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. The digital Leica M240 camera is my do everything digital M 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.
London Photography Workshop (Leica Workshop)(Client from the US!)
Write up for one of my London Photography Workshops (Leica Workshop) to give more detail as to what is included + plans for a download
Leica photography workshops
If you have searched around on my MrLeica blog pages you may have seen that I teach Leica photography workshops. My photography tuition is not limited just to Leica cameras but that is what is requested the most. I don’t post a write-up after each photography workshop as the day(s) often follow a similar plan for each client/ student. In the UK I run London photography workshops but overseas I teach where ever I’m invited.
Overseas photographers that book me for photography tuition
I’ve decided to document a Leica photography workshop that I ran earlier this year as it was a bit different to the norm. Clients (photographers) visit me for my photography tuition from all parts of the world and as far as Alaska. Often these people are travelling on business and arrange to meet me for a day while passing through the UK. This eventually became the assumed norm for any overseas photographers requesting one of my 1-2-1 photography workshop.
Client flew in from Boulder, Colorado (America)
Following a chain of emails back and forth, in April this year Shaun flew into London from Boulder, Colorado (USA). After approximately a 10 hour flight Shaun landed into the city and I arrived to London to meet him. He had booked me for my usual 6 hour 1-2-1 photography workshop so it was time for us get started!
*MrLeica Photography Workshop Cost? 6 hr in London = £250
Here is a map of Shaun’s travel to the UK!
Meet and greet – time to grab a coffee!
Once Shaun and I met we sat down with a coffee and got chatting. It soon came to light that Shaun had flown in to the UK just for 2 days and wasn’t here on business. I was a little surprised! There must be other guys with a Leica camera in the US that offer a similar photography workshop experience I thought? Shaun said he liked my work and followed my blog and that was the reason for his trip.
Shaun had requested in advance (via email) that he was interested in a model photography workshop specifically and using mostly natural light. I rallied around before the day arrived and organised 2 models for us, one for the morning, one for the afternoon.
Photography workshop model #1 – Valerie
For the morning session we met up with fellow American Valerie who I had first worked with in Florida. (I had flown to Florida for a few days to photograph a Leica wedding (a fellow Leica photographer’s wedding no less who found me on DPreview if I remember correctly!) Val was now living in the UK and was keen for some new photos so met us in London. I can’t remember exactly but I think we photographed 2-3 clothes changes with Val shot in a few different locations. This allowed us to use different backdrops and different types/ qualities of available light.
In addition to my usual digital Leica camera I also took a few other film cameras. I had my Intrepid 4×5 large format camera (made of wood)(I still need to finish this camera write-up, sorry!) with me so I shot a few frames on that and even some Fuji Instax photos (making the most of the blue skies we had.
Lunch – Time to compare notes / images!
During a workshop we normally stop for something to eat roughly half way though the day and I try to answer any questions a client may have. Shaun also had a digital Leica M camera so we were able to compare photos on the camera LCD displays. I was using my Leica M240 at that time so explained how I see photos and why I chose my compositions etc.
Photography workshop model #2 – Miriam
For the afternoon shoot we met with Ukrainian model Miriam that I found on Instagram. We had not worked together until now but had spoken online before the day. As with the morning session we photographed a few different clothes changes and worked with a range of lighting conditions.
Workshops are always fun!
Shaun and I were lucky to have both Val and Miriam join us for the workshop. Everyone seemed to get along really well and it was an enjoyable day for all involved (I think!?). Shaun felt like a good friend that I’d known for ages after a mere 6 hours of working together! It was a bit sad when it was time for everyone to go their separate ways at the end of the day. Great people with the common goal of having fun and creating the best possible images!
Thanks to Shaun for being crazy enough to fly all the way to London just to have a photography workshop with me. I hope it was worth it Shaun if you are reading this! Great to meet you! Thanks to Val and Miriam too for modelling!
London photography workshop – An insight into my Leica photography tuition
General plan for the day
My London photography workshop days usually follow general similar plan yet each day is 100% tailored to the photographer I am teaching. The beauty of 1-2-1 photography tuition and the reason why I stopped teaching group sessions is I can give one person my 100% attention. I found it more difficult when teaching a mixed group when everyone had varying degrees of experience and knowledge. For my 1-2-1 photography tuition I recommend that clients prepare a list of questions to ask me (mentally or written!) in advance. The day itself then works like a Q&A session where I try to share all I’ve learnt with regards to their topic(s) of interest.
Photography workshop days are broken up with coffee shop stops so there is always plenty of time to ask questions and compare cameras/ lenses etc. I’m quite fortunate in that I have collected quite a number of Leica M mount lenses since starting to use Leica cameras. If a photographer is looking to buy a particular camera lens or focal length I bring the lens with me for them to try for the day (if I have it).
Doesn’t need to be Leica
Although I use Leica cameras for my digital photography and some of my film photography it is not a must that clients bring a Leica camera to a workshop. Often there might be a dotted line to Leica such as a Sony photographer than uses Leica lenses via an adapter or a Nikon digital photographer that also owns an old Leica M3 film camera and so on. I normally bring both Leica and non-Leica cameras to workshops if a client wants to see a Hasselblad in action or some 4×5 photography for example.
Available light or Artificial light?
Some photographers would like to learn how to work with available light and others want to learn how to master a speedlight (or experiment with the basics). Most of my own photography is portraiture or “model photography” as I often write in my blogs. Generally photographers approach me to learn how to use light for portraiture but I have taught street photography and other genre also. I explain how I see light and why I would choose to photograph in a certain location.
If the client would like to learn how to light a portrait I try to get one (or occasionally two) models to join us for part of the day. Some photographers may be a master at nature photography or landscape photography and have all the best gear yet have never experimented with photographing people (other than perhaps fun shots of friends and family). I let the client see how I work with a model then switch over so they get to direct the posing if they would like to.
Start building your portfolio
For anyone looking to get into portraits or photographing models the workshop can work well towards capturing some professional looking images to start building your portfolio. (When you first start out as a photographer and are looking to collaborate with a model having some portfolio images is a must. The model(s) will want to see example photos before committing their free time to test with you).
Photographers often ask how I edit my photos. During the workshop I share my thoughts on editing photos (Lightroom, my MrLeica Lightroom Presets and Photoshop) and how to get the best from different Leica cameras. (I also talk about my film developing for those shooting film).
Not everyone is able to travel to me (or fly me out to teach them)
Not everyone is able to travel for one of my Leica photography workshops or can to fly me out to them. I have been fortunate enough to be flown to New York (twice)(NYC1, NYC2), Zürich (twice)(Zurich1, Zurich2) and Amsterdam in the past to teach. Thank you if you are reading this! Amazing experiences that I never thought I would be doing, especially the NYC and Zürich trips that were all multiple day workshops! Meeting in London for a photography workshop is probably the cheapest way to have photography tuition with me. You also get to see the city while you are in the UK and London is easily accessible from most places .
That said it is not always financially possible.
Mr Leica photography workshop download!
With the above problem in mind, and with some people not able to meet me face to face for a workshop I am considering documenting a Mr Leica photography workshop (in writing and with photos)(behind the scenes and resulting photos from the workshops). It would be a very detailed document that might take me 3-6 months to write (on and off). My aim would be to try to capture everything I can from a workshop day excluding the face to face interaction.
If this is something that might interest you I would love to gauge the potential uptake to understand if it is worth me taking on the mammoth task of writing it up! If you think it could benefit you a short email or comment with your thoughts would be gratefully received. You can also include any content requests you might like and I can do my best to please.
Waste of money?
My idea is if you purchase the downloadable Mr Leica Photography workshop document (price still to be determined) and then you later book a 1-2-1 workshop with me (face to face) I will give you a discount from the workshop cost. That way it will be like buying the download for a much cheaper price.
Faceless download only offers half the experience?
I appreciate most photographers want to attend a photography workshop to work face to face with a model or see me working face to face with a model. This download file is aimed to fill the gap for anyone that can’t attend a workshop yet wants in on some of the Mr Leica “tips and tricks”. For anyone that later does what to travel for a workshop I hoped the discount mentioned above will help avoid the thought of paying out twice for essentially the same “experience”.
Sorry for the recent slow down in new blog posts. I have increased my triathlon training quite a bit in the last few weeks so I’m going to bed earlier (not a bad thing!) and up early. (For anyone interested I’m enjoying my running at the moment so building up the weekly mileage)(32 miles this week + swimming & cycling).
I have a lot of film in the fridge still to develop, colour and B&W, the Epson V800 scanner has developed a hardware fault so I can’t scan colour and am organising another model trip overseas this side of Christmas. At least I’m never bored I guess!
Blogs on my todo list
Intrepid 4×5 camera -(still waiting to shoot the right model to get more sample images)
New lens for the Nikon F5 – (need to develop the film in the fridge to see sample images)
Leica CL with M lenses round-up post – Still need to test more lenses
New Godox flash – need to finish write-up
Leica wedding highlights (not posted any for this year yet!)
…the list is endless but those are a few that come to mind!
Thanks for reading (and let me know if you ever want to book a workshop!)
Leica CL vs Leica M8 (+M Lenses)(Poland Photoshoot)
My 3rd overseas photo shoot using the new digital Leica CL camera (with Leica M lenses). Now with 6 weeks experience of using the camera I list my 5 Likes + 5 Dislikes of the CL, share more sample photos and include a Leica M8 vs Leica CL comparison.
Part A: 6 weeks with the Leica CL (5 Likes 5 Dislikes) + CL vs M8 compared
Part B: Film cameras & lenses I took to Poland + trip roundup
Part A: Leica CL vs Leica M8
A1: Leica CL – 6 weeks after purchase – Thoughts
Leica CL Honeymoon
This is now my third overseas model photography trip with the Leica CL and the Leica CL honeymoon (or “minimoon”as people call them now!) is officially over. The passion and excitement from when we first met has faded as fast as it arrived. Am I dreaming what fun I want to have next with my new CL? Before yes, now no. What killed the passion you ask? It was all seemingly going so well for you both you say. Where it went downhill was when I developed the film images from the two previous Leica CL shoots (Poland and Budapest). Seeing the film scans reminded me what real photography is (for my taste). Suddenly many of the Leica CL photos that I had liked from those trips now lacked depth and interest somehow compared to the analogue versions of similar photos.
Digital vs Film
I’ve always much preferred shooting film vs digital and I normally use digital to test ahead of shooting film (and to give clients a set of digital “instant” images). I don’t hate the Leica CL. It is great for a digital camera and does a good job for what it was designed for. The Leica CL has now just become another tool for me similar to my Leica M240. The CL gets the job done and I am happy with the results and user interface (overall – see my likes and dislikes below).
Get Creative – with the Leica CL?
If I want to get excited or creative with my photography I tend to select from the array of film cameras I use rather than think about a digital camera. Don’t get me wrong, when I shoot the Leica CL side by side with film cameras sometimes the Leica CL will catch the better moment /photo. I just find I now pack the Leica CL without any thought as the “necessary digital camera” (for my model photography). All the thought and time goes into deciding which film cameras to take. Those are the cameras that will capture the interesting photos for me. “Interesting” may not mean “best” but I find digital all a bit too easy/ straightforward to be challenging.
The Leica CL should always capture the better photo
The odds are stacked strongly in favour of the Leica CL (or any digital camera) as I shoot perhaps a 100:1 digital to film ratio. Digital photos are often shot quickly in the flow of the model so should normally catch better ‘moments’ that the occasional film photo. The Leica CL photos should nearly always be sharpen and have more dynamic range (can loose detail in shadows when shooting film) Digital files of the Leica CL gives the option of colour or black and white (vs. say B&W only if using B&W film) and generally just more “information” to work with when it comes to processing the files in Lightroom (apply a LR Leica CL preset) / Photoshop. I tend not to shoot film cameras as fast as I do digital so I really need to nail the shot for my occasional film frames. Some film cameras give more “keepers” than others. (My digital photography is still single shot photography, not the DSLR machine-gun wedding approach. I don’t need 4000+ very similar images to sort through thanks!)
A2: Leica CL Review (Follow-Up) Likes+Dislikes
(with my bias rose-tinted glasses now removed!)
5 Dislikes of the Leica CL
1. Viewfinder Blackout
If you’ve never used a Leica M camera (nor a rangefinder camera) you won’t understand this point but it’s a big one! With a Leica M camera you never loose sight of your subject when you press the shutter. This means you can anticipate the next photo and move as needed ready to catch the next moment/ picture. With the Leica CL when you take a photo the EVF goes black and you’re left in a panic as to what you are missing. I find it quite unnerving especially for critical moments such as during a wedding ceremony. I much prefer a Leica M camera in this regard.
2. Speed of focus
Some one asked me how fast in the Leica CL to focus manually verses the Leica M cameras. I said I thought both cameras about the same. I did a photo shoot just before coming to Poland with the Leica M8 and the Leica CL and the Leica M is definitely faster to focus, no question. (This is if I zoom in to critically focus the Leica CL using manual focus lenses).
3. Flash photography
The Leica CL is fine for flash photography but I’ve found I much prefer Leica M cameras when using flash due to the Leica M viewfinder vs Leica CL EVF. I prefer the optical viewfinder for this strobist work especially in low light.
4. LCD Display (switching to EVF)
LCD turns off (switches from LCD view to EVF view) when you get too close to the EVF (it triggers the switch to change view). Probably not an issue for most people but I find it frustrating if I’m trying to photograph the back of the camera with my iPhone. Models always want to photo the back of my camera so they have something for Instagram straight away. There might be a setting to turn off this feature but if not it would be a good addition to a future Leica CL firmware update.
5. Crop sensor (vs Full frame)
This is less of a dislike and more of a limitation to be aware of. It is more difficult to get good background separation with many M lenses I’ve tried on the APS-C crop sensor Leica CL vs a full frame Leica M. I will cover the best M lenses on the CL in a round up post once I’ve tested more M lenses.
5 Strengths of the Leica CL
1. EVF exposure preview in available light
The exposure preview via the Leica CL built in EVF is a real joy to use and I find I now miss it when I switch to a Leica M camera. (It makes me lazy! On Leica M cameras I tend to guess the exposure on the first frame, adjust as needed for the second frame and continue shooting).
2. EVF view to compose any lens
After using a Leica CL for a while I found myself getting caught out when using wide lenses on a Leica M camera. I forget with a Leica M I can’t use a 21mm lens and see the full field of view via the built in Leica rangefinder. (On many Leica M cameras this is 28mm wide maximum). I found myself just guestimating the composition when using a 21mm lens on the M camera rather than attaching an external 21mm viewfinder to compose. The same advantage of the EVF when using longer lenses (focal lengths) on the CL. It is easier to see the image to focus than with a Leica M rangefinder patch, especially with a 135mm Elmar lens.
3. No potential rangefinder calibration issues
As the Leica CL is not a rangefinder camera there is no concern that a photo looks sharp in the viewfinder (EVF) yet is out of focus in camera. As mentioned previously, Leica M cameras can need recalibrating from time to time, and especially if they get knocked. A good example of this for me is using my old Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens. Wide open it misses focus on the Leica M240 yet is super sharp on the Leica CL (sample photos in my Leica CL + M lenses round up post to come).
4. Leica CL dynamic range
The dynamic range of the Leica CL camera is the best i’ve experienced on any digital camera. It is so far ahead of the Leica M240 which looks primitive in comparison. The Leica M240 clips/ blows the highlights very easily (and the Leica M8 even more so!). The Leica CL does a fantastic job of retaining most of the detail in a scene most of the time making it great when it comes to processing the RAW files in Lightroom.
5. Fast buffering speed
I can work much quicker with the Leica CL (take photos without a lag). The Leica M8 is the polar opposite and really struggles to keep up even for moderate pace photos.
+1 . Size
I do enjoy the light weight and compact size of the Leica CL. It is still large enough to hold comfortably and securely for me. Leica M cameras are pretty compact compared to most cameras too but the CL is a little smaller still.
A3: Leica CL vs Leica M8 – Why!?
Why would I compare the Leica CL vs Leica M8 when they are like chalk and cheese? Both are Leica digital cameras but that is where the similarities probably end. This won’t be a scientific test as no one will ever be in a position to decide between the M8 and Leica CL. (M240 vs M10 – yes, M240 vs CL – yes, but not the oldest digital Leica (M8) versus one of the newest Leica camera releases.
So what a pointless blog post heading you say. Possibly, but for me I wanted to see which camera I enjoyed using the most and which camera photos I enjoyed seeing the most. That is what I will cover in the rest of Part A in this article.
Impressive dynamic range beating many pro level cameras
Built in EVF viewfinder (no optical viewfinder)
Live view LCD that can be used to compose and focus (+focus peaking)
Auto focus and manual focus lenses (MF lenses via adapter)
High ISO range (100-6400 usable)(100-50,000 max)
Weight – 403g
A5: Which camera did I enjoy using most – Leica CL vs Leica M8
UK Pre-shoot (the day before Poland) – The cameras
Prior to flying to Poland I had a shoot in the UK with Aneta using many of the same cameras mentioned in this post (film and digital cameras). This photoshoot was nearly all flash photography and I preferred using the Leica M8 to the Leica CL. The M8 seemed to give a nicer shallow depth of field and the photos on the rear camera LCD just popped much more. Nearly all the photos were B&W so I didn’t use an IR cut filter on the M8.
Poland photo shoots – The cameras
In Poland I expected to like the M8 more too but I didn’t. I found the M8 too slow for the fast pace fashion models posing. Due to the autumn colours in Poland I shot much more colour photography than expected. I planned to use the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens a lot on this trip so had no IR cut filter with me. (Why? I don’t have a filter large enough for the 60mm filter thread of the Noctilux). As such, for any colour photos I used the Leica CL and kept the M8 for black and white photos. I also used available light much more for photos in Poland so the Leica CL suited this work (for me). I think I shot roughly 3:1 more photos with the Leica CL vs M8. Mostly due to taking photos in colour or being away from the hotel with only the Leica CL plus film cameras.
A6: Which camera photos did I prefer – Leica M8 vs Leica CL?
UK Pre-shoot (the day before Poland) – The photos
As mentioned above most of the photos shot with Aneta were with flash. The apartment we chose to shoot in was smaller than expected so I used wider lenses most of the time. Wider lenses and flash meant most photos had a greater depth (less blurry backgrounds) than the Poland shoot. The Leica CL coped better when I was mixing sunlight and flash. The Leica M8 photos clipped the highlights more easily whereas the Leica CL dynamic range retained most of the detail. Shooting in a small space was more about the light than the camera choice. That said the majority of the photos I liked from this shoot were shot with the Leica M8.
Poland photo shoots – The photos
The Leica CL captured some nice photos in Poland, as it had done on my last two overseas shoots. I think the choice of lenses I used didn’t help the Leica CL perform to it’s very best, with the exception of the Leica Noctilux lens. The Noctilux 50mm f1 lens on the Leica CL produced some quite pretty photos with the shallow depth of field and bokeh. If the CL was the only digital camera I used I would have been happy. The problem was I also used the same Leica Noctilux lens on the Leica M8.
Leica M8 vs CL
The Leica M8 CCD sensor combined with the Leica Noctilux lens rendering arguably produced the more interesting images for me but the CL was no slouch. This conclusion was based partly on personal taste (subjective) but also from the number of likes and comments on the various social media platforms. The problem is the the digital Leica CL produces digital looking photos (lens dependent), as you may expect. This is the look most peoples eyes are used to seeing in the digital world so such photos look at best “nice/ normal” (I think).
The beauty of the digital Leica M8 is it can produce photos that don’t look digital and on occasion some images are mistaken as analogue. A photo that looks “different” is almost always going to be more interesting than a photo that looks “normal”, regardless of the subject matter. For this reason I feel the Leica M8 produced the most unique looking photos and maybe those that stand out the most from this Poland shoot.
Comparing apples to oranges
The Leica CL did capture some nice colour photos (especially) and B&W too but I think this test was a bit like comparing apples to oranges. In a world full of apples an orange will always look more exciting. That being the Leica M8 photos in the digital era.
Comparing apples to apples
If I had compared apples to apples, say the Leica CL vs Leica M240 the results would be far closer. The M240 would win for shallow depth of field with the full frame sensor but the Leica CL would win for dynamic range. Perhaps I should compare these two cameras for a model shoot in the future!
A7: Leica CL with M Lenses (more lenses tested)
Example photos using the Leica CL with more Leica M mount lenses:
For Poland I was excited to fit in my Mamiya RZ67 camera to do some nice portraits. I zipped my bag up successfully with everything for the trip inside, done. I then weighed my bag and I was 3kilo over the 10kg weight limit (for my main carry on bag). The culprit was quite obviously the RZ67. I took it out and the carbon monopod for it and I was just within my weight limit. Boo! I will try again next time!
B2: Camera Bag
With the Mamiya RZ67 removed my camera bag looked as follows:
I included a few different film cameras for a change to freshen things up a bit. Each had a purpose and was in my bag on merit alone.
B3: Why I chose each camera?
Leica M6 Classic
My Leica M6 seems to have the most accurately calibrated rangefinder of all my Leica film cameras. If I am to shoot film with the Noctilux at f1 I need the camera spot on. The Leica M6 also uses the same M lenses I will use on the Leica M8/ CL so it makes sense to pack at least one Leica film camera.
Nikon F5 SLR
I brought the Nikon F5 to use the Nikkor 180mm f2.8 lens specifically. It gives a totally different shooting experience to using a Leica camera with say a 50mm lens. I enjoy the compression and shoot-through ability using a long lens (and a SLR camera). I’ve never taken such a long lens to Poland so it will allow me to create different photos to all my prior Poland visits.
Olympus 35 RC
The little Olympus 35 RC can produce sharp photos with the lens stopped down a little (I’ve found in the past). It also gives a different look / distorted perspective than my Leica film cameras which I quite like. It is a small camera so is easy to pack and carry but the main reason I brought it was the 1/500 flash sync speed. I hoped to use this in daylight with flash.
The GA645 is my smallest and lightest medium format camera. I love the extra resolution 645 film negatives give over 35mm film. I also like the economy factor of shooting 645 vs 6×6 or 6×7 film. 645 film is a good happy middle ground for me. I wanted to shoot some 120 film and the 60mm Fujion lens has given me sharp pleasing results in the past. It also has a flash sync speed of 1/400 which I planned to use.
B4: 2 Days in Poland, 6 Models
I enjoyed 2 almost full days of photo sessions in Poland despite some cancellations. 9am til after 6pm both days, near back to back models, 1 in, 1 out.
I didn’t shoot as much film as I had hoped the first day but I got going more by the afternoon. Day 2 I shot as much film as I could as I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I shot 6 rolls of 35mm and 2 rolls of 120 including my first roll of Kodak ProImage 100 colour film. I had hoped to shoot more 120 film but the opportunities never seemed to arise.
As with shooting film I had hoped to use flash a lot in Poland. The problem was there were blue skies so much of the time it was too bright to shoot flash practically. By the end of day 1 I used flash more as the light levels dropped and I was pleased with the result. For day 2 again by later in the day I used flash when we worked in the shadows. I was able to create a different look to my usual work and was happy with the results. For the blue hour I gelled the light to mimic sunlight and used it through til dark. It was a rare occasion that I preferred the colour images to the black and white photos. I shot some night photos with the film cameras using the flash so am interested to see the photos as I would normally avoid this.
B5: Film cameras – which did I use most?
As mentioned I shot less film that hoped. (The usual it seems these days for me). I shot 2 rolls with the Fuji GA645 and only 1 roll with the Olympus 35 RC. The Nikon F5 went through 2 rolls and the Leica M6 3 rolls of film.
Film cameras – camera limitations
The GA645 often didn’t suit the busy background being an f4 lens so I used it less. (With an f4 35mm equivalent lens there is less background separation). The Olympus 35 RC is better stopped down so again I needed more light or a simple backdrop (for my taste). The Nikon F5 with 180mm lens was too long for many photos so was perhaps used less than it could have been. It is also big to carry around but that didn’t matter. I used the Leica M6 the most as it has the best viewfinder of the manual focus film cameras, is very portable and arguably had access to the best lens. I used the M6 with the Leica Noctilux lens as much as I could but used it from f1-f2 rather than all shot wide open.
B6: Leica Lenses – which lenses didn’t I use
I hardly used the Voigtlander Color Skopar lenses (21mm f4 and 35mm f3.5) nor the Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8. I just did a few wide shots indoors a few times and I think that was all. Why not? I had a big hotel room and access to outdoors with good weather so was never in a confined space.
B7: Leica Lenses – what lenses were most used
I used the Leica Noctilux wherever possible but I had 3 Leica camera bodies asking for it! The Leica M6 got first choice as I prefer film to digital. This meant the Nocti was my most used lens in Poland. My second most used was the Leica 90mm Macro Elmar, even on the CL. I kept wanting background separation and that was my second best lens for the task that I had with me. Lastly was the Leica Summarit 50mm f2.5 lens. It was used third most as it was better than the other 3 wider lenses I had.
B8: Leica M lenses – regrets
For most of the my time in Poland I wish I had taken the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH. It works great on every Leica, no question. A second lens that could have been well used was the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH lens. Next time! It was my first model shoot overseas without taking a full frame Leica M camera so not having these lenses was an oversight on my part. Always learning!
B9: The Poland trip
We were so lucky with the weather in Poland. The middle of October with sunshine and blue sky both days and temperatures reaching into the 20s! (degrees Celsius). I had left a cold wet windy UK so felt very fortunate.
Huge hotel room
To my delight the hotel kindly gave me the biggest room in the building. The apartment family suite with sea view, roof top terrace and glass windows on 2 sides letting in lots of daylight. It was my first stay in this room despite visiting many times over the years.
6 models in total. 2 new models, with one girl only 14 years old and had never had a photo shoot before. 2 familiar faces from my visit in September and 2 girls you might recognise if you’ve followed me for 1-2 years or more. Despite 3 model cancellations the 6 models that did visit filled most of my free time so I was happy. Unlike my Budapest trip there was no time wasted, thankfully, and day 2 particularly was nonstop photos all day. A big thanks to models Marta, Amelia, Pola, Irmina, Claudia and Teresa and to Monika for the huge hotel room (and kind hospitality)!
As with the last two Leica CL photo shoot trips I will share the film images a a later date once the film is developed and processed.
Film Teaser – Fuji GA645:
The best Leica M lenses for the Leica CL
Once I’ve used more of my Leica M lenses on the Leica CL I will share the results from all lenses tested plus some thoughts in a round up post.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 is Here! (Kodak Ektachrome 2018)
My pre-ordered new Kodak Ektachrome 100 slide film has arrived!
Kodak Ektachrome 100
I pre-ordered some of the new Kodak Ektachrome 100 film as soon as it was available in the UK. Today I received the great news that my film has arrived and is available to collect!
Here is Kodak Ektachrome 100 still in its bubble wrap packaging. OK I will come clean.. this actual pack of film is out of my fridge and is the original Kodak Ektachrome 100 (4×5 sheet film). If you are an Ektachrome film fan you will recognice the different box design. I have bought the new Ektachrome film though but it is the 35mm format.
Kodak Ektachrome (2018)
The new film I did buy looks more like this. Kodak Ektachrome 2018 box design:
Kodak Ektachrome 100 sample photos
I hope to collect my new 35mm Ektachrome film shortly to load it into one of Leica film cameras. I will share the Kodak Ektachrome 100 sample photos as soon as I get chance to use the film and have it lab developed. (*I develop my own C41 colour negative film but not yet E6 colour positive film).
Get inspired to buy some Kodak Ektachrome 100!
See this promo video from Kodak!
I’m excited to get shooting now! I love fine grain film and I really like the Kodak Ektachrome colours shown in their teaser video. Ektachrome film was first launched in 1946 and was in production all the way through til 2012. It is a famous film stock for good reason so I’m very thankful to Kodak for bringing it back for us to enjoy.
(I missed Kodak Ektachrome the first time around sadly as I got into colour film photography after production had already ceased).
Kodak Elitechrome 100 (Expired 35mm film)
Perhaps the closest film I have shot to Kodak Ektachrome 100 was expired 35mm Kodak Elitechrome 100.
Kodak Elitechrome 100 sample photos
Here are a series of photos I shot in Amsterdam after teaching one of my Leica photography workshops. The film looks very grainy as hadn’t been stored correctly (before I received it) but was fun to try.
Leica M3 camera + 2007 non-refridgerated Kodak Elitechrome 100 + various lenses (click the image to see the lens I used):
Leica M8 Lightroom preset bundle includes 3x LR presets, 1x colour, 2x black and white:
MrLeica Leica M8 B&W Vintage1
MrLeica Leica M8 B&W1
MrLeica Leica M8 Colour1
Leica Look Lightroom Presets
3 Leica M8 LR presets to apply to Leica M8 RAW files. That is what I made the profiles for specifically but you can still try applying them to any photo to see if it gives you the Leica look!
I think the famous Leica look is a combination of Leica lenses (mostly) and Leica digital camera sensors (less so). The Leica M8 and Leica M9 CCD sensors were very different to the mass-produced CMOS sensors found in many modern digital cameras (including the Leica M240). They give a more filmic hybrid look unlike most digital photos. It was a huge disappointment “upgrading from a Leica M9 to a Leica M240. (See my Learning to love the Leica M240). I finally developed LR presets that brought the lifeless M240 RAW files back to life. (I will try to share these when I get chance).
Leica M8 LR Presets
Why 3 presets? Leica M8 RAW DNG files (colour) already have a vintage look straight from camera (perhaps similar to my Leica CL colour wedding preset but more filmic looking). The “Leica M8 Colour1” preset gives a more saturated, higher contrast modern looking colour profile. The two Leica M8 Lightroom presets that are B&W might look quite similar if the images are viewed small size. Where they differ the most is when photos are viewed large. The “Leica M8 B&W Vintage1” preset gives a much more grainy appearance than the “Leica M8 B&W1” preset that has a smoother more modern look.
Leica M8 Camera Presets – Preview Photos
Before and after preview photos from Adobe Lightroom (screenshots) to show the effect of each LR preset. Images on the left show the RAW DNG Leica M8 files “Before” and pictures on the right are with the Leica M8 preset applied “After”. (Please note I was not using an IR cut filter for any photo as I didn’t have one to fit the lens I used for most photos).
All featured Leica M8 photos were shot during my latest trip to Poland. Full Poland blog to follow.
Up close the “Leica M8 B&W Vintage1” preset has quite a vintage look
2. Leica Lightroom Presets: MrLeica Leica M8 B&W1
The “Leica M8 B&W1” offers smoother skin and a perhaps a slightly more modern look yet still the filmic look of the Leica M8 CCD sensor. (Perhaps the appearance of a fine grain modern film emulsion vs the more classic film grain look of the “Leica M8 B&W Vintage1”. (Despite owning digital Leica cameras I shoot film as much as possible so my Lightroom presets tend to have a film influence).
Voigtlander 21mm f4 Color Skopar Review (+vs Zeiss 21mm Biogon)
Do you use a Leica M camera and want a compact lightweight super sharp wide angle lens? Perhaps you use a crop sensor small form mirrorless camera and you want an approximate 35mm equivalent focal length lens? I use the Voigtlander 21mm f4 Color Skopar lens on both Leica M cameras and the new crop sensor Leica CL camera.
This lens is so good I bought it twice!
Voigtlander 21mm f4 review including 21mm portraits, 21mm wedding photography, 21mm street photography, 21mm travel photography and a quick Voigtlander 21mm vs Zeiss 21mm ZM comparison.
Photo of my Leica M6 + Voigtlander 21mm f4 lens (+ Voigtlander 21-25mm viewfinder)
Voigtlander 21mm f4 lens – Tiny size!
This is the smallest lens for my Leica camera system so it is perfect for travel or to fit in any bag as a just in case lens. It is even smaller than my Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens which is really compact (slightly smaller).
Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm – Take Two!
I owned this lens in the past and stupidly sold it. I bought another copy of the lens this year ahead of a cycling trip where I wanted the most compact lightweight 35mm film camera setup for landscape photography (using my existing cameras).
Voigtlander 21mm viewfinder
Leica M cameras don’t have 21mm frame lines in the viewfinder. To compose a 21mm lens accurately you next an external wide angle viewfinder that fits on the hot shoe. I use a Voigtlander 21mm-25mm viewfinder. (See my Leica M6 photo above). With the new Leica CL camera you can compose in camera without need of the 21mm viewfinder via the EVF.
Voigtlander 21mm f4 vs Zeiss 21mm f2.8
I already owned the Zeiss 21mm ZM Biogon f2.8 lens which replaced my first Voigtlander 21mm f4 Skopar lens. The Zeiss ZM Biogon is 1 stop faster than the Skopar so I thought it would be an upgrade for me. Both lenses are very sharp wide open. My issued with the 21mm ZM Biogon are very minor but I will mention them. I enjoy using Leica lenses with 39mm filter thread so I can share common filters amongst multiple lenses. (See my Leica filters post). The Zeiss ZM 21mm is very sharp and with good contrast and i’ve used it a huge amount for Leica weddings since I bought it. The Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm is equally good too my eyes but has the advantage of being half the size (and with a 39mm filter thread). I love small lenses!
Voigtlander 21mm f4 Sample Photos
Leica M240 + Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm
Testing the new Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm lens with Amy walking round Birmingham. (I also tested the Leica Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH that day if you want to compare)(post to follow).
The below photos were shot with my first copy of the Voigtlander 21mm lens before my Leica photography began. Taken in Russia on a business trip. New to film photography developing I messed up the developing so the developer liquid only cover part of the film! (If you are new to film developing at home or are looking to start see my Step by step guide how to process film at home!)
Camera bag for Russia with the Bessa R3A, Voigtlander 21mm + TMax 100 film
21mm Wedding Photography (*ZM Biogon)
For wedding photography I tend to use the 21mm Zeiss ZM Biogon as often I need the extra one stop of light. This is what the 21mm focal length looks like for a wedding .
Great Value Lens! (Almost 2/3 less than a Biogon!!)
If you are looking to buy a 21mm lens for your Leica (or other small mirrorless camera) check out the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 lens. It was almost 2/3 less than the cost of the Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm when I last looked online. See Amazon for the latest prices! (UK) / (US)
For fun! My smallest lens vs largest lens! (old photo)