Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Budapest Models – Hasselblad H3D-31

Matthew Osborne Photography/ @MrLeicaCom

June 2016

Hasselblad H3D-31 Fashion

Cameras – Hasselblad H3D-31 & Leica M 240!

Two days after my Hasselblad H3D-31 digital camera arrived I was due to fly out to Budapest, Hungary for a long weekend of model photography. I decided to leave my analogue Hasselblad 501C camera behind and instead take the new H3D-31 and also my digital Leica M-240 rangefinder. It might sound silly to take two digital cameras and no film cameras but I wanted to try out the new Hasselblad H3D-31. I didn’t want to take only the H3D-31 as I only had two CF cards and two batteries. I was not sure how long two batteries would last me when doing model photography on location and I would need more than the 32GB + 16GB CF memory card I owned. I also only have one lens, the Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 HC for the H3D-31 which is not wide enough for all situations. The Leica M240 can easily last all day shooting on two batteries and I have plenty of SD cards for storage.

Models – 3 Model Agencies

I used to travel through Budapest quite regularly for work so I had been planning to return for a long time.  Hungary was home from home at one point and much of my very early model photography practise was shot there. I planned the trip for the summer to try to utilise longer and warmer days (hopefully!). I got lucky and we had nearly all dry weather with blue skies.  I collaborated with three Budapest model agencies including NumberOne Models Group, Maverick Agency and Face Model Management. I worked 9:00 – 21:00 with back to back shoots and did 8 photo sessions in all; 2 guys and 5 girls (with Lilla coming back for a second shoot). The standard of models was mixed as is often the case when selecting models in advance online. Some models did exceed expectation and were both experienced and of high standard. I was lucky to catch them between their contracts overseas, often Paris, Milan, Istanbul and Asia.

Location – Budapest

Budapest is a very photogenic city so I wanted to try to capture some of it in my photography.  That said, I prepared for rain so booked a city centre apartment with balcony instead of the standard hotel booking approach. It was the best decision ever and I got really lucky with a nice room and amazing balcony to use for photos.  The apartment was located in the centre and I could see the crowd gathered around a big screen for Euro 2016 games! Nearly all photos  outside were shot within 5min walk of my apartment so my usual strategy.  I tend to only need a wall and some nice light for my style of photos normally but I did try to use some Budapest landmarks too.

Example Photos – Hasselblad H3D-31

Hasselblad H3D-31
Italian Style
Budapest Model
Hasselblad H3D-31
Digital Hasselblad H3D
Hasselblad H3D-31
Hasselblad Lingerie Shoot

Related Posts

 

 

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Leica M 240 – It Wont Be Missed

Leica M 240 – It Wont Be Missed

..(& my Photography Journey so far)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

#excited 😁 I just found out that the Leica Summicron 50 DR with its close focus goggles will fit on my Leica M Typ 240! It doesn't fit on a M9 or M8. #result! #leicam #leicam240 #leicacamera #leicacraft #leicasphere #leica #summicron #summicrondr #ra

January 2016

My photography journey is now perhaps into it’s 8th year.  I started with digital cameras and worked my way through a Lumix G1, Nikon D90, Nikon D700, Nikon D800 but still wanted something more.  I tried my late Grandad’s Yasica MG-1 35mm film camera and then started looking at other film cameras. I bought a Contax 645 medium format film camera, ARAX-CM (Kiev 88), Mamiya RZ67 to name a few and then I bought a digital Leica M9.

Leica M9

The Leica M9 Kodak CCD sensor produced filmic looking images straight out of the camera without any need for hours of Photoshop or efforts in the dark room.  The Leica M9 pretty much killed my film photography journey for perhaps 12 months.  I then slowly started getting back into film cameras and new camera purchases included vintage 1950s Leica cameras like the Leica M3 and Leica M2. I also bought two large format 4×5 film cameras, a Pacemaker Speed Graphic and Sinar F2. I find I cycle between 35mm film, medium format and large format. Each format have their strengths and drawbacks.

Leica M 240

The next chapter in my photography journey was when my Leica M9 started to fail me.  The rangefinder became misaligned, it was quite bruised and battered from so much use anyway and the sensor needed replacing. I decided to say goodbye to the M9 and part ex’d it in for a new digital Leica M Typ 240. Initially I was excited by the M240.

As quickly as the Leica M9 had killed my film photography I think the Leica M 240 has killed my digital photography.  I would describe the M240 as producing equally unexciting photos as my Nikon D800.  Both are good cameras with many positives but neither make me want to take a photo for enjoyment.   The Leica M 240 is now only used on my model photography shoots for test shots and to warm up the models.  The photos are fine and the girls use them for their portfolio images but I may only use one or two as preview images until the ‘proper’ film photos are developed.

Upgrading

At roughly the same time as my Leica M 240 purchase I was experiencing a string of frustrating film camera issues.  The Leica M3 rangefinder also needed recalibrating, the Mamiya 645 was misfocusing, the Rollei SL66E film back was not taking the film, the Fuji GS645 had a sticking shutter, the Mamiya RZ battery always seemed to be flat. The list went on.  I decided to get a more modern 35mm film camera, a Nikon F4 SLR. I liked the photos and camera to use but wanted more resolution.   That lead me to buy another more modern film camera, a Fuji GA645.  The Fuji GA645 images were excellent but the camera is not that exciting to use. The search continued.

Hasselblad

During all the time I have been buying and lusting after different cameras I have not once considered a Hasselblad.  I’m not sure why,  I think I always wanted the greatest shallow depth of field so went for cameras like the Contax 645 and Mamiya 645 using faster lenses. Many Hasselblad lenses are f4 widest aperture and I was used to using  f1, f1.2, f1.4 on the 35mm Leica cameras.  I already had four 6×6 film cameras, ARAX-CM, Rollei SL66E, Fuji GF670 in 6×6 format and the Mamiya RZ with a 6×6 film back attached. Again, all nice cameras but none were perfect and I think it is that that lead me to a 500 Series Hasselblad.

If the Leica M 240 killed my digital photography then the Hasselblad 501C hammered home the final nail in the coffin.   The Hasselblad has single handedly transformed my photography for the better.  Of all the cameras I use I think only the Leica M9 had such a positive impact on my photography.  So what changed?

I enjoy composing the 6×6 Hasselblad square format and the Zeiss lenses give me the high resolution film images I like.  At f4 the subject detail is super sharp yet the background can still melt away.  The camera size makes it portable for location shoots yet slow enough to be selective about the photos I capture.

After experiencing the quality of a Hasselblad camera I then bought a 35mm Hasselblad XPan rangefinder.  (Blog post to follow).

The Leica M 240 wont be missed

So I started by saying the Leica M 240 wont be missed so where is it you may ask?  If you saw my recent New York (II) workshop blog post you may have noticed I took a digital Leica M8 (and my new Leica M6 film camera) not the M240.  Well in addition to losing all interest in the Leica M 240 images (due to the flat and uninteresting photos that require far too much time in post processing to create something worth sharing) I also noticed the M 240 rangefinder was out of alignment.  My M240 is currently with the engineers in Leica Germany and so the Leica M8 has stepped up to the mark as my digital camera for model photoshoots.

I think for the first 6 months of using the M 240 I ignored the fact that the photos looked like the Nikon D800 CMOS sensor photos.  Photos took a lot of work in Lightroom but I could usually get something from it to share.  I then recently went back to shooting B&W JPEGs (plus RAW) in the Leica M8 and it brought back the amazing memories of how I used to shoot when I first bought the Leica M9.  I could shoot 200+ photos with a model and have them emailed to her within an hour of her leaving the studio.  That alone shows how good the Leica CCD sensor is, whether Leica M8 or Leica M9.  Photos just come out the camera ready to share without hours wasted in front of a computer.  When I am using a digital camera to test the last thing I need is to then waste hours editing before I can give the photos to a model when I want to spend my time developing and scanning film.

