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.

Packing!

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)

Conclusion

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

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Nikon F4

Nikon F4

May 2015

Nikon F4!

Today I purchased a used Nikon F4 SLR 35mm film camera which was first released back in 1988 when I was only 10yr!  I already own an older Nikon FM SLR film camera and have experience with digital Nikon cameras before moving to Leicas.  I have owned a Nikon D90, Nikon D700 and still own and sometimes use my Nikon D800.  My Leica M9 is my main workhorse camera now and has been for a while but the Nikon D800 is still a very capable camera.

I have a range of Nikon mount lenses, including Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s, 24f2.8D, 50f1.4D, 85f1.4D, 135f2.8, 35-70AF and the mighty Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-S. I also have Samyang lenses in Nikon mount including the amazing Samyang 85mm f1.4 and some M42 Zeiss lenses which I love to use via an adapter, Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.8 and Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8.

As I now enjoy mostly film photography for personal work and thought it would be nice to get another Nikon SLR film body to make use of these lenses.  I looked at a range of options including Nikon F2, Nikon F5 and Nikon F100 but I settled on a Nikon F4.  I wanted to try a 35mm film camera with autofocus so that ruled out the older F2.  I like the idea of potentially buying a waist level finder so originally I had planned to get an F2 but then more recently I thought that if I start doing film only weddings a camera with autofocus might be nice for moving subjects.  I then looked at the F100 and F5 but they both looked quite big and heavy.  I preferred the Nikon F4 to the Nikon F4s or Nikon F4e as it is smaller without the extra battery grip.

I plan to use the Nikon F4 to compliment my Leica cameras.  If I do a quick comparison with my current favourite camera the Leica M3 you can see some of the ‘advantages’ of the more modern Nikon F4 film camera body.

Here are a few points that are important to me rather than a complete list:

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3

  • Flash sync speed:
  • Nikon F4 = 1/250, The F4 will be amazing for my strobist work!
  • Leica M3 = 1/50, not ideal for strobist work so I often use Bessa R3a (sync 1/125)
  • Maximum shutter speed:
  • Nikon F4 1/8000, removes need for ND filters
  • Leica M3  = 1/1000, M3 requires ND filters on fast lenses in bright sunlight
  • Autofocus option?:
  • Nikon F4 = Yes, AF useful for moving subjects/ action.
  • Leica M3  = No, can pre-focus focus or retain a set hyperfocal distance
  • Long lenses:
  • Nikon F4 = SLR works great with any lens, wide to telephoto like my 200mmf2
  • Leica M3  = 50mm rangefinder. External finder for 50mm harder to focus
  • Batteries:
  • Nikon F4 = Requires 4x AA batteries. Adds weight. Can add battery grip to take 8x AA
  • Leica M3  = No battery needed. I do prefer cameras without batteries.
  • Light Meter:
  • Nikon F4 = Yes, Matrix, Centre-Weighted or Spot meter options
  • Leica M3  = No light meter.  Use external hand held light meter
  • Film advance:
  • Nikon F4 = Auto film advance. No manual film advance lever. Can work more quickly
  • Leica M3  = Manual film advance lever (Single stroke or Double stroke models)
  • Film rewind:
  • Nikon F4 = Auto film rewind. Great in a time pressure environment like a wedding
  • Leica M3  = Manual film rewind.  Not ideal if needs to change film quickly

As you can see if you list the two cameras side by side the Nikon F4 should really compliment my two Leica M3s.  I look forward to reporting back soon once it arrives and I get chance to use it.

Matt

Useful Nikon F4 Links

  • An excellent YouTube Video of the Nikon F4 –
  • Ken Rockwell’s views on the Nikon F4 with more camera details –

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/f4.htm

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.

elmar

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.

cron

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 😉

www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.ukLeica Wedding Photographer

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Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5

Mamiya RZ67 Model Photography

Medium format film photography model shoot with Nella and my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. For this shot I used the Mamiya Sekor 65mm f4 WA lens which is super sharp. No sharpening needed in PP.

Photo is a Epson V600 scan of the Kodak TMax 400 negative home developed in a brew of 3:1 Xtol and Rodinal at 20 degrees standing for 23 minutes without agitation.

Mamiya-Mamiya-RZ-67-Pro-II

The medium format Mamiya RZ67 film camera is currently my go to camera for any key shots whether wedding photography or model photography. My Nikon D800 gets the rest and light meters for the Mamiya.

Here more examples with Nella:
Film Fashion Photography
Mamiya RZ67 Fashion Photography

Some shots taken with Agnieszka:
Mamiya RZ67 Kodak Tmax Portrait
Mamiya RZ67 Fashion
Kodak T-Max 100 film
Model Photography on Film
Mamiya RZ67 Pro II
Sex Sells..Film
Evening Stroll
Film is NOT Dead! :)

I will add more to the blog as I edit the scanned negatives.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk