Poland 2016 – Mamiya 6, Leica M 240..
Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom
I’m just writing this on my flight home from my first model photography trip to Poland of 2016. After a mixed success trip in December visiting Gdansk I returned to my favourite hotel in Sopot, Hotel Bursztyn, located just off the beautiful Sopot Beach. I feel very lucky that I was able to fill almost every minute of every day with models and despite a mixed forecast we were overall really fortunate with the weather even if it was a little chilly!
I worked with Polish agency models from Malva Models agency and Future Models Management and also with a few friends and friends of models. Despite a lot of cancellations (which sadly now seems to be the norm whatever country I am working in) from planned models the girls that did visit really made the trip a success. A big thanks in no order to Karo, Ana, Sylwia, Teresa, Irmina, Natalia, Julia and Maja, to MUA Marta and also Monika at Hotel Bursztyn for a comfortable stay.
What was the plan for this trip?
For every model photography trip to Sopot so far I have used available light only. Being a big fan of using strobes in the UK I decided to pack smaller lighter cameras and take one flash as well. My must take camera was the digital Leica M 240 as I wanted to take some colour digital photos. If I was to shoot all B&W photos then the Leica M8 is also fantastic but for colour the Leica M 240 is just easier. My next must have was a medium format film camera and then anything else I could fit in was just a bonus. The Hasselblad 501C was too big to take this time and a few of my other smaller medium format cameras had problems so I bought a Mamiya 6 camera to take. (See previous post, link below). I like to have the option to shoot both colour film and black and white film so wanted at least one other camera. I chose the 35mm Leica M6 as it can share Leica M mount lenses with the Leica M 240. I then had a little bit of bag capacity remaining so I squeezed in the 1960s Olympus Pen-F SLR camera.
Full kit list:
- Leica M 240 rangefinder camera (digital)
- Leica M6 rangefinder camera (35mm film)
- Olympus Pen-F SLR camera (35mm film – half frame) + 35mm f1.8 lens
- Mamiya 6 rangefinder camera (medium format film) + 75mm f3.5 lens
- Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens
- Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
- 120 Fomapan 100
- 120 Kodak Portra 160
- 120 Kodak Ektar 100
- 120 Fuji Acros 100
- 35mm Ilford Pan F 50
- 35mm Cinestill 50D
- 35mm Kodak Portra 160
- 35mm Kodak Ektar 100
- 35mm Fujicolor C200
I packed all the 120 Fomapan 100 film I had in the fridge (8 rolls) and then some Fuji Acros on top. Foma is currently my go to film for 120 black and white. (If money was no object I think Ilford Delta 100 and Pan F 50 are hard to beat but Pan F is very high contrast and sometimes the low contrast Foma film is nice. For 35mm film I currently prefer the sharpness of Delta 100 and Pan F. I packed mostly B&W film, maybe 3:1 vs colour film. I wanted some colour for if we got blue skies and / or the models brought colourful clothes. I wanted to also see if the Olympus Pen F half frame camera gave acceptable results using 35mm colour film. I often find 35mm colour film too grainy for my taste. I thought the best hope I had for fine grain colour film in the Pen-F was Cinestill 50D but I was also interested to see the results using Kodak Porta 160 and Fujicolor C200 film. I didn’t get chance to use the Kodak Ektar 100 film I took but I will try this on my next trip as the grain should be finer than Portra 160 and C200 film.
I found the Mamiya 6 was my go to film camera in Poland. I guess partly as it was my new toy and partly as I wanted to see what results I could get from it. The compact Mamiya 6 was certainly easier to carry around than the Hasselblad 501C (with prism and monopod attached!). Both cameras are 6×6 format so I’m really excited to see how the results compare. I normally enjoy how close I can focus the Hasselblad but surprisingly I didn’t mind being at 1m distance with the Mamiya 6. Hopefully the photos will be more interesting as a result. (I will write a full Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6 thoughts post after I see the resulting images from this trip).
The Leica M6 camera was used the least of the film cameras and I enjoyed using the little Olympus Pen-F. If the Pen F photos are acceptable I think it will always live in my travel bag. The Leica M6 is a great camera and nice to use but it always seemed to have the wrong film loaded when I came to use it. The plan was try to keep 35mm colour film in one camera and 35mm black and white in the other. The problem was 72 exposures in the Pen-F can take time to use! I shot nearly all the 120 film I took and less than half of the 35mm but I will probably have more 35mm images overall as the Mamiya 6 only gets 12 exposures per roll.
Each model brings their own style to a shoot which helps to keep it interesting. Some of the girls were internationally published models bringing a wealth of experience from working in Asia and Europe. It was really interesting spending time with them and it made me rethink how I approach some of my fashion photography images. Once I am able to share some of the images we created together I am excited to see if there is an noticeable difference in style. The working models seemed really happy with what we had produced and so was I. Agency models use the best images for their book and online model portfolios and I should probably update my website photos at some stage. In addition to working with the experienced models, I found it equally rewarding to creating images for girls with little experience in front of a camera. As such a variety of photos to follow!
- Mamiya 6
- Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland
- Hasselblad Fashion / Ektar – Poland
- Leica M6 Classic
- New Olympus PEN-F!
- 120 Fomapan 100 Film