Leica Landscape Photography

Leica Landscape Photography

…in Fuerteventura, Canary Isles (December 2017)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

March 2018

New Road

Back to Fuerteventura – Bikes and Cameras!

After thoroughly enjoying my trip to  the Canary Islands last November I decided to make the most of the Black Friday flight deals and book a follow up visit! Three nights stay in Fuertventura but in a different town this time.  On my last visit to the island with family I enjoyed the two hours I spent exploring when I went out for a bike ride and took a camera with me. The rest of the holiday I was with family so less photography specific.  For this next vacation I would enjoy two full days of photography rather than two hours (and a day either side to prep/ explore/ recover!).

I booked an apartment in the capital of Fuerteventura, Purto de Rosario, so I could see more of the country and get away from the Brits abroad resorts.  Last time I had stayed in tourist resort Castillo Caleta de Fuste which was also where Jeff’s bike hire shop “Caleta Cycles” is located (link below if you ever visit and want to cycle). My plan worked well except for the logistics of collecting and dropping off my hire bike which was now an hour away by bus.  Doh!

Bad planning and a lot of time wasted (especially on the last day) but I know now for future visits!

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Day 1 – Arrival

My flight out of the UK was delayed by two hours due to the heavy snow which was just starting to settle that morning so that cut into my first day.  I collected the hire bike (a Fuji road bike) from Jeff that I knew from my last trip to the island and stocked up on groceries so I had supplies for the four days.  I ate as much as I could stomach that night to calorie load ahead of my planned long day on the bike tomorrow.

Fuerteventura Blog

Day 2 – Blog Diary

I set my alarm before sunrise and walked down to the coast with my cameras. I took a few urban shots of buildings in the low sun then back to the apartment for a second breakfast. I got away on the bike before 10:00 and headed up towards the mountains. I’d missed the very low sun and it was midday before too long. I was still stopping when I saw anything that caught my eye. The camera gear I chose to take with me was minimal. Originally I packed both the Leica M3 film camera and digital Leica M240 camera (as I the backpack had capacity for both cameras) but once I had a 750ml bottle of water in there plus some food and a few other necessities it felt quite weighty so I decided to travel light and carry only one camera.

Leica Photography

Day 2  – Camera Gear

  • Leica M3 film camera
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens
  • Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens
  • Sekonic Light Meter
  • One roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film
  • 39mm Yellow filter
  • 39mm Circular Polarising filter

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*New Lens!  Ahead of this trip I ordered a lens to take with me especially. The what turns out to be fantastic Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens.  It is a real winner! I have written a review about the lens already (as it has taken me so long to post this blog!)(link below).

Repetition

Day 2 – Black and White Film

As mentioned in my “Fstoppers.com – 5 Popular B&W Films Compared” post –

“I read an interesting Fstoppers film photography article a few days before flying out on my last photography trip comparing five popular black and white film stocks.  I think I was searching for a comparison of Ilford Delta 400 vs. Kodak T-Max 400 film…”

And to recap the my conclusion to the 5 Popular B&W Films Compared post (to put the following thoughts in context) –

“.. Ilford XP2 Super 400 was the clear winner for me for detail captured (in this test example) but the image consisted of varying shades of greys and lacked interest. The film with the most impact for me and seemed to be the best compromise for all desired traits (for me) was the very popular Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film with its classic grain structure, good apparent sharpness and thick blacks”

As mentioned in this post I have shot Kodak Tri-X film in the past but found 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 too grainy for my usual female portraiture style.  For my last attempt at landscape photography in Fuerteventura I shot Fujicolor C200 colour negative film. To contrast these images for this trip I wanted to try to shoot punchy black and white landscapes images and I thought the extra grain would suit the often derelict buildings and barren landscapes. As such I loaded a roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film for day 2.

Postcard from Fuertventura

Day 2 – Blog Diary Continued..

While cycling around Fuerteventura in the sunshine I found the sights that caught my attention the most were the windmill structures, big and small ones and in varying degrees of decay. It got to one stage and I was trying not to take another windmill shot!  My choice of lenses, 50mm and 90mm was working well to capture these stand-alone structures but once I got up into the mountains I wished I had the 28mm to capture the wider vistas (or even wider) and the 135mm to capture a cropped part of a scene. I skipped a few photo opportunities with a plan to return tomorrow with a wide lens and longer (135mm) lens. After half a day of cycling it was clear that the subjects I was photographing in Fuertventura just repeated themselves across the island. A reader commented on my last cycling-photography blog post that my images were mere snap shots rather than landscapes as I was constantly on the move clicking anything “good” that I spotted.  I think this is a fair comment but compared to my usual portraiture I will stick to calling it landscape photography as I am after all photographing the landscape (and there is not a model in sight!)(sadly ha!). ☺

Leica Film Landscape Photography

By mid-afternoon on Day 2 I was on the wrong side of the island compared to where the apartment was and I knew I’d have a head wind coming off the coast on the way back. This took my focus off the photography a little and it became a race against the daylight to get back to Puerto del Rosario before dark. The sun sets on the opposite side of the island to the capital so once the sun drops behind the mountains it starts to go dark really fast.  I was running low on energy and fluids (having drank all 3x 750ml bottles I was carrying) so I stopped at a fuel station and bought a can of full fat coke (great sugar/ caffeine hit) and some water.  A hand full of jelly babies on top and that powdered me home arriving just before 17:00. 64 miles cycled and over 5000ft of climbing. I ate and drank as much as I could to refuel that evening and was in bed before 21:00. (Normally I get to bed in the early hours of the morning in the UK, burning the candle and both ends most days as I always have more to do than hours in a day!)

Leica Landscape Photography

Day 3 – Blog Diary

I tried to prep as much as I could last night so to be up and out early to make the most of the low sun. I was on the road for just after 8:00 and had my bike lights on as it wasn’t that light yet outside.  There was broken cloud cover and quite high winds so the clouds were moving overhead fast making the landscape change continuously before my eyes. The sun was partly illuminating the mountains tops and bits of the valley not in shade from the high ground. For a few seconds a scene looked amazing then it was gone again. These conditions don’t suit the happy snapper landscape photographer such as myself as by the time I saw a photo, stopped my bike, got my camera out, checked the polarizing filter orientation etc etc the photo opportunity had gone again.  For once I found myself stopping when I saw a good photo then pausing to wait for the nice light to return (hoping that it would!). I didn’t wait long enough to get the killer shot in some cases as I had ground to cover and cycling to do (in my head anyway). I did enjoy the play of light and the light or shadow hitting the foreground, middle and horizon. Far more interesting than an evenly lit landscape on a blue sky day. It was a good experience and I see now why ‘proper’ landscape photographers sit for hours waiting to capture the one perfect image when the clouds part and the sunlight breaks through to illuminate the scene.

Day 3  – Camera Gear

  • Leica M3 film camera
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens
  • Sekonic Light Meter
  • One roll of 35mm Kodak Ektar 100 colour film
  • 39mm Circular Polarising filter

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Day 3 – Colour Film

For day 3 once I had finished the few frames left of black and white film I decided to load a roll of 35mm Kodak Ektar 100 colour film for nice saturated blue tones in the sky.  The idea was nice but I continued to view the scenes I was seeing in black and white in my head so I think many of the resulting colour images may look better converted to monochrome.  I originally packed two lenses for the day, the 28mm Elmarit-M and the 135mm Elmar lens. I had a bit of room left in my back so I added the 50mm Summarit-M lens for a normal view. I really enjoyed using the 135mm as it is a lens I have not used so much in the past with models.  It was great to crop interesting features on a landscape from a distance. As with my cycling yesterday by the afternoon I found myself miles away from home (the apartment) short on water and food and into a headwind. As with yesterday, the focus on photography stopped and the focus on getting home before dark started again.  I got home by 17:30 and just before it was dark but it meant I took less photos (and had half a roll of film not used). I had cycled 80 miles with a moving time of 5 hours and had climbed over 5000ft again.

Day 3 – Lens Filters

For day 3 I only used the 39mm circular polarizing filter as I was using colour film but for day 2 I stacked a 39mm yellow filter and the 39mm CPL filter.  I loved how the 39mm filters fit all of my Leica lenses but the CPL filter was a bit of a faff, especially when I was using a deep lens hood on the 90mm and 135mm lenses.   If you missed it I explained the difference of using lens filters with Leica film cameras compared to say an SLR camera in my post titled “Lens Filters for Leica M Cameras” (linked below).

