Nikon F4 vs Leica M3: Photo Test

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3: Photo Test

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
April 2016

Last year I bought myself a Nikon F4 SLR so shoot alongside my Leica M3 double stroke and various other film cameras. I thought it might be quite nice to compare the 35mm Nikon SLR to the 35mm Leica rangefinder. For each camera I chose my go to lenses (at the time) and loaded both cameras with 35mm Ilford Delta 100 film. It was a bright day so I shot both lenses at f5.6 for the shoot. Harriet was modelling for me and kindly offered to be the subject for this short series of shots.

Leica M3 + Summicron 50 DR

Cameras:

  • Nikon F4 SLR + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S lens
  • Leica M3 double stroke + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR lens

Film developing:

I developed both rolls of film together in the same tank using 1:3 Xtol developer solution at about 20 degrees (I guessed as no thermometer to hand) for 11 mins and once dry the photos were scanned with an Epson v800 flatbed scanner.

35mm Ilford Delta 100 Film Test:

Nikon F4 SLR + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S

Nikkor 50mm f1.2
Nikon F4 + 50mm f1.2
Nikon F4 + Ilford Delta 100
Nikon F4 + Delta 100
Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 :)
Nikon F4 vs Leica M3

Leica M3 double stroke + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 (II)
Leica M3 + Delta 100
Leica M3 + Delta 100
35mm Ilford Delta 100

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film:

On a seperate occasion I was again shooting with Harriet and the Nikon F4 + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S lens but this time the F4 was loaded with Ilford Pan F 50 film. Here are a couple of Pan F 50 images to compare to the Ilford Delta 100 film scans. I am a huge fan of both of these film stocks.

Nikon F4 + 50mm f1.2
F4 + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-S

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 – Thoughts

Unlike digital photography film cameras of varying price ranges from my low cost Nikon FM or Olympus 35RC film cameras to the more expensive Leica M6 and Leica M3s can all produce similar quality results with decent film loaded.  I would not say that is the case with digital.  I think with digital, to an extent you get what you pay for.  For example I would expect significantly better results from a £30k medium format digital Hasselblad vs a Leica M240 or Nikon D800 and the same with the M240 or D800 vs an entry level camera.  I recently tested my Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera against my 35mm Leica M6 film camera. The 6×6 film negatives did hold more detail but the gap between the two cameras is less noticeable to my eyes.  This may also be the case for the photos from the aforementioned digital equivalent cameras but I would generally expect better results the more I paid with digital (to an extent)(some brands are perhaps over priced such as Leica!) 🙂

F4 or M3?

The Nikon F4 SLR is much bulkier and heavier than the Leica M3 so if I am travelling light I tend to chose a Leica. For film photography when I am using lenses shot wide open at say f1.4 I would always chose the Leica as I feeel the results are better at the maximum apertures. If I am stopping the lenses down to f5.6-f8 I could use either film camera happily. For close subjects I prefer the close focusing Nikon F4. For a subject more than a few meters away I prefer the Leica rangefinder focusing. The Nikon accepts autofocus lenses for fast action and has various other advantages being around 30yrs newer (approx) than the 1954 Leica M3.  The M3 accepts some of the smallest lenses I own such as the Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 collapsible  and Vougtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 so both cameras have their pros and cons. I normally select my camera to use based on size and weight restrictions for that particular shoot if overseas.  In the UK and moreso if in my studio I tend to rotate all the various film cameras to keep things interesting!

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Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501c!

Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501C (+ vs Leica M8)

(..or 35mm film vs medium format film)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
March 2016

I did a shoot with Stacey recently in my home studio in Coventry UK.  I decided to shoot my Leica M6 35mm film camera up against the medium format 6×6 Hasselblad 501C film camera.  To give the Leica M6 rangefinder a fighting chance I loaded it with the super fine Ilford Pan F 50 film and attached the super sharp Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.  I did do a few wider shots with the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii lens which is also nice and sharp.  The Hasselblad was already loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400 but for some reason I thought it had Fomapan 100 film is so shot the roll of Tri-X 400@100 and developed accordingly  Both rolls of film were developed in Xtol developer.  Click any photo for more details.

Here is a sample of the film scans:

Hasselblad 501C + 120 Fomapan 100 Medium Format Film

Hasselblad vs Leica
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad 501C in the Studio
Hasselblad Portrait
6x6

Leica M6 + 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film
Leica M6 + Ilford Pan F 50
Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO + Film
Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion
Leica M6 Fashion
Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 + SOOKY-M
Ilford Pan F 50 Film Portrait
Leica M6 Portrait

I was also using my digital Leica M8 for the shoot and it still impresses me as to how film like the Leica CCD sensor appears.  Here are a few examples.

Leica M8 Digital Camera

Leica M8 Loveliness!
Leica M8 B&W

Leica vs Hasselblad – Results

I think the Leica M6 was at the top of it’s game and thanks to the choice of Ilford Pan F 50 film. I actually preferred the Leica M6 photos on the whole to that of the Hasselblad.  That is quite an achievement as the Hasselblad has done nothing but impress me since my purchase.  The real test will be using the Hasselblad 501C + Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens + 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film for sharp lens and super fine grain film. That said, it’s great to remind myself of how good the little 35mm Leica film cameras can be.

Big thanks to Stacey for putting up with my usual array of quirky cameras pointing at her! 🙂

Leica M3 & Ukraine Girls 2015

Leica M3 & Ukraine Girls 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
November 2015

Leica M3 + Kodak Portra Fashion

I booked two model photography trips to Ukraine this year, in July and then again in September. Here are some of the film photography highlights shot with my 1950s Leica M3 rangefinder film camera and a Leica Summicron 50mm f2 lens. For July I used a 1950s Leica Summicron DR lens and for September a more recent Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens.  In July I lost a lot of photos as the Leica M3 needed recalibrating.  For the September trip I had had the M3 rangefinder recalibrated but took less film photos.  For both trips I shot with various film stocks and different models so please click any image for more details.

Leica M3 Models, Ukraine – July 2015
Leica M3 + Ilford Pan F 50
Window Light Portrait
Ukraine Agency Model
Ukraine Model Fashion
Ukraine Agency Model
Delta 100 in Xtol
Leica Summicron DR
Top of the World
Kentmere 100 film
Ukraine Fashion Model
Ilford Pan F 50 Classic Portrait
Ukraine Photoshoot
Start of the film
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/21381005359

Leica M3 Models, Ukraine – September 2015
Ukraine Model Photography
Ukraine Girl
Leica M3 Ukraine
Leica M3 Ukraine
Film Boudoir Photography
Leica M3 Tri-X Portrait
Ukraine Model Photography
Agfa Vista Film Fashion
Agfa Vista Film Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22733088089

A big thanks to all the models featured here. Hope to see you again in 2016! 🙂

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Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland

Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Model Photography, Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2015

Finally I can share a selection of Hasselblad portraits taken in Poland during my model photography trip last month.  There are still plenty of film negatives I have not yet edited but here are some of my favourites so far.  I have split the photos by film stock used.  Details of camera lens, filters, camera setting, developing method and model can be obtained by clicking on the any photo.

All photos were taken with a Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera and shot with available light only.

Hasselblad Black and White Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Fomapan 100 Classic film Portraits
Natural Beauty
Hasselblad Film Fashion
Fomapan 100 Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22366409789

Hasselblad + 120 Fuji Acros 100 film Portraits
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad Model Photography
Film Fashion - Hasselblad
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22280771681/

Hasselblad + 120 Ilford Delta 100 film Portraits
120 Delta 100 Portrait
Smoking Kills
Hasselblad + Delta 100
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/21599331033

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak T-Max 400 film Portraits
120 Kodak T-Max 400
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Hasselblad T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/23191551005/

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22207347931/

Hasselblad Colour Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Kodak Portra
120 Kodak Portra 400
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22766676486

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 160 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Zeiss 80mm  Planar
120 Kodak Portra 160
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22436532230/

Hasselblad + Expired 120 Kodak Portra 160NC film Portraits
Expired Kodak Portra 160 NC
120 Kodak Portra 160NC
Expired Kodak Portra 160NC
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22972010211

Favourite Film Stock?

It is difficult for me to chose one film stock as a clear winner as conditions were different each day and each model has a certain look. As mentioned in a recent blog post, I think 120 Fomapan 100 Classic offers excellent value for money (being the cheapest film I used).  I have just stocked up on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 for the winter months and again I think it is an excellent film.  One of my favourites.  Kodak T-Max 400 was also a very strong performer and to be honest no film resulted in a sub-standard image. The expired Kodak Portra 160NC worked fine despite being out of date, without a foil wrapper and with an unknown storage history.  In these photos I preferred the Kodak Portra 400 to the Portra 160 but that might just be the lighting.  All in all I was happy with all the films chosen for the trip.

Do you have a favourite film stock?  It would be great to hear your thoughts!

Polish Models

Big thanks to all the girls again – Agnieszka, Irmina, Natalia, Marta, Marta, Teresa, Weronika (as included here).  With the help of these amazing models and my new Hasselblad 501C film camera I think I may have produced some of my best work to date.  I travelled to Poland with less cameras and a clear goal which was to take fewer but hopefully higher standard photos.  The Hasselblad seems to have helped me step up a gear with the quality of images I am now able to capture.

Favourite model?  I’m not sure I am allowed to have a favourite but if you think one girls stands out above the others let me know and I will feed it back to them.  I’m sure they would be thrilled to hear!

As always I cannot wait to get back to Poland.  My model photography trips overseas tend to be my highlights throughout the year.  Before I return to Poland I am heading out to New York City to teach 1-2-1 model photography for a week.  It will be my first visit to NYC and only my second visit to the US so you can imagine how excited I am!  Coming soon! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed these images as much I did.  I think my most photogenic blog post so far! 🙂

Thanks

Matt

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120 Fomapan 100 Film

120 Fomapan 100 Film – Hasselblad Portraits

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2015

Firstly sorry for the lack of new blog posts recently. There are a lot in the pipeline when I find time!

Fresh film. Perhaps the cheapest 120 B&W film in UK. Great for camera testing or for that softer classic look. #fomapan #fomapan100 #120film #blackandwhite #mediumformat #ilovefilm #ishootfilm #filmrocks www.MrLeica.com

120 Fomapan 100 Film

Fomapan 100 Classic is a traditional panchromatically sensitized black and white negative film made in the Czech Republic.  To my eyes it is as sharp as B&W films from Kodak such as T-Max but had a more classic grain structure more similar to Ilford FP4+ or perhaps Kodak Tri-X.  Again from my experience, Fomapan 100 prroduces low contrast negatives in normal lighting conditions.  Some of my Fomapan 100 photos are higher contrast due to developing or lighting used.

Fomapan 100 film is my current favourite / best value for money black and white film in 120 format. I enjoy using various B&W films from the likes of Kodak, Ilford and Fuji but Fomapan manage to price their film below the competition and the results are actually quite nice. I pay around £3 a roll for 120 Fomapan 100 film and the next cheapest would be I think £4 a roll for the likes of Kodak Tri-X 400, Kodak T-Max 100 & 400 and Fuji Acros 100 and then £5 for Ilford Delta 100 and 400. I try to find the lowest prices!

What I like a lot about Fomapan 100 is I can shoot it at ISO 50-400 and develop it at box speed. This may be true for other films but I have not noticed it. For medium format film photography shooting in available light ISO 400 is normally the go to film speed for me in the UK. In the studio I shoot ISO 100 films more. Fomapan gives me both. For ISO 800 exposures I would rather shoot Kodak Tri-X 400 or T-Max 400 films and push them
one stop in developing.

I constantly swing between the different film stocks trying to find a favourite but as yet there is no clear winner. Kodak Tri-X has some of the nicest tones and Kodak T-Max also. Ilford Delta 100 and Pan F 50 are amongst the sharpest films I have used and can look almost digital in 120 format. I would say I prefer Fuji Acros to T-Max 100 especially for portraits but both can create nice images. At this stage I prefer Kodak Tri-X to HP5 for the tones and overall look of the pictures.

Since getting my Hasselblad 501C I have been shooting much more medium format film and 35mm film is currently on hold!  Here are some examples of me shooting 120 Fomapan 100 film.

Hasselblad Film Portraits

Firstly a sneak peek from Poland! Full post to follow.. 🙂

Fomapan 100 Fashion

Next, more 120 Fomapan 100 film portraits shot in the UK

Hasselblad Sonnar 150mm

Zeiss Sonnar + Hasselblad

Fomapan 100 Classic

Hasselblad Zeiss Distagon Portrait

21mm Hasselblad extension tube

Hasselblad Zeiss 50mm Portrait

Fomapan 100@400

I am also using Fomapan 100 4×5 sheet film in my large format cameras so those results are to follow too!

Ilford Pan F 50 Film

Ilford Pan F 50 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

June  2015

Ilford Pan F 50 film is super fine grain, slow speed, black and white film produced by Ilford.  I bought a roll of 35mm Pan F 50 to take on my trip to Zurich for a model photography workshop.  It was my first time using this film and I was interested to see the results.  I often use ISO 100 speed black and white film such as Kodak T-Max 100 or Fuji Acros 100.  I had not shot with slow speed film before but I was in luck as we had bright sunny weather for the shoot.

I shot the Pan F 50 film in my 35mm Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder camera on the first day of the workshop.  (My Leica M3 was loaded with Kodak Portra 160 and my Leica M2 was loaded with 35mm CienStill 50D film).  The first model we worked with was Joy, kindly supplied by Option Model Agency.  The second model was a local dancer, Julia.

Here are some sample images shooting Ilford Pan F 50 at box speed in my Bessa R3A camera and developed in a soup of 1:3 diluted Xtol solution + 1:400 Rodinal.  I realise other developers may give sharper and finer grain results but I wanted to use the developers I know best at this stage.  Most photos were taken with a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens.

Model – Joy

Ilford Pan F 50 Portrait

Bessa R3A + Ilford Pan F 50

Bessa + Ilford Pan F 50

Ilford Pan F 50 Model Shoot

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion

Model – Julia

Voigtlander Bessa R3A

35mm Film Sharpness

Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion

Ilford Pan F 50 in Xtol + Rodinal

35mm Ilford Pan F 50

Conclusion

I was really impressed with the amount of detail captured with the 35mm Pan F 50 film.  The resolution was something closer to what is achieved with 120 medium format films.  My next test will be to shoot 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film in my Fuji GF670 stopped down for my sharpest possible negatives.

Would I buy this film again?

Ilford Pan F 50 film is certainly not an everyday film as it requires 3x more light than say the popular Kodak Tri-X 400 film.  I believe Pan F 50 is more suited to my 35mm film photography than my medium format cameras as 35mm lens are often much faster with the likes of the Leica M mount Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4. I am also interested to try this film with my latest purchase, a 35mm Nikon F4 SLR with perhaps the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens.  Most of my medium format camera lenses start at f2.8 (x2 slower than f1.4) or smaller with the exception of my Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 C for the Mamiya 645 Super camera.

I plan to shoot Pan F 50  when I can during the brighter summer months of the UK and for some strobist work.  Price wise Ilford Pan F 50 can be found for under £5.00 a roll in the UK making it cheaper than Fuji Acros 100 and a similar price to say Kodak T-Max.  I invested in a 10 pack of 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film to get a slightly cheaper price and to keep me going over the summer months.

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 :)

Matt

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Other Black and White Films

Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Expired Ilford Delta 400 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

I was recently gifted a mixed batch of unrefrigerated expired camera film and some of the rolls were medium format 120 Ilford Delta 400 film dating back to 2006.  I thought I would try a shooting a few rolls to see how I got on.  I decided to expose the first film at  400@200 and developed in Rodinal.  Some of the photos were a little dark so for the next roll I exposed at 400@100.  Here are the results from recent model photography shoots in my Coventry studio. Cameras including my Mamiya 645 Super, Mamiya RZ 67 and 4×5 large format Pacemaker Speed Graphic with a 120 roll film back.

Mamiya 645 Super + Vega 28 MC 120mm f2.8 (Freelensing)

Model – Tegan (400@200)

Expired 120 Ilford Delta 400

Freelensing Mamiya 645 Super

Expired B&W Film

Vega 28 + Mamiya 645 Super

Expired Ilford Film

Mamiya 645 Super Freelensing

Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II + Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 + RZ 6×6 Film Back

Model – Charlotte (400@100)

Mamiya RZ67 Pro ii 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 6x6 Film

Mamiya RZ 67 6x6

Mamiya RZ 6X6 Back

4×5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic + Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 + Horseman 120 6×7 Roll Film Back

Model – Harriet (400@100)

Kodak Aero Ektar Portrait

4x5 Speed Graphic Portrait

Kodak Aero Ektar on Speed Graphic

4X5 Film - Speed Graphic

The next expired film I tried was 2006 C41 black and white film 35mm Kodak BW400CN in Rodinal.. coming next.

Big thanks again to Richard who gifted the film to me.