You might say at this stage well stop moaning about it and just buy another Leica M9 and sell the M 240 or better still sell the Leica M 240 and buy an enlarger to start printing my own film images with!  The problem I face is some clients want modern digital photos in colour and for that the Leica M240 does a better job than the Nikon D800 in my hands.  Until I can persuade all wedding couples to request only film photography images I plan to keep the Leica M 240 for wedding photography as the camera does have some advantages over the M9.  The M240 is a nice camera it just has a very boring sensor.

The Leica M 240 sensor captures lots of information in a very flat way making images great as a project to work on for hours in Photoshop but not the instant gratification of the Leica M8 / M9 I desire. I like to create images in camera not in computer.  The M240 is a camera where perhaps 50% of the image is created in camera, 50% in computer.  The Leica M9/ M8 B&W JPEGs can be created 95-99% in camera and I would say my black and white film images are 88% in camera/film developing, 2% scanning, 10% in computer to remove dust and do any basic darkroom style adjustments.

I hope Leica can release a digital camera in the future that excites me as much as the Leica M8/ M9 do but at the moment the future for me is looking like film.  As probably expected I have not missed the Leica M240 being away for repair.  When I had the Leica M9 I don’t think I could have imagined not having it with me. (That is why I used the M9 for over a year with a faulty sensor).  Big difference!

(Leica M8 images blog in the pipeline to show what M8 black and white JPEG looks like).

Hasselblad Fashion Photography – Poland

Hasselblad Fashion Photography – Poland

(Hasselblad 501C & Leica M Typ 240 Model Photography)

October 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com

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Intro

I have lost count of how many trips I have made to Poland now. This is model photography visit number 3 for Poland in 2015 I think! I will link the previous trips at the end of this post if interested. Each time I visit I make new contacts and so have more and more models to choose from. This is the first visit where there were 5+ models wanting photos but I was already fully booked.  As my photography matures I get more selective with the models I work with so to try to create the best possible images.

Camera gear for Poland

On previous visits I have packed as many as 4 cameras I think from memory together with an array of lenses. For this trip I decided to try to keep it simple. The plan was two cameras and two lenses and that was all. When packing I found I then had some spare capacity so added a few extras bits! For this visit it was all about the Hasselblad 501C camera! I was so excited to get there and get started!

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Camera bag:

  • Leica M Typ 240 digital camera
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens
  • Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera
  • Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens
  • Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 CF kit lens
  • Hasselblad A12 film back (x2)
  • Hasselblad PM 45 degree prism finder
  • Yellow filter, 81B warming filter, 82C blue filter
  • Bellows lens hood
  • Sirui P-326 carbon monopod
  • Shutter cable release
  • 5in1 reflector
  • 120 medium format film (see below)

Colour film:

  • Kodak Portra 160, 400, 800
  • Kodak Portra 160NC (expired)
  • Kodak Ektar 100
  • Fuji Pro 400H

Black and white film:

  • Kodak Tri-X 400
  • Kodak T-Max 400
  • Fuji Acros 100
  • Fomapan 100
  • Ilford Delta 100
  • Ilford Delta 3200

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Leica digital photography

I needed one digital camera to capture instant images to give the models and also to warm them up with poses before shooting on film. The Leica M 240 sensor is quite capable but lifeless so to give myself a fighting chance of creating something I might be interested in I packed the Noctilux lens to be used wide open at f1. The Noctilux captures more filmic looking images even on the modern Leica M 240 CMOS sensor.

Hasselblad film photography

I wanted to pack just one film camera to let me focus on capturing a smaller number of hopefully better crafted film images. The Hasselblad camera slows me down so I have time to think twice before pressing the shutter. With 35mm film photography I find I now fire off a series of shots much faster than I used to. Medium format film in 6×6 format gives me 12 frames a roll rather than 36 frames for 35mm film. I planned to be more selective and therefore have less similar images and hopefully more keepers. Normally I would shoot one roll of film per model so now I want to take less overall images, digital and film per girl but hopefully a higher standard of work. Being able to pack a spare Hasselblad A12 film back was really exciting as I could shoot 120 colour film alongside 120 black and white film with the same model. My preference is black and white film but if models bring some colourful clothing I have the option to capture them in colour too.

Hasselblad Zeiss lenses

For Hasselblad lenses the original idea was to only take the Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 lens as it lets me do close up portraits in addition to standard photos. I decided to add the Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 for three reasons, well four really. It gives me a wider view closer to 50mm in 35mm terms. The 80mm f2.8 kit lens is one stop faster than the 120mm f4 Makro-Planar for when I need more light. (This is often the case with medium format photography as lenses are not as fast as 35mm film camera lenses). The f2.8 aperture also gives me a greater shallow depth of field verses the f4 Makro-Planar lens at the same distance though in practice the 120f4 vs 80f2.8 might be quite similar looking. Lastly the Zeiss Planar is reasonably small and light for a Hasselblad mount lens so was easy to fit in my bag.

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Film and filters

Normally I load ISO 400 speed film into my Hasselblad in the UK as there is often never enough light (well since buying my Hasselblad in September anyway!). The Poland forecast was looking quite promising being colder but more sunny. The hotel is on the beach so the sand can act like a giant reflector bouncing light back up onto the models. As such and with my usual positive outlook I packed a range of film speeds from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. I packed roughly a 2:1 ratio of black and white film to colour film and tried to cover myself for all levels of brightness. Some films where to be shot at box speed, Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Acros 100 and Ilford Delta 100. Kodak Portra 160, 400 and 800 and Fuji Pro 400H were to be overexposed by roughly one stop where possible and if enough light and if not at box speed. Fomapan 100 is an excellent film with great latitude and can be shot at ISO 100-400 and developed at box speed. Kodak T-Max 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are also bomb proof and I can use at ISO 200-800 easily and ISO 1600 if needed. Lastly I packed a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 to try. I read it is better shot at ISO 1600 but if I need to I will try it at ISO 3200.

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Poland visit

I visited Sopot, Poland again for four full days of model photography. I planned to work close to and inside the hotel to make the best use of the time. I looked forward to lots of close up portraits and interesting 6×6 crops using the Hasselblad as this is what I enjoy the most.   I can’t do close up photos easily using a Leica M camera and standard lenses so this is what I really miss from my Nikon days. I am loving the Instagram ready square format of the Hasselblad camera so will enjoy composing as a square rather than the usual rectangular format.

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Polish models

Models include catwalk agency models, non-catwalk specific agency models and non agency models with a mix of perhaps 50:50 new faces and familiar ones. My models were Marta K, Marta M, Marta P, Marta W, Irmina, Natalia, Agnieszka, Weronika, and Teresa. Lots of Marta’s!

I am especially excited to work with some of the girls as we have been planning the shoots for weeks online. It is crazy how many hours of planning are involved ahead of a trip. I dread to think the total number of hours I have spend writing on Facebook to the different girls trying to coordinate everyone so as many girls as possible get to have photos. It doesn’t feel a chore but it does take time.

Leica M Typ 240

I found the Leica M 240 camera much more enjoyable to use with the Leica Noctilux 50f1 lens attached but I always wanted to get closer than the 1m closest focus distance. The original plan was to bring the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens that works at 0.7m but it gives a more modern look to the images. Taking only one lens for the Leica M 240 worked well as I could concentrate on using the Hasselblad.

Hasselblad 501C Camera

The Hasselblad 501C was such great fun to use. I found the 120mm Zeiss Makro-Planar lens pulls me in close to the action for most of the photos. I really had to make myself step back for photos further away. My eyes find it far easier to focus more accurately when I am in closer. I used the 120mm Makro Planar lens for perhaps 11 of every 12 images on average apart from the last shoot where I loaded ISO 100 film so needed the speed of the Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 lens. I am glad I shot some photos with the 80mm as I am interested to see the Zeiss Planar depth of field at f2.8. I found I had to use my lenses wide open at either f2.8 or f4 to achieve a 1/60 shutter speed inside. Outside we sometimes had more light so I did some close up portraits at f5.6 and even a few at f8 to see how the 120mm Makro-Planar lens performs. For a few photos at the end of one day I shot the Zeiss Planar 80mm at f2.8 at 1/15 shutter to get the necessary exposure so it will be interesting to see if the photos are usable. All photos were taken with the Hasselblad 501C camera mounted directly on the Sirui carbon monopod and with a shutter release cable to try to give me more keepers when at 1/60. We shall see. I didn’t have much experience using a Hasselblad camera ahead of this trip to Poland so I am still working out my limits.

Hasselblad and Kodak film

I asked some models to bring bright coloured clothes and they did so I took the opportunity to shoot some Kodak Ektar 100 film. I think Kodak Ektar film can captures some of the sharpest colour film portraits so I wanted to pair it with the equally high performing Zeiss lenses for the Hasselblad. I also used some expired Kodak Portra 160 NC and fresh stock Kodak Portra 160 and 400 film.

Black and white film and filters

For black and white film photography I paired the film with either the yellow filter or the blue 82C filter if not interchanging with colour film also. When switching between colour film and black and white film using two A12 Hasselblad film backs I used no filter or sometimes the 81B warming filter instead.

Keep it simple

When I am normally juggling multiple film cameras I often don’t use any filters for my black and white film photography as have enough to think about. Using just one film camera is so much better as I can stay more focused and therefore make less potential mistakes. Switching Hasselblad lenses and film backs is a recipe for disaster if I am not concentrating! I made detailed notes (for once!) of what filter and film combinations I was using and the lens choice so can refer to this once the film is developed to see how the results compare. It may be that I start using filters much more again if I like the results better with filters than without.

Available light

To speed up my photography and again to simplify everything I captured all photos with available light only.  I will look to introduce strobes when using my Hasselblad camera for model photography and fashion photography to make use of the 1/500 flash sync speed but for this trip I relied on daylight and worked during daylight hours.

Summary

Without doubt this was my best trip to Poland to date. I was extremely happy with the camera choice. In particular the Hasselblad 501C was just a dream to use and the Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 lens did all I asked from it. In future I could easily make do with one Hasselblad lens only and if I had to choose it would be the 120mm rather than the 80mm for me. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to see the film photos developed from a trip away. Expectation based on the view I saw through the viewfinder is so high I just hope I am not disappointed. I will get the colour film negatives lab developed and scanned so I will post the results here once received. I develop my own black and white film so tend to post photos one at a time to Flickr as I get chance to work through them. I plan to share the results using the different colored filters, the various film stocks and comparing the 120mm vs. 80mm Zeiss lenses. Fingers crossed the results are OK!

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As usual with my trips abroad I am wondering when next to visit Poland!

Related Posts

(Please note all photos included were using my iPhone and the ‘real’ photos are to follow!)*

Leica M Typ 240 LCD

Leica M Typ 240 LCD

August 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica . com

Just finished my first wedding with the Leica M Typ 240. What an amazing camera! I loved the M9 but the 240 is so nice for weddings. 📷 Blog to follow.. #leicam #leicam240 #leica #leicawedding #leicaweddingphotographer #weddingphotography #billingha

When buying the Leica M Typ 240 camera  I didn’t think for a minute that I would be be using the rear 3 inch LCD display for anything other than chimping and changing menu settings.

Leica M Rangefinder

I bought the Leica M camera as I enjoy using and get my best results from focusing with the Leica optical viewfinder (rangefinder focus system).  I now struggle to use a DSLR accurately with manual focus lenses.  I confidently focus my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens wide open via the rangefinder system.

I did my first Leica wedding with the M 240 camera rather than my usual Leica M9 (that I part exchanged in for the M).  I suddenly found the LCD had multiple advantages I had never really considered.  I am sure there are more but here are some features that I love about the Leica M 240 LCD.

6 Reasons why I Love the Leica M 240 LCD

  1. Gorrila Glass cover  – The Leica M LCD has super tough Gorrila Glass so it hopefully wont get chipped /cracked liked my old M9 LCD display.
  2. Exposure preview – Pressing the shutter button half way down on the Leica M gives an exposure preview via the LCD live view mode.  I am strange in that I normally guess my exposure, take a shot then adjust up or down as needed.  That is how I used the Leica M9.  The Leica M lets me preview the available light exposure so I can adjust as needed before taking a photo.  The only exception to this is when I am using a combination of strobes and continuous light when I would then do a test photo.
  3. Wide lens composition – With the Leica M9 I used auxillary external viewfinders for lenses wider than 28mm such as the Zeiss Biogon 21mm and 25mm f2.8 lenses and the Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 lens.  For fast shooting I still use the external finders especially in bright conditions but the LCD live view now gives me an alternative option to compose wide lenses without needing an external finder if required.
  4. Shooting height, low and from the hip – I love the waist level viewfinders of my medium format cameras such as the Mamiya RZ 67  Pro II, Mamiya 645 Super and Rolleiflex SL66E.  I shoot low and from the waist with ease. It is not always practical to lie on a dirty floor to line up the optical rangefinder against the eye with a Leica M camera. The M 240 LCD live view lets me both compose but also focus when shooting above head height, waist level and low level too.
  5. Focusing lenses that needing recalibrating – Some of my older lenses need recalibrating to be able to focus them accurately via the Leica M rangefinder focusing system.  The LCD live view and focus peeking lets me focus any lenses accurately and easily.  Using various adapters on the M 240 I can focus a whole range of non Leica M mount lenses such as Leica R glass, Nikon glass, Mamiya glass or any others I have.
  6. Focus lenses closer than the 0.7m rangefinder closest focus distance – I use both Leica glass but also Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses on the Leica M cameras.  One common feature seen on non-Leica glass is that some lenses can be focused at 0.5m instead of the standard 0.7m Leica rangefinder lens distance.  On the Leica M9 I could only focus these lenses accurately at 0.7m.  With the Leica M 240 the LCD live view mode lets me focus these lenses at 0.5m using the focus peeking.  One lens the really benefits from this is the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH II lens as the depth of field at f1.2 and 0.5m is very shallow and gives a slight Noctilux look.

I will post more thoughts on the new Leica M 240 camera as I get to use it more.  So far I have no regrets in terms of camera handling and features vs the Leica M9.

Example images:

Leica M 240 + Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5

St Barts Brewery London

Leica M240 + Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH II @f1.2

Leica M240 Wedding

Leica M9 Part Exchanged for Leica M 240

Leica M9 Part Exchanged for Leica M 240

Matthew Osborne Photography

August 2015

After buying a used Leica M9 camera two years ago today I bid it farewell when I part exchanged the M9 for a brand new Leica M Typ 240. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/20411540031

Leica M 240 – Why the sudden purchase!?

How did this come about you may ask considering I liked the Leica M9 and my heart is in film photography not digital photography?  I noticed my M9 camera rangefinder needed slight adjustment to get sharp focus at apertures wider than say f4. This is why I took the Nikon D800 to Poland and Ukraine as the M9 was not useable. A Flickr follower, Wolfgang then advised my that Leica Germany had a good part exchange deal. I contacted my friend Jimmy at the Leica Mayfair London store and he said they to had a similar part exchange offer on for the Leica M9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/20207868168

