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Interested in film cameras or specifically Leica?  Perhaps you are looking for product reviews or just a source of photography inspiration.

“Love teaching photography so blogging and now YouTube! helps me to do so”.

MrLeica.com is a free and fast growing resource for cameras, lenses and film comparisons.  With over 300 published articles this site caters to everyone.

“I enjoy using old film cameras but I do my research before buying.  Here I share the answers to the questions I had to save you searching the internet”.

Why is MrLeica.com different to other camera review sites? 

“My camera reviews include many comparisons to similar cameras and are based on up to 10 years of hands on experiences using the equipment”.

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Summicron 90mm Portrait
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MrLeica.com started in March 2013 after Flickr followers asked for my thoughts 

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Founder / Story

I’m a self taught photographer with around 10 years experience of photographing portraits, models and weddings.  After my first 3 years I was teaching photography to fellow professionals in the UK and overseas and after 4 years I bought my first Leica camera.  As a child my Grandfather inspired me to draw and taught me to paint with watercolours.  As a teenager I taught myself very fine detail acrylic painting but went on to study science (and later finance) rather than the arts.

Photography came to me later after an ex girlfriend kindly bought me a camera one Christmas.  I was immediately hooked and 3 months later a bought a better camera and then another.  My inquisitive data driven mindset and tendancy to document things inspired me to start this blog as a personal project.  When reading about photography and researching new cameras I find it is the perfect place to record everything I learn and I can share it with others.

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Mr Leica Photographer Blog

Coventry UK studio based portrait and wedding photographer using digital Leica cameras and a wide range of film cameras.  Analogue cameras include 35mm, medium format and large format and film developing is done in house.  Cameras, lenses and films are tested during model photography photo shoots both in the UK and overseas.  Blog reviews include a combination of technical detail, example images and side by side comparisons.

Before starting MrLeica.com I used to write technical articles for UK photography magazines.  As I continue to collect and test cameras and photography equipment I now share the information here.  I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as it is to document.

Matt Osborne

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Where to find MrLeicaCom!

If you want to follow me on social media just search for MrLeicaCom or Matt Osborne.  It’s always great to hear from like minded people so feel free to get in touch!  You can find me on Instagram and I share images on Flickr and Pinterest too.

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My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit (Godox for Leica)(YouTube)

My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit (Godox for Leica)(YouTube)

Part 1: My Leica portrait lighting kit including Godox for Leica + Why I use, Recommended speedlights, Godox trigger for Leica,  TTL vs non-TTL and more.. *For the rest of the gear I use see Part 2: My Portrait Photography Gear Essentials

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

Summary of my Godox for Leica lighting kit

Summary of the lighting equipment I use

godox-leica-kit

Leica Summicron 90mm Portrait

YouTube video explaining what lights and light modifiers I use (New!)

Topics covered in this article:

Part 1: My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit + Time to come clean! (What I use)

1. Time to come clean about my portrait photography lighting kit
2. Why I kept quiet
3. Is it bad if everyone uses the best camera kit?
4. Open and transparent
5. I only recommend photography equipment I own
6. Best Speedlights 2018? Latest lighting equipment
7. US and UK readers
8. Let’s begin!

Leica M8

Godox speedlights I still recommend(What I use)

• Godox Portable studio light – Godox AD-360 (Profoto B1 alternative!)
• Godox AD-180 & Godox AD-360 Flash (Cheaper than Profoto)
1. Godox Witstro AD-360 Portable Flash Kit + PB960 Battery
• Godox large flash – Godox V850II (Godox V850II mini review)
2. Godox Ving V850II GN60 Flash Speedlight
• Godox small speedlight – Godox TT350  (Godox TT350 mini review!)
3. Godox TT350N TTL Flash Speedlight

Godox wireless flash triggers I recommend for the Godox flash system (What I use)

1. Godox FT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox FTR16 Wireless Receiver 
2. Godox XT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox XTR16 Wireless Receiver 
3. Godox X1T – Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Transmitter
4. Godox X1R N 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver

Non-Godox Lights (Mains Powered Studio Light)

• Ring Light – Great for Perfect Instagram Selfies!

Photography Lighting Equipment – Beginners Guide!

1. Why all photographers should use flash!
2. Using photography lighting is fun and effective! Off camera flash

3 Types of Photography Lighting for Beginners

1. Sunlight (Light originating from the sun)
2. Artificial continuous light
3. Flash lighting (with speedlight, stuido light or similar device)

• What portable & studio lights do I use? / Flash for Leica M cameras
• Best Photography Lighting Kits (Godox vs Nikon vs Canon)
• Follow the TTL / E-TTL flash trend or do lighting properly?
• Benefits of non- TTL speedlights? (Godox V850II vs Nikon SB-910)

Digital Hasselblad Photoshoot

Part 1: Recommended Portrait Photography Lighting Kit + Time to come clean! (What I use)

Time to come clean about my portrait photography lighting kit

Here I detail all the things I’ve never/ rarely spoke about in my 400+ previous blog posts.  What do I use to make my portrait photographs excluding cameras and lenses.  Specifically for this part 1 post – what portrait photography lighting gear I use.

Why I kept quiet

In the past you may have noticed I always wrote a vague description of my lighting equipment such as “speedlight” or “strobe”.  I did this as whenever I mention a make and model of a product I use someone often wrote to me just hours later saying thanks Matt I’ve just bought one!  While I love to help share what I have learnt with my self-taught photography I was worried that everyone’s photos would start to look the same as mine. The same camera, same lens and same lighting (if I detailed the specifics of the lighting gear I was using).  After my post yesterday you can now even use the same MrLeica Lightroom presets!

Hasselblad H3D-31 Fashion

Is it bad if everyone uses the best camera kit?

In reality if 10 photographers all had the same camera, same lens, same lighting kit and even same Lightroom preset and all took a photo of the same model there would still be 10 different photos.  Every photographer sees the world differently and literally almost everyone has a camera of some sort now.  Me telling a few readers the exact kit I use is hardly going to change anything.  And so that is why I will detail exactly what photography kit I use.  I already write in great detail about my Leica cameras and film cameras. I have also spoke about the lenses I use and recommend for the different cameras I have.

In this part 1 post I will cover my most used portrait photography lighting kit that I recommend to my students (people who come for photography tuition).

Happy New Year!

Open and transparent

I will be honest.  One reason to write this post is to jump on the Amazon affiliates bandwagon.  I upgraded the MrLeica blog platform a few months ago to make it easier to customise and hopefully read for viewers as I noticed most of the 400+ blog posts were impossible to find.  Upgrading the blog now means it costs me around £400 a year to run it.  I decided if I included a few Amazon Affiliate product links as part of a review it might be able to help cover some of the cost.

I guess the good thing for readers is it prompted me to write about sharing my favourite portrait photography lighting equipment that til now I had avoided. For anyone that has not heard of Amazon affiliates it basically means if you buy a product through clicking a link on this page it helps to support the MrLeica blog. (Amazon pay me a small commission for any referrals).  To the buyer there is no extra cost, I am just providing a direct link to the standard Amazon website.

Expired 120 Fuji Provia 100F Film

I only recommend photography equipment I own

For all the photography products I recommend I tried to include photos of the equipment being used and where possible the actual products in my hand.  Many people write these sorts of posts and share a stock photo of an Amazon product that they might not even own.  I only write about products I use, tried and tested and have proven themselves to me.  (I have many many other lights and kit that were not as good so I guess I did the light testing for you!)

Best Speedlights 2018? Latest lighting equipment

The items I review may not all be the latest variants as the technology changes so fast.   They might not be the newest / best speedlights in 2018 but have not seen anything better that has made me want to upgrade from my current lighting kit.  Also the benefit of some slightly older models is they have a proven track record and older version are cheaper to buy vs the new model.

Leica M240 Studio Shoot

US and UK readers

If you don’t know from my previous ramblings I am a UK-based portrait photographer.  I noticed however that most of my MrLeica blog readers live in the US followed by the UK then everywhere else in the world.  I can’t setup product links for everyone I’m afraid but I will include UK and US links to the Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com website.  For everyone else the camera gear I recommend is just the same but I can’t send you a direct link to buy it.  Sorry.

Leica lens flare

Let’s begin!

When anyone buys a new camera the first thing to buy is a decent memory card.  As a portrait photographer I thing the next thing I bought was a light (a speedlight).  Photography lighting is a huge topic but I will talk about how I enjoy using a photography lighting system rather than one product for portrait photography.

Mamiya RZ67 Headshot

Why I recommend Godox lights & top 3 Godox speedlights (2018)(for me). Are Godox the best third flash? + Godox are a Flash for Leica cameras! (Great!)

> 3 Godox speedlights I still recommend in 2018 (What I use)

Godox Portable studio light – Godox AD-360 (Profoto B1 alternative!)

I am in no way linked to Godox (also know as Cheetah, Witstro, Flashpoint and other names) but ever since my first Godox flash I have been hooked.  Originally I was lusting after a Profoto B1 (don’t we all!) after seeing one of their adverts but I couldn’t bring myself to spend such a large amount of money on a light.  The research then began to find a cheap Profoto B1 alternative.   I wanted a portable high power light to photograph on location.  I looked at Paul C Buff’s Alien Bees like the B400 but I couldn’t find a stockist for them in the UK.  I looked at Elinchrom Ranger Quadra after seeing them in a photography magazine.  I loved the small head units but again they were expensive.  At the time I had a Nikon D700 not Leica cameras so my photography budget was a lot lower!

Godox growth graph in 5yrs - Godox flash review
5yrs ago Godox flash were hardly known!  Now they are a household name in the UK and going from strength to strength.  This key word graph shows the increased interest in Godox lights!

Eventually I discovered Godox when they were just hitting the UK market (see graph above – Godox is everywhere now but they weren’t 5+ yrs ago!)  I might have even imported my Godox flash I can’t remember.  I was just so keen to get a portable high power light to give me a similar tool to a Profoto B1 that I probably did import it I was that excited to find it!

Panasonic Lumix LX100

 
Godox AD-180 & Godox AD-360 Flash (Cheaper than Profoto and better than a regular flash!)