Leica Landscape Photography

Landscape Photographers on YouTube – Get Inspired!

Prior to my vacation I had spent yet more countless hours on YouTube, this time looking at landscape photographers.  If you watch YouTube a lot you will know once you watch a few videos it starts to recommend similar videos to view. Soon I found myself watching multiple videos from two landscape photographers that impressed me/ caught my attention.  Both “Paul G Johnson” and “Thomas Heaton” happen to be based in the UK but that was just by chance. I found Paul fun to listen to and I enjoyed his quirky British personality. Paul is also a fan of Thomas (which is probably how I found him). Thomas seems to be taking the landscape photography world by storm.  He is good at what he does but he is an excellent speaker too (I think). I believe we will see a lot more of him in the years to come if you follow this genre of photography. Do you use the Flickr website and did you ever wonder who shot the Flickr cover image of the green tent on the hillside. It was Tom! Small world eh!  If you enjoy landscape photography or just want to give it a try I highly recommend both of these landscape photographers to get you started or give you some inspiration. It certainly got me inspired ahead of my cycling trip/ holiday.

Palm Trees, Fuertventura

Conclusion

On my last day I only had time to return my bike back to Jeff and then it was time to catch my flight home to England.  At the time of flying home I was really happy with my camera and lens choice on the whole. The lenses I took which all had 39mm filter threads and that were relatively compact worked really well for travelling light with camera equipment.  I think I preferred shooting black and white film to colour as I think I often see the world in B&W tones. Next time I will take only B&W film to shoot. The Leica M3 with the big Leica viewfinder was a great choice to focus the 90mm and 135mm longer lenses.  I enjoyed the long lenses especially because of how they compressed a scene. The 90mm Leica Macro-Elmar-M is really fantastic as it packs down so small for a long lens. (See my Macro-Elmar lens review link below). I found the 28mm focal length not wide enough in some situations so next time I will also take a 21mm lens.   I found I was happy with just one 35mm film camera and didn’t see the need for anything else. I absolutely loved the cycling and exploring aspect of the trip in the sunshine. A near perfect holiday for me combining two of my favourite past times. A big thanks to Jeff at Caleta Cycles for a very well maintained speed machine (road bike!).  It was not the top of the range he offers but it looked very well looked after and the gear and brakes were setup perfectly. For a guy with road bikes, single speed bikes and the TT bike I used for the Ironman triathlon event last year this is all very important! ☺

Updated Conclusion (added at later date)

After developing the black and white film (I still haven’t developed the colour film), I thought it would perhaps be nice to take a compact medium format camera or something will a larger negative size to capture greater detail in the scene next time.  I struggled to take 36 photos in a day so I rather take 10-16 higher quality images on a bigger film format. Possible cameras I might take next time include the Fuji GA645 AF camera as it is small yet captures super sharp images. The Fuji GF670 would be fantastic if I wanted maximum detail and 6×7  negatives (without taking a 4×5 camera!). It folds down small and again has a great lens. Lastly I might take my Hasselblad XPan as it would suit the sweeping vista landscapes in Tenerife. The 2x 35mm negative size in panoramic mode is similar to the detail captured with a medium format camera. (Both my XPan and Fuji GF670 are away to be recalibrated but it they get back to me in time I am tempted to take one!)  I will also take a trusty Leica film camera but will leave the digital Leica M240 cameras at home.

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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

February 2018

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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens

To follow my Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens blog post I thought I would do the same for the Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens. It is probably not the first 50mm lens people lust after or go out to buy but for me it ticks a few boxes on my wish list. Is it small and compact with a 39mm filter thread? Yes. Does it balance nicely on my Leica M3 film camera? Yes. It is sharp wide open and produces pleasing images? Yes. That was all I needed to purchase the little Summarit-M 50mm. (It is not to be confused with the old Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 lens as this is a different lens completely. I also have the 50mm f1.5 version and it gives the classic Leica glow look (and is also a very nice lens)).

