Expired Kodak Plus-X 125 Film

Expired Kodak Plus-X 125 Film – Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2016

Leica M2 Portrait

Kodak Plus X – Intro

To my knowledge Kodak Plus-X 125 film was discontinued by Kodak in 2011 and dates back to before Kodak Tri-X.  Kodak Plus X is said to have been first on sale in 1938 to use with movie cameras similar to the modern Kodak Vision3 motion picture film that I am now using today for colour 35mm photography.  I bought my expired Kodak Plus-X film as a bulk roll short end on eBay.  I spooled some of the film and took it with me on my model photography trip to Poland.  I shot the Plus-X at ISo 100, developed the film in Xtol and scanned the film on an Epson v800 scanner.  Here are some samples –

Natalia

Kodak Plus-X Fashion
Kodak Plus X Fashion
Window Light Portrait

Agnieszka

Kodak Plus-X 125 Portrait
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Leica M6 + Noctilux
Leica Summicron 50mm DR
Kodak Plus X Film

Teresa

Leica M6 + Kodak Plus-X
Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film
Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film

Paulina

35mm Kodak Plus-X
Into the Sun
Expired Kodak Plus X 125

Kodak Plus-X  – Thoughts

I was impressed by the lattitude and fine grain expecially considering it was expired film.  I would happy use Plus X 125 again if I acquired some.  I would say it is perhaps like a finer grain Ilford FP4 plus film with a creamer look.  On the whole I found Plus-X to be lower contrast than the modern Kodak T-Max 100 T grain film.

Here is me in my scruff testing my first roll of bulk loaded Kodak Plus-X in a mirror in the garden with my Leica M2 camera before taking it to Poland! 🙂

Kodak Plus X

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C41 Colour Film Developing

C41 Colour Film Developing – At Home

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com

November 2016

Film Developing… to Recap

 

Black and White Film Developing

I have developed my own black and white film since the beginning of 2013 and I am pretty comfortable with the process as I shoot so often.  I have quite a casual approach to B&W film developing and it still seems to work for me every time now I know the basics.  I have a degree in science so I like to apply the common sense approach as to how chemicals work rather than strictly following the film/ developer guidelines. When I started out I used the developer Rodinal for semi-stand development but I have since move to Xtol and have settled with that for the meantime. I am happy with the results Xtol gives me so don’t see a need to change yet.  For fixing black and white film I use Kodak T-Max fixer.
kodak-xtol-5lv2

Paterson Developing Tank

I develop all my film (colour film and black and white film/ 35mm, 120 and 4×5 film formats) in Paterson style developing tanks (a 2 reel tank plus a 3 reel tank). For readers new to film developing a 2 reel tank can accommodate 2 rolls of 35mm film or 1 roll of 120 film.  A 3 reel tank holds 3 rolls of 35mm film or 2 rolls or 120 film.  Sometimes I wish I had a 5 roll tank but I haven’t got to that stage quite yet! A Paterson developing tank for those that don’t know is a light tight tank so film can be developed in daylight without the need of a dark room.  Film must be loaded into the developing tank in complete darkness using a changing bag or a room with no windows.  (I just wait until it is dark outside and use a part of the house where there is no windows.  I then bring the developing tank into the light and develop the film in my kitchen.
patunivtank

C41 Colour Film Developing

After avoiding colour film developing for the best part of 18 months I finally took the plunge when my local film lab rejected my first roll of Kodak Vision3 motion picture film that I sent for developing.  I had bought a bulk roll of Kodak Vision3 500T movie film which is ECN-2 colour negative motion picture film and not the standard C41 colour negative film.  In brief, ECN-2 film has an additional rem-jet or remjet anti-static / anti-halation layer, a black carbon layer that needs to be removed prior to film developing.  ECN-2 film cannot be developed in a standard film lab C41 process and doing so would contaminate the C41 chemicals resulting in machine downtime.  I removed the remjet layer from the Kodak Vision3 film at home (see below) and then sent it to the lab for standard C41 developing. Unfortunately some remjet layer residue remained on the film so the film lab returned it back to me undeveloped.  *I would not recommend trying to send ECN-2 film to a lab as C41 film as in hindsight I don’t think it is not fair to risk other peoples C41 film if any remjet residue remains on the ECN-2 film resulting in film not being developed properly and the developing chemicals failing.

image3v3

As a result of not being able to develop my Kodak Vision3 ECN-2 film at my local film lab I decided to purchase colour film developing chemicals and try to develop the film at home myself.  I looked at a few different colour film developing chemicals and decided on the Tetenal C41 Kit 2.5L kit.

Removing Remjet

Before attempting to develop my own ECN-2 film I did some reading to try to understand how to remove the remjet backing on the film.  Popular choices seem to be to use washing soda or baking soda.  Both make an alkaline solution when dissolved in water.  Personally I tried baking soda as I found that in my local shop first.  My remjet removal method is as follows:

  • 4 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 litre warm water (40 degrees Celsius) to dissolve the baking soda in
  • Pour solution into Paterson developing tank containing ECN-2 film
  • Soak for 3-5 minutes (nothing exact as all guestimated)
  • Shake vigorously for 1-2 minutes (nothing exact as all guestimated)
  • Empty the tank content into a white bowl/sink (Solution should appear coloured yellow-pink at first then towards the end of the emptying start to go black (carbon remjet layer))
  • Refill developing tank with warm water (40 degrees Celsius)
  • Shake vigorously for 1 min
  • Empty the contents into a white bowl/sink (solution should be black)
  • Repeat warm water rinse process until water runs clear
  • Remjet removal process finished.
  • Next see colour film developing process below

antacids-baking-soda

*Note – The above remjet removal process has worked for me but there may be better or alternative methods if you search online.  If you search “Rem-jet removal” or “Rem jet removal” on YouTube there is also similar methods shared but with the advantage of the visual aid!

Tetenal Colortec C-41 Kit 2.5L

What is in the box – 6x 0.5 litre bottles, including 3 bottles of film developer (Part 1,2,3)(mixed together to make the developer solution), two bottles of bleach fix (“BLIX“)(Part 1&2) and 1 bottle of stabiliser.
c41-kitv2

Product description – “The Tetenal Colortec C-41 kit is ideal for the enthusiast, professional or home user looking to process their own colour negative films. This kit will process around 30 35mm or 120 films or equivalent in sheet film. This is a 2 bath kit, a simplified version of the C41 process where the fix and bleach are combined. May be mixed to make 2.5L of working solution in one go, or smaller quantities may be made retaining concentrate for future use”.

 

Tetenal C41 Chemicals – Mixing

To make 1 litre of film developing chemical solutions –
  • Developer: 200ml (Part 1) + 200ml (Part 2) + 200ml (Part 3) + 400ml water
  • Bleach-Fix: 200ml (Part 1) + 200ml (Part 2) + 600ml water
  • Stabiliser: 200ml (stabiliser) + 800ml water

Tetenal C41 Film Developing

My colour film developing is nothing mind blowing.  I simply followed the Tetenal C41 film developing instructions and opted for the 38 degrees Celsius method.  In summary this involves the following stages/times/temperatures (based on developing times recommended to develop the first 1-4 films in fresh chemical dilutions from concentrate):

C41 Developing Instructions

  • Pre-Soak Water Bath: 5min @ 40C (+/-5.0)(Not temperature critical)
  • Developer: 3min15 @ 38C (+/-0.3)
  • Water Rinse: 1min @ 40C (+/-5.0)(Not temperature critical)(*extra rinse I like to do)
  • Bleach-Fix: 4min @ 38C (+/-3.0)
  • Water Rinse: 3min @ 30-40C
  • Stabiliser: 1min @ 20-40C

clock_png6614

The common term you always hear associated with colour film developing is “very temperature sensitive”.  To give myself the best chance of keeping the film developing chemicals at the required temperature I filled my kitchen sink bowl with warm water at around 40 degrees celsius.  I made up 1 litre of working solution for each of developer, bleach-fixer (BLIX) and stabiliser per the Tetenal C-41 film developing instructions and put the 3 solutions into 3 used plastic pop bottles and labelled accordingly.  My bottles are not as good as the recommended 1 litre collapsible film developing chemical bottles but they function OK to start me off.  I ensure all the air is squeezed out of the bottles after use and store in a dark cupboard out of the light.
1-best-selling-instant-read-professional-kitchen-digital-cooking-thermometer-100-money-back-guarantee-used-by-top-chefs-baking-soup-bbq-meat-thermometer-real-commercial-type-these-are_3771135

C41 Film Developing – Chemical Shelf Life

  • Developer: Diluted solution – 6 weeks / Concentrate – 12 weeks
  • Bleach-Fix: Diluted solution – 24 weeks / Concentrate – 24 weeks
  • Stabiliser: Diluted solution – 24 weeks / Concentrate – 24 weeks

