Polish Models & Leica Cameras

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica.com

December 2015

I wrote this on the plane out to Poland a few days ago..


On my last trip to Poland in October I took my newly purchased Hasselblad 501C camera and shot with available light only. In New York I used my Hasselblad but this time I used  speedlights (mostly). I think overall the Hasselblad photos from Poland are still some of my best model photography images to date despite a few nice ones in New York. After getting used to the not so portable Hasselblad camera on it’s monopod together with off camera lights I wanted to get back to what Leica cameras do best and that is simplicity and in small package.

When using the Hasselblad I noticed I pack my best camera equipment regardless of the size and weight. With my Leicas I find I usually forego the better (and often heavier lenses) for my smallest possible setup. This was the case in New York when I packed my three smallest lenses for each focal length (Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 and Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5). It is worth noting that all 3 lenses are good in their own right but I have ‘better’ but they are bigger. By better I mean they can do something more. Obvious examples are the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 that is one stop faster and has less flare and the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH that is a little faster and sharper vs f1.4 version.

My potentially best or most expensive Leica M mount lenses rarely get a trip out. Lenses that come to my mind are the aforementioned Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 and Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH. I then have the longer Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO and Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH. The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 v2 has been out a few times!

The recent purchase of my Leica M6 has rekindled my Leica interest and now the competition is on to try to beat my best Hasselblad photos when shooting on 35mm film. Not an easy task but worth a try I think!

Leica camera gear

    • Leica M 240 (digital camera body)
    • Leica M6 Classic (35mm film camera)
    • Leica M3 double stroke (35mm film camera)
    • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens
    • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR lens
    • Leica close focus goggles for DR lens
    • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens
    • Billingham Hadley Digital Camera bag

(please excuse iPhone photo in bad light!)

35mm film for the M3 & M6

      • Kodak Portra 400 & 160
      • Cinestill 800T & 50D
      • AGFA Vista 200 Plus
      • Kodak T-Max 400 & 100
      • Kodak Eastman Double-X
      • Ilford Delta 100

I normally shoot mostly black and white film but every so often I get a real urge to shoot in colour. Now was that time. I had read good things about Portra 400 film yet have never really fell in love with the film so I wanted to give it another go. I also wanted to shoot more Cinestill film but this time in mixed light conditions to try to make it really come to life. I packed a few small continuous lights and coloured gels so I can’t wait to get started!

A fellow Leica shooter also gave me a few rolls of home rolled Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 film to try. This is black and white movie film bought on a big reel then loaded into 35mm film canisters with a bulk loader at home. I may look at getting a bulk loader for 2016 as it can be a more economical way to shoot 35mm film.  I need to do the sums first!  The plan was to use one Leica film camera to shoot colour film and one to shoot black and white film. I hope to use both the Leica M6 and Leica M3 bodies to shoot both film types as I will keep the Summicron DR on the M3 and probably the Leica 75mm APO on the M6. As usual digital Leica M 240 will merely be used for testing and warming up the models.

Poland Trip

The visit was going to be different this time as I had booked an apartment in Gdansk rather than my usual hotel in Sopot. I planned to work with more new models to keep it interesting and try to change my photography style a little if I could.

After reviewing my New York portrait images I noticed that trying to place models in the perfect beauty light for every photo is starting to become a little dull. This is what I do automatically now so I need to think more when shooting and not go into auto pilot.

Wish me luck!

Follow up post-trip conclusions to come together with resulting images.

Here is a taster – Leica M 240 + Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO. Model – Ana

Leica M 240 + Summicron 75 APO

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