Tag Archives: girls on film

Girls on Film (x70!)

Female 35mm Film Portraits, By Camera

Female portraits shot on B&W film using various 35mm cameras. Enjoy!

*Click any photo to view full res + see the camera/ lens/ film/ developing

Comment below – Which camera made the best photos!?

Leica iii Cameras (Rangefinder)

Leica Summitar 5cm f2 Portrait
Leica iif + Heliar 50mm f3.5
Leica Summitar Bokeh
Leica iif + Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM
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Leica iiig Portrait
Leica iif Portrait
Leica iif Problems - As seen on YouTube

Leica M Cameras (Rangefinder)

Potsdam 100 Portrait
Leica M6 Portrait
Leica M3 + Canon 50mm f1.8
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Leica M3 + Leica Summilux 50mm Portrait
Leica M3 + Voigtlander 50mm f1.2
35mm Kodak TMax 400 Portrait
Ilford Delta 100
Kiev 4a Girl
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35mm Potsdam 100 Portrait
Leica M3 Light Leak (YouTube photo flare series #3)
Voigtlander 50mm f1.2 Portrait
Leica M4-P Portrait
Leica M4-P + Summilux
Leica M4-P Film Portrait
Leica M2 + New 28mm Ultron ii
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Leica R Cameras (SLR)

Leica R6 Portrait
Leica R6 Portrait
Leica R6 Portrait
Voigtlander Heliar 50mm Portrait
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Leica R5 Portrait
Leica R6 Pool Photoshoot
YouTube! 35mm Fomapan 100

Nikon SLR Cameras

TMax Portrait
35mm Ilford HP5 Plus Photo
35mm Kodak TMax 100 Portrait
Nikon 55mm Headshot
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Nikon FE2 Female Portrait
Nikkor 50 1.2 Portrait
Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 Portrait
Voigtander 58mm f/1.4 Portrait
Nikon FE2 Portrait
Nikon F5 + Tokina 100mm Portrait
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Nikon F100 Portrait
Voigtlander Ultron 40mm F2 SLII Review
Kentmere 400 Portrait
Nikon F100 Portrait
Nikon FE2 Portrait
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Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 Potrait
Nikon F100 50mm Portrait
Nikon FM2 Portrait
Nikon FM2 + Voigtlander 58mm
Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 SL Portrait
Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 Portrait
Nikon FM2 Portrait
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Kiev Rangefinder Cameras

Kiev 4a Photography
Kiev 4a Portrait
Kiev 4a Portrait

Minolta SLR Camera

Kentmere 400 35mm Portrait
Bessa Photographer :)
Kentmere 400 Portrait
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Ilford Pan 400 Portrait
Minolta X-300 Portrait
Minolta X300 45mm Portrait
Minolta 45mm f2 Portrait

Voigtlander Bessa Cameras (Rangefinder)

Voigtlander Bessa T Portrait
Voigtlander Bessa T Review & Portraits
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Voigtlander Bessar R2C Portrait
Opton Biogon 35mm f3.5 Portrait

Canon Rangefinder Camera

Canon Model 7 Portrait

Zorki Rangefinder Camera

Zorki C + Jupiter 12
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Nikon Rangefinder Camera

Nikon S2 Portrait
Nikon S2 Rangefinder Portrait
Nikon S2 Portrait

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Romania Trip / Models 2020

Romania Trip & Romanian Models 2020

Photo Trip Blog Diary (Written March, 2020)

Summary of my first photography trip to Romania for model photography.

Leaving with mixed emotions..

After 2.5 days in Romania I leave the city of Cluj (Cluj-Napoca) with mixed emotions. Beautiful city and beautiful people but at the same time so difficult. Let me explain!

Cluj-Napoca visit

So after finding a cheap flight from my UK home airport I decided to visit Cluj-Napoca, Romania for the first time. That was the only criteria for choosing this city although it would be nice to now tick Romania off my todo list. It was my attempt at being more adventurous this year with multiple new destinations booked (Rather than Poland, Hungary, Poland, Poland, Hungary..!).

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Canon 35mm LTM Portrait

Cameras for Romania 

I would have happily shot only 35mm film for this trip but I had some new 120 film stock to try. That and a 6×9 folding camera to test out (which takes 120 film). My final camera lineup for the trip was –

Leica Minolta CL Camera

Running in Cluj

As you may have seen from one of my early YouTube videos, I enjoy running as a mode of transport when visiting new destinations.  I took my trusty hydration vest and running belt as shown previously, to carry cameras with and selected cameras that were small and compact to suit my needs. When I run in Poland I usually only carry one camera as I’ve been before so know what to expect. In Romania I ran with three cameras to avoid fear of missing out (“FOMO”)! I wanted the option to shoot both 35mm colour film and 35mm B&W film and 120.  

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Part of this was to test new cameras or film stocks and partly the cameras were all so compact that just could carry 3.  (See the Patreon video I shared, shot live in Romania). The 6×9 Agfa Billy 2 camera was particularly impressive at how small it was. (Smaller than the 645 format Fuji GS645 and slimmer than a Leica M camera with lens is attached. 

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2

I got up for sunrise both morning and went exploring.  After seeing photos of the city on Instagram I knew there was some high ground with a view across the city.  I checked the map and headed for the biggest hill.  This is what I normally tend to do anyway, wherever I am.

It reminded me a little of my visit to San Francisco and running up to the Twin Peaks for sunrise, but on a smaller scale.  Much less height to climb and a less grand view at the top, though nice all the same.  Once I was up on higher ground I needed something else to photo so I ran towards the railway station.  I seem to gravitate towards stations and railways as there is usually both infrastructure to photo and the potential of older things.  

Hasselblad Xpan Cityscape - San Francisco
San Francisco – Hasselblad Xpan

Like many photographers I think I much prefer old vs new for pictures. Urbex photography interests me but I usually do it to a lesser extent. I enjoy geometric shapes so railway tracks and platforms give me structures to work with. I much prefer this to being in nature where it lacks such structures.  I guess I like to photo old man made structures, in a nut shell. Not old as in castles but old as in war time or industrial.  I want to photo the old trains and structures before everything is replaced with modern.  In the UK we don’t really see the old trains so much, unless on a preserved railway.  Also security is so tight in the UK and Western Europe you often can’t get anywhere close because of health and safety measures. 

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Leica iiia Photography

So I’m not a train spotter I just find railways a good source of old stuff to photo!  In EU countries most of the older cars are long since gone after countries offered scrapage scemes to incentivise replacing old with new. The cars in Romania were no different to the UK so there was no interest there in that regard. In contrast Ukraine is non EU so it still has it’s older cars and vehicles which I love. 

Russian Old Truck (ZIL-130)
Russian Old Truck (ZIL-130) shot in Ukraine

I tried my luck as a tourist and got really close to the railway in places that I should not have been. There were not fences but the signs seemed to indicate I was in the wrong place. On day one I was feeling quite confident until railway workers shouted at me from a distance.  I couldn’t see them so I took my photo anyway.

What pained me the most is I took this average photo looking in one direction then behind me I see two railway workers speeding past me in their DIY chopped off vintage van (road vehicle that had be re-mounted to a railway bogie!) (wheels to fit the railway tracks). Painted bright yellow and the guys pointing and shouting at me. They went out of view before I had chance to turn on the camera but what a great sight and gutted at the missed photo.

By day 2 I’d lost my nerve a bit so didn’t stray beyond no go signs. Disappointing as there was a whole playground of cool things to photo just in front of me.  Local dogs started barking as I got close raising the alarm of my presence so I gave up and headed back into the old town of Cluj for a few tourist photos. 

Nikkor H.C. 5cm Portrait
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Getting out my comfort zone

After 10+ years of model photography it’s all quite easy now.  I use a wide array of analogue film cameras to keep it interesting for me.  I like to be always learning / progressing so I would really struggle if I shot digital only. The photography aspect is comfortable for me but so to are the places I visit.  I needed to get out my comfort zone that is Poland, Hungary, and to a lesser extent Ukraine. In these countries (or the specifically the cities I visit most – Gdansk, Budapest, Uzhhorod respectively) I have a pool of models, especially in Poland, so I love to visit to see friends/ acquaintances. I know the airports, the hotels, the bus routes and the trains. I have my go to grocery stores and everything is just very easy and familiar. That’s one reason why I visited Romania. To have new experiences.

Leica iiia + Shutter issues

Discovering new talent

In addition to working with familiar faces in my favourite mentioned cities I always try to find a few new people each trip.  I love discovering very talented and beautiful people, especially if they are not agency models and are relatively unknown in that regard.  I’ve managed to scout a few models over the years and get them placed with model agencies.  I seem to be able to spot strong talent easily from a crowd. 

Gene pool

Each country has their own common look with similarities with regards to certain features.  In some countries people are generally taller (the Netherlands), some countries blue eyes and blonde hair may be more common. Elsewhere brown eyes and darker skin perhaps.  Some nations are generally slimmer and others more rounded.  I love the look found in Poland and Hungary as it really suits my personal taste.  With that said, there may be beautiful people with features to my taste in other countries too so I feel it is good to explore.  If I never try new countries I could be missing out on a goldmine of model talent. This is why I want to try new countries.  If they are not as good as my listed favourite countries at least I know for future reference.

It is worth me noting for clarity that there are beautiful people in every country and every city.  What I am looking for is where those individuals that are above average beautiful and a higher percentage of pretty people from a total population.  Having one amazing girl in a city is no good as the chance of me working with them are minimal. When the average girl walking down the street in her day wear looks good and so do her friends and her friends friends then the likelihood of me finding people for photos is much higher. It’s simply a numbers game!

Lomo 800 Night Photography
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Romanian girls 

I think it would be said that Romanian girls are generally attractive.  Some countries are famous for their girls, perhaps Russia or Ukraine and others it is never mentioned as a fact.  I think Romania is closer to the upper end of the ‘positive spectrum’. 

I find I can get some idea of this if I search a city hashtag on Instagram.  Local people will be tagged and it’s a way I search for models.  It was a little worrying at how difficult I found it to find people I wanted to photograph using this method in Romania.  Some nationalities use social media and specific apps less than others.  The French seemed to use Instagram very little so I really struggled when I visited France last year for photos.  Romania was going to be equally challenging but for different reasons.

Romanians are extremely cautious people 

From my experience and in this scenario I discovered Romanian girls to be extremely guarded and untrusting.  I spoke to perhaps 30-40 models before the trip and many showed interest in meeting at first. One by one they all exited the chat as politely as they could in their own unique ways. I couldn’t understand what was happening as I’ve never experienced this before.  When two courageous individuals did start talking with me at length I asked them.  They told me Romanian girls are careful and they themselves were worried to meet me but would do some research on me beforehand. 

3 Photoshoots in Romania

One girl who wrote to me asking for photos was a professional photographer and photographed people too. She kindly put me in contact with a model friend of hers so that gave me three models (including her) to work with. I always aim for as many girls as possible but in hindsight 3-5 was about perfect.  A good balance between taking photos with girls, often in the apartment, and me getting out to explore this new city.  

Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Bokeh
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Big thanks

Firstly a big thanks to the three girls who trusted me enough to meet. They were the minority in Cluj, sadly. 

