2x Leica M9’s, 50mm Redundant

2x Leica M9’s, 50mm Redundant – First Wedding with 2 Leica M9 Cameras!

Matt Osborne (“Mr Leica”)

On Saturday I covered Dutch photographer and fellow Leica M9 shooter Patrick and his now wife Sam’s wedding at Upper House, Hayfield in the Peak District.  Patrick is a successful architect with a keen eye for detail so the pressure was really on this time!

Wedding Photography – One Camera

I normally shoot with a single Leica M9 and have a Nikon D800 in the car as a back up camera.  Using one Leica M body keeps things simple and me nice and mobile.  For the last few weddings I used the 50mm Leica Noctilux f1.0 as my main lens for as much of the day as possible shooting it wide open.  I have a Leica M8 but the rangefinder suddenly shifted out of focus six months plus ago so it is currently out of action.  The only problem with one camera and prime lenses is if I want to quick do a wide shot then say a telephoto shot such as during speeches or the first dance I have to quickly change lenses.  Although this can be done very quickly and on the go there is always a chance I might miss something.

Wedding Photography – Two Camera Bodies

As I knew Patrick also had a Leica M9 body I asked if I could use it for the day to give me two Leica M9 cameras and a similar setup to what I used in my pre-Leica days when I used a Nikon D800 and a Nikon D700.  Patrick agreed so I was all set for the day.  I knew the indoor photos would be in some tight spaces so wanted wide angle lenses on one body and then telephoto lens on the other to get closer to the action when I wasn’t able to on foot.

Lens Choice (for the 95% of the day*)

Camera 1 (M9)

  • 21mm – Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8
  • 28mm – Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2

Camera 2 (M9)

  • 75mm – Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO
  • 90mm – Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH

*There were a few photos taken with the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH and some also with the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4.

Verdict

When using one camera for wedding photography my most used focal length is 50mm, then followed by 35mm.  When I had two camera bodies for a wedding both of these FL were hardly used.  I really enjoyed the 28f2 / 90f2 combo for much of the day and I think I kept the ISO on both cameras at ISO 200 all day despite it being typical overcast British weather.  I am happy using slow shutter speeds and enjoy using off camera lighting.

Anything else new?

Yes, my style continues to evolve.  For my last 2 or 3 Leica weddings shot over the summer I used my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 wide open for much of the day.  That followed the same style of my model photography that was also taken at the widest lens apertures to give the shallow depth of field look.  Recently, and perhaps since getting my Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO I have started to enjoy stopping my lenses down my lenses to give sharper results.  The model photography photos take on more of a fashion look in my eyes when they are sharper.  I often use any apertures from f2.8 to f11 depending on the lens. The lens I stop down the most is the Leica Elmar 135mm f4 as it can be softer at wider apertures.  This was the first wedding since my current taste had changed so many of the photos were shot at f2.8-f5.6 on the day where in the past I aimed to shoot wide open as much as possible.

Here is the first sample from Sam and Patrick’s wedding, taken of the beautiful Sam just before she met her Dad to walk down the isle.

Leica Wedding

Would I buy a second Leica M9 for weddings?

Not at this stage but I think I will get my Leica M8 repaired and use that as my second Leica M body for wide angle shots.  The 1.33x crop factor of the M8 would make my Zeiss Biogon 21/2.8 the equivalent of a 28mm f2.8 lens on the M9 which is perfect for my needs.  This is what I started to do when I first bought the M8.

See my Leica weddings and engagement photography on my sister site, http://www.LeicaWeddingPhotographer.co.uk

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UK Leica Wedding Photographer – Deb & Paul

Here are the first few Leica M9 photos from Paul & Deb’s VW Camper rustic wedding in Gloucestershire, England.

Leica M9 Wedding!

Both photos taken with Leica M9 and Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron. Great lens! My fav on the M9.

I also used my Nikon D800 for the long range shots (Samyang 85m f1.4 & Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s) and super wide / low light (Samyang 14mm f2.8)

A great combination!

More photos to follow soon..
Leica Wedding Portrait

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Leica M9 Colour Wedding Photography – Gallery

Leica M9 UK Documentany Style Wedding Photography..In Colour!

Craig & Josie’s Church Wedding

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Related Links:
> Wedding Bookings
> My First Leica M9 Wedding
> Leica M9 Documentary Style Wedding Photography – Black & White – Craig & Josie

Leica M9 Black & White Wedding Photography – Gallery

To follow up on my last blog post from Craig and Josie’s wedding yesterday at Ingon Manor, UK here are the photos I promised.  For the full write-up of the day see links related below (“My First Leica M9 Wedding”). To recap I used my Leica M9 for wedding photography the first time. I shot B&W JPEGs and DNG files. I like black and white photography so decided to use only the JPEG images. The Leica is pefect for documentary style wedding photography due to it’s small size when compared to DSLRs. I really enjoyed shooting this wedding are here are some of my favourites –

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Wedding Photography, UK

Related Links:
> Wedding Bookings
> My First Leica M9 Wedding
> Leica M9 Colour Wedding Photography

Leica M9 Wedding Photography

Leica M9 Wedding Photographer – My First Leica Wedding!
Jane, a fellow photographer friend ask me to be a second shooter today for her wedding clients Josie and Craig. As this took the pressure off me I thought today is the day to start my new style of wedding photography. I bought a Leica M9 body which arrived a few days ago and I wanted to push myself to be more of a documentary style photographer that is in the thick of the action to get those intimate shots. In the past I have used my Nikon D800 and often a Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s zoom lens to pick people off at a distance for candid shots. As nice as the lens is it is big and not very discrete. I liked the idea of the small form of the Leica where I can blend in to look like one of the wedding guests. I normally also use a lot of strobe light (mostly off camera) in my D800 wedding photography.

So, the Leica Challenge I set myself for today’s church wedding was:
1)Use the Leica as much as possible for practise and examples for my wedding portfolio.
2)Use as few lenses as possible.
3)Don’t use flash. Ambient light only.
4)Get in close to the action.

My gear:
In addition to buying a Leica M9 body I also wanted some more Leica M mount lenses ready for my Leica M9 wedding debut! After lots of research I bought myself a Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 and a Zeiss ZM T Planar 50mm f2. I already own a Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 and Voigtlander 21mm f4. I woke this morning to a heavy rain and dark skies so my first thoughts were to leave the VC 21/4 at home. That was my biggest regret of the day and I will take for all future shoots especially when so tiny.

Approximate lens usage today it was:
Nikon D800 & Samyang 14mm f2.8 – 5% (for a few wide shots)
Nikon D800 & Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 on macro extension tube – 5% (for macros)
Leica M9 & Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 – 70% (fantastic lens even wide open)(my new fav!)
Leica M9 & Zeiss ZM T Planar 50mm f2 – 15% (contrasty & nice for tighter shots)
Leica M9 & Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 – 5% (I was rushing and took it out my bag by mistake!)

My First Leica Wedding – Feedback:
So, how did I get on with my challenge? As you can see from the lenses/ cameras used I used the Leica M9 for probably well over 90% of the images taken and only 2 lenses for most of the day. I had the VC 28mm lens on the camera most so I had to be in close to my subjects to fill my viewfinder. I was lucky as the sun came out later so I didn’t use strobes once all day. Even in the church I was able to shoot at f2, 1/30 and ISO 640.

That Leica M9 Look:
I started out my wedding photography a few years ago shooting colour photos as most people do. For 2013 the majority of my work in now black and white so I managed to persuade a couple to buy a black and white wedding photography package from me. I shot B&W JPEGs on the D800 and 35mm B&W Kodak T-Max 100 film. I like the look of the B&W JPEGs from the D800 but they lack the emotion and life you can capture shooting film. I like the film look and do a lot of film photography with my models. For fashion photography style shoots I often use medium format film cameras such as Mamiya RZ67 and Contax 645. But, despite loving the film look I have decided it is not practical and economical to shoot masses of film for a wedding. It just takes me too long to hand develop the film, scan and edit to prepare for clients when on mass. It is great for selective model shots. So, where is this leading you may wonder. Well.. I found that ‘look’ I craved from film yet in a convenient digital format. The 18MP Kodak CCD full frame sensor coupled with my nice Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses render the Leica M9 black and white JPEGs in such a way that it looks like film. I was blow away with the results straight out the camera. Over the moon in fact! So much so that I wont even upload the Leica DNG files (also taken today)(DNG+JPEG fine). I might crop a few images but other than that the client can have the selected images as they are. Zero batch editing required. This is how I like to work!

(For model photography the Nikon D800 is still the winner as I found on my last Leica Model Shoot. (I cannot work near enough with the Leica M mount lenses). For my average model photography shoot I may take 200-300 images. I shoot B&W JPEGs, upload to LR3, resize, sharpen, tag, export. Job done. If I can now do weddings in the same manner i’m eternally happy! I like to edit individual film photography model shots but I really dread the thought of editing 1000 wedding images. It just becomes a burden on my shoulders until completed).

“You Can’t Do A Wedding With a Leica M9”!?
Erm.. I think I proved today with my first rangefinder camera wedding experience that you most certainly CAN use a Leica M9 for wedding photography! It doesn’t just try to fill the shoes of the Nikon D800 but instead sets a new standard that is not even attainable by Nikon (D800 or D4) due to the unique rendering from the Leica M9 sensor and Leica M lenses.

What Next?
I need to read up on any macro option for the Leica. If I can cover this aspect of wedding photography for detail shots such as the rings then the Nikon D800 will become a backup camera if I have a problem with the Leica. The D800 still has a place as it does excel for model photography and fashion shoots due to the crisp 36MP images and high dynamic range.

Leica Wedding Photography Album (Gallery):
> B&W Images: https://matthewosbornephotography.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/leica-m9-black-white-wedding-photography-album-photos/
> Colour Images: https://matthewosbornephotography.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/leica-m9-colour-wedding-photography/

Bookings
To book a wedding with me you can find more details on my website – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer, UK

Leica M9 – Best Leica M Mount Lenses (For Me!)

With my new (to me) Leica M9 black body arriving soon my head is already starting to wander with regards to lenses on my to buy list.

To recap from my last post (here) I bought the Leica M9 body to let me shoot Voigtlander lenses on a full frame sensor body. I want to have a smaller camera to use for documentary style wedding photography. The D800 is great but is hardly discrete. So my brain is already excited at the thought of all the Leica M lenses I can now use. That said I have started to think what lenses I would buy next.

The Leica M mount lenses I own so far are:

> Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4

> Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4

Leica M mount lenses on my to buy list:

I understand many Leica purists would never put a non-Leica lenses on a Leica body but until I have a fatter wallet I am more than happy with the results some of the Voigtlander lenses give.  I have my eye on the following 2 lenses in no particular order:

> Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 Asph II (Steve Huff review here – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/12/02/voigtlander-nokton-35-1-2-aspherical-ii-lens-review-on-the-leica-m9/

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 asph

> Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron (Ken Rockwell review – http://www.kenrockwell.com/voigtlander/28mm-f2.htm)

Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron

>UPDATED* Carl Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 (Steve Huff review – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2009/12/14/zeiss-zm-50-planar-lens-review/#comment-254065)

Zeiss Planar 50 f2 ZM

Why these lenses you may ask?  The Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 is said to be sharper than my Voigtlander 40mm wide open and I would buy it for it’s shallow DOF low light abilities. I love my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s on my Nikon D800 so a f1.2 lens on the Leica M9 just seems to make sense to me.

UPDATE* I recently read Steve’s review (above) on the Zeiss Planar 50mm f2. Oh my!!! That ticks all my boxes and more! Added to list and now quite possibly at the top! I already own an M42 Zeiss Planar that I have used on my D800 and it i crazy sharp at f1.8, plus the colours are far nicer than the Nikon glass.

I will be using the Leica M9 for wedding photography aswell my model photography. In the UK wedding photography will normally include some low light photography even during the daytime due to our changeable weather. As a Leica M9 wedding photographer I am well aware that the M9 cannot compete with my Nikon D800 at high ISO. By using fast lenses (ie. wide aperture like f1.2, f1.4, f2) I can try to shoot at or below ISO 800 on the Leica body to avoid excessive noise on the images.

It terms of focal length 35mm on my Nikon D800 can be too tight in small spaces such as a cramped room full of people at a wedding reception. I think my 21mm f4 will be a little wide but more so will too slow for the dim indoor lighting faced at many wedding venues. The Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron provides the perfect focal length and speed to accompany my current 40mm f1.4 lens. As the Voigtlander 28mm f2 is also cheaper than it’s 35mm cousin I may buy this lens quite soon ready for the next wedding.

I am not really interested in focal lengths greater than 50mm on the Leica M9 as I can use the Nikon D800 for longer distances. The Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s is a beast of a lens so lets me get my discrete wedding photography photos from a safe distance. Up close most people would run a mile due to it’s size but that is where the Leica M9 comes in, for discrete documentary style wedding photography up close.

For info on all Voigtlander lenses see here – http://www.voigtlander.com/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_fdih7j7h5j.html

Leica M9 wedding photography samples coming soon! See here for my wedding photography style – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html

UPDATE – September 2013* I now have all the above lenses.  By far my favourite is the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii. Sharp with a shallow DOF and easy to nail focus at f1.2

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk