(Matt Osborne) Leica Blog & Film

Leica Blog + Film Cameras

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

“I love to teach photography so blogging & YouTube! helps me do so” is a free and fast growing resource for cameras, lenses and film comparisons.  With over 300 published articles this site caters to everyone.

“I enjoy using old film cameras but I do my research before buying.  Here I share the answers to the questions I had to save you searching the internet for hours!”

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

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Leica Blog – Founder / Story

I’m a self taught photographer with 10+ years experience of photographing portraits, models and weddings.  After my first 3 years I was teaching photography to fellow professionals in the UK and overseas and after 4 years I bought my first Leica camera.  As a child my Grandfather inspired me to draw and taught me to paint with watercolours.  As a teenager I taught myself very fine detail acrylic painting but went on to study science (and later finance) rather than the arts.

Photography came to me later after an ex girlfriend kindly bought me a camera one Christmas.  I was immediately hooked and 3 months later a bought a better camera and then another.  My inquisitive data driven mindset and tendancy to document things inspired me to start this blog as a personal project.  When reading about photography and researching new cameras I find it is the perfect place to record everything I learn and I can share it with others.


Mr Leica Photographer Blog

Coventry photography studio based UK portrait and wedding photographer using digital Leica cameras and a wide range of film cameras.  Analogue cameras include 35mm, medium format and large format and film developing is done in house.  Cameras, lenses and films are tested during model photography photo shoots both in the UK and overseas.  Blog reviews include a combination of technical detail, example images and side by side comparisons.

Before starting I used to write technical articles for UK photography magazines.  As I continue to collect and test cameras and photography equipment I now share the information here.  I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as it is to document.

Join me on YouTube! to see the latest and visual of some of the cameras!


Matt Osborne

Behind the Scenes (2)

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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?

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.

Model Photography Workshop


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!

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


Nikon F4 Review

Nikon F4 Review (+ Nikon F4 vs Leica M3)

A mini Nikon F4 film camera review comparing it in particular to a 35mm Leica M3 film camera + Nikon F4 sample photos (portraits and landscapes)

Nikon F4 Camera Review

Today I purchased a used Nikon F4 SLR 35mm film camera which was first released back in 1988 when I was only 10yr!  I already own an older Nikon FM SLR film camera and have experience with digital Nikon cameras before moving to Leicas.  I have owned a Nikon D90, Nikon D700 and still own and sometimes use my Nikon D800.  My Leica M9 is my main workhorse camera now and has been for a while but the Nikon D800 is still a very capable camera.

Kodak TMax 100 B&W

Nikon F4 Lenses

I have a range of Nikon mount lenses, including Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s, 24f2.8D, 50f1.4D, 85f1.4D, 135f2.8, 35-70AF and the mighty Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-S. I also have Samyang lenses in Nikon mount including the amazing Samyang 85mm f1.4 and some M42 Zeiss lenses which I love to use via an adapter, Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.8 and Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8.

Kodak Portra 160 B&W

35mm Nikon Film Cameras

As I now enjoy mostly film photography for personal work and thought it would be nice to get another Nikon SLR film body to make use of these lenses.  I looked at a range of options including Nikon F2, Nikon F5 and Nikon F100 but I settled on a Nikon F4.  I wanted to try a 35mm film camera with autofocus so that ruled out the older F2.  I like the idea of potentially buying a waist level finder so originally I had planned to get an F2 but then more recently I thought that if I start doing film only weddings a camera with autofocus might be nice for moving subjects.  I then looked at the F100 and F5 but they both looked quite big and heavy.  I preferred the Nikon F4 to the Nikon F4s or Nikon F4e as it is smaller without the extra battery grip.

M42 Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8

Nikon vs Leica Film Cameras

I plan to use the Nikon F4 to compliment my Leica cameras.  If I do a quick Nikon F4 review comparison with my current favourite camera the Leica M3 you can see some of the ‘advantages’ of the more modern Nikon F4 film camera body.

Nikon F4!

Here are a few points that are important to me rather than a complete list:

8 Reasons why I bought a Nikon F4 –

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3

  • #1. Flash sync speed:
  • Nikon F4 flash sync = 1/250, The F4 is great for strobist work
  • Leica M3 = 1/50, not ideal for strobist work so I often use Bessa R3a (sync 1/125)
  • #2. Maximum shutter speed:
  • Nikon F4 shutter speed = 1/8000, removes need for ND filters
  • Leica M3  = 1/1000, M3 requires ND filters on fast lenses in bright sunlight
  • #3. Autofocus option?:
  • Nikon F4 autofocus = Yes, AF useful for moving subjects/ action.
  • Leica M3  = No, can pre-focus focus or retain a set hyperfocal distance
  • #4. Long lenses:
  • Nikon F4 telephoto = SLR works great with any lens, wide to telephoto like my Nikkor 200mm f2 lens
  • Leica M3  = 50mm rangefinder. External finder for 50mm harder to focus
  • #5. Batteries:
  • Nikon F4 battery = Requires 4x AA batteries. Adds weight. Can add battery grip to take 8x AA
  • Leica M3  = No battery needed. I do prefer cameras without batteries.
  • #6. Light Meter:
  • Nikon F4 light meter = Yes, Matrix, Centre-Weighted or Spot meter
  • Leica M3  = No light meter.  Use external hand held light meter
  • #7. Film advance:
  • Nikon F4 film advance = Auto film advance. No manual film advance lever. Can work more quickly
  • Leica M3  = Manual film advance lever (Single stroke or Double stroke models)
  • #8. Film rewind:
  • Nikon F4 rewind = Auto film rewind. Great in a time pressure environment like a wedding
  • Leica M3  = Manual film rewind.  Not ideal if needs to change film quickly

As you can see if you list the two cameras side by side the Nikon F4 should really compliment my two Leica M3 cameras.  I look forward to reporting back soon once it arrives and I get chance to use it. For a full specification Nikon F4 review check out Ken Rockwell’s site linked below.

UPDATE: Since the Nikon F4 camera arrived I have used it a huge amount.  Here are more Nikon blog posts using the Nikon F4 –

Nikon F4 Portraits

As a people photographer I have lots of Nikon F4 portraits as example images using this camera.  The Nikon F4 even lead to me buying multiple new Nikon mount lenses including those listed below and the Tamron 45mm f1.8 lens + more.  Great camera!

Female Beauty

Nikon F4 Manual Focus + Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 lens

Dusty Film Scan

Nikon F4 Autofocus + Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro lens

Tokina 100mm Portrait

Nikon F4 Landscapes

I enjoyed using F4 in San Francisco to for a few Nikon F4 landscapes (blog still to follow)

35mm Kodak T-Max 400

Nikon F4 vs Nikon F5

I have not had chance to write a full Nikon F4 vs Nikon F5 camera comparison yet but you can view my Nikon F5 review to get a good idea.

Wait! Do you have film?

After reading this article hopefully you are now ready to get out and start shooting!  Have you got film ready to load?  Here are some of my favourite / the best films that I use in the Nikon F4 camera for portraits.

Colour film
Black and white film

More Nikon Camera Reviews!

Nikon mount lens reviews
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

Voigtlander Bessa T Review (Best Leica M6 Alternative?)

Voigtlander Bessa T Review (Best Leica M6 Alternative?) + YouTube Video

35mm Voigtlander Bessa T Film Camera

Voigtlander Bessa T review / write-up with sample photos to follow the YouTube camera review video I shared.  The Bessa T offers an affordable alternative to Leica M film cameras.  From the current used prices this camera still seems be off radar for those looking for a 35mm rangefinder film camera.  Here is a quick summary about the Bessa T and why you should consider buying one. (It could be the best Leica M6 alternative if you enjoy portrait photography with fast lenses like me!)

Voigtlander Bessa T Video Cover Photo

Cosina Voigtlander Bessa T

The Bessa T 35mm film camera was manufactured by Cosina Voigtlander of Japan from around 2001-2004.  This is a 35mm film rangefinder camera with a Leica M lens mount! That’s correct. The Bessa T will let you use all your amazing Leica M glass on this body at a fraction of the cost of say the now very popular Leica M6 camera. It does have some quirks so keep reading before you look to buy!

Voigtlander Bessa T Specs

  • Built in rangefinder with +2/-2 diopter adjustment
  • No built in viewfinder (need to use hotshoe finder)
  • Built in light meter (display on rear of camera)
  • Bessa T light meter battery – 2x LR44 / SR44
  • Minimum focus distance – 0.9m
  • Maximum shutter speed – 1/2000
  • Maximum flash sync speed – 1/125
  • Voigtlander Bessa T weight – 385g

Voigtlander Bessa T Viewfinder ..or lack of!

Yes so just to clarify the Voigtlander Bessa T camera doesn’t have a viewfinder! What a stupid camera design you might say!? It’s just a different design. Instead of having a combined viewfinder / rangefinder like a Leica M camera it only has a built in rangefinder. (That is a step forward from the Voigtlander Bessa L camera that has no viewfinder or rangefinder!). To compose your image you need to use an external optical viewfinder that attaches via the hotshoe. Voigtlander make viewfinders for many of the lens focal lengths but they are also made by Leica, Canon, Zeiss and others. You can see a visual of these finders in this YouTube video – Voigtlander Viewfinders.

Voigtlander Bessa T Heliar 101 Edition in Grey with trigger winder

Flash photography with a Bessa T: Wireless especially

Beware! One negative of the Voigtlander Bessa T camera design is you cannot mount you flash trigger in the hotshoe. The hotshoe is already occupied by the viewfinder which you need to compose you photos with. You can use PC sync cables to fire flash from the PC sync port but I prefer to use wireless flash triggers where possible. A small generic coldshoe bracket can be added to the base of the Bessa T camera, attaching via the tripod socket. You can then mount a flash trigger on the bracket and run a short cable to the camera PC sync port. It works but it is less fun to hold. This makes the Bessa T less ideal for flash photography vs. say a Leica M6 or Leica M4-P (cameras I use).

Beware of parallax! (Viewfinder parallax error)

Take care when using basic hotshoe viewfinders that don’t offer parallax adjustment. This is especially true when using longer lenses. If you focus close to your subject as I do for portraits, a standard viewfinder framing is not accurate and the final image will be different to what you visualised. Here is an example photo using a 90mm lens up close! I composed for the face to fill the frame but due to parallax error I missed! If I had used a viewfinder with parallax adjustment this can be avoided or you just remember the fact and recompose as needed.

Viewfinder Parallax Issues
Voigtlander Bessa T parallax error

Here is another more extreme parallax error example using the same setup on film I just developed. It is quite creative I guess ha!

Parallax Art - Bessa T
Voigtlander Bessa T parallax error

Voigtlander Bessa T Rangefinder

If you are used to Leica rangefinder cameras.. or most rangefinder cameras I’ve used, the Bessa T is different. For most other cameras that come to mind the camera design is a combined viewfinder-rangefinder. This is the viewfinder window with a rangefinder patch in the centre. The patch is often rectangular but not always.

Unlike many cameras including Leica M cameras, the Bessa T has no viewfinder window at all. The Bessa T rangefinder design is a tube with a circular rangefinder patch in the centre. With a 1.5x magnification and the built in +2/-2 diopter I find the rangefinder excellent for critical focusing my portrait images.

Two step process – Focus then compose

I guess operating the Bessa T is a little similar the Leica iiia camera design with it being a two step process. Step one, use the rangefinder to focus. Step two, move your eye from the rangefinder to the viewfinder to compose your shot. Care is recommended so not to move the camera when repositioning your eye between the two windows. Leica iii cameras are easier to use in this regard as the windows are closer together. This is especially true on later Leica iii camera models such as the Leica iif or Leica iiig that I use.

Voigtlander Bessa T Review & Portraits
Voigtlander Bessa T portrait on Kentmere 400 film

Leica M6 vs Voigtlander Bessa T

As a Leica M6 classic camera owner I appreciate what the M6 can offer.  I bought mine some years ago before the recent used prices increases.  Would I spend £2100 on a Leica M6 today?  No I don’t think so.  Personally I prefer the build of the older Leica M2 and Leica M3 cameras although the M6 does offer some advantages over older models.  If you use Leica M mount lenses (say on your digital Leica M8, M9, M240, M10 camera) and want a Leica M mount film camera there are a few options.  The Voigtlander Bessa T is one of several Leica M mount cameras that you can use with your Leica M mount lenses.


Cheap Leica M mount cameras (*Cheaper)

So let’s ignore Leica M film cameras and look at a few other possibilities.  For each camera I will mention why it may suit you for Leica M lens photography

My Voigtlander Bessa T camera (user copy!)
Voigtlander Bessa T (This review + YouTube video)
  • One of the cheapest M mount cameras
  • Amazing rangefinder – accurate (magnified + diopter) Good with fast lenses (especially)
  • No viewfinder – Need external hotshoe viewfinder for each lens you use
  • Lighter than a Leica M film camera
minolta m-rokkor 40mm + Leica CL
Leica CL (Minolta CL) vs Voigtlander Bessa R3A (side by side)
Voigtlander Bessa R3A (See full review + YouTube video)
  • Cheaper than a Leica but over twice the price of the Voigtlander Bessa T camera
  • Combined viewfinder/ rangefinder with 1:1 magnification
  • More automation than the Bessa T and closer to a Leica M6 in functionality
Leica CL (Minolta CL) (See full review + YouTube video)
  • Similar price to the Voigtlander Bessa T camera
  • Combined viewfinder/ rangefinder with 40mm & 90mm framelines
  • Poor (low magnification) rangefinder – not suitable for accurate focusing
  • Small and light

Reasons to buy the Voigtlander Bessa T

So there are two real options when it comes to a lower priced Leica M film camera.  First the little Leica CL (Minolta CL) but for me this camera is better suited to wide lens photography and or with the lens stopped down.  This is because of the low magnification Leica CL rangefinder. Wider lenses and stopping down gives a great depth of field so the rangefinder doesn’t need to be accurate. As a portrait photography this doesn’t really work for me. 

Option two is the Voigtlander Bessa T and the reason to buy this camera is for the accurate rangefinder.  Now I can use fast lenses such as the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH accurately for portraits.  The rangefinder and built in diopter also benefits use of longer lenses such as the Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH (An amazing portrait lens!).  The Bessa T is also much lighter than a Leica M camera so it works great as a travel camera too.  I pair my Bessa T with Voigtlander hotshoe viewfinders and something like the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 (or Zeiss ZM Biogon 25mm) for a wider view.


Voigtlander Bessa T Sample Photos

These photos were shot with the Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8 lens

Voigtlander Bessa T
Voigtlander Bessa T + Biogon 25mm
Voigtlander Bessa T  + Biogon 25mm

Voigtlander Bessa T Portraits

Click the photos to see the lens used on the Bessa T and the film stock / film developing details.

Bessa T + Heliar 50mm f3.5
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Nikkor 50mm f2 LTM
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa T + Leica 50mm
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait

YouTube: Voigtlander Bessa T Review (vs Leica M6)

Verdict – Is the Voigtlander Bessa T for you?

The answer is it depends on (1) what is important to you (2) how you like to photograph.  If you want a cheap (*cheaper than Leica!) rangefinder camera and are not limited to Leica M mount lenses then the Bessa R (see below) is an excellent choice. If you use Leica M mount lenses then your cheapest options are the Bessa T or mentioned Leica CL / Minolta CL. I would use the CL for wides (35mm or wider) and the Bessa T for precision / portraits. (There is also the Minolta CLE you could consider, again for wider lens shooting – I think).

For me the Leica M3 is still better than the Bessa T for my portraits as it offers the combined magnified viewfinder/rangefinder but if I want a lighter setup I now go with the T.

Check the current prices on eBay

Voigtlander Bessa T:

Leica M6:

Voigtlander Bessa Camera Reviews

You might also like –

Voigtlander Bessa R Review
Voigtlander Bessa R3A Review
Voigtlander Bessa L Review
Bessa Film Loading (All Cosina Voigtlander models)
Voigtlander viewfinders (For rangefinder cameras)
Also – 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

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Hasselblad HC Lenses + Portraits + YouTube

Hasselblad HC Lenses + Sample Photos + YouTube Review

Hasselblad HC lens portraits using a Hasslblad H2 camera plus Hasselblad H film back (645). Comparing images from the 4 Hasselblad HC lenses I use and why I use each of them. (Including full res images as featured on YouTube).

Hasselblad / Tri-X Portrait

Best Hasselblad HC lens?

So in this post I share the four lenses I use for my Hasselblad H2 medium format film camera. The best Hasselblad HC lens depends on what you are photographing and how you like to work. I use a Hasselblad HC 50mm, 80mm 100mm and 120mm lens and each have their strength.

Hasselblad H wide lens

The standard Hasselblad HC 80 kit lens is great but it is not wide enough to use for my film wedding photography. I wanted a Hasselblad H wide lens to capture both the subjects in the photo and also the fun happening around them. This is especially important for indoor photography when a wider lens is needed for tighter spaces. In portrait terms I wanted to create wider environmental portraits vs standard portraits of 1 to 2 people with the 80mm lens.


Hasselblad HC 50mm f3.5 lens

After enjoying using my Zeiss Distagon 50mm lens on the Hasselblad H2 in Portugal (via an adapter) I got on eBay when I got home. An auction was ending one lunch time with seemingly few bidders and a low price point. I bid slightly higher just in case to test my luck and to my astonishment I won the auction! So I’m now the lucky owner of an autofocus Hasselblad HC 50mm f4 lens in mint condition which will be perfect for Hasselblad wedding photography especially. Fast and accurate focusing for my moving subjects. Very pleased!

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 50mm f3.5

Hasselblad 645 Portrait - H2
Hasselblad H2 Fashion
Hasselblad 50mm Portrait
Hasselblad 50mm Portrait

Hasselblad H kit lens / Smallest Hasselblad HC lens!

The standard Hasselblad H kit lens is the trusty Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 glass. For many camera systems a kit lens is “average” at best but in this instance the 80mm lens is a great performer.

Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 lens

The biggest advantages of the Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 lens is the small size. The 80mm HC is the smallest lens available for the Hasselblad H system / series cameras. It makes the H2 setup almost portable and this is my preferred one lens setup for overseas travel if I need to pack as light as possible. The 80mm is a good all rounder but doesn’t offer any special look. It isn’t wide, it isn’t fast glass and it isn’t a macro lens, it’s just normal. I guess that’s why they call the 50mm equivalent focal length (in 35mm terms) a normal lens. Great performer for anyone looking for a Hasselblad H one lens setup.

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8

Digital camera that shoots film?
Hasselblad H3D Film
Hasselblad H3D-31 Film
Hasselblad H3D-31 Film

Hasselblad H macro lens / portrait lens

One feature of standard kit lenses is they normally can’t focus very close to a subject for detail photos. As an ex-macro photographer (before turning to portraits and weddings) I still appreciate the finer details. For this reason I think is it always nice to have a macro lens available for wedding photos. Many macro lenses also double as a great portrait lens which is helpful.

Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens

The best tool for this job for a Hasselblad H camera is the Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens. As the name suggests it offers macro photography but with a 120mm focal length it can be perfect for portraits too. Macro lenses are also crazy sharp (for any camera system) so they are a good lens to use if you enjoy high resolution images.

The seller that listed the Hasselblad 50mm lens also had a Hasselblad 120mm f4 macro lens for sale. The auction finished shortly after the 50mm lens mentioned above so I was able to bid on both items. Again I went in with a late and low yet slightly higher bid and won that lens too! I couldn’t believe it! What a crazy day that was. Two new Hasselblad HC lenses ready for my analogue wedding photography booking the following weekend. (Sadly the COVID-19 virus then swept the world so all the 2020 wedding bookings were pushed back to later dates. No Hasselblad H2 wedding photos yet but hopefully soon).

Hasselblad V to H lens adapter

The Zeiss 120mm f4 macro lens is also a real favourite of mine on the Hasselblad 500 system. I have shot many 6×6 portraits with the Zeiss 120mm f4 CF lens on Hasselblad 501c and Hasselblad 500cm cameras.

The Hasselblad V to H lens adapter let me use the Zeiss Macro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens on my Hasselblad H3D-31 camera too. Check out the Hasselblad H3D-31 review for example photos. It was that setup that lead to me buying the autofocus Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro lens!

