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Summicron 90mm Portrait
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Leica Blog – Founder / Story

I’m a self taught photographer with 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.

Mr Leica Photographer Blog

Coventry photography studio based UK 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)
LEICA. LENSES. CAMERAS. WORKSHOP. WEDDING. PRESETS. FILM
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Romania Trip / Models 2020

Romania Trip & Romanian Models 2020

Photo Trip Blog Diary (Written March, 2020)

Summary of my first photography trip to Romania for model photography.

Leaving with mixed emotions..

After 2.5 days in Romania I leave the city of Cluj (Cluj-Napoca) with mixed emotions. Beautiful city and beautiful people but at the same time so difficult. Let me explain!

Cluj-Napoca visit

So after finding a cheap flight from my UK home airport I decided to visit Cluj-Napoca, Romania for the first time. That was the only criteria for choosing this city although it would be nice to now tick Romania off my todo list. It was my attempt at being more adventurous this year with multiple new destinations booked (Rather than Poland, Hungary, Poland, Poland, Hungary..!).

>> Follow me on YouTube
Canon 35mm LTM Portrait

Cameras for Romania 

I would have happily shot only 35mm film for this trip but I had some new 120 film stock to try. That and a 6×9 folding camera to test out (which takes 120 film). My final camera lineup for the trip was –

Leica Minolta CL Camera

Running in Cluj

As you may have seen from one of my early YouTube videos, I enjoy running as a mode of transport when visiting new destinations.  I took my trusty hydration vest and running belt as shown previously, to carry cameras with and selected cameras that were small and compact to suit my needs. When I run in Poland I usually only carry one camera as I’ve been before so know what to expect. In Romania I ran with three cameras to avoid fear of missing out (“FOMO”)! I wanted the option to shoot both 35mm colour film and 35mm B&W film and 120.  

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Part of this was to test new cameras or film stocks and partly the cameras were all so compact that just could carry 3.  (See the Patreon video I shared, shot live in Romania). The 6×9 Agfa Billy 2 camera was particularly impressive at how small it was. (Smaller than the 645 format Fuji GS645 and slimmer than a Leica M camera with lens is attached. 

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2

I got up for sunrise both morning and went exploring.  After seeing photos of the city on Instagram I knew there was some high ground with a view across the city.  I checked the map and headed for the biggest hill.  This is what I normally tend to do anyway, wherever I am.

It reminded me a little of my visit to San Francisco and running up to the Twin Peaks for sunrise, but on a smaller scale.  Much less height to climb and a less grand view at the top, though nice all the same.  Once I was up on higher ground I needed something else to photo so I ran towards the railway station.  I seem to gravitate towards stations and railways as there is usually both infrastructure to photo and the potential of older things.  

Hasselblad Xpan Cityscape - San Francisco
San Francisco – Hasselblad Xpan

Like many photographers I think I much prefer old vs new for pictures. Urbex photography interests me but I usually do it to a lesser extent. I enjoy geometric shapes so railway tracks and platforms give me structures to work with. I much prefer this to being in nature where it lacks such structures.  I guess I like to photo old man made structures, in a nut shell. Not old as in castles but old as in war time or industrial.  I want to photo the old trains and structures before everything is replaced with modern.  In the UK we don’t really see the old trains so much, unless on a preserved railway.  Also security is so tight in the UK and Western Europe you often can’t get anywhere close because of health and safety measures. 

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Leica iiia Photography

So I’m not a train spotter I just find railways a good source of old stuff to photo!  In EU countries most of the older cars are long since gone after countries offered scrapage scemes to incentivise replacing old with new. The cars in Romania were no different to the UK so there was no interest there in that regard. In contrast Ukraine is non EU so it still has it’s older cars and vehicles which I love. 

Russian Old Truck (ZIL-130)
Russian Old Truck (ZIL-130) shot in Ukraine

I tried my luck as a tourist and got really close to the railway in places that I should not have been. There were not fences but the signs seemed to indicate I was in the wrong place. On day one I was feeling quite confident until railway workers shouted at me from a distance.  I couldn’t see them so I took my photo anyway.

What pained me the most is I took this average photo looking in one direction then behind me I see two railway workers speeding past me in their DIY chopped off vintage van (road vehicle that had be re-mounted to a railway bogie!) (wheels to fit the railway tracks). Painted bright yellow and the guys pointing and shouting at me. They went out of view before I had chance to turn on the camera but what a great sight and gutted at the missed photo.

By day 2 I’d lost my nerve a bit so didn’t stray beyond no go signs. Disappointing as there was a whole playground of cool things to photo just in front of me.  Local dogs started barking as I got close raising the alarm of my presence so I gave up and headed back into the old town of Cluj for a few tourist photos. 

Nikkor H.C. 5cm Portrait
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Getting out my comfort zone

After 10+ years of model photography it’s all quite easy now.  I use a wide array of analogue film cameras to keep it interesting for me.  I like to be always learning / progressing so I would really struggle if I shot digital only. The photography aspect is comfortable for me but so to are the places I visit.  I needed to get out my comfort zone that is Poland, Hungary, and to a lesser extent Ukraine. In these countries (or the specifically the cities I visit most – Gdansk, Budapest, Uzhhorod respectively) I have a pool of models, especially in Poland, so I love to visit to see friends/ acquaintances. I know the airports, the hotels, the bus routes and the trains. I have my go to grocery stores and everything is just very easy and familiar. That’s one reason why I visited Romania. To have new experiences.

Leica iiia + Shutter issues

Discovering new talent

In addition to working with familiar faces in my favourite mentioned cities I always try to find a few new people each trip.  I love discovering very talented and beautiful people, especially if they are not agency models and are relatively unknown in that regard.  I’ve managed to scout a few models over the years and get them placed with model agencies.  I seem to be able to spot strong talent easily from a crowd. 

Gene pool

Each country has their own common look with similarities with regards to certain features.  In some countries people are generally taller (the Netherlands), some countries blue eyes and blonde hair may be more common. Elsewhere brown eyes and darker skin perhaps.  Some nations are generally slimmer and others more rounded.  I love the look found in Poland and Hungary as it really suits my personal taste.  With that said, there may be beautiful people with features to my taste in other countries too so I feel it is good to explore.  If I never try new countries I could be missing out on a goldmine of model talent. This is why I want to try new countries.  If they are not as good as my listed favourite countries at least I know for future reference.

It is worth me noting for clarity that there are beautiful people in every country and every city.  What I am looking for is where those individuals that are above average beautiful and a higher percentage of pretty people from a total population.  Having one amazing girl in a city is no good as the chance of me working with them are minimal. When the average girl walking down the street in her day wear looks good and so do her friends and her friends friends then the likelihood of me finding people for photos is much higher. It’s simply a numbers game!

Lomo 800 Night Photography
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Romanian girls 

I think it would be said that Romanian girls are generally attractive.  Some countries are famous for their girls, perhaps Russia or Ukraine and others it is never mentioned as a fact.  I think Romania is closer to the upper end of the ‘positive spectrum’. 

I find I can get some idea of this if I search a city hashtag on Instagram.  Local people will be tagged and it’s a way I search for models.  It was a little worrying at how difficult I found it to find people I wanted to photograph using this method in Romania.  Some nationalities use social media and specific apps less than others.  The French seemed to use Instagram very little so I really struggled when I visited France last year for photos.  Romania was going to be equally challenging but for different reasons.

Romanians are extremely cautious people 

From my experience and in this scenario I discovered Romanian girls to be extremely guarded and untrusting.  I spoke to perhaps 30-40 models before the trip and many showed interest in meeting at first. One by one they all exited the chat as politely as they could in their own unique ways. I couldn’t understand what was happening as I’ve never experienced this before.  When two courageous individuals did start talking with me at length I asked them.  They told me Romanian girls are careful and they themselves were worried to meet me but would do some research on me beforehand. 

3 Photoshoots in Romania

One girl who wrote to me asking for photos was a professional photographer and photographed people too. She kindly put me in contact with a model friend of hers so that gave me three models (including her) to work with. I always aim for as many girls as possible but in hindsight 3-5 was about perfect.  A good balance between taking photos with girls, often in the apartment, and me getting out to explore this new city.  

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Bokeh
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Big thanks

Firstly a big thanks to the three girls who trusted me enough to meet. They were the minority in Cluj, sadly. 

Of the 3 shoots one session was similar to how I often work in Poland. The girl was super relaxed about her body and with me so the photos came easily. Another girl was more cautious towards her clothing (verses her usual work) so tried to stay mostly covered but I still got nice portraits and headshots.  

The photographer girl was so careful she didn’t even want to step into the apartment and said initially she’d wait outside.  I’ve never seen that in 10 years of photos!  We had planned to shoot in the street anyway and lucky after a short time we were best buddies and had a great laugh. I love to meet new cool people in this way. The social aspect can be as fun and the photos themselves.  Sometimes it just clicks and it’s enjoyable just hanging out. I get the opportunity to learn about the city and local people from them and they often ask about the UK. 

Leitz CL Camera

Sad to see good talent miss out

What disappointed me the most in Cluj is how many attractive girls missed out on great photos.  I’m not bigging myself up saying I’m amazing but I know I can make people happy with my photos.  I don’t remember a model not liking their images. This confidence is what drives me forward so strongly.  As a natural introvert the camera gives me the confidence to approach anyone online with regards to photos. I know I could have made great images with the masses of girls that were too scared to meet. Why were they scared. I think some of my slightly sexy images on Instagram put them off even if I suggested outside photos only and to bring a friend for support. 

Leica iiia + Canon 28mm f2.8 LTM
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Will I visit Romania again?

Until the final photo session I would say 100% no but then she was so good maybe a should. The city of Cluj is beautiful and easy to travel to for me. This is a plus.  I would just need to confirm models in advance if they reply once I have example photos from girls in their city.  I just don’t know if I have time to write to so many people again when I got such I low success rate.  In Poland I have more models than I ever have time to photograph (that I’m in contact with) so going there is just productive and positive.

Camera choice – Was I happy?

Digital Leica CL

I shot almost all digital image with the Leica APS-C mirrorless camera. It is such a great camera for travel being so small. Normally I pair the CL with a 35mm prime lens for a 50mm equivalent shooting experience. I posted mostly film images from the trip but here is a digital sample.

Canon 35mm LTM Portrait
Leica CL film camera 

The analogue Leica CL camera rangefinder is very poor for portraits due to the low magnification and that made it very difficult to use. For stopped down landscape photos it was fine but for portraits and street photography it was a waste of time. I did try both but I will wait to see if the portraits are in focus (at f4!). On the street I was missing 7 out of 10 opportunities and I couldn’t focus fast enough to get the image. Very annoying.

35mm Leica CL Film Portrait
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Leica CL / Minolta CL
35mm Leica CL + Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400 film

Tried and tested. The Leica M3 works great for portraits but is too heavy to run with as a lightweight camera.  (There are lighter options).

Leica + Minolta 40mm Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400
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Nikkor HC 5cm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm Portrait
Leica iiia + Fomapan 100 film

Excellent camera with great rangefinder. Absolutely perfect for travel and running with, especially if fitted with the compact a Leica Elmar 5cm f3.5 lens attached.

Leica iiia Landscape
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Leica iiia shutter issues

Being an old camera and probably left unused for years before I bought it on eBay it died mid trip. Not completely but the shutter was in some of my images. Top tip if you buy a vintage Leica. Get them CLA’s before any extensive use. I had my Leica iif and Leica ic cameras fully serviced so they will become my main users.

