Intrepid 4×5 Camera Review (Large Format Film)

Intrepid 4×5 Camera Review (Large Format Film Camera)

Detailed Intrepid 4×5 camera review (large format film camera).  Article covers 4×5 camera basics, common mistakes to avoid with 4×5 cameras, 4×5 camera checklist, how to load 4×5 film, 6×7, 6×9, 6×12 roll film backs, 4×5 portraits & more photos shot with the Intrepid.

Intrepid 4x5 Camera Review

Large format 4×5 Cameras

4×5 Photography Intro – My existing 4×5 film cameras

Although I haven’t used them enough I’ve owned a couple of 4×5 large format film cameras for a little while now. My first 4×5 camera was a modified 1940s Pacemaker Speedgraphic which I imported from the US.  It is a custom build Speedgraphic with a Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 lens attached and revolving cambo film back.  My next large format film camera purchase was a 1980s Sinar F2 monorail camera.  I bought the F2 as the Speedgraphic very has limited lens movements options (tilt and rise etc).  Both of these 4×5 cameras are lovely but neither are very mobile/ portable.  These cameras have rarely left the studio (a few occasions only) and neither have left the UK for overseas photoshoots.

Speedgraphic 4×5 Camera:

Pacemaker Speed Graphic

Sinar F2 4×5 Camera:

Sinar F2 #4x5 #largeformatphotography #largeformat #sinarf2 #sinar #fomapan100 #model #studio #coventry #film #filmcamera #vintagecamera #lovefilm #filmisnotdead #believeinfilm

Intrepid 4×5 camera discovery

I stumbled across some 4×5 film camera videos on YouTube last year when researching landscape photography ahead of my first cycling-photography trip to Fuertventura.  Although I’m not a landscape photographer I am a big fan of some of the large format film photographer on YouTube.  My favourites that come to mind are Nick Carver (brilliant and funny/ yet still techinical) and Ben Horne (Alan Brock is also a good guy).

Ben Horne landscape photographer

Ben shoots with 4×5 film cameras and more often 8×10 film cameras for his landscape photography.  I appreciate more the film aspect of Ben’s work than the landscapes themselves but some of his images are truly stunning.  (Why? I’m not a landscape photographer).  On one of Ben’s videos he reviews a film camera called an Intrepid 4×5 camera (Mk2)(see the end of this review and I will link to Ben’s video).

A new 4×5 film camera!?

After watching Ben’s Intrepid camera video YouTube lead me to another bunch of Intrepid camera videos (as it always does!).  Before I knew it I was on the official Intrepid Camera Co website.  It turned out that the  Intrepid Camera Co is a small startup company (at the time of buying my Intrepid camera) based in Brighton, UK and they specialize in making a very affordable very lightweight wooden 4×5 (*and now 8×10 also) folding film cameras.  It sounded just what I “needed” and it was an exciting unplanned discovery for me.

Intrepid 4×5 Camera cost

The cost of the Intrepid 4×5 camera Mk3 (latest version – Dec 2018)(mine is the previous Mk2 version) new is less than the cost of most 4×5 camera lenses.  The Intrepid camera is much more affordable than the more well known 4×5 camera brands such as the likes of Ebony, Toyo, Arca Swiss, Chamonix, Shen Hao and others.

You will also need a lens, film holders, tripod..

*Just as a note. The Intrepid 4×5 camera doesn’t come with a lens so that will be an additional cost.  You will also need 4×5 film holders or a roll film back, a tripod and a few other essentials for 4×5 photography.  Those “optional” (but most people have) extras include a magnifying loop, dark cloth and shutter release cable.

4x5 Intrepid Camera review- portrait

Above – BTS photo using the new Yi4K action camera in Poland

Intrepid camera 4×5 – Specs

The latest Intrepid 4×5 camera (Mk3) spec can be reviewed (and purchased!) on the official Intrepid Camera Co website – £250.  Once you start to research 4×5 camera lenses you will realise this is a bargain price for a brand new 4×5 camera! (I’m not being paid to say this it’s just fact!)

Intrepid 4×5 Mk3 vs Mk2

Since I bought my Intrepid 4×5 camera which was the Mk2 version the guys at Intrepid have now brought out the latest Intrepid 4×5 Mk3.  The Intrepid 4×5 Mk3 is a more refined version of the Mk2.  One of the key improvements that may tempt me to upgrade are the the tilt and swing movements on the back of the camera.  On the Mk2 version the back of the camera can be tilted forward slightly but nothing else.  The new Intrepid Mk3 is more similar to my Sinar F2 camera that allows for a lot of movement both at the front and the back of the camera.  There is a sturdier base plate on the Mk3 but i’ve had no issues with my Mk2.  The Mk3 has new improved double dials on the front of camera and a new improved low friction slider (I read).  I have no complaints with the Mk2 but it is great to see that Intrepid continue to push forward striving for near perfection at a budget price.

Waiting patiently – Intrepid camera lead time

After placing my 4×5 camera order on the Intrepid camera Co website I then had to wait patiently wait for six week lead time to pass.  (*Due to high demand I believe it is a now 6-8 weeks lead time).  As soon as the package arrived I could tell the Intrepid 4×5 camera was going to be lightweight and compact. The box was not so big and very light considering there was a 4×5 camera inside!

Intrepid 4×5 camera – Arrival and first thoughts

Once my Intrepid 4×5 camera was unwrapped I was able to inspect it more closely.  Being a Leica photographer and user of many different film camera brands I tend to know what I like and don’t like.  I was really impressed by the simple Intrepid 4×5 (Mk2*) design, the light weight wooden construction and compact form when folded down.  If you own other 4×5 cameras I think you really appreciate these portability aspects of the Intrepid.  The small lightweight form of the Intrepid was the only reason to buy the camera for me as I already had my two other 4×5 cameras. Once I fitted a quick release tripod mount the Intrepid 4×5 was good to go and I shot a little teaser video for my Instagram feed.  (If you’ve not seen it already it can be found in my Instagram saved “4×5” stories (@MrLeicaCom).

4x5 Intrepid photoshoot

4x5 Intrepid - 6x9 Film Back

4×5 Intrepid lens boards

When I ordered the Intrepid camera I also purchased two Intrepid camera C1 lens boards. The 4×5 Intrepid lens boards are black anodized aluminium and come in 3 sizes to fit most lenses. C0, C1, C2.  (The C# sizing relates to the size of the hole in the lens board.  Larger lenses need a larger diameter hole in the lens board with C0 being the smallest).  The Intrepid camera and lens board measure smaller than my existing Sinar F2 lens boards .  (The Sinar F2 is a larger camera at the front end).  I ordered two new Intrepid lens boards to mount my existing Sinar F2 4×5 lenses.  As soon as the Intrepid arrived I transferred the Schneider Symmar-S 180mm f5.6 lens and Rodenstock Grandagon 90mm f5.6 lens from the larger Sinar F2 lens boards to the new smaller Intrepid lens boards.  Now I was ready to shoot!

Intrepid camera 4×5 – main lens

The Schneider Symmar-S 180mm lens from a Sinar F2 monorail camera will be my go to lens for the Intrepid.  It is small enough to travel light(ish) and has all the sensible/ standard controls like shutter, aperture and pc sync port (for flash).  (This statement lasted a few weeks maximum!  I will share a follow up post with the different lenses I now use on the Intrepid 4×5!)

More Intrepid 4×5 lens boards!

Soon after getting the 4×5 Intrepid camera I was beginning to plan my next overseas photography adventure.  The plan was to take the 4×5 Intrepid camera as I had never owned a portable 4×5 film camera.  I used this plan as an excuse to buy more 4×5 camera gear and in particular find a smaller lighter lens.  (See follow up 4×5 lens post).

Once the new 4×5 lens arrived I noticed it didn’t fit the Intrepid C1 lens boards I had purchased.  Even after owning two 4×5 cameras already I still had a lot to learn!  The new lens was a smaller design and required a smaller diameter hole in the lens board. Smaller than my C1 size Intrepid boards.  I spoke to the lovely guys at Intrepid and ordered some smaller diameter hole C0 Intrepid lens boards for the new lens.

Intrepid 4x5 Camera

4×5 Intrepid camera – Quick setup

The Intrepid 4×5 camera sets up very quickly from a folded position (such as when packed away in a backpack for transportation).  Once the 4×5 lens is clipped into place on the front of the camera you will be able to start  focusing and composing your shot.  I use the Intrepid camera with standard 4×5 film backs (slotted between the camera back and the ground glass) and 120 roll film backs.  The Horseman 6×7 back utilizes the Intrepid graflok back and clips into place once the ground glass has been removed.  The Cambo 6×9 roll film back is  slimline design so fits onto the Intrepid camera the same as a  4×5 sheet film holder.  The latter means the ground glass can stay in place when the film is inserted and is slightly faster to use for me.

Intrepid 4×5 camera – Focusing / Ease of use

After using other 4×5 cameras previously I found focusing the Intrepid 4×5 camera via the ground glass very easy.  Straight from the get go and usually  without a dark cloth over my head I can get a subject into focus. With a portrait I can see every eye lash when working up close with a model which is much better than many 35mm and medium format cameras I use.  To begin with I just focus by eye, viewing the ground glass at a slight distance.  Once the focus is almost there I then use a 8x magnifying loop pressed against the ground glass.  If there is no glare on the ground glass I can then fine tune the critical focusing without a dark cloth.  Much of my 4×5 photography so far has been with models (and indoors) as that is what I photograph the most.

Intrepid 4x5 Camera

4×5 Intrepid camera – Blurry Photos

Talking from experience here are some of the reasons why I didn’t get sharp in focus photos using the Intrepid 4×5 camera

5 reasons for blurry Intrepid camera photos
  1. Subject moves after focusing and before taking the photo (ie. models)
  2. Camera moves after focusing – often when inserting film
  3. Ground glass is not flat – ensure glass in flush to back of camera before focusing (my most common loss of images until I realised)
  4. Motion blur – on a windy day a lightweight tripod can move if using slow shutter speeds
  5. Tripod can move when forcefully inserting a roll film back behind the ground glass.

Schneider 75mm F8 Super Angulon lens

5 top tips to maximise the chance of sharp 4×5 photos
  1. Use a large heavyweight sturdy tripod and ideally not fully extended
  2. Lock down all the tripod dials and knobs once the photo is composed and in focus
  3. Lock down all the camera dials  and knobs (front and back) before taking a photo
  4. Use a cable release to release the shutter/ take the photo to avoid touching the camera and introducing possible camera shake
  5. Always double check the ground glass is flat before your begin to compose and focus an image (The elastic strings and metal clips can both get jammed between the glass and the back of the camera).

4×5 Intrepid camera – Common Mistakes

Again speaking from experience I think there are a few common mistake to try to avoid if you are new to large format photography.  In addition to the how to avoid blurry images above my most frequent oversights have been –

Large format photography – Check list!
  1. Is film loaded in the 4×5 film holder!? (Mark the film holders once they have film loaded)
  2. Avoid double exposure images (Use the black/ white  sided dark slide indicator to indicate if film is exposed or not (I use white side as unexposed / black side as exposed)
  3. Close the shutter before removing the dark slide! (If you don’t the film will be blank (completely overexposed) from all the light hitting the film before you press the shutter to take the photo
  4. Shutter doesn’t fire correctly (If you are using older 4×5 lenses it is worth test firing the lens before taking the actual photo)
  5. Flash doesn’t fire (dry fire the lens before taking the photo to ensure the flash fires as desired)(flash is triggered from the lens pc sync port via a cable)(not an issue for most 4×5 photographers until you use flash like me!)(for portraits)

Intrepid 4x5 Camera

Testing the Intrepid 4×5 Camera

On the night the camera arrived I stayed up very late playing with my new “toy”. I opened my last pack of discontinued Fuji FP100C instant film to make a test shot. I used my Hasselblad camera as the first test subject but seem to have misplaced the resulting photo!  (I used a 4×5 Polaroid film back which I use on the Speedgraphic and Sinar F2 cameras. The Intrepid 4×5 camera has a graflock back so accepts both Polaroid backs and roll film backs.  Here is a later Intrepid 4×5 test photo using Fuji FP100C film –

4×5 Sheet Film

When I bought the Intrepid I already owned three 4×5 sheet film holders – Fidelity Elite and Fidelity Delux versions. Each holder is double sided so I can load six sheets of 4×5 film at a time for any one shoot without reloading. As you will see below that wasn’t enough for a good model photoshoot so I ordered another three Fidelity film backs so I can now load up to 12 sheets of film for a single shoot.  My 4×5 film of choice based on the best value with pleasing results is black and white Fomapan 100 4×5 sheet film which I buy in boxes of 50 sheets.

See Fomapan film current prices on Amazon – UK / US

Large Format Portraits

Large format film model photography

As my photography “matures” I find i’m getting more and more selective when it comes to shooting models.   Multiple that ten-fold and that is how picky I am using medium format or in this case large format film with a model.  If I can’t see myself using the final image in my portfolio (if it’s a keeper) then I won’t shoot film.  35mm is the middle ground between ‘disposable digital’ and medium format film for me. In addition to looking for nice models I also need a model that is suitable for film.  Some models look lovely but if you ask them to hold a pose they tend to ignore you and keep moving in their own little world.  Medium format film ideally needs a model to pause briefly while I take the shot, especially if using a wide aperture to blur the background.

Large format photography requires a model to keep still for perhaps 20 seconds while I focus the image on the ground glass on the back of the camera, then load film, open the dark slide and take the shot.  Large format photography is certainly not for every model.  Currently I shoot a lot less in the UK than I used to.  Instead try to organise overseas models shoots every few months and shoot up to 5-6 girls a day while i’m there.  (*Poland trip Dec18 to follow!)

For 4×5 portraits I try to work as fast as I can so not to keep the model waiting.  The quicker I can focus and take the shot the better for me and the less chance the model will have moved.

4x5 Photoshoot

6×7 Horseman 120 roll film back for 4×5

Soon after getting the Intrepid camera I managed to organise a shoot with Aneta.  At the time I only had the three 4×5 film holders (giving 6 shots) so also packed my 4×5 Horseman roll film back. The Horseman 4×5 back lets me use standard 120 roll film to shoot 6×7 images on a 4×5 camera. It was the first time I had used the roll film back on the Intrepid so it doubled as a test run.  I penciled the 6×7 crop markings on the 4×5 ground glass to help me compose the photos.  Here are a few samples using the 4×5 roll film back on the Intrepid camera, loaded with 120 Fomapan 100 film.

6×7 Film back portraits

Intrepid 4x5 Portrait

Cambo 6×9 roll film back for Intrepid

After starting out with the Horseman 6×7 roll film back I wanted something wider so I looked online for potential options.   I found the Cambo 6×9 roll film back.  The design is slightly different to the Horseman 6×7 film back as it can be inserted between the camera back and the ground glass like a regular 4×5 film holder.  (The 6×7 Horseman roll film back requires the Intrepid ground glass to be removed to attach it).  I’m loving the process of focusing a 4×5 camera but equally I enjoy the ease of shooting 120 roll film.  Colour 4×5 sheet film is very expensive so shooting 120 film opens the doors to lots of  exciting film stocks at more affordable prices!

6×9 Film Portraits

Some 6×9 film portraits shot in Poland recently –

Cambo 6x9 film back

4x5 Intrepid Camera Portrait

Intrepid + Cambo 6x9 roll film back

4×5 Intrepid Portraits

As a comparison here are some 4×5 sheet film photos with Aneta using 4×5 Fomapan 100 when I first got the camera –

Fomapan 4x5 Film

Intrepid 4x5 Portrait

Intrepid 4x5 Portrait

Intrepid 4×5 Camera First Thoughts – Summary

The Intrepid 4×5 camera very easy to setup from folded and once setup it is easy to focus. When photographing models I am focusing on the closest eye on the ground glass using a magnifying loop and I found it very easy to see each eye lash. The camera is very portable for a large format camera so I want to use it on location as much as possible going forward. It is early days but I’d like to think you will see much more 4×5 photography from me in 2019.

Below is a preview of my first 4×5 camera photo walk and getting to try the Intrepid camera on location for landscape photography.

Kenilworth Castle Black and White

Intrepid Camera Experience – Conclusion so far

As a guy who is already obsessed with photography and experimenting with lots of different analogue film cameras, I was quite surprised at how much I have taken to the 4×5 Intrepid camera.  It has become my new favourite camera that I want to learn to master for almost every kind of photoshoot / genre of photography.  I’ve even started photographing the occasional building which was unheard of for me before.  I’ve done 4×5 macro, 4×5 still life, 4×5 portraits (in the studio and on location), and my wish list of other photo styles to try with the 4×5 Intrepid is equally as long again.

New 6×12 film back!

Quick preview shot of me trying out my new 6×12 roll film back!

Horseman 6x12 Roll Film Back

4×5 YouTube Videos

Ben Horne Intrepid camera review (Mk2)

How to load a 4×5 film holder

Get inspired to shoot 4×5 film!

Ben Horne

Nick Carver

Related Film Photography Articles

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!

  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE

Yi4K Plus Review (& Yi4K+ vs GoPro)

Yi4K Plus Review (& Yi4K+ vs GoPro)

Qu. Need a small camera to take with you everywhere!?

First thoughts Yi4K Plus review! – The cheap GoPro alternative action camera for photos and videos.  Yi4K vs Yi4K+, Yi4K Plus vs GoPro Hero 6 & 7, Yi4k essential accessories, sample photos and sample videos.  My new toy!


Yi4K Plus Review (Blog)

Yi4K Plus action camera

If you are a regular reader you probably know I enjoy model photography but also cycling and running (triathlon training).  When I’ve been exploring in new places before I’ve always wished I had a small camera to capture some of the amazing experiences.  I have taken film cameras on various cycling trips abroad – Voigtlander R3A in Fuerteventura, Leica M3 in Fuerteventura and Mamiya 6 in Mallorca (blog to follow).  They were great but were too big to use while running and required me to cycle with a backpack.  The smart phone is the obvious camera choice for such situations but I use an iPhone 6 Plus and even that is a faff to carry handheld (and I find it awkward to use for photos).

Inspired to get an action camera

I had been watching lots of ultra marathon running videos on YouTube and the camera footage with small action cameras really inspired me to try doing some of the same.  It lets me combine both my passion for photography and for exploring on 2 wheels or 2 feet.  In the past I would visit a new country and perhaps have some model headshots against a plain hotel white wall to show for it (as an extreme example but it’s true!).  To date I usually have very little to share of the sights and experiences that make up my overseas trips.


Wide Angle Landscape Photo

GoPro Hero 7 / GoPro 6 vs Yi4K+

At first I looked at GoPro cameras as I knew nothing about the subject of action cameras.  GoPro is the brand everyone has heard of and perhaps think of.  I looked at GoPro Hero 5, 6, and 7 and GoPro Black vs Silver vs White.  It was all very confusing for a newbie.  From watching YouTube GoPro review videos I discovered Yi4K action cameras. I’d never heard of this camera brand but it seemed widely regarded as a cheap GoPro alternative and has been nicknamed by some as the “GoPro killer”.  The main advantage of the GoPro Hero 6 is the camera is fully waterproof without needing an additional waterproof camera case. This is true for the GoPro 5, 6 and 7.

GoPro Hero 7

The latest GoPro Hero 7 camera has the best built in electronic anti shake of all the cameras I looked at.  The correct term is “EIS” (electronic image stabilization) but I didn’t want to pay almost double the price of the Yi4K Plus for this nice feature.  I think a lot of my work will be photos more than videos as I can share them easier via the usual social media channels, Flickr, Instagram etc.  I have a YouTube account but have not used it since experimenting with video years ago (Nikon D800 video mostly).

Yi4K vs Yi4K Plus

The Yi4K older model is cheaper (roughly half the cost on Amazon) than the newer Yi4K Plus version.  That said I wanted to find a balance between camera spec and camera price.  The newer YiK4+ is comparable to the GoPro Hero 6 in some regards offering 4K video at 60 FPS.  Both Yi cameras are 12MP sensors but the Plus model shoots 4K 60FPS vs 4K 30 FPS for the older model.  The main advantage to me is the Yi4K+ has image stabilization for 4K video (30 FPS) vs only for the 1080P video on the older Yi camera.

Wide Angle B&W

Yi4K vs GoPro – Accessories

The great thing about the Yi4K action cameras is they are fully compatible with the GoPro camera accessories.  The Yi4K cameras also have the advantage of a standard 1/4 thread tripod socket so will fit any standard studio tripods / accessories.  GoPro cameras require an adapter. The Yi4K+ camera also has a standard USB-C socket to use for charging, data transfer and to use with an external microphone. 

Yi 4K+ Micro SD card

The Yi4K plus camera takes micro SD memory cards rather than the larger SD cards I use in the Leica cameras. I already had a San Disk 16GB class 1 micro SD card but the Yi4K website recommends faster memory cards.  To be specific the micro SD card needs to be minimum UHS speed class 3 (U3) to be able to utilize all the functions of the camera. I ordered a San Disk Extreme Plus 64GB Micro SDXC card but it wouldn’t arrive immediately.

Yi 4K Plus review – First thoughts

I bought the Yi4K+ camera on Amazon just before my latest trip to Poland earlier this month. A big thank you to Amazon Prime for their unbelievably quick next day delivery (<18hrs door to door)(I used a free Amazon Prime 30 day trial!).  I didn’t have time to buy any GoPro accessories so my first experience with the Yi4K+ is the bare minimum, camera only. I used my old 16GB memory card which was fine for photos but for 2.7K and 4K video the clips stopped and buffered after around 15 seconds. I was just thankful I could use the camera at all while waiting for the new faster Micro SD card to arrive!

Sopot Fishing Boats

5 Likes of the Yi4K Plus

1. Tiny camera size! (65mm x 30mm x 42mm)

It’s amazing how small this camera is! It is truly a portable camera and is much smaller and lighter than my iPhone 6+. The Yi4K Plus 65mm x 30mm x 42mm dimensions are comparable to a GoPro Hero action camera but i’ve never really taken any interest in a GoPro before.  The light weight (96g/ 3.4oz) and small size means I can carry it with me literally everywhere. Running with the Yi4K camera in my hand was no chore at all.

2. GoPro accessories for Yi4K

There are endless GoPro accessories on the market so I love the fact I can use all of them with the Yi4K+ camera.  For running I plan to use the GoPro head mount, chest mount, selfie stick and backpack strap clip as potential ideas.  For cycling I will use the GoPro handlebar mount to make the camera hands free.

3. Yi4K+ voice activation

The Yi4K camera can be voice activated so I can take a photo with the camera mounted on the bike or my head for example without needing to touch the camera. A pretty cool feature!

4. Yi4K Plus app

The Yi4K camera can be easily operated from a smart phone device.  The mobile phone can display the view the camera is seeing so I can compose a photo without looking at the Yi4K+ camera LCD.  I can take the photo or start recording video straight from the mobile device.  The Yi4K phone app connects to the camera via WiFi and then photos can be exported from the camera, edited if needed on your phone and shared straight to social media. A seamless application that works brilliantly for my simple needs. (*I would say after using the Yi4K phone app more that it is better to transfer photos than video.  With video clips sometimes the WiFi connection fails and you have to start again).

5. Yi4K Plus photo quality (and video!)

I’m no expert when it comes to video quality but the Yi4K plus 4K video footage looks pretty crisp and the slow motion footage can look really cool if shot at 60FPS/ 120FPS (and then slowed down).  The true test for photo quality (for me only perhaps!) is to post a photo on my Flickr feed and see the reaction. Yi4K Plus photos were posted next to those shot with the modern digital Leica CL camera and film photos taken with the 4×5 Intrepid (blog to follow!) and other well regarded cameras.  I didn’t mention the camera used on purpose as I am guilty in that I judge a photo partly by the equipment used. 

For example if there were 2 near identical photos, 1 film, 1 digital I would be much more impressed with the film photo (for me)(as I know what is involved in “making” film images).  Likewise if a photo said “taken with cheap GoPro camera” I would try to pick fault at it somehow (with my thought process being well it’s nice for a P&S photo).  If I see a nice photo on someones Flickr film feed I would think woo I wonder what lens/ equipment was used.  If I then see that it was shot with an iPhone (for example) i’m somehow disappointed even though it was a great image.  (I just appreciate the people that master the craft of using old cameras in the modern day as anyone can pick up and use a digital camera).  From the reaction on Flickr to the Yi4K Plus photos most people are luckily not as narrow minded as me (smiley face) and just appreciate the end photo regardless of what camera was used.  I guess I should remember that i’m an extreme gearhead but most people really don’t care what camera was used!

More Yi4K+ sample photos

Postcard from Poland


Wide Angle Landscape Photo

After Poland – Yi4K Plus

Since Poland I have been planning ahead for my next photogenic trip to take the Yi4K+ camera on.  I’ve played around with trying different video settings and used it for a few clips i’ve shared on my Instagram account (@MrLeicaCom).  I think the Yi4K+ is best suited to the GoPro style advert amazing locations – skiing with blue skies, surfing with the clear blue water and action sports (as the name suggests!)  For me I think I will use the Yi4K camera the most when abroad but it is great to have for when I need it.

Pimp your Yi4K – Essentials (+ Nice extras!)

If you buy a Yi4K plus action camera you may ask what are the top 5 essentials to get you started.  Here are some of the items i’ve now purchased on Amazon for my Yi4K camera.  It took countless hours of research (my usual before buying anything) but i’ve been happy with my setup and nothing is crazy expensive.  (A GoPro setup would cost a lot more as you have to pay extra for GoPro branded products).

5 Essentials for your Yi4K  camera (that I bought on Amazon!)
  1. San Disk Extreme PLUS 64 Micro SDXC memory card – UK / US
  2. Yi4K waterproof protective case  (Rhodesy) – UK / US
  3. GoPro accessories pack – UK / US
  4. Yi4K batteries (x2) & charger  (Newmowa) – UK / US
  5. Yi4K selfie stick tripod & remote – UK / US
More nice things for your Yi4K (that I bought on Amazon!)
  1. CNC Aluminium Yi4K case (with hotshoe) – UK / US
  2. Rode VideoMic Compact microphone – UK / US
  3. Yi microphone converter  (USB-C to 35mm cable) – UK / US


Yi4K+ photo of 4x5 intrepid camera photoshootSneak preview Yi4K+ photo of me using the 4×5 Intrepid camera in Poland!


Yi4K Plus – Specs

To see the Yi4K Plus specs in full visit the YiTechnology website Yi4K page

Yi4K Plus videos

Sorry I have not shared any Yi4K video footage here.  There are some video clips on my Instagram feed (@MrLeicaCom) if you want a taster but the best bet is view others work on YouTube.  Going forward I will try to get organised to share some videos via the blog.

Yi4K Plus YouTube Sample Video!

This Yi4K plus video impressed me enough to buy the camera.  Pretty cool for such a tiny device!




Treat Yourself!

Here is the Yi4K+ action camera I bought on Amazon (link below).  I managed to get a great deal on mine so keep a look out for discounts.   These small action cameras offer excellent value for money for the amount of fun they offer whether for action sports, vlogging, travel camera or just to capture family life.

  • YI 4K+ Action Camera Ultra HD 4K/60fps – UK / US


Yi4K Plus Review Action Camera RunnerPano crop sample photo of me running in Poland using the Yi4K+


Yi4K+ video review (vs latest GoPro 7)

If you want to see what the Yi4K action camera looks like here is an excellent video review to provide some visuals with the Yi4K+ vs GoPro Hero 7




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London Photography Workshop (Leica Workshop)(Client from the US!)

London Photography Workshop (Leica Workshop)(Client from the US!)

Write up for one of my London Photography Workshops (Leica Workshop) to give more detail as to what is included + plans for a download

Leica photography workshops

If you have searched around on my MrLeica blog pages you may have seen that I teach Leica photography workshops.  My photography tuition is not limited just to Leica cameras but that is what is requested the most.  I don’t post a write-up after each photography workshop as the day(s) often follow a similar plan for each client/ student.  In the UK I run London photography workshops but overseas I teach where ever I’m invited.

Overseas photographers that book me for photography tuition

I’ve decided to document a Leica photography workshop that I ran earlier this year as it was a bit different to the norm.  Clients (photographers) visit me for my photography tuition from all parts of the world and as far as Alaska.   Often these people are travelling on business and arrange to meet me for a day while passing through the UK.  This eventually became the assumed norm for any overseas photographers requesting one of my 1-2-1 photography workshop.

Client flew in from Boulder, Colorado (America)

Following a chain of emails back and forth, in April this year Shaun flew into London from Boulder, Colorado (USA).  After approximately a 10 hour flight Shaun landed into the city and I arrived to London to meet him.  He had booked me for my usual 6 hour 1-2-1 photography workshop so it was time for us get started!

*MrLeica Photography Workshop Cost?  6 hr in London = £250


Here is a map of Shaun’s travel to the UK!

Leica Photography Workshop - Map of the global

Meet and greet – time to grab a coffee!

Once Shaun and I met we sat down with a coffee and got chatting.  It soon came to light that Shaun had flown in to the UK just for 2 days and wasn’t here on business.  I was a little surprised!  There must be other guys with a Leica camera in the US that offer a similar photography workshop experience I thought?  Shaun said he liked my work and followed my blog and that was the reason for his trip.










Leica Cron Bokeh - 90mm f2

Shaun had requested in advance (via email) that he was interested in a model photography workshop specifically and using mostly natural light.  I rallied around before the day arrived and organised 2 models for us, one for the morning, one for the afternoon.

Photography workshop model #1 – Valerie

For the morning session we met up with fellow American Valerie who I had first worked with in Florida.  (I had flown to Florida for a few days to photograph a Leica wedding (a fellow Leica photographer’s wedding no less who found me on DPreview if I remember correctly!)  Val was now living in the UK and was keen for some new photos so met us in London.  I can’t remember exactly but I think we photographed 2-3 clothes changes with Val shot in a few different locations.  This allowed us to use different backdrops and different types/ qualities of available light.









Leica Workshop London



In addition to my usual digital Leica camera I also took a few other film cameras.  I had my Intrepid 4×5 large format  camera (made of wood)(I still need to finish this camera write-up, sorry!) with me so I shot a few frames on that and even some Fuji Instax photos (making the most of the blue skies we had.

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Review - blue skies

Lunch – Time to compare notes / images!

During a workshop we normally stop for something to eat roughly half way though the day and I try to answer any questions a client may have.  Shaun also had a digital Leica M camera so we were able to compare photos on the camera LCD displays.  I was using my Leica M240 at that time so explained how I see photos and why I chose my compositions etc.

Photography workshop model #2 – Miriam

For the afternoon shoot we met with Ukrainian model Miriam that I found on Instagram. We had not worked together until now but had spoken online before the day.  As with the morning session we photographed a few different clothes changes and worked with a range of lighting conditions.








Leica Photography Workshop

Workshops are always fun!

Shaun and I were lucky to have both Val and Miriam join us for the workshop.  Everyone seemed to get along really well and it was an enjoyable day for all involved (I think!?).  Shaun felt like a good friend that I’d known for ages after a mere 6 hours of working together!  It was a bit sad when it was time for everyone to go their separate ways at the end of the day.  Great people with the common goal of having fun and creating the best possible images!






Leica Camera Workshop


Thanks to Shaun for being crazy enough to fly all the way to London just to have a photography workshop with me.  I hope it was worth it Shaun if you are reading this!  Great to meet you!  Thanks to Val and Miriam too for modelling!




London photography workshop – An insight into my Leica photography tuition

General plan for the day

My London photography workshop days usually follow general similar plan yet each day is 100% tailored to the photographer I am teaching.  The beauty of 1-2-1 photography tuition and the reason why I stopped teaching group sessions is I can give one person my 100% attention.   I found it more difficult when teaching a mixed group when everyone had varying degrees of experience and knowledge.  For my 1-2-1 photography tuition I recommend that clients prepare a list of questions to ask me (mentally or written!) in advance.  The day itself then works like a Q&A session where I try to share all I’ve learnt with regards to their topic(s) of interest.

Coffee shop

Photography workshop days are broken up with coffee shop stops so there is always plenty of time to ask questions and compare cameras/ lenses etc.  I’m quite fortunate in that I have collected quite a number of Leica M mount lenses since starting to use Leica cameras.  If a photographer is looking to buy a particular camera lens or focal length I bring the lens with me for them to try for the day (if I have it).








London Photography Workshop

Doesn’t need to be Leica

Although I use Leica cameras for my digital photography and some of my film photography it is not a must that clients bring a Leica camera to a workshop.  Often there might be a dotted line to Leica such as a Sony photographer than uses Leica lenses via an adapter or a Nikon digital photographer that also owns an old Leica M3 film camera and so on.  I normally bring both Leica and non-Leica cameras to workshops if a client wants to see a Hasselblad in action or some 4×5 photography for example.

Available light or Artificial light?

Some photographers would like to learn how to work with available light and others want to learn how to master a speedlight (or experiment with the basics).  Most of my own photography is portraiture or “model photography” as I often write in my blogs.  Generally photographers approach me to learn how to use light for portraiture but I have taught street photography and other genre also.   I explain how I see light and why I would choose to photograph in a certain location.




If the client would like to learn how to light a portrait I try to get one (or occasionally two) models to join us for part of the day.  Some photographers may be a master at nature photography or landscape photography and have all the best gear yet have never experimented with photographing people (other than perhaps fun shots of friends and family).  I let the client see how I work with a model then switch over so they get to direct the posing if they would like to.

Start building your portfolio

For anyone looking to get into portraits or photographing models the workshop can work well towards capturing some professional looking images to start building your portfolio.  (When you first start out as a photographer and are looking to collaborate with a model having some portfolio images is a must.  The model(s) will want to see example photos before committing their free time to test with you).

Photo editing

Photographers often ask how I edit my photos.  During the workshop I share my thoughts on editing photos (Lightroom, my MrLeica Lightroom Presets and Photoshop) and how to get the best from different Leica cameras.  (I also talk about my film developing for those shooting film).





New York Model - Hasselblad

Not everyone is able to travel to me (or fly me out to teach them)

Not everyone is able to travel for one of my Leica photography workshops or can to fly me out to them.  I have been fortunate enough to be flown to New York (twice)(NYC1, NYC2), Zürich (twice)(Zurich1, Zurich2) and Amsterdam in the past to teach.  Thank you if you are reading this!  Amazing experiences that I never thought I would be doing, especially the NYC and Zürich trips that were all multiple day workshops!  Meeting in London for a photography workshop is probably the cheapest way to have photography tuition with me.  You also get to see the city while you are in the UK and London is easily accessible from most places .

That said it is not always financially possible.

Mr Leica photography workshop download!

With the above problem in mind, and with some people not able to meet me face to face for a workshop I am considering documenting a Mr Leica photography workshop (in writing and with photos)(behind the scenes and resulting photos from the workshops).  It would be a very detailed document that might take me 3-6 months to write (on and off).  My aim would be to try to capture everything I can from a workshop day excluding the face to face interaction.



Canon F1


If this is something that might interest you I would love to gauge the potential uptake to understand if it is worth me taking on the mammoth task of writing it up!  If you think it could benefit you a short email or comment with your thoughts would be gratefully received.  You can also include any content requests you might like and I can do my best to please.

Waste of money?

My idea is if you purchase the downloadable Mr Leica Photography workshop document (price still to be determined) and then you later book a 1-2-1 workshop with me (face to face) I will give you a discount from the workshop cost.  That way it will be like buying the download for a much cheaper price.

Faceless download only offers half the experience?

I appreciate most photographers want to attend a photography workshop to work face to face with a model or see me working face to face with a model.  This download file is aimed to fill the gap for anyone that can’t attend a workshop yet wants in on some of the Mr Leica “tips and tricks”.  For anyone that later does what to travel for a workshop I hoped the discount mentioned above will help avoid the thought of paying out twice for essentially the same “experience”.




Leica Cron 90f2

Personal note

Sorry for the recent slow down in new blog posts.  I have increased my triathlon training quite a bit in the last few weeks so I’m going to bed earlier (not a bad thing!) and up early.  (For anyone interested I’m enjoying my running at the moment so building up the weekly mileage)(32 miles this week + swimming & cycling).

I have a lot of film in the fridge still to develop, colour and B&W, the Epson V800 scanner has developed a hardware fault so I can’t scan colour and am organising another model trip overseas this side of Christmas. At least I’m never bored I guess!


Blogs on my todo list

  • Intrepid 4×5 camera -(still waiting to shoot the right model to get more sample images)
  • New lens for the Nikon F5 – (need to develop the film in the fridge to see sample images)
  • Leica CL with M lenses round-up post – Still need to test more lenses
  • New Godox flash – need to finish write-up
  • Leica wedding highlights (not posted any for this year yet!)

…the list is endless but those are a few that come to mind!


Thanks for reading (and let me know if you ever want to book a workshop!)


Leica CL vs Leica M8 (+M Lenses)(Poland Photoshoot)

Leica CL vs Leica M8 (+M Lenses)(Poland Photoshoot)

My 3rd overseas photo shoot using the new digital Leica CL camera (with Leica M lenses).  Now with 6 weeks experience of using the camera I list my 5 Likes + 5 Dislikes of the CL, share more sample photos and include a Leica M8 vs Leica CL comparison.

  • Part A: 6 weeks with the Leica CL (5 Likes 5 Dislikes) + CL vs M8 compared
  • Part B: Film cameras & lenses I took to Poland + trip roundup


Leica CL vs Leica M8 Review

Part A: Leica CL vs Leica M8

A1: Leica CL – 6 weeks after purchase – Thoughts

Leica CL Honeymoon

This is now my third overseas model photography trip with the Leica CL and the Leica CL honeymoon (or “minimoon”as people call them now!) is officially over.  The passion and excitement from when we first met has faded as fast as it arrived.  Am I dreaming what fun I want to have next with my new CL?  Before yes, now no.  What killed the passion you ask?  It was all seemingly going so well for you both you say.  Where it went downhill was when I developed the film images from the two previous Leica CL shoots (Poland and Budapest).  Seeing the film scans reminded me what real photography is (for my taste).  Suddenly many of the Leica CL photos that I had liked from those trips now lacked depth and interest somehow compared to the analogue versions of similar photos.

Digital vs Film

I’ve always much preferred shooting film vs digital and I normally use digital to test ahead of shooting film (and to give clients a set of digital “instant” images).  I don’t hate the Leica CL.  It is great for a digital camera and does a good job for what it was designed for.  The Leica CL has now just become another tool for me similar to my Leica M240.  The CL gets the job done and I am happy with the results and user interface (overall – see my likes and dislikes below).


Leica CL vs Leica M8 Review - B&W Portrait - Girl Smiling
Leica CL + Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

Get Creative – with the Leica CL?

If I want to get excited or creative with my photography I tend to select from the array of film cameras I use rather than think about a digital camera.  Don’t get me wrong, when I shoot the Leica CL side by side with film cameras sometimes the Leica CL will catch the better moment /photo. I just find I now pack the Leica CL without any thought as the “necessary digital camera” (for my model photography).  All the thought and time goes into deciding which film cameras to take.  Those are the cameras that will capture the interesting photos for me.   “Interesting” may not mean “best” but I find digital all a bit too easy/ straightforward to be challenging.

The Leica CL should always capture the better photo

The odds are stacked strongly in favour of the Leica CL (or any digital camera) as I shoot perhaps a 100:1 digital to film ratio.  Digital photos are often shot quickly in the flow of the model so should normally catch better ‘moments’ that the occasional film photo.   The Leica CL photos should nearly always be sharpen and have more dynamic range (can loose detail in shadows when shooting film) Digital files of the Leica CL gives the option of colour or black and white (vs. say B&W only if using B&W film) and generally just more “information” to work with when it comes to processing the files in Lightroom (apply a LR Leica CL preset) / Photoshop.  I tend not to shoot film cameras as fast as I do digital so I really need to nail the shot for my occasional film frames.  Some film cameras give more “keepers” than others.  (My digital photography is still single shot photography, not the DSLR machine-gun wedding approach.  I don’t need 4000+ very similar images to sort through thanks!)

Leica M8 + 28mm

A2: Leica CL Review (Follow-Up) Likes+Dislikes

(with my bias rose-tinted glasses now removed!)

5 Dislikes of the Leica CL

1. Viewfinder Blackout

If you’ve never used a Leica M camera (nor a rangefinder camera) you won’t understand this point but it’s a big one!  With a Leica M camera you never loose sight of your subject when  you press the shutter. This means you can anticipate the next photo and move as needed ready to catch the next moment/ picture.  With the Leica CL when you take a photo the EVF goes black and you’re left in a panic as to what you are missing. I find it quite unnerving especially for critical moments such as during a wedding ceremony. I much prefer a Leica M camera in this regard.

2. Speed of focus

Some one asked me how fast in the Leica CL to focus manually verses the Leica M cameras. I said I thought both cameras about the same.  I did a photo shoot just before coming to Poland with the Leica M8 and the Leica CL and the Leica M is definitely faster to focus, no question. (This is if I zoom in to critically focus the Leica CL using manual focus lenses).

3. Flash photography

The Leica CL is fine for flash photography but I’ve found I much prefer Leica M cameras when using flash due to the Leica M viewfinder vs Leica CL EVF.  I prefer the optical viewfinder for this strobist work especially in low light.

4. LCD Display (switching to EVF)

LCD turns off (switches from LCD view to EVF view) when you get too close to the EVF (it triggers the switch to change view).  Probably not an issue for most people but I find it frustrating if I’m trying to photograph the back of the camera with my iPhone.  Models always want to photo the back of my camera so they have something for Instagram straight away. There might be a setting to turn off this feature but if not it would be a good addition to a future Leica CL firmware update.

5. Crop sensor (vs Full frame)

This is less of a dislike and more of a limitation to be aware of.  It is more difficult to get good background separation with many M lenses I’ve tried on the APS-C crop sensor Leica CL vs a full frame Leica M.  I will cover the best M lenses on the CL in a round up post once I’ve tested more M lenses.

Leica CL Colours

5 Strengths of the Leica CL

1. EVF exposure preview in available light

The exposure preview via the Leica CL built in EVF is a real joy to use and I find I now miss it when I switch to a Leica M camera.  (It makes me lazy!  On Leica M cameras I tend to guess the exposure on the first frame, adjust as needed for the second frame and continue shooting).

2. EVF view to compose any lens

After using a Leica CL for a while I found myself getting caught out when using wide lenses on a Leica M camera. I forget with a Leica M I can’t use a 21mm lens and see the full field of view via the built in Leica rangefinder. (On many Leica M cameras this is 28mm wide maximum).  I found myself just guestimating the composition when using a 21mm lens on the M camera rather than attaching an external 21mm viewfinder to compose.  The same advantage of the EVF when using longer lenses (focal lengths) on the CL.  It is easier to see the image to focus than with a Leica M rangefinder patch, especially with a 135mm Elmar lens.

3. No potential rangefinder calibration issues

As the Leica CL is not a rangefinder camera there is no concern that a photo looks sharp in the viewfinder (EVF) yet is out of focus in camera.  As mentioned previously, Leica M cameras can need recalibrating from time to time, and especially if they get knocked.  A good example of this for me is using my old Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens.  Wide open it misses focus on the Leica M240 yet is super sharp on the Leica CL (sample photos in my Leica CL + M lenses round up post to come).

4. Leica CL dynamic range

The dynamic range of the Leica CL camera is the best i’ve experienced on any digital camera.  It is so far ahead of the Leica M240 which looks primitive in comparison.  The Leica M240 clips/ blows the highlights very easily (and the Leica M8 even more so!).  The Leica CL does a fantastic job of retaining most of the detail in a scene most of the time making it great when it comes to processing the RAW files in Lightroom.

5. Fast buffering speed

I can work much quicker with the Leica CL (take photos without a lag).  The Leica M8 is the polar opposite and really struggles to keep up even for moderate pace photos.


+1 . Size

I do enjoy the light weight and compact size of the Leica CL.  It is still large enough to hold comfortably and securely for me.  Leica M cameras are pretty compact compared to most cameras too but the CL is a little smaller still.

Leica CL ISO 6400

A3: Leica CL vs Leica M8 – Why!?

Why would I compare the Leica CL vs Leica M8 when they are like chalk and cheese?  Both are Leica digital cameras but that is where the similarities probably end.  This won’t be a scientific test as no one will ever be in a position to decide between the M8 and Leica CL. (M240 vs M10 – yes, M240 vs CL – yes, but not the oldest digital Leica (M8) versus one of the newest Leica camera releases.

So what a pointless blog post heading you say.  Possibly, but for me I wanted to see which camera I enjoyed using the most and which camera photos I enjoyed seeing the most.  That is what I will cover in the rest of Part A in this article.


Leica CL vs Leica M8 review - girl photographer with leica Cl B&W
Claudia using my Leica CL (Shot with Leica M6 + Noctilux 50mm f1)

A4: Leica M8 vs Leica CL – Specs Compared

Leica M8 Specs – Quick facts recap
  1. Released in September 2006 (first digital Leica M)
  2. 10.3MP CCD 1.33x APS-H crop sensor
  3. Requires an IR cut filter (on the lens) to capture true colours
  4. Limited dynamic range
  5. Standard Leica M rangefinder focus system
  6. Slower buffer speed (when taking a photo)
  7. Low resolution rear LCD display for playback and menus (no live view)
  8. Manual focus lenses only
  9. Limited ISO range – 160 to 800 (usable)(160-2500 max)
  10. Weight – 591g
Leica CL Specs – Quick facts recap
  1. Released December 2017
  2. 24MP CMOS 1.5x APS-C crop sensor
  3. Impressive dynamic range beating many pro level cameras
  4. Built in EVF viewfinder (no optical viewfinder)
  5. Live view LCD that can be used to compose and focus (+focus peaking)
  6. Auto focus and manual focus lenses (MF lenses via adapter)
  7. High ISO range (100-6400 usable)(100-50,000 max)
  8. Weight – 403g

Leica M8 Lightroom Presets

A5: Which camera did I enjoy using most – Leica CL vs Leica M8

UK Pre-shoot (the day before Poland) – The cameras

Prior to flying to Poland I had a shoot in the UK with Aneta using many of the same cameras mentioned in this post (film and digital cameras).  This photoshoot was nearly all flash photography and I preferred using the Leica M8 to the Leica CL.  The M8 seemed to give a nicer shallow depth of field and the photos on the rear camera LCD just popped much more. Nearly all the photos were B&W so I didn’t use an IR cut filter on the M8.

Leica Lightroom Presets

Poland photo shoots – The cameras

In Poland I expected to like the M8 more too but I didn’t. I found the M8 too slow for the fast pace fashion models posing.  Due to the autumn colours in Poland I shot much more colour photography than expected.  I planned to use the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens a lot on this trip so had no IR cut filter with me. (Why? I don’t have a filter large enough for the 60mm filter thread of the Noctilux).  As such, for any colour photos I used the Leica CL and kept the M8 for black and white photos.  I also used available light much more for photos in Poland so the Leica CL suited this work (for me).   I think I shot roughly 3:1 more photos with the Leica CL vs M8.  Mostly due to taking photos in colour or being away from the hotel with only the Leica CL plus film cameras.

A6: Which camera photos did I prefer – Leica M8 vs Leica CL?

UK Pre-shoot (the day before Poland) – The photos

As mentioned above most of the photos shot with Aneta were with flash.  The apartment we chose to shoot in was smaller than expected so I used wider lenses most of the time.  Wider lenses and flash meant most photos had a greater depth (less blurry backgrounds) than the Poland shoot.  The Leica CL coped better when I was mixing sunlight and flash.  The Leica M8 photos clipped the highlights more easily whereas the Leica CL dynamic range retained most of the detail.  Shooting in a small space was more about the light than the camera choice.  That said the majority of the photos I liked from this shoot were shot with the Leica M8.

Leica M8 Portrait

Poland photo shoots – The photos
Leica CL

The Leica CL captured some nice photos in Poland, as it had done on my last two overseas shoots.  I think the choice of lenses I used didn’t help the Leica CL perform to it’s very best, with the exception of the Leica Noctilux lens.  The Noctilux 50mm f1 lens on the Leica CL produced some quite pretty photos with the shallow depth of field and bokeh.  If the CL was the only digital camera I used I would have been happy.  The problem was I also used  the same Leica Noctilux lens on the Leica M8.

Leica CL Portrait with 50mm f1 Noctilux

Leica M8 vs CL

The Leica M8 CCD sensor combined with the Leica Noctilux lens rendering arguably produced the more interesting images for me but the CL was no slouch.   This conclusion was based partly on personal taste (subjective) but also from the number of likes and comments on the various social media platforms.  The problem is the the digital Leica CL produces digital looking photos (lens dependent), as you may expect.  This is the look most peoples eyes are used to seeing in the digital world so such photos look at best “nice/ normal” (I think).

The beauty of the digital Leica M8 is it can produce photos that don’t look digital and on occasion some images are mistaken as analogue.  A photo that looks “different” is almost always going to be more interesting than a photo that looks “normal”, regardless of the subject matter. For this reason I feel the Leica M8 produced the most unique looking photos and maybe those that stand out the most from this Poland shoot.

Leica M8 Portrait with Noctilux

Comparing apples to oranges

The Leica CL did capture some nice colour photos (especially) and B&W too but I think this test was a bit like comparing apples to oranges.  In a world full of apples an orange will always look more exciting.  That being the Leica M8 photos in the digital era.

Comparing apples to apples

If I had compared apples to apples, say the Leica CL vs Leica M240 the results would be far closer.  The M240 would win for shallow depth of field with the full frame sensor but the Leica CL would win for dynamic range.  Perhaps I should compare these two cameras for a model shoot in the future!


A7: Leica CL with M Lenses (more lenses tested)

Example photos using the Leica CL with more Leica M mount lenses:

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 (v2)


Leica CL + Noctilux 50mm f1

Leica CL + Noctilux Portrait

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

Leica CL Skin Tones

Leica CL +  Leica M Lenses

Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5


Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 Portrait

Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm f4  (used previously also)


Part B: Poland trip October 2018 – Details

B1: Mamiya RZ67

For Poland I was excited to fit in my Mamiya RZ67 camera to do some nice portraits. I zipped my bag up successfully with everything for the trip inside, done. I then weighed my bag and I was 3kilo over the 10kg weight limit (for my main carry on bag). The culprit was quite obviously the RZ67. I took it out and the carbon monopod for it and I was just within my weight limit. Boo! I will try again next time!

B2: Camera Bag

With the Mamiya RZ67 removed my camera bag looked as follows:

I included a few different film cameras for a change to freshen things up a bit. Each had a purpose and was in my bag on merit alone.

B3: Why I chose each camera?

Leica M6 Classic

My Leica M6 seems to have the most accurately calibrated rangefinder of all my Leica film cameras. If I am to shoot film with the Noctilux at f1 I need the camera spot on. The Leica M6 also uses the same M lenses I will use on the Leica M8/ CL so it makes sense to pack at least one Leica film camera.

Nikon F5 SLR

I brought the Nikon F5 to use the Nikkor 180mm f2.8 lens specifically.  It gives a totally different shooting experience to using a Leica camera with say a 50mm lens.  I enjoy the compression and shoot-through ability using a long lens (and a SLR camera).  I’ve never taken such a long lens to Poland so it will allow me to create different photos to all my prior Poland visits.

Nikon F5 Photographer

Olympus 35 RC

The little Olympus 35 RC can produce sharp photos with the lens stopped down a little (I’ve found in the past).  It also gives a different look / distorted perspective than my Leica film cameras which I quite like.  It is a small camera so is easy to pack and carry but the main reason I brought it was the 1/500 flash sync speed.  I hoped to use this in daylight with flash.