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 macro

Hasselblad HC 120mm Macro Portrait
Hasselblad 120mm Macro
Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 Portrait
Hasselblad HC 120 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 Film Back
Hasselblad HC 120 Portrait lens
Hasselblad HC 120mm Portrait
Hasselblad HC 120mm f4 Macro Portrait

Hasselblad fast lens / dreamy bokeh lens

Dreamy bokeh is a look many photographers enjoy but as a portrait and wedding photographer this is even more important. I use fast lenses on the Leica cameras such as the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 but sadly it is less easy for medium format cameras. Unlike 35mm camera lenses where there are f1.0 lenses, f1.2, f1.4 and so on most medium format camera lenses start at f2.8. There are some exceptions including the Mamiya 645 80mm f1.9, the amazing Contax 645 Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 or the Pentax 67 105mm f2.4 lens.

Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9

The Mamiya 80mm f1.9 lens gives a nice shallow depth of field to portraits but as a manual focus lens it is easy to miss focus. I use mostly manual focus cameras and lenses and the Mamiya 645 misses more than average for me. When it nails a shot it is beautiful but I wanted an autofocus lens to have a much higher hit rate.

Mamiya 645 Super Portrait
Mamiya 645 + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens

Contax 645 Zeiss Planar 80mm f2

The autofocus Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 lens is amazing and it give a look like no other for dreamy portraits. Sadly I sold my Contax 645 some years ago and now the prices are so high I wouldn’t want to buy another. The SLR style autofocus camera appealed to me for wedding photography and I lusted after a lens like the 80mm Planar.

Stacy with Contax 645
The Dancer - Rodinal Stand Development
Zsaklin with Contax 645

Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens

I think I just found my dream lens! The Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens offers a look comparable to the Contax 80mm f2 lens but mounts on my H2. Like the Contax lens the 100mm HC Hasselblad lens is compact and fast. It will be the ideal lens for the Hasselblad H2 camera to create the Contax 645 look. I feel the shallow depth of field really suits wedding photography and this is the best lens in the Hasselblad line up for the task.

Used Hasselblad HC lenses on eBay

Ebay strikes again! After doing my research and due diligence I had been watching a Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens on eBay. More as a bookmark than anything else to be honest. The price of this lens is more the the 50mm and 120mm lenses so I didn’t really want to spend the money. After forgetting I had even looked at this lens one day I received an eBay. Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens – 25% off one day offer from seller! My eyes need popped out my head. That made the lens now almost too to good an opportunity to miss. If it makes the unique analogue wedding photography images I was lusting after it was priceless. Done and with a wedding booking a just a week away it was perfect timing! (I’m all set now for after the Coronavirus lockdown anyway!).

I enjoy offering different style of photos to the masses. Even though I don’t advertise my wedding photography other that listing it on my homepage I do really enjoy it. Yes wedding photography editing takes time but if the images are shot creatively it can be enjoyable post processing work. I guess compare it to editing photos of your favourite model or old car. If the photos look nice it is fun. If Hasselblad wedding photography images inspire me from using this 100mm lens I will be more likely to start chasing after wedding bookings. How good would it be to use this lens every month for a wedding!

Hasselblad H2 vs Contax 645 Selfie Test

When I had my Contax 645 camera I did a mirror selfie with the Zeiss 80mm f2 Planar lens. As a non-scientific comparison I decided to do a mirror selfie with the Hasselblad H2 and the 100mm f2.2 lens. Here are the results.

Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 + Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2 lens
Contax 645 Selfie
Contax 645 + Zeiss 80mm f2 lens

Portraits with Hasselblad HC 100mm f2.2

Hasselblad H2 100mm f2.2 Portrait
Hasselblad H2 100mm Portrait
Hasselblad 100mm Portrait
Hasselblad 100mm HC Bokeh

YouTube: Hasselblad HC Lenses + Sample Photos

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Hasselblad H wedding photography

Here is a link to a wedding a shot with my Hasselblad H3D-31 with 31MP digital back. All photos were shot with the Hasselblad HC 80mm f2.8 kit lens – Hasselblad Wedding – Sarah & Cris.