*Note – Recommended shelf life is assuming chemicals kept in full / sealed bottled

Conclusion

So is colour film developing as impossible and risky as I feared?  Not at all.  I really wish I had started developing my own colour film 12-18 months ago.  Yes you need to watch the time and temperature of the developing chemicals more than if developing black and white film but it is merely like following a recipe in a cook book.  If you follow the instructions the results are a success!  I love the fact that I am now self sufficient and can develop and scan all my film in house.  It gives much better control in terms of not having the risk of film being lost in the post, a much much faster lead time (as can develop the film the day it was shot) and a big cost saving if you use the chemicals within their active lifespan (per above).

Going forward I will buy bottles of colour film developing chemicals separately rather than as a developer kit as each chemical has it’s different shelf life.  I also read that by doing a 3 bath C41 development (developer + separate bleach and fixer) rather than a 2 bath C41 development (developer + bleach-fix)(above) it gives greater control so win win. I understand you cannot ‘fine tune’ colour film developing like you can with black and white film developing but I will certainly try to modify my process after each film batch developed to try to get ‘better’ and better results.

E6 Colour Film Developing

Now I have tried C41 colour film developing I am now interested to look into E6 slide film developing as I love the colours of slide film.  Watch this space! 🙂

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Teaser.. 🙂

Kodak Vision3 200T Portrait

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35mm Bulk Film Loader

35mm Bulk Film Loader

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

October 2016

Bulk Film Loader

After buying a 35mm film bulk loader (Computrol film loader as pictured) what seems like a long time ago now I finally started using it.  I bought the film bulk loader online as a bundle together with some 35mm Kodak Plus-X 125 black and white film.  I spooled the Plus-X  onto used 35mm cassettes by taping the new  film to the film stub end of the original film in the film cassette.  I develop my own black and white film so where possible I manually rewind the film in the cameras.  Most of my 35mm film cameras can do this; Leica M’s, Voigtlander Bessa R3A, Nikon FM, Nikon F4, Olympus PEN-F but the Hasselblad XPan doesn’t.  I rewind the film to leave the film leader protruding so when I removed the film for developing I don’t have to break open the cassette (and then discard).  I then use the bulk film loader to spool the desired number of film frames onto a used film cassette ready to use.

image1v2

I can spool for example the usual 24exp or 36exp rolls but also perhaps just 10 frames if want to test out a new-to-me old camera.  I always count 3-4 frames extra to what I need as some film will be lost (being exposed to light) at each end of the film when loading/removing from the bulk film loader.  Some cameras like my Leica M3 and Leica M2 will accept slightly more frames such as 39 frames but automated film cameras like the 35mm Hasselblad XPan just gives an error messages and locks up if the film is too long.  My Leica M6 has the known problem of jamming up after around 25 exposures (for me) so I now just spool myself 25exp rolls for the M6 and 39exp rolls for my M2/M3s.  The bulk film loader has a counter on the side so you can keep track of how many frames is on each roll you spool.

Reusable 35mm Film Cassettes

A second option is to buy reusable plastic film cassettes where the end unscrews to load/ unload the film. I have recently bought some of these as shown below.  To load film onto reusable film casssettes simply tape the end of the bulk film to the cassette central spindle. Once secure slip the cassette outer over the film protruding from the cassette inner so the film fits into the groove of the cassette (to look like a normal roll of 35mm film) then screw on the film cassette end cap to make the film cassette light tight.  Film can then be wound onto the film cassette with the 35mm bulk film loader and you are ready to go.
* (There are plenty of YouTube instruction videos on how to use a bulk film loader and how to load film onto a 35mm reusable film cassette if you need visuals).
35mm-film-cassette-crop

Advantages of Bulk Loading

The obvious answer of course is cost (in addition to my Leica M6 issue mentioned above!). Buying bulk film works out much cheaper per roll. The exact saving varies by film manufacturer and also by what length of bulk film you purchase. The more film you buy the cheaper it is. Many manufacturers sell bulk film in 100ft or 30.5m lengths such as Ilford film and prices in the UK are around £65-£70 (example price rather than average/norm). Foma make a 30.5m / 100ft Bulk Fomapan 100 roll for under £40 which is one of the cheapest options I have seen when buying new. The 100ft/ 30.5m length of film roll to my knowledge is manufactured for a target audience of still photo photographers. Kodak however also manufacture 400ft and 1000ft bulk film rolls (example lengths) of motion picture film for cinema and TV such as Kodak Vision3 500T which is the film CineStill modify before rebranding it as CineStill 800T (Please see my followup Kodak Vision3 blog post to come for more details).