I remember when I first used my Godox flash at a big Indian wedding.  Rather than needing like 3 speedlights I could just light the whole room with one pop of the Godox flash!  It recycles really fast too so for weddings it is amazing.  Non-stop high power flash – living the dream!  No more missed photos from little speedlights not recycling fast enough!  I had studio power lighting on location and photographers often came and asked me what I was using so they could buy the same.   My first Godox light was (still is) a Godox AD-180 and then I later bought the more powerful Godox AD-360 that I recommend here.  I use the pair of them for my wedding photography and never worry about batteries needing replacing etc. For these Godox flash I needed triggers so I could fire the light off camera.  I bought flash triggers from Godox so now I had lights and triggers to fire them. Great.  (Triggers detailed below).  My lighting system had begun!

Leica M9 B&W

> Godox Witstro AD-360 Portable Flash Kit + PB960 Battery

Studio power flash with separate battery pack. Comes with USB port for FTR16 receiver (but will accept new XTR16 receiver also)(Great as I can then fire with FT-16/ XT-16/ X1T triggers!)  I use it as a cheap Profoto B1 alternative but that is not an exact comparison.

Photography lighting equipment
Godox AD-360 Light
 
 

Godox large flash – Godox V850II (The best speedlight for my needs) (A brief Godox V850II review!)

Then I wanted a large speedlight that was more portable than the Godox AD-360 but still powerful and still worked with my same triggers.  I didn’t need a TTL flash so that would save me a lot of money.  I bought a Godox V850 and then Godox V850 II (that I recommend here).  The V850II is a 4x AA battery size flash similar to the size of main brand flash units that i used previously (Nikon SB-900 size or Canon equivalent) but with a lithium battery.  The Godox V850II is the best speedlight for me as it works with my existing flash triggers. Now I had multiple off camera lights that I can fire from a single Godox remote trigger on my camera hotshoe.  This was my photography lighting kit for models and weddings in the UK.  When overseas I just took a smaller Godox V850 /V850 II and left the larger lights behind.  The V850/V850II with “Li-ion” batteries normally last a full day on one charge and recycle quickly too.  No more faffing around with piles of AA batteries! (I remember in my early weddings I was charging some AA batteries at the wedding as my 3 Yongnuo flashes were working hard and eating through the batteries!).

> Godox Ving V850II GN60 Flash Speedlight

Powerful flash, lithium battery, built-in XTR16 receiver (but will accept FTR16 receiver also via USB port)(Great as I can then fire with FT-16/ XT-16/ X1T triggers!)

Photography lighting equipment
Godox Ving V850II & V850 Speedlights

Godox small speedlight – Godox TT350 (Best flash for Leica M camera / cheap Leica flash alternative!) (A mini Godox TT350 review!)

As a Leica photographer I enjoy using small cameras for digital photography.  I wanted to find the best flash for Leica M cameras (specifically the Leica M240, M8, M6 and M4P)(The Leica M3 and M2 have a cold shoe not a hot shoe).  Leica flash are expensive but they are a nice small size.  I wanted a cheap Leica flash alternative as didn’t want to pay crazy money for a Leica flash (like a Leica SF40).  A Leica flash would also not be compatible with my existing light setup anyway.  The Godox V850II is too big really to mount on a small Leica M camera so I did some research and settled on the new Godox TT350 flash.  The Godox TT350 flash is a small 2xAA battery unit more similar in size to a Leica flash.  The small unit can be used as a trigger to fire other flash units yet still emit flash itself too (like a normal flash).   I had the situation as some weddings where I was using all off camera flash and had a trigger on my camera hotshoe.  Someone would then want a photo or I needed to light something up right in front of me (away from my lights).  I couldn’t use a standard speedlight on my hotshoe as then the other off camera lights would not fire (say to light a venue room).  I needed light on camera that would also fire lights off camera.  Hey presto!  Godox answer my dreams with the Godox TT350.  Perfect size as a Leica flash and does all I need.  It actually does more than my needs as it is TTL but they don’t make a non-TTL version sadly.  The price is slighty higher but it has a lot of functionality as part of a wider camera system.  There is a small problem though.  This latest Godox speedlight doesn’t work with my usual FT-16 Godox triggers. (see below).

> Godox TT350N TTL Flash Speedlight

Small TTL speedlight that can work as a flash, trigger same units and units compatible with the new XTR16 receiver (Note* Can’t fire Godox TT350 of camera with FT-16 trigger, only XT-16/ X1T/ another TT350 or similar modern flash)

Photography lighting equipment
Godox v350 Speedlights

Top 3 Best Wireless Flash Triggers 2018: Godox wireless triggers and receivers for flash photography

> 3 Godox wireless flash triggers I recommend for the Godox flash system

This bit gets a little complicated so try to hang with me! So my original Godox wireless flash triggers are called Godox FT-16 transmitters.  They look a bit like pocket wizards (see photo below) and have an aerial on the top.  FT-16 triggers use 2x AA batteries and are a perfect weight for small cameras such as a Leica.  FT-16 triggers have their own receivers.  Different flash units use different size receivers.  The Godox AD-180, AD-360 and V850II have a USB receiver port so can be fired from new receivers (XTR-16) and old receivers (FTR-16) (you just plug the receiver into the side of the unit).  The old receiver that pairs with the FT-16 wireless flash trigger is called a Godox FTR-16 receiver.  The new receiver looks nearly identical but is called a XTR-16 receiver. (Godox have now released a new version of the FT-16 transmitter called the XT-16 wireless flash trigger)(with same aerial style).   I don’t have the XT-16 transmitter but will recommend it next to the old FT-16 transmitter (below) as I only just discovered it while writing this post!  I will be buying Godox XT-16 triggers soon! Why.  Well this is the problem I faced.  So the old FT-16 trigger will fire the bigger speedlights but wont talk to the latest Godox v350 flash.  The Godox TT350 will fire the older speedlights now that I fitted these units with new XTR-16 receivers.  But what if I want to fire the little Godox TT350 off camera?  I need a new trigger to do this.  For this I bought a new style of Godox trigger and receiver called Godox X1T trigger and X1R receiver. (See further down).

Photography lighting equipment
Old photo from a wedding – Leica M240 + M8 with Godox FT-16 triggers + Godox V850 Speedlight
> Godox FT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox FTR16 Wireless Receiver kit

I still prefer the older Godox FT-16 wireless flash trigger to the new X1T trigger

Old version (Trigger/Receiver kit) for AD-180/AD-360/V850/V850II+more. Pocket wizard design and works great on small cameras.  Trigger will fire any older Godox flash or older  “F” receiver.  Receiver will work with ANY Godox light with a USB port (new or old).

Photography lighting equipment
Godox FT-16 Trigger Transmitters for Speedlight
> Godox XT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox XTR16 Wireless Receiver kit

The Godox XT-16 wireless flash trigger has all the benefits of the FT-16 (+ more!)

New version (Trigger/Receiver kit) for AD-180/AD-360/V850II/TT350 +more. Same pocket wizard design and works great on small cameras.  Trigger will fire any new Godox flash or new “X” receiver.  Receiver will work with ANY Godox light with a USB port (new or old).

> NO IMAGE AS I’VE NOT BOUGHT THESE YET (SAME AS ABOVE GODOX FT-16 DESIGN)

> Godox X1T – Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Transmitter

New different style Trigger –  for AD-180/AD-360/V850II/TT350 +more. Big advantage as when on hotshoe it can fire any new Godox flash or new “X” receiver off camera and will accept any brand speedlight to sit on top for a combination of on camera and off camera flash option.  I find it too big for Leica cameras but use it with Nikon D800/ F4/ F5/ Hasselblad and others.

Photography lighting equipment
Godox X1T trigger & X1R receivers (new style with hotshoe on top)
> Godox X1R N 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver

New different style receiver –  for ALL SPEEDLIGHTS! (any brand) Different design where speedlight sits onto receiver unit or connect with cable

Non-Godox Lights (Mains Powered Studio Light)

Ring Light – Great for Perfect Instagram Selfies!

In addition to all the various Godox speedlights and triggers above I also use continuous lights.  The beauty of these is you can see what you will get (ie. the effect on the subject) before you take the photo.  Beauty lights or ring lights are very popular with makeup artists, vloggers and some studio photographers also.  The main point to note as a photographer is continuous light is very low power compared to a speedlight / flash so they are of no use on a bright day or if you are a studio photographer that photos everything at f16.  Great for low light and fast lenses like F1.4-f2-f2.8 etc.

Leica Studio Portrait

> Neewer RING LIGHT – 75W (600W Equivalent) 5500K Camera Photo Dimmable Ring Fluorescent, Diameter 18 inches Outer 14 inches Inner

You can always see if a photo was taken with a ringlight as there will be polo shaped highlights in the eyes (see Stacey above in the studio).

leica cl camera review ringlight
Ringlight in action for an iPhone selfie for Instagram!

Missing Photos!!

 

Photography Lighting Equipment – Beginners Guide!

Why all photographers should use flash!

Many new photographers shy away from using their camera with a flash.  I know I did for a think the first 2-3 years.  Even some professional photographers label themselves as an “available light photographer” which basically means they can’t use flash.  I say this because if you could you would!  I’m not picking at anyone but I know as a portrait and wedding photographer sometimes there just isn’t enough light to get the photo you want.  That being with the quality of light you want.  Why struggle at ISO 6400+ and produce a low quality noisy image when you can fake daylight with a flash and shoot it at ISO 100-400. Here is a good example from my recent trip to Poland.  It was the last photo shoot of the day and almost dark outside.  I could have probably shot it at ISo 12800 or something but instead I just faked the daylight with an off camera flash and shot it at ISo 400.

Leica CL B&W Preset

Using photography lighting is fun and effective! Off camera flash

Modern cameras spoil us now with even low-cost camera having like ISO 1-million!  As a film photographer I usually need to shoot at ISo 100-400/800 (try too) so I use lights quite often if the available light levels are too low.  As you can see then I’ve gone from an “available light photographer” to a “lights are amazing!” photographer.  Once you start it’s addictive stuff!  You can almost always better a scene with a light and there is unlimited creative ways to use a light.  I talk from a people photography stand point whether posed models or run and gun wedding photography.  Even some landscape photographers use lights now (light painting a landscape).  The guys over at F Stoppers have been playing around with these techniques if you are more of a landscape photographer type and interested.  I guess street photography is an exception to needing a flash though some famous street photographers flash light their “prey” in the street too to great effect.

Paris Fashion Week

 

3 Types of Photography Lighting for Beginners

In very basic terms there are 3 types of light –

C41 Crossed Processed Velvia 100

 
1. Sunlight (Light originating from the sun)

Whether direct sun on a blue sky day, diffused sunlight through clouds, light at dusk and dawn, light reflecting off water, a building, the floor, it all originates from the sun.  (I ignore moonlight but would group it here also).  We can’t control how the sun is hitting the earth/ the objects around us. This is often referred to as continuous light but to be specific lets call it natural continuous light. (I exclude firelight from this).

Fomapan 100@800

 
2. Artificial continuous light

This is usual a light source as a result of mankind. Street lights, car lights, lighting in your house, light from you iPhone, light from a candle if you light it. Any light that can be seen for a longer duration of time than a fraction of a second.  In the studio there are a now a few different types of continuous lights. Tradition hot lights (tungsten bulb studio lights) and cold lights like LED lighting and Fluorescent tube lighting.  Each give a different quality of light.  Generally speaking (there are some exception) continuous lighting normally requires more power so tends to be mains powered and is often found in the studio.  (Some of the modern LED lights are portable and use battery packs).

Hasselblad Wedding

 
3. Flash lighting (with speedlight, studio light or similar device)

Flash lights are commonly refered to as speedlights for photography.  They are generally smaller and more portable than traditional artificial lights and battery-powered.  Flash light is instant on/off where as daylight and artificial light is continuous.  This make flash lighting much more difficult to use as you cannot see the effect until you fire the flash and take a photo.  This means using speedlights to good effect can take practise but it’s worth it!  (It took me many hours of experimenting and I never stop learning).

Budapest Model

 
What portable and studio lights do I use in 2018? / Flash for Leica M cameras

I love lights so have bought so many over the years.  I use traditional hot lights, modern fluorescent right lights, main powered studio lights, portable battery pack studio lights and speedlights of every size and power.  In this recommended list I try to share details on the lights I use the most.  I am a studio based photographer but much of my photography is on location (for weddings and photo shoots) or overseas (all the model trips I do outside the UK).  Each time I travel I try to find ways of making my photography lighting kit smaller and smaller yet still have larger high power lights for when weight is less of an issue.

Leica M240 + Noctilux

Best Photography Lighting Kits (Godox vs Nikon vs Canon)

As mentioned above I have bought many brands over the years but the brand that I have stayed with (and grown with) is Godox.  When you buy photography lighting kits you soon realise you are investing in a lighting system.  I guess it is similar to cameras.  If you buy a Nikon DSLR you can’t then use a Canon lens as it doesn’t fit.  The same with lighting to a degree.  Once you start using off camera flash you need triggers or transmitters and receivers.  With modern speedlights often some features are built into the flash units themselves so it’s really beneficial to use everything from the same brand.

Follow the TTL / E-TTL flash trend or do lighting properly?

TTL or E-TTL (for Canon users) seems to be all the rage these days.  Most photography light (speedlight) manufacturers now offer a TTL flash.  What is TTL?  In very simple terms it is a computer inside the flash that gives a perfect exposure for every photo.  This is great for people who use a camera in full auto mode and don’t know a F stop from an ISo.  A full auto camera with a TTL full auto lens is now completely automated to give a perfect exposure every time without needing to know anything about photography.  Great for wedding photographers in it to make a quick buck but boring as hell for anyone hoping to get some fulfilment from the art of photography and learning the craft.  I can’t think of anything worse / more dull myself.  Surely the kick from getting a good photo is when you put the effort in to achieve it?  If it is offered on a plate to you as a finished article and you had no input in the result then where is the fun in that.  When I teach students I always teach to use a manual flash and full manual camera settings.   I think they know more after their first day than many of the wedding photographers! 🙂

London Model Shoot

Benefits of non- TTL speedlights? (Godox V850II vs Nikon SB-910)

Ans: The same light power but a less than a third of the cost!

If you (like me) don’t want a TTL flash then you can save a lot of money.  For example a Nikon SB-910 TTL Speedlight is around £300 on Amazon whereas a Godox V850 without TTL is only £90!  Both lights are a similar size and power output.  Worth noting when you look to buy a speedlight.  If a flash looks expensive check if it is TTL.  If it is there might be a cheaper alternative without TTL you can buy (Like the Godox V850/V850II).

Part 1: Recommended Photography Lighting Equipment – Summary

Above I have detailed the main photography lighting I use for most of my photography, 3 sizes (and power outputs) of Godox speedlights to suit different occasions, new versions and old versions of Godox wireless flash triggers and receivers needed to use the flash off camera.  I also listed my Ring flash as they are very popular for Instagramers trying to take the perfect selfies!  I appreciate I went into quite a lot of detail but I hope it made some sense.  It took me ages researching these products before buying to try to get the best product for the money and then practice and experimenting to understand what triggers and receivers can fire what speedlights.  Luckily I enjoy experimenting with flash photography!

Leica M9 Location Shoot

Part 2: To Follow

I had planned to list all my gear on one blog post but it was getting a bit to long and messy.  In part two (when i get time!) I will list more of the photography equipment I use and it will be less light specific.

Speedlight Related Blog Posts

Here are some photo shoots as examples of the abovementioned lighting

Leica Summicron 90mm f2

More Leica Blog Articles

Leica M3 vs Leica M2 Review (YouTube) – Camera Specs Comparison

Leica M3 vs Leica M2 Review (YouTube) – Camera Specs Comparison (Pros&Cons)

As part of my YouTube Leica M film camera Mini Series here is a Leica M3 vs Leica M2 review. The video covers the main features of each camera and should help you decide which of these Leica film cameras may suit you best, depending on your own personal preferences.

Which is better? – Leica M3 vs M2

The answer depends on how you shoot, what focal length you prefer and what type of light you shoot with. It maybe that neither of these cameras will suit your needs. If that is the case my Leica M4-P vs Leica M6 video might be of interest (coming soon!). The M4-P and M6 cameras are more modern versions of the Leica M2 and M3 and so cater for some of the ‘limitations’ of the earlier cameras.

Existing Leica Reviews

If you prefer to read text and look at images than watch a video here are my existing Leica camera articles –

There is also my one big blog post that is the basis for these new YouTube videos –

Leica M2 vs M3 – Specs Sheet (Cheat Sheet!)

This cheat sheet I put together should hopefully tell you all you need to know when comparing the Leica M2 to the M3.

YouTube: Leica M3 vs Leica M2 Review

YouTube: Leica M2 / Leica M3 Film Loading + Unloading

YouTube: Best Leica Film Camera (Series Intro)

If you missed it –

More Leica related articles



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


Hasselblad 500 vs Hasselblad SWC Review (YouTube)

Hasselblad 500 vs Hasselblad SWC Review (YouTube)

Hasselblad 500 vs Hasselblad SWC Review on YouTube to compare the two cameras. Short and simple video to accompany existing detailed reviews for the Hasselblad 501c and Hasselblad Super Wide camera (SWC/M)(Linked below).

Hasselblad Camera Reviews

MrLeica.Com YouTube Video

More Hasselblad Specific Blog Posts

Leica M 50mm Lenses Compared (x11) +Leica Lens Guide!

Leica M 50mm Lenses Compared (x11) + Leica Lens Guide! (Best 50mm Leica Lens)

Leica Camera Blog: Are you looking to buy the best 50mm Leica M mount lens but not sure what to get? Considering Zeiss vs Leica M lenses? Do you find names like Summilux and Summicron confusing? I was in the same position when I bought my Leica M9! In this 2 part article I try to help from my own purchasing process (UPDATE – NOW INCLUDES YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW!)

(1) Here I compare 11 different 50mm lenses I use on my Leica M cameras; facts, pros & cons, sample images to help you decide what is right for you.  Comparison includes:

  1. Zeiss 50mm Planar 50mm f/2 ZM
  2. Zeiss 50mm C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 ZM + (vs Leica)
  3. Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 (Lux 50)
  4. Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2 v5 (Cron 50)
  5. Leica 50mm Summarit f/1.5 (1950s)
  6. Leica 50mm Summarit-M f/2.5
  7. Leica 50mm f/2.8 Elmar (Collapsible)
  8. Leica Summicron 50mm f/2 DR (Dual Range)
  9. Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
  10. Leica Noctilux f/1.0 50mm v2 (1981)
  11. Russian Jupiter 3 50f1.5 (Zeiss Sonnar Clone)

(2) In part 2 I provide a Leica Lens Guide to help you understand the Leica Lens Terminology.  I then compare similar Leica lenses to again help with the decision when you are stuck between 2 lenses to buy.  I provide example comparisons and a Best Leica Lens for you section.

Leica M 50mm Lenses Compared
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PART 1: LEICA M 50MM LENSES COMPARED (x11)

Leica M 50mm Lenses Compared

As a Leica photographer I have now collected quite a few 50mm Leica M mount lenses. I am always interested how one lens performs against another and until I can decide my favourites I am not selling any. I thought it might be useful to do a quick comparison of 8 50mm lenses, 7 of which I own and 1 I was able to use for a day to try (Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95). I explain my thoughts, pros and cons of each lens based on my own experience and taste and using the lens copies I own. My findings may differ from your own or from comprehensive technical reviews that have been performed for each. I have included a sample photo from each lens to give you a real example. There are specific reviews for each lens too under the Leica tab at the top of the site homepage.

Camera Porn!

50mm Lenses – Pros and Cons of Each:

1. Zeiss 50mm Planar 50mm f/2 ZM:

Pros – Very sharp and contrasty. Focuses at 0.9m
Cons – Too sharp for some subjects! No built in hood.
Thoughts – Apparent clinical sharpness/ high contrast and unflattered for anything other than baby like skin


• Example Photo using a Digital Leica M9

Leica M9 - B&W Film Look
2. Zeiss 50mm C Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 ZM:

Pros – Sharp in the centre and contrasty at f1.4. Nice rendering of OOF areas/ bokeh
Cons – Closest focus 1m. No built in hood.
Thoughts – Good apparent sharpness (high contrast) shot wide open with nice rendering. Fine for most portraits.
• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50/1.5 Portrait
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3. Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 (Lux 50):

Pros – Edge to edge clinical sharpness at f1.4. Focus at 0.7m. Built in hood.
Cons – Bigger than the Cron and ZM lenses. Modern look.
Thoughts – Sharpest 50 but lower contrast vs Zeiss. Best 50mm up close.