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Leica Summarit-M vs. Leica Summicron vs. Leica Summilux ASPH

I own and use quite a few different Leica 50mm lens, each giving their own characteristics to an image and each having it’s place. I compare here the three most similar lenses in terms of approximate age and ‘normal’ use. (I excluded the older Leica Summarit 50mm, Leica Summicron 50mm DR version, Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 lenses and the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens which is different to all these 50mm lenses). So of the three 50mm lenses mentioned in the title The Leica Summarit-M is the smallest (and slowest at f2.5), the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 is inbetween and the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH is the largest and fastest.

So of these lenses which do I use the most? Of all the 50mm lenses I own I think the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH is used for perhaps 75-85% of the images, especially for digital. For film if there is enough light I now use the Leica Summarit-M also. The Leica Summicron v5 gets very little use. I like the size of the Summicron and the built in hood but it flares easily. The Summilux ASPH is one stop faster and doesn’t flare as much so is the lens I carry when I need to rely on 50mm lens for clean sharp images. The Summarit-M is the newest addition of my 50mm lenses and I bought it for two reasons; one to use on Leica M film cameras as I like the small size and two, if I need to travel very lightweight and there is lots of available light. A perfect example of this was when I did my cycling trip in Fuertventura. I wanted to travel light and I was stopping lenses down so the Summarit-M was the perfect travel lens (to cover 50mm).  I think from my experience and my copies of the lenses the Summilux ASPH and Summarit-M both give very modern looking images in how they render a scene.  The Summicron is slightly softer but not as soft or as much glow as the older Leica 50mm lenses.

Visual size comparison of the three mentioned 50mm lenses

  • Left: Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
  • Centre: Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5
  • Right: Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH

(*Sorry for the dust on the lenses!)

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Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – On the Digital Leica M240

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
Poland Blog Cover
Model and her Horse
Leica Photographer
Leica Shoot Out
Hungarian Model
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Portrait
Leica M4-P Portrait
Window Light

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – On Leica Film Cameras

Leica M3 Fashion
Kodak Vision3 500T (same as Cinestill 800T)
Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Film
Analogue Fashion
Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222
Kodak Double-X 5222
Leica M3 + Summarit-M 50mm
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Scratched film
Leica M3 Film Camera
Classic Portrait
Kodak Double-X Portrait
Kodak Eastman Double-X

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 Lens – Film Landscape

Leica Landscape Photography

Recommend!

I really like the little Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens and it is definitely a keeper.  If you don’t need the speed of a Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens the Summarit-M 50 is a great choice if you like the modern look (verses the classic look achieved with a lot of the older Leica lenses).

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Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Lens

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

February 2018

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I realised I haven’t yet write a review on the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens I bought back in 2016.  It is a fantastic lens, super sharp wide open at f2.8 (as you would expect from Leica) and very compact for a Leica lens with a 39mm filter thread.

Rather than probably just repeat what others have written before me I thought it is probably easier to show you what the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm lens can do, both on a digital Leica camera and on film, black and white film and some colour film (click any image for details of what film was used).  Thanks to Ruby who features in a lot of these photos.  Many of the photos were shot during one of my 1-2-1 model photography workshops on location in London.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – On the digital Leica M240 camera

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8
London Model Photography Workshop
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 + Leica M240
Leica B&W
Leica M 240 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 Portrait
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – On a Leica film cameras (Leica M2, M4-P)

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm Fashion
Kodak Double-X 5222 film
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH
London Photography Workshop
Kodak Double-X 5222
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH Film

Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222

Kodak Double-X 5222 @800

The Beauty of Film

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 – Landscapes on Film

River Danube with Ice
Leica Film Landscape
Leica Elmarit-M 28mm Landscape
Leica Landscape Photography

28mm Leica M Mount Lenses

My first Leica M mount 28mm lens for my Leica cameras was a Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens.  I bought it to use for weddings early in my Leica photography.  I will write a short review on the Ultron 28f2 when I get chance.  Next I bought the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens, featured here, as I wanted a smaller 28mm lens for travel when size is everything.  Finally only a few weeks ago I invested in a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f2 ASPH lens as I want to try to use it for weddings in 2018.  It is larger and heavier than the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens, being an f2 lens so I will keep the smaller Elmarit for when there is plenty of light or if I am stopping the lens down for say landscape photography.  I wanted get the Leica Summicron-M 28mm f2 to use for available light wedding photography.  Yes the Voigtlander Ultron 28mm lens is also f2 but I think I got my heart set on the Summicron-M 28mm ASPH (and it will hold it’s value in the long term so I see it as an investment).

Here is a quick visual size comparison of the three 28mm lenses

  • Left: Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8
  • Centre: Leica Summicron-M ASPH 28mm f2
  • Right: Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2

(*Sorry for the coloured lighting and dust on the lenses!)

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Recommend!

I highly recommend the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8  lens if you photography in places where you don’t need a faster aperture.  No complaints from me and definitely a keeper!

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Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2018

“LEICA’s biggest secret – It’s LEICA’s smallest and lightest 90mm bayonet-mount lens ever made, and it also is among LEICA’s very highest-performance 90mm lenses of all time….”

(Ken Rockwell)(Link below)

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – why I wanted this lens

After my first cycling-photography adventure to Fuertventura I wished I had owned a compact telephoto lens.  My existing Leica telephoto lenses are not compact and are on the whole quite heavy.  I have a Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens and a Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH lens. Both Summicron lenses are fast (f2) so are relatively big and heavy (in Leica lens terms) due to all the glass elements inside.  I also own a chrome 1960’s Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens.  The 135f4 is lightweight but I use it less than the Summicron lenses as I find it a bit soft shot at f4-f5.6.  This is potentially due to misfocus issues if my Leica M240 is not exactly calibrated with the  135mm lens.  For my next cycling adventure I thought I for landscape photography (and general snaps of things I saw on my travels) I didn’t need a fast lens such as a Leica Summicron lens with an f2 maximum aperture, nor even a Summarit with an f2.5 maximum aperture so I did a web search for Leica Elmar lenses.  Leica Elmar lenses have a f4 maximum aperture and as such tend to be lighter and more compact in size.  I found myself back on Ken Rockwell’s website and decided the lens that I wanted was the super compact Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 telephoto lens.  With a 39mm filter thread and it only being only slightly longer than my 28mm Leica Elmarit-M lens the 90mm Macro-Elmar seemed the perfect travel companion.  As you may have guessed I bought a Macro-Elmar 90f4 after finding a nice deal on a used lens.

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – size comparison

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Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 ...

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Test photos

When the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm lens arrived I did a few rough and ready test shots in the garden and around the house:

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4

Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Wedding Photography

I then had the opportunity to test the Macro-Elmar 90mm in a real situation (for my usual style of photography (portraiture – models and weddings) prior to taking it on my second cycling / photography adventure.  I packed the 90f4 Elmar for a bridal shoot / mock Leica wedding photography photoshoot and the results were fantastic even with the lens wide open at f4 and a 1/60 shutter speed.  It gave really nice subject background separation for portraiture despite being a slow f4 maximum aperture lens.  I will blog the wedding photography look images separately but here are a few 90mm examples from the day at Weston Hall Hotel:

Leica Wedding - Leica M3!

Leica Wedding Photos

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Model Photography

I took the Macro-Elmar  90f4 on my repeat cycling trip to Fuertventura as planned and used the lens as originally intended, for Leica landscape photography. Again, I will blog my thoughts once the accompanying photos are ready to share.  The photos were all shot on film and I still need to develop the film.  Since Fuertventura I have used the 90mm lens on most of my photoshoots including when I was in Budapest over the Christmas break.  Yes, blog to follow but here are a couple of Macro-Elmar 90mm samples from Hungary:

Leica Headshot

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm Headshot

After Budapest and starting 2018, the Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm lens continues to be my new favourite lens which I seem to keep gravitating to.  Here are some recent photos shot in the studio with the 90mm:

Leica Studio Shoot

Leica Photoshoot

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – thoughts so far

As you may have sensed I have been extremely impressed with the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens.  The small size is perfect for my overseas trips yet I still reach for it in the studio too.   It focuses closer than I think any of my other Leica M lenses in terms of magnification so I love it for tight headshots where I normally find I cannot get close enough.  My next best lens for close up headshot photos is equally impressive but larger  and heavier Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.

To conclude, the Macro-Elmar-M 90mm is small, lightweight, close focusing (even without the Leica Macro adapter)(I don’t have) and super sharp wide open.  If you don’t need a fast lens such as f1.4-f2 the Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm f4 lens is a real winner.. and seemingly hidden gem amongst the Leica lens line up.  I have not noticed many other Leica photographers using this lens online or seen any rave reviews about it (other than Ken’s review linked below).

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Specifications

Rather than repeat the information readily available online please find a link to the Ken Rockwell’s 90mm Macro-Elmar-M review below including full lens spec.

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Related Posts

Mr Leica on Pinterest

Mr Leica on Pinterest (Back on it)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

December 2017

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Pinterest Inspired Photography – Black and White

Ahead of a recent photography trip I found myself browsing vintage black and white film photography images on the Pinterest app.  I used to use Pinterest on and off for a period maybe pre-2015, both for collecting inspiration images and sharing a few of my own photos.  I found Pinterest great for creating mood boards ahead of photoshoots where I could gather together a set of images to help a model visualise the look I was going for.  I have started using Pinterest again so if you want to see the photos that inspire me just look me up – @MrLeica.com (link to profile below).

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After scrolling through pages and pages of images on Pinterest and pinning some of those I liked the one thing that struck me is most of the black and white images I admire are high contrasts black and white photos with black blacks.  My older photos used to include a lot of high contrast black and white images, especially when I used to share images straight out of the camera as B&W JPEG files, firstly from the Nikon D800 and then from my Leica M9 camera.

2013 REPOST: Samyang 85mm f1.4 Portrait

Leica Summilux ASPH Bokeh

Summilux ASPH 50

I didn’t get a look I liked straight from the camera with the Leica M240 so since selling my Leica M9 my images are all processed through Lightroom (and/ or Photoshop) to get the desired look.  One thing I am aware of since using my Leica M240 is my photos tend to be different shades of grey rather than strong black and white as I think I try to retain as much detail as possible in an image. These Leica M240 photos below are probably more grey than many of my recent images as I am aware I prefer high contrast so try to use it much as possible.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 Portrait

Mr Leica - Poland

Leica lens flare

With my black and white film photography I think again I have often lost the thick blacks due to the film stocks I commonly use.  Fomapan 100 and Kodak Eastman 5222 Double-X film both have wide latitude and retain shadow detail well.  My black and white film developing methods also favours retaining both shadow and highlight detail to produce a flatter negative (depending on the light conditions etc etc).

Leica M3 + Leica Summicron 75mm APO

Leica M6 + Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222

So with all that said I want to get back to proper blacks, or try it again at least!   That’s the plan anyway.  I will see if the Pinterest pins I add to my boards continue along this theme going forward.

(For colour photography and especially colour wedding photography you will see from Pinterest that my favourite look is the bright washed out looking fine art wedding photography style but I have not mastered the look yet. Living in the UK doesn’t favour an overly bright photography style! (That’s my current excuse anyway!))

 

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  • MrLeica Pinterest Account – HERE

Leica M Cameras – All I Need

Leica M Cameras  – All I Need…?

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2017

Camera Porn!

Keeping it Interesting

After returning from my Budapest model photography trip earlier this week I have been trying to think what other cameras I can take on my next overseas photo shoot to try to produce more interesting or different looking images to my recent photos.  I often shoot with a 35mm lens on my Leica M cameras whether the digital Leica M 240 or the Leica M film cameras.  (I write ‘Leica M’ camera / lenses as the Leica R camera is an SLR camera system rather than a rangefinder camera so different ‘rules’ apply).

Alternative Film Cameras

I often complain that I can’t focus as close as I would like to for my model portrait photos so I was thinking of cameras that can get nearer than the 0.7m Leica rangefinder standard minimal focal distance.  Other ways to create different photos to my usual view of the world might be to use a very shallow depth of field or perhaps use a longer lenses to get more compression in the photographs.  (I have done all of these things before but less and less over the last 12-18 months).

I still love my Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera and in my mind it has captured some of my high quality film photos but it currently needs a little TLC so I don’t really want to take it overseas until it’s repaired. I then have various other very good cameras in their own right such as the Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 6, Fuji GF670, Fuji GA645, Hasselblad Xpan, Nikon F4, Mamiya 645 but when doing a quick comparison they all have some drawback vs. the Leica M camera system.  I then tried to think what each of these cameras offer compared to a Leica M camera setup and other than the film format (film size; 35mm vs. 645 vs. 6×6 vs. 6×7) the differences were minimal (in simplified terms*).

Different Lens Characteristics

I made a list of lens characteristics I see as positives from a camera/lens combination for my model photography and taste and then listed some potential Leica M mount lenses I use for each characteristic (non-scientific and my opinion only*)(I just listed the most obvious choice to me but many lenses could fit many lists*).  I use these lenses on any of my Leica M film camera such as a Leica M2, M3, M4-P, M6 etc.  (I state ‘film cameras’ as I want to compare Leica film to non-Leica film.  I am not too interested in digital photography but as I use a Leica M 240 digital camera the same list applies to my digital work).

Leica M Mount Lenses

  • Shallow depth of field

  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2
  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Leica M9 + Noctilux f1

  • Wide angle lens

  • Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5
  • Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8
  • Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica Street Portrait

 

Close focus ability (for tight headshots)(visually not in mm*)

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO
  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 + SOOKY-M (close focus goggles)
  • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR (Dual Range) + close focus goggles
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Summer Love

  • Sharpest image quality

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Portrait Photography Workshop, London

  • Crisp contrasty modern look

  • Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Summilux ASPH 50

  • Soft glow vintage look

  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica M8 B&W Portrait

  • Small compact lens size

  • Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

Leica Fashion

  • Fast lens with wide aperture for low light

  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
  • Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0

Noctilux - After Dark

  • Unique lens characteristics

  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4
  • Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0

Street Portrait

  • Compressed image style

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO
  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Leica Elmar 135mm f4

  • Low cost lens (In Leica M mount terms)

  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Industar 26M 52mm f2.8
  • Jupiter 3 50mm f1.5
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Leica M9 + Industar 26M 52mm f2.8

  •  Highest resolution images – Fine grain film stock

  • Ilford Pan F5o
  • Ilford Delta 100
  • Kodak Vision3 50D / Cinestill 50D

Leica M6 + Ilford Pan F 50

Image Resolution

For film cameras the equivalent of a high mega pixel digital sensor is fine grain films which play a huge part in the final look of a film photo no matter what lens is used.  As an example here is a half frame film scan from a Olympus Pen-F SLR camera.  Half frame means half the size of a normal 35mm Leica film negative.

Olympus Pen-F Fashion

As these photos are half the resolution of a Leica M camera photo (in terms of film negative size scanned) then with fine grain film and a sharp lens there is great potential to capture very detailed film photos without the need of a medium format camera.

Leica M Camera Buyer’s Guide!

Leica M Camera Buyer’s Guide! (Film Ms)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

December 2016

Leica M3 Portrait

How did this post come about?

When I think back to buying my first analogue film Leica M camera I’m not sure how I decided to buy the particular camera I did.  Lots and lots of research I guess but I don’t really remember finding any information that summarised in simple terms how each Leica M camera is different or perhaps best suited my needs.  It doesn’t help that Leica M cameras all look pretty much identical to the untrained eye too! In this post I try to list some of the main differences between each Leica M camera which might hopefully make it easier for you if you are looking to buy a Leica M film camera.  Please note I have only covered Leica M film cameras and it does not include Leica digital cameras.

Leica M2 Advertisement

Leica M Camera Timeline

Here are all the major Leica M film cameras released from oldest to newest (excluding special edition cameras and showing the approximate release date/ production start date).

  • Leica M3 (1954)
  • Leica M2 (1958)
  • Leica M4 (1967)
  • Leica M5 (1971)
  • Leica M4-2 (1977)
  • Leica M4-P (1981)
  • Leica M6 Classic (1984)
  • Leica M6 TTL (1998)
  • Leica M7 (2002)
  • Leica MP (2003)
  • Leica M-A (2014)

Generally speaking the higher the M number the more recent the camera was released (with the exception of the Leica M2 that was built after the Leica M3, the M4-2 and M4-P that were released after the M5 and with the Leica MP and M-A being the most recent).

