Amateur Photographer Magazine – Vintage Legacy

Amateur Photographer Magazine – Vintage Legacy – 23 April 2016

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

May 2016

Katie with CZ Pancolar 80/1.8

Amateur Photographer Magazine

Vintage lenses on modern cameras

I wrote a six page article for the UK Amateur Photographer Magazine (23 April 2016 issue) on using old “legacy” lenses on modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras.  (*This does not include rangefinder cameras without Live View such as the Leica M8 and Leica M9).

Rather than repeat myself I have linked the full article below.

Harriett with Pancolar 80/1.8 SOOC

The images used for the article are quite old as they date back to my pre-Leica days when I was using a Nikon D800 DSLR, 2012-2013 mostly I think.

Here is a more recent photo using the same equipment with Stacey

Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 80mm f1.8


The article also describes a photography technique which was my norm before I moved to Leica cameras and that was “Freelensing”.  I have written an article on this in the past so I have linked it below for perhaps better image examples.

Hasselblad Lens Freelensing

Old habits die hard

Shortly after the article was published I was explaining to model Elle how freelensing works.  As a result here is freelensing image from a few weeks ago before I went to Poland.


Freelensing on film

Finally, here are a few freelensing photos closer to my heart.  They are all shot on film cameras with model Tegan.  (My apologies for the grain!  It was expired film).

Expired 120 Ilford Delta 400

Vega 28 + Mamiya 645 Super

Ilford Delta 400 Film


Magazine Article – Full

Amateur Photographer Magazine – Vintage Legacy – 23 April 2016

Related Posts

Amateur Photographer Magazine 2014 – Freelensing


Poland Model Photography – June 2015

Poland Model Photography – June 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

Mr Leica Agency Shoot Poland

The Trip

I am just back from another 4 days shooting in Sopot, Poland.  I stayed in my favourite hotel on Sopot beach, Hotel Bursztyn, and teamed up with Malva Model agency girls again and also with models from 2 other model agencies.  Some new faces and a few you may recognise.  Some of the regulars were away shooting in Asia / elsewhere in Europe so I hope to catch them next time if they are home.


As usual, the hardest part of the trip is packing beforehand trying to decide what cameras / lenses to take.  Right until the last minute the plan was to take my usual Leica M9, a Leica M3 and then take the Nikon F4 SLR to try.  I was then stuck with what Nikon mount lens(es) to take for the Nikon F4 as I needed a 50mm (do everything lens) but also wanted to take my new Tokina 100mm f2.8 lens.  I then started to consider taking the Nikon D800 instead of the Leica M9 as kind of a test to myself.  Can I like the photos from the Nikon D800 CMOS sensor again?  It has been over 18 months since I moved to from shooting with the Nikon D800 to the Leica M9 so perhaps it was time to give it another try.  The D800 made sense on multiple levels.  36mp high resolution images for the models and agencies to emjoy.  D800 longer battery life vs the Leica M9 for full days of shooting. D800 autofocus lens option if I want it for moving subjects and the biggest advantage, I could take one set of lenses for 2 camera bodies. After weighing my bag with various combinations the final camera bag consisted of:

Camera gear for June 2015 trip (2 cameras, 4 lenses)

  • Nikon D800 DSLR (digital camera)
  • Nikon F4 SLR (35mm film camera)
  • Nikkor 50mm f1.8 E series MF lens (pancake lens)
  • Nikkor 24mm f2.8 D AF lens (for some interior photos)(less so for models)
  • Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 M42 MF lens (+ tiny M42 – Nikon adapter)
  • Tokina 100mm f2.8 AF Macro lens (for portraits and macros)
  • 5 in 1 reflector
  • 35mm film (Kodak T-Max 100, T-Max 400, Fuji Acros 100, Kentmere 100, Portra 400)

Nikon F4 + New Batteries :)

To recap this is what I took on my last trip to Poland (similar space and weight):

January 2015 Poland Trip camera gear (4 cameras, 4 lenses)

  • Leica M9 (digital camera)
  • Leica M3 film camera (with 50mm framelines)
  • Leica M2 film camera (with 35mm framelines)
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens (for M3)
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens (for M2)
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens (for M9)
  • Mamiya 645 Super + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens (medium format film camera)


Was I pleased with my camera and lens choice?

I think yes.  I still find it easier to focus a rangefinder cameras vs a SLR/DSLR but after reviewing some of the resulting photos I am extremely pleased with the detailed captured in the Nikon D800 NEF RAW files.  A broad dynamic range and lots of detail / sharpness.  Perfect for fashion photography and to my eyes more similar to the smooth Leica S2 camera images than the Leica M9 photos.  The Leica M9 images to me are more like classic 35mm film grain such as Kodak Tri-X whereas the Leica S2 and Nikon D800 is more like medium format 120 Fuji Acros 100 film (slightly extreme examples but to help visualise) for example with a broad range of grey tones.  Neither style is bad and both have their uses.  In the past I loved the narrow dynamic range of the contrasty Leica M9 black and white JPEG files yet at the moment I am really enjoying the broad dynamic range of film and the Nikon D800 RAW files.

I was pleased with both the Nikon D800 and handling of the Nikon F4 (film not yet developed).  Could I take the same images with a Leica M3 vs the Nikon F4 with the same film loaded and a 50mm lens?  Yes I think so.  The Leica M3 is smaller and lighter and I can operate it in my sleep.  The Nikon F4 was good if I wanted to use the autofocus Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro lens or the wider 24mm Nikkor but for the majority of the photoshoots I could have probably got away with just a 50mm lens.  Next time I might take a Nikkor 50mm AF lens for speed or perhaps the Nikkor 60mm f2.8D Micro lens instead of the 100mm Tokina Macro.  Both lenses are very sharp.

Could I take the same images (camera operating speaking) with the Leica M9 vs the Nikon D800?  Again I think yes but just with smaller files produced from the M9 and from 0.7m-1m away for Leica-M lenses vs up much closer with with Nikon D800.

Time to Think..

During the trip I had time to think more about Leica-M lenses vs lenses for Nikon cameras and also the limited useable max ISO of the Leica M9 vs the Nikon D800 ISO.  I will put a post together when I get chance.

For now here is the first digital sample images from the trip:

Fallen Angel

Nikon D800 Fashion Photography

Fun Between Poses

Model – Weronika @ Malva Models

Nikon D800 + Tokina 100mm f2.8 AF Macro / Nikkor 50mm f1.8 E Series

Related Posts

Featured: MOTW – Galyna

Featured Model of the Week (“MOTW”) : Galyna

Matthew Osborne Photography – Model Photographer
This is a new feature to share some of my favourite model photography/ fashion and beauty images from a selection of the best models I have had the pleasure of working with over the last few years, both here in the UK and overseas.  Photos have been captured with various camera equipment and you can see the details by clicking on the images.
Model – Galyna
Location – Uzhgorod, Ukraine

I met Galyna when working out in Ukraine in 2011.  She was a friend of a girl I met in the office and the two of them came to my hotel for some photos.  Galyna doesn’t model in Ukraine and works at the University.  That said, she enjoys having her photo taken so every time I was in town we would hook up for photos.  Over the time of knowing her I shot with a Nikon D700, Nikon D800 and on my last trip a Leica M9.  I think my favourite images were those taken with the Nikon D800 and the amazing Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens.  Some of the photos were made with the Lensbaby Edge 80 tilt lens.  I’m sure you can spot them!

I hope to meet up with Galyna again soon and visit Ukraine next year.  I love Ukraine.  It reminds me of the UK in the 1980s bringing back memories from my childhood.  I love the old cars and the famous Lada!  My first car was a Lada Niva Cossack 4×4 which I had for 6 years.  Amazing car full of character!  I would have one again tomorrow if I could afford a ‘Sunday’ car!  I like the old buildings in Ukraine and the general less developed feel to parts of the country.  It make for an amazing backdrop for photos.  A high percentage of Ukrainian girls could probably model here in the UK as they have the tall slim genes like Galyna.  That and the fact that Ukrainian women dress to impress, whether for work or a night out.  The clothes some girls wore in the office looked similar to what we would see in a nightclub in the UK!  Quite a distraction!  I was amazed there were not more car crashes!!

Here are a few photos from my trips, 2011-2013.

2012 REPOST: Nikon D800 + Samyang 85mm f1.4 Fashion
Galyna with Edge 80
Galyna with Edge 80
Lensbaby Edge 80
Window Light
Galyna SOOC
Leica M9 & VC Nokton 40/1.4
Galyna, Ukraine
Galyna, Uzhgord. Ukraine
Galyna, Ukraine, 1/10 handheld
High Key Portrait
Leica M9 + VC Nokton 40mm f1.4 Portrait
Natural Beauty - Galyna
Galyna SOOC, ISO 2500

I hope you liked them!

Look out for my “MOTW” blog posts for more model photography photos going forward!

Non-Leica: DSLR Pop-Up Flash

Non-Leica: DSLR Pop-Up Flash –

Controlling the power of a pop-up flash manually and getting creative with it

Matthew Osborne Photography

1-2-1 Photography Workshop

On Sunday I was providing a photographer with 1-2-1 photography tuition from my Coventry studio.  The portrait photography workshop had a strong emphasis on lighting, using available light, on camera speedlights, off camera speedlights and also using the built in pop-up flash on the camera.  Not all photographers own a speedlight so many people are limited to the pop-up flash on the top of the camera (assuming their camera model has this feature.  My Leica M cameras do not have a built in flash however the Nikon D800 does).  The photographer I was teaching, Deji, did not have a speedlight so I wanted to show how to control the power of the camera pop-up flash manually.  When I teach I often describe a scenario to get students thinking in a practical sense as to how to solve the problem.

Scenario – Pop-up flash too bright

Local model Gina was modelling for me. The situation was that the pop-up flash was too bright on Gina’s face.  The camera settings were ISO 100 (lowest on the camera), shutter speed 200 and an aperture of f2.8 to obtain a shallow depth of field. We are using a prime lens and want to retain the composition so cannot step back from the subject.  We want the image straight from the camera so want to avoid cropping in post processing.  We only have this lens and we do not have a ND filter or polarising filter.

How do we reduce the pop-up flash power?

If you want the pop-up flash to be 1/3 power output then cover 2/3 of the pop up flash with you finger, half power, cover half of the flash and so on.  It sounds simple but it works.  I rarely use pop-up flash but if I was in the same situation with say my Nikon D800 freelancing for a wedding (where I am often asked to use the Nikon) and my speedlight batteries failed and my replacement batteries happened to be in the car 5 minutes walk away then this is how I do it.

Taking it one step further

If you want the pop-up flash light to illuminate the top half of the photo you need to cover the bottom half of the camera pop-up flash.  For example a model’s face.  If you were taking a photo of a flower with the subject in the lower half of the frame then you would cover the top of the flash to light the bottom half of the image.

DSLR Pop-Up Flash Portrait

Getting Creative – What else can you do with a pop-up flash?

Diffused Light

Hold a piece of tissue paper between the subject and the pop-up flash.  The further the tissue from the camera the more diffused the light.  Here is an example from Poland a few years ago when my speedlight was damaged in my bag so all I had was the pop-up flash for an entire weekend of model photography. Model – Agnieszka.

Ambient light & pop-up flash

Life is Tough..                        Handheld @ 1/10

There are lots of ways to make a diffuser for a pop-up flash.  An empty 35mm film white plastic pot used to be an easy DIY fix.  Nowadays eBay is full of cheap light modifiers so you can pick one up there for very little money.

Bounced light

In a low light situation you can bounce the pop-up flash onto a white or silver card held in front of the flash and angled at a wall or ceiling to create in direct lighting.  You can even just bounce it off your hand but you need to remember that bounced light will take the colour of the surface it is being bounced off.

Gelled flash

You can use a sweet wrapped or speedlight flash gel to colour the light output of your pop-up flash.  Why would you do this?  For example if you are shooting in a hotel that has tungsten lights (orange colour) you may want to match the colour of the flash to the room light.  By gelling the flash you can do this and then either leave the photo the same colour or adjust your camera white balance to the desired setting, such as “indoor”, “tungsten” or manually setting the camera white balance.

Photography workshops and tuition

I teach group photography workshops in London and 1-2-1 photography tuition from my studio in Coventry on out on location.  I specialise in portraiture, lighting and how to operate a Leica M camera.  If you think you could benefit from one of my photography courses then feel free to get in touch – Photography Workshops

Sample images from the Coventry workshop using one off camera speedlight to give different effects

Nikkor 200mm f2 Ai-s

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 Portrait

Leica Summicron 90mm f2

Leica M9 Fashion

Wedding Photography: Leica Rangefinder vs DSLR Autofocus

Wedding Photography: Leica Rangefinder vs DSLR Autofocus

Wedding Photography: Leica Rangefinder vs DSLR Autofocus

DSLR vs Rangefinder Cameras – Focusing
Although I now shoot mostly with Leica cameras I taught myself most of my photography with Nikon DSLR cameras (D90 > D700 > D800). When I first moved over to Leica at the end of last summer the Leica rangefinder focus patch was alien to me and quite daunting. I suddenly missed the through the lens DSLR/SLR focusing that many of my digital cameras and film cameras have.

Leica Cameras for Wedding Photography (vs. a DSLR camera)

Before I bought a Leica I could not imagine using a Leica camera for fast paced wedding photography as I would expect I would miss too many shots. I often used manual focus lenses on my Nikon D800 for model photography such as the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s and 200 f2 AI-s. For wedding photos however I thought I would be safer with Nikon autofocus lenses so own lenses such as the Nikkor 24mm f2.8D, Nikkor 35mm f1.4 G, Nikkor 50 f1.4G and Nikkor 85mm f1.4D. These lenses were only dusted off to use for weddings as I preferred the manual lenses for my personal work. Once I realised the Leica cameras were easy to use I started using my Leica M9 for wedding photography. I haven’t looked back and now use the Leica cameras for 98% of all my photography. The high megapixel Nikon D800 camera (36MP) can still be useful in the studio for fashion photography on a white screen.

So what has changed?

I have started to do more and more freelance wedding photography working with other photographers who are using DSLR cameras. (The most popular camera I see being used for weddings is the Canon 5D Mark III. The high ISO is good but I don’t like Canon so would get a Nikon D4 if needed higher ISO). As the wedding clients will receive photos from both me and the other DSLR photographer(s) I am often asked to use my Nikon D800 for their wedding gigs rather than my Leica. This of course makes sense so I agreed for the recent weddings. On the actual wedding days I often think in the back of my mind “I could do this better with Leica glass” but I didn’t really ever consider missing shots. After reviewing photos taken with Nikkor autofocus lenses I noticed I had misfocused on perhaps 1 in 20 photos and lost some great images. To make it worse this was with me shooting with lenses stopped down to the likes of f4-f8 to keep clients happy. To misfocus at f8 is impressively bad and not forgivable.

Leica Noctilux Wedding
To put it in context further, the weekend before last I shot one of my own wedding bookings in Coventry and Warwickshire with my Leica M9 camera and the manual focus (all Leica M photos are manual focus) Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. I shot the entire wedding at f1 (excluding the group photos) and I don’t think I misfocused a single image. I know that if I line up the Leica rangefinder patch I have got my shot. I had hoped the same using DSLR autofocus but I was let down by the camera/ lens combo.

So how can I produce CMOS sensor looking images at a higher ISO (potentially) for freelance weddings?
I would ‘need’ to buy a Leica M 240 with the CMOS sensor (rather than the M9 Kodak CCD sensor). The Leica M (as it is also known) would let me mount my high quality Leica M mount glass from the likes of Zeiss, Leica and Voigtlander yet give me modern looking CMOS images that will blend better to a second photographers photos who is using a DSLR and at ISO higher than 800. I feel some of my autofocus Nikon glass is often substandard vs. the leading Leica and Zeiss glass I use on the Leica. The older Nikkor glass is to me the best and my favourite of my Nikon gear (50f1.2 and 200f2 AI-s).

Do I ‘need’ a Leica M 240?
For personal work, no, not at all as I think the B&W images from the Leica M9 are as good as it gets, especially the M9 B&W JPEGs.
Would a Leica Type 240 benefit my wedding photography? Yes, without doubt as most clients are looking for colour wedding photos rather than black and white images.

Could I use my Nikon D800 and trusty manual focus lenses instead?
Yes this would overcome the autofocus issue, the CMOS look issue, the high ISO issue and save me lots of money. However, despite all that I still think I can nail focus easier with a rangefinder focus patch at any distance greater than say 1 meter. Up close focusing is easy with any camera, even at f1. The blog post header image is shot with a paper thin focus using a Leica M9 + Leica Summicron 90mm f2 lens at f2.

You may comment well almost all sane wedding photographers use a DLSR camera and they do not complain?
Well I guess I didn’t complain before I got a Leica camera either. Once you get a taste of something better it is hard to lower your standards, whether image quality or simply missing easy images.

A Leica M 240 might be my next purchase going forward..

Did I learn anything from revisiting my Nikon DSLR for wedding photography?
Yes. Despite sounding like I am 100% bias to everything Leica I remembered just how good the 200mm f2 Nikkor lens is. Leica is nice and all but sometimes you need a longer focal length. The 200/2 produces super sharp images at f2 from afar with a subject background bokeh that just melts away. The large size of the lens doesn’t really fit with the minimal look of my Leica setup however it should not be ruled out especially in larger wedding venues or churches where the 90mm f2 lens focal length is not long enough. Lens of the day without doubt for the Nikon freelance weddings was the Nikkor 200f2.

Samyang 24mm f1.4 on D800

Samyang 24mm f1.4 lens

Here are some Fashion Photography / Model Photography example photos using the less known, less raved about, less sharp Samyang 24mm f1.4 lens using my Nikon D800 DSLR in my Coventry UK, studio.


Compared to it’s big brother, the Samyang 85mm f1.4 super sharp manual focus lens, and it’s equally capable siblings, the Samyang 35mm f1.4 and Samyang 14mm f2.8, the 24mm does struggle to compete in terms of sharpness shot wide open. Stopped down a little however, it can produce some very sharp, very rewarding images with a useful focal length for tighter spaces.

I have found it useful for wedding photography when there is not much space and for getting close to your subject as shown in the example below to create a nice shallow DOF.

Here is another example, this time shot at f1.4 using available light

Model Photography

Example with model Georgie

Samyang 24/1.4

Model – Charlotte

Light & Shadows

Rekated Posts:

Samyang 85mm f1.4 Stopped Down