Of the 3 shoots one session was similar to how I often work in Poland. The girl was super relaxed about her body and with me so the photos came easily. Another girl was more cautious towards her clothing (verses her usual work) so tried to stay mostly covered but I still got nice portraits and headshots.  

The photographer girl was so careful she didn’t even want to step into the apartment and said initially she’d wait outside.  I’ve never seen that in 10 years of photos!  We had planned to shoot in the street anyway and lucky after a short time we were best buddies and had a great laugh. I love to meet new cool people in this way. The social aspect can be as fun and the photos themselves.  Sometimes it just clicks and it’s enjoyable just hanging out. I get the opportunity to learn about the city and local people from them and they often ask about the UK. 

Leitz CL Camera

Sad to see good talent miss out

What disappointed me the most in Cluj is how many attractive girls missed out on great photos.  I’m not bigging myself up saying I’m amazing but I know I can make people happy with my photos.  I don’t remember a model not liking their images. This confidence is what drives me forward so strongly.  As a natural introvert the camera gives me the confidence to approach anyone online with regards to photos. I know I could have made great images with the masses of girls that were too scared to meet. Why were they scared. I think some of my slightly sexy images on Instagram put them off even if I suggested outside photos only and to bring a friend for support. 

Leica iiia + Canon 28mm f2.8 LTM
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Will I visit Romania again?

Until the final photo session I would say 100% no but then she was so good maybe a should. The city of Cluj is beautiful and easy to travel to for me. This is a plus.  I would just need to confirm models in advance if they reply once I have example photos from girls in their city.  I just don’t know if I have time to write to so many people again when I got such I low success rate.  In Poland I have more models than I ever have time to photograph (that I’m in contact with) so going there is just productive and positive.

Camera choice – Was I happy?

Digital Leica CL

I shot almost all digital image with the Leica APS-C mirrorless camera. It is such a great camera for travel being so small. Normally I pair the CL with a 35mm prime lens for a 50mm equivalent shooting experience. I posted mostly film images from the trip but here is a digital sample.

Canon 35mm LTM Portrait
Leica CL film camera 

The analogue Leica CL camera rangefinder is very poor for portraits due to the low magnification and that made it very difficult to use. For stopped down landscape photos it was fine but for portraits and street photography it was a waste of time. I did try both but I will wait to see if the portraits are in focus (at f4!). On the street I was missing 7 out of 10 opportunities and I couldn’t focus fast enough to get the image. Very annoying.

35mm Leica CL Film Portrait
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Leica CL / Minolta CL
35mm Leica CL + Minolta Rokkor 40mm Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400 film

Tried and tested. The Leica M3 works great for portraits but is too heavy to run with as a lightweight camera.  (There are lighter options).

Leica + Minolta 40mm Portrait
Leica M3 + Kentmere 400
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Nikkor HC 5cm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm Portrait
Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm Portrait
Leica iiia + Fomapan 100 film

Excellent camera with great rangefinder. Absolutely perfect for travel and running with, especially if fitted with the compact a Leica Elmar 5cm f3.5 lens attached.

Leica iiia Landscape
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Leica iiia shutter issues

Being an old camera and probably left unused for years before I bought it on eBay it died mid trip. Not completely but the shutter was in some of my images. Top tip if you buy a vintage Leica. Get them CLA’s before any extensive use. I had my Leica iif and Leica ic cameras fully serviced so they will become my main users.

Leica iiia shutter issues - as seen on Youtube
Leica iiia shutter issues - as seen on Youtube
Barnack Leica Photography
Fuji GS645 + Lomography 800 film

Great lens and a useful 645 film format but not overly exciting to use and larger and heavier than other some other medium format cameras I own.

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Fuji GS645 Portrait
Lomo 800 Colours
120 Lomo 800 Colours
Lomo 800 Night Photography
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Agfa Record Billy 2

I really appreciate how compact the Agfa Billy 2 is, especially considering it is 6×9.  I have an older version of the camera with pop up framelines. I found this really useful to visualize a photo before opening the camera.   The same as how Leica framelines work without a lens attached. 

Sadly, although I bought a very clean copy of the camera it had focusing issues so was soft at all f stop. It made for some very vintage looking images and I will send it for repair soon. (When you turn the focus on the lens it spins on itself and changes nothing).

Agfa Billy Record II Photo
Agfa Billy Record II 6x9 Folding Camera
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Tenerife Photoshoot – 2018

Tenerife Photoshoot (Polish Model) 2018

Photoshoot Blog Diary (Written May, 2018)

Blog Diary

My first model photography trip to Tenerife was in September 2017 which was just me and Lindsay. I then went again in January 2018 in a small group. After the first two trips I felt the photos were generally better when I worked 1-2-1 with one model and when we were both solely focused on making good pictures without other distractions. 

This Tenerife photoshoot would again be 1-2-1 and this time with Polish model Aneta. We are both very results driven and hard working so I expected non-stop photos for the full 3 days. Writing this blog on the flight home this was an understatement ha. Aneta’s wish list and supply of clothes was endless and even using almost every hour of daylight each day we still probably needed at least 1-2 more days to complete all we wanted to do. 

Rather than split this into three days and say what we did each day I will just talk more about the cameras (as the days blurred together).

New Blog - Tenerife Photoshoot (Leica M3)
Leica M3
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*Click images to view full res and see camera/ lens/ film/ developing details

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Camera Gear List

Film stocks for the trip

  • 35mm Kodak Vision 3 50D 
  • 35mm Kodak Vision 3 500T
  • 120 Fomapan 100
  • 120 Ilford HP5 400
  • 120 Fuji Neopan Acros 100
  • 120 Kodak Portra 160 
  • 120 Kodak Ektar 100
Nokton 35mm 1.4 Portrait
Leica M3

Medium format cameras

As you may have spotted from my camera bag list above I brought a lot (and that was after weeks of trying to decide what to take).  For this trip I wanted to focus more on medium format film and just have one 35mm camera for fun photos (or fast snaps or as a colour alternative if the 6×6 cameras were shooting black and white film.

Hasselblad SWC-M

I expected to use the Mamiya 6 camera the most and Hasselblad SWC-M the least.  The opposite was in fact true and I used the SWC-M the most.  The Hasselblad 500CM was somewhere in between.  I’m not sure the results will be any good using the SWC-M but I got a great workflow going and just loved the size of the camera and point and shoot (almost) approach.  My method was to measure the distance with a Leica camera rangefinder then read the distance off the Leica lens then dial it in on the SWC-M lens, copy the exposure setting, compose and click. 

Hasselblad SWC/M Portrait
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Hasselblad SWC Fashion
Hasselblad SWC /M Camera

I took the Hasselblad SWC-M instead of a 4×5 film camera believe it or not but it didn’t pan out like that. I planned to shoot carefully composed images on a tripod but it was 99% handheld rushed photos, trying to catch a nice pose before Aneta moved. I found my eyes were naturally seeing wider scenes than the Mamiya 6 75mm lens or Hasselblad 500CM 60mm lens could capture.  I don’t think the wide lens necessarily suited every image I shot but I’m really excited to see the results.  The fixed 38mm f4.5 Zeiss Biogon lens (35mm 21mm equivalent) is extremely well regarded yet I’ve not used the camera as much as I had hoped. Maybe I will going forward now I’ve got my own method of using the camera. Fingers crossed!

The 4×5 Camera Effect

One thing I really noticed in Tenerife this time but also at home is after buying the Intrepid 4×5 camera and viewing a lot of 4×5 film images on Instagram, I find I want to shoot nice light on pretty much any subject. Most often buildings. When Aneta was getting changed I often found myself photographing the hotel – the corridor, the outside of the hotel, off the balcony and even a half cooked approached at long exposure night photography. 

Hasselblad SWC/M
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Hasselblad SWC-M Architecture

The Hasselblad SWC-M and a 4×5 view camera are obviously very different beasts but the SWC-M feels like my new pocket 4×5 camera somehow (you would need a big pocket but vs. a 4×5 camera and tripod the SWC handheld is quick and easy and portable and yet hopefully still captures quite nice photos for those landscape or building shots.  I will certainly pack the SWC-M as my first medium format camera for future overseas photoshoots and next time I will try to make time to take more non-model photos with it.

Hasselblad SWC /M
Hasselblad SWC 38mm Biogon

Taking a few location shots this trip was better than I normally do and also it provides a nice visual memory of the location I was at rather than a sequence of model faces that could have been shot anywhere (sometimes).  So I guess the bad news for people that follow me for the nice girls is more non-girls photos to come this year but for anyone that appreciates general photography hopefully I will capture a few nice scenes.

Hasselblad A16 (645) Film back

What caught me out the most in Tenerife this time was juggling a 6×6 standard Hasselblad A12 film back with the crop 645 Hasselblad A16 back between the Hasselblad 500CM and SWC-M cameras. So many times I forgot I was using the 645 crop back and composed for the 6×6 square view I saw on the focus screen.  I think I will lose a few shots sadly with chopped off head and feet but hopefully not to many. (My fault for trying to work fast with 3-4 cameras at once). 

Hasselblad SWC-M Fashion
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Hasselblad SWC/M

The 645 back also gave problems where I wanted to shoot vertical crops so had the Hasselblad 500CM on it’s side using the WLF ‘cack-handed’ (feeling upside down and back to front while trying to compose). A 45 degree Hasselblad prism finder overcomes this but adds bulk and weight to the camera so I had to leave it in the UK.

Hasselblad A16 Film Back

I was using one Hasselblad back with 120 B&W film and the other film back with 120 colour film to start with but at one stage both backs were shooting black and white. I was using two different B&W film stocks so again I got myself confused and metered the wrong exposure for some photos. I shot all the colour 120 film I took and a lot of black and white too so hopefully I will get some nice ones even after all the errors I know about. 

Use a Hasselblad H camera instead for 645

*Update – I would now use my Hasselblad H2 for 645 format film portraits. Autofocus and much easier for vertical orientation portrait format.

Hasselblad 500CM

My Hasselblad 501c camera was out of action awaiting repair so I took a Hasselblad 500CM body instead. My 501c is my most modern Hasselblad V series camera but the older 500CM does exactly the same job. Having 2 film backs with your Hasselblad, whether different film formats (6×6 and 645) or 2 different film stocks loaded, gives it an advantage over the Mamiya 6.

I took the Hasselblad 500CM mostly to work in close  to the model (using the cross hair focus screen) but also a few shots from a distance with the split prism focus screen. I find neither screen works as well in reverse (for the mentioned styles of photography, for me). Ie. split prism screen up close I struggle with and cross hair screen from distance I can’t see to focus accurately. 

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Hasselblad Beauty
Hasselblad Portrait

Mamiya 6

For me, the Mamiya 6 camera is better than a Hasselblad to carry around all day as it is smaller and lighter, especially if fitted with the 75mm lens.  Being a rangefinder camera, the Mamiya 6 is also faster to focus and can be used at slower shutter speeds from my experience.  I prefer a Hasselblad for close up portraits but enjoy the Mamiya 6 for wider scene/ environmental portraits

Mamiya 6 + Fuji Acros
Mamiya 6 75mm Portrait
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120 Fuji Acros 100 Portrait
Fuji Acros 100
Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100
Mamiya 6 75mm lens
Mamiya 6 Fashion
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Mamiya 6 Portraits
Mamiya 6 Camera

I shot many rolls of 120 film in total which is good for recent times (and 4 rolls of 35mm film).  It was great to have a good model that I enjoyed shooting with to ‘invest’ in shooting 120 film with. I’m getting picky in my old age so it now needs to be deemed portfolio worthy in my eyes to shoot 120 film.  It is too expensive and time consuming to develop to shoot photos that I will never use. 

Leica M3

Originally, I planned to take two film Leica bodies but then realized I only have one pairs of hands so didn’t need to take even more cameras.  I wanted to shoot mostly 120 film and I only shoot film when I think a digital photo looks worthy of shooting on film.  (This can result in very few film images or it can result in lots of film photos like on this trip.  It depends on the model and the available light).  

As I shot most of the colour 120 film quite early into the trip I was glad to have 35mm colour film as a backup.  The Leica M3 was without doubt the fastest film camera to operate and is always a joy to use.  It has 50mm framelines but I shot a lot with wider lenses too (35mm mostly) and used an external viewfinder to focus (or just guessed).  Hopefully even if I screwed up a few 120 film shots I got others on 35mm film.  (By shooting the same outfit / location on 2 different film cameras it gives some protection from accidental errors).

Kodak Vision3 50D Portrait
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Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH
Leica M3 Colour Film Portrait (2018)
Leica M3 Portrait (2018)
Summilux 50mm Film Portrait

Leica M240

The digital Leica M240 was my primary camera for Tenerife.  I packed a few different Leica M lenses as they are all relatively small and gave me options for different styles of photos.  The most used lens was the 35mm Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 I think so I must of being seeing the world as a wider scene. I did use the 90mm Macro-Elmer more on the last day too. 

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Leica M240 Fashion
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4
Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 Flare
Leica M3

No Flash / Available Light Only 

For once I packing no additional lighting at all. Not even a single speedlight.  I didn’t even use a reflector (not once). (That is probably why I had the extra luggage capacity to take so many cameras!). The weather was not blue sky sunshine much of the time and we even had a little rain one day but I enjoyed working just with available light and it was bright most of the time.  I think these Tenerife photos may have a slightly different look to my norm as I normally use a lot of lights in my photography. I enjoyed the simplicity and speed of working with daylight and I think it makes you work a location harder when using exiting light rather than just making artificial light wherever you want it.  Both lighting scenarios have there pros and cons of course but for me different is interesting and fun. 

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Model

I have worked with Aneta a few times now after she first approached me via email. We work well together and she knows how I operate and I know she is there to get the results she needs.  Aneta did an amazing job bringing lots of nice clothes after weeks of me email her suggestions and photo ideas (plus her finding her own ideas too).  Aneta always looks good to me but she put in the additional physical training ahead of our shoot to look at her best for Tenerife.  That meant that pretty much every item of clothing looked good, very good or just made your eyeballs pop out on stalks!  I was so happy I made the choice to shoot higher resolution 120 medium format film as some images I think I will look back on forever.  Hopefully timeless classics and where only a few models I know could produce the same image. 

Aneta is very body confident and for some photos I need that confidence combined with the amazing physical form. Helmet Newton came to mind when I was shooting some of the photos. I’m not one of these photographers that lies near naked girls on a car bonnet or straddling a motorbike (I can’t think of anything cheaper looking) but like Helmut Newton, sometimes some nudity can look amazing and I think it celebrates the female form. I hope Aneta can look back on some of the photos when she is old and enjoy seeing herself at her physical peak. Equally I never saw myself shooting nudes or mostly nude photos a few years ago!  I just seem numb to it now so that might be why some of my Flickr or Instagram photos are racier than they once were. Hopefully still tasteful though. 

Location Shoot

Aneta and I did well in trying to use as many different backdrops as possible during the 3 days. A polar opposite to some of my past shoots in Poland where many girls were shot up against a white hotel wall (often due to rain outside and limited daylight).  Hopefully that will add to the interest and variety in the photos even with the same model.  My brain is a bit fried after 3 bust days but I think from memory the balcony shots might be the ones I am most likely to print. I want to start printing more of my work so I hope I got the results I needed. Coming soon.  

Next Time – What would I do differently?

If I think positive and the photos are as good as I saw through the film cameras, next time I won’t change my setup too much. I will leave the Mamiya 6 camera behind and the Zeiss 60mm lens and use the Two Hasselblad cameras both with A12 6×6 film backs. I would take the Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 for the Leica M3 as I rarely shot the Summilux wide open at f1.4. The Summarit is a smaller lens and balances much nicer on a film Leica. Lastly I would take more colour film as I enjoyed shooting some colour for a change (I shoot mostly black and white film on grey days in the UK and in the studio).

Whatever the film photo results, thanks Aneta, I think we both gave it our all and some of the digital photos we’ve taken looked amazing on the Leica M240 LCD.  Aneta pushed me by giving me scenarios she wanted me to photograph (that I may not have thought of) so I think I come away a stronger photographer (and I never stop learning using my various film cameras).

Film Developing Mistake

I was developing some of the 120 colour film late at night while multi-tasking and I got the chemicals and Paterson tanks mixed up. The times, temperatures and chemical mix were all wrong but I still got something. More of a lomography look. Luckily I had shot enough film that most negatives were not affected.

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Damaged Film
Hasselblad A16 Film Back
Hasselblad Double Exposure
Hasselblad SWC-M Portrait
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*Update – Does the camera really matter?

As I’ve now covered in some of my YouTube videos, the cameras matters much less than the subject/ scene and the light.  I can have the “best” / most expensive cameras and lenses but if I don’t like what is in front of the lens then I will never use the images (or possibly not even be inspired enough to take the photos).  Luckily, in 2018, Aneta approached me after finding me on Google as she wanted to get back into modelling.  She even paid for the nice apartment in Tenerife so that we could make the best photos we could.

Similar to the example I share in my video, I would say that most people (including myself – note to self!) would be better to spend £1000 as; £200-£400 on a camera + lens(es) + film and the rest on travel (flight and hotel) + a professional model, if that is your interest, rather than £1000 on a new camera or lens.  (Or on a model photography workshop if that is your interest)

Over that last 10 years I have been guilty of spending 90-95% of my budget on camera equipment and 5-10% on cheap travel.  I still enjoyed it but the nice cameras had less impact on the final photos than the models I recruited for the shoots.  For my next trip I might take the budget Nikon FG-20 + Nikkor 50mm f2 AI to try to prove this idea.

18+ Images from this trip

A body confident model in a hot country results in nude and semi-naked photos. I can’t share them here as I try to keep this a family-friendly-ish site but I do post them on Patreon. These photos are not supposed to be the main reason to join Patreon but it is nice to be able to share the images I make.

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Poland Models – 2019

Poland Models – 2019

Poland Blog Diary (Written September 2019)

September is normally busy for me for photoshoots as I try to catch the end of the summer and warm weather.  A couple of weeks ago I was in Ukraine and Hungary and it was still really warm, mid 30s and humid.  Now I fly to Poland and the forecast is mid 20s so still very nice. 

Leica CL Lightroom Preset

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Aim for the trip?

Apart from the obvious answer of fly to Poland to have fun and take new photos I always like to be testing too.  If you’ve read my blog posts before you will know I’m always using the model photography as an excuse to test something.  I like to experiment with new/ different gear and it helps keep it interesting for me.  Yes this started as a Leica blog but when I ran out of Leica related gear to test I moved onto other analogue camera brands and lenses, and film stocks.

So what will I be reviewing in Poland this time?  Quite a lot actually!  

Leica M3 B&W Portrait

Nikon mount lenses on a Nikon SLR film body 

In no particular order I want to try out the following lenses.  Two are new purchases and one was potentially my favourite lens of all time.  (Pre-Leica).

Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens

This lens makes the most boring subjects look amazing.  I was an early adopter of the first lens released by Samyang. These lenses also go by the name Rokinon depending on where you live.  The mighty 85mm f1.4 prime which is sharper than the Nikkor 85mm f1.4D wide open at f1.4.  Samyang approached me after seeing my images and I shot with them for a period.  They soon released the 14mm f2.8 wide (amazing), the 35mm f1.4 (amazing) and the 24mm f1.4 (a little soft wide open).  The lenses proved quite popular at the time DSLR video was starting to catch on so Samyang then started releasing their f1.5 T lenses.  I moved to Leica soon after so I’ve not used the Samyang lenses since.  Once I got back into Nikon but SLR cameras like the F4 and F5 I favorited autofocus lenses so again the manual focus Samyang lenses were not used.  Getting the Nikon FE2 with split screen has reignited my passion for Nikon mount manual focus prime lenses. An SLR is a different shooting experience to a rangefinder camera such as a Leica so it is nice to experience both. 

The test is to just enjoy using the Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens on the Nikon FE2 to see what creative images I can make.  I will use the lens at f1.4 only and use the shallow depth of field aspect in my photos. 

Kodak Vision3 50D Portrait

Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm f3.5 lens

Why did I buy this lens? You may know that I already own it’s sibling, the Leica M mount tiny Voigtlander 21/4 lens. So why?  Well, shooting wide with a rangefinder camera is a different experience to using a wide lens on a SLR. On a Leica camera I have to use an external viewfinder to compose a 21mm lens.  The nature of rangefinder cameras mean you cannot see the distortion before taking a photo and the close focus distance is 0.7m which can really limit creativity.  I wanted to try the Voigtlander 20mm Skopar for the what you see is what you get experience. I used to love shooting wides but since going to Leica I do it much less now.  The 20mm Voigtlander lens is compact so easy to carry everywhere. Again I’m hoping to use the lens as a creative tool on my Nikon FE2.  The 20mm focal length is less useful for model photography but I can use it to start capturing those images I see where the view is always wider than the lens I have with me.

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Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm f3.5 Portrait

Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 lens

There is a lot of fuss made about this lens so I wanted to buy it to try on the Nikon FE2.  I already own the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS which is a great lens but a bit soft wide open for me.  The Nikkor 55mm f2.8 macro lens is sharp but too slow to use in low light on a film camera.  The reason to buy the Voigtlander 58mm Nokton is to hopefully give me a Nikon SLR equivalent to match my much loved Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH.  The Nokton will focus closer than the 0.7m of the Summilux 50mm so again I can be more creative with it. Getting closer than 0.7m help create an even more shallow depth of field and nice bokeh and helps to fill the frame with smaller objects.

Leica M240 vs Leica CL revisited 

After using the Leica CL over the Leica M240 for a year now I wanted to revisit the Leica M240.  The Leica M240 is full frame yet the Leica CL has a 1.5x crop APS-C sensor.  Surprisingly I’ve not really noticed the lack of full frame in the images.  Full frame gives a greater shallow depth of field with fast lenses so to make the most of this I packed my two best lenses for the job.  The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 and Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH.  I also have the Leica 75mm Summicron APO but for buttery smooth the two older Leica lenses are better. The 75 APO is a crazy sharp lens.  