Ilford Delta 100 Portrait

Fuji GA645

The GA645 is my smallest and lightest medium format camera.  I love the extra resolution 645 film negatives give over 35mm film.  I also like the economy factor of shooting 645 vs 6×6 or 6×7 film. 645 film is a good happy middle ground for me.  I wanted to shoot some 120 film and the 60mm Fujion lens has given me sharp pleasing results in the past.  It also has a flash sync speed of 1/400 which I planned to use.

B4: 2 Days in Poland, 6 Models


I enjoyed 2 almost full days of photo sessions in Poland despite some cancellations.  9am til after 6pm both days, near back to back models, 1 in, 1 out.

Shooting film

I didn’t shoot as much film as I had hoped the first day but I got going more by the afternoon.  Day 2 I shot as much film as I could as I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I shot 6 rolls of 35mm and 2 rolls of 120 including my first roll of Kodak ProImage 100 colour film. I had hoped to shoot more 120 film but the opportunities never seemed to arise.

Flash photography

As with shooting film I had hoped to use flash a lot in Poland. The problem was there were blue skies so much of the time it was too bright to shoot flash practically.  By the end of day 1 I used flash more as the light levels dropped and I was pleased with the result.   For day 2 again by later in the day I used flash when we worked in the shadows.  I was able to create a different look to my usual work and was happy with the results.  For the blue hour I gelled the light to mimic sunlight and used it through til dark.  It was a rare occasion that I preferred the colour images to the black and white photos. I shot some night photos with the film cameras using the flash so am interested to see the photos as I would normally avoid this.

Leica CL + Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar

Nikon F5 Review

B5: Film cameras – which did I use most?

As mentioned I shot less film that hoped. (The usual it seems these days for me).  I shot 2 rolls with the Fuji GA645 and only 1 roll with the Olympus 35 RC.  The Nikon F5 went through 2 rolls and the Leica M6 3 rolls of film.

Film cameras – camera limitations

The GA645 often didn’t suit the busy background being an f4 lens so I used it less.  (With an f4 35mm equivalent lens there is less background separation).  The Olympus 35 RC is better stopped down so again I needed more light or a simple backdrop (for my taste). The Nikon F5 with 180mm lens was too long for many photos so was perhaps used less than it could have been.  It is also big to carry around but that didn’t matter. I used the Leica M6 the most as it has the best viewfinder of the manual focus film cameras, is very portable and arguably had access to the best lens. I used the M6 with the Leica Noctilux lens as much as I could but used it from f1-f2 rather than all shot wide open.

B6: Leica Lenses – which lenses didn’t I use

I hardly used the Voigtlander Color Skopar lenses (21mm f4 and 35mm f3.5) nor the Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8.  I just did a few wide shots indoors a few times and I think that was all. Why not? I had a big hotel room and access to outdoors with good weather so was never in a confined space.

B7: Leica Lenses – what lenses were most used

I used the Leica Noctilux wherever possible but I had 3 Leica camera bodies asking for it! The Leica M6 got first choice as I prefer film to digital. This meant the Nocti was my most used lens in Poland.  My second most used was the Leica 90mm Macro Elmar, even on the CL.  I kept wanting background separation and that was my second best lens for the task that I had with me.  Lastly was the Leica Summarit 50mm f2.5 lens.  It was used third most as it was better than the other 3 wider lenses I had.

B8: Leica M lenses – regrets

For most of the my time in Poland I wish I had taken the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH. It works great on every Leica, no question.  A second lens that could have been well used was the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH lens. Next time! It was my first model shoot overseas without taking a full frame Leica M camera so not having these lenses was an oversight on my part. Always learning!

Girls like to have fun

B9: The Poland trip

Great weather

We were so lucky with the weather in Poland.  The middle of October with sunshine and blue sky both days and temperatures reaching into the 20s! (degrees Celsius).  I had left a cold wet windy UK so felt very fortunate.

Huge hotel room

To my delight the hotel kindly gave me the biggest room in the building.  The apartment family suite with sea view, roof top terrace and glass windows on 2 sides letting in lots of daylight. It was my first stay in this room despite visiting many times over the years.


6 models in total.  2 new models, with one girl only 14 years old and had never had a photo shoot before.  2 familiar faces from my visit in September and 2 girls you might recognise if you’ve followed me for 1-2 years or more. Despite 3 model cancellations the 6 models that did visit filled most of my free time so I was happy.  Unlike my Budapest trip there was no time wasted, thankfully, and day 2 particularly was nonstop photos all day.  A big thanks to models Marta, Amelia, Pola, Irmina, Claudia and Teresa and to Monika for the huge hotel room (and kind hospitality)!

Film Photos

As with the last two Leica CL photo shoot trips I will share the film images a a later date once the film is developed and processed.

Film Teaser – Fuji GA645:



Fujifilm GA645 Portrait

To Follow

  • The best Leica M lenses for the Leica CL

Once I’ve used more of my Leica M lenses on the Leica CL I will share the results from all lenses tested plus some thoughts in a round up post.




Related Leica CL Posts


  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit (2018) – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit (2018) – HERE



Kodak Ektachrome 100 is Here! (Kodak Ektachrome 2018)

Kodak Ektachrome 100 is Here! (Kodak Ektachrome 2018)

My pre-ordered new Kodak Ektachrome 100 slide film has arrived!

Kodak Ektachrome 100

I pre-ordered some of the new Kodak Ektachrome 100 film as soon as it was available in the UK.  Today I received the great news that my film has arrived and is available to collect!

kodak ektachrome 100 4x5 film

Here is Kodak Ektachrome 100 still in its bubble wrap packaging.  OK I will come clean.. this actual pack of film is out of my fridge and is the original Kodak Ektachrome 100 (4×5 sheet film).  If you are an Ektachrome film fan you will recognice the different box design.  I have bought the new Ektachrome film though but it is the 35mm format.


Kodak Ektachrome (2018)

The new film I did buy looks more like this.  Kodak Ektachrome 2018 box design:

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 sample photos

I hope to collect my new 35mm Ektachrome  film shortly to load it into one of Leica film cameras.  I will share the Kodak Ektachrome 100 sample photos as soon as I get chance to use the film and have it lab developed. (*I develop my own C41 colour negative film but not yet E6 colour positive film).


Get inspired to buy some Kodak Ektachrome 100!

See this promo video from Kodak!

I’m excited to get shooting now!  I love fine grain film and I really like the Kodak Ektachrome colours shown in their teaser video.  Ektachrome film was first launched in 1946 and was in production all the way through til 2012.  It is a famous film stock for good reason so I’m very thankful to Kodak for bringing it back for us to enjoy.

(I missed Kodak Ektachrome the first time around sadly as I got into colour film photography after production had already ceased).

Kodak Elitechrome 100 (Expired 35mm film)

Perhaps the closest film I have shot to Kodak Ektachrome 100 was expired 35mm Kodak Elitechrome 100.

Kodak Elitechrome 100 sample photos

Here are a series of photos I shot in Amsterdam after teaching one of my Leica photography workshops.  The film looks very grainy as hadn’t been stored correctly (before I received it) but was fun to try.


Leica M3 camera + 2007 non-refridgerated Kodak Elitechrome 100 + various lenses (click the image to see the lens I used):


Expired Kodak Elitechrome 100

Expired Kodak Elitechrome 100

35mm Kodak Elitechrome 100 Film

E6 Slide Film Scan



New Kodak Ektachrome (2018) photos coming soon!


Related Posts

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit (2018) – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit (2018) – HERE