Common Featurers to all Leica M Film Cameras

*to my knowledge for the cameras covered in this article

  • Maximum shutter speed 1/1000
  • Flash sync speed 1/50
  • Rangefinder focusing system
  • Uses 35mm film
  • Leica-M bayonet mount lenses (or L39/M39/LSM/LTM Leica screw mount via adapter)

Leica M3 + Summicron 50 DR

Leica M Camera Buyers Guide

Framelines – bright lines in the viewfinder for composition

  • Leica M3 – 50,90,135 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M2 – 35,50,90 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M4 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M5 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-2 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-P – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M7 – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica MP – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M-A – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)

Viewfinder magnification / options

  • Leica M3 – 0.91x (most magnified viewfinder)
  • Leica M2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4 – 0.72x
  • Leica M5 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-P – 0.72x
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M7 – 0.58x / 0.72x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica MP – 0.72x /
  • Leica M-A – 0.72x

Rangefinder focusing

  • Leica M3 – 1m to infinity (close focus goggles allow focusing from 0.478m)
  • Leica M2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M5 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-P – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M7 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica MP – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M-A – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)

Battery required to take a photo?

  • Leica M3 – No – N/A
  • Leica M2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4 – No – N/A
  • Leica M5 – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M4-2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4-P – No – N/A
  • Leica M6 Classic – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M6 TTL – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M7 – Yes&No – Can use at 1/60 & 1/125 only without battery
  • Leica MP – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M-A – No – N/A

Brass or zinc top plate/ base plate (brass dents / zinc cracks)

  • Leica M3 – Brass
  • Leica M2 – Brass
  • Leica M4 – Brass
  • Leica M5 – Brass
  • Leica M4-2 – Brass
  • Leica M4-P – Brass (earlier cameras) Zinc (later cameras)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Zinc
  • Leica M6 TTL – Zinc (Mostly)
  • Leica M7 – Brass
  • Leica MP – Brass
  • Leica M-A – Brass

Precision components (brass) or cheaper components (steel/plastics)

  • Leica M3 – Brass gears (Least cheap components)
  • Leica M2 –  Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M4 –  Brass gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M5 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M4-2 – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M4-P – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M7 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica MP – Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M-A – Brass gears (Least cheap components)

Hotshoe or coldshoe (for flash photography)

  • Leica M3 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M2 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M4 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M5 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-2 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-P – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Hotshoe & TTL flash with SF-20 unit
  • Leica M7 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica MP – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M-A – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)

Built-in light meter

  • Leica M3 – No
  • Leica M2 – No
  • Leica M4 – No
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No
  • Leica M4-P – No
  • Leica M6 Classic – Yes
  • Leica M6 TTL – Yes
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – No

Film rewind mechanism

  • Leica M3 – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M2 – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M4 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M5 – Rewind ratchet on base plate
  • Leica M4-2 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M4-P – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M7 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica MP – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M-A – Rewind nob (slower)

Film loading separate take-up spool insert

  • Leica M3 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M2 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M4 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M5 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-2 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-P – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 Classic – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 TTL – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M7 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica MP – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M-A – No (has quick loading film mechanism)

Viewfinder condenser / prism (risk of being unable to focus without it)

  • Leica M3 – Yes
  • Leica M2 – Yes
  • Leica M4 – Yes
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M4-P – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 Classic – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 TTL – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – Yes

Leica M6 by Olympus Pen-F

 Small Print

*Please note

  • The information is sourced from personal experience and a range of websites
  • There are many many Leica M camera variants/ specials that may not fit the above
  • Leica cameras continued to evolve so some traits may overlap from last/next model
  • Information is simplified and generalised but there is full detail on other websites
  • I own Leica M3s, M2, M4-P, M6 Classic and have not used other models
  • Non-factual comments such as ‘faster’,’slower’,’cheaper’ is a generalisation
  • This review does not include the M1 or MD models
  • External viewfinders are available if you want to use a lens wider than the frameline
  • Some camera lenses have close focus goggles such as the Leica Summicron 50mm DR
  • The Leica M3 can be used a 35mm lens using 35mm focusing goggles

**Mistakes

  • If I have omitted some obvious information or have classed a camera incorrectly (being for the majority of cameras produced for that model as I know there are lots of camera variants) please let me know and I can update it.

Leica M6!

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Mr Leica - in Action!

***Enjoyable

I hope you find this very simplified guide of some help.  I enjoyed researching the information and I now know how to distinguish the difference between my Leica M2 and Leica M3 at a glance from the front!  The Leica M3 has a plain frameline illumination window and the Leica M2 has a fresnel type illumination window (vertical stripes in the window next to the viewfinder window). 🙂

Matt