Leica iiia shutter issues - as seen on Youtube
Leica iiia shutter issues - as seen on Youtube
Barnack Leica Photography
Fuji GS645 + Lomography 800 film

Great lens and a useful 645 film format but not overly exciting to use and larger and heavier than other some other medium format cameras I own.

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Fuji GS645 Portrait
Lomo 800 Colours
120 Lomo 800 Colours
Lomo 800 Night Photography
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Agfa Record Billy 2

I really appreciate how compact the Agfa Billy 2 is, especially considering it is 6×9.  I have an older version of the camera with pop up framelines. I found this really useful to visualize a photo before opening the camera.   The same as how Leica framelines work without a lens attached. 

Sadly, although I bought a very clean copy of the camera it had focusing issues so was soft at all f stop. It made for some very vintage looking images and I will send it for repair soon. (When you turn the focus on the lens it spins on itself and changes nothing).

Agfa Billy Record II Photo
Agfa Billy Record II 6x9 Folding Camera
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Related Posts

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How to buy the equipment Matt uses

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LEICA. LENSES. CAMERAS. WORKSHOP. WEDDING. PRESETS. FILM

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Newsletter – January 2022

Free Monthly Newsletter!

Hi friends! Here is the new monthly MrLeica.com newsletter – A summary of posts you may have missed, upcoming events, useful information and anything else I can think of!

Minolta X300 45mm Portrait
Flickr Model Photo of the Month – Dec21 (Malgorzata, Poland 2020) (Most Liked)

Features

  • Recap from December
  • YouTube Videos from December
  • New Blog Posts
  • UK Workshops
  • Overseas Workshops
  • Patreon – Zoom Calls & More
  • January 2022 – Coming up!

Recap from December

Happy New Year all! So looking back at December, I managed to finally get back to my model friends in Poland. A well overdue trip! I was greeted with -9 degrees celcius and snow so that made for some nice festive looking photos. I took a few new lenses with me to test and I’ve posted the first 2 of the 3 YouTube videos (see below). There is also the usual behind the scenes videos (“BTS”) shared on Patreon.

Zoom went wild!

My 1:1 Zoom call “service” went crazy in December and in one week I think I spoke to photographers in 5 different countries. If you need consultancy on cameras, lenses, lighting, model photography, film, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’ve made a new section on the blog with details and testimonials – https://mrleica.com/zoom/

Blog make-over!

Talking of the blog, I took some time over the holidays to try to simplify the 8 years of blog posts on MrLeica.com. The blog has evolved over the years and perhaps wasn’t the easiest website to navigate. To change that, I split out the posts so things are easier to find. The Leica tab is now for Leica cameras (film and digital), Leica Lightroom presets and anything Leica related except lenses. You now have a dedicated Lenses tab which does exactly what is says and includes all lens reviews for all cameras. The new Camera tab is where you now find the film camera reviews, all film formats. Lastly, the Film tab is now specific to film stock reviews.

Find the best price for your photography gear

We all want to find the lowest price when it comes to buying new photography gear so to facilitate this I setup https://mrleica.com/kitlist/. I partnered up with a company where I can now provide you with links to all the products I use in one place. Amazon product links for 60+ countries rather than just limited to the UK and US plus B&H and Adorama links too. You can also use the MRLEICA discount code at selective stores for additional money off.

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December 2021 YouTube Videos Catch-up:

Below is a catch up of all the YouTube videos I published last month:

#1 BESTSELLER | Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO Review (Leica M)

If you need a sharp 50mm lens for your Leica M mount camera look no further!

New Street Photography Lens for LEICA | TTArtisan 28mm f5.6

An excellent value lens from TTArtisan. Beautifully made and TINY!

Voigtlander 90mm f2.8 APO-Skopar Review

New from Voigtlander. A compact high quality 90mm lens for Leica.

Leica R5 vs Leica R7 Review

A reminder of these great cameras. The forgotten yet VERY affordable Leica R.

Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 Review (for Leica)

Voigtlander changed things up and designed a lens to be imperfect.

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New Blog Posts in December

The MrLeica.com blog has been really neglected since I started YouTube towards the end of 2019. There are only so my hours in a day but in December I tried to get back on it and posted 2 new reviews. These written posts accompany the YouTube videos where I share more photos (and some at full resolution) for the equipment I am testing. (To receive these reviews straight to you inbox you can sign up to the free newsletter).

Workshop Dates + Travel Updates

> UK workshop dates – If you a looking to kick start your photography for 2022 you are welcome to join me for one of my 1:1 workshops. I offer them on a first come basis:

  • January 2022 – London 1:1 workshop – 1 Space remaining
  • February 2022 – London 1:1 workshop – 1 Space remaining
  • March 2022 – London 1:1 workshop – 2 Space remaining

See workshop prices and testimonials on the blog

> Overseas workshop dates – there is a growing interest in overseas workshops as travel restrictions are easing. Please let me know what countries and cities you are in if you’d like to meet up. I plan to teach a 1:1 workshop in Poland in February (already requested) and others are in discussion. My goal is to be overseas more frequently from around May onwards but I will be doing monthly trips until that time too.

> Travel – As mentioned earlier, I finally got back to Gdansk in December despite the increased Covid restrictions being put in place. I found a nice apartment to use as a studio for the week. See the apartment tour and various BTS videos on Patreon. Sadly, I think many of the models had Covid on their minds as from the 15 confirmed bookings 9 then cancelled once I arrived. Thankfully we still had some great shoots and it was nice to catchup with people.

50mm Voigtlander Heliar f1.5
Sample from Poland trip (2nd most liked!) See Patreon for BTS video – Malgorzata
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Patreon & Zoom

Great speaking to some of you on our group Zoom calls in December. We had 3 calls to include a bonus Christmas meetup.

NEW for 2022! 2x 1 Hour Group Zoom Calls/ Month

As requested we will now have 2 one hour duration calls per month.

£3+ Tier members – Dial in for a live Q&A with me (or whatever else we decide to do). Often a slightly larger group.

£5+ Tier members – Dial in for our interactive group chat on all things photography. Learn from each other and even request to take the stage and present to the group. Usually a smaller group so you get more opportunities to speak. Join our private Facebook group and get involved!

Dates are announced on Patreon ahead of the calls, usually weekday evenings, UK time.

January 2022 – Coming Up

It sounds very un-cool but what I’m looking forward to the most in 2022 is getting back to longer brighter days and more sunshine! I’m so productive and happy when there is sunlight (and not overly cold) and I really struggle when it’s dark most the day, wet and cold. I plan to cheat and just find cheap flights to sunnier places until the UK spring-summer arrives!

YouTube video – spotlight (1 of the videos coming soon!)

Rather than tell you about a review that I have already posted (like last month), I can confirm that I am currently testing the 7Artisans 35mm f1.4 Leica M mount lens. I’m exciting to see how it compares to the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens so stay tuned for that.

Previous Newsletters (and all the video links!)

Gdansk Christmas Postcard
Flickr Non-Model Photo of the Month – Poland (Most Liked)

First Time Reader? Additional Info Below

> UK Workshops

Now lockdowns have eased in the UK it has been full steam ahead for teaching 1-to-1 photography workshops again. I teach basic to advanced level photography to anyone with a camera. For full details see the workshop prices and testimonials.

Model Photography Workshop - London
London Leica Workshop 2021

> Overseas Workshops

I’m very aware many of you are overseas and quite a few in both Germany and the US that I speak to. If I can get enough people from one country looking for 1:1 workshops I can look to fly to your country and do a mini road trip to see as many of you as I can. Hopefully travel restriction will reduce by say April and then we can start looking at planning some events. Please contact me if you are interested.