90mm Summicron Headshot

The plan is to use the Leica M240 as my main digital camera in Poland and the Leica CL is just as a backup (is the plan).  I brought less lenses than normal and plan to use the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 wide open for as many images as possible. It will help keep my setup simple and get the best out of the full frame sensor.

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Leica M240 Noctilux Portrait

Leica M3 vs Nikon FE2?

For 35mm film Poland is all about the Nikon FE2 and the three mentioned prime lenses. That said I bought the Leica M3 along to compare the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 vs the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4.  I plan to use both lenses wide open and I’m interested to compare both my hit rate (accuracy using a rangefinder vs SLR at f1.4) and image sharpness. The Leica M3 is planned to be my back up film camera. 

Leica M3 Fashion Portrait B&W

Shoot mostly colour film

After reviewing some of the black and white film images developed from Ukraine and Hungary I wished on many occasions that I had shot colour film. Without the colour the photo seemed to capture only half of the memory in my head.  (I’m sure if I had shot colour I would wish they were black and white.  Never happy!)

With that in mind I packed various colour film stocks to try out in Poland.  Shooting more colour will make the images less samey than Ukraine and Hungary and keep things interesting for me.

Expired Fujicolor C200 Film
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Less gear, more focus

I toyed with the idea of bringing the 4×5 Intrepid large format camera but I thought I would keep that for my next trip when I will be working at a slower pace.  I’ve currently gone off the Hasselblad 501c favouring 35mm film and fast lenses.  Taking less cameras meant I could pack some of my larger heavier faster lenses which are normally replaced by smaller lighter slower equivalents. 

Voigtlander Nokton 58mm Film Portrait (2019)

Get outside more

When selecting some of my past photos to print as photo books recently I realised those photos that interest me tend to be shot outside.  In Poland I often shoot inside the hotel so I was determined to do more outside photos to make it more interesting. 

Summicron 90mm Portrait

Final Camera Bag List

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Well that was the plan! How did it go!?

After spending ages messaging models before leaving England I had 15 girls booked across 4 days.  

It all looked very promising for a productive trip after putting the time and effort in beforehand.

7 Cancellations (New PB!)

From the total of 15 girls booked a record number of 7 managed to cancel once I arrived in Poland. Some explanations sounded plausible while others were completely lame and lacked any creativity! No photos for them in future (I tried to tell myself).

Leica M3 vs Leica M240 :)

10 Photoshoots in 4 days 

Luckily for every let down there is a super star who either came for photos at short notice or recommended a friend or friend of a friend. Of the 10 shoots 5 girls were new faces for me so great to discover new talent and make new contacts. I worked with a mixture of catwalk agency models, ex models and non models. This provides great variety to the images in terms of body shape and experience. 

Leica M240 + Summilux 50
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12 Rolls of film

Across the 4 days I shot 12 rolls of 35mm film. 8 rolls of colour film and 4 black and white. Shooting outside more inspired me to shoot more colour film. I shot a range of film stocks including Kodak Vision3 50D (3 rolls), Kodak Colorplus 200, Fujicolor C200 and Fuji Superior 400. I also shot some Ilford Pan F 50 black and white. Using these ISO 50 films I’m hoping I can see the best possible results from the camera lenses (in terms of sharpness and resolution).

Nikon FE2 vs Leica M3

From memory I shot 10 of the 12 rolls of film on the Nikon FE2.  Of those photos I used the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 perhaps 70%, the Samyang 85mm f1.4 20% and the Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm f3.5 10% (and mostly for walkabout non model photos). The Samyang was shot at f1.4 for all images. The Nokton 58mm was used at f1.4-f2 as occasionally it was too bright to use f1.4.  I’m interested to see how the lenses performed!

The Leica M3 was faster to focus but I was concerned that the rangefinder looked slightly off. I think I got faster at focusing the Nikon FE2, using the split screen for distance subjects and without when up close.  The Leica M3 was more of a backup camera for this trip. 

Leica M3, Poland
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Leica M240 beats Leica CL – 4:1!

After having used the Leica CL for almost all my digital photography over the last 12 months it was a bit of a surprise when I favourited the M240 in Poland. It would have been a 5:0 defeat by the M240 (5 32GB SD cards filled vs none) but after day 1 I was worried I had calibration issues.  Some images from the Leica M240 were not sharp, especially with the 50mm Summilux and Noctilux.  That spoilt my plan of shooting wide open for super shallow DOF. Strangely I was getting sharp images from the 90mm Summicron at f2 so I used this setup as much as I could.  As the days past I realised it was user error not camera error so on the last day I shot the Noctilux 50mm f1 wide open for all photos on the M240.  They are not sharp on the camera LCD but hopefully the images will still be nice.

Trying to recreate an old digital image

One of my favourite photos from Poland is from when I used to travel there for work.  I had no model connections at the time so I used to photograph anything that caught my eye.  The photo I refer to is of an old style Polish train taken with the Samyang 85mm lens wide open at f1.4 on a Nikon D700 DSLR.   The photo looks quite vintage to me but I always wish it was a film photo not digital. After organising a model shoot at the same station (which was awesome!)(loved it!), afterwards I tried to recreate the same photo.  The light was not as good as on the digital photo (I think) but luckily the trains have not changed.  I shot a series of train images on film and hopefully I got something I like.  I was keen to capture these older style trains before they all get replaced with new ones. 

Gdansk Railway SOOC
(Digital original)
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A quick summary of this visit to Poland (General)

Despite the cancellations I was never not doing something and always felt busy.  I managed to fit in three runs, a sea swim and a walkabout to shoot more of the Sopot/ Gdansk area. The hotel provided some unexpected variety as I had two days in a room similar to what I’m used to then two days in a different building. Different is great for me as I get new light to play with!

Leica Noctilux f1 Portrait

Camera gear choice – Thoughts

Taking less cameras and lenses worked well for me. I didn’t need the Leica M3 but it was good to have a film backup option. The Leica CL too acted more as a comfort blanket for if needed. Shooting mostly 50mm/58mm on both cameras made it easy and fast.  Having the 85mm/90mm option gave a useful longer lens choice but if I was travelling light I would take just 50mm/58mm for portraits.  Specifically the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm and Leica Summilux 50mm.  I think the Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm will become my new carry everywhere lens for the Nikon SLR setup. I will write a review for this lens when I get chance and once the photos are developed.

Leica Noctilux Photographer

Thanks, you are awesome!

A big thanks to models Mary, Teresa, Paulina, Ola, Dominika, Agata, Karolina and Dorota and to Monika for having me again.  Thanks again also to the girls I didn’t shoot who kindly recommended model friends to help back fill some of the many cancellations. 

Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Portrait
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September 2021 – Update

I found this draft write up that I’d written on the flight home from Poland in 2019. It was different times then. I travelled most months so was shooting more photos than I ever had the time to post. In this article I share every photo I edited yet it was a small number. Colour film is generally a big disappointment to me but you occasionally get a few gems.

As I’d shot mostly colour film I had less film keepers than if i’d shot B&W. Also I was more dumb back then and shooting everything wide open results in too soft looking images on colour film and an easy chance to misfocus if a rangefinder is not spot on accurate. If I did the same trip today (2 years later), I’d use mostly B&W film and stop lenses down more. Well we can see once I get to travel again! I’ve really miss my little overseas adventures so i’m looking forward to getting back to it as soon as I can!

Expired film + Expired chemicals

I did get to Poland in 2020 and by that time I has started Patreon. You can find behind the scenes videos shot in Poland with the models last year if you look through the 200 or so posts on there. I’m also on YouTube now too so come and say hi!

I will try to dig out a few more draft model trip write ups to share. To avoid missing them you may want to Follow the blog.


More Polish Model Trips!

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Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 Shootout (Kodak Vision3)

Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 Shootout (Kodak Vision3 500T Portraits) + YouTube

Have you ever wondered if the more expensive Leica R6 camera produces “better” (subjective I know!*) photos than the lower priced Nikon FE2 camera? I was interested for my own photography so I set about organising two model photo shoots where I could use both cameras side by side.

Camera Test Parameters

I wanted to keep as many variables as constant as possible to make the results more comparable. All images are shot by myself with my own equipment and I shot the photos one after each other so that the lighting would be constant. I asked the models to try to keep still and hold a similar pose and expression where possible (though it was a normal fun photoshoot so it was not set in stone)(It needs to be fun too!).

Nikon FE2 vs Leica R6!

Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2- Test Criteria

  • 50mm prime lens fitted on both cameras and all photos shot at f2 aperture
  • No lens hood attached/ pulled out on either lens
  • Both cameras had already been recently film tested by me
  • Film in both cameras was exposed at ISO 200 (*Overexposed as expired film)
  • Film for both cameras was spooled from the same bulk roll of Vision3 film
  • All film processed/ developed in the same 3 reel Paterson tank
  • Film negatives scanned with an Epson V800 scanner (flatbed) as TIF files
  • Film scans processed through Adobe Lightroom and exported as small JPEG
  • Images colour corrected + exposure / contrast adjustment in Lightroom

Two Camera Setup

  1. Leica R6 + Leica Summicron-R 50mm f2 v2 lens + Kodak Vision3 500T film
  2. Nikon FE2 + Nikkor 50mm f1.8 pancake v3 lens + Kodak Vision3 500T film

Leica R6 Review

Before reviewing the images, if you’ve never come across a Leica R6 SLR camera you may want to watch this Leica R6 review first –

Leica R6 + my thoughts compared to Leica M film cameras

Nikon FE2 Review

Equally if you are not up to speed on Nikon SLR cameras such as the Nikon FE2 you may enjoy this Nikon FE2 review as part of a broader camera comparison –

Nikon FE2 vs similar Nikon SLR cameras
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Kodak Vision3 500T Film (Motion Picture Film)

To better understand the process I went through to develop the film for this test, you might first need to understand more about the film that I used. All images were shot with expired bulk roll Kodak Vision3 500T motion picture film. First I had to spool the film to load into the 35mm cameras. Then once the film was developed I had to remove the remjet layer (see the video) before developing. I cross processed this ECN-2 film using my usual C-41 film chemistry as I the results work for me. As the film is expired, I exposed the ISo 500 speed film at ISo 200 to give me good exposure and shadow detail. (From my previous results this works well for my taste).

Video explains Kodak Vision3 films and how to develop it at home (Must watch before buying this film)

Leica SLR vs Nikon SLR Shootout – Images Compared

First I share pairs of similar images so you can compare the Leica R6 photos vs the Nikon FE2 photos. All images on the left are Leica R6 portraits, all images on the right are Nikon FE2 images.

(Left) Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (Right)(1)
Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (2)
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Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (3)
(4) Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2
Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (5)
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Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (6)
(7) Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2
Leica R6 vs Nikon FE2 (8)

Gallery – Leica R6 Portraits

As mentioned above, all Leica R6 portraits in this series were shot with a Leica Summicron-R 50mm f2 v2 lens at ISo 200 (In camera metering – I use the Leica R6 spot meter not matrix). The 50mm Summicron-R design has a built in slide out lens hood (which I didn’t use) and a recessed front lens element. Leica R lenses are said to render images warmer than their Leica M siblings. This seems to hold true from my results. Perhaps due to the lens design or lens coatings, I saw very little lens flare or loss of contrast in these images.