Hasselblad Portraits – Hamburg Models
Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
*(I will add more photos to this post as I process the film so you might want to check back in a month or so if interested).
*(I will add more photos to this post as I process the film so you might want to check back in a month or so if interested).
I wrote this while waiting for my flight home after an amazing few days of model photography in Germany last weekend. I collaborated with local model agencies here in Hamburg and photographed 11 models in 2.5 days, back to back. Good times!
A big thanks to M4 Models and Core Artist Management for giving me the opportunity. It was my first visit to Hamburg so I organized all the models remotely in the build up to the trip. Overall we were lucky with the weather with only a few spots of rain in total. Almost all photos were shot outside on the streets of Hamburg working in the area close to the hotel. The standard of models was generally very high and although I selected the models I photographed almost every one surpassed my expectations. I’m very excited to see the results.
I kept camera gear very simple and I only had 8kg hand luggage to work with anyway. My digital setup was the Leica M240 camera and Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar pancake lens. For analogue photos I managed to fit in my Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera plus the Zeiss Distagon 60mm f3.5 lens. I shot all black and white film and the majority was Fomapan 100 film shot at ISO 400.
Models included Phila and Antonia from M4 in Hamburg and Anita over on contract from Number One Models in Budapest. I then had Janna, Carmen, Cailtin, Sofia, Chantel from Core and also for a change male models Tomas, Aaron and Chris also from Core. I expected to be working with all German models but I got to meet Dutch, Hungarian, Australian, American all signed to the Hamburg model agencies.
Some of the female models were of really high standard and a joy to work with but it was the male models that surprised me the most. All three of the guys produced really strong images and I loved how I can light men differently to women opening a whole new world of lighting oppotunities. I try to give girls flawless skin with light but for guys any ‘imperfections’ just added character. I hope the resulting photos look as good as I remember!
I shot 11 rolls of film and plenty of digital too so can’t wait to see the resulting images. I was happy with all the equipment I’d taken to use and would not hesitate to pack the same setup again.
If the agencies like my work I’m already hoping to work with some of the models again soon! 🙂
I met Galyna when working out in Ukraine in 2011. She was a friend of a girl I met in the office and the two of them came to my hotel for some photos. Galyna doesn’t model in Ukraine and works at the University. That said, she enjoys having her photo taken so every time I was in town we would hook up for photos. Over the time of knowing her I shot with a Nikon D700, Nikon D800 and on my last trip a Leica M9. I think my favourite images were those taken with the Nikon D800 and the amazing Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens. Some of the photos were made with the Lensbaby Edge 80 tilt lens. I’m sure you can spot them!
I hope to meet up with Galyna again soon and visit Ukraine next year. I love Ukraine. It reminds me of the UK in the 1980s bringing back memories from my childhood. I love the old cars and the famous Lada! My first car was a Lada Niva Cossack 4×4 which I had for 6 years. Amazing car full of character! I would have one again tomorrow if I could afford a ‘Sunday’ car! I like the old buildings in Ukraine and the general less developed feel to parts of the country. It make for an amazing backdrop for photos. A high percentage of Ukrainian girls could probably model here in the UK as they have the tall slim genes like Galyna. That and the fact that Ukrainian women dress to impress, whether for work or a night out. The clothes some girls wore in the office looked similar to what we would see in a nightclub in the UK! Quite a distraction! I was amazed there were not more car crashes!!
Here are a few photos from my trips, 2011-2013.
I hope you liked them!
I met Zuza on my last trip to Poland when shooting with a model agency in Gdansk. We only spend perhaps 3 hours together taking photos but within that time I was able to capture so of my perhaps best portrait images. We had no wardrobe person, no makeup artist, no hair stylist, no studio, no lights, just the basics, a camera, a lens and a 5 in 1 reflector. The equipment used was a Leica M9 rangefinder camera and a Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2. Zuza brought her own clothes and style along to the shoot and I styled her with the garments she had and posed her accordingly. All photos are daylight lit only. Zuza seemed to have this very relaxed not really bothered personality yet when I pressed the shutter it instantly looked like some stylised photo that had taken a whole team hours to prepare. The entire shoot was effortless and Zuza was a real pleasure to work with. I hope to work with her again on my next trip to Poland.
Here are some sample images from our shoot. I was taking photos as B&W JPEGs + DNG (colour):
Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO – Lens Review
The latest addition to my Leica camera bag is a Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.
Why do a ‘need’ another Leica M mount lens for my Leica M cameras?
Without doubt my biggest frustration with the Leica M cameras is the rangefinder focus system only focusing as close as 0.7M. After coming from a Nikon D800 DSLR camera I was used to working very close to my subjects to either create a shallow depth of field and/ or to crop tight to improve my composition. I now have some nice Leica M lenses but I never seem to be able to get as close as I would like. I can get shallow DOF with lenses like the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 and Leica Summicron 90mm f2 but both these lenses only focus as close as 1M. My closest focusing lenses are the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 and Leica Summicron 50mm f2 both of which focus as 0.7M but that is still not near enough for say detail shots at a wedding.
Why is the 75mm focal length (“FL”) so unpopular?
The 75mm FL is one of the least popular focal lengths as it is too close to both a 50mm and a 90mm. In theory it would make sense to own a 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm say. I think that is how the majority of the population think anyway and at first glance that makes perfect sense. It does until you approach the same question differently..
What can the Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens give me that none of my other lenses can?
Firstly it gives me a brand new string in my Leica bow. What do I mean by this? I mean I can now do super sharp detail photos at a higher magnification than with any of my other Leica M lenses. That alone that fills a void in my Leica camera bag capabilities.
Can it do anything else to add value?
Yes. It gives me apparent image sharpness and resolution that is comparable with my 36MP Nikon D800 (I think). This means if I am doing freelance wedding photography with high end DSLR cameras the images from the M9 + Cron 75f2 now look more similar to a CMOS sensor than say the dreamy looking images from the Noctilux or older Cron 90f2. I love the latter look for my own wedding photography but when shooting for other photographers most people appreciate lens sharpness and clean crisp images.
Is the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 too clinical?
The term ‘clinical’ seems to be everywhere when you read up on this lens on the internet. It is said in a negative tense describing images from this lens as characterless. Yes it is crazy sharp, edge to edge, and even more so stoppped down and yes it has little or no vignetting (which I miss!) but that doesn’t mean it creates a bad image. How long does it take to add vignetting in post processing if desired? Seconds. If I want to use the Cron 75mm f2 lens in the studio for clean crisp images perhaps for a magazine it is better to have a lens that can give me this option. I love my Noctilux lens but shot wide open but it has heavy vignetting and famous Leica glow do not suit every occasion. (Yes I could stop down the Noctilux but have tended to use the Lux ASPH 50 to date for sharp studio images).
Is there a cheaper Leica M mount 75mm alternative?
Yes two popular and cheaper alternative 75mm lenses are the Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 Heliar Classic and the Leica Summarit 75mm f2.5. The Voigtlander Classic 75f1.8 offers fantastic value for money at around 1/5 of the price of the Summicron 75f2 APO. I own some Voigtlander lenses and some of them are real gems. I have no bias towards the Leica branded lenses. A second cheaper option at around half the cost of the Cron f2 is the smaller lighter and very slightly slower Summarit 75mm f2.5.
So why did I pay more to get the Summicron?
Simple answer. I only had interest in a 75mm as I wanted a longer lens to focus at 0.7M. Both the other 75mm lenses only focus as close as 0.9M. I would not buy a 75mm FL lens otherwise as have 50mm and 90mm lenses already.
First thoughts of the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO?
Pleasantly surprised I think. There is not a huge amount of positive information attached to this lens but for the sole reason it focuses at 0.7M I thought I would get one to try. Leica equipment tends to hold it’s value well so I thought worst case I could just sell it again.
Lens build quality – very similar to the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 just slightly bigger
Lens Size – Around the same bulk and weight as my Noctilux and has a 49mm filter thread
Lens contrast – less contrasty that Zeiss ZM T* lenses such as the Sonnar and Planar
Apparent sharpness – Sharp wide open. Not as harsh as expected for female portraits
Bokeh – Pleasing round bokeh balls shot wide open
Resolution – I think it is now my sharpest lens. Zeiss lenses tend to appear sharp due to the higher micro contrast. The Cron 75 is more like the Lux ASPH or newer Noctilux 50mm f0.95. (Yes I was not keen on the Nocti f0.95 for looking too modern but for close up detail shots I see the ‘clinical’ sharpness of the Summicron 75 f2 as a positive).
Potential uses for this lens for my style of photography?
> Studio portraiture needing maximum resolution
> Tighter crop portraits (head shots)
> Street photography at a comfortable distance
> Detail photos for Leica wedding photography
> Product photography
> Macro photography with my Raynox 250 macro lens attached
Example images using the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO:
(Photos have been edited so not a great use to see the SOOC look from this lens, sorry)
I will as always be sharing new images to my Flickr stream as I take them. I am interested to try the 75mm f2 Cron on my Leica M2 to see how it looks with film loaded! 🙂
My Leica Bike (aka “Cinelli Bootleg Mystic Rats 2014“)
When I am not taking photos there is a good chance I am eating, sleeping or cycling! After having my Leica M9 almost a year now I think it has given me a taste for simplicity and quality. As with my photography where I came from a Nikon DSLR to Leica I have now also simplified my cycling moving from my custom made 20 gear road bike and 27 gear hybrid bike to a single speed Cinelli.
The Cinelli Bootleg Mystic Rats is an Italian born single speed (fixed gear + freewheel) road bike. The matt black paint is said to originate from Italy where riders covered their bikes in black tape to disguise the value of the bike underneath. Weighing in at 8.1kg off the shelf it has great potential to become a lightweight racer once I change the wheels, tyres, saddle, pedals for lighter alternatives (in time). I ride most days and it has been an absolute pleasure racing to the office this week. Yes I have to work harder with only one gear to get up hills but I try to describe it like a car with only a 2nd gear. It is slow initially to pull away from the lights but once up to speed you only really have 2 speed options, fast and faster regardless of terrain. If you go below that speed you would have to get off and push if cannot rotate the pedals. Having no gears to clatter and click the Mystic glides silently over rough road surfaces and cuts between the traffic with easy with the narrow yet beautifully crafted Cinelli Lola bars.
With the no frills design and matt black paint the Cinelli Mystic reminds me a lot of my Leica M9.
Attached are a few shots of the bike taken with the Leica M9 + new Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens (Cron 75f2 lens review to follow). All photos taken at f2, 1/30 or 1/60, ISO 160 as in camera B&W JPEGs.
Full bike spec here – http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cinelli-bootleg-mystic-rats-2014/