Leica M 240 – Offer details

Leica currently has a fixed price offer for a M9 suffering from a delaminated CCD sensor coating – Pay £2250 and exchange your M9 for a new Leica M Typ 240. The price of a new Leica Typ 240 camera is £4650 in Jessops (to put things in perspective!) (link below). Considering how well used my M9 camera was (high shutter count and strong signs of use including a chipped/ cracked screen), the fact that the M9 CCD sensor had been diagnosed as suffering from delamiantion and needed replacing and the rangefinder needed recalibrating it really was too good an offer to refuse! I find film cameras (Leica film cameras but also medium format and large format cameras) far more rewarding and enjoyable to use compared to modern digital cameras so some people might think I’m crazy to spend a lot of money on a camera that doesn’t really interest me. You would be correct if it was for personal use only but when shooting with model agencies or offering Leica wedding photography I need high quality digital images in addition to film.  I already have a 36MP Nikon D800 but I can operate a Leica rangefinder camera more accurately and quicker and the Leica M mount lenses tend to offer superior optics (across the board)(I recently bought macro lenses for the Nikon to achieve a level of sharpness I was acustom to with Leica). As I have written before, I can achieve sharp focus at f1.0 (using the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens) with relative ease on a calibrated Leica body yet I misfocus f2.8-f4 with manual focus lenses on the Nikon (especially at greater distances).  It is for that reason why I am 100% tied in to the Leica M rangefinder camera system.

Leica M 240 – Interest and expection was low

Considering the high cost and me being, in theory a “Leica Fanboy”, I wasnt really that excited by the thoughts of the new Leica M Typ 240 camera purchase. I was far more excited when I fixed the focus issue on my Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera on Friday!  The Leica M purchase was more a job that needed doing ahead of my next wedding (so asap!). I arranged the purchase with the Leica Mayfair store a week in advance and during that time I read up on reviews such as ‘Leica M9 vs Leica M 240’ and asked questions on camera forums like ‘Did anyone buy a Leica M 240 and regret it’.  I then came up with the idea of buying the Leica M 240 then selling it wth zero accuations and buying another used M9. I contacted a shop that sold used Leica cameras and once we did the maths and took VAT into consideration it didn’t really make sense so I decided for now (at least) to keep the new M. I guess it is a bit like driving a taxi for a living.  You have you existing car that you know and love.  You know it’s strengths and weaknesses and have learnt to love it’s little quirks.  The car has been reliable since purchase despite the now high mileage but it suddenly fails it’s MOT.  The garage offers you a brand new car replacement on a new government scrappage scheme for half it’s list price. It has the same german build quality and same excellent customer service yet has no miles on the clock and benefits fromt the latest technology.  Would you say no!?

Leica M 240 – First Impressions

I said farewell to the M9 and hello to the M 240.  I decided to buy a silver  (“chrome”) Leica M rather than black to match my Leica M3s /M2 film cameras.  (I still have the black M8 also).  I didn’t need the manual and soon found my way around the settings from using a Leica M9.  I’ve read many Leica M 240 reviews and people normally always find something to moan about when comparing to an M9. From a handling perspective I quite liked the new thumb roller dial and bulge in body to act as a thumb rest.  I used the “Thumbie” accessory on the M9 body and didn’t notice a real difference.  I love the quieter shutter sound of the M 240. It will be perfect for church weddings yet is still audible.  The near silent shutter of my Fuji GF670 is just unnerving!  The 3 inch LCD screen is amazingly sharp and much welcomed.  The slight increase in size and weight wasn’t noticed and the larger battery capacity will be great for location shoots and weddings.  The optical viewfinder works as well as the M9 and I fitted my 1.4x Leica viewfinder magnifier to it straight away.  The lack of framelines in the viewfinder with the camera switched off is not a problem as I only use the camera when it is switched on.  So far so good it seems!

Leica M 240 – CMOS vs CCD

The Leica M 240 24MP CMOS sensor certainly produces nice sharp images but the CCD vs CMOS sensor is a debate for anothe blog post once I have used the camera more.

Testing new camera - Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux. On location photoshoot with Mahi #leicam #leicam240 #leica #noctilux #backofcamera #model #photoshoot - Full details to follow on blog later - www.MrLeica.com

Leica M 240 – First Sample Images

(3 different lenses used – Noctilux, Noctilux, Summarit 50/1.5, Voigtlander 15mm)

Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux

Leica M 240 + Noctilux Portrait

Leica M Typ 240 + Summarit

Leica M Typ 240 Street Photography

Leica M 240 – Related Links

(If you have the time and interest read them in order listed as you will see my opinion change (as date of writing, oldest first).  Second link has much more spec detail*).

Leica M Type 240 ..Any benefits over the M9?

Leica M Type 240

Leica M Type 240 ..Any benefits over the M9?

I suspect like many Leica M9 owners I have just been reading up on the newer ‘more advanced’ Leica M Type 240 (“Typ 240”). To give non-Leica users some background the Leica M9 was released in 2009 and uses a Kodak 18.5mp CCD sensor). The Leica ‘M’ (Type 240) was released in 2012 and uses a more standard CMOS sensor (24mp) as found in many DSLRs.

As a Leica wedding photographer and portrait / fashion photographer I now use the Leica M9 for almost all my work regardless of whether on location or in the studio. My very capable Nikon D800 DSLR has become my backup camera. The only time I might feel I need to pull out the Nikon D800 during my regular work is in the evening during very dimly lit wedding ceremonies. If I am trying to freeze action using available light only the ISO 3200 of the D800 can save me. I find the Leica M9 is useable up to ISO 800 for people shots in dark conditions and even at ISO 2500 on occasion but I would not like to make it a regular occurrence.

So, onto the new Leica M Type 240

Much has already been written about the Leica M so I am just going to summarise the key points that stood out for me for my given situation from the research I have done.

Advantages of the Leica M Type 240 vs. Leica M9

  • High ISO capability* (I could shoot at ISO 3200 and have useable photos)
  • Larger 3” LCD Display* (with 4x more resolution to the M9)
  • Quiet shutter release* (good for documentary style wedding photography)
  • Weather sealed (always handy for when needs must)
  • EVF Electronic Viewfinder (so can use any lens on the M’ and focus similar to a SLR, through the lens)
  • Larger battery (longer battery life)
  • Increased dynamic range and resolution (in theory good but read more below)
  • Video and Live View option (with focus peaking if you like that)

(* Very attractive to me for the work I do)

Advantages for me to have a 2 Leica camera setup rather than Leica + DSLR

  • I would only need to carry 1 set of lenses (not Leica gear + Nikon gear)
  • Leica lenses and bodies are smaller reducing my overall camera bag size
  • I can benefit from using the high quality Leica M mount lenses in any given situation, day or night

Disadvantages for me selling my DSLR

I think regardless of how good a manual rangefinder camera is, such as the Leica M9 and Leica M, there will always be a potential need for a DSLR camera. Examples include fast action photography, wildlife photography, macro photography, creative photography using special effect lenses such as a Lensbaby. The fact that the latest Leica M camera is starting to include features found in DLSR and mirrorless cameras such as the CMOS sensor and EVF shows the market need for these features.

Can the Leica M Type 240 replace the Leica M9?

Not in a million years!! The M9 is special and the Kodak CCD sensor produces unique photos that the new M CMOS sensor cannot match. The M photos are nice and are comparable to using a Nikon D800 or perhaps a Canon 5D Mk III. The photos have got that sharp generic characterless look. The Leica M9 is special for me as I enjoy film photography and the black and white images possible from the M9 CCD sensor to me are near indistinguishable from 35mm film. With the rising costs of film to me this is the best of both worlds.

Example – Leica M9 & Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5. London

London Street Photography

So, would I replace my M9? No. I am not willing to give up the famous ‘Leica look’ that is due to the CCD sensor more so than the lenses.

Would I consider buying a Leica M Type 240 in the future?

Possibly, to use as a second body and for low light photography depending on my situation and work needs at that time. It is not a cheap camera! I think I rather wait and hope than Leica see sense and create some super Leica hybrid CCD-CMOS sensor!

Other options on the market?

If I want to stay with my beloved CCD sensor the next step would get very expensive. I could give up the small size of the Leica M gear and invest in a medium format Leica S2!

S2

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer