Sinar F2 Large Format

Sinar F2 – Large Format Camera 4×5

Matthew Osborne Photography

After my purchase of my first large format camera, a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic, I now have a better understanding of perspective control and parallel lines.  The Speed Graphic lets me adjust the vertical tilt and rise on the front standard to a small degree.  I want to be able to control horizontal tilt or “swing” on the front standard as well but also be able to tilt, raise and swing the rear standard.  The Speed Graphic movements perhaps give me 10-20% control vs none when using a fixed camera lens such as a Leica rangefinder camera.  I used to use a Lensbaby Edge 80 lens on my digital Nikon D800 and Nikon FM film camera to create tilt shift effects.  My Rolleiflex SL66E also has a tilt option but for all of the cameras mentioned so far the amount of control I have is limited.

The Sinar F2 is a Swiss made 4×5 large format camera. SINAR stands for “Still, Industrial, Nature, Architectural, Reproduction photography and the cameras were popular for advertising, architecture and product photography due to their high resolution and high degree of perspective control.  The Sinar F2 is an ‘improved’ version of the Sinar F1.  Originally I was going to buy a cheaper Sinar F but my reading suggested I should pay a bit more and get an F2 so I did.

Sinar F2

sinar f2csinar f2b

My Schneider Symmar-S 180mm f4.5 lens is already on a Sinar F lens board so I bought a camera without a lens.  To get the maximum benefit from perspective control I also bought a 90mm f4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon lens with a Copal 1 shutter for a wide angle lens option.

90mm f4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon


Sample images using the Sinar F2 to come in 2015.

*The Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm f2.5 lens has been modified to fit the Speed Graphic so I will keep that as one setup then use the Symmar-S 180mm and Rodenstock 90mm on the Sinar F2.  Exciting times ahead!

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My Leica Bike!

My Leica Bike (aka “Cinelli Bootleg Mystic Rats 2014“)

Leica Bike!

When I am not taking photos there is a good chance I am eating, sleeping or cycling!  After having my Leica M9 almost a year now I think it has given me a taste for simplicity and quality.  As with my photography where I came from a Nikon DSLR to Leica I have now also simplified my cycling moving from my custom made 20 gear road bike and 27 gear hybrid bike to a single speed Cinelli.

The Cinelli Bootleg Mystic Rats is an Italian born single speed (fixed gear + freewheel) road bike.  The matt black paint is said to originate from Italy where riders covered their bikes in black tape to disguise the value of the bike underneath.  Weighing in at 8.1kg off the shelf it has great potential to become a lightweight racer once I change the wheels, tyres, saddle, pedals for lighter alternatives (in time).  I ride most days and it has been an absolute pleasure racing to the office this week.  Yes I have to work harder with only one gear to get up hills but I try to describe it like a car with only a 2nd gear.  It is slow initially to pull away from the lights but once up to speed you only really have 2 speed options, fast and faster regardless of terrain.  If you go below that speed you would have to get off and push if cannot rotate the pedals.  Having no gears to clatter and click the Mystic glides silently over rough road surfaces and cuts between the traffic with easy with the narrow yet beautifully crafted Cinelli Lola bars.

With the no frills design and matt black paint the Cinelli Mystic reminds me a lot of my Leica M9.

Attached are a few shots of the bike taken with the Leica M9 + new Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens (Cron 75f2 lens review to follow).  All photos taken at f2, 1/30 or 1/60, ISO 160 as in camera B&W JPEGs.


Full bike spec here –


Contax 645 – For Sale!

Contax 645 Bundle – For SALE!!

As I have now accumulated quite a few film cameras I thought I better sell a few.

For sale:

Contax 645 bundle £1800 + Shipping (from UK)

What is included?:

> Contax 645 body + film back
> Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 T* lens
(both near mint but without boxes)
> 1 additional new 645 film back in box
> 1 additional polaroid film back + 1 part used film + 1 new & refrigerated Fuji FP-100c
> 2 part used duracell batteries
> 1 roll of 120 film

The camera is ready to use on arrival!

The Carl Zeiss 80mm f2 Planar lens is probably one of the sharpest lenses I have ever owned. Due to the larger medium format camera 6×4.5 sensor 80mm f2 is the same as 46mm f1.2 on a 35mm (full frame) sensor so gives an amazing shallow DOF and perfect for portraits.

The Contax 645 is a very modern and automated camera in film camera terms. It has both autofocus and auto exposure modes and the film also advances automatically.

I would describe it as using a very well made DSLR. If you have a DSLR already you would find the transition very easy.

The polaroid back is great for a test shot to check exposure before shooting rolls of traditional film to give you peace of mind.

I used the Contax mostly for model / fashion photography & portraiture plus wedding photography after being inspired by amazing wedding photographers using Contax 645 – Jonathan Canlas & Jose Villa. Seriously talented guys!

Here is a wedding sample (Paul & Debs vintage wedding, Gloucester)

Contax 645 Wedding :)

For more sample photos see my Contax 645 Gallery

Other items for sale include:

> Nikkor 85mm f1.4 D (near mint), without box, with metal Nikon Hood (in box), with both caps – £550 + Shipping
> Kiev 88 6×6 Medium format film camera (still not been bought even after quite a bit of interest) – £240 + Shipping
> Pentacon Six TL – £150 + Shipping
> Jupiter 3 50mm f1.5 (Sonnar clone) – £135 + Shipping
> Rode Pro / Rode VideoPro Mic + Furry Wind Jammer (New, boxed) – £110 + Shipping

Please contact me for more details on any of the above, thanks

Leica Lenses Are Coming!

Leica Lenses

Leica Lenses Are Coming!

After buying my Leica M9 roughly 3 months ago I have so far used all non-Leica lenses for my portraiture, model / fashion photography and Leica wedding photography. I have also learnt a great deal from reading about the various lenses available for the Leica M mount. I started by buying Voigtlander lenses and then some Zeiss lenses also. My current line up is:

Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar
Voigtlander 21mm f4 Color Skopar
Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 Nokton ASPH ii
Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Nokton Classic
Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2
Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5

I avoided Leica glass initially as it is well known that lens prices start at over £1k. But, when reviewing the cost of my non-Leica lenses I noticed I am getting close to or exceeding that bench mark already. So, I then started to review Leica lenses. Many Leica lenses have had the same basic design for years and different versions have been released with updates over time. As a generalisation, the older lenses still have the amazing Leica glass and build quality but without the latest modern lens coatings. The end result of which is the older lenses give a lower contrast apparent less sharp look verses the latest lens releases. The more I read the more I wanted to join in with the Leica shooters using Leica glass. What surprised me the most is how cheap some of the older Leica lenses can be bought for second hand. Better still, Leica lenses are known to hold their value so any purchases I did make would be as much an investment as something to get enjoyment from.

As a result of all that reading I got myself on eBay this week to see if there were any potential bargains to be found. My first purchase was a very cheap 1960s Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens. Ken Rockwell for any readers that know him, absolutely raves about this lens so after seeing some example photos using the Elmar 135/4 I purchased one.


I then spent many many hours looking at 50mm lenses. As you may have read in one of my recent posts I just bought the Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5. (I will post an update with more Sonnar example photos soon). Although it is a great lens with lots of character it is not practical to use the Sonnar on my M9 for Leica weddings. My copy of the Sonnar is optimised at f1.5 so it is sharp shot wide open but if I stop down to say f2-5.6 (perhaps to shoot in very bright light) it will not focus accurately due to the well known Sonnar focus shift. Using the ZM Sonnar for weddings when using a single Leica body (plus Nikon D800 as backup) would be crazy so I looked at Leica 50mm lenses. The latest Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 is said to be one of the sharpest 50mm lenses but when I reviewed many many sample photos I was not really ‘feeling’ it.

(What makes me laugh/ confused is Leica cameras and lenses are known to be some of the best in the world yet if you ever spent 10 minutes reviewing some Leica camera photos, say on Flickr, I would say at least half are out of focus or very soft. It’s crazy! I know a photo does not need to be sharp to be good but it still amazes me at the masses of ‘low’ quality photos posted by Leica camera owners)(IMO)(By this I am only talking about photos that are not it focus. Nothing to do with composition, subject, colour or any other photo characteristic).

So, the well regarded ‘Lux’ currently doesn’t seem to impress me so I continued my research. That brought me to the Leica ‘Cron’ or Summicron. A small, compact 50mm f2 lens with sharpness at f2 said to be the same as the ‘Lux’ at f2. Ken Rockwell has done a great review comparing the 5 pre-APO Summicron variants. Thanks Ken! I liked the results of the Summicron version 3 looking at examples but then spotted a low price auction for the latest pre-APO Summicron with the built in hood. I placed a last minute bid and I am now the proud owner of my first modern Leica lens – Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (made in 2003). There are lots of opinions on the internet but many people regard the Cron as their favourite 50mm lens due to the sharpness, small size and smooth focusing ring.


You may note that I already own a Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 and in comparison reviews the results of the Planar vs. Summicron are almost impossible to tell apart. My ZM Planar is crazy sharp wide open (almost too harsh for some female portraits) and I am expecting the Cron to be slightly less sharp and less contrasty. I can then decide my favourite lens and whether or not to keep both or sell one.

Here is one of my favouite ZM Planar photos. Shot in Ukraine with model Yuliya

Leica M9 6x6

So, after 3 months of non-Leica lens photos the Leica lenses are coming! Examples using the Leica Elmar 135mm f4 and Leica Summicron 50mm f2 to follow.

If you think Leica lenses are too expenses have a look on eBay.. you might get a nice surprise 😉 Wedding Photographer

Related Post

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5

Gallery – Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s

Sadie SOOC with ...Nikkor 200mm f2 AIS!! :)Sadie SOOC - 200/f2 AISManny on his Wedding DayRaj & Manny's Wedding DayKatie with Nikkor 200/f2 AISKatie with Nikkor 200/f2 AIS
Sadie with Nikkor 200/f2 AISOne from Today's Wedding..200/f2 AIS on Wedding DayStacey SOOC, 200/f2 AISSikh Wedding with 200/f2 AISStacey with AIS 200/f2
Dan with Nikkor 200/f2 AISNikkor 200/2 AISKatie SOOCSadie with Nikkor 200/f2 AISKatie SOOC with Nikkor AIS 200/f2Katie SOOC today with Nikkor 200/f2 AIS
Katie SOOC with Nikkor 200/f2 AISSadie SOOC with 200/f2 AISKatie SOOC with 200/f2 AISHarriett with Nikkor 200/f2 AISLuna with Nikkor 200/f2 @f2Luna with 200 f2 AIS Nikkor

Nikon D800 + Nikkor 200/f2 AIS, a set on Flickr.

Photos with the mighty Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s. Photos using Nikon D800 and Nikon FM 35mm film camera.

Includes Model Photography & Wedding Photography / Digital Photography & 35mm Film Photography