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Leica Engagement Photography
  • Example Photo 2, Leica M3 film camera
Leica M3 Film Portrait
4. Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2 v5 (Cron 50):

Pros – 39mm filter thread and built in hood. Focus at 0.7m. It does nothing badly
Cons – It has no one character to lift it above other 50s.
Thoughts – Great all rounder. It does nothing particularly well (vs. other 50s that each have a strong point) yet does nothing badly either. My least used 50 (excluding Jupiter 3 – has some focus shift to account for so not used much)


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Leica Summicron 50
5. Leica 50mm Summarit f/1.5 (1950s):

Pros – Vintage look from the camera giving photos with that Leica glow. Cheap
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Soft, low contrast and prone to flare
Thoughts – Creates beautiful glowing portraits if used to its ‘strengths’ (Cons).


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Street Portrait
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6. Leica 50mm Summarit-M f/2.5:

Pros – Smaller than Cron & Zeiss lenses, Sharp modern look, 0.8 focus
Cons – No built in hood, slower than Cron, Lux and Zeiss lenses
Thoughts – Small and sharp. Great lens to use on Leica film cameras


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M240

Leica Shoot Out

• Example Photo 2, Leica M3 film camera

Leica M3 Film Camera
7. Leica 50mm f/2.8 Elmar (Collapsible)

Pros – My smallest M lens  (when mounted) + can use SOMKY-M
Pros 2 – *Works with SOOKY-M (SOMKY) close focus goggles
Cons – Flares easily, softer wide open, no hood, 1m close-focus*
Thoughts – Small and sharp stopped down, good for digital Leica


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M8

Leica Elmar 50mm

• Example Photo 2, Digital Leica M240

Leica SOOKY-M adapter
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8. Leica Summicron 50mm f/2 DR (Dual Range)

Pros – Sharp lens wide open, can use with SOOKY-M
Pros 2 – *Works with SOOKY-M close focus goggles
Cons – Heavy, can flare, no hood, 1m close-focus*
Thoughts – If nail focus it gives great results up close at f2


• Example Photo, Leica M3 film camera

Summer Love

• Example Photo 2, Leica M3 film camera

Leica M3 Selfie

Example Photo 3, Leica M6 film camera

Leica Summicron 50mm DR
9. Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH:

Pros – Edge to edge clinical sharpness at f0.95. Good subject background separation
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Very expensive. Heavy. 60mm filter thread. Modern look
Thoughts – very similar to Lux ASPH 50 in all respects but cannot focus at 0.7m.


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Leica Noctilux f0.95
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10. Leica Noctilux f/1.0 50mm v2 (1981):

Pros – Unique look images created – can resemble medium format/ large format film
Cons – Closest focus 1m. Expensive. Heavy. 60mm filter thread, Soft, Low contrast
Thoughts – Softer and lower contrast than all lenses list except Summarit 50f1.5. Nicest bokeh and rendering IMO.


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

Leica vs Mamiya RZ!

• Example Photo, Digital Leica M240

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 Portrait

• Example Photo 3, Leica M4P film camera

Kodak Vision3 200T
11. Russian Jupiter 3 50f1.5 (Zeiss Sonnar Clone):

Pros – Cheapest and great value for money. Contrasty giving apparent sharpness
Cons – Closest focus 1m, soft focus and prone to some flare
Thoughts – Similar to Leica Summarit in all respects but more contrasty


• Example Photo, Digital Leica M9

M9 + Jupiter 3

Conclusion

What is the best Leica 50mm lens?

It depends on personal taste and the task but for me –

Summilux ASPH: close up portraits wide open (most used any lens/50mm)
Noctilux 50 f1.0: to create ‘better’ than reality photos & less digital look
Summarit f1.5: for a more vintage look – use flare for effect
Summarit f2.5: for a small sharp lens (especially on film Leica cameras)
Summicron DR: for super closeup headshots (with close up adapter)
ZM Sonnar: for sharp environmental portraits (*sold it and regret it)
ZM Planar: for the sharpest possible image (*I later sold this lens)

Leica M240 Noctilux Portrait
One camera one lens – which 50mm would I use?

• Noctilux 50 f1 – It unique look wide open yet sharp when stopped down

52mm Lens

I didn’t include the 52mm Industar 26m f2.8 lens here as it is not strictly 50mm! (link below)

Findings

I hope you found it useful even if you do not agree with some of my findings. (I know the Leica Cron 50 is a very popular lens).

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PART 2 – A GUIDE TO LEICA LENSES!

A: LEICA LENSES TERMINOLOGY

All Leica lenses are commonly broken down into different named groups depending on the widest/ fastest aperture of the lens.  This is true whether a Leica 50mm lens, 35mm lens or other focal length.  Here are some of the more common Leica lenses, new and old.

