Newsletter – September 2021

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!

Leica SL Colours
Flickr photo of the month (most liked photo) The lovely Caitlyn got 1st & 2nd most liked image!

Features

  • August- Recap
  • August 2021 YouTube Videos
  • UK Workshops
  • Overseas Workshops
  • Patreon – Zoom Calls & More
  • September – Coming up!

August – Recap

If I could sum up August in one sentence i’d say – complete lack of models and lots of 1:1 London workshops. It seems models enjoyed their food over lockdown a little more than they wanted too! So many times I am contacting existing models friends and they tell me sorry they got fat. Doh!

This resulted in very few photo shoots in Coventry but I managed to find a few girls in London to model for the workshop days I ran. I need models to test lenses and cameras so it’s starting to prove a little difficult!

Sometimes I wonder if I should mix my service as a photographer with also being a PT (personal trainer)! I run with one of my model friends twice as week and she’s now up to 9 mile distance in one run quite easily, and looks the best she’s ever looked (in the 7 years or so i’ve known her).

I have started to test lenses just by walking around cities so I guess that will give a more balanced review of what the lenses can do but as you know my core work is portraiture. (I really miss my overseas models!)(Hope to travel as soon as I can).

The August workshops were a great success from the feedback I received. Everyone booked a follow up day(s) and I’m meeting some really amazing individuals. I love the teaching aspect of photography mixed with model photography so I hope I can continue to grow this side of my work. (My parents were both teachers so perhaps it’s in the blood!)

August was also my first month where I held two group Zoom calls on Patreon. The face to face “chat cameras over a beer/ coffee” type interactive meeting and my first seminar meet where I teach on a particular photography topic. I need to get better at time management but otherwise I am looking forward to the same in September! If you are interested see Patreon where I will announce September Zoom dates soon.

August 2021 YouTube Videos

After falling off the wagon over the summer I’m almost back to posting 2 new full YouTube videos a week. I’m also trying to post some short 1 minute YouTube videos as these are currently being pushed by YouTube. They are called “YouTube Shorts” and are similar to popular short stories on Instagram reels and TikTok.

New YouTube Shorts!

My idea is to use these new YT Shorts for (1) quick product A vs product B comparisons, (2) super short video topics or (3) highlights from old videos to raise awareness. If they don’t work out at least I tried it! Here is a sample –

Below is a catch up of all the full length August YouTube videos if you missed them.

Can You Help Me

Have you Subscribed to my YouTube yet and turned on your notifications!? I know you must get really sick of hearing every YouTuber mention it constantly but sadly it’s a necessary evil as it turns the cogs of the YouTube algorithm. It makes the difference between a video getting shown to more people or not. YouTube tells us publishers the data and after August it said “video view as normal but subscribers down 25% verses previous months”.

While I have my pathetic begging bowl out, if you can click the “LIKE” button on any videos you enjoyed watching that helps more than you could ever imagine! (Now I understand quite how important likes and subs are to the success of a YouTube channel I always leave likes on videos I enjoy watching from others).

Why does this matter to you? The idea is, if I can grow the channel I can attract bigger brands and more opportunities resulting in more new camera and lens reviews, comparison testing so you then know what gear you may want to buy.

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August YouTube Videos Catch-up:

Pimp your Godox AD200 with the H200R + AK-R1

I’ve really enjoyed getting more from my Godox AD200 with these Godox accessories. They let me get more creative with my lighting and all in a very portable light mod setup.

Find on Amazon: Godox H200R (UK)(US) / Godox AK-R1 (UK)(US)

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 VM II

Finally I share my thoughts on the new Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 II lens. A strong performer in a tiny package and much cheaper than a Summilux. Well done Voigtlander for yet another amazing lens!

If you live in the UK you can get 5% off the list price of all Voigtlander lenses using the discount code “MRLEICA” at https://www.robertwhite.co.uk/

Can also find the lens on Amazon if outside the UK: Amazon COM

Large Format Photography

Another very overdue video! Finally I introduce my three 4×5 cameras, an Intrepid 4×5, Sinar F2 monorail camera and a modified Pacemaker Speed Graphic with an Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 lens. Have you ever tried large format photography!?

Mr Leica Workshop results in a Fuji vs Leica shootout!

Vishal attended one of my 1:1 London Leica photography workshops with an interest in seeing how Leica gear compared to Fuji. I supplied Leica M lenses and Leica R lenses to test with and also my new Leica SL camera.

Spoiler alert! Vishal loved the SL. Check used Leica SL Prices: (US) (UK)

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10 Simple Money Saving Tips (That help my buy Leica cameras!)

People often tell me “Leica are too expensive” or “Did you win the lottery”. The truth is if you work hard and save money in other areas of your life anyone can afford a Leica camera (even if not the latest flagship model*). What many people don’t realise is you can buy cheap Leica too if you know what to look for!

Film is too expensive? Get an Olympus Pen F and 72 shots/roll!

Would you shoot film more if it was cheaper? With the Olympus Pen F half frame camera you get 72+ photos per 36 exposure roll of film! 50% cheaper!

Check latest Pen F prices on eBay: (UK) (US)

FujiFilm GF670 – Optically the best medium format camera?

This is another very overdue video! I finally share what I think is optically my best medium format camera and if offers 6×6 and 6×7 AND is not much bigger than a Leica M camera!

Check latest Fuji GF670 prices on eBay: (UK) (US)

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. That said, students are often either Leica photographers and trying to get more from their cameras, film photographers trying to master their latest film camera/ film or anyone wanting to try model photography. We sometimes do street photography too so I tailor it to your needs.

  • August 2021 – London & Birmingham 1:1 workshops – Complete
  • September 2021 – London 1:1 workshop – 1 Space remaining
  • October 2021 – London & Birmingham 1:1 workshops – 2 Spaces remaining

See workshop prices and testimonials on the blog

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. If you are interested in me flying to you please get in touch so I have an idea of numbers. (I’ve had a request to teach in Istanbul and the Netherlands so those might be happening!)

The other option is do as some others do and fly into London and I’ll meet you there. The advantage of meeting you in your city is (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 London you get the excuse for a holiday!

Patreon – New features

Zoom Call Helpline Service!

I’m starting to do more 1:1 Zoom calls as people pro-actively ask for my assistance. I help fellow photographers around the world with camera and lens purchases (especially) but also help with other topics such as film developing, lighting, film camera issues. Get in touch via Patreon if you need my assistance.

Monthly Zoom Call Group Face-to-Face Meet ~30mins

On the Patreon platform £5+ tier members now meet for a monthly call to chat all things photography and to learn from each other. Dates are announced on Patreon, normally a Wednesday evening UK time. Join us! We also have our own private Facebook group that you can be part of.

Monthly Zoom Call Seminar (Listen In) ~30mins

On the Patreon platform £3+ tier members can now dial in for a monthly call to hear me talking on a specific photography topic. I will share all I know on a specific subject and different to the gear reviews on YouTube. Dates are announced on Patreon, normally a Wednesday evening UK time.

Patreon Extras

For access to 150+ additional post, 18+ images, photobooks and more sign up to Patreon.

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September – Coming Up

September is already looking exciting with multiple planned videos in the pipeline that I think might be interesting. Hopefully you will see me “step up my game” with the product reviews on YouTube. After having a “light bulb moment” I can now show comparison results much better than I’ve done previously. All that to come!

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

I can confirm that I have a new lens from Voigtlander to share with you and I will compare to a previous version AND the Leica alternative. More testing to be done and then I can put the video together. Out soon!

Travel update

Travel prospects are still looking bleak for the next month or so but hopefully I can still hit the road with my cameras before the end of the year! (This includes workshops and model shoots in Europe as well as getting to explore some new places).

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Newsletter – August 2021

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!

Leica Summicron-R 50mm Portrait
Flickr photo of the month – July 2021 (Astrid)

Features

  • July – Recap
  • July 2021 YouTube Videos
  • UK Workshops
  • Overseas Workshops
  • Patreon – Zoom Calls & More
  • August – Coming up!

July – Recap

If you blinked you may have missed it! I felt like it passed in a blur. I had big ideas to start sharing some large format camera posts (and using the cameras more) and then I was taken down by an unforeseen missile, aka. the Leica R6. I didn’t see it coming but it totally threw off all my planned YouTube videos. I am behind on Leica M lens vids and LTM lens vids purely because I have been so hooked on the Leica R stuff. It just works so well for portraits! Workshops and weddings also started back up so it felt like someone hit the fast forward button.. and with climate change it is either raining non stop or no rain at all. The unpredictible weather has made it challenging for outdoor photoshoots! I also tried to get some film developing done but that comes and goes in waves. I did a lot then nothing since but still have a pile of film in the fridge to develop.

July 2021 YouTube Videos

After I managed an average of 2 videos a week for 12 months I finally hit near burnout in June so for July I dropped it to only 1 video per week. With lockdowns now eased I’m teaching workshops a lot more (which I love!), eating into my video time but I hope to get back to 2 videos a week again as soon as I can! Here are the July YT videos if you missed them!

Have you Subscribed to YouTube yet and turned on your notifications!? 🙂

Leica R6

I can’t beleive I didn’t give Leica R cameras a chance sooner! GameChanger!

Check used Leica R6 prices: (US) (UK)

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Funleader 18mm f8 Caplens

Tiny & fun M mount lens at an affordable price! See video notes for more info.

Funleader: “MRLEICA” 5% Off – Check lens options & prices

Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2

I was interested to see how my new Leica R setup compared to my trusty Nikon FE2. All images shot on Kodak Vision3 film. See video notes for more info.

The Leica Look

Discussing the topic of the “Leica Look” and how I try to fake it with Presets!

Leica SL

This is the Leica R6 in digital camera terms! Why didn’t I buy the SL sooner!

Check used Leica SL Prices: (US) (UK)

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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. That said, students are often either Leica photographers and trying to get more from their cameras, film photographers trying to master their latest film camera/ film or anyone wanting to try model photography. We sometimes do street photography too so I tailor it to your needs.

  • July 2021 – London & Birmingham 1:1 workshops – Complete
  • August 2021 – London & Birmingham 1:1 workshops – Fully Booked
  • September 20212 Spaces remaining for London 1:1 workshops
  • October 2021 – London & Birmingham 1:1 workshops – 3 Spaces remaining

See workshop prices and testimonials on the blog

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. If you are interested in me flying to you please get in touch so I have an idea of numbers.

The other option is do as some others do and fly into London and I’ll meet you there. The advantage of meeting you in your city is (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 London you get the excuse for a holiday!

Patreon – New features

Zoom Call Helpline Service!

I’m starting to do more 1:1 Zoom calls as people pro-actively ask for my assistance. I help fellow photographers around the world with camera and lens purchases (especially) but also help with other topics such as film developing, lighting, film camera issues. Get in touch via Patreon if you need my assistance.

Monthly Zoom Call Group Face-to-Face Meet ~30mins

On the Patreon platform £5+ tier members now meet for a monthly call to chat all things photography and to learn from each other. Dates are announced on Patreon, normally a Wednesday evening UK time. Join us! We also have our own private Facebook group that you can be part of.

Monthly Zoom Call Seminar (Listen In) ~30mins

On the Patreon platform £3+ tier members can now dial in for a monthly call to hear me talking on a specific photography topic. I will share all I know on a specific subject and different to the gear reviews on YouTube. Dates are announced on Patreon, normally a Wednesday evening UK time.

Patreon Extras

For access to 150+ additional post, 18+ images, photobooks and more sign up to Patreon.

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August – Coming Up

August is looking booked up before we even started with more weddings and lots of workshops. I hope to get back to some Leica M /LTM lens videos very soon so stay tuned! There is also the new digital camera on the way! (Spoiler alert – Leica SL!)

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

One video that I have promised over the last 12 months is finally coming! The clues I can give are.. It is a modern medium format folding camera and is said to be one of the best film camera ever made. Out soon!

Travel update

No travel plans as yet but impatiently waiting for the travel restrictions to ease to and from the UK. Fingers crossed I can travel again soon!

Receive this free monthly newsletter via Email

If you accidently stumbled across this post and would like to receive these newsletters automatically via email notification feel free to sign up below!

One big perk for signing up is you now get a free copy of my YouTube video search tool. No more struggling to find a video or wondering if I have made a video on a particular lens or camera. The tool lets you search through my 190+ videos by lens manufacturer, lens mount, focal length, film format and more!

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MrLeica.com (Matt Osborne) Leica Blog & Film

Leica Blog + Film Cameras

Need a mentor/ consultant? Join Patreon for support, tuition + more content!

LEICA . WORKSHOPS . WEDDINGS . PRESETS . FILM

Interested in film cameras or specifically Leica?  Perhaps you are looking for product reviews or just a source of photography inspiration?

“I love to teach photography so blogging & YouTube! helps me do so”

MrLeica.com is a free and fast growing resource for cameras, lenses and film comparisons. Over 300 published articles + 200 videos this site caters for all!

“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 for hours!”

Why is MrLeica.com different to other camera review sites? 

“MrLeica camera reviews include many comparisons to similar cameras and are based on up to 10 years of hands on experiences using the equipment”

Looking to support the blog / YouTube channel? Now you can via PayPal

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Summicron 90mm Portrait
MrLeica.com started in March 2013 after Flickr followers asked for my thoughts 

 Support the Channel by using these Affiliate links

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.

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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)

Free monthly newsletter!

Have you signed up for the free monthly newsletter yet!?

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.

MrLeica Patreon – Join us today!

MrLeica Patreon – Join us today!

Patreon is now live!

Finally the MrLeica.Com Patreon page is launched! Check out all the new content at www.patreon.com/mrleicacom (YouTube trailer video below).

*If you are looking to make a one off donation to support the channel you may prefer to use this PayPal link. Thank you!

What is Patreon?

“Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things you’re already created via a monthly membership / subscription service”. That’s what it is to the creator/ artist. For the fan/ follower it is a way to incentivise the creator to produce more of the value add content you desire. More of it and better quality.

How will I use Patreon?

I will use Patreon to give more back to those who value my time and opinion the most. It might be via livestream chats, videos, video calls, discord chatroom, calls, meetups, tuition, tutorials, workshops, networking, whatever works best for you. I’m here to help.

Tier Benefit Hierarchy

6 Tiers

I’ve designed a 6 tier donations systems so the more you put in the more you get out. (Price excludes VAT*) :

  • £1 – Access to most free Patreon-only content
  • £3 – Access to most free Patreon-only content + some small extras
  • £5 – Access to all free Patreon-only content + some extras / discounts
  • £10* – Access to all free Patreon-only content + extras / discounts / more
  • £20* – Access to all free Patreon-only content + extras / discounts & tuition
  • £40* – Access to all free Patreon-only content + extras / discounts & tuition

*Early bird special offer available at a reduced cost (limited places)

Sign up Today for instant access to EVERY post I’ve ever shared (For the tier you join) + All future posts! (Multiple new posts each week!)

Is MrLeica Patreon for you?  Do you answer YES to any of these:

Qu. – Want to fast track your photography with 1-2-1 private tuition?
Qu. – Need advice for your next Leica camera/ lens/ vintage lens purchase?
Qu. – New to photography and look to learn/ get inspired?
Qu. – Dream of photographing pretty girls but don’t know how?
Qu. – Want a researched source of fun photography G.A.S!?
Qu. – Want to experiment with film photography and learn how?
Qu. – Need a source of inspiration to use your existing cameras?
Qu. – Have a general interest in vintage film cameras and lenses? 
Qu. – Want to see more about the guy behind the MrLeica photos?
Qu. – Would like to support the MrLeica YouTube Channel / Blog?

More detailed specifics of what Patreon gives you:

Patreon-only Content

This includes the following and more will be added going forward (*subject to change)

  • TWICE as many videos – Patreon-only exclusives (*in addition to YouTube) Me on location with the cameras, behind the scenes and more fun/ uncut style footage.
  • MONEY SAVING TIPS! – Save money with your photography with my favourite cost saving hacks! (The savings from these ideas will easily cover the cost of a monthly subscription – if followed).
  • Photography lighting tutorials / Tips & Tricks – How I light my portraits..+
  • Film Photography Related Tutorials / Tips & Tricks – How I develop/ scan/ edit..+
  • Get to know the models – Unseen photos, video interviews, BTS footage.
  • More Patreon-only exclusives – Previews, notifications, links, downloads, shoutouts.
  • Discounts – on all presets, workshops & future products.
  • G.A.S – Photography Gear Acquisition Syndrome! – Sharing the cameras/lenses i’m using.
  • Learn Together – as I learn something new I will share it with you guys.
  • Leica Support – New to Leica? Help and advice with your next camera/ lens purchase!
  • Inspiration – Hopefully I can inspire you to dust off an old film camera or lens, to travel with your cameras, to enter the world of model photography or to experiment with lighting ideas.
  • Private secure chatroom – via Discord
  • What’s in my bag (monthly video)
  • Next YouTube video? – Early notification of what is coming next to YouTube

Discounts

Currently –

  • 10% or 20% off all MrLeica Presets
  • 20% of Workshops / Events

Prints

Currently –

  • Monthly postcard prints
  • Annual A3 photo calendar

Tuition

Currently –

  • Private 1-2-1 bespoke tuition on a monthly basis (remote video / voice call)
  • Tuition and a chat face to face over a coffee (*If we are in the same city)

See the full details of everything listed and by tier at – www.patreon.com/mrleicacom

YouTube: What is Patreon + How you can benefit!

Refer a friend! Sign them up today for a free MrLeica Preset!

Refer a friend to the MrLeica Patreon (£3 + VAT tier or higher). Once they sign up I will send you a free MrLeica FilmInspired preset, suitable for any camera! (Available in the MrLeica blog shop at £4.99). *Just ask them to mention your name once they join.

Free Lightroom Preset!

The Lightroom preset is designed for use with any camera (not just Leica cameras!) and to prove it here is the preset applied to a Canon 5D MkIII DSLR camera photo! Original RAW file (left) + same file with MrLeica “FilmInspired” LR preset applied (right).

(Taken during a remote shoot with the models camera*)

Similar photo full res and retouched for posting –

Canon 5D MkIII + MrLeica Preset :)

MrLeica Patreon is growing fast! Join us!

We hit our first 50 Patreons! (August 2020)

https://www.patreon.com/posts/41152273

YouTube and the Blog?

I will continue to produce free content for both the YouTube channel and the blog but to get all the extra new content you will need to join Patreon.

All for less than the price of one cup of coffee/ month!

The £3 tier is less than the price of 1 cup of coffee a month and the £1 tier is probably the price of 1 bottle of water a month. Hopefully this will make it accessible to the majority of readers who are interested.

Thanks

Thanks and I hope to see you on Patreon soon! 🙂

Matt

www.patreon.com/mrleicacom

My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit (Godox for Leica)(YouTube)

My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit (Godox for Leica)(YouTube)

Part 1: My Leica portrait lighting kit including Godox for Leica + Why I use, Recommended speedlights, Godox trigger for Leica,  TTL vs non-TTL and more.. *For the rest of the gear I use see Part 2: My Portrait Photography Gear Essentials

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

>> Find me on YouTube! 

Summary of my Godox for Leica lighting kit

Summary of the lighting equipment I use

godox-leica-kit

Leica Summicron 90mm Portrait

YouTube: What lights and light modifiers I use

YouTube: Leica Flash Photography with Godox Lights

Topics covered in this article:

Part 1: My Leica Portrait Lighting Kit + Time to come clean! (What I use)

1. Time to come clean about my portrait photography lighting kit
2. Why I kept quiet
3. Is it bad if everyone uses the best camera kit?
4. Open and transparent
5. I only recommend photography equipment I own
6. Best Speedlights 2018? Latest lighting equipment
7. US and UK readers
8. Let’s begin!

Leica M8

Godox speedlights I still recommend(What I use)

• Godox Portable studio light – Godox AD-360 (Profoto B1 alternative!)
• Godox AD-180 & Godox AD-360 Flash (Cheaper than Profoto)
1. Godox Witstro AD-360 Portable Flash Kit + PB960 Battery
• Godox large flash – Godox V850II (Godox V850II mini review)
2. Godox Ving V850II GN60 Flash Speedlight
• Godox small speedlight – Godox TT350  (Godox TT350 mini review!)
3. Godox TT350N TTL Flash Speedlight

Godox wireless flash triggers I recommend for the Godox flash system (What I use)

1. Godox FT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox FTR16 Wireless Receiver 
2. Godox XT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox XTR16 Wireless Receiver 
3. Godox X1T – Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Transmitter
4. Godox X1R N 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver

Non-Godox Lights (Mains Powered Studio Light)

• Ring Light – Great for Perfect Instagram Selfies!

Photography Lighting Equipment – Beginners Guide!

1. Why all photographers should use flash!
2. Using photography lighting is fun and effective! Off camera flash

3 Types of Photography Lighting for Beginners

1. Sunlight (Light originating from the sun)
2. Artificial continuous light
3. Flash lighting (with speedlight, stuido light or similar device)

• What portable & studio lights do I use? / Flash for Leica M cameras
• Best Photography Lighting Kits (Godox vs Nikon vs Canon)
• Follow the TTL / E-TTL flash trend or do lighting properly?
• Benefits of non- TTL speedlights? (Godox V850II vs Nikon SB-910)

Digital Hasselblad Photoshoot

Part 1: Recommended Portrait Photography Lighting Kit + Time to come clean! (What I use)

Time to come clean about my portrait photography lighting kit

Here I detail all the things I’ve never/ rarely spoke about in my 400+ previous blog posts.  What do I use to make my portrait photographs excluding cameras and lenses.  Specifically for this part 1 post – what portrait photography lighting gear I use.

Why I kept quiet

In the past you may have noticed I always wrote a vague description of my lighting equipment such as “speedlight” or “strobe”.  I did this as whenever I mention a make and model of a product I use someone often wrote to me just hours later saying thanks Matt I’ve just bought one!  While I love to help share what I have learnt with my self-taught photography I was worried that everyone’s photos would start to look the same as mine. The same camera, same lens and same lighting (if I detailed the specifics of the lighting gear I was using).  After my post yesterday you can now even use the same MrLeica Lightroom presets!

Hasselblad H3D-31 Fashion

Is it bad if everyone uses the best camera kit?

In reality if 10 photographers all had the same camera, same lens, same lighting kit and even same Lightroom preset and all took a photo of the same model there would still be 10 different photos.  Every photographer sees the world differently and literally almost everyone has a camera of some sort now.  Me telling a few readers the exact kit I use is hardly going to change anything.  And so that is why I will detail exactly what photography kit I use.  I already write in great detail about my Leica cameras and film cameras. I have also spoke about the lenses I use and recommend for the different cameras I have.

In this part 1 post I will cover my most used portrait photography lighting kit that I recommend to my students (people who come for photography tuition).

Happy New Year!

Open and transparent

I will be honest.  One reason to write this post is to jump on the Amazon affiliates bandwagon.  I upgraded the MrLeica blog platform a few months ago to make it easier to customise and hopefully read for viewers as I noticed most of the 400+ blog posts were impossible to find.  Upgrading the blog now means it costs me around £400 a year to run it.  I decided if I included a few Amazon Affiliate product links as part of a review it might be able to help cover some of the cost.

I guess the good thing for readers is it prompted me to write about sharing my favourite portrait photography lighting equipment that til now I had avoided. For anyone that has not heard of Amazon affiliates it basically means if you buy a product through clicking a link on this page it helps to support the MrLeica blog. (Amazon pay me a small commission for any referrals).  To the buyer there is no extra cost, I am just providing a direct link to the standard Amazon website.

Expired 120 Fuji Provia 100F Film

I only recommend photography equipment I own

For all the photography products I recommend I tried to include photos of the equipment being used and where possible the actual products in my hand.  Many people write these sorts of posts and share a stock photo of an Amazon product that they might not even own.  I only write about products I use, tried and tested and have proven themselves to me.  (I have many many other lights and kit that were not as good so I guess I did the light testing for you!)

Best Speedlights 2018? Latest lighting equipment

The items I review may not all be the latest variants as the technology changes so fast.   They might not be the newest / best speedlights in 2018 but have not seen anything better that has made me want to upgrade from my current lighting kit.  Also the benefit of some slightly older models is they have a proven track record and older version are cheaper to buy vs the new model.

Leica M240 Studio Shoot

US and UK readers

If you don’t know from my previous ramblings I am a UK-based portrait photographer.  I noticed however that most of my MrLeica blog readers live in the US followed by the UK then everywhere else in the world.  I can’t setup product links for everyone I’m afraid but I will include UK and US links to the Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com website.  For everyone else the camera gear I recommend is just the same but I can’t send you a direct link to buy it.  Sorry.

Leica lens flare

Let’s begin!

When anyone buys a new camera the first thing to buy is a decent memory card.  As a portrait photographer I thing the next thing I bought was a light (a speedlight).  Photography lighting is a huge topic but I will talk about how I enjoy using a photography lighting system rather than one product for portrait photography.

Mamiya RZ67 Headshot

Why I recommend Godox lights & top 3 Godox speedlights (2018)(for me). Are Godox the best third flash? + Godox are a Flash for Leica cameras! (Great!)

> 3 Godox speedlights I still recommend in 2018 (What I use)

Godox Portable studio light – Godox AD-360 (Profoto B1 alternative!)

I am in no way linked to Godox (also know as Cheetah, Witstro, Flashpoint and other names) but ever since my first Godox flash I have been hooked.  Originally I was lusting after a Profoto B1 (don’t we all!) after seeing one of their adverts but I couldn’t bring myself to spend such a large amount of money on a light.  The research then began to find a cheap Profoto B1 alternative.   I wanted a portable high power light to photograph on location.  I looked at Paul C Buff’s Alien Bees like the B400 but I couldn’t find a stockist for them in the UK.  I looked at Elinchrom Ranger Quadra after seeing them in a photography magazine.  I loved the small head units but again they were expensive.  At the time I had a Nikon D700 not Leica cameras so my photography budget was a lot lower!

Godox growth graph in 5yrs - Godox flash review
5yrs ago Godox flash were hardly known!  Now they are a household name in the UK and going from strength to strength.  This key word graph shows the increased interest in Godox lights!

Eventually I discovered Godox when they were just hitting the UK market (see graph above – Godox is everywhere now but they weren’t 5+ yrs ago!)  I might have even imported my Godox flash I can’t remember.  I was just so keen to get a portable high power light to give me a similar tool to a Profoto B1 that I probably did import it I was that excited to find it!

Panasonic Lumix LX100

 
Godox AD-180 & Godox AD-360 Flash (Cheaper than Profoto and better than a regular flash!)

I remember when I first used my Godox flash at a big Indian wedding.  Rather than needing like 3 speedlights I could just light the whole room with one pop of the Godox flash!  It recycles really fast too so for weddings it is amazing.  Non-stop high power flash – living the dream!  No more missed photos from little speedlights not recycling fast enough!  I had studio power lighting on location and photographers often came and asked me what I was using so they could buy the same.   My first Godox light was (still is) a Godox AD-180 and then I later bought the more powerful Godox AD-360 that I recommend here.  I use the pair of them for my wedding photography and never worry about batteries needing replacing etc. For these Godox flash I needed triggers so I could fire the light off camera.  I bought flash triggers from Godox so now I had lights and triggers to fire them. Great.  (Triggers detailed below).  My lighting system had begun!

Leica M9 B&W

> Godox Witstro AD-360 Portable Flash Kit + PB960 Battery

Studio power flash with separate battery pack. Comes with USB port for FTR16 receiver (but will accept new XTR16 receiver also)(Great as I can then fire with FT-16/ XT-16/ X1T triggers!)  I use it as a cheap Profoto B1 alternative but that is not an exact comparison.

Photography lighting equipment
Godox AD-360 Light
 
 

Godox large flash – Godox V850II (The best speedlight for my needs) (A brief Godox V850II review!)

Then I wanted a large speedlight that was more portable than the Godox AD-360 but still powerful and still worked with my same triggers.  I didn’t need a TTL flash so that would save me a lot of money.  I bought a Godox V850 and then Godox V850 II (that I recommend here).  The V850II is a 4x AA battery size flash similar to the size of main brand flash units that i used previously (Nikon SB-900 size or Canon equivalent) but with a lithium battery.  The Godox V850II is the best speedlight for me as it works with my existing flash triggers. Now I had multiple off camera lights that I can fire from a single Godox remote trigger on my camera hotshoe.  This was my photography lighting kit for models and weddings in the UK.  When overseas I just took a smaller Godox V850 /V850 II and left the larger lights behind.  The V850/V850II with “Li-ion” batteries normally last a full day on one charge and recycle quickly too.  No more faffing around with piles of AA batteries! (I remember in my early weddings I was charging some AA batteries at the wedding as my 3 Yongnuo flashes were working hard and eating through the batteries!).

> Godox Ving V850II GN60 Flash Speedlight

Powerful flash, lithium battery, built-in XTR16 receiver (but will accept FTR16 receiver also via USB port)(Great as I can then fire with FT-16/ XT-16/ X1T triggers!)

Photography lighting equipment
Godox Ving V850II & V850 Speedlights

Godox small speedlight – Godox TT350 (Best flash for Leica M camera / cheap Leica flash alternative!) (A mini Godox TT350 review!)

As a Leica photographer I enjoy using small cameras for digital photography.  I wanted to find the best flash for Leica M cameras (specifically the Leica M240, M8, M6 and M4P)(The Leica M3 and M2 have a cold shoe not a hot shoe).  Leica flash are expensive but they are a nice small size.  I wanted a cheap Leica flash alternative as didn’t want to pay crazy money for a Leica flash (like a Leica SF40).  A Leica flash would also not be compatible with my existing light setup anyway.  The Godox V850II is too big really to mount on a small Leica M camera so I did some research and settled on the new Godox TT350 flash.  The Godox TT350 flash is a small 2xAA battery unit more similar in size to a Leica flash.  The small unit can be used as a trigger to fire other flash units yet still emit flash itself too (like a normal flash).   I had the situation as some weddings where I was using all off camera flash and had a trigger on my camera hotshoe.  Someone would then want a photo or I needed to light something up right in front of me (away from my lights).  I couldn’t use a standard speedlight on my hotshoe as then the other off camera lights would not fire (say to light a venue room).  I needed light on camera that would also fire lights off camera.  Hey presto!  Godox answer my dreams with the Godox TT350.  Perfect size as a Leica flash and does all I need.  It actually does more than my needs as it is TTL but they don’t make a non-TTL version sadly.  The price is slighty higher but it has a lot of functionality as part of a wider camera system.  There is a small problem though.  This latest Godox speedlight doesn’t work with my usual FT-16 Godox triggers. (see below).

> Godox TT350N TTL Flash Speedlight

Small TTL speedlight that can work as a flash, trigger same units and units compatible with the new XTR16 receiver (Note* Can’t fire Godox TT350 of camera with FT-16 trigger, only XT-16/ X1T/ another TT350 or similar modern flash)

Photography lighting equipment
Godox v350 Speedlights

Top 3 Best Wireless Flash Triggers 2018: Godox wireless triggers and receivers for flash photography

> 3 Godox wireless flash triggers I recommend for the Godox flash system

This bit gets a little complicated so try to hang with me! So my original Godox wireless flash triggers are called Godox FT-16 transmitters.  They look a bit like pocket wizards (see photo below) and have an aerial on the top.  FT-16 triggers use 2x AA batteries and are a perfect weight for small cameras such as a Leica.  FT-16 triggers have their own receivers.  Different flash units use different size receivers.  The Godox AD-180, AD-360 and V850II have a USB receiver port so can be fired from new receivers (XTR-16) and old receivers (FTR-16) (you just plug the receiver into the side of the unit).  The old receiver that pairs with the FT-16 wireless flash trigger is called a Godox FTR-16 receiver.  The new receiver looks nearly identical but is called a XTR-16 receiver. (Godox have now released a new version of the FT-16 transmitter called the XT-16 wireless flash trigger)(with same aerial style).   I don’t have the XT-16 transmitter but will recommend it next to the old FT-16 transmitter (below) as I only just discovered it while writing this post!  I will be buying Godox XT-16 triggers soon! Why.  Well this is the problem I faced.  So the old FT-16 trigger will fire the bigger speedlights but wont talk to the latest Godox v350 flash.  The Godox TT350 will fire the older speedlights now that I fitted these units with new XTR-16 receivers.  But what if I want to fire the little Godox TT350 off camera?  I need a new trigger to do this.  For this I bought a new style of Godox trigger and receiver called Godox X1T trigger and X1R receiver. (See further down).

Photography lighting equipment
Old photo from a wedding – Leica M240 + M8 with Godox FT-16 triggers + Godox V850 Speedlight
> Godox FT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox FTR16 Wireless Receiver kit

I still prefer the older Godox FT-16 wireless flash trigger to the new X1T trigger

Old version (Trigger/Receiver kit) for AD-180/AD-360/V850/V850II+more. Pocket wizard design and works great on small cameras.  Trigger will fire any older Godox flash or older  “F” receiver.  Receiver will work with ANY Godox light with a USB port (new or old).

Photography lighting equipment
Godox FT-16 Trigger Transmitters for Speedlight
> Godox XT-16 Wireless Flash Trigger & Godox XTR16 Wireless Receiver kit

The Godox XT-16 wireless flash trigger has all the benefits of the FT-16 (+ more!)

New version (Trigger/Receiver kit) for AD-180/AD-360/V850II/TT350 +more. Same pocket wizard design and works great on small cameras.  Trigger will fire any new Godox flash or new “X” receiver.  Receiver will work with ANY Godox light with a USB port (new or old).

> NO IMAGE AS I’VE NOT BOUGHT THESE YET (SAME AS ABOVE GODOX FT-16 DESIGN)

> Godox X1T – Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger Transmitter

New different style Trigger –  for AD-180/AD-360/V850II/TT350 +more. Big advantage as when on hotshoe it can fire any new Godox flash or new “X” receiver off camera and will accept any brand speedlight to sit on top for a combination of on camera and off camera flash option.  I find it too big for Leica cameras but use it with Nikon D800/ F4/ F5/ Hasselblad and others.

Photography lighting equipment
Godox X1T trigger & X1R receivers (new style with hotshoe on top)
> Godox X1R N 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver

New different style receiver –  for ALL SPEEDLIGHTS! (any brand) Different design where speedlight sits onto receiver unit or connect with cable

Non-Godox Lights (Mains Powered Studio Light)

Ring Light – Great for Perfect Instagram Selfies!

In addition to all the various Godox speedlights and triggers above I also use continuous lights.  The beauty of these is you can see what you will get (ie. the effect on the subject) before you take the photo.  Beauty lights or ring lights are very popular with makeup artists, vloggers and some studio photographers also.  The main point to note as a photographer is continuous light is very low power compared to a speedlight / flash so they are of no use on a bright day or if you are a studio photographer that photos everything at f16.  Great for low light and fast lenses like F1.4-f2-f2.8 etc.

Leica Studio Portrait

> Neewer RING LIGHT – 75W (600W Equivalent) 5500K Camera Photo Dimmable Ring Fluorescent, Diameter 18 inches Outer 14 inches Inner

You can always see if a photo was taken with a ringlight as there will be polo shaped highlights in the eyes (see Stacey above in the studio).

leica cl camera review ringlight
Ringlight in action for an iPhone selfie for Instagram!

Missing Photos!!

 

Photography Lighting Equipment – Beginners Guide!

Why all photographers should use flash!

Many new photographers shy away from using their camera with a flash.  I know I did for a think the first 2-3 years.  Even some professional photographers label themselves as an “available light photographer” which basically means they can’t use flash.  I say this because if you could you would!  I’m not picking at anyone but I know as a portrait and wedding photographer sometimes there just isn’t enough light to get the photo you want.  That being with the quality of light you want.  Why struggle at ISO 6400+ and produce a low quality noisy image when you can fake daylight with a flash and shoot it at ISO 100-400. Here is a good example from my recent trip to Poland.  It was the last photo shoot of the day and almost dark outside.  I could have probably shot it at ISo 12800 or something but instead I just faked the daylight with an off camera flash and shot it at ISo 400.

Leica CL B&W Preset

Using photography lighting is fun and effective! Off camera flash

Modern cameras spoil us now with even low-cost camera having like ISO 1-million!  As a film photographer I usually need to shoot at ISo 100-400/800 (try too) so I use lights quite often if the available light levels are too low.  As you can see then I’ve gone from an “available light photographer” to a “lights are amazing!” photographer.  Once you start it’s addictive stuff!  You can almost always better a scene with a light and there is unlimited creative ways to use a light.  I talk from a people photography stand point whether posed models or run and gun wedding photography.  Even some landscape photographers use lights now (light painting a landscape).  The guys over at F Stoppers have been playing around with these techniques if you are more of a landscape photographer type and interested.  I guess street photography is an exception to needing a flash though some famous street photographers flash light their “prey” in the street too to great effect.

Paris Fashion Week

 

3 Types of Photography Lighting for Beginners

In very basic terms there are 3 types of light –

C41 Crossed Processed Velvia 100

 
1. Sunlight (Light originating from the sun)

Whether direct sun on a blue sky day, diffused sunlight through clouds, light at dusk and dawn, light reflecting off water, a building, the floor, it all originates from the sun.  (I ignore moonlight but would group it here also).  We can’t control how the sun is hitting the earth/ the objects around us. This is often referred to as continuous light but to be specific lets call it natural continuous light. (I exclude firelight from this).

Fomapan 100@800

 
2. Artificial continuous light

This is usual a light source as a result of mankind. Street lights, car lights, lighting in your house, light from you iPhone, light from a candle if you light it. Any light that can be seen for a longer duration of time than a fraction of a second.  In the studio there are a now a few different types of continuous lights. Tradition hot lights (tungsten bulb studio lights) and cold lights like LED lighting and Fluorescent tube lighting.  Each give a different quality of light.  Generally speaking (there are some exception) continuous lighting normally requires more power so tends to be mains powered and is often found in the studio.  (Some of the modern LED lights are portable and use battery packs).

Hasselblad Wedding

 
3. Flash lighting (with speedlight, studio light or similar device)

Flash lights are commonly refered to as speedlights for photography.  They are generally smaller and more portable than traditional artificial lights and battery-powered.  Flash light is instant on/off where as daylight and artificial light is continuous.  This make flash lighting much more difficult to use as you cannot see the effect until you fire the flash and take a photo.  This means using speedlights to good effect can take practise but it’s worth it!  (It took me many hours of experimenting and I never stop learning).

Budapest Model

 
What portable and studio lights do I use in 2018? / Flash for Leica M cameras

I love lights so have bought so many over the years.  I use traditional hot lights, modern fluorescent right lights, main powered studio lights, portable battery pack studio lights and speedlights of every size and power.  In this recommended list I try to share details on the lights I use the most.  I am a studio based photographer but much of my photography is on location (for weddings and photo shoots) or overseas (all the model trips I do outside the UK).  Each time I travel I try to find ways of making my photography lighting kit smaller and smaller yet still have larger high power lights for when weight is less of an issue.

Leica M240 + Noctilux

Best Photography Lighting Kits (Godox vs Nikon vs Canon)

As mentioned above I have bought many brands over the years but the brand that I have stayed with (and grown with) is Godox.  When you buy photography lighting kits you soon realise you are investing in a lighting system.  I guess it is similar to cameras.  If you buy a Nikon DSLR you can’t then use a Canon lens as it doesn’t fit.  The same with lighting to a degree.  Once you start using off camera flash you need triggers or transmitters and receivers.  With modern speedlights often some features are built into the flash units themselves so it’s really beneficial to use everything from the same brand.

Follow the TTL / E-TTL flash trend or do lighting properly?

TTL or E-TTL (for Canon users) seems to be all the rage these days.  Most photography light (speedlight) manufacturers now offer a TTL flash.  What is TTL?  In very simple terms it is a computer inside the flash that gives a perfect exposure for every photo.  This is great for people who use a camera in full auto mode and don’t know a F stop from an ISo.  A full auto camera with a TTL full auto lens is now completely automated to give a perfect exposure every time without needing to know anything about photography.  Great for wedding photographers in it to make a quick buck but boring as hell for anyone hoping to get some fulfilment from the art of photography and learning the craft.  I can’t think of anything worse / more dull myself.  Surely the kick from getting a good photo is when you put the effort in to achieve it?  If it is offered on a plate to you as a finished article and you had no input in the result then where is the fun in that.  When I teach students I always teach to use a manual flash and full manual camera settings.   I think they know more after their first day than many of the wedding photographers! 🙂

London Model Shoot

Benefits of non- TTL speedlights? (Godox V850II vs Nikon SB-910)

Ans: The same light power but a less than a third of the cost!

If you (like me) don’t want a TTL flash then you can save a lot of money.  For example a Nikon SB-910 TTL Speedlight is around £300 on Amazon whereas a Godox V850 without TTL is only £90!  Both lights are a similar size and power output.  Worth noting when you look to buy a speedlight.  If a flash looks expensive check if it is TTL.  If it is there might be a cheaper alternative without TTL you can buy (Like the Godox V850/V850II).

Part 1: Recommended Photography Lighting Equipment – Summary

Above I have detailed the main photography lighting I use for most of my photography, 3 sizes (and power outputs) of Godox speedlights to suit different occasions, new versions and old versions of Godox wireless flash triggers and receivers needed to use the flash off camera.  I also listed my Ring flash as they are very popular for Instagramers trying to take the perfect selfies!  I appreciate I went into quite a lot of detail but I hope it made some sense.  It took me ages researching these products before buying to try to get the best product for the money and then practice and experimenting to understand what triggers and receivers can fire what speedlights.  Luckily I enjoy experimenting with flash photography!

Leica M9 Location Shoot

Part 2: To Follow

I had planned to list all my gear on one blog post but it was getting a bit to long and messy.  In part two (when i get time!) I will list more of the photography equipment I use and it will be less light specific.

Speedlight Related Blog Posts

Here are some photo shoots as examples of the abovementioned lighting

Leica Summicron 90mm f2

More Leica Blog Articles