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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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MrLeica.com started in March 2013 after Flickr followers asked for my thoughts 

To Support the Channel – Buy via these Affiliate links

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.

Join me on YouTube! to see the latest and visual of some of the cameras!

Thanks

Matt Osborne

Behind the Scenes (2)

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.

Voigtlander Bessa R Review (Leica Screw Mount Camera)

Voigtlander Bessa R Review (Leica Screw Mount Camera)

A short write up / Voigtlander Bessa R Review with example images to accompany the YouTube video I shared on for this 35mm film camera.

Looking for a modern Leica screw mount camera?

Did you know that such a thing even existed!? The Leica thread mount (“LTM”) or Leica screw mount dates back to the 1930s and the original Leica Barnack cameras (aka. Leica iii cameras).  Examples include my Leica iiia, Leica iiig and Leica iif.  All of these cameras were manufactured in the period from the 1930s through to the 1950s.  After that came the amazing Leica M3 and with it the Leica M mount.  Thereafter all Leica film cameras adopted the newer Leica M bayonet mount and the screw mount was dropped.

Voigtlander Bessa R Review Cover Photo

Voigtlander screw mount cameras

So what if you want a more recent screw mount film camera?  Well luckily in 2001 the Japanese company Cosina Voigtlander released the new (at the time) Voigtlander Bessa R 35mm film camera that came the Leica thread mount design. (The Voigtlander Bessa L also has the screw mount whereas the Voigtlander Bessa T, Voigtlander Bessa R3A and Voigtlander Bessa R4M are all Leica M mount cameras (of those that I use)).

Leica iif Photographer
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Voigtlander Bessa R Specs

In terms of camera specs here is a quick overview of the Voigtlander Bessa R vs Leica iii cameras –

  • Built in combined rangefinder / viewfinder
  • 35,50,75,90mm framelines (compared to only 50mm for *most Leica iii)
  • Parallax corrected framelines (unlike *most Leica iii cameras)
  • 0.68x magnification viewfinder (Leica iii – 1.5x)
  • Built in light meter with viewfinder LED display (Leica iii – no light meter)
  • Bessa R lightmeter battery – 2x LR44 (Leica iii – no batteries)
  • Minimum focus distance – 0.9m (Leica iii – 1m)
  • Maximum shutter speed – 1/2000 (Leica iii -1/500 or 1/1000)
  • Maximum flash sync speed – 1/125 (Leica iii – N/A, 1/30 or 1/50)
  • Hotshoe for speedlights and triggers (Leica iii – coldshoe + PC sync port)
  • Voigtlander Bessa R weight – 395g (Leica iii – various (from <395- ~450g)

*Most Leica iii cameras – All models except the later Leica iiig (which has 50mm and 90mm framelines and parallax correction).

Test Roll – Voigtlander Bessa R Sample Photos

Voigtlander Bessa R Testing
Bessa R + Heliar 50mm Testing
Voigtlander Bessa R
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Bessa R + Heliar 50/3.5
Voigtlander Bessa R - Test

Voigtlander Bessa R Portraits (Models – Poland)

Voigtlander Bessa R Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa R Photo
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Voigtlander Bessa R Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa R Portrait
Canon 35mm f1.8 LTM

Is the Bessa R camera right for you?

The Bessa R is not for everyone. Let’s list some pros and cons, especially if comparing to a Leica iii camera –

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Leica screw mount (“LTM”) – if you use those lenses
  • Easy film loading
  • Cheaper than many similar cameras
  • Bright viewfinder with 35mm,50mm,75mm,90mm frame lines
  • Built in light meter
Cons
  • Very plastic build (not built like a Leica)
  • Low magnification viewfinder – not ideal for 75mm and 90mm especially)
  • Screw mount not M mount – most people seem to want M mount
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Voigtlander Bessa Film Loading

How to load film in a Voigtlander Bessa R? Extremely easily. All Cosina Voigtlander cameras share a similar design with a hinge back. Loading film is as easy as loading film into your favourite SLR camera. See the video below for a visual.

Are you a Bessa fan!? You may also like these:

Voigtlander Bessa T

A quirky camera with a rangefinder but no viewfinder. Love this camera and it is Leica M mount too!

Voigtlander Bessa R3A

One of the more popular Bessa cameras. The R3A and R3M offer Leica M mount and a 1:1 viewfinder. This camera is the most Leica M like of the group for me.

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Voigtlander Bessa L

Another quirky offering from Voigtlander. The Bessa L has no viewfinder and no rangefinder! That might sound terrible but it is fantastic with wide angle lenses such as the 15mm Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar.

Voigtlander Bessa R4M

Do you wish your Leica camera had wider frame lines? If yes this could be the camera you are looking for! The Bessa R4M and R4A are one of a kind offering 21mm and 25mm framelines in addition to the more common 28mm, 35mm and 50mm.

Voigtlander Bessa R2C – Review coming soon!

This is a very special camera. Similar to it’s Bessa R2M or R2A siblings, the Bessa R2C is a Contax-RF mount Bessa. This opens your world to all the amazing Contax-RF mount lenses!

Minolta X300 - Test (+See Patreon for the Announcement)

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review (VM for Leica) ASPH

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review (VM for Leica) ASPH

Following my recent YouTube video here is a write up with example photos of that same Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review. This lens is so good I had to buy a copy! (This lens is the later Leica M mount ASPH lens and not the early LTM / screw mount non-ASPH version).

So Sharp! My Sharpest 35mm Lens

After testing a copy of this lens I was really impressed at how sharp it was wide open at f1.7. This is very useful for low light and I appreciate very sharp lenses to use on analogue film cameras. The lens was on occasion almost too sharp for some of my portraits on digital but film softens the look so I think this is the perfect combination.

Close Focus Ability – 0.5m

As a digital Leica CL (YouTube) user I can benefit from lenses that focus closer than the usual 0.7m meters of many rangefinder coupled lenses. To recap, on a Leica M camera you can only use the coupled rangefinder to a close focus distance of 0.7m. If I use this lens on my Leica M240 then I must be careful not to be in the 0.5-0.7m distance if focusing via the rangefinder. That would mean the camera shows that I am in focus but I am not. If however I use the hotshoe EVF (YouTube) I can benefit from getting in as close as 0.5m and really fill my frame. With film cameras I need to use the lens from 0.7m to infinity to ensure images are in focus.

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Best Voigtlander 35mm Lens for Leica M?

Voigtlander make several 35mm lenses for Leica M mount. If you want the smallest 35mm lens they offer get yourself the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 –

Perhaps you want small but fast? In this instance you may appreciate the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens –

For the best bokeh and the fastest lens available look at the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH (version 2 of 3). I use the v2 which is bigger than the new v3 –

If you then want fast but crazy sharp then get the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH lens as featured in this post. It is the sharpest of the above mentioned lenses from my testing (see below) and offers the close focus benefit of the Nokton 1.2 lens but in a smaller package.

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH VM on film
Testing the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH lens at f1.7 on my Leica M4-P film camera
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Lastly there is the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2 Vintage Line lens. I have not yet tested this lens but if I do I will share the results here! It offers the benefit of being very small and cheaper than the 1.7 lens.

35mm Lens Size Comparison

Blog Photo - Voigtlander Ultron vs Skopar vs Nokton(s)

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Lens Flare

For me the 35mm Ultron 1.7 lens controls flare well for my black and white portraits. Here is an example photo from shooting directly into the sun.

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm Lens Flare

The Voigtlander Ultron 1.7 Bokeh

After shooting with the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 lens in Poland I would say the bokeh from the Ultron is controlled and usually round bokeh balls. Here I was testing the lens with a passing tram.

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7

YouTube Lens Bokeh Test

Here is a quick and crude bokeh test I did for the Ultron 35mm f1.7 YouTube lens review –

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Bokeh Test
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Sharpest Voigtlander 35mm Lens?

As above here is another image shared on YouTube but now you can click the image to see the results full resolution. For me the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lens was the sharpest 35mm lens followed by the Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f2.5. If you need a fast sharp lens get the Ultron. If you want small and sharp enough get the Color Skopar 35mm 2.5 (is how I would select the lens to use).

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Sharpness Test
*The test is not perfect as I didn’t show each lens shot wide open but I thought this was more comparable

Voigtlander Ultron Screw Mount vs M mount

You may be away that there are two Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lenses available. There is the older screw mount version of the lens, often called the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 LTM and then the modern M mount version as reviewed here. I looked to buy the earlier 35mm Ultron LTM lens as I wanted to use it on my screw mount film cameras such as the Voigtlander Bessa R.

The reviews of the Ultron LTM lens however put me off. The screw mount Ultron 35mm 1.7 lens will only focus down to 0.9m not 0.5m. It is said to be prone to haze and the optical block becoming loose over time. (The few copies I found of this lens on eBay all had haze sadly). The one benefit it does offer is it is smaller than the M mount version. The modern lens is an aspherical design which is why is it so sharp but that does add to the size. The LTM lens is non-aspherical.

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm Portraits

The following portraits are all shot with the Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 lens at f1.7. I used the lens with both the APS-C crop sensor Leica CL camera and the full frame Leica M240.

Leica CL + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portraits

(Photos shot in RAW, imported into Lightroom, MrLeica Leica CL preset applied then finished in Photoshop).

Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Portrait
Leica iif Photographer
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Voigtlander Ultron 35mm 1.7 Portrait
Leica CL + Ultron 35 / 1.7
Voigtlander 35mm Ultron Portrait
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portrait
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Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7
Girls with cameras
Belated Merry Christmas!
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 M Portrait
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Digital Leica CL + 35mm f1.7 Ultron
Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Review
Voigtlander 35mm Ultron Portrait
Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portrait
Leica CL + Ultron 35mm 1.7
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Leica M240 + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Portrait Photos
Leica M240 + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm
Leica M240 + Voigtlander 35mm 1.7

**I shot the Ultron mostly on the Leica CL but I will add in more Leica M240 images here as I shoot/ edit them.

Best Voigtlander Lens for Sunstars?

The Voigtlander Ultron lens design means it can create amazing sunstars even with the lens close to wide open.. and then at all apertures from then on. Here is an example photo shot on a morning run when visiting Poland.

*It is worth mentioning that the Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens can also create a similar look. (I still need to do a write up for that lens!)

Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 Sunstars

How much does the 35mm f1.7 Voigtlander Ultron cost?

It depends where you live. If you are outside of the UK check out Amazon and if in the UK check out the Robert White website as the lens is not listed on the Amazon UK site. If you want to buy a used copy of the lens check eBay.

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My new favourite fast 35mm lens!

After receiving a copy of this lens to test I was so impressed I had to buy one for myself. I found a good deal on eBay and so this is now my new preferred fast 35mm setup on the Leica CL and for film photography (especially).

Goodbye Canon 35mm f1.8 LTM 🙁

If you follow my work on platforms such as Flickr you will know that for most of last year my go to 35mm lens was the tiny Canon 35mm f1.8 LTM (screw mount). I loved the size of this lens but in terms of sharpness the Ultron is unmatched. I decided to sell the Canon rangefinder lens (which I will probably regret!) to fund the Ultron purchase. If I want a small more forgiving fast 35mm I will start using the Voigtlander Ultron Classic 35mm instead. This is the plan!

Do you love Voigtlander lens too!?

You may also like these amazing Voigtlander lenses!

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.2 ASPH VM
Voigtlander Nokton 75mm f1.5 ASPH VM
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.2 ASPH VM
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Want to use Voigtlander lenses on your DSLR camera?

No fear! You can benefit from using the Voigtlander SL / SLII lenses for Nikon or Canon mount (for example). Voigtlander lenses account for some of my best Nikon mount lenses that I use on the SLR film cameras.

Voigtlander SL lenses for Nikon and Canon – 20/28/40/58mm..

Looking for more photography-related content?

You might also enjoy my Patreon posts. I try to publish 3-5 times a week on Patreon and there are 150+ posts on there to view currently. Unseen videos including BTS (behind the scenes) with models and or on location, tutorials, tip and tricks, editing, portrait lighting, photobooks and anything else I think people might find useful.

If you just want to support the MrLeica blog and YouTube you can also sign up to Patreon for as little as £1 a month (+VAT).

Voigtlander Bessa T Review (Best Leica M6 Alternative?)

Voigtlander Bessa T Review (Best Leica M6 Alternative?) + YouTube Video

35mm Voigtlander Bessa T Film Camera

Voigtlander Bessa T review / write-up with sample photos to follow the YouTube camera review video I shared.  The Bessa T offers an affordable alternative to Leica M film cameras.  From the current used prices this camera still seems be off radar for those looking for a 35mm rangefinder film camera.  Here is a quick summary about the Bessa T and why you should consider buying one. (It could be the best Leica M6 alternative if you enjoy portrait photography with fast lenses like me!)

Voigtlander Bessa T Video Cover Photo

Cosina Voigtlander Bessa T

The Bessa T 35mm film camera was manufactured by Cosina Voigtlander of Japan from around 2001-2004.  This is a 35mm film rangefinder camera with a Leica M lens mount! That’s correct. The Bessa T will let you use all your amazing Leica M glass on this body at a fraction of the cost of say the now very popular Leica M6 camera. It does have some quirks so keep reading before you look to buy!

Voigtlander Bessa T Specs

  • Built in rangefinder with +2/-2 diopter adjustment
  • No built in viewfinder (need to use hotshoe finder)
  • Built in light meter (display on rear of camera)
  • Bessa T light meter battery – 2x LR44 / SR44
  • Minimum focus distance – 0.9m
  • Maximum shutter speed – 1/2000
  • Maximum flash sync speed – 1/125
  • Voigtlander Bessa T weight – 385g
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Voigtlander Bessa T Viewfinder ..or lack of!

Yes so just to clarify the Voigtlander Bessa T camera doesn’t have a viewfinder! What a stupid camera design you might say!? It’s just a different design. Instead of having a combined viewfinder / rangefinder like a Leica M camera it only has a built in rangefinder. (That is a step forward from the Voigtlander Bessa L camera that has no viewfinder or rangefinder!). To compose your image you need to use an external optical viewfinder that attaches via the hotshoe. Voigtlander make viewfinders for many of the lens focal lengths but they are also made by Leica, Canon, Zeiss and others. You can see a visual of these finders in this YouTube video – Voigtlander Viewfinders.

Voigtlander Bessa T Heliar 101 Edition in Grey with trigger winder

Flash photography with a Bessa T: Wireless especially

Beware! One negative of the Voigtlander Bessa T camera design is you cannot mount you flash trigger in the hotshoe. The hotshoe is already occupied by the viewfinder which you need to compose you photos with. You can use PC sync cables to fire flash from the PC sync port but I prefer to use wireless flash triggers where possible. A small generic coldshoe bracket can be added to the base of the Bessa T camera, attaching via the tripod socket. You can then mount a flash trigger on the bracket and run a short cable to the camera PC sync port. It works but it is less fun to hold. This makes the Bessa T less ideal for flash photography vs. say a Leica M6 or Leica M4-P (cameras I use).

Beware of parallax! (Viewfinder parallax error)

Take care when using basic hotshoe viewfinders that don’t offer parallax adjustment. This is especially true when using longer lenses. If you focus close to your subject as I do for portraits, a standard viewfinder framing is not accurate and the final image will be different to what you visualised. Here is an example photo using a 90mm lens up close! I composed for the face to fill the frame but due to parallax error I missed! If I had used a viewfinder with parallax adjustment this can be avoided or you just remember the fact and recompose as needed.

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Viewfinder Parallax Issues
Voigtlander Bessa T parallax error

Here is another more extreme parallax error example using the same setup on film I just developed. It is quite creative I guess ha!

Parallax Art - Bessa T
Voigtlander Bessa T parallax error

Voigtlander Bessa T Rangefinder

If you are used to Leica rangefinder cameras.. or most rangefinder cameras I’ve used, the Bessa T is different. For most other cameras that come to mind the camera design is a combined viewfinder-rangefinder. This is the viewfinder window with a rangefinder patch in the centre. The patch is often rectangular but not always.

Unlike many cameras including Leica M cameras, the Bessa T has no viewfinder window at all. The Bessa T rangefinder design is a tube with a circular rangefinder patch in the centre. With a 1.5x magnification and the built in +2/-2 diopter I find the rangefinder excellent for critical focusing my portrait images.

Two step process – Focus then compose

I guess operating the Bessa T is a little similar the Leica iiia camera design with it being a two step process. Step one, use the rangefinder to focus. Step two, move your eye from the rangefinder to the viewfinder to compose your shot. Care is recommended so not to move the camera when repositioning your eye between the two windows. Leica iii cameras are easier to use in this regard as the windows are closer together. This is especially true on later Leica iii camera models such as the Leica iif or Leica iiig that I use.

Voigtlander Bessa T Review & Portraits
Voigtlander Bessa T portrait on Kentmere 400 film

Leica M6 vs Voigtlander Bessa T

As a Leica M6 classic camera owner I appreciate what the M6 can offer.  I bought mine some years ago before the recent used prices increases.  Would I spend £2100 on a Leica M6 today?  No I don’t think so.  Personally I prefer the build of the older Leica M2 and Leica M3 cameras although the M6 does offer some advantages over older models.  If you use Leica M mount lenses (say on your digital Leica M8, M9, M240, M10 camera) and want a Leica M mount film camera there are a few options.  The Voigtlander Bessa T is one of several Leica M mount cameras that you can use with your Leica M mount lenses.

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Cheap Leica M mount cameras (*Cheaper)

So let’s ignore Leica M film cameras and look at a few other possibilities.  For each camera I will mention why it may suit you for Leica M lens photography

My Voigtlander Bessa T camera (user copy!)
Voigtlander Bessa T (This review + YouTube video)
  • One of the cheapest M mount cameras
  • Amazing rangefinder – accurate (magnified + diopter) Good with fast lenses (especially)
  • No viewfinder – Need external hotshoe viewfinder for each lens you use
  • Lighter than a Leica M film camera
minolta m-rokkor 40mm + Leica CL
Leica CL (Minolta CL) vs Voigtlander Bessa R3A (side by side)
Voigtlander Bessa R3A (See full review + YouTube video)
  • Cheaper than a Leica but over twice the price of the Voigtlander Bessa T camera
  • Combined viewfinder/ rangefinder with 1:1 magnification
  • More automation than the Bessa T and closer to a Leica M6 in functionality
Leica CL (Minolta CL) (See full review + YouTube video)
  • Similar price to the Voigtlander Bessa T camera
  • Combined viewfinder/ rangefinder with 40mm & 90mm framelines
  • Poor (low magnification) rangefinder – not suitable for accurate focusing
  • Small and light

Reasons to buy the Voigtlander Bessa T

So there are two real options when it comes to a lower priced Leica M film camera.  First the little Leica CL (Minolta CL) but for me this camera is better suited to wide lens photography and or with the lens stopped down.  This is because of the low magnification Leica CL rangefinder. Wider lenses and stopping down gives a great depth of field so the rangefinder doesn’t need to be accurate. As a portrait photography this doesn’t really work for me. 

Option two is the Voigtlander Bessa T and the reason to buy this camera is for the accurate rangefinder.  Now I can use fast lenses such as the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH accurately for portraits.  The rangefinder and built in diopter also benefits use of longer lenses such as the Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH (An amazing portrait lens!).  The Bessa T is also much lighter than a Leica M camera so it works great as a travel camera too.  I pair my Bessa T with Voigtlander hotshoe viewfinders and something like the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 (or Zeiss ZM Biogon 25mm) for a wider view.

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Voigtlander Bessa T Sample Photos

These photos were shot with the Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8 lens

Voigtlander Bessa T
Voigtlander Bessa T + Biogon 25mm
Voigtlander Bessa T  + Biogon 25mm
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Voigtlander Bessa T Portraits

Click the photos to see the lens used on the Bessa T and the film stock / film developing details.

Bessa T + Heliar 50mm f3.5
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Nikkor 50mm f2 LTM
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Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa T + Leica 50mm
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
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YouTube: Voigtlander Bessa T Review (vs Leica M6)

Verdict – Is the Voigtlander Bessa T for you?

The answer is it depends on (1) what is important to you (2) how you like to photograph.  If you want a cheap (*cheaper than Leica!) rangefinder camera and are not limited to Leica M mount lenses then the Bessa R (see below) is an excellent choice. If you use Leica M mount lenses then your cheapest options are the Bessa T or mentioned Leica CL / Minolta CL. I would use the CL for wides (35mm or wider) and the Bessa T for precision / portraits. (There is also the Minolta CLE you could consider, again for wider lens shooting – I think).

For me the Leica M3 is still better than the Bessa T for my portraits as it offers the combined magnified viewfinder/rangefinder but if I want a lighter setup I now go with the T.

Check the current prices on eBay

Voigtlander Bessa T:

Leica M6:

Voigtlander Bessa Camera Reviews

You might also like –

Voigtlander Bessa R Review
Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review
Voigtlander Bessa L Review
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Bessa Film Loading (All Cosina Voigtlander models)
Voigtlander viewfinders (For rangefinder cameras)
Also – 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

Support the blog by joining Patreon & get access to 100+ exclusive posts

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>>> LEICA LIGHTROOM PRESETS <<<

Hasselblad HC Lenses + Portraits + YouTube

Hasselblad HC Lenses + Sample Photos + YouTube Review

Hasselblad HC lens portraits using a Hasslblad H2 camera plus Hasselblad H film back (645). Comparing images from the 4 Hasselblad HC lenses I use and why I use each of them. (Including full res images as featured on YouTube).

Hasselblad / Tri-X Portrait

Best Hasselblad HC lens?

So in this post I share the four lenses I use for my Hasselblad H2 medium format film camera. The best Hasselblad HC lens depends on what you are photographing and how you like to work. I use a Hasselblad HC 50mm, 80mm 100mm and 120mm lens and each have their strength.

Hasselblad H wide lens

The standard Hasselblad HC 80 kit lens is great but it is not wide enough to use for my film wedding photography. I wanted a Hasselblad H wide lens to capture both the subjects in the photo and also the fun happening around them. This is especially important for indoor photography when a wider lens is needed for tighter spaces. In portrait terms I wanted to create wider environmental portraits vs standard portraits of 1 to 2 people with the 80mm lens.

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Hasselblad HC 50mm f3.5 lens

After enjoying using my Zeiss Distagon 50mm lens on the Hasselblad H2 in Portugal (via an adapter) I got on eBay when I got home. An auction was ending one lunch time with seemingly few bidders and a low price point. I bid slightly higher just in case to test my luck and to my astonishment I won the auction! So I’m now the lucky owner of an autofocus Hasselblad HC 50mm f4 lens in mint condition which will be perfect for Hasselblad wedding photography especially. Fast and accurate focusing for my moving subjects. Very pleased!

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 50mm f3.5

Hasselblad 645 Portrait - H2
Hasselblad H2 Fashion
Hasselblad 50mm Portrait
Hasselblad 50mm Portrait
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Hasselblad H kit lens / Smallest Hasselblad HC lens!

The standard Hasselblad H kit lens is the trusty Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 glass. For many camera systems a kit lens is “average” at best but in this instance the 80mm lens is a great performer.

Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 lens

The biggest advantages of the Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 lens is the small size. The 80mm HC is the smallest lens available for the Hasselblad H system / series cameras. It makes the H2 setup almost portable and this is my preferred one lens setup for overseas travel if I need to pack as light as possible. The 80mm is a good all rounder but doesn’t offer any special look. It isn’t wide, it isn’t fast glass and it isn’t a macro lens, it’s just normal. I guess that’s why they call the 50mm equivalent focal length (in 35mm terms) a normal lens. Great performer for anyone looking for a Hasselblad H one lens setup.

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8

Digital camera that shoots film?
Hasselblad H3D Film
Hasselblad H3D-31 Film
Hasselblad H3D-31 Film
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Hasselblad H macro lens / portrait lens

One feature of standard kit lenses is they normally can’t focus very close to a subject for detail photos. As an ex-macro photographer (before turning to portraits and weddings) I still appreciate the finer details. For this reason I think is it always nice to have a macro lens available for wedding photos. Many macro lenses also double as a great portrait lens which is helpful.

Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens

The best tool for this job for a Hasselblad H camera is the Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens. As the name suggests it offers macro photography but with a 120mm focal length it can be perfect for portraits too. Macro lenses are also crazy sharp (for any camera system) so they are a good lens to use if you enjoy high resolution images.

The seller that listed the Hasselblad 50mm lens also had a Hasselblad 120mm f4 macro lens for sale. The auction finished shortly after the 50mm lens mentioned above so I was able to bid on both items. Again I went in with a late and low yet slightly higher bid and won that lens too! I couldn’t believe it! What a crazy day that was. Two new Hasselblad HC lenses ready for my analogue wedding photography booking the following weekend. (Sadly the COVID-19 virus then swept the world so all the 2020 wedding bookings were pushed back to later dates. No Hasselblad H2 wedding photos yet but hopefully soon).

Hasselblad V to H lens adapter

The Zeiss 120mm f4 macro lens is also a real favourite of mine on the Hasselblad 500 system. I have shot many 6×6 portraits with the Zeiss 120mm f4 CF lens on Hasselblad 501c and Hasselblad 500cm cameras.

The Hasselblad V to H lens adapter let me use the Zeiss Macro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens on my Hasselblad H3D-31 camera too. Check out the Hasselblad H3D-31 review for example photos. It was that setup that lead to me buying the autofocus Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens!

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro

Hasselblad HC 120mm Macro Portrait
Hasselblad 120mm Macro
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Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 Portrait
Hasselblad HC 120 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 Film Back
Hasselblad HC 120 Portrait lens
Hasselblad HC 120mm Portrait
Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 Macro Portrait
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Hasselblad fast lens / dreamy bokeh lens

Dreamy bokeh is a look many photographers enjoy but as a portrait and wedding photographer this is even more important. I use fast lenses on the Leica cameras such as the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 but sadly it is less easy for medium format cameras. Unlike 35mm camera lenses where there are f1.0 lenses, f1.2, f1.4 and so on most medium format camera lenses start at f2.8. There are some exceptions including the Mamiya 645 80mm f1.9, the amazing Contax 645 Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 or the Pentax 67 105mm f2.4 lens.

Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9

The Mamiya 80mm f1.9 lens gives a nice shallow depth of field to portraits but as a manual focus lens it is easy to miss focus. I use mostly manual focus cameras and lenses and the Mamiya 645 misses more than average for me. When it nails a shot it is beautiful but I wanted an autofocus lens to have a much higher hit rate.

Mamiya 645 Super Portrait
Mamiya 645 + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens

Contax 645 Zeiss Planar 80mm f2

The autofocus Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 lens is amazing and it give a look like no other for dreamy portraits. Sadly I sold my Contax 645 some years ago and now the prices are so high I wouldn’t want to buy another. The SLR style autofocus camera appealed to me for wedding photography and I lusted after a lens like the 80mm Planar.

Stacy with Contax 645
The Dancer - Rodinal Stand Development
Zsaklin with Contax 645
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Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens

I think I just found my dream lens! The Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens offers a look comparable to the Contax 80mm f2 lens but mounts on my H2. Like the Contax lens the 100mm HC Hasselblad lens is compact and fast. It will be the ideal lens for the Hasselblad H2 camera to create the Contax 645 look. I feel the shallow depth of field really suits wedding photography and this is the best lens in the Hasselblad line up for the task.

Used Hasselblad HC lenses on eBay

Ebay strikes again! After doing my research and due diligence I had been watching a Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens on eBay. More as a bookmark than anything else to be honest. The price of this lens is more the the 50mm and 120mm lenses so I didn’t really want to spend the money. After forgetting I had even looked at this lens one day I received an eBay. Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens – 25% off one day offer from seller! My eyes need popped out my head. That made the lens now almost too to good an opportunity to miss. If it makes the unique analogue wedding photography images I was lusting after it was priceless. Done and with a wedding booking a just a week away it was perfect timing! (I’m all set now for after the Coronavirus lockdown anyway!).

I enjoy offering different style of photos to the masses. Even though I don’t advertise my wedding photography other that listing it on my homepage I do really enjoy it. Yes wedding photography editing takes time but if the images are shot creatively it can be enjoyable post processing work. I guess compare it to editing photos of your favourite model or old car. If the photos look nice it is fun. If Hasselblad wedding photography images inspire me from using this 100mm lens I will be more likely to start chasing after wedding bookings. How good would it be to use this lens every month for a wedding!

Hasselblad H2 vs Contax 645 Selfie Test

When I had my Contax 645 camera I did a mirror selfie with the Zeiss 80mm f2 Planar lens. As a non-scientific comparison I decided to do a mirror selfie with the Hasselblad H2 and the 100mm f2.2 lens. Here are the results.

Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 + Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens
Contax 645 Selfie
Contax 645 + Zeiss 80mm f2 lens
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Portraits with Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2

Hasselblad H2 100mm f2.2 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 100mm Portrait
Hasselblad 100mm Portrait
Hasselblad 100mm HC Bokeh
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YouTube: Hasselblad HC Lenses + Sample Photos

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Hasselblad H wedding photography

Here is a link to a wedding a shot with my Hasselblad H3D-31 with 31MP digital back. All photos were shot with the Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 kit lens – Hasselblad Wedding – Sarah & Cris.

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Review (M-Rokkor for Leica!)

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Review (Leica Summicron Alternative!) + YouTube

If you love the idea of buying a Leica Summicron lens but the price is above your budget then keep reading. The Minolta-M Rokkor 40mm f2 lens is near identical to the Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2 lens. The Minolta 40mm f2 lens also comes for a fraction of the price of a Summicron 35mm lens!

Minolta 40mm Review - Blog Cover Photo
Leica CL digital + Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait

Unplanned discovery of the 40mm Minolta lens!

I hadn’t planned to buy the Minolta 40mm Rokkor lens for Leica M mount.  It was a purchase fueled by photography GAS (gear acquisition syndrome!) when I was looking at the highly regarded Leica Summicron 35mm f2 lens.  Summicron 35mm lenses are crazy expensive and I didn’t want to spend that much money.  I saw the size of the Leica Summicron 40mm f2 lens and the much lower price tag and I was immediately interested.  I headed over to Flickr to find examples of this lens and reviews seems very positive.  

Leica Summicron 40mm vs 35mm 

The verdict online seems to be that the Summicron- C 40mm isn’t quite as good as the 35mm Summicron lens but the 40mm offers exceptional value for money.   The 40mm Summicron is said to be the smallest Leica M lens but I’m not sure that holds true.  Collapsible lenses like the Leica Elmar M is smaller when collapsed.  Some Leica LTM lenses are also smaller and other brands made small lenses such as the Voigtlander Skopar lenses (M mount and LTM mount)(examples – Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 lens / Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens) and Canon LTM lenses.

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Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm vs Summicron 40mm

If you come to buy the Leica Summicron 40mm f2 lens you will find there are 3 similar versions.  The Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2, the Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2 version 1 and the Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm version 2.  Optically I understand that all 3 lenses are identical but the Minolta 40mm later version is said to have better lens coatings.

Minolta CLE 40mm lens or Minolta CL 40mm lens

The version 2 of the lens was the Minolta CLE 40mm lens whereas the version 1 was the Minolta CL 40mm lens. Better coatings makes the Minolta 40mm v2 less prone to flare (unlike the Leica Summicron and Minolta v1).  For this reason I purchased a later copy of the Minolta 40mm.  

Great Value! Minolta 40mm lens on eBay

Being non Leica branded the Minolta lenses also often sell for less than their Leica sibling.  That works for me!  I called myself MrLeica.com some years ago but I’m not loyal to any one brand. I just try to use the best cameras and lenses I can afford regardless of the name.

Check the latest prices on eBay

Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait
Leica CL digital + Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Portrait

Leica Summicron-C 40mm f2 lens 

If you are a loyal Leica brand only shooter then you might prefer the Leica badged version. If you search online for the Leica Summicron C 40mm lens you will find it is particularly affordable for a Leica Summicron lens (and tiny!). It is almost unbelievably cheap when you see the cost of a Leica 35mm Summicron lens.

40mm Viewfinder

If you use a Leica M film camera you will know that these cameras do not have 40mm framelines. To get around this I use a 40mm hotshoe viewfinder. See the YouTube video embedded below for a visual.

Camera with 40mm Framelines

If you want a film camera with 40mm framelines “build in” to the viewfinder then check out these two cameras –

minolta m-rokkor 40mm + Leica CL
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Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait Examples – Digital

Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2
Leica + Rokkor 40mm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2
Leica M240 + Rokkor 40mm
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Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm Sample Photos – Film

Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400
35mm Leica CL + Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait
35mm Leica CL Film Portrait
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Summary of the Minolta 40mm Rokkor M f2 lens

This compact lightweight affordable lens for Leica M mount offers excellent value for money. It seems a bit of a forgotten gem in the Leica lens option line up. I would have bought the Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 lens in my early Leica days if I knew it existed back then. The size and weight makes this a perfect travel lens. I’ve been really happy with it so far both for shooting film and digital.

YouTube: Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f2 Review

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