Kodak Vision3 vs Kodak Portra – Cost

image3v3

Buying 400ft of film offers excellent value for money if you think you will use that much film. A 100ft bulk film roll is said to equate to about 18 rolls of 36 exposure film and so a 400ft film roll will give 72 rolls of 36 exp film. Quite a lot of film but if you were previous buying for example 35mm Kodak Portra 160 /400 film at say £6 a roll you can now buy Kodak Vision3 bulk film for less than £1 a roll! A crazy cheap price for professional colour film. (AGFA Vista 200 Plus colour film can be bought in the UK for £1 a roll but I would argue that Kodak film gives ‘better’ results)(better being grain structure/latitude/skin tones – for my taste*).

Blog post to follow to show results I obtained using ECN-2 Kodak Vision3 500T film and Kodak Vision3 200T in my Leica M cameras and Hasselblad XPan. I bought a bulk roll of each!  If you want to see previous example photos using the Kodak Eastman Double-X black and white film see the link below.

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Leica M8 – 10th Anniversary!

Leica M8 – 10th Anniversary & A Decade Long Love Affair

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

October 2016

Leica M8 + Voigtlander 40mm

Leica M8

You may have already seen it on Steve Huff’s blog today but below is a post to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Leica M8 – the first digital Leica M camera!

Leica M8 + Voigtlander Nokton 40mm

 

Co-written by Elie Bescont, Prosophos, Johannes Huwe, Olivier Morgand and I, we try to explain why the Leica M8 is still going strong 10 years on –

 

The Leica M8 and it’s 10th Anniversary. A decade long Love affair

 

More Leica M8 images

Leica M8 Portraits
Leica M8 Fashion
Leica M8 + Noctilux
Leica M8 + Voigtlander 35 1.2
Zeiss ZM Planar
Little Princess
Leica M8 + Lux 50
Leica M8 B&W
Leica M 240 vs Leica M9
Leica M8 + Lux ASPH 50
Leica M8 B&W Portrait
Leica M8 Sharpness!!
Leica M8 B&W Portrait
Leica Summicron 50

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1 Camera (M240) + 1 Slow Lens

1 Camera (M240) + 1 Slow Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

September 2016

Hamburg Agency Model

Broken Leica M240

Last December I was shooting with my Leica M240 in Poland only to find it was misfocusing and needed recalibrating.  The weeks past but I always had a need for my main workhorse camera, the Leica M240 so couldn’t part with it. I found if I used a 35mm lens and shot it at f4 I had sufficient depth to focus and get my subject sharp. As such the tiny Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 pancake lens became my do everything lens, every model photography trip and every Leica wedding photography shoot.

Fast Lenses

If you have seen my previous photography you may have noticed I love fast lenses, from my early Nikon days using lenses like the Samyang 85mm f1.4, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S and Nikkor 200mm f2 Ai-S to some of my Leica-M mount lenses such as the Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5, Leica  Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH and of course the mighty Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. All those lenses shot wide open kind of dissolve the background to leave just the subject to catch the eye in the photo.  You can pretty much shoot anything anywhere with a fast lens and it looks good and the look can’t be replicated with an iPhone.

To go from that way of shooting to suddenly having to shoot at f4 on a 35mm lens with most things in the photo in focus was a bit of a shock. I had to make ‘cool’ photos with everything in the photo in focus (or at least visible).  Hmm!

Learning to shoot without shallow DOF

I found shooting with most things in focus helped me concentrate on trying to use better or more interesting light, stronger or different compositions and alternative camera angles in addition to working more closely with the models to try to fine tune their pose, look or expression. I am certainly far more picky now and often assist with applying makeup or styling suggestions to help try to make a stronger final image in camera. For a time I used the M240 for test shots then either shot the final image on film with say the Leica M6 or Hasselblad 501C or more recently warmed the model up with the Leica M240 then switched to the digital Hasselblad H3D-31.

Leica Germany Repair

I managed to finally send my Leica M240 off to the Leica Germany engineers for recalibration at the end of July 2016 and the camera was back with me in August looking literally brand new. I’m 99% sure it received more than just a recalibration and all under the Leica warranty scheme. I cannot speak highly enough of the Leica customer service and you certainly get what you pay for with Leica (in my experience).

What did I Learn?

I now have the novelty factor of being able to shoot fast lenses again on the Leica M240.  I can also shoot a range of longer focal lengths again, 50mm, 75mm, 90mm and so on. Before the period of shooting with just a 35mm lens I regarded myself as a 50mm man. Coming out the other side I would say I’m probably equally 35mm or 50mm biased and do find 75mm and 90mm quite limiting with their tighter crop for regular use. Equally during my Leica Noctilux phase I shot everything at f1 regardless as to whether it was a flat brick wall or something against a distant backdrop.  Shooting this week with the Noctilux I am shooting perhaps ‘smarter’ in that if a model is against a wall I might stop the lens down to f2 to improve the sharpness or if a subject is further away I might shoot at f1.4 to get a slightly crisper photo than just everything very soft.  It is a battle of styles as I love super sharp such as the Hasselblad Zeiss 120mm Macro-Planar CF lens or the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO but also love pleasing bokeh and the painterly feel of say the Noctilux or Pre-ASPH Leica Summicron 90mm f2 shot wide open. It’s a balance and depends on the subject too.

Conclusion

It not ideal to have a semi-function main workhorse camera (or any camera to that matter!) but I don’t think it did me any harm overall.  That said it is nice to be able to use all my Leica M mount lenses again. 🙂

Here are a few recent example images with the Leica M240 and Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar in Hamburg, Germany

Calvin Klein Shoot

Hamburg

Runway Model

Agency model

 

Many more example images in my last Leica M240 post

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Polish Models on 35mm

Polish Models on 35mm

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

September 2016

In contrast to my last few model photography trips where I packed big lights, light modifiers, light stands, monopod, medium format film cameras, medium format digital cameras, a mass of batteries, chargers, memory cards, big bag of 120 black and white film and 120 colour film I thought I needed to get back to basics.

Camera Bag

For this trip I had the digital Leica M240 plus Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens, the analog Leica M6 plus 1950s Leica Summicron 50 f2 DR lens, the compact Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens for if I need a wider angle and then the tiny 1960s Olympus Pen-F half frame camera.

I planned to shoot black and white film in the Leica M6 and used a 35mm bulk film loader to roll myself some Kodak Plus X film to bring. I hope the lower contrast look of the film will add to the vintage and less perfect look of the photos. I brought the Olympus Pen-F to shoot some colour film as the weather forecast was blue skies some days.  I loaded a roll of 35mm Fuji Provia 100f E6 slide film which I bought in B&H, New York when I did my second workshop there in January.  The half frame gives me 72 shots from a standard 36 exposure film roll.

The film photos are to please me and the digital Leica M240 photos are to give to the models to use for their portfolios.  The digital camera is also great to warm up the models and for a preview to show them the look I am going for. I metered all film photos with the M240 as I just replicate the same settings on the film cameras, using the M240 in M mode. To keep it simple and for a change I used available light for all except one shoot where I also used my speedlight to boost light levels.

Models

As with most of my model photography trips I looked forward to catching up with familiar faces but also to work with a few new models too.  I had the usual multiple cancellations for a variety of reasons but overall we did well.  The models that did meet on the whole gave 110% effort and almost all had made personal sacrifices to be able to meet me making them even more focused to have a great shoot.

Model Photography – Poland

Here are some sample from some of photos I have worked through so far:

Leica M 240 (Digital)

Natalia

Leica Noctilux Bokeh

Agnieszka

Leica Noctilux Portrait

Karolina

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1

Agata (& ATR Gear Clothing!)

ATR WEAR - Polish Chick

Teresa

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4

Paulina

Polish Model

Agnieszka

Leica M240 + Noctilux

 

Leica M6 (Analogue) + Kodak Plus-X Film

Natalia

Kodak Plus-X Fashion

Agnieszka

Kodak Plus-X Portrait

Kodak Plus X Film

Teresa

Leica M6 + Kodak Plus-X

Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film

More to come from the other models when I get chance..

The colour film has not yet been developed but I did shoot the roll of Provia and a roll of AGFA Vista 200 Plus so wish me luck with those! 🙂

Matt

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Lomography.com – Petzval 85 Art

Lomography.com – Petzval 85 Art

Matthew Osborne Photography/ @MrLeicaCom

September 2016

 

Petzval 85 Art Lens – Nikon F Mount

The lovely people at Lomography.com kindly got in touch and lent me their Nikon mount brass Petzval 85 Art lens to try.  Below is a link describing how I got on and here are some example images with Sophie and Charlotte (also included in link).  All photos taken with my old Nikon D800.

