Leica M Camera Buyer’s Guide!

Leica M Camera Buyer’s Guide! (Film Ms)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

December 2016

Leica M3 Portrait

How did this post come about?

When I think back to buying my first analogue film Leica M camera I’m not sure how I decided to buy the particular camera I did.  Lots and lots of research I guess but I don’t really remember finding any information that summarised in simple terms how each Leica M camera is different or perhaps best suited my needs.  It doesn’t help that Leica M cameras all look pretty much identical to the untrained eye too! In this post I try to list some of the main differences between each Leica M camera which might hopefully make it easier for you if you are looking to buy a Leica M film camera.  Please note I have only covered Leica M film cameras and it does not include Leica digital cameras.

Leica M2 Advertisement

Leica M Camera Timeline

Here are all the major Leica M film cameras released from oldest to newest (excluding special edition cameras and showing the approximate release date/ production start date).

  • Leica M3 (1954)
  • Leica M2 (1958)
  • Leica M4 (1967)
  • Leica M5 (1971)
  • Leica M4-2 (1977)
  • Leica M4-P (1981)
  • Leica M6 Classic (1984)
  • Leica M6 TTL (1998)
  • Leica M7 (2002)
  • Leica MP (2003)
  • Leica M-A (2014)

Generally speaking the higher the M number the more recent the camera was released (with the exception of the Leica M2 that was built after the Leica M3, the M4-2 and M4-P that were released after the M5 and with the Leica MP and M-A being the most recent).

Common Featurers to all Leica M Film Cameras

*to my knowledge for the cameras covered in this article

  • Maximum shutter speed 1/1000
  • Flash sync speed 1/50
  • Rangefinder focusing system
  • Uses 35mm film
  • Leica-M bayonet mount lenses (or L39/M39/LSM/LTM Leica screw mount via adapter)

Leica M3 + Summicron 50 DR

Leica M Camera Buyers Guide

Framelines – bright lines in the viewfinder for composition

  • Leica M3 – 50,90,135 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M2 – 35,50,90 (individual framelines – so only see one at a time)
  • Leica M4 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M5 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-2 – 35/135 pair, 50, 90 (Individual & pair)
  • Leica M4-P – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M7 – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica MP – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)
  • Leica M-A – 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 (pairs – see 2 framelines at a time)

Viewfinder magnification / options

  • Leica M3 – 0.91x (most magnified viewfinder)
  • Leica M2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4 – 0.72x
  • Leica M5 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.72x
  • Leica M4-P – 0.72x
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.58x / 0.72x / 0.85x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica M7 – 0.58x / 0.72x (0.58x is for use with winder lenses)
  • Leica MP – 0.72x /
  • Leica M-A – 0.72x

Rangefinder focusing

  • Leica M3 – 1m to infinity (close focus goggles allow focusing from 0.478m)
  • Leica M2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M5 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-2 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M4-P – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 Classic – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M6 TTL – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M7 – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica MP – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)
  • Leica M-A – 0.7m to infinity (can use lenses with close focus goggles)

Battery required to take a photo?

  • Leica M3 – No – N/A
  • Leica M2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4 – No – N/A
  • Leica M5 – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M4-2 – No – N/A
  • Leica M4-P – No – N/A
  • Leica M6 Classic – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M6 TTL – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M7 – Yes&No – Can use at 1/60 & 1/125 only without battery
  • Leica MP – No – Battery only needed for light meter
  • Leica M-A – No – N/A

Brass or zinc top plate/ base plate (brass dents / zinc cracks)

  • Leica M3 – Brass
  • Leica M2 – Brass
  • Leica M4 – Brass
  • Leica M5 – Brass
  • Leica M4-2 – Brass
  • Leica M4-P – Brass (earlier cameras) Zinc (later cameras)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Zinc
  • Leica M6 TTL – Zinc (Mostly)
  • Leica M7 – Brass
  • Leica MP – Brass
  • Leica M-A – Brass

Precision components (brass) or cheaper components (steel/plastics)

  • Leica M3 – Brass gears (Least cheap components)
  • Leica M2 –  Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M4 –  Brass gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M5 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M4-2 – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M4-P – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Steel gears (Even more cheap components)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica M7 – Steel gears (More cheap components)
  • Leica MP – Brass gears (Some cheap components)
  • Leica M-A – Brass gears (Least cheap components)

Hotshoe or coldshoe (for flash photography)

  • Leica M3 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M2 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M4 – Cold shoe (can still use a flash via sync cable)
  • Leica M5 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-2 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M4-P – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Hotshoe & TTL flash with SF-20 unit
  • Leica M7 – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica MP – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)
  • Leica M-A – Hotshoe (can use common flash such as Nikon)

Built-in light meter

  • Leica M3 – No
  • Leica M2 – No
  • Leica M4 – No
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No
  • Leica M4-P – No
  • Leica M6 Classic – Yes
  • Leica M6 TTL – Yes
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – No

Film rewind mechanism

  • Leica M3 – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M2 – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M4 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M5 – Rewind ratchet on base plate
  • Leica M4-2 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M4-P – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 Classic – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M6 TTL – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica M7 – Rewind crank (faster)
  • Leica MP – Rewind nob (slower)
  • Leica M-A – Rewind nob (slower)

Film loading separate take-up spool insert

  • Leica M3 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M2 – Yes (slower to load)
  • Leica M4 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M5 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-2 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M4-P – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 Classic – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M6 TTL – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M7 – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica MP – No (has quick loading film mechanism)
  • Leica M-A – No (has quick loading film mechanism)

Viewfinder condenser / prism (risk of being unable to focus without it)

  • Leica M3 – Yes
  • Leica M2 – Yes
  • Leica M4 – Yes
  • Leica M5 – Yes
  • Leica M4-2 – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M4-P – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 Classic – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M6 TTL – No condenser removed – risk of flare/ ghosting/difficulties to focus
  • Leica M7 – Yes
  • Leica MP – Yes
  • Leica M-A – Yes

Leica M6 by Olympus Pen-F

 Small Print

*Please note

  • The information is sourced from personal experience and a range of websites
  • There are many many Leica M camera variants/ specials that may not fit the above
  • Leica cameras continued to evolve so some traits may overlap from last/next model
  • Information is simplified and generalised but there is full detail on other websites
  • I own Leica M3s, M2, M4-P, M6 Classic and have not used other models
  • Non-factual comments such as ‘faster’,’slower’,’cheaper’ is a generalisation
  • This review does not include the M1 or MD models
  • External viewfinders are available if you want to use a lens wider than the frameline
  • Some camera lenses have close focus goggles such as the Leica Summicron 50mm DR
  • The Leica M3 can be used a 35mm lens using 35mm focusing goggles

**Mistakes

  • If I have omitted some obvious information or have classed a camera incorrectly (being for the majority of cameras produced for that model as I know there are lots of camera variants) please let me know and I can update it.

Leica M6!

Related Posts

Mr Leica - in Action!

***Enjoyable

I hope you find this very simplified guide of some help.  I enjoyed researching the information and I now know how to distinguish the difference between my Leica M2 and Leica M3 at a glance from the front!  The Leica M3 has a plain frameline illumination window and the Leica M2 has a fresnel type illumination window (vertical stripes in the window next to the viewfinder window). 🙂

Matt

Advertisements

Leica M4-P

Leica M4-P

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
December 2016

12 months on since my last Leica camera purchase, the Leica M6 Classic, I found myself buying another Leica M film camera.  It was completely unplanned (as usual) and I happened to have a free hour researching cameras online.  I stumbled across to me what seemed a real bargain.  The often less regarded Leica M4-P.

Intro

The Leica M4-P is a 35mm rangefinder camera like all other analogue Leica M film cameras.  I bought a black chrome M4-P and it has a 0.72x viewfinder the same as my Leica M6.  The Leica M4-P was in production from 1980 until around 1986 and was based on the earlier Leica M4 camera and followed the Leica M4-2. leitz-m4-p-black2

Leica M4, Leica M4-2, Leica M4-P

To take a step back, the Leica M4 was released in 1966 and saw Leica introduce a few new camera features including; a film rewind crank to replace the vertical rewind knob of the M2 and M3 (will make rewinding film so much faster!), a new angled film advance lever and faster film loading by removing the need for the separate take up spool (as used in the Leica M2 and M3).

The Leica M4-2 was released in 1977 and was similar to a Leica M4 but with a hotshoe rather than a cold shoe (The Leica M2 and M3 also have cold shoes).  The later Leica M4-P variant was similar to the Leica M4-2 but also had 28mm and 75mm framelines added so it could be used with the newer Leica M lenses. Frameline pairs are 28/90, 35/135, 50/75 meaning you always see two framelines in the viewfinder.

As a Leica photographer and a strobist and someone using a Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH lens and Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens three words above have already sold the camera to me – “hotshoe”, “28mm framelines” “75mm framelines”. (OK it was 5 words sorry!)  More details below.

Leica M4-P is regarded as not the best Leica M camera

  • The M4-P saw the start of Leica using precision parts as part of a cost reduction program and it is said the M4 and later Ms are not as smooth as the earlier Leica M3 and Leica M2
  • The Leica M4-P has zinc top and base plates not the traditional brass plates
  • The Leica M4-P was built in Midland, Canada not Germany to save cost (with an exception to those cameras made in the last year of production when production was moved back to Wetzlar, Germany in 1986 before being replaced by the Leica M6)
  • The Leica M4-P has no lightmeter but is otherwise similar to a Leica M6 so why not just buy a M6
  • The Leica M4-P has a “cluttered” viewfinder with too many framelines (vs. the older Leica M3 and M2) but is the same viewfinder as the Leica M6
  • The Leica M4-P is said to suffer from flaring in the viewfinder (the same as the Leica M6)(I don’t remember experiencing many issues with my M6)
  • The Leica M4-P Leica red dot is positioned on the front right side of the camera rather than front centre to hide the adjustment screw

So why do I need another Leica!?

I guess I don’t really need another camera but I managed to construct a good argument for the purchase!  Here is a summary of the Leica M4-P vs. my other Leica M cameras.

Leica M4-P vs. Leica M3

The Leica M3 viewfinder does not have 28mm or 35mm framelines and does not have a hotshoe so I can’t use the M3 with flash triggers and off camera flash.  The M3 also has the slower to use film take up spool and rewind knob which are not ideal if working fast at a Leica wedding or on location with a model / client.

The Leica M3 is arguably better built and smoother to operate than the Leica M4-P.  The Leica M3 has THE best rangfinder viewfinder,  I think, if using 50mm lenses.

Both my Leica M3 single stroke and Leica M3 double stroke cameras currently need recalibrating to be able to use accurately with fast lenses like the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.

Leica M4-P vs. Leica M2

The Leica M2 viewfinder does not have 28mm framelines for accurate framing with the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm ASPH. (I have just used the entire M2 viewfinder field of view as 28mm to guesstimate to date).  The M2 like the M3 does not have a hotshoe so I can’t use it with flash triggers and off camera flash.  The M2 like the M3 also has the slower to use film take up spool and rewind knob which are not ideal if working quickly.

The Leica M2 is arguably better built and smoother to operate than the Leica M4-P.

Leica M4-P vs. Leica M6

The Leica M4-P is basically the same as my Leica M6 Classic, just without a built-in light meter.  The same viewfinder/ framelines, same zinc top plate and base plate, the same film rewind knob and film loading .

My Leica M6 currently jams at around 25 exposures so I bulk load my own film so not to waste the last 10 or so shots on a standard 36 exposure roll of film.  It can be repaired but other than that the M6 is a great camera and I use the M6 perhaps the most of my analogue film M cameras because of the hotshoe.  The faster to operate film rewind crank is also a great help.

Leica M4-P vs. Leica M8 / Leica M9 / Leica M240

For completeness, the Leica M4-P is better than my Leica M8, Leica M240 and the Leica M9 I replaced as the M4-P is analogue! I probably don’t need to say any more other than to use the hashtags #believeinfilm, #filmisthefuture ! 🙂

Summary

So to conclude, when I saw a used Leica M4-P camera (on sale at a reputable online store in the UK) at almost half the price of my Leica M6 Classic and half the price of my new Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH lens (*Blog post to follow) and that I can use with flash and hopefully shoot an entire 36 exposure roll of film in I jumped at the chance!

I buy Leica cameras to use rather than to polish so to get a slightly more used Leica camera at a discounted price is far better for me than a mint boxed camera at full price.  I am also not a Leica puriest as for one I use flash photography a lot but also I don’t mind too much where a camera was made or if the top plate is made of zinc or brass.

Leica M4-P, welcome to family! 🙂

Related Posts

Polish Models on 35mm

Polish Models on 35mm

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

September 2016

In contrast to my last few model photography trips where I packed big lights, light modifiers, light stands, monopod, medium format film cameras, medium format digital cameras, a mass of batteries, chargers, memory cards, big bag of 120 black and white film and 120 colour film I thought I needed to get back to basics.

Camera Bag

For this trip I had the digital Leica M240 plus Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens, the analog Leica M6 plus 1950s Leica Summicron 50 f2 DR lens, the compact Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens for if I need a wider angle and then the tiny 1960s Olympus Pen-F half frame camera.

I planned to shoot black and white film in the Leica M6 and used a 35mm bulk film loader to roll myself some Kodak Plus X film to bring. I hope the lower contrast look of the film will add to the vintage and less perfect look of the photos. I brought the Olympus Pen-F to shoot some colour film as the weather forecast was blue skies some days.  I loaded a roll of 35mm Fuji Provia 100f E6 slide film which I bought in B&H, New York when I did my second workshop there in January.  The half frame gives me 72 shots from a standard 36 exposure film roll.

The film photos are to please me and the digital Leica M240 photos are to give to the models to use for their portfolios.  The digital camera is also great to warm up the models and for a preview to show them the look I am going for. I metered all film photos with the M240 as I just replicate the same settings on the film cameras, using the M240 in M mode. To keep it simple and for a change I used available light for all except one shoot where I also used my speedlight to boost light levels.

Models

As with most of my model photography trips I looked forward to catching up with familiar faces but also to work with a few new models too.  I had the usual multiple cancellations for a variety of reasons but overall we did well.  The models that did meet on the whole gave 110% effort and almost all had made personal sacrifices to be able to meet me making them even more focused to have a great shoot.

Model Photography – Poland

Here are some sample from some of photos I have worked through so far:

Leica M 240 (Digital)

Natalia

Leica Noctilux Bokeh

Agnieszka

Leica Noctilux Portrait

Karolina

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1

Agata (& ATR Gear Clothing!)

ATR WEAR - Polish Chick

Teresa

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4

Paulina

Polish Model

Agnieszka

Leica M240 + Noctilux

 

Leica M6 (Analogue) + Kodak Plus-X Film

Natalia

Kodak Plus-X Fashion

Agnieszka

Kodak Plus-X Portrait

Kodak Plus X Film

Teresa

Leica M6 + Kodak Plus-X

Kodak Plus-X Bulk Film

More to come from the other models when I get chance..

The colour film has not yet been developed but I did shoot the roll of Provia and a roll of AGFA Vista 200 Plus so wish me luck with those! 🙂

Matt

Ukraine Models 2016

Ukraine Models 2016

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

May 2016

Trip

I organized another model photography trip to Uzhgorod, Ukraine to catchup with model friends and hopefully also meet some new ones. After recently visiting Poland to shoot with the model agencies I had some ideas of what cameras I may like to take for this trip. I take only hand luggage on all my trips so it depends on the airline as to how much camera gear I can pack. For Poland I had a backpack and my small Billingham Hadley Digital bag so took 4 cameras, a strobe and a compact travel tripod to use as light stand. For Ukraine I only have the backpack.

Cameras

I took my newly purchased Mamiya 6 to Poland as it is smaller than the Hasselblad 501C.  I packed the Leica M 240 for digital and brought the Leica M6 to shoot more film.  I selected the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens for its size, sharpness and lack of flare.  The Leica Summicron 50 f2 v5 flares too much for me so I left that at home and instead of packing the slightly larger Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 went one ‘better’ and brought the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO.  The 75 APO is my sharpest Leica M lens and maybe sharpest any lens and it lets me focus closer than nearly all standard Leica M lenses in terms of magnification.  Another camera I considered was my old Nikon FM plus Voigtlander 40mm f2 pancake lens but in the end I chose the M6. In addition to all of that I squeezed in my Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 collapsible lens and a speedlight (+ reflector). No tripod though.

Film

I currently favour 120 Fomapan 100 black and white film for my medium format cameras but I thought I better use up some existing film in the fridge before buying more Foma.  As such I packed mostly Kodak Tri-X 400 film plus a few different rolls to use up. For 35mm film I wanted to shoot more colour so brought along some Kodak Portra 400, Fujicolor C200 and for black and white 35mm Fomapan 100.

One thing I like about Fomapan 100 is I can shoot it at ISO 50-400 and develop as if at ISO 100.  I can also push Foma to 800 easily without any real issues. If I am planning to shoot ISO 50-400 I would go for Foma. For ISO 400-800-1600 range I would use Tri-X 400.  The weather for the trip was forecast unsettled so Tri-X might be the right choice.

Leica Fashion

Model Shoots

I like to make the most of my model photography trips overseas so managed to shoot 17 girls in 3.5 days shooting 9:00-21:00 back to back.  I worked with the local model agency, One Models, who kindly provided a few models that were available and not out on contract overseas. I also worked with some of the girls I knew from previous trips and also a few new faces, friends of friends.

The weather was not as kind as I would have liked (for the time of year) and we had a fair bit of rain.  As such I did more photoshoots inside the hotel than I planned to so I had to think a bit more.  The speedlight was a life saver in the low light conditions and I used it for the majority of the photos.  I do tend to favour using lights for most of my model photography and I think adding light can sometimes make a photo look more like a fashion photo which I like.  The speedlight helped me keep my ISO at 100-400 for almost all photos and I also had the lenses stopped down.  The biggest limitation was the flash sync speed of the Leica M6 of 1/50.  I noted on the film scans for a shoot we did outside in the rain that there was motion blur as the models were moving more than I noticed.  The Mamiya 6 has a max flash sync speed of 1/500  so that had no issues.

As I had no light stand or tripod I had to handhold the speedlight for the majority of the photos.  This is not ideal as it is difficult to exactly replicate the same light when swapping between cameras (digital and film) but better than nothing (for my taste). I didn’t use the reflector at all so may leave it behind next time.

Light and Shadow

Camera Performance

Leica M 240

I noticed my Leica M 240 needs the rangefinder recalibrating again (the second time) so I was shooting 99% with the 35mm Voigtlander Color Skopar lens stopped down a little.  I did use the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO for a few photos but I focused with the LCD.  The mis-calibrated rangefinder was less of an issue than it may sound as my current style is favouring lenses stopped down to match the film cameras for easy alignment of settings.  I shoot digital with ISO, aperture and shutter to match the film camera then when the model looks good I switch to film cameras. I have some nice Sekonic light meters but find at the moment I am not using them.  When using strobes I like to see the digital preview of the light prior to shooting film.  With daylight I would be happy to meter once then shoot film without chimping on the digital LCD.

Excluding the recalibration issue, the Leica M 240 is on good form and I love it more and more each day.  I would still say the Leica M9 and Leica M8 make better B&W photos (more filmic) but the M240 is no slouch and I am getting good results both B&W and colour.

Ukrainian Model
Go Green!
Leica M Fashion

Leica M6

As mentioned the Leica M6 max flash sync speed of 1/50 is a killer for strobist work.  It is just too slow unless used in very controlled conditions.  I did get some nice black and white film scans but I also lost a few due to model motion blur outside.  The Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO pretty much lived on the M6 but strangely I found it too tight for my current taste on location.  I was loving the 35mm focal length on the M240.  I might take two 35mm lenses next time to match the view for easy composition across the two Leica cameras.

Black and White Fashion Photography
Leica M6 Portrait

Mamiya 6

After getting some quite nice results in Poland using the Mamiya 6 medium format 6×6 rangefinder camera, I was excited to see what I could do in Ukraine. (Poland photos still to come when i’ve edited a few more).  I am enjoying the size of the Mamiya 6 camera very much and it is very easy to carry it in my little Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag together with one complete Leica M camera or 2 Leica M bodies and 2 Leica M lenses packed down. I still have my Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6 post to write but in the meantime it is safe to say the Mamiya 6 is a keeper.  I still only have one lens, the 75mm which I like due to it’s smaller size and lighter weight (vs. 50mm and 150mm lenses) and the focal length.  That said I would like to use a Mamiya 6 50mm f4 G lens if I see one for sale at a reasonable price.  I think the wider view would be great for film wedding photography to capture a wider scene.

Film Fashion
Mamiya 6 Fashion

Ukrainian Models

I have been travelling to Ukraine for quite a few years now and I must say the level and quality of modelling from the girls this time is the best to date. The resulting photos may have been helped a little by me not having any majority camera issues (unlike previous trips) and being armed with more photography knowledge and experience.  In addition to that, I meet more and more models each visit so every follow up visit I pick the best of the best to maximise the chance of making photos I will like.  I always try to better my best work with every shoot and although it may not always be possible it keeps me fired up and as keen as ever.

As with all my trips, a huge thank you to all the models I worked with, to One Model agency and to the makeup girls where applicable.  I didn’t experience a single cancellation so that was a real breath of fresh air compared to the usual UK (and now Poland) high cancellation rates of 50-60% plus.  Big big thanks!

I have started to develop and scan some of the black and white film but the colour film is still to follow.

Thanks!

Leica M240

 

Related Posts

Poland 2016 – Mamiya 6, Leica M 240..

Poland 2016 – Mamiya 6, Leica M 240..

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

April 2016

Mamiya 6 Fashion

I’m just writing this on my flight home from my first model photography trip to Poland of  2016.  After a mixed success trip in December visiting Gdansk I returned to my favourite hotel in Sopot, Hotel Bursztyn, located just off the beautiful Sopot Beach.  I feel very lucky that I was able to fill almost every minute of every day with models and despite a mixed forecast we were overall really fortunate with the weather even if it was a little chilly!

I worked with Polish agency models from Malva Models agency and Future Models Management and also with a few friends and friends of models. Despite a lot of cancellations (which sadly now seems to be the norm whatever country I am working in) from planned models the girls that did visit really made the trip a success. A big thanks in no order to Karo, Ana, Sylwia, Teresa, Irmina, Natalia, Julia and  Maja, to MUA Marta and also Monika at Hotel Bursztyn for a comfortable stay.

What was the plan for this trip?

For every model photography trip to Sopot so far I have used available light only. Being a big fan of using strobes in the UK I decided to pack smaller lighter cameras and take one flash as well. My must take camera was the digital Leica M 240 as I wanted to take some colour digital photos.  If I was to shoot all B&W photos then the Leica M8 is also fantastic but for colour the Leica M 240 is just easier.  My next must have was a medium format film camera and then anything else I could fit in was just a bonus.  The Hasselblad 501C was too big to take this time and a few of my other smaller medium format cameras had problems so I bought a Mamiya 6 camera to take. (See previous post, link below). I like to have the option to shoot both colour film and black and white film so wanted at least one other camera. I chose the 35mm Leica M6 as it can share Leica M mount lenses with the Leica M 240. I then had a little bit of bag capacity remaining so I squeezed in the 1960s Olympus Pen-F SLR camera.

Full kit list:

  • Leica M 240 rangefinder camera (digital)
  • Leica M6 rangefinder camera (35mm film)
  • Olympus Pen-F  SLR camera (35mm film – half frame) + 35mm f1.8 lens
  • Mamiya 6 rangefinder camera (medium format film) + 75mm f3.5 lens
  • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens
  • Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens

Film:

  • 120 Fomapan 100
  • 120 Kodak Portra 160
  • 120 Kodak Ektar 100
  • 120 Fuji Acros 100
  • 35mm Ilford Pan F 50
  • 35mm Cinestill 50D
  • 35mm Kodak Portra 160
  • 35mm Kodak Ektar 100
  • 35mm Fujicolor C200

I packed all the 120 Fomapan 100 film I had in the fridge (8 rolls) and then some Fuji Acros on top. Foma is currently my go to film for  120 black and white.  (If money was no object I think Ilford Delta 100 and Pan F 50 are hard to beat but Pan F is very high contrast and sometimes the low contrast Foma film is nice.  For 35mm film I currently prefer the sharpness of Delta 100 and Pan F.    I packed mostly B&W film, maybe 3:1 vs colour film. I wanted some colour for if we got blue skies and / or the models brought colourful clothes.  I wanted to also see if the Olympus Pen F half frame camera gave acceptable results using 35mm colour film. I often find 35mm colour film too grainy for my taste.   I thought the best hope I had for fine grain colour film in the Pen-F was Cinestill 50D but I was also interested to see the results using Kodak Porta 160 and Fujicolor C200 film.  I didn’t get chance to use the Kodak Ektar 100 film I took but I will try this on my next trip as the grain should be finer than Portra 160 and C200 film.

Cameras

I found the Mamiya 6 was my go to film camera in Poland.  I guess partly as it was my new toy and partly as I wanted to see what results I could get from it.  The compact Mamiya 6 was certainly easier to carry around than the Hasselblad 501C (with prism and monopod attached!).  Both cameras are 6×6 format so I’m really excited to see how the results compare. I normally enjoy how close I can focus the Hasselblad but surprisingly I didn’t mind being at 1m distance with the Mamiya 6.  Hopefully the photos will be more interesting as a result. (I will write a full Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6 thoughts post after I see the resulting images from this trip).

The Leica M6 camera was used the least of the film cameras and I enjoyed using the little Olympus Pen-F.  If the Pen F photos are acceptable I think it will always live in my travel bag.  The Leica M6 is a great camera and nice to use but it always seemed to have the wrong film loaded when I came to use it.  The plan was try to keep 35mm colour film in one camera and 35mm black and white in the other.  The problem was 72 exposures in the Pen-F can take time to use! I shot nearly all the 120 film I took and less than half of the 35mm but I will probably have more 35mm images overall as the Mamiya 6 only gets 12 exposures per roll.

Models

Each model brings their own style to a shoot which helps to keep it interesting. Some of the girls were internationally published models bringing a wealth of experience from working in Asia and Europe.  It was really interesting spending time with them and it made me rethink how I approach some of my fashion photography images. Once I am able to share some of the images we created together I am excited to see if there is an noticeable difference in style.  The working models seemed really happy with what we had produced and so was I.  Agency models use the best images for their book and online model portfolios and I should probably update my website photos at some stage.  In addition to working with the experienced models, I found it equally rewarding to creating images for girls with little experience in front of a camera.  As such a variety of photos to follow!

Related Posts

 

 

 

Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501c!

Leica M6 vs Hasselblad 501C (+ vs Leica M8)

(..or 35mm film vs medium format film)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
March 2016

I did a shoot with Stacey recently in my home studio in Coventry UK.  I decided to shoot my Leica M6 35mm film camera up against the medium format 6×6 Hasselblad 501C film camera.  To give the Leica M6 rangefinder a fighting chance I loaded it with the super fine Ilford Pan F 50 film and attached the super sharp Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.  I did do a few wider shots with the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii lens which is also nice and sharp.  The Hasselblad was already loaded with Kodak Tri-X 400 but for some reason I thought it had Fomapan 100 film is so shot the roll of Tri-X 400@100 and developed accordingly  Both rolls of film were developed in Xtol developer.  Click any photo for more details.

Here is a sample of the film scans:

Hasselblad 501C + 120 Fomapan 100 Medium Format Film

Hasselblad vs Leica
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad 501C in the Studio
Hasselblad Portrait
6x6

Leica M6 + 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film
Leica M6 + Ilford Pan F 50
Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO + Film
Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion
Leica M6 Fashion
Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 + SOOKY-M
Ilford Pan F 50 Film Portrait
Leica M6 Portrait

I was also using my digital Leica M8 for the shoot and it still impresses me as to how film like the Leica CCD sensor appears.  Here are a few examples.

Leica M8 Digital Camera

Leica M8 Loveliness!
Leica M8 B&W

Leica vs Hasselblad – Results

I think the Leica M6 was at the top of it’s game and thanks to the choice of Ilford Pan F 50 film. I actually preferred the Leica M6 photos on the whole to that of the Hasselblad.  That is quite an achievement as the Hasselblad has done nothing but impress me since my purchase.  The real test will be using the Hasselblad 501C + Zeiss Makro-Planar 120mm f4 CF lens + 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film for sharp lens and super fine grain film. That said, it’s great to remind myself of how good the little 35mm Leica film cameras can be.

Big thanks to Stacey for putting up with my usual array of quirky cameras pointing at her! 🙂

New York Photography Workshop (2)

New York Photography Workshop (2)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2016

Brooklyn Bridge New York Panoramic

New York Trip

As crazy as it sounds, I was back out teaching model photography in New York again this week. I’d never visited NYC before then to go twice within 4-5 weeks was quite a surprise! I feel very fortunate that was asked to go once let alone twice.

For my first workshop in New York I was teaching model photography using speedlights on location (mostly) and with iconic landmark backdrops (mostly). For this second NYC photography workshop I focused on using available light on location to light a model. This was normally daylight during the day then any existing light sources we could find for the night shoots.  It is one skill to create light but another to see existing light and visualize how it could light a model. This time we did not have to carry lights and stands so could work faster and lighter. With that intention, I decided to leave my beloved Hasselblad 501C medium format camera and monopod behind and instead used all rangefinder film cameras.

The recent purchase of my new Hasselblad Xpan 35mm panoramic rangefinder camera was no coincidence. I bought it quickly so I was able to take it with me to New York. On the first trip to New York I shot 6×6 film with the Hasselblad 501C and digital photography with the Leica M 240. I have been less than impressed recently with the Leica M240 CMOS sensor images for my model photography so decided to leave it behind and packed the older Leica M8 instead.

Camera Bag

  • Leica M8 digital camera body
  • Leica M6 film camera body
  • Leica M3 film camera body
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens
  • Voiglander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens
  • Voiglander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
  • Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8 lens
  • Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 lens
  • Hasselblad XPan film camera body
  • Hasselblad XPan 45mm f4 lens
  • Hasselblad XPan 90mm f4 lens
  • Fuji GA645 medium format film camera

35mm Film

Amongst the high rise buildings of New York there is often less light when compared to say the open beach location I shoot at in Poland. As such I only shot one roll of ISO 100 film and that was on the last day photographing Brooklyn Bridge. For colour film I shot mostly 35mm Kodak Portra 400 and some old Fujicolor C200 plus a roll of Cinestill 800T. For black and white film I shot almost entirely with Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 (aka Cinestill BWXX film), at both ISO 400 and ISO 800. Excited to see the results from all of the above!

Hasselblad XPan

I was super excited to try the new Hasselblad XPan 35mm film panoramic rangefinder camera. I bought the 45mm f4 and 90mm f4 XPan lenses. There is also a 30mm XPan lens but it is quite pricey and wider than I normally need.

Many purists write you should only shoot the XPan in panoramic mode (and not the standard single 35mm frame mode). To an extend I agree but in a real world situation and when traveling reasonably light the 90mm lens shot in standard mode makes for a nice portrait lens. I normally use and carry 35mm and 50mm lenses on the Leica cameras so the Hasselblad XPan 90mm gives me more reach and compression if needed.

The Hasselblad XPan is compact and easy to use. It is about the same weight as Leica camera body and lens but a little wider. I relied on the XPan light meter and used perhaps 50:50 the 45mm and 90mm lenses.

My only small complaint and observation at this stage with the XPan is if I load film and then want to change to a different film mid roll I can’t manually rewind so as such the film rewinds fully into the 35mm film canister. I then need a film retriever to pull the film leader back out so it can be used again. I realize it is probably not normal to swap film in a camera mid roll but I do it a lot with the Leica (and Nikon) film cameras.

Leica M8

I realized I don’t use my Leica M8 often enough. I enjoyed the crop factor that lets me focus tighter for portraits and the rich CCD sensor colours. I shot the M8 similar to my Leica film cameras so used it at a ‘normal’ ISO range (ISO 160-640 on the M8 range). I also enjoyed the sharper M8 images vs the M240 and Leica M9.  The M8 is still king for digital B&W photos for me (of the cameras I have owned).

Leica M6 and Leica M3

I took the Leica M3 and Leica M6 film cameras so could load one body with colour film and one body with black and white.  As it happened having the Hasselblad XPan too (and keen to use it) meant I did not need 3x 35mm film cameras.  As such after the first roll of colour film in the M3 I then left it out my bag for the rest of the workshop. I enjoyed using the Leica M6 and built in light meter and did not use my handheld Sekonic light meter at all meaning I can travel lighter still and work fast.  I also made use of the Leica M6 35mm framelines and swapped between 50mm and 35mm with the Leica M8.

Fuji GA645

I packed the lightweight and compact medium format Fuji GA645 as I thought I would miss the larger film format.  I only took a single photo and I think that was a cityscape!

Conclusion

It was nice to work lighter and faster due to a combination of small cameras with built in light meters and using available light on location.  I did do some strobist work in the apartment for an evening shoot to give a Hollywood glamour styling lighting with a single speedlight and DIY light modifiers only.  We experienced a 50-60% cancellation rate from the models again but with a lot of emailing we still had models each day to shoot with.  A big thank you to models Aubrey, Sara, Olly, Cat, Laura and Rozi for joining us.

Photography Workshops 2016

In 2014 I was teaching mostly in the UK and ran some small group workshops in London.  For 2015 I concentrated on teaching 1-2-1 photography tuition and taught both in the UK but also in Zurich, New York and Amsterdam.

For 2016 I will continue to teach 1-2-1 photography sessions both overseas and at home as requested.  Photography workshop costs vary on a number of factors so I now address each on a as requested basis.  I am happy to travel globally as long as the travel costs are covered.

For those of you that are unsure, I am normally asked to teach model photography workshops which includes providing the model(s) and showing you how I use light to illuminate the model on location.  I shoot both film and digital Leicas during the workshops but you can use whatever camera you normally use.

My website link below has a list of some of the photography topics you may want to cover during the workshop and each course is bespoke to your needs.

http://matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Photography-Courses.html

NYC (II) Photos

I will post some of the New York photography workshop photos once processed.   Due to the different cameras I was using I will share posts by camera rather than all together.  Posts to follow include:

  • Leica M8 in NYC
  • Hasselblad XPan in NYC
  • Leica M6 in NYC

Here is a sample! Aubrey with my Leica M8

1-2-1 photography workshop - NYC

I still have the NYC (I) Hasselblad 501C photos to share.  I now have the colour film back from the lab so will share some 6×6 negative scans soon!

Sample! Tegan with the Hasselblad 501C

Hasselblad + Ektar Portrait