Poland Model Photography – June 2015

Poland Model Photography – June 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

Mr Leica Agency Shoot Poland

The Trip

I am just back from another 4 days shooting in Sopot, Poland.  I stayed in my favourite hotel on Sopot beach, Hotel Bursztyn, and teamed up with Malva Model agency girls again and also with models from 2 other model agencies.  Some new faces and a few you may recognise.  Some of the regulars were away shooting in Asia / elsewhere in Europe so I hope to catch them next time if they are home.

Packing!

As usual, the hardest part of the trip is packing beforehand trying to decide what cameras / lenses to take.  Right until the last minute the plan was to take my usual Leica M9, a Leica M3 and then take the Nikon F4 SLR to try.  I was then stuck with what Nikon mount lens(es) to take for the Nikon F4 as I needed a 50mm (do everything lens) but also wanted to take my new Tokina 100mm f2.8 lens.  I then started to consider taking the Nikon D800 instead of the Leica M9 as kind of a test to myself.  Can I like the photos from the Nikon D800 CMOS sensor again?  It has been over 18 months since I moved to from shooting with the Nikon D800 to the Leica M9 so perhaps it was time to give it another try.  The D800 made sense on multiple levels.  36mp high resolution images for the models and agencies to emjoy.  D800 longer battery life vs the Leica M9 for full days of shooting. D800 autofocus lens option if I want it for moving subjects and the biggest advantage, I could take one set of lenses for 2 camera bodies. After weighing my bag with various combinations the final camera bag consisted of:

Camera gear for June 2015 trip (2 cameras, 4 lenses)

  • Nikon D800 DSLR (digital camera)
  • Nikon F4 SLR (35mm film camera)
  • Nikkor 50mm f1.8 E series MF lens (pancake lens)
  • Nikkor 24mm f2.8 D AF lens (for some interior photos)(less so for models)
  • Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 M42 MF lens (+ tiny M42 – Nikon adapter)
  • Tokina 100mm f2.8 AF Macro lens (for portraits and macros)
  • 5 in 1 reflector
  • 35mm film (Kodak T-Max 100, T-Max 400, Fuji Acros 100, Kentmere 100, Portra 400)

Nikon F4 + New Batteries :)

To recap this is what I took on my last trip to Poland (similar space and weight):

January 2015 Poland Trip camera gear (4 cameras, 4 lenses)

  • Leica M9 (digital camera)
  • Leica M3 film camera (with 50mm framelines)
  • Leica M2 film camera (with 35mm framelines)
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens (for M3)
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens (for M2)
  • Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 lens (for M9)
  • Mamiya 645 Super + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens (medium format film camera)

Conclusion

Was I pleased with my camera and lens choice?

I think yes.  I still find it easier to focus a rangefinder cameras vs a SLR/DSLR but after reviewing some of the resulting photos I am extremely pleased with the detailed captured in the Nikon D800 NEF RAW files.  A broad dynamic range and lots of detail / sharpness.  Perfect for fashion photography and to my eyes more similar to the smooth Leica S2 camera images than the Leica M9 photos.  The Leica M9 images to me are more like classic 35mm film grain such as Kodak Tri-X whereas the Leica S2 and Nikon D800 is more like medium format 120 Fuji Acros 100 film (slightly extreme examples but to help visualise) for example with a broad range of grey tones.  Neither style is bad and both have their uses.  In the past I loved the narrow dynamic range of the contrasty Leica M9 black and white JPEG files yet at the moment I am really enjoying the broad dynamic range of film and the Nikon D800 RAW files.

I was pleased with both the Nikon D800 and handling of the Nikon F4 (film not yet developed).  Could I take the same images with a Leica M3 vs the Nikon F4 with the same film loaded and a 50mm lens?  Yes I think so.  The Leica M3 is smaller and lighter and I can operate it in my sleep.  The Nikon F4 was good if I wanted to use the autofocus Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro lens or the wider 24mm Nikkor but for the majority of the photoshoots I could have probably got away with just a 50mm lens.  Next time I might take a Nikkor 50mm AF lens for speed or perhaps the Nikkor 60mm f2.8D Micro lens instead of the 100mm Tokina Macro.  Both lenses are very sharp.

Could I take the same images (camera operating speaking) with the Leica M9 vs the Nikon D800?  Again I think yes but just with smaller files produced from the M9 and from 0.7m-1m away for Leica-M lenses vs up much closer with with Nikon D800.

Time to Think..

During the trip I had time to think more about Leica-M lenses vs lenses for Nikon cameras and also the limited useable max ISO of the Leica M9 vs the Nikon D800 ISO.  I will put a post together when I get chance.

For now here is the first digital sample images from the trip:

Fallen Angel

Nikon D800 Fashion Photography

Fun Between Poses

Model – Weronika @ Malva Models

Nikon D800 + Tokina 100mm f2.8 AF Macro / Nikkor 50mm f1.8 E Series

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Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s Shoot

Engagement Shoot – Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
(Part 2 – With Nikon D800)

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Following my Leica M9 engagement shoot post yesterday, here are some of the photos taken from the same shoot but with a Nikon D800 + Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s. I was interested to see if the 200f2 could offer anything extra to what my Leica lenses give me to make it worth while carrying the extra bulk and weight.

I arrangeed this shoot with Harriett and Ashley as I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of wedding photography.

Yesterday we took a trip to Kenilworth Castle. Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.

Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.

Photos shot as Nikon D800 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3. I prefer the rendering of the Leica images but the 200m f2 can produce some stunning photos that are both sharp and have a very shallow depth of field.

Gallery:

Let me know which you prefer.. the Leica M9 images or the Nikon D800 ones. I like them both but I feel the Leica has the edge for my taste.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Post

Engagement Shoot – Part 1 (Leica M9 Engagement Photography)

Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4

Leica Lux ASPH 50/1.4 ..and compared to Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5

Here are a few examples with my most expensive Leica M mount lens, the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (‘Lux’). I bought a used Lux on eBay really to see if all the Leica hype was justified. To be honest I had no real emotion or excitement in buying the lens or even holding it when it arrived. It had to impress me first with its capabilities. I have other nice lenses such as the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s on the Nikon D800 and the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 and Zeiss ZM Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 for the Leica M9. The Lux had to beat these at its high price tag to secure a price in my Leica camera bag. I am almost pro non-Leica glass as like anyone I like to back the underdog. I use Russian lenses such as the Jupiter 3 50/1.5 (Soviet clone of the 1930s design Zeiss Sonnar) and Voigtlander glass such as the great value for money CV Nokton 40mm f1.4.

Can the Leica Summilux really be that good?

I took 3 lenses to London for some model test shoot street photography. I tried to rotate the lens I was using through the day however there are no real side by side comparison shots as I still had the fashion shoots to do. The 3 lenses selected were the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4, the Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 and for wider shots the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii.

Results!

Once I got back I selected some of my favourites from the thumbnails images to post. I did not check the EXIF data until afterwards. Of the 17 photos taken so far 10 of those were with the Leica Lux ASPH, 4 with the ZM Sonnar and 3 with the CV Nokton 35/1.2. I think I was hoping the Zeiss ZM Sonnar would win but no, it seem the LUX ASPH 50mm is as good as the rave reviews make out.

Leica Summilux ASPH vs Zeiss ZM Sonnar – why is the Lux good?

1) The Summilux will focus slightly closer than 0.7M whereas the minimum focus distance of the Zeiss ZM Sonnar is 0.9M. This gives a more shallow DOF and nice bokeh.

2) Edge to edge sharpness across the image

3) Very sharp at infinity

4) No focus shift issues so can be used at ease at any aperture and can be relied upon.

5) Leica lenses hold their value.

6) Built in hood.

Leica Summilux ASPH vs Zeiss ZM Sonnar – why is the Sonnar better?

1) The ZM Sonnar is 2.5x cheaper yet produces just as good a Lux photo at 0.9M when shot wide open. I found it very difficult to tell what lens I had used for most of the photos.

2) The Zeiss ZM Sonnar is smaller and lighter and does not block the bottom right hand corner of the viewfinder.

3) Zeiss ZM lenses give photos a sharp constrasty look with a 3D pop subject-background separation and nice rendering from the softer corners of the image.

Thoughts so far..

I need to conduct some more scientific tests with side-by-side examples but at the moment I am very happy with the results from both the ZM Sonnar and Leica Summilux ASPH 50. Both lenses are very capable but as I like shallow depth of field images the Leica is winning at the moment. The Lux bokeh reminds me of the bokeh from the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s where is can appear to swirl behind the subject and change shape at the image corners. The Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s also produces this bokeh look.

Leica Wedding Photography

I feel I could rely on the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens for Leica wedding photography on my Leica M9. I would not need to worry about focus shift found on the Zeiss ZM Sonnar.  For documentary style wedding photography edge to edge sharpness shot wide open is great as the subjects are often not in the centre of the photo.  The fast f1.4 aperture makes the Lux great for low light photography when shooting by available light such as during a wedding ceremony.  The Zeiss ZM Planar 50/2 has similiar sharpness wide open however in low light f2 is often not bright enough for UK Leica weddings and the CV Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens is not as sharp wide open.

Example images with the Leica Summilux ASPH 50/1.4 on the Leica M9

Environmental Portraits – Models Angelique and Valentine

After Hours

Leica Summilux ASPH Bokeh

Summilux ASPH 50

Summilux ASPH 50/1.4

Other examples

Leica Summilux ASPH

Leica Summilux ASPH 50 is sharp!

London

Leica Street Photography

Clothes Show 2013

Clothes Show Live

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

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Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 C

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii

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Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s

Nikkor 135mm f2.8 NAI (Pre Ai)

My latest purchase!! Nikkor 135mm f2.8 Pre Ai

135b

Here is a test shot with my latest lens for my Nikon D800, a 1970s Nikkor 135mm f2.8 pre Ai prime lens. This photo of my Arri light is shot at f2.8 with no sharpening applied, just watermarked.

Another example, this time at f5.6 using an extension tube to let me get closer to my subject thereby creating a shallow DOF. (Macro is always a great way to test lens sharpness!)

Nikkor 135mm f2.8 pre AI

I love the older Nikon NAI, AI, AI-s lenses. Proper metal and glass construction, nice and weighty and super sharp. My current favourites and probably my highest performing two lenses for my Nikon D800 DSLR are my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S and my Nikkor 200mm f2 Ai-S. The Nikkor 135/2.8 completes the trio and replaced my Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 that I recently sold. The 80-200/2.8 was my only zoom lens and left from my Nikon D90 days. My current setup of manual Nikkor primes makes me look forward to using my D800, for both beauty/ fashion portraits and wedding photography.  The 135/2.8 gives me that extra reach yet it is a 52mm filter size with built in hood and half the size of the common 70-200/2.8s.  Half the size means I am more mobile and I can also get into the action easier at weddings without being seen quite as easily.

The eBay purchased lens arrived very dirty but to my relief underneath the skylight filter the glass was in great condition and it cleaned up nicely. Phew!

I will use the Nikkor 135/2.8 on my next portrait session and come back with the results soon.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

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Nikkor 200mm f2 Ai-s

Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s Gallery

D800 + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s

Nikon D800 was back in action today after a few months break. I gave the Leica M9 a rest and let the D800 take over.

D800 B&W JPEG
Model Alex
Studio Shoot. Coventry UK.

The D800 DSLR is so fast and easy to use after using a rangefinder for a while. Especially when using very shallow DOF as I do. I wont list likes/ dislikes here as full comparison of the two cameras to follow.

The Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s was on the D800 for most the day. Fantastic lens that I love shooting close and wide open (f1.2).  The old manual focus AI-s Nikkor 50mm f1.2 is in my top 3 Nikon mount portrait lenses that I use for my model fashion and beauty photography.  I tend to use it less for wedding photography unless light level are very low.

Miserable dull weather in the UK today. I was using mix of Arri light and a speedlight lighting

**Good news. I did break out the Leica M9 towards the end of the shoot so new examples to come using the Leica M9 + Jupiter 3 (Russian copy of a Sonnar 50mm f1.5 lens) combo. 🙂

D800 vs Leica M9 Blog post coming soon!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Discussion Shared from LinkedIn – Can Lenses Be To Sharp For Portraits?

LinkedIn – BridesView Group

Discussion – Can Lenses Be To Sharp For Portraits?

LinkedIn Original Discussion Thread

I just replied to the above thread and I thought you may find the topic of interest and the details below of potential use.  Here was my reply:

“As for sharp lenses for portraiture, I specialise in female portraits and have used some of the best and sharpest lenses for Nikon, Leica and medium format Contax 645, Mamiya RZ67 and more.

A point was raised above Can a lens be too sharp for a flattering portrait? Answer Yes I think so. I aim to get my photos correct in camera so rarely airbrush a pimple unless a one off special photo. If you pose and light them well initially you can normally cover most of the imperfections. I also do not have time to remove every wrinkle. I cringe when I see a pore free texture free airbrushed portrait. They can look awful if done badly.

So back on topic.. lenses being too sharp. Yes they can. Even though I work with the majority of models aged 17yrs to 30yrs some of the lenses I have used will make a face unflattering unless the model has porcelain skin when I can then go all out for sharpness.

List of lenses that can be too sharp for portraits:
Samyang 85mm f1.4 @f1.4 (sharper than Nikon 85mm f1.4D BTW at f1.4)(Great lens!)
Example standing further back, Ukraine
Innocence?
Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro lens – very very sharp but not fast enough (sold)
Early example with my old Nikon D700
Magdalena (2)
Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 T (on Leica M9)
Example standing further back. F2
Leica M9 - B&W Film Look
Nikkor 35mm f1.4G – super sharp
Example on D800, high key Poland
Aga (2) SOOC with D800
Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 (Great little lens)(Same as a Zeiss Planar 50mm with different badge)
Example on Nikon D800
Katie, as shot

Lenses for non-perfect skin:
Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s (fantastic lens that gives a dreamy look shot at f1.2 but still sharp)
Example on Nikon D800
Alice SOOC
Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 (on Leica M9)
Example
Leica M9 B&W Portrait
Lensbaby Edge 80
Example – Kodak Portra 35mm film / Nikon FM
Film Photography Fashion

Lenses that do it all:
Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s (sharp at f2 yet flattering as shallow DOF)
Example on Nikon FM – 35mm Film photography
Film is NOT Dead - Model Photogaphy
Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 T (on Contax 645 medium format film camera) (very sharp+shallow)
Example – film photography wedding portrait
Contax 645 Wedding Portrait
Mamiya Sekor 110mm f2.8 (on Mamiya RZ67 ProII)(sharp yet shallow DOF)
Example – 6×7 medium format Kodak T-Max film
Film Fashion Photography
Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8 (M42 mount)(Great for portraits)
Example up close on D800
Katie with CZ Pancolar 80/1.8

If you want to see more examples see my blog or Flickr. Many examples of each combination and 99% of the photos on there have not been airbrushed so what you see is what the lens provides”.

Join me – LinkedIn

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – UK Leica Wedding Photographer