*Please note this is not a complete list and is just a guide

  • Noctilux = f0.95-f1.25 lenses (“Nocti”) – 50mm / 75mm
  • Summilux = f1.4 lenses (“Lux”) – 50mm / 35mm / 21mm
  • Summicron = f2 lenses (“Cron”) – 28mm /35mm /40mm /50mm /90mm
  • Summarit = f2.4-f2.5 lenses (Ignoring the vintage 50mm f1.5 Summarit!)
  • Elmarit = f2.8 lenses (28mm / 50mm / 90mm)
  • Elmar = f4 lenses (Commonly 90mm / 135mm Ignoring the 50mm f2.8!)
  • Summaron = f5.6 lenses (Ignoring the vintage 35mm f3.5 Summaron!)
Leica Summilux ASPH Bokeh

B: WHAT IS THE BEST LEICA LENS? (FOR YOU)

When looking to buy a new Leica lens (brand new or used) there are a few factors that you might consider –

Leica Lens Wish List
  1. Chose your lens focal lens? – ie. 50mm
  2. Do you need a small lens? (perhaps for travel)
  3. Do you need a fast lens? (ie. wide aperture of f1.4-f2)(low light or portraits)
  4. What is your budget? (used lenses are cheaper than new!)
Examples Scenarios When Buying a Leica Lens

Once you have answers question 1-4 on the Leica lens wish list above you may have one of the following decisions to make.  You may be stuck in deciding between 2 Leica lenses but you are not sure which lens to buy.  Assuming you are comparing the same focal length lenses, ie. 2x 50mm lenses, here are 3 simple examples that might help you decide.  (There are many possible combinations so I selected just 3 examples that might be realistic).

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B1. Summilux vs Summicron (f1.4 vs f2)

1.1 – 4 Reasons to Buy a Summilux rather than a Summicron
  1. Aperture f1.4 vs f2 gives 1 stop more light for low light photography
  2. An f stop of f1.4 gives better bokeh than f2
  3. A Summilux lens will give better background separation than a Summicron
  4. For portraits the Summilux lens will give more pleasing photos (soft focus skin and nice transition from sharp in focus to soft out of focus areas)
1.2 – 3 Reasons to Buy a Summicron rather than a Summilux
  1. Summicron f2 lenses are smaller than a Summilux f1.4 lens as they contain less glass elements
  2. Summicron lenses are therefore also lighter than a Summilux lens
  3. Perhaps the deal breaker for many photographers – the Summicron costs less than a Summilux (Great if you don’t need the extra 1 stop of light)(f1.4 vs f2)
Leica M4P + Flash

B2. Summicron vs Summarit (f2 vs f2.4-2.5)

2.1 – 4 Reasons to Buy a Summicron rather than a Summarit
  1. Aperture f2 vs f2.4-2.5 gives slightly more light for low light photography (marginal gains)
  2. An f stop of f2 gives slightly better bokeh than f2.4-f2.5 (slight)
  3. A Summicron lens  will give better background separation than a Summarit (there is not a huge difference)(I use both lenses)
  4. For portraits the Summicron will give more pleasing photos than a Summarit (but there is not a huge difference)(I use both lenses)
2.2 – 3 Reasons to Buy a Summait rather than a Summicron
  1. Summarit f2.4-f2.5 lenses are smaller than a Summicron f2
  2. Summarit lenses are therefore also lighter than a Summicron lens
  3. Perhaps the deal breaker for many photographers – the Summarit costs less than a Summicron and is often seen as the budget Leica lens lineup.
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B3. Summicron vs Elmarit (f2 vs f2.8)

3.1 – 4 Reasons to Buy a Summicron rather than a Elmarit
  1. Aperture f2 vs f2.8 gives 1 stop more light for low light photography
  2. An f stop of f2 gives better bokeh than f2.8
  3. A Summicron will give better background separation than an Elmarit
  4. For portraits the Summicron lens will give more pleasing pictures. (Most 50mm portrait lenses are f1.4-f2).  For longer lenses such as a 90mm or 135mm an f2.8 or f4 lens can still produce nice portraits as the longer focal length accentuates the background separation, compression and bokeh.
3.2 – 3 Reasons to Buy a Elmarit rather than a Summicron
  1. Elmarit f2.8 lenses are smaller than a Summicron f2 lens
  2. Elmarit lenses are therefore also lighter than a Summicron lens
  3. Perhaps the deal breaker for many photographers – the Elmarit costs less than a Summicron
Portrait Lighting

YouTube Video for this Leica 50mm Review

Summary

There is no fixed rule that says you can’t use a f2.8-f4 lens for portraits (I use any lens for portraits).  It is just a over simplified guide.  Ideally for portraits I would use my 50mm f1.4 Summilux lens not my 50mm f2.8 lens but I will use my 90mm f4 lens and 135mm f4 lens for portraits.

If you are new to Leica I hope this was of some use to you.  If you are a Leica nut please excuse this simple guide.  I tried to find a happy medium to provide some value to the majority of readers.

Happy Shooting.. with whatever lens you chose! Matt

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