Budget SLR Camera Portraits

Budget SLR Camera Portraits! (Nikon F80 + Minolta X300) (Polish Girls 2020)(x40)

Here I share images taken with a budget SLR camera – Minolta X300 and Nikon F80, next to a few portraits with rangefinder cameras. (You can find the Minolta X300 review and Nikon F80 review linked below). I know this blog is Leica-centric but this is proof that I use other film cameras too!

Budget SLR Camera Portraits

You don’t need a Leica to make nice photos!

Stating the obvious I know but it’s always good to remind ourselves occasionally, especially when suffering from severe photography GAS! We don’t need expensive Leica M cameras to take nice photos. You can use any film camera! (Film for me, adds 50% of the magic to the final image so you just need a camera/ lens that works for your needs/ taste).

Film or Digital? :)
Polish girl with Leica M3, 2019

Polish Models, 2020 Photoshoots

Despite the lockdowns and travel restrictions through much of 2020, I still managed two model photography trips in Poland. During those two visits I used a selection of 35mm film cameras and below are the resulting photos. Despite me often using Leica cameras, you can see from the results that the stars of these trips were in fact Nikon and Minolta SLR cameras! Let me know in the comments which camera captured the best images!?

Minolta X300 vs Nikon F80

For me, in terms of use, I much prefer the manual focus, simple to operate little Minolta X300 camera. The size and weight is ideal for my cabin bag luggage. The Nikon F80 did a great job too but was a bit too modern and automated for me. Both are very capable cameras and both lenses were fine for my needs.

Kodak Eastman 5219 (Vision3 500T)(aka Cinestill 800T)
Me film testing the Nikon F80 with a mirror selfie before flying to Poland!

Budget SLR Camera or Rangefinder for Portraits?

I like old manual everything cameras like the little Leica Barnacks (Leica iii cameras) BUT sometimes it is selecting the best tool for the job. I think the results speak for themselves in terms of which cameras I used the most in Poland. SLR cameras are very well suited to portraits and many rangefinder cameras are much less so. (I will share my current Leica R6 SLR camera portraits in a separate post when I get chance! See a preview on YouTube).


Nikon F80 Portraits / Sample photos

First we have a series of Nikon F80 portraits captured with the Nikkor 50mm f1.8G lens (Camera review linked below these images). This is the only auto focus lens camera I used in this article. Most images were shot at around f2 and at 1/60 or 1/125 shutter speed.

Kentmere 400 Portrait
35mm Kentmere 400 Portrait
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Kentmere 400 Film
Nikon F80 + Nikkor 50mm 1.8G
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Nikon F80 Portrait
Nikon F80 + Nikkor 50mm f1.8G
Kodak Double-X 5222
Nikon F80 Pop Up Flash Portrait
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Nikkor 50mm f1.8 G Portrait
Expired Kodak Vision3 500T Portrait
50mm f1.8 Film Portrait
Nikon F80 Review (Low cost alternative to a Nikon F100)

Learn more about the budget friendly auto focus SLR camera in this Nikon F80 review. It offers a great low cost alternative to the popular Nikon F100 camera.

Minolta X300 Portraits / Sample Photos

A selection of Minolta X300 film portraits shot with the Minolta 45mm f2 lens. I was more than happy with this one lens setup. Amazing little lens and my favourite for this system. Most photos taken at f2 or f2.8.

Minolta 6x6 Crop
Ilford Pan 400
Minolta lens flare
Minolta X300 Portrait
Bessa Photographer :)
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm f2
Ilford Kentmere 400 film
Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm f2 Portrait
Minolta MD 45mm Portrait
Ilford Pan 400 Portrait
Minolta X300 Portrait
Kentmere 400 35mm Portrait
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Minolta X300 Portrait
Ilford Pan 400 Portrait
Minolta MD 45mm f2 Portrait
Minolta X300 Review (Cheap SLR camera but an amazing lens!)

The Minolta X300 is another amazing budget SLR camera. (It is closer to my Nikon FG-20 camera than the Nikon F80). Very affordable, lightweight and compact. Perfect for me as a light camera to travel with. Manual focus lenses only so a different shooting experience verses the Nikon F80 above.


Portraits shot with Leica + Voigtlander Film Cameras

In addition to the Nikon F80 and Minolta X300 I also used my usual Leica and Voigtlander film cameras. Cameras I used in Poland included the Leica M4-P, Leica IIF, Voigtlander Bessa R and Voigtlander Bessa T. Unlike the Nikon and Minolta cameras shared, these are all 35mm film rangefinder cameras.

Leica M4-P Portrait

Colour film portrait shot with a Leica M4-P film camera and Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH lens. I need to scan more of this roll of film to share! (See the Kodak Vision3 YouTube video below for more about this amazing film and how to develop it). (See the review of this amazing 35mm lens too – lots of digital example portraits here – Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron Review).

Expired Kodak Vison3 500T

Leica iif Portraits

Here are a few Leica iif portraits before the camera died. (See the black shutter on some of the images. As a 1950s camera it just needed some TLC (CLA to be more precise!). It is now back fully serviced and ready to go! This little Barnack Leica impressed me so much it was my favourite camera of 2020! YouTube review linked below).

Leica iif + Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM
Leica iif Problems - As seen on YouTube
Leica iif problems
Leica iif Portrait
Leica iif Portrait

Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait

Example portrait shot with the amazing Voigtlander Bessa T camera. It is an unusual camera in that it has no viewfinder! See the review below for a visual of how this camera looks.

Voigtlander Bessa T Review & Portraits

Voigtlander Bessa R Portraits

A few Voigtlander Bessa R portraits to finish. Of the cameras featured in this article the Bessa R is the least suited to portraits. It has a lower magnification viewfinder making it more difficult for precision shallow depth of field portraits with fast lenses. That said, it is still very capable of taking a nice photo and is a nice small size and weight for travel (Overseas photoshoots in this case).

Voigtlander Bessa R
Voigtlander Bessa R Photo
Voigtlander Bessa R Portrait

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Polish Models Photoshoots – More Photos!

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