..I have to say, the Petzval 85 Art makes Nikon D800 photos interesting so it’s good! (I say that as I struggled to get excited with my Nikon D800 photos on the whole hence my move to film and Leicas).

Petzval 85 Art

Sophie
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
Petzval 85 Art
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85 Art Lens Brass
Petzval Bokeh
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85 Art

Charlotte
Petzval 85
Petzval 85 Art Lens
Nikon D800 + Petzval 85
New Petzval 85 Art Lens Brass

Lomography.com Magazine – MrLeica.com

Link – https://www.lomography.com/magazine/323494-matt-osbourne-portraits-with-the-petzval-85

Petzval 85 vs. Other Nikon Mount Fast Lenses

When using the Petzval 85 lens it reminded me of the overly soft photos captured from my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens when shooting at f1.2. Here are a few examples as a comparison. I think the Petzval 85 is sharper wide open at f2.2 and has ‘better’ bokeh (meaning more character).

Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s

Nikon D800 Headshot
Alice with Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Katie SOOC with 50/1.2 AIS @f1.2

I then thought perhaps the Samyang 85mm f1.4 would be more comparable so here are a few samples. The Samyang 85 is pretty sharp wide open at f1.4 and a great lens but I think again the Petzval 85 lens bokeh has more character.

Samyang 85mm f1.4

Innocence?
2012 REPOST: Nikon D800 + Samyang 85mm f1.4 Fashion
Harriett
Nikon FM

Petzval 85 vs. Leica M Fast Lenses

Finally, as a Leica photographer it seems only right to include a few example photos with fast Leica lenses that are also soft(ish) focus shot wide open.  The obvious lenses that spring to mind that I own are the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 and Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2

Leica M9 Skin Tones
Leica M9 + Noctilux
Leica M9 + Noctilux
Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux
Leica Noctilux Bokeh

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
Street Portrait
Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
Retro Leica

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Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Matthew Osborne Photography/ @MrLeicaCom

June 2016

Hasselblad H3D-31 Fashion

Cameras – Hasselblad H3D-31 & Leica M 240!

Two days after my Hasselblad H3D-31 digital camera arrived I was due to fly out to Budapest, Hungary for a long weekend of model photography. I decided to leave my analogue Hasselblad 501C camera behind and instead take the new H3D-31 and also my digital Leica M-240 rangefinder. It might sound silly to take two digital cameras and no film cameras but I wanted to try out the new Hasselblad H3D-31. I didn’t want to take only the H3D-31 as I only had two CF cards and two batteries. I was not sure how long two batteries would last me when doing model photography on location and I would need more than the 32GB + 16GB CF memory card I owned. I also only have one lens, the Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 HC for the H3D-31 which is not wide enough for all situations. The Leica M240 can easily last all day shooting on two batteries and I have plenty of SD cards for storage.

Models – 3 Model Agencies

I used to travel through Budapest quite regularly for work so I had been planning to return for a long time.  Hungary was home from home at one point and much of my very early model photography practise was shot there. I planned the trip for the summer to try to utilise longer and warmer days (hopefully!). I got lucky and we had nearly all dry weather with blue skies.  I collaborated with three Budapest model agencies including NumberOne Models Group, Maverick Agency and Face Model Management. I worked 9:00 – 21:00 with back to back shoots and did 8 photo sessions in all; 2 guys and 5 girls (with Lilla coming back for a second shoot). The standard of models was mixed as is often the case when selecting models in advance online. Some models did exceed expectation and were both experienced and of high standard. I was lucky to catch them between their contracts overseas, often Paris, Milan, Istanbul and Asia.

Location – Budapest

Budapest is a very photogenic city so I wanted to try to capture some of it in my photography.  That said, I prepared for rain so booked a city centre apartment with balcony instead of the standard hotel booking approach. It was the best decision ever and I got really lucky with a nice room and amazing balcony to use for photos.  The apartment was located in the centre and I could see the crowd gathered around a big screen for Euro 2016 games! Nearly all photos  outside were shot within 5min walk of my apartment so my usual strategy.  I tend to only need a wall and some nice light for my style of photos normally but I did try to use some Budapest landmarks too.

Example Photos – Hasselblad H3D-31

Hasselblad H3D-31
Italian Style
Budapest Model
Hasselblad H3D-31
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Hamburg Agencies Models

Hamburg Agency Models

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com

June 2016

I wrote this while waiting for my flight home after an amazing few days of model photography in Germany last weekend. I collaborated with local model agencies here in Hamburg and photographed 11 models in 2.5 days, back to back.  Good times!

Hasselblad Selfie

The Trip

A big thanks to M4 Models and Core Artist Management for giving me the opportunity.  It was my first visit to Hamburg so I organized all the models remotely in the build up to the trip.  Overall we were lucky with the weather with only a few spots of rain in total. Almost all photos were shot outside on the streets of Hamburg working in the area close to the hotel. The standard of models was generally very high and although I selected the models I photographed almost every one surpassed my expectations.  I’m very excited to see the results.

Cameras

I kept camera gear very simple and I only had 8kg hand luggage to work with anyway. My digital setup was the Leica M240 camera and Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar pancake lens. For analogue photos  I managed to fit in my Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera plus the Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 lens. I shot all black and white film and the majority was Fomapan 100 film shot at ISO 400.

Models

Models included Phila and Antonia from M4 in Hamburg and Anita over on contract from Number One Models in Budapest. I then had Janna, Carmen, Cailtin, Sofia, Chantel from Core and also for a change male models Tomas, Aaron and Chris also from Core.  I expected to be working with all German models but I got to meet Dutch, Hungarian, Australian, American all signed to the Hamburg model agencies.

Some of the female models were of really high standard and a joy to work with but it was the male models that surprised me the most.  All three of the guys produced really strong images and I loved how I can light men differently to women opening a whole new world of lighting oppotunities.  I try to give girls flawless skin with light but for guys any ‘imperfections’ just added character. I hope the resulting photos look as good as I remember!

Conclusion

I shot 11 rolls of film and plenty of digital too so can’t wait to see the resulting images.  I was happy with all the equipment I’d taken to use and would not hesitate to pack the same setup again.

If the agencies like my work I’m already hoping to work with some of the models again soon! 🙂

Sample Photos – Leica M 240

Leica Fashion
Freckles
Agency Model
Dutch Model
Leica M 240 Sunstar
Male Model
Male Fashion

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Digital Hasselblad H3D-31 !!

Digital Hasselblad H3D-31 !!

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

June 2016hasselblad-h3dii-311v2

Digital Hasselblad – Intro

As was the case with buying my first digital Leica M9 camera, I never ever thought I’d see the day that I bought a digital Hasselblad. I didn’t even lust after one after as I knew they cost like $40,000 for a new one (when released).

I was looking at some Hasselblad assesories for my Hasselblad V Series 501C film camera when I saw an unpriced second hand digital Hasselblad.  I enquired to the store but it so happened that the camera was no longer for sale. That one sighting spiralled into 2-3 days of intense reading and research.  I think I have watched every Hasselblad related video ever posted to YouTube!  It certainly felt like that.  I looked at the Hasselblad CFV-50C digital back for the older Hasselblad V System cameras and also the more recent Hasselblad H Series digital cameras.  To cut an ever longer story short I found a few reasonably priced older digital Hasselblad cameras on eBay and put in a low bid only to have it accepted to my surprise!

Hasselblad H3D-31 Digital Camera

I am the very proud and excited new owner of a digital Hasselblad H3D-31 camera with 80mm f2.8 H series kit lens. The camera bundle I purchased also included a Hasselblad H series film back and a spare battery grip. This means for the first time I can shoot both digital and film on the same camera body / lens combo!  My dream camera surely!

Hasselblad H3D-31 Camera Spec

As a brief overview I will summarise some of what I absorbed during my reading.  The H Series Hasselblad camera system like the V Series camera system is completely modular.  As with my analogue Hasselblad 501C camera the H3D-31 camera consists of the lens which is interchangeable, the viewfinder or prism, the camera body and the camera back. H3D relates to the camera body model. There was the H1D released in 2002, followed by a H2D, the H3D I have, then H3DII, H4D, H5D and the current model is a H6D. The Hasselblad digital back is where the technology has advanced the most and the numbers ’31’ in H3D-31 name relates to the digital back. 31 means 31 megapixels. There is a 39MP model  ( H3D-39) which I considered and then newer digital backs such as the  40MP, 50MP, 60MP..

Why do I need a Digital Hasselblad?

Good question! I guess the honest answer is I don’t ‘need’ it so why did I buy one if I already have the digital Leica M 240 camera?  As the months pass I am getting more and more obsessed with light and in particular adding artificial light to my model photography images using strobes.  I always wish the Leica M 240 had a faster flash sync speed of greater than 1/180 but it doesn’t.  I am spoilt by my Hasselblad 501C film camera that can sync with flash at 1/500.  If you are not a strobist, what this basically equates to is I can dim daylight to a greater extend (such as on a bright day) then light the model with strobes. The Hasselblad H3D-31 lenses can sync at 1/800 so it will be like living the dream (and the newer Hasselblad ‘orange dot’ HC lenses sync at 1/1000 on my H3D and at 1/2000 on the latest H6D camera body).

The Hasselblad H3D-31 is certainly not the perfect camera so here are some pros and cons compared to my Leica M240.

Hasselblad H3D-31 vs. Leica M240 – Pros

  • Larger digital sensor – giving a look more similar to medium format film than 35mm.  More detail captured, more colour depth, texture and dynamic range (more steps of grey between absolute black and absolute white).
  • Fast flash sync speed – 1/800+ on all lenses for my strobist work
  • Shooting teathered – I can use a FireWire to connect the H3D-31 to a laptop to display images straight to a computer screen.  This is great when shooting for clients and has become almost expected in the fashion industry.  I plan to use the Hasselblad on location as much as possible and unteathered but at least I now have the option to connect to a laptop if requested.
  • Retouching for magazine submissions and clients – the larger sensor captures more detail so I have more information to work with if retouching an image for a magazine spread. I would say medium format has become the industrial standard for fashion and beauty images over the last five years.
  • Interchangeable digital back and film back – being able to shoot both film and digital on the same camera body is one less camera to carry around.  I love black and white film but if I’m honest I think for colour images I get better results with digital. I always favour my Hasselblad 501C over my Leica M 240 for the special / key photos with models but the processing time to develop film on mass is quite a time burden when I have clients waiting. The digital Hasselblad H3D-31 will speed up my workflow and capture high quality images.
  • Modular Hasselblad system – being Mr Leica some people may ask why I didn’t buy a Leica S2 for the superior image quality verses the Leica M 240? I like the Hasseblad H System because it is modular.  As technology continues to advance at the rapid pace looking ahead I can use the same lenses, prism and camera body and just upgrade the digital back.  This was a big plus for me as I didn’t want to invest in a camera that would become worthless in a few years.

Hasselblad H3D-31 vs. Leica M240 – Cons

  • Expensive camera system – most things associated to Hasselblad (like Leica) are expensive but for digital Hasselblad even more so.  Whether a spare battery, a lens or a digital back, it is crazy expensive.
  • Useable ISO – I’m told by owners of H3D-31 cameras that they rarely  go above ISO 100/200 but 400 is possible. In contrast, the Leica M 240 is happy at ISO 3200.
  • Big and heavy – I’ve done the maths and I calculate that the digital Hasselblad H3D-31 weighs the same as my current Hasselblad 501C setup with prism and both cameras with the 80mm kit lens. It is certainly not a pocket camera but I can still carry it in 8kg hand luggage overseas.
  • Close focus – the original plan was to buy a H3D-31 (or H3D-39) camera body (only) and then buy the amazing Hasselblad Makro-Planar 120mm f4 lens for close focus and overall good sharpness/ contrast. As I got a good deal with the smaller lighter 80mm kit lens I will start with this setup and look to get a good deal on a 120mm lens going forward. The inability to focus closer easily with the Leica M240 always bugs me.
  • Bigger file size – will fill memory cards and computer hard drives faster but I think I will shoot less and use my film photography mentality when shooting. I don’t mean under shoot but think more before pressing the shutter.  That can only continue to be a good approach and the polar opposite to  the machine gun approach of some DSLR shooters.

Summary

To sum up the Hasselblad H3D-31 purchase, I bought it to continue my progression towards the world of fashion photography and to take me and my photography to where I want to be. I continue to aim to make the best possible images and I think the detail captured can only benefit me. I understand a good photographer can use any camera to make a great images, even an iPhone, but the fast sync speed and different look of the image gained are specific to my own needs and will give a look I cannot achive at the moment.

Coming Soon..

I bought the Hasselblad H3D-31 camera ahead of a model photography trip to Budapest, Hungary.  I have just returned from a long weekend away so I will write a follow up post soon to give my first thoughts of the Hasselblad and also some sample images!

Hasselblad H3D-31 User’s Manual

http://www.manualscamera.com/manuals/hasselblad/Hasselblad_H3D-31.pdf

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