Expired Kodak Plus-X 125 Film

Expired Kodak Plus-X 125 Film – Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2016

Leica M2 Portrait

Kodak Plus X – Intro

To my knowledge Kodak Plus-X 125 film was discontinued by Kodak in 2011 and dates back to before Kodak Tri-X.  Kodak Plus X is said to have been first on sale in 1938 to use with movie cameras similar to the modern Kodak Vision3 motion picture film that I am now using today for colour 35mm photography.  I bought my expired Kodak Plus-X film as a bulk roll short end on eBay.  I spooled some of the film and took it with me on my model photography trip to Poland.  I shot the Plus-X at ISo 100, developed the film in Xtol and scanned the film on an Epson v800 scanner.  Here are some samples –

Natalia

Kodak Plus-X Fashion
Kodak Plus X Fashion
Window Light Portrait

Agnieszka

Kodak Plus-X 125 Portrait
Kodak Plus-X Portrait
Leica M6 + Noctilux
Leica Summicron 50mm DR
Kodak Plus X Film

Teresa

Leica M6 + Kodak Plus-X
Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film
Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film

Paulina

35mm Kodak Plus-X
Into the Sun
Expired Kodak Plus X 125

Kodak Plus-X  – Thoughts

I was impressed by the lattitude and fine grain expecially considering it was expired film.  I would happy use Plus X 125 again if I acquired some.  I would say it is perhaps like a finer grain Ilford FP4 plus film with a creamer look.  On the whole I found Plus-X to be lower contrast than the modern Kodak T-Max 100 T grain film.

Here is me in my scruff testing my first roll of bulk loaded Kodak Plus-X in a mirror in the garden with my Leica M2 camera before taking it to Poland! 🙂

Kodak Plus X

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120 Fomapan 100 Film

120 Fomapan 100 Film – Hasselblad Portraits

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2015

Firstly sorry for the lack of new blog posts recently. There are a lot in the pipeline when I find time!

Fresh film. Perhaps the cheapest 120 B&W film in UK. Great for camera testing or for that softer classic look. #fomapan #fomapan100 #120film #blackandwhite #mediumformat #ilovefilm #ishootfilm #filmrocks www.MrLeica.com

120 Fomapan 100 Film

Fomapan 100 Classic is a traditional panchromatically sensitized black and white negative film made in the Czech Republic.  To my eyes it is as sharp as B&W films from Kodak such as T-Max but had a more classic grain structure more similar to Ilford FP4+ or perhaps Kodak Tri-X.  Again from my experience, Fomapan 100 prroduces low contrast negatives in normal lighting conditions.  Some of my Fomapan 100 photos are higher contrast due to developing or lighting used.

Fomapan 100 film is my current favourite / best value for money black and white film in 120 format. I enjoy using various B&W films from the likes of Kodak, Ilford and Fuji but Fomapan manage to price their film below the competition and the results are actually quite nice. I pay around £3 a roll for 120 Fomapan 100 film and the next cheapest would be I think £4 a roll for the likes of Kodak Tri-X 400, Kodak T-Max 100 & 400 and Fuji Acros 100 and then £5 for Ilford Delta 100 and 400. I try to find the lowest prices!

What I like a lot about Fomapan 100 is I can shoot it at ISO 50-400 and develop it at box speed. This may be true for other films but I have not noticed it. For medium format film photography shooting in available light ISO 400 is normally the go to film speed for me in the UK. In the studio I shoot ISO 100 films more. Fomapan gives me both. For ISO 800 exposures I would rather shoot Kodak Tri-X 400 or T-Max 400 films and push them
one stop in developing.

I constantly swing between the different film stocks trying to find a favourite but as yet there is no clear winner. Kodak Tri-X has some of the nicest tones and Kodak T-Max also. Ilford Delta 100 and Pan F 50 are amongst the sharpest films I have used and can look almost digital in 120 format. I would say I prefer Fuji Acros to T-Max 100 especially for portraits but both can create nice images. At this stage I prefer Kodak Tri-X to HP5 for the tones and overall look of the pictures.

Since getting my Hasselblad 501C I have been shooting much more medium format film and 35mm film is currently on hold!  Here are some examples of me shooting 120 Fomapan 100 film.

Hasselblad Film Portraits

Firstly a sneak peek from Poland! Full post to follow.. 🙂

Fomapan 100 Fashion

Next, more 120 Fomapan 100 film portraits shot in the UK

Hasselblad Sonnar 150mm

Zeiss Sonnar + Hasselblad

Fomapan 100 Classic

Hasselblad Zeiss Distagon Portrait

21mm Hasselblad extension tube

Hasselblad Zeiss 50mm Portrait

Fomapan 100@400

I am also using Fomapan 100 4×5 sheet film in my large format cameras so those results are to follow too!

Ultimate Wedding Magazine – Competition

Ultimate Wedding Magazine – Film Wedding Photography

Competition – Win Free Kodak Film Wedding Photographer

Competition Deadline 31st August 2015

MrLeica.com has teamed up with friends at Kodak Alaris and UK Film Lab to offer you the chance to win a free wedding photographer thanks to Ultimate Wedding Magazine.  I will cover your wedding day for free* as a second photographer shooting exclusively with Kodak films (*Please see competition details for full T&Cs – link below).

Having Two Wedding Photographers

As the primary (or only) wedding photographer my creative possibilities are more limited as wedding photographers are always expected to stand in a certain place at certain times throughout the day to get the expected ‘key’ photos for the wedding album.  Most wedding couples also expect digital photos so I find I never get the chance to shoot as much film as I would like to.  For me this is a shame as I feel the film images look nicer with better colours and tones and with the soft timeless look.  For my personal work and model photography film takes preference for all shoots.  By offering my wedding photography services for free* as a second photographer you have no concerns that you wont have a complete set of expected digital photos as these will be captured by your primary photographer.  My wedding photography will instead give you some additional unique looking photos to enjoy taken from a different perspective.

My Wedding Photography Style

I am a documentary style wedding photographer with a low key photojournalist/ editorial approach.  My aim is to take photos that tell the story of your day and create lasting memories. The excitment and emotions of you and your guests, the wedding venue, the finer details and some stylised wedding portraits.  My wedding portraits are a blend of fashion photography and low key wedding photography to create flattering yet natural looking photos.

Kodak Alaris and UK Film Lab

Kodak arguably produces some of the very best film with Kodak Portra as my go to film for colour wedding photography.  Kodak Ektar is perfect for more saturated colours and for black and white film I use Kodak T-Max and Kodak Tri-X films.  When it comes to film developing in the UK it doesn’t come much better that UK Film Lab.  Christian and Erica offer a high end professional service to obtain the best possible prints and scans from the film negatives.

Is film better than digital?

Each photographer will give a different option depending on their preference but in honesty both are good and both have their strengths.

Digital – For me digital is better suited for low light photography; dark venues,  indoor  weddings and short overcast winter days.  I tend to shoot less or no film if there is insufficient light as the resulting images would be very grainy.  That said it is nice to get a few shots at the end of the day such as during the first dance.

Film – Film excels in bright sunny conditions such as outdoor weddings or locations that have lots of sunny blue sky days.  Film also suits weddings where couples have gone to great lengths to pick a beautiful wedding venue and have an eye for the finer details.

Film has a softer more arty look than digital images produced by modern DSLR cameras.  Many digital wedding photographers try to emulate the look of film with Photoshop plugins but why settle for imitations when you can have the real thing.

Is film right for your wedding?

Take into consideration the pros and cons of film detailed above, your wedding venue and the time of the year you will get married.  Perhaps Google ‘film wedding photography’ images and see if you like the look.  You might notice some the best photos are often taken in bright light and with the sun behind the subject.

Please find examples of my film wedding photography below using vintage Leica film cameras and various medium format film cameras.

Film Wedding Photography

Contax 645 Wedding :)

Mamiya 645 Wedding

Fuji GF670 Wedding Portrait

Leica Film Wedding

Kodak Portra Wedding B&W

Leica M2 Film Wedding

Leica M2 Wedding

Coventry Wedding Photographer - Film

Mamiya RZ Wedding Photography

Colour Film Wedding Photography

Nikon F4 Bridal Shoot

Film Wedding Photography

Film Wedding Photography

Mamiya 645 Wedding

Link to Ultimate Wedding Photography competition – Free Film Wedding Photographer

See more of my wedding photography examples at http://www.LeicaWeddingPhotographer.co.uk

Kodak Portra 160 & Zurich Models

Kodak Portra 160 & Zurich Models

Zurich Model Photography Workshop, May 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography – “Mr Leica”

Here is a series of 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film negative scans from my recent Zurich Model Photography Workshop.  All Kodak Portra photos on the trip were shot with my 1950s Leica M3 rangefinder film camera with a 1950s Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR lens attached.  Big thanks to Option Model Agency who kindly supplied three of the models.

Firstly a few sample images I shared on Flickr:

  • Model: Joy (Option Model Agency)

Portra 160 Model Shoot

Kodak Portra 160

  • Model: Taisha (with Ben in some photos)

Model Photography Workshop

  • Model: Joy (Option Model Agency)

Kodak Portra 160 Model Photography

  • Model: Julia (See below in black dress)
  • Model: Nadja (Option Model Agency)(Not included here. Post to follow)

Leica M3 + Kodak Portra 160

More Kodak Portra 160 film images from my Zurich trip:

(Includes two black and white conversions)

$6-03 $6-04 $6-05 $6-06 $6-07 $6-08 $4X6 PORTRA2-20E $8X10PORTA VERSION-09 $8X10PORTA VERSION-10 $8X10PORTA VERSION-11 $Portra Horo 4X6-06E $Portra Horo 4X6-07E $Portra Horo 4X6-08E $Portra Horo 4X6-09E $Portra Horo 4X6-10E $Portra Horo 4X6-12E $Portra Horo 4X6-18E $portra horo-16E  $Portra Horo 4X6-01E $Portra Horo 4X6-02E$Portra Horo 4X6-25E$4X6 PORTRA-13E$6-09

During the shoot with model Nadja I tested 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film vs 35mm CineStill 50D film.  Nadja’s photos to follow in the next post.

Matt

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Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR Lens

I have always had the old Leica Summicron 50f2 DR (“Dual Range”) lens on my ‘to try’ list despite owning a modern Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens.

New lens :) #Vintage #Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR with goggles for close focus. Looks beautiful on the #leicam3 :) #leicacamera www.MrLeica.com

When considering new glass my first reference point is Flickr. I ask myself ‘do the images with this lens have something special about them, regardless of the subject matter or talent of the photographer?’ My modern Leica Summicron 50f2 v5 lens is my least used 50mm as I tend to favour the Leica Noctilux 50f1 or Leica Summilux ASPH 50f1.4. The vintage Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 creates beautiful images but flares easily so not for all occasions. I sold the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 and Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 but I don’t think I fully appreciated the strengths of the Sonnar until after it was sold. With the 50f1 Noctilux normally living on digital Leica M9 body I wanted another 50mm lens to live on the Leica M3 film camera. I shortlisted either another Zeiss Sonnar 50f1.5 or a vintage Leica Summicron 50f2 DR. I did a quick reality check for the usefulness of the two 50mm lenses.

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5 vs Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5

  • Fully functional on all my Leica M camera bodies
  • Modern lens coating so less prone to flare
  • Zeiss ‘3D’ pop look wide open
  • Sharp wide open
  • 50f1.5 is almost 1 stop brighter than 50f2 DR so more useful in low light
    BUT
  • Close focus only 1m (the reason I sold my first ZM Sonnar lens)
  • Some copies of the lens are said to have focus shift issues

Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

  • Can close focus at 0.5m (0.478) when using goggles attachment
  • Sharp images wide open
  • Images have a signature ‘DR’ look that I dont see with the modern v5 Summicron lens
    BUT
  • Lens only functions at a range of 1-4m on my Leica M9 and M8 (no close up or infinity focus ability)(*note lens is fully functional on my Leica M3 and M2)(and non-TTL M6)
  • Have to attach-detach goggles every time you want to go from close focus (0.478-0.88m) to 1m to infinity

I was keeping my mind open then on a recent trip to Munich Germany I visited the Leica Munich store to say hello and to see if they had a Leica Summicron 50f2 DR lens in stock to try. Sadly they didn’t have in but instead kindly recommended a shop that may have one. I found the shop and my luck was in! They had two 50mm DR lenses. One copy of the lens was cheaper so I tried that one first. It was not calibrated with my Leica M9 so I tried the second copy and asked the store if I could take it out the shop to try in the street. I left the Noctilux lens with them as a small deposit and they smiled and agreed. What struck me most was the sharpness wide open at f2 and the beautiful way it rendered out of focus areas. It took maybe five test photos and that was all I needed to see. Sold to the man that has enough lenses already but felt a need for one more!

#cameraporn #leicam3 #leicacamera #rangefinder #vintagecamera #leica #summicron 50f2 DR + Goggles - www.MrLeica.com

I will sell my near mint modern Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens with box if anyone is looking buy one? I know many Leica shooters swear by them but I dont use it enough to keep.

Eager to try the Leica Summicron 50mm DR to its full potential I fitted it to my Leica M3 and shot half a roll of black and white Kodak T-Max 100 film which was already loaded in the camera. It was sunny and I felt I was missing out by not shooting colour during the golden hour. I had no 35mm colour film with me in Germany,  only 120 Portra for the Mamiya 645 Super. Luckily I discovered a small camera shop when out exploring and when I asked for colour film they opened a box of the old Kodak Portra 400 VC that they must have had in stock for years. I’ve only ever used the new Kodak Portra so was interested to try the older 400 VC Portra. The model had cancelled for the afternoon shoot so I took the opportunity to set myself a challenge.  Shoot a 36 exposure roll of film in one afternoon of anything and everything using the strengths of the Summicron 50 DR lens. To me this meant mostly shooting wide open at f2 with plenty of close ups and considering the out of focus areas for colour and bokeh. Results to follow!

#filmchallenge 1x roll of Kodak Portra 400 VC (36 exposures), 1x Leica M3 rangefinder film camera, 1x Leica Summicron 50f2 DR, 5 hours of walking the streets taking photos of anything that caught my eye and finished off with 1x KFC meal :) #kodakfilm #lei

Leica Summicron 50f2 DR vs Mamiya 645 / Mamiya RZ usage

My most used non Leica camera is currently the Mamiya 645 Super.  What I enjoy most about the Mamiya 645 and even more so the Mamiya RZ 67 (and Rolleiflex SL66E) which use bellows, is the ability to focus close to my subject.  To me that is one of the biggest weaknesses of the Leica M system, the 0.7m rangefinder closest focus distance. Now my Leica M3 will focus to 0.5m at f2 I am excited to try the Summicron 50 DR for my portrait work. Again, results to follow!

I feel the Leica Summicron 50f2 DR is the perfect lens for my Leica M3. The combination look beautiful together and function is on a par with form. If the combination looked pretty but wasnt capable of taking good images it would be worthless to me. I buy vintage cameras to use not to polish.

I hope to try the Leica Summicron 50f2 DR on both my Leica M9 and also Leica M3 this weekend so sample images coming soon.

Here is a test shot SOOC from outside the camera store.  Leica M9 JPEG

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR - SOOC

Ken Rockwell is a big fan of this lens. More tech detail here – http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/50mm-f2-dr.htm

Kodak Portra 400 & 800 Film

Kodak Portra 400 & 800 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

Kodak Portra 400 film - 120 & 35mm :)

Film Photography in the UK – Colour Film

With our often grey and overcast typical great British weather the light levels in the UK are not that of say sunny Califoria.  Many of the current ‘great’ colour film photographers seem to be based in Calforia and make full use of the amazing light they seem to have.  Sunny weather is perfect for colour film use as unlike digital, the film retains the highlight detail.  That and the fact that colour film often looks better slighty over exposed, for portrait and wedding photography especially giving flattering natural skin tones.

So in an ideal world I would live in Califoria and life would be good.  Probably!  By that I mean there is so much light I can use fine grain colour films like Kodak Portra 160 or even Kodak Ektar 100.  On top of that there would still be light to spare so I could pretty much any standard lens with an aperture of perhaps f4 (like my Leica Elmar 135mm f4) and still be able to retain a fast shutter speed.  In an ideal world I would use a lot of super fine grain Kodak Ektar, both 120 and 35mm and also Portra 160 for when shooting people in direct sunlight.

In a real world colour film photography is not like that here in the UK.  For much of the year and especially the darker autumn and winter months we don’t have enough light for my taste.  Due to lack of available light I have to use my fastest sharp lenses (Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 and Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii) wide open and often with a slow shutter, 1/8-1/60 perhaps.  For the colour film selection I find Portra 160 is too slow and I need faster colour film.  120 Kodak Portra 800 is an excellent choice for medium format but is expensive.  I have not tried 35mm Kodak Portra 800 but I think it would be too grainy for my taste and is also expensive.  For medium format the film nagatives are larger so grain is less apparent hence 120 Portra 800 is good.  A happy medium for both price and grain is Kodak Portra 400.  I have used a lot of 120 Portra 400 but never for 35mm.  Today I have taken the plunge and will see how I find 135 Portra 400 in my Leicas.

Never enough light!

For 35mm colour film photograhy I can use my Leica M3 or Leica M2 cameras with a fast lens to shoot wide open at say f1.4, with a slow shutter if needed of 1/8 handheld for static subjects and have ISO 400 film.  Great, I think.  Then I remember colour film looks nicer (I think) overexposed and often with the brightest part of the image being behind the face (backlit).  This means on an overcast day if I meter for the face into the light I may have a shutter speed of 1/60.  Nice.  I then turn the model to have the brigter sky on the back of her head and increase the exposure by +2 stops, say. That gives me a shutter speed of 1/15.  Now I want to perhaps overexpose the face by +1 / +2 stops depending on the type of light / skin / look etc.  If I go with +1 overexposed in camera that gives me a shutter speed of 1/8. OK that is all fine if I keep myself steady and the subject doesn’t move.  I then take the same scenerio into a real life situation such as a wedding film photography and a church ceremony.  Assuming the same amount of light and same settings I need to use 1/8 shutter for my ‘perfect’ exposure.  I then realise I need  a shutter speed of 1/60-1/125 minimum to freeze the motion as the couple walk down the isle (depending on speed of walking! Slow ideally otherwise use 1/125-1/160).  Assuming they walk at a ‘normal’ speed I might want a shutter speed of 1/125.   This means I am now -4 under exposed for all the photos even with ISO 400 film and a f1.4 fast prime lens.  Slightly undercxposed colour film looks muddy and dull at -1 stop.  I wouldn’t want to under expose the film any more than -1.  I then remember I can use 120 Kodak Portra 800 for an extra +1 stop of light.  It all sounds promising until I remember than most standard medium format lenses are f2.8 widest aperture.  My Mamiya 645 Super has a 80mm f1.9 lens (say f2) so in this example Portra 800 gives me a +1 but the lens gives me a -1 stop  (vs a f1.4 lens) so no gain overall.  Therefore no gain and I would not want to use medium format cameras much slower than 1/30 handheld due to the mirror slap in most of them.  This means my little mirrorless Leica M rangefinder cameras give me in theory +2 stop gain over my medium format cameras as I can use at 1/8 (if subject static)(wait for them to stop!)(assuming using the f1.4 lenses on 35mm and f2 lens on medium format).

Conclusion

To date I have only use ISO 100 Kodak Ektar, ISO 160 Kodak Portra and cheaper ISO 200 Fujifilms.  I am hoping 35mm Kodak Portra 400 gives me more chance to shoot colour film when there is not enough light for Portra 160.  I might also buy a roll of 35mm Kodak Portra 800 film and/ or perhaps 35mm CineStill 800T film to try.  CineStill 800T is supposed to be pushable like Kodak Tri-X is for B&W so could be a solution for those darker lit shoots.

Lastly, Black & White film

Black and white film is perfect for the UK light and for my work.  Luckily I love B&W but am trying to start shooting more colour film too.  B&W film such as Kodak Tri-X 400 can be pushed to ISo 800 or ISO 1600 in processing easily so can be used for the darkest of shoots.  I don’t mind grain for B&W film photos whereas perfer less grain for colour film photos.  As I develop my own black and white film I can adjust my development process to make highlights brighter, retain more shadow detail etc etc.  For colour film I send to a lab and develop at box speed so not to incur additional costs.  This means for colour film I need to get exposure right in camera and that normally means I need more light!

A few 120 Kodak Portra 400 film examples

Contax 645 Wedding Portrait

Contax 645 Wedding Portrait

Fuji GF670 + Portra Portrait

120 Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 Street  Photography

VW Camper Wedding

Tiszaujvaros, Hungary

Mamiya RZ Wedding Photography

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra + Leica M3 (2)

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra + Leica M3 …(Gina – Session 2)

Editorial Fashion – Kodak Portra Film + Leica M3

Model – Gina Underhill

Photographer – Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

November 2014

Editorial fashion photography spread using a 1950s Leica M3 camera, 35mm colour film and minimal post processing. Below are photos from a recent shoot with Coventry model Gina who joined me in London as part of a portrait photography workshop. I was demonstrating how easy it can be to get a nice photo with minimal equipment and just daylight. One camera, one lens. We had an amazing day with a great location, a beautiful model and even some brief winter sunshine!

Here are photos taken when Gina arrived to London ahead of the orange dress shoot (first  post).  Hair still pinned up from transit but I said leave it like that as a bit different.  I chose the hat.  Gina was less keen!  I was also using my Rolleiflex SL66E 6×6 medium format film camera loaded with 120 Fuji Pro 400H so will share those soon.

More info –

Camera – 1950s Leica M3 Rangefinder film camera
Lens – Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4
Film – 35mm Kodak Portra 160 colour film
Development – C41 processed lab developed and scan
Lighting – Daylight only
Location – Street close to Victoria Station, London
Stylist / Hair / Make-Up – Gina / Matt

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