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

 

 

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Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR Lens

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

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

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

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

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50f1.5

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

Leica Summicron 50f2 DR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR - SOOC

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