Leica M8 Portraits & Thoughts

Leica M8 Portraits
Follow up post with my thoughts of the M8 after having owned it for a few weeks.

I really have been hugely impressed with the September 2006 released 10.3MP 1.33x cropped sensor Leica M8 digital rangefinder camera. Costing x3 less than a used Leica M9, The M8 is also the most affordable way to enter the digital Leica world. Leica retains this myth around the brand that the Leica equipment is not affordable or in reach of the majority of the population. This is of course not true at all. You can pick up a used Leica M8 camera body in good condition for the same price as a Canon 5D Mk II. Need I say more! You may then say that the camera lenses are too expensive. Wrong again. Older Leica lenses can be picked up on eBay for less than some Canon and Nikon lenses. Leica mount lenses from companies such as Voigtlander and Zeiss also offer equally affordable and very high quality optics. If you have an old Leica film camera collecting dust in your attic that your late Grandfather once owned then a Leica M8 would bring a new life to your Leica lens. Alternatively, if like me you enjoy film photography and love using Leica lenses then you can pick yourself up a used Leica film camera body for even less than the Leica M8. I just treated myself to a 1958 Leica M2 film camera so I can shoot 35mm film with my existing Leica lenses.
(Samples of Leica M2 film photography coming soon!).

Leica M8 vs. Leica M9?

As you may know I already have a Leica M9 and bought the Leica M8 as a second Leica body for my Leica wedding photography. After having used the Leica M8 for the last few weeks I can tell you that for the black and white portraiture I normally shoot the M8 is equally as good as my M9 for my taste. The cameras feel near identical to use and if I didn’t look at what was in my hand I wouldn’t know which camera I was holding. The Leica M8 resolution is fantastic and exceeded my expectations. I think the M8 photos are as nice as the M9 ones. I almost like the bigger grain of the M8 images more than those of the M9. I think the M9 is a half way house between the more sterile DSLR look of the M Type 240 and the grainier older M8. I think the M8 gives a filmic look closer to film photography than the M9 due to the grain size. Both cameras use the Kodak CCD sensor that I love so much. I am convinced that the ‘Leica Look’ is from the CCD sensor more so than the lenses. I realise this is a topic of great debate! Each LM lens adds a certain character to an image but the overall Leica look is found in all my Leica M8 and Leica M9 images.

I never thought I would say it but I feel like I could happily own 2 Leica M8 cameras rather than an M8 and a M9. The biggest advantage of the M9 is the full frame sensor so gives each lens a different use to when on the M8.

Here are some Leica M8 Portraits from my last few shoots –

Model Photography
M8 Fashion
Leica M8 Studio Portrait
Leica M8 B&W
Baker Street, London
Zeiss ZM Planar
Zeiss Planar 50
Leica M8 Portrait

Here is a photo taken with my M8 of me in action yesterday teaching a photography workshop in London. I gave the model a chance to get her own back and turn a camera on the photographers! I was using my Nikon FM SLR film camera shooting 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film. Katie did a great job taking this photo without any practice once I explained what to do!

Photography Workshop, London

Finally here is a flower portrait with the Leica M8. The M8 is not limited to people photography! 🙂

Leica M8 + Leica Lux ASPH 50

I will continue to share Leica M8 images on my Flickr stream (in addition to those taken with my M9, and the soon to arrive Leica M2 which I am very excited about!)

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

Related Posts / Links
Leica M8 ordered
Leica M2 film camera
Book a photography workshop

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Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s Shoot

Engagement Shoot – Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
(Part 2 – With Nikon D800)

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Following my Leica M9 engagement shoot post yesterday, here are some of the photos taken from the same shoot but with a Nikon D800 + Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s. I was interested to see if the 200f2 could offer anything extra to what my Leica lenses give me to make it worth while carrying the extra bulk and weight.

I arrangeed this shoot with Harriett and Ashley as I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of wedding photography.

Yesterday we took a trip to Kenilworth Castle. Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.

Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.

Photos shot as Nikon D800 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3. I prefer the rendering of the Leica images but the 200m f2 can produce some stunning photos that are both sharp and have a very shallow depth of field.

Gallery:

Let me know which you prefer.. the Leica M9 images or the Nikon D800 ones. I like them both but I feel the Leica has the edge for my taste.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Post

Engagement Shoot – Part 1 (Leica M9 Engagement Photography)

Leica Engagement Shoot

Leica Engagement Shoot – Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Here are some of the photos taken this morning with my Leica M9 camera. I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of Leica wedding photography.

This morning Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.

Photos were taken with the following lenses, roughly in order, Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5, Leica Summicron 90mm f2, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4

Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.

Photos shot as Leica M9 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3.

Gallery


MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Post

Engagement Shoot – Part 2 (Using Nikon D800 & Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s)

Lumix G3 + Leica Lenses!

Lumix G3 + Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4

Here is the first test shot with the new-to-me Panasonic Lumix G3.

To recap on my expectations, I currently use a Leica M9 35mm digital rangefinder and a full frame Nikon D800 DSLR (plus many film cameras of various formats). I started out my photography with a Lumix G1 and I enjoyed it especially for macro photography. Four years later and I now enjoy portrait photography, specialising in model / fashion photography and wedding photography. I wanted a small backup camera for my Leica lenses. I saw the price of a used Lumix G3 so thought would have a gamble and picked one up on eBay. Worst case I can just sell it again. The cost of the camera was less than some of the accessories for the Leica M9 so it put things in perspective.

My challenge to myself and for a bit of fun is to try my various Leica m mount lenses and some M42 lenses on the Lumix G3 and see how close I can get the results to the more expensive cameras. I only plan to use the G3 with manual lenses.

Above is the first test shot using the Lumix G3 + Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4. Said to be one of the best lenses ever made for any camera format.

The Lumix G3 is known to not be great in low light (like the Leica M9) but here is a test shot at ISO 640 handheld 1/20 at f1.4.

The Lumix G3 in camera JPEG ‘Monochrome’ setting is sepia rather than true B&W so I desaturated the photo in PS Elements 6. My copy of LR3 cannot read the Lumix RAW files so JPEGs only for now until I get an updated version.

Interestingly the wider angle lenses (Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 and 28mm f2 Ultron so far) do not focus up close on the M4/3 – Leica M adapter. I believe this is true for lenses <50mm but will check in due course. b

Here I focused as close as I could focus with the Lux 50/1.4 with the lenses reading 0.7M. I nice shallow DOF for a M4/3 camera!

Not a bad result for the little Lumix G3 at ISO 640. The true test will be at ISO 160 (the lowest ISO on the Lumix G3).

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

Related Posts

Lumix G3 Coming Soon

Kodak T-Max 100 Film

Kodak T-Max 100 (& T-Max 400) Film

I started getting into film photography during 2012 and I was using the classic black and white film, Ilford FP4+. For 2013 I tried Kodak T-Max film and liked this modern emulsion using T-grain for finer more grain free results for scanning. I used 35mm T-Max 100 in my Nikon FM and Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder and 120 Kodak T-Max 400 (& 100) in my medium format cameras. I tried different formats – 6×4.5 (Contax 645), 6×6 (ARAX-CM (Kiev 88)), 6×7 (Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II) and 6×9 (Moskva-5 folding camera).

I develop my own black and white film using Xtol and/or Rodinal and often via stand development. It is very easy and allows you to develop the film to get the look you desire. This is not possible if you send film to a lab. You do not need a dark room, just a ‘Paterson tank’.

For colour film photography I use mostly Kodak Portra 400 for medium format and Kodak Portra 160 for 35mm. (See blog link below).

Here are some shots from 2013 to show the look obtainable from Kodak T-Max film.

35mm 135 Kodak T-Max 100 Film (Voigtlander Bessa R3A)

FilmIsNotDead
Edinburgh
Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4
35mm Kodak T-Max 100

120 Kodak T-Max 100 & 400 Film
Contax 645
Contax 645 B&W Wedding Photography
Contax 645 Asian Wedding
Contax 645 Wedding Photography
Contax 645 Wedding
Bridal Photography on Film
Gina with Contax 645
The Dancer - Rodinal Stand Development
ARAX-CM (Kiev 88)
Fashion on FILM
Model Photographer - Film Photography
NT Packwood House Estate
ARAX Landscape
Film Photography
India Street Food (1)
Mamiya RZ67
All Stars with Mamiya RZ67
Nella!
Fashion on Film
Film Fashion Photography
Black & White Film Wedding Photography
Engagement Shoot Film Photography
Model Photography on Film
Evening Stroll
Sex Sells..Film
Moskva-5
Russian Moskva-5 Folding Camera
Moskva-5
Russian Moskva-5 6x9 Folding Camera

Leica M9 CCD Sensor vs. Film
The filmic look of the Leica M9 CCD sensor really threatened my continued use of using 35mm black and white film. I stopped shooting film for over 3 months once the M9 arrived. I then found time to develop some film from the Voigtlander Bessa R3A that I shot before buying the M9. The results have fully restored my faith in film. I like the imperfections and arty feel that true film photography can capture. For 2014 I look forward to using my new Leica lenses on my Bessa R3A alongside my Leica M9. I also bought Mamiya RZ 645 film back, Mamiya RZ 6×6 film back and a Mamiya RZ Polaroid film back so the future for film looks bright for 2014!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Related Posts

Rodinal Stand Development
Ilford FP4+ Film
Kodak Portra Film
Mamiya RZ Film Backs

Ilford Black & White Film

Ilford FP4+ 125 film (35mm & 120)

Here are the first samples of me using medium format 120 Ilford FP4+ black and white film. Photos were shot on my Russian 6×6 ARAX-CM camera (Kiev 88)(aka “Hasselbladski” – Hasselblad clone) and a Russian Mir 3 65mm f3.5 lens. I shot the ISO 125 film at 250.

I develop my own black and white film using a Patterson tank. Here I used Rodinal stand development, 45mins 22 degree with 1 inversion (so semi-stand developing really). I used 1:150 rodinal to tap water. Once dried negatives were scanned with a Epson v600 scanner then cleaned up and contrast enhanced in Photoshop Elements 6. I found the negatives to be a little flat (with lens contrast) so next time I will develop for less time so the shadow stay black. I will also invert more than once to make the highlights brighter (as during stand developing highlights develop first then if left longer shadow detail next. I normally use Kodak T-Max 100 and 400 film. T-Max has a finer grain structure and can look more like digital if very sharp and contrasty. Ilford FP4+ film is more grainy with nice tonality give a more filmic look i think. I like it but i think for 35mm film FP4+ developed in Rodinal may be too grainy for my portraits (however fantastic for architecture).

Here are some more 120 Ilford FP4+ samples (2013)

120 Ilford FP4+
ARAX-CM
Ilford Film
6x6 Medium Format Film

As a comparison to the last photo shown, here is the same photo with the Leica M9 in colour. I have to say on this occasion for me the 35mm digital vs. medium format film battle is won by the 35mm digital.
Leica M9 Colours vs Kodak Portra Film

Here are a few old photos from when I shot my very first roll of black and white film on my late Grandfathers 35mm Yashica MG-1. it was also the first roll of film I developed – December 2012. I was both amazed and overjoyed when this seemingly old fashioned process of developing black and white film at home actually worked! 🙂 Even now they are some of my favourite film shots. They look like film and have a great retro feel, rather than all the later 35mm Kodak T-Max shots that looked more modern.

Yashica goes B&W

35mm Ilford FP4+ samples – home developed in Xtol (2012)
Ellie with Yashica MG-1
Ellie
Jodi with Yashica MG-1
Katie with Yashica, London

35mm Ilford FP4+ samples – developed by Ilford lab (2010)
Yashica  MG-1 B&W #2
Yashica MG-1 B&W #4
Yashica MG1 & Ilford FP4+
Yashica MG-1 B&W #5
Yashica  MG-1 B&W #1

Film vs. Digital Leica M9
I think when film can offer me something extra or different to digital then I get excited. During 2013 I shot almost all Kodak T-Max film. I then bought a digital 35mm Leica M9 rangefinder camera. The results from the M9 look filmic due to the Kodak CCD sensor. As a result my use of film temporarily stopped. Ilford FP4+ film gives a look that is more grainy that the images from the digital Leica and with a much greater dynamic range.

Voigtlander Bessa R3A
As I still have a Voigtlander Bessa R3A 35mm rangefinder film camera that uses my amazing Leica M mount lenses I am now excited at the prospect of shooting some 35mm Ilford FP4+ film. I have a roll of 35mm Kodak T-Max 100 in the camera at the moment and but I will definitely order some 35mm FP4+ film to try next. I also want to try some ADOS film as I have a soft spot for high contrast black and white images.

Black and White Film Developing
Tonight I have just developed a roll of 35mm T-Max 100 that was shot on the Voigtlander Bessa R3A at ISO 400 at the start of the summer (before the Leica M9 arrived). Most of the photos were shot at the end of the day in low light conditions using the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 at f1.4. Taking this into consideration, I decided to use Rodinal stand development 1:150 ratio again for 45mins but this time with 3 inversions during the stand. The plan was to push the highlights (so brighter) and underexpose the shadows (to give black blacks) to give some punchy high contrast negatives. The negatives are currently drip drying over the bath but I think at first glance I will have contrasty negatives that may be a little dark (perhaps) but I can brighten the highlights when I scan tomorrow if I need to. I did the shoot while in Edinburgh on a work trip with local model Emma and that combination usually produces some very rewarding images. New Kodak T-Max images coming soon!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Related Posts

Yashica MG-1 (Contains the same example images)
Voigtlander Bessa R3A
ARAX-CM
Rodinal Stand Development

Gallery – Ukrainian Girls

Sharing my Flickr Set – Ukrainian Girls

Leica M9 + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4 PortraitLeica M9 + Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2Leica 3in1Leica M9 6x6High Key Leica PortraitLeica M9 & VC Nokton 40/1.4
Light & ShadowsBad Hair Day!Leica M9 Film LookLeica M9 Model PhotographyLeica CreativityLeica M9 - Ukraine models
Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2Leica M9 Fashion PhotographyLeica M9 B&W PortraitLeica M9 FashionLeica M9 RenderingLeica B&W Portrait
Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 T PortraitLeica M9 UkraineLeica B&WB&W Portrait - Leica M9Stepping back in timeHide & Seek

Ukrainian Girls, a set on Flickr.

Here is a collection of Ukranian model photos I shot in Ukraine over the last 3 years together with a few Soviet car shots. 99% of the photos were taken in the city of Uzhgorod close to the Hungarian border.  Photos include a selection of film photography and digital photography images.

Gear used –

Camera Bodies include:

Leica M9
ARAX-CM 6×6 (Kiev 88)(medium format film)
Nikon D800
Nikon D700
Nikon D90

Lenses used include:

Voigtlander Classic Nokton 40mm f1.4
Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2
Zeiss ZM Planar 50m f2 T
Samyang 85mm f1.4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4D
Lensbaby Edge 80
Mir 65mm f3.5

Models include:

Yulya
Olga
Yulia
Galyna
Alena
Katya
Julia
Mira

Without a doubt one of my favouite places I have visited for my model photography.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk