Budget SLR Camera Portraits (x40)(Nikon F80 + Minolta X300)

Budget SLR Camera Portraits! (Nikon F80 + Minolta X300) (Polish Girls 2020)(x40)

Here I share images taken with a budget SLR camera – Minolta X300 and Nikon F80, next to a few portraits with rangefinder cameras. (You can find the Minolta X300 review and Nikon F80 review linked below). I know this blog is Leica-centric but this is proof that I use other film cameras too!

Budget SLR Camera Portraits

You don’t need a Leica to make nice photos!

Stating the obvious I know but it’s always good to remind ourselves occasionally, especially when suffering from severe photography GAS! We don’t need expensive Leica M cameras to take nice photos. You can use any film camera! (Film for me, adds 50% of the magic to the final image so you just need a camera/ lens that works for your needs/ taste).

Film or Digital? :)
Polish girl with Leica M3, 2019

Polish Models, 2020 Photoshoots

Despite the lockdowns and travel restrictions through much of 2020, I still managed two model photography trips in Poland. During those two visits I used a selection of 35mm film cameras and below are the resulting photos. Despite me often using Leica cameras, you can see from the results that the stars of these trips were in fact Nikon and Minolta SLR cameras! Let me know in the comments which camera captured the best images!?

Minolta X300 vs Nikon F80

For me, in terms of use, I much prefer the manual focus, simple to operate little Minolta X300 camera. The size and weight is ideal for my cabin bag luggage. The Nikon F80 did a great job too but was a bit too modern and automated for me. Both are very capable cameras and both lenses were fine for my needs.

Kodak Eastman 5219 (Vision3 500T)(aka Cinestill 800T)
Me film testing the Nikon F80 with a mirror selfie before flying to Poland!

Budget SLR Camera or Rangefinder for Portraits?

I like old manual everything cameras like the little Leica Barnacks (Leica iii cameras) BUT sometimes it is selecting the best tool for the job. I think the results speak for themselves in terms of which cameras I used the most in Poland. SLR cameras are very well suited to portraits and many rangefinder cameras are much less so. (I will share my current Leica R6 SLR camera portraits in a separate post when I get chance! See a preview on YouTube).

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Nikon F80 Portraits / Sample photos

First we have a series of Nikon F80 portraits captured with the Nikkor 50mm f1.8G lens (Camera review linked below these images). This is the only auto focus lens camera I used in this article. Most images were shot at around f2 and at 1/60 or 1/125 shutter speed.

Kentmere 400 Portrait
35mm Kentmere 400 Portrait
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Kentmere 400 Film
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Nikon F80 + Nikkor 50mm 1.8G
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Nikon F80 Portrait
Nikon F80 + Nikkor 50mm f1.8G
Kodak Double-X 5222
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Nikon F80 Pop Up Flash Portrait
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Nikkor 50mm f1.8 G Portrait
Expired Kodak Vision3 500T Portrait
50mm f1.8 Film Portrait
Nikon F80 Review (Low cost alternative to a Nikon F100)

Learn more about the budget friendly auto focus SLR camera in this Nikon F80 review. It offers a great low cost alternative to the popular Nikon F100 camera.

Minolta X300 Portraits / Sample Photos

A selection of Minolta X300 film portraits shot with the Minolta 45mm f2 lens. I was more than happy with this one lens setup. Amazing little lens and my favourite for this system. Most photos taken at f2 or f2.8.

Minolta 6x6 Crop
Ilford Pan 400
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Minolta lens flare
Minolta X300 Portrait
Bessa Photographer :)
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm f2
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Ilford Kentmere 400 film
Minolta MD Rokkor 45mm f2 Portrait
Minolta MD 45mm Portrait
Ilford Pan 400 Portrait
Minolta X300 Portrait
Kentmere 400 35mm Portrait
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Kentmere 400 Portrait
Minolta X300 Portrait
Ilford Pan 400 Portrait
Minolta MD 45mm f2 Portrait
Minolta X300 Review (Cheap SLR camera but an amazing lens!)

The Minolta X300 is another amazing budget SLR camera. (It is closer to my Nikon FG-20 camera than the Nikon F80). Very affordable, lightweight and compact. Perfect for me as a light camera to travel with. Manual focus lenses only so a different shooting experience verses the Nikon F80 above.

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Portraits shot with Leica + Voigtlander Film Cameras

In addition to the Nikon F80 and Minolta X300 I also used my usual Leica and Voigtlander film cameras. Cameras I used in Poland included the Leica M4-P, Leica IIF, Voigtlander Bessa R and Voigtlander Bessa T. Unlike the Nikon and Minolta cameras shared, these are all 35mm film rangefinder cameras.

Leica M4-P Portrait

Colour film portrait shot with a Leica M4-P film camera and Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7 ASPH lens. I need to scan more of this roll of film to share! (See the Kodak Vision3 YouTube video below for more about this amazing film and how to develop it). (See the review of this amazing 35mm lens too – lots of digital example portraits here – Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron Review).

Expired Kodak Vison3 500T

Leica iif Portraits

Here are a few Leica iif portraits before the camera died. (See the black shutter on some of the images. As a 1950s camera it just needed some TLC (CLA to be more precise!). It is now back fully serviced and ready to go! This little Barnack Leica impressed me so much it was my favourite camera of 2020! YouTube review linked below).

Leica iif + Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM
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Leica iif Problems - As seen on YouTube
Leica iif problems
Leica iif Portrait
Leica iif Portrait
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Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait

Example portrait shot with the amazing Voigtlander Bessa T camera. It is an unusual camera in that it has no viewfinder! See the review below for a visual of how this camera looks.

Voigtlander Bessa T Review & Portraits

Voigtlander Bessa R Portraits

A few Voigtlander Bessa R portraits to finish. Of the cameras featured in this article the Bessa R is the least suited to portraits. It has a lower magnification viewfinder making it more difficult for precision shallow depth of field portraits with fast lenses. That said, it is still very capable of taking a nice photo and is a nice small size and weight for travel (Overseas photoshoots in this case).

Voigtlander Bessa R
Voigtlander Bessa R Photo
Voigtlander Bessa R Portrait
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Polish Models Photoshoots – More Photos!

More film photography articles you might like

Best Leica Film Camera Buyers Guide + Detailed Comparisons (Leica Ms)

Best Leica Film Camera Buyers Guide + Detailed Comparisons (Leica Ms) + YouTube

Are you looking to buy a Leica film camera but feel overwhelmed by the choices?  I experienced the same minefield of information when I bought my first Leica camera.  Here I try to help you find the best Leica film camera for you

Leica M4-P

Leica Blog – Leica Camera Reviews

As part of the Leica blog here is Leica M camera buyer’s guide! I own and use multiple Leica film cameras (M2, M3SS, M3DS, M4Ps, M6..) so I put together an easy to follow yet detailed comparison review.  Hopefully it will cover all you need to know but get in touch if you need some help.

Leica M3 Portrait

How did this post come about?

As Leica blog (moreso a Leica film camera blog + general film camera blog) this is one of the key posts on the site to try to summarise some of the main differences between the 35mm Leica film cameras.

Visual Intro to some of the Leica M cameras!

When I think back to buying my first analogue film Leica M camera I’m not sure how I decided to buy the particular camera I did.  Lots and lots of research I guess but I don’t really remember finding any information that summarised in simple terms how each Leica M camera is different or perhaps best suited my needs.  It doesn’t help that Leica M cameras all look pretty much identical to the untrained eye too! In this post I try to list some of the main differences between each Leica M camera which might hopefully make it easier for you if you are looking to buy a Leica M film camera.  Please note I have only covered Leica M film cameras and it does not include Leica digital cameras.

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Leica M Camera Timeline (Leica M History)

Here are all the major Leica M film cameras released from oldest to newest (excluding special edition cameras and showing the approximate release date/ production start date).

  1. Leica M3 (1954)
  2. Leica M2 (1958)
  3. Leica M4 (1967)
  4. Leica M5 (1971)
  5. Leica M4-2 (1977)
  6. Leica M4-P (1981)
  7. Leica M6 Classic (1984)
  8. Leica M6 TTL (1998)
  9. Leica M7 (2002)
  10. Leica MP (2003)
  11. Leica M-A (2014)
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Generally speaking the higher the M number the more recent the camera was released (with the exception of the Leica M2 that was built after the Leica M3, the M4-2 and M4-P that were released after the M5 and with the Leica MP and M-A being the most recent).

5 Common Features to all Leica M Film Cameras

*to my knowledge for the cameras covered in this article

  1. Maximum shutter speed 1/1000
  2. Flash sync speed 1/50
  3. Rangefinder focusing system
  4. Uses 35mm film
  5. Leica-M bayonet mount lenses (or L39/M39/LSM/LTM Leica screw mount via adapter)
Leica M3 + Summicron 50 DR

Leica M Camera Buyers Guide

Framelines – bright lines in the viewfinder for composition
  • Leica M3 – 50,90,135 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M2 – 35,50,90 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M4 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M5 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-2 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-P – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M7 – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica MP – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M-A – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm

Leica M Camera Viewfinder magnification / options

  • Leica M3 – 0.91x (most magnified viewfinder)
  • Leica M2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4 – 0.72x
  • Leica M5 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-P – 0.72x
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M7 – 0.58x / 0.72x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica MP – 0.72x /
  • Leica M-A – 0.72x
Leica Photographer

Leica M Rangefinder focusing

  • Leica M3 – 1m to infinity (close focus goggles allow focusing from 0.478m)
  • Leica M2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M5 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-P – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M7 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica MP – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M-A – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
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Leica M Camera – Battery required to take a photo?

  • Leica M3 – No – N/A
  • Leica M2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4 – No – N/A
  • Leica M5 – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M4-2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4-P – No – N/A
  • Leica M6 Classic – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M6 TTL – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M7 – Yes&No – Can use at 1/60 & 1/125 only without battery
  • Leica MP – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M-A – No – N/A
Leica M3 Selfie

Brass or zinc top plate/ base plate (brass dents / zinc cracks)

  • Leica M3 – Brass
  • Leica M2 – Brass
  • Leica M4 – Brass
  • Leica M5 – Brass
  • Leica M4-2 – Brass
  • Leica M4-P – Brass (earlier cameras) Zinc (later cameras)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Zinc
  • Leica M6 TTL – Zinc (Mostly)
  • Leica M7 – Brass
  • Leica MP – Brass
  • Leica M-A – Brass
Leica M6!

Precision components (brass) or cheaper components (steel/plastics)

  • Leica M3 – Brass gears (Least cheap components)
  • Leica M2 –  Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M4 –  Brass gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M5 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M4-2 – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M4-P – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M7 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica MP – Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M-A – Brass gears (Least cheap components)
Spot the new guy!? 📷☺️👍 #leica #leicam #leicam3 #leicam240 #leicam2 #leicacamera #leicacraft #rangefinder #camera #cameraporn www.MrLeica.com

Leica Hotshoe or coldshoe (for flash photography)

  • Leica M3 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M2 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M4 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M5 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-2 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-P – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Hotshoe & TTL flash with SF-20 unit
  • Leica M7 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica MP – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M-A – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
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Leica Camera Built-in light meter

  • Leica M3 – No
  • Leica M2 – No
  • Leica M4 – No
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No
  • Leica M4-P – No
  • Leica M6 Classic – Yes
  • Leica M6 TTL – Yes
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – No
Leica M3 Model Photography

Leica Film rewind mechanism

  • Leica M3 – Rewind knob (slower)
  • Leica M2 – Rewind knob (slower)
  • Leica M4 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M5 – Rewind ratchet on base plate
  • Leica M4-2 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M4-P – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M7 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica MP – Rewind knob (slower)
  • Leica M-A – Rewind knob (slower)
MrLeica.com

Loading film into a Leica camera: Separate take-up spool insert

  • Leica M3 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M2 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M4 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M5 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-2 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-P – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 Classic – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 TTL – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M7 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica MP – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M-A – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
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Leica Viewfinder condenser / prism (risk of being unable to focus without it)

  • Leica M3 – Yes
  • Leica M2 – Yes
  • Leica M4 – Yes
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M4-P – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 Classic – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 TTL – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – Yes
Leica M6 by Olympus Pen-F

Buyers Guide: Leica M vs Leica iii Cameras

Leica M3 vs Leica M2 Review – YouTube

Leica M6 vs Leica M4-P Review – YouTube

 Small Print

*Please note

  • The information is sourced from personal experience and a range of websites
  • There are many many Leica M camera variants/ specials that may not fit the above
  • Leica cameras continued to evolve so some traits may overlap from last/next model
  • Information is simplified and generalised but there is full detail on other websites
  • I own Leica M3s, M2, M4-P, M6 Classic and have not used other models
  • Non-factual comments such as ‘faster’,’slower’,’cheaper’ is a generalisation
  • This review does not include the M1 or MD models
  • External viewfinders are available if you want to use a lens wider than the frameline
  • Some camera lenses have close focus goggles such as the Leica Summicron 50mm DR
  • The Leica M3 can be used a 35mm lens using 35mm focusing goggles

**Mistakes

  • If I have omitted some obvious information or have classed a camera incorrectly (being for the majority of cameras produced for that model as I know there are lots of camera variants) please let me know and I can update it.
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Leica M3 vs Leica iii (“Barnack Leica”)

Smaller Cheaper Leicas = Barnack Leica Cameras!

Leica CL / Minolta CL = Cheap Leica M Mount Option

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Leica Camera Blog Posts – Cameras I use
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

Leica Lightroom Presets – DOWNLOADS!

Mr Leica - in Action!

***Enjoyable

I hope you find this very simplified guide of some help.  I enjoyed researching the information and I now know how to distinguish the difference between my Leica M2 and Leica M3 at a glance from the front!  The Leica M3 has a plain frameline illumination window and the Leica M2 has a fresnel type illumination window (vertical stripes in the window next to the viewfinder window). 🙂

Matt

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