Lens Filters for Leica M Cameras

Lens Filters for Leica M Cameras

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2018

P1050178LR

For model photography and my usual Leica portrait work I don’t normally use camera lens filters that often, and especially not for digital photography (more with film cameras).  I own yellow filters, blue, various ND filters (neutral density), IR-cut, polarising filters, warming filters, cooling filters and lots of UV filters (and Skylight filters) in various sizes.  Each filter has a purpose.

Lens Filters Explained

Quick summary of what I use each lens filter for (plus a few extra filters I have for other cameras) –

  • Yellow filter: Black and white film photography (portraits & landscapes) – to lighten yellows/ darken blues
  • Orange filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten oranges/ darken blue skies (higher contrast), and helps penetrate mist and fog
  • Red filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten reds more and makes blues skies turn black (very strong contrast), also helps penetrate mist and fog
  • Green filter: B&W film photography (landscapes) – to lighten green foliage
  • Blue filter (“cooling filter”) (shades of blue like 80C & 82B): Colour film photography – to colour correct tungsten balanced film when used in daylight. Film like Cinestill 800T, Kodak Vision3 200T/ 500T
  • Warming filter (shades of amber like 81A & 81C): Colour film photography – to colour correct daylight balanced film when used in indoors with tungsten light. Film like Cinestill 50D/ Kodak Vision3 50D, Kodak Portra 160/400/800, Fuji Pro 400H and most colour film available today
  • Polarising filter (or more specifically circular polarising filter): (landscapes) – to darken blue skies and make the clouds “pop”.  Can also be used to adjust reflections on water / surfaces (to more or less reflection)
  • Neutral density filters (ND filters): For fast lenses (lenses with wide maximum aperture like f1-f1.2-f1.4)(all cameras) – I use ND filters when shooting in bright conditions with flash and also on the older Leica M film cameras (such as a Leica M3) that only have a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 (vs. 1/4000 for the Leica M240). In practice I only really use ND filters on the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens in the UK as the weather is rarely “too bright” for most lenses.
  • IR-cut filter (Infrared cut off filter): (digital Leica M8 colour photography) – Without the IR-cut filter the colours from the M8 are not natural looking. (*See details in link below – Leica M8 & IR-cut filter post)
  • UV filters: I went through a period of getting clear UV filters for most of my Leica M lenses to protect the front element from damage.  I find I attach the UV filters for my Leica wedding photography mostly after an expensive lens was damaged at a wedding (Nikkor 35mm f1.4 G lens – pre Leica days).  Apart from wedding photos and some travel photography I don’t use UV filters too much now.

Using filters on a Leica camera (compared to on a SLR/DSLR)

Leica vs. DSLR – Using filters – Disadvantage

One thing to note for fellow Leica photographers is if you’ve not used a circular polarising filter (CPL) on your Leica camera before you might find it is a bit of a fiddle (I did!).  This was especially the case for me when I was frequently moving locations and shooting in multiple directions (north, south, east, west and all angles in between).  When photographing with a SLR/ DSLR camera you look through the lens to compose an image. This means that with a CPL filter on the end of the lens you can just look through the camera to see the effect of the filter. Easy. (For example if you point the lens at the sky and then rotate the CPL filter you can see the sky get lighter or darker blue and you can stop at the desired look).  With a Leica camera we don’t view or focus an image through the lens like a DSLR.  Therefore to see the impact of a polarizing filter you have to take the CPL filter off the lens and hold it up to the scene/ sky  to look through it and see what angle of rotation gives the desired look. You then need to reattach the CPL filter to the lens and remember the preferred orientation (for example to give a more vivid blue sky might be number 5 on the CPL filter ring at the 12 O’clock position ). To complicate things further, if you are then switching between landscape and portrait orientation when holding the camera you need to turn the polarizing filter each time you turn the camera. If you are then using a clip on lens hood (as I was) that covers the filter you need to take off the hood to see/ move the CPL every time you take an image in a different direction or orientation. Maybe I just like to make life difficult for myself!

For normal/ traditional landscape photography however where you setup a tripod with the camera pointed in one direction and wait for a few hours for the best light to hit a scene, this will not be an issue as you only need to go through the filter “setup” process once.

*Note – Please note this is only an issue with a Leica film camera or an earlier digital Leica camera such as the Leica M8 and Leica M9.  The digital Leica M240 (and Leica M10) both have LiveView so you can review the impact of the filter if you compose with the LiveView option rather as with the viewfinder.

Leica vs. DSLR – Using filters – Filter Advantage

DSLR users don’t always have it easier than Leica photographers though. When it comes to neutral density filters like a 10 stop Lee Big Stopper,  with a DSLR camera you need to focus on the subject first then attach the ND filter otherwise you can’t see anything through the lens. With a Leica camera you view the scene via the viewfinder/ window on the top left of the camera body rather than through the lens so you can leave a ND filter attached throughout a shoot and make various new compositions with ease.

*Note – The only downside to not looking through the lens with a Leica camera is you can leave the lens cap on all day and not notice until you get back to your computer/ dark room that all the images are black.  (This is more of an issue with a Leica film camera as most digital Leica cameras have the rear LCD and default to a preview image after each photo is taken.  With film Leica cameras there is no chimping at the LCD so you need to be more focused and make sure the lens cap is off!).

Filter Rings (Step Up Rings)

A set of good quality filters (such as some of those mentioned above) is expensive so it doesn’t help when lenses come in different shapes and sizes.  Leica M mount lenses come in a variety of filter thread sizes and mine vary from the smallest thread size being 39mm (classic Leica filter thread size) through to 60mm for the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens.  Some Leica photographers choose to invest in a set of lenses with a common filter thread size so any filter fits any lens.  An example from the lenses I own is the following lenses all have a 39mm filter thread; Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8, Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5, Leica Summicron 50mm f2, Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4  and Leica Elmar 135mm f4. For this reason a bought a few 39mm filters to retain the small lens size/ diameter/ compactness of the 39mm lens-camera setup.

For my main set of filters I use the 52mm size as I already owned some 52mm filters that I had used on my smaller Nikkor lens (pre-Leica days).  I then bought various low cost Chinese step rings on eBay to step up the filter diameter size from 39mm, 43mm, 46mm and 49mm to 52mm filter size.  This is a much cheaper option than buying a set of filters for every thread size and I can use one set of filters on nearly all my Leica M mount lenses.  The only exception is the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens where I had to get a few larger 60mm filters for it but I find I use these on some of my non-Leica camera setups (or with a 52mm-60mm step ring on smaller Leica M mount lenses).  I guess the best tip is buy a set of filters to fit your largest lens and then get step-up rings so they can be mounted on your smaller lenses.

Summary

I’m sure most readers knew 99% of that information already but if you are currently using a DSLR camera and are tempted to make the jump to a Leica rangefinder camera it may be of some use.  Equally if you are just starting out with your photography and have perhaps one camera and one kit lens some of this information might save you some money in the long run.  Lastly if you have never used a film camera but are looking to try film in 2018 I think the coloured filtered used with black and white film photography give some of the most interesting results.

Related Links

 

Thanks

Matt

 

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Leica Wedding Photography: Flic & Mark

Leica Wedding Photography: Flic & Mark

Happy New Year!

One more example wedding from those covered in 2016 before I move onto wedding photography taken in 2017. Flic and Mark’s wedding shot in October 2016 at the Birmingham wedding venue Fazeley Studios, Digbeth.

Photos taken with a Leica M240 and Leica M8 digital cameras using a few different lenses (listed).

Link to photos below:

2016 Leica Wedding Photography: Mark & Flic Birmingham Wedding Venue – Fazeley Studios (191 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5SE) http://www.MrLeica.com October 2016 Mark & Flic Mark and Flic chose the Birmingham wedding venue Fazeley Studio in Digbeth. I knew the area from my model photography and the area attracts some of the most […]

via 2016 Leica Wedding Photography: Flic & Mark — Leica Wedding Photographer (MrLeica.com)

Leica Wedding Photography: Sarah & Cris

Leica Wedding : Sarah & Cris

Finally sharing some of the wedding photos from Sarah and Cris’s wedding back in October 2016. Leica M240 + Leica M8 wedding photography (but also a digital Hasselblad H3D-31 camera).

Link to photos below:

2016 Leica Wedding Photography: Sarah & Cris Wedding Venue: Hotel Felix, Whitehouse Ln, Huntingdon Rd, Cambridge CB3 0LX http://www.MrLeica.com October 2016 Sarah & Cris Sarah and Cris kindly invited me to cover their wedding at Hotel Felix in Cambridge last October. Cris was a fellow Leica photographer/ enthusiast so I took my usual wedding camera, […]

via 2016 Leica Wedding Photography: Sarah & Cris — LeicaWeddingPhotographer

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Leica M8 Used – 10th Anniversary!

Leica M8 Used – 10th Anniversary & A Decade Long Love Affair

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

October 2016

Leica M8 + Voigtlander 40mm

Leica M8 Used

10 years on it is now possible to pick up a Leica M8 used for an affordabe price..!

You may have already seen it on Steve Huff’s blog today but below is a post to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Leica M8 – the first digital Leica M camera!

 

Leica M8 + Voigtlander Nokton 40mm

 

Co-written by Elie Bescont, Prosophos, Johannes Huwe, Olivier Morgand and I, we try to explain why the Leica M8 is still going strong 10 years on –

 

The Leica M8 and it’s 10th Anniversary. A decade long Love affair

 

Leica M8 Flickr

More Leica M8 Flickr images from my feed!

Leica M8 Portraits
Leica M8 Fashion
Leica M8 + Noctilux
Leica M8 + Voigtlander 35 1.2
Zeiss ZM Planar
Little Princess
Leica M8 + Lux 50
Leica M8 B&W
Leica M 240 vs Leica M9
Leica M8 + Lux ASPH 50
Leica M8 B&W Portrait
Leica M8 Sharpness!!
Leica M8 B&W Portrait
Leica Summicron 50

Leica M8 Price

Digital Leica M cameras always looked out of my reach when I used to use a Nikon DSLR.  Just too expensive.  A new digital Leica camera cost is still is crazy expensive for the majority of the population (including myself!).  The good news is as time passes the older Leica M bodies become cheaper and more affordable.  A Leica M8 price is now less than many used DSLR cameras.  The M8 still offers the Leica quality and you can use your Leica film camera lenses on it.  I still enjoy Leica M8  wedding photography today and clients seems to love the look (see my Leica Wedding blog posts).

Related Leica M8 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! 🙂

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).

Related Posts

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

Related Posts

 

Sony A7R vs Leica M9

Sony A7R vs Leica M9

My thoughts only, sorry no example images

July 2015

Sony A7R vs Leica M9

I ran a model photography workshop in London on Saturday and the photographer brought along his full frame Sony A7R camera.  I often hear good reviews about the Sony and Fuji cameras from Leica photographers using these bodies as a backup body or as a more affordable alternative.  I have had photographers bring the Fuji XT1 and the Sony A7R to the workshops before but I have never really taken much interest as my heart in in film photography (and digital Leicas).

The photographer owning the Sony A7R was keen to see how I worked and also see my Leica cameras.  I had with me the digital Leica M9 and Leica M8 bodies and was using the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens.  He had the Sony A7R with the Sony Zeiss FE 55mm f1.8 lens and also an old Leica Summicron 90mm f2 R lens with an Sony adapter.

We met the model and took similar photos side by side with our own cameras.  Over lunch we reviewed the Leica M8, Leica M9 and Sony AR7 images on a laptop full screen in Lightroom.  Small size the Sony A7R images look OK.  If i’m honest from a small size images I could not tell you what modern camera they were taken with, Fuji, Sony, Nikon.  (Canon photos usually have an orange pink tinge so are easier to identify!)  When we compared the Leica M9 colours to those from the Sony A7R the M9 colours were more natural looking with slightly better skin tones.  I was still not offended by the Sony images.

We then viewed the Sony A7R JPEG and RAW 100% zoomed in and I was shocked.  I am used to seeing the film like grain of the Leica M9 (and Leica M8) DNG and JPEG files when I zoom in.  It looks quite ‘real’ desite being an electronic image and reminds me more of film negative scans.  The Sony RAW and JPEG files however just looked like a mass of coloured noise with little structure.  It looked very artificial and computer generated.. of course it is but the Leica files look less so.  I have owned Nikon cameras for years, and before Leicas so am well aware how the Nikon NEF files look.  If I had to try to compare simply I would say the 18MP Leica M9 and 10MP Leica M8 DNG files are the most real looking, then followed by the 36MP Nikon D800 that gives a sharper and more modern look yet still the RAW files appear ‘real’ when viewed zoomed in, and lastly the Sony A7R files that look the least real.  For my taste the Sony images look too computer generated and not at all to my liking.  I like the look of film photography so it makes sense that the most filmic looking digital images are my favourites, from the Leica M9 and Leica M8.

Interestingly, we discussed the Sony A7R images and this very modern ‘over processed’ look and the photographer showed me some photos taken with an old Mamiya RZ lens on the Sony A7R via an adapter.  To me these images were far far better than the images produced with the Sony 55/1.8 lens.  They had more of a realness to them.  I think the problem is that when there is a Sony lens on the Sony A7R the in camera computer is doing so much manipulating of the files that it results in very over processed straight out the camera images.  When there in a non-Sony lens used with an adapter that doesn’t talk to the camera there is less in camera processing so the resulting image is nearer to what you can see with the naked eye.

In conclusion, if I had to have the high ISO ability and all the other mod cons of the Sony A7R or keep my old Leica M8 then M8 would win hands down despite it’s flaws.  For a more fair comparison, the Leica M9 vs Sony A7R, the M9 colours and rendering of the images is far more real and natural looking to my eye so I would never be tempted by the Sony.

(Only my opinion but I am glad I had the oppotunity to see the side by side comparison).

Sorry I do not have any Sony A7R images to share but there will be plenty to review on Flickr i’m sure.  For Leica M8 and Leica M9 example images you can find plenty of samples both on my blog and on Flickr.

Here are two examples from the workshop (more for the rendering than the colours!)

Leica M8 + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (DNG B&W conversion)

Leica M8 B&W

Leica M9 + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (DNG & colours made more satured in PP)

Leica M9  -  Is back!

(I’m sure many Sony users will disagree with our observations or point out that the colours of the Leica M9 image shared are far from natural but this blog is just my opinion based on my own experiences).

Leica M8 IR Filter

Leica M8 IR Filter (Marumi UV IR Cut Filter) (Test)
www.MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Leica M8 IR Filter

IR Filter for Leica M8

I own a Leica M8 as a backup Leica M digital camera body for my M9. I have only ever used the M8 for black and white photography so have never used a Leica M8 IR filter.  Why only B&W?  The colours from the Leica M8 digital sensor are not true to what I can see with my eye. The two most commonly documented examples of this are magenta blacks (seen taking photos of black synthetic materials such as a suit jacket. Quite a common sight at a wedding!) and yellowed greens (again green foliage is often all around during a wedding day here in the UK, whether the grass lawns of the wedding venue or surrounding gardens containing trees and shrubs).

I tried to do my own research to see if a Leica M8 IR flter (IR blocking filter) actually worked but there was very little evidence easily findable on Google. I bought myself a 52mm Marumi UV IR Cut Filter anyway and hoped it would work. It arrived yesterday so today I got to try it on my M8.

Here are the test photo results:
Leica M8 IR Filter Test
Marumi UV IR Cut Filter Test

Conclusion
It is very clear from the images that the Marumi IR filter does a great job of correcting the Leica M8 colours so they now look like colours I would obtain using my Leica M9.

This will give the M8 a new lease of life as I can now use it for both colour photography and black and white images. I would recommend this lens if you are looking to buy an M8 as an entry camera into the Leica M world. It can take some fine images, especially in black and white (due to the lack of IR filter built into the camera).

Cheers
Matt

Related Post

 

Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio

Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio – 40/1.4, 35/2.5 & 15/4.5
Leica Photographer – Matthew Osborne Photography

Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio

As a Leica Photographer I have learnt to appreciate the compact size of both the Leica cameras and some of the Leica mount lenses. Over the last six months I have gained quite a nice collection of Leica M mount primes from the likes of Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander. I have some of the well known great lenses such as the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 but also some less well known ones such as those made by Voigtlander. I recently travelled to London where I would be shooting street model / fashion photography in daylight and at night and candid Leica street photography, again during the day and at night. I wanted to take two Leica camera bodies with me to be safe (in case one failed) so I packed my Leica M9 and Leica M8. i then wanted compact lenses to cover my needs. Of all my lenses I chose three to take in my Leica camera bag. They were all made by the same company, Voigtlander.

My lens choice
Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii – Super compact pancake lens for street photography
Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 – Compact and perfect for portraits and low light photography
Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 – Wide angle for environmental street photography showing the people in their surroundings

My Ona camera bag still had space and I wanted to take a film camera. I packed a Nikon FM SLR with a Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 lens attached. The Nikon FM did well but I lusted after Leica film. When I got home I ordered a 1958 Leica M2 35mm film camera. My camera bag is now complete. Three camera bodies covering film photography and digital photography (Leica M2, M8, M9) and three compact lenses covering all I need (15f4.5, 35f2.5, 40f1.4).

Here are some sample images from my day in London using the aforementioned equipment –

Leica M9 + CV Nokton 40mm f1.4
St. Paul's Cathedral
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4

Leica M9 + CV Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii
London Photography Workshop
St. Paul's
London strobist workshop
Leica M9 Street Photography

Leica M8 + CV Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii
Model Photography

Leica M9 + CV 15mm f4.5 Heliar
London Street Photography (2)

I am really looking forward to shooting 35mm film photography with the beautifully crafted Leica M2 on my next outing. A full review of my 1958 Leica M2 film camera to follow once I have example images.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer