

Nikon FE vs FE2

Just my luck to find this info after already ordering the Nikon FE film camera. I started to weigh up the pros and cons of the Nikon FE vs FE2 and decided to look on eBay for an FE2. The Nikon FE2 is priced slightly higher than the Nikon FE and Nikon FM but it offered some features neither other camera had. I guess I can always sell one later and keep my favourite two. Hmm.

Nikon FM vs FE vs FE2 – similar features

After lots of reading I found that the Nikon FM, FE and FE2 all share some similar features. Here are some of the major ones for me –

  1. Cheap – All 3 cameras can be found for <£150 on eBay
  2. Tough – All are solid and would probably withstand a drop/ knock
  3. Lightweight – Nikon FM (590g) Nikon FE (590g) Nikon FE2 (550g)
  4. Compact – the form of the Nikon FE/FE2/FM is smaller than later F’s
  5. No battery required – all cameras can* function without a battery
  6. Lightmeter built in – all 3 have centre weighted lightmeter
  7. 93% coverage / 86% magnification viewfinder – on all 3 cameras
  8. Double exposure button – if you want to get creative!
  9. Battery – 2x S76 or A76
Nikon Film Portrait

Nikon SLR buyers guide! Nikon FM vs FE vs FE2

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 review comparison photo

Nikon FM – why to buy?

  1. Fully manual – so will operate at any shutter speed without a battery
  2. Cheapest – of the Nikon FM,FE, FE2 (Usually <£100)
  3. Works with older lenses – Nikkor Pre-AI lenses (FE2 won’t)

Nikon FE – why to buy?

  1. Works with older lenses – Nikkor Pre-AI lenses (FE2 won’t)
  2. Slow preset shutter speeds – down to 8 sec + bulb (FM = 1 sec)
  3. Usable without battery – manual shutter of 1/90 (vs 1/250 FE2)

Nikon FE2 – why to buy?

  1. Lightest – The Nikon FE2 is 40g lighter than the FE,FM
  2. Highest flash sync speed – 1/250 vs 1/125 (FM,FE)
  3. Fastest maximum shutter speed – 1/4000 vs 1/1000 (FM,FE)
  4. Slow preset shutter speeds – down to 8 sec + bulb (FM = 1 sec)
  5. Brightest screen – easier for my eyes to focus accurately
C41 film developing at home

Nikon FM vs FE vs FE2 – which is best?

So I guess you might ask, of the Nikon FM vs FE vs FE2 which is the best? As you can see from the advantages of each camera listed above there is no clear winner. The best camera is the one that ticks the most boxes for your needs.

Nikon Fm vs Nikon FE vs Nikon FE2 review

Best Nikon film camera for me? – Nikon FE2

Personally I think my favourite / best Nikon SLR for me is the Nikon FE2. It gives the most functionality in the same size box. Specifically for me –

  1. Fast 1/250 flash sync speed is great for daylight flash portraits. Leica film cameras with a flash sync of 1/50 are terrible for this.
  2. Fast 1/4000 maximum shutter speed means I can use fast lenses like the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s in bright conditions wide open without an ND filter (or stopping down).
  3. 1-8 second built in slow shutter speeds should be useful for if I do any low light landscapes or night photography. (It is better that the camera has 1-8 seconds automated timer than me have to count it on my phone with a cable release).
  4. Lightest of the three cameras (which I love) so it is perfect for when I’m travelling overseas and travelling light/ with weight restrictions.
  5. Brightest screen which will help me critically focus the 50mm f1.2 lens (and others).

In summary, for a slightly higher price tag the Nikon FE2 wins for my needs.

Nikon FE2 vs Leica M4-P

My most used 35mm film camera is the Leica M4-P so here is a quick Nikon FE2 vs Leica M4-P comparison! Being a Leica shooter here is a summary as to why I bought the Nikon FE2 –

Nikon FE2 vs Leica M4P – Nikon FE2 Benefits
  1. Cheap! Nikon FE2 is 1/5 of the cost of a Leica M4-P (approx)
  2. High flash sync speed – 1/250 vs 1/50 (FE2 vs M4P)
  3. Maximum shutter speed – 1/4000 vs 1/1000 (FE2 vs M4P)
  4. Built in light meter – vs without with the Leica M4-P (+M2, M3)
  5. Closer focusing ability – <0.7M for FE2
  6. Weight – 550g vs 560g (FE2 vs M4P) (Great that FE2 is that light!)
  7. Double exposure button option of FE2 (vs not for Leica)(nice option)
  8. Ability to mount affordable lenses (vs expensive Leica M lenses)

Once you list the features like this it is easy to see that the Nikon FE2 and Leica M4-P (or any older Leica film camera) are quite different.

Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm

Leica vs Nikon FM (for completeness)

The Leica M2, M3 and M4-P are closer to the Nikon FM that the FE2. All these camera can/ do operate manually and with 1/1000 maximum shutter speed. The Nikon FM offers the 1/125 flash sync and built in light meter and costs a fraction of the price. The Leica bodies let you mount the desirable Leica M lenses and are rangefinder cameras (which I generally tend to prefer for most of my photography)(hence “Mr Leica”).

Nikon FE2 vs Nikon F4 (as I own both)

I mentioned I have the more modern Nikon F4 so here is why the Nikon FE2 is desirable to me –

  1. Maximum flash sync speed: FE2 and F4 both offer 1/250
  2. Maximum shutter speed: FE2 – 1/4000, F4 – 1/8000
  3. Weight: FE2 – 550g, F4 – 1200g (with batteries)
  4. Autofocus: FE2 – No, F4 – Yes
  5. Batteries: FE2 – 2x S76 or A76 , F4 – 4x AA (or 8x AA in grip)
  6. Film advance: FE2 – manual, F4 – auto film advance
  7. Film rewind: FE2 – manual, F4 – auto or manual film rewind
  8. Size: FE2 – small for a Nikon SLR, F4 – bigger

In conclusion the Nikon F4 is 2x heavier (+ bulkier) than the Nikon FE. If weight is no issue or if you use all auto-focus Nikon lenses, I would recommend the Nikon F4 instead. Great camera but heavier.

Nikon F5 Review

Nikon FE2 vs Nikon F5 (as I own both)

I also stated how amazing the Nikon F5 camera is so again here is a quick summary as to why I looked to buy the Nikon FE2 –

  1. Maximum flash sync speed: FE2 and F5 both offer 1/250
  2. Maximum shutter speed: FE2 – 1/4000, F5 – 1/8000
  3. Weight: FE2 – 550g, F5 – 1445g (with 8x AA batteries)
  4. Autofocus: FE2 – No, F5 – Yes (super fast autofocus)
  5. Batteries: FE2 – 2x S76 or A76 , F5 – 8x AA
  6. Film advance: FE2 – manual, F5 – auto film advance
  7. Film rewind: FE2 – manual, F5 – auto or manual film rewind
  8. Size: FE2 – small for a Nikon SLR, F5 – huge (but nice ergonimics)

To summarise the Nikon F5 is 3x heavier and probably twice as big as the Nikon FE2. If weight is no issue or if you use all auto-focus Nikon lenses, I would recommend the Nikon F5 instead. Awesome pro level Nikon body film camera and more features than you will ever need. Looks good and shoots well. Better autofocus than Nikon F4 if you only need one Nikon with auto-focus.

Nikon FM Portrait

Amazing bang for the buck!

As I’m used to Leica cameras when I buy cameras made by a different brand they need to be good enough for my needs and expectations. I’m not a Leica snob I just discovered that rangefinder cameras suit me the best (in most conditions). I enjoy using lots of different film cameras such as Hasselblad, Mamiya, Fuji, Nikon but for digital photography I use only Leica.

Nikon film cameras offer amazing bang for the buck, as they say! Excellent value when compared to a Leica. Especially when they both do the same job – take a photo.

What is your favourite Nikon film camera?

If you also use a Nikon SLR film camera I’d love to hear which is your favourite camera model in the comments section below. Did I miss a gem? (This review is based on the Nikon cameras I own so I can’t account for every Nikon ever made. That said I’d like to think I’ve got some of the best ones from all the research I did prior to buying).

Voigtlander Ultron 40mm

More Nikon Blog Posts!

Nikon mount lens reviews
You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

C41 Film Developing at Home (It’s Easy, Try it!)

C41 Film Developing at Home

Me doing some C41 film developing at home yesterday. Get inspired to try it yourself! If you are looking for a film developing guide you might prefer my more detailed how to develop film at home post!

No colour film developing for 12 months!

I always struggle with not enough hours in a day to do everything I want to achieve. My head is always buzzing with new ideas so I often skip from one project to the next. This probably explains why I have so many film cameras! I’m always testing/ experimenting in search of the ‘ultimate’ camera!

Film developing – previously

From the dates on my film developer bottles the last time I did some C41 film developing at home was last July. I have developed a couple of rolls in the lab during that time, for clients, but haven’t done any at home.

My backlog of exposed colour film

Above is a photo of my film to be developed. The top bag of film contains exposed ECN-2 Kodak Vision3 motion picture film. This includes Vision3 50D, 200T and 500T films. I bulk load these 35mm films then cross process in the Tetenol C41 chemicals.

(Vision3 film needs the remjet removing so it can’t be lab developed). (See how to remove remjet). If you want to get Vision3 film with the Remjet already removed just buy CineStill 50D or Cinestill 800T.

The lower bag of the film in photo is exposed standard C41 colour film such Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160 & 400, Kodak Pro Image 100 etc. It also includes C41 black and white film, Ilford XP2 Super. This is B&W film that you can develop in C41 chemicals.

Tetenal C41 developing kit

The chemicals I use for developing colour film is the 2.5 litre tetenal C41 kit. This is a box of 6 bottles which you mix together to make up three solutions – developer, blix and stabilizer. One litre solution is said to be sufficient to develop 16-18 rolls of film but I normally do slightly fewer rolls than this. Usually I run out of time or interest by that stage even when working with multiple Paterson developing tanks.

Tetenal C41 kit shelf life

The reason I develop colour film less frequently than black and white film is (1) you need to have enough exposed film to make use of this amount of chemicals (you can get a 1 litre kit version too) and (2) the limited tetenal C41 shelf life. An unopened boxes of film developing chemicals last ages to my knowledge. Once the bottles are opened the made up diluted stock is supposed to last 6 weeks (in an air tight bottle). The remaining open stock concentrate solution are said to last 12 weeks per the box instructions. That means you have 12 weeks to shoot and develop 30+ rolls of C41 film!

Mass film developing

As I had a free day yesterday I wanted to develop as much film as I could. I made up 1 litre of tetenal C41 chemicals and then used 3 Paterson tanks. One tank is a small 2 reel tank and then two larger 3 reel tanks. (Photo above).

Film developing tank capacity

As I was developing 120 film first the 3 tanks let me develop 5 rolls of film. (You can develop 2 rolls of 120 film or 3 rolls of 35mm in a 3 roll tank. 1 roll of 120 or 2 rolls of 35mm can be developed in a 2 reel tank).

Drying film developing equipment

Based on experience I prefer to load film onto dry film reels/ film spools to try to avoid the film sticking or getting jammed when loading. It was a sunny day so I thought creativity and loaded up my Ikea clothes airer with the film reels to air dry them. I also put the developing tanks out in the sun to dry.

Developing C41 film in the UK / Europe

After some years of film developing it is notably easier to develop colour film in the warmer summer months in the UK (for me). I tend to have a cold house for the rest of the year (and save money on utility bills so I can buy more cameras!).

If you are a normal person and heat your house or if you have partner and kids that demand the thermostat to be set to 25 degrees all year then this wont be applicable to you.

In the UK the summer the air temperature might be 20 degrees vs 1o degrees in the cooler months. This means warmer drier air that (1) dries the wet film faster and developing kit faster and (2) stops the developing solution from cooling too quickly while you work. It’s just much easier for me.

Preview video of C41 B&W film developed in the morning


Do I need a dark room to develop colour film?

No you don’t need a dark room to develop colour film at home. Paterson tanks or film developing tanks are daylight developing tanks so the entire process can be completed in your bathroom or kitchen sink. I do all my developing in the kitchen as the sink is bigger.

Do I need expensive kit to develop film?

There are certain bits of film developing kit that you must have but you can cut corners in other areas.

  • Film changing bag / darkroom bag (daylight loading) – (UK) / (US)
  • Paterson developing tank (3 reel developing tank) – (UK) / (US)
  • Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit (C41 colour film developing) – (UK) only/ (US)
  • Measuring jug – required (I use 3 cheap plastic jugs)
  • Thermometer – I use a standard cooking thermometer
  • Timer – you can use your phone
  • Bottles (to put developing solution in) – I use old plastic drinks bottles

*Film changing bag – not required if you have light tight cupboard/ room you can use to load film in. You can also load tanks the night before once it gets dark. That is how I used to do it.

Keeping film negatives free of dust

Once the film is developed I hang it in the kitchen to air dry. In the past I have left film hanging there for days (open to the elements)(dust) until I have time to scan it. To minimise the risk of dust getting on the film negatives, once dry I now cut it and store in film negative sleeves (or a plastic wallet) until I have time to scan. This also frees up some space on my DIY film drying rack for more wet film!

DIY film drying rack

The DIY film drying rack is a light stand with a horizontal top bar in a clamp. There is then pegs along the length of the bar to hang the wet film to dry. Simple but effective! (I will add a photo when I get chance)

Round two – film developing

With an empty film drying rack after the morning film developing session I warmed up the chemicals to develop another batch of film. 3x 35mm colour film and 2x 120 film. I’m probably more relaxed than I should be with the exact times and temps but I try to implement a common sense approach. It normally works OK for me.

For example if the chemicals are 40 degrees celcius (from the bath of warm water I use) I just tip the solution from a greater height into the Paterson tank to “air cool” the liquid closer to the recommended 38 degrees. Another option is to let the pre-warmed Paterson tank cool a little before adding the slightly too warm chemicals.

I forget how easy colour film developing is!

I’m so used to developing black and white film I always seem to think that somehow colour film developing will be so complicated and difficult. If you have never tried developing your own colour film I highly recommend you try it. C41 developing at home is cheaper than using a film lab and you don’t have to wait or pay for postage. You can also scan the film to high resolution and to your personal taste for no extra cost. Win win!

The results – photos of C41 negatives drying

The results – first scanner preview!

Epson V800 flat bed scanner preview. *The brightness is not a true representation of the negatives. It is just how the iPhone saw the PC monitor

First film scan edit!

C41 film developing at home

Digital test photo as a comparison!

Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm Portrait


Hopefully this insight might inspire you to give C41 film developing at home a try! I put it off for years thinking it would be too difficult. I was then kicking myself for not doing it sooner once I tried it! Great fun and very rewarding!

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