Some advantages of meeting you in your city include (1) you don’t need to travel (2) I will give you model contacts in your city that you can keep in touch with after I leave. This has worked well for photographers in the past. The flipside of that is, if you rather come to the UK for a London workshop you have the excuse for a holiday!

Model Photography Workshop
Zurich Photography Workshop
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> Patreon

– More Content? Join Patreon = Instant Access!

Access 200+ exclusive posts including 100+ videos. Two group Zoom calls a month, a friendly private Facebook group and lots of tips and tricks. *Sign up to Patreon for 12 months and get 10% off!

Zoom Consultations

Not sure what camera or lens to buy? Book a 1:1 Zoom call and I can answer your questions and give pros and cons of similar products.

YouTube Monthly Giveaways

Subscribe to the YouTube channel for a chance to win! Monthly giveaways – £30/$40+ of Patreon & Zoom call access and higher value items such as lenses.

> Free YouTube Search Tool

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LEICA. LENSES. CAMERAS. WORKSHOP. WEDDING. PRESETS. FILM
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Leica SL Lightroom Presets

Leica SL Lightroom Presets Download

Finally I bring you my 4 favourite MrLeica Adobe Lightroom presets for the Leica SL camera. I say 4 and as like my Panasonic Lumix S5 LR preset pack, I could not chose 3 so the download bundle is 3+1 free (4)!

NEW! 4 Lightroom presets for the Leica SL camera

As I shoot more colour photos than I did in the past, I included 2 colour Lightroom presets in additional to the 2 black and white LR presets.

  1. MrLeica Leica SL Col-Old
  2. MrLeica Leica SL Col-Pop
  3. MrLeica Leica SL B&W1
  4. MrLeica Leica SL B&W2
Voigtlander 50mm APO (B&W edit)
Leica SL + LeicaSL-B&W1 preset (Finished in Photoshop)

How I edit photos with Lightroom presets

As someone with never enough time in the day, I need my photo editing process to be as streamlined as efficient as possible. After 10+ years of model photography my approach is now as follows.

  1. Be happy with the viewfinder image before pressing the shutter
  2. Check white balance if shooting with B&W preview
  3. Shoot in camera RAW
  4. Upload all RAW files to Adobe Lightroom on the computer
  5. Apply a MrLeica LR preset to the first image
  6. Paste preset across all images in Lightroom (“Sync”)
  7. Quickly review the images and fix exposure / as needed
  8. Export all images small size
  9. Send all images to the model
  10. Export a few favourites, full size to edit for Flickr / Instagram
  11. Open these in Photoshop, add a border/ fix skin if needed/ etc
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Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70mm f4 Review
Leica SL + LeicaSL-B&W1 preset (Finished in Photoshop)

Two colour presets for the Leica SL camera

1) MrLeica Leica SL Col-Old LR preset

This Lightroom preset was developed to give a lower saturation look. It can suit portraits and I especially like it for travel photography. The preset gives a reduced contrast flatter finish and I found it worked great with my winter images from Poland. (*Most portraits in Poland were shot in B&W with artificial light as there was very little daylight).

Swipe to see the original RAW file vs. with Col-Old preset applied
Example photos – Leica SL RAW files + Col-Old LR preset
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2) MrLeica Leica SL Col-Pop Lightroom preset

Normally if I shoot colour I tend to go for something with a bit more pop. I tend to prefer colour images with more saturation and vibrancy so this Leica SL Lightroom preset works well for that look. I found that I used this LR preset a lot when we had blue skies and sunshine in Tenerife but it can brighten up a grey winter day too.

Swipe to see the original RAW file vs. with Col-Pop preset applied
Example photos – Leica SL RAW files + Col-Pop LR preset

Example photos are shot with modern Leica M mount lenses including the Voigtlander APO-Skopar 90mm f2.8, Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 50mm f2 and the compact Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f2. I also used a modern Sigma DG DN L mount lens and vintage Leica R lenses. (To give you an idea of the lens sharpness and rendering).

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Two B&W Lightroom presets for the Leica SL

Often my Leica preset packs have one high contrast black and white preset and one lower contrast B&W. For the Leica SL camera it was less clear cut so I just named the the B&W presets “One” and “Two”. They were developed independently and do give different looks.

1) MrLeica Leica SL B&W1 Lightroom preset

The first Leica SL black and white preset was developed to process all my Tenerife trip images.

Swipe to see the original RAW file vs. with B&W1 preset applied
Example photos – Leica SL RAW files + B&W1 Leica LR preset

These example photos were shot with both modern Leica M mount lenses and older Leica R lenses on the Leica SL.

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2) MrLeica Leica SL B&W2 Lightroom preset

My second Leica B&W preset for the Leica SL came after my trip to Poland. I was able to develop this LR preset and pretty much paste it across the 3000+ images from the trip. (I later went back through them and flipped some to colour but that’s normally how I use my presets).

Swipe to see the original RAW file vs. with B&W2 preset applied
Example photos – Leica SL RAW files + B&W2 Adobe LR preset

Sample photos captured with the new Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 and Voigtlander APO-Skopar 90mm f2.8 lenses. See those posts for lots more B&W images edited using only this preset.

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Lightroom presets for Leica SL camera download

OFFER! (3x Leica SL presets) +1 FREE!
£9.99 - Download Now!

Special bundle offer giving 3 Leica SL presets for the price of only 2 + 1 FREE!

Leica SL Lightroom preset bundle includes:

  • MrLeica Leica SL Col-Old
  • MrLeica Leica SL Col-Pop
  • MrLeica Leica SL B&W1
  • MrLeica Leica SL B&W2 (FREE!)

Need more Lightroom presets for your Leica SL?

Even though I develop my Lightroom presets to suit a specific camera file they can be used with any camera. When I first bought my Leica SL camera I didn’t have time to make presets before multiple model shoots so I found myself using the MrLeica Pansonic Lumix S5 presets on the Leica files. They worked great so if you are looking for a wider selection of presets to use see that post.

Leica R Lens Portrait
Leica SL + LeicaSL-B&W1 preset (Finished in Photoshop)

Are you a Leica CL user?

If you use the APS-C mirrorless Leica CL I can confirm that these presets work fine on that camera too. For the Voigtlander 90mm f2.8 APO-Skopar video and the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 video I used the Leica SL and CL cameras. To obtain a consistent look across the images I applied the Leica SL Lightroom preset to all files from both cameras.

All MrLeica Custom Presets – Download Here

My Leica Lightroom presets currently include:

Add your own signature look

If you like my Lightroom presets but you have your own signature look I recommend that you save the preset as a new file called MrLeicaXXX-v2 or “improved” etc. You can apply my Leica SL preset as a base edit then increase/ reduce sharpness, contrast, saturation, vignetting to taste. Going forward you can then use your version 2 preset and hopefully that will speed up your editing.

50mm Voigtlander Heliar f1.5
Leica SL + LeicaSL-B&W2 preset (Finished in Photoshop)
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Gdansk Christmas Postcard
Leica SL + LeicaSL-B&W2 preset (Finished in Photoshop)
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Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Review (VM)

Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Review (VM Classic) + YouTube

The Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Classic is the new Voigtlander lens for Leica M mount, released September 2021. Following my YouTube review of the 50mm Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 lens here is a written post with more photos from my trip to Poland and additional information.

YouTube! Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 Review

Is the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 really a bad lens?

From the thumbnail and title of my YouTube review you may expect this to be a bad lens. It is, but it was designed to be like this. Voigtlander bring us a new lens yet designed to render like a less perfect vintage lens (in very simple terms). The Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 is less corrected in it’s optical design therefore being imperfect which in turn equates to a lens with more character.

Benefits of a new-old lens?

One huge benefit to having a brand new lens which renders more like an old lens is you can close focus the 50mm Heliar f1.5 to 0.5m. This is nothing new for modern Voigtlander lenses as many can focus to 0.5m but most old lenses can’t focus this close. Note, Leica M camera rangefinder only works to a close focus distance of 0.7m.

Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 on Leica M4-P

Leica M camera + Heliar 50mm limitations

The 0.7m rangefinder closer focus distance is only really a limitation on Leica M film cameras and the digital Leica M8 or Leica M9 (+ variants). With the Leica M240 and Leica M10 you can focus down to 0.5m using liveview (and or with a hotshoe EVF). For mirrorless Leica L mount cameras such as my Leica CL and Leica SL you can focus to 0.5m with ease via their built in electronic viewfinder.

50mm Voigtlander Heliar f1.5
Leica SL + Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5
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Classic 50mm lenses are not perfect

Classic lenses tend to have a minimum close focus distance of 0.9m – 1m and I find this can be a limitation for portraits. This is only an issue on Leica M mount cameras as with L mount cameras you can use the 7Artisans close focus M-L adapter. This adapter is a game changer as my video confirms as it lets you close focus every Leica M mount lens (+ LTM lens) old or new.

Example photos at 0.5m and 1m distances

This shows how much closer 0.5m looks verses 1m. Both photos shot with the new Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm 1.5 on a Leica SL camera with no special close focus adapters.

Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Bokeh (0.5m)
Leica SL + Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 @0.5m
Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Bokeh
Leica SL + Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 @0.9m

New lens with warranty vs eBay headaches

Another advantage of buying a new-old lens, aka. the 50mm f1.5 Heliar Classic, is it comes boxed with a warranty. One problem with buying old lenses on eBay is ocassionally you can have issues with the seller or the lens is not as described. Common issues found with vintage lenses include scratches, haze, mould, fungus, cleaning marks, calibration and so on.

The advantage of buying used lenses on eBay is if you are patient you can sometime find real gems at a discounted price. I have bought many of my cameras and lenses on eBay and if there is ever an issue I just send them back for a refund. If you don’t have the time and patience to try to find a clean copy of an old lens you can now just order the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 new and headache free.

Other Voigtlander Heliar lenses

If you are not aware there are four different 50mm Voigtlander Heliar lenses. Only two are current production lenses. The new Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Classic and the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f3.5 M mount lens shown in this video.

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Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 photos

To test the 50mm Heliar f1.5 Classic lens I used two digital mirrorless cameras. The crop sensor APS-C Leica CL and the full frame Leica SL. Here are some Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 sample photos from each cameras edited with the MrLeica Leica SL preset pack.

Leica CL + Voigtlander 50mm f1.5 test photos

I only took a small sample of test photos using the Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 VM lens on the crop sensor Leica CL camera. To see the fall off character from this lens I needed to use a full frame camera so I used the Leica SL. 50mm on the APS-C Leica CL equates to 75mm so that was also often too long for what I was trying to photograph.

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Leica SL + Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 photos

Being a 50mm kinda guy I had the Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 lens on the full frame Leica SL camera for much of the time. (I did have the Voigtlander APO-Skopar 90mm f2.8 lens with me too if you want to see how the photos compare).

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Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 portraits

Here are a few more portraits shot in Poland with the Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 VM lens on the Leica SL full frame mirrorless camera. Click any image to view full res and to view the camera details. To see behind the scene videos from Poland visit Patreon.

Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Portrait
Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Portrait
Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 + Leica SL
50mm Heliar f1.5 Portrait
Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5
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Leica SL + Voigtlander Heliar 50mm f1.5 Portraits

More Voigtlander Heliar Classic 50mm f1.5 portrait photos using the Leica SL camera. The above portraits are full res edits. The photos shared below (and in the galleries above) are simple Lightroom exports, small size. Camera RAW files + MrLeica Leica SL Lightroom preset applied. You can find all my Leica presets here.