Budapest-Ukraine Road Trip

Budapest-Ukraine Road Trip

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

September 2017

 

Leica Shoot Out

Well Overdue

I had originally booked to visit Ukraine in July this year (and Poland) but due to my Ironman triathlon training commitments I decided to forgo both model photography trips and rebook them after the event.  I wanted to try to get to Ukraine before the cold weather came so booked it as soon after the Ironman as I could.  I also rebooked Poland (to come!).  After no overseas model photography shoots since I think May 2017 it felt like it had been forever.  I was more than ready for this one!

Camera Gear

  • Leica M240 digital camera body
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 lens
  • Leica M3 film camera body
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens
  • Leica M4-P film camera body
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens

Cameras and Film

I have been to both Budapest and Ukraine quite a few times now so I tried to select cameras, lenses and film stock different to previous trips. I wanted to take a medium format camera but had taken the Fuji GF670, Fuji GA645 and Mamiya 6 in the past and was not overly impressed with the results compared to a 35mm film Leica.  I think if you load a Leica with professional standard fine grain film they can capture super sharp high clarity images even with the smaller 35mm film format.  I’ve had great success in the past combining in particular the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens with  the fine grain black and white Ilford Pan F50 film.  I wanted to bring the Hasselblad but I didn’t have sufficient capacity in my hand luggage so settled for 2 Leica film cameras, one to shoot colour film and one for black and white film. I also tried to pack more rolls of colour film as I normally shoot mostly black and white. For colour film I bulk loaded a batch of Kodak Motion Picture Vision3 200T film which is tungsten balanced but I use it with a 81B colour correction filter in daylight. I also had some daylight balanced Vision3 50D to use but less of it.  For black and white film I selected what I believe is the best with regards to image quality (sharpness and clarity) and took Ilford Pan F 50 and Ilford Delta 100 film. For low light I packed some Kodak T-Max 400 film as I like the fine grain and some of my usual bulk loaded Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 which has such great latitude and seems to work in almost any light.

Leica M Lenses

When taking Leica film cameras rather than a different film camera brand such as Hasselblad, Mamiya or Nikon, I have the advantage that I can pack one set of lenses to use on both the digital Leica M 240 and the Leica film cameras.  Last time I was in Ukraine my M240 needed recalibrating so I used a 35mm Voigtlander Skopar lens stopped down to ensure I had a deeper depth of field. I was also using speedlights a lot for flash photography.  In contrast, for this trip I wanted to use less flash and shoot with a shallow depth of field. My obvious lens choice for available light photography is the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. Digital photos to me can look very boring but the Nocti lens shot wide open can add a lovely filmic / painterly soft look to a photo and it is these imperfections that make the photos perfect (for me anyway). I like the small size of the compact Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens and it balances nicely on my Leica M3. It is also very sharp wide open.   I packed the 50/2.5 for those reasons but in hindsight I wish I had packed the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 as it is more suited to available light photography. I find the Leica Noctilux 50/1.0 can be a little too soft at f1.0 when shot on film (for many film stocks I’ve tried) whereas the Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH can work well at f1.4 with film.  Lastly I chose the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.4 lens for a wider view yet suited for available light also. Again in hindsight next time I may pack 3 50mm lenses plus a 35mm for occasional use. It is frustrating to use two focal lengths side by side as I will stand in a place to compose for say a 50mm lens then when pick up the camera with the 35mm lens on the perspective is different and I need to walk forward for the same crop as seen with the 50mm, only to then step back again when I switch to the 50mm.  I think I’m currently back to being a 50mm shooter as my most used focal length. 35mm can feel too wide yet 75mm – 90mm can be too long/ tight.

Budapest

Budapest was only a short visit and hello to models en route to Ukraine.  I had two nights in Budapest city centre so booked three models each day. On day one the first model didn’t arrive nor even bother to write. Luckily the next two models were some of my most reliable in Budapest so they came prepared. What I learnt the most from the day is regardless of a model looks, the models I can make the best photos with are those that are as excited as me about making the pictures. Two creative minds on a photoshoot can lead to some amazing results and in particular I love models that are also stylists. They piece together really interesting clothing combinations and somehow source garments that you rarely see on the high street.  I was really happy with days photos despite the morning being wasted by a no show. The digital images I was seeing on the M240 LCD using the Leica Noctilux lens looking very promising.

I only had one evening in Budapest so even after a busy day shooting and not much to eat as soon as the last model left I grabbed my running kit and drank a quick coffee then did a sunset run along the River Danube. So beautiful and enjoyable. The perfect end to a perfect day!

Day two had another bad start with another cancel but I was tired so made the most of it and had some extra sleep. The rest of the day was two more reliable models so luckily stress free. I think the big difference for day two is the model had their own vision that was not my preferred arty style so having less input made it more like going through the motions. Day 1 I shot nearly 3 rolls of film. Day 2 I didn’t shoot a single frame! I think the longer I do photography the more selective I become, both in terms of models I work with but also the styling, location and general mood.  I only shoot film when I feel the capture deserve it.  Film doesn’t suit every photo, I think, or for me anyway. To be more precise, if the light does not interest me when shooting digital I will not reach for a film camera. Light is everything.

Slovakia

Normally when I shoot in Ukraine I fly into Slovakia from the UK and then get a bus over the border to Uzhgorod. For this trip I decided to fly to Budapest, then bus from Budapest to Slovakia, stay there overnight then get my usual bus from Slovakia to Ukraine.

That was the plan anyway. I am quite relaxed as a person and I arrived to the bus station at the exact time of departure and missed my pre-booked bus.  Luckily I was able to find another bus going to Slovakia 6hrs later that would arrive in time to catch my connecting bus to Ukraine. The long time waiting was less painful than feared and I arrived in Uzhgorod on Day 3 ready to shoot.

Ukraine

Window Light

Day 3.  I had a quick one hour shoot with an agency model I knew from last year and then my model friend arrived on her train from Kiev.  We set to work and had an extremely enjoyable and productive first day using the light right through until sunset. I can’t wait to see the photos!

Day 4 started with a pre-breakfast lingerie shoot which just showed the amount of thought and planning going into trying to make the nicest pictures.  Once we were both dying of hunger we stopped for breakfast. In the afternoon we shot a few more looks right up until it was time for the model to catch her 16hr return train back to Kiev. A very enjoyable first two days in Uzhgorod and the bar had been set high for others to try to follow.  I felt very fortunate a model would want to travel 16hrs (each way) for a photoshoot.

Leica M240 B&W

Day 5 was supposed to be my first full day working with local models friends with five models booked back to back morning til night. Sadly three of the five models cancelled putting me on a bit of a downer after experiencing such highs in the two days before.  The sun and warm 28 degree temperatures we had been enjoying also gave way to a day of mostly rain. The last model, my first ever in Ukraine six years ago, braved the rain and we shot under a bridge before retreating for coffee and cake.

Leica Fashion Photographer

Day 6 was my last in Ukraine so I’d booked in five more models. Luckily my endless hours on social media trying to organise all these shoots paid off and I had no cancellations.  Even the sun came back out for us!  I shot with a wide mix of ages and experience and I think I discovered a new super model at the age of only 15.  When I first came to Uzhgorod I shot with a 15yr old girl and now she’s based as a model in Paris (the last I heard).  I also had a lot of fun catching up with friends and it’s lovely when they seem genuinely thankful that I came back to visit them.  I was dead on my feet again when the last model finished but still decided to fit in one more run along the river despite being dark.  I even made two new friends on the pull up / dips bars outside one of the housing blocks.  It is probably not that common for ‘tourists’ to mingle with the local but I enjoyed it. A great memory to end my time in Ukraine.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f1

Night Bus

The original travel itinerary was to stop off at a hotel in Slovakia on my way home via Budapest. After realising the night buses were not that painful I cancelled my hotel and booked a night bus instead. That gave me a full last day in Ukraine but also now some extra time in Budapest to fit in one last shoot.

My taxi was at midnight to go to the bus station. I jumped in the taxi, an old Lada Niva I remember well as a child and said ‘autobus station to go to Slovakia’. The driver said ok and we speed off along the empty pot holed roads, without a seat belt sitting in the passenger seat. (It is considered rude to wear a seat belt). I tried to show a driver an iPhone map photo of the bus station and he replied ok ok Slovakia. I soon realised he had misunderstood me and we were driving at speed in the opposite direction to the bus heading direct to Slovakia! To cut the story short I managed to make him stop the car and by describing roads and various Uzhgorod landmarks he understood and I managed to catch the night bus to Slovakia. The bus trip was great except we arrived to Slovakia 2hrs early.  It was perhaps 15 degrees colder than Ukraine and I now had a 3hr40 minute wait in a dark and deserted bus station. I wore all my clothes trying to keep warm but was very relieved to see my bus arrive to take me to Budapest. I slept the entire journey like a baby, including dribble!

Back in Budapest

A model friend from a few days earlier met me at the bus station in Budapest and we had a very enjoyable and hopefully successful shoot.  I suggested we shot at the location and it gave very different backdrops to the rest of my Budapest images. A good decision. We then also shot a bit more on the metro travelling into the city before I caught my bus to the airport.

CV Nokton 35mm

Thoughts

I believe the number of rolls of film I shoot on a trip is a good indicator as to how successful it was. I managed to use ten rolls of 36(/37) exposure 35mm film and for once I think more colour than black and white.  I was trying to push the equipment and materials to their max to see what I could achieve so I’m interested to see the results. In particular using fine grain film with the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 shot at f1.0-f1.2-f1.4. I don’t think I stopped the lens down beyond f1.4.  I fear at f1 the photos will still be too soft (for my taste) but I wanted to try so I know my equipment limits.  Another sign of success for me was every film photo was taken with available light which I was keen to do (after so much flash film photography in the last 12-18 months). It’s easy to make light but harder to find it.  To again push myself I took no reflector to bounce available light so I’m excited to see how we got on.  I tried to mix up my styles even using the above mentioned parameters and I also shot outside as much as I could to use the locations.  Where possible I tried to not photo a model against a wall and kept the lenses close or at to their widest apertures. (The opposite of when I was doing a lot of flash photography and had the lenses stopped down (higher f. stop for a greater depth of field)).

I know many photographers prefer the diffused light on an overcast day for taking portrait photographs but for me I love nothing better than blue skies and direct sunlight.  Living in the UK where we often have cloudy weather I found I really appreciated the sunny days of Budapest and Uzhgorod. If I simplify things, the entire model photography trip was just one big light hunt! I think I need to relocate to a sunnier warmer destination. San Francisco perhaps!

Overall I was really happy with my week away and I don’t think I would have changed anything other than pack the hugely missed Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens to use with the Leica film cameras.  I really wasn’t feeling the 35mm focal length and I would have been happy with only 50mm lenses. The best performer of the trip was without doubt the mighty Noctilux 50f1 lens.  The cameras were fighting over the Nocti as I wanted to use it to shoot film with but also to get the instant gratification when using the Noctilux on the digital Leica M240 and seeing the image on the LCD.  I don’t feel at any point that I missed not having a medium format camera.  Previously I have enjoyed the high flash sync speed (1/400-1/500) of most of the medium cameras to control ambient light when using flash. As I did nearly all available light photography the fast (f1.0-f1.4) Leica M mount lenses were much more suited (than f2.8-f4 MF lenses).  I am interested to see what the smaller 35mm film format Leica cameras achieved.

I think I write this and the end of every blog post I share but I’d like to think some of the images to come are my best yet.  I certainly tried!  Coming soon.

Big Thanks

I’ve not named models individually throughout this post but a huge thanks to models Eva, Nadja, Lili, Galyna, Inna, Dana, Angel, Nikoletta, Franciska, Alexa, Maryna and Valeria. It wouldn’t be possible without you.  Also apologies for the models I didn’t see this year.  I know I missed quite a few of you in Ukraine due to time constraints but I hope to be back again next year!

Thanks

Matt

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Ukraine Models 2016 (#2) – Leica M240

Ukraine Models 2016 (#2) – Leica M240

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

January 2017 (from July 2016)

Leica Selfie

Pre-Intro

I wrote this on the plane and bus when travelling back from Ukraine in July 2016.  I then managed to lose the majority of what I had written as it didn’t sync from my iPhone to the PC.  It took me 6 months to then re-write this amongst all the other shared and not yet shared blog posts and the piece is probably half as long as the original I lost. Apologies!

Intro

After an enjoyable model photography trip to Western Ukraine in May 2016, as soon as I got back to England I booked a follow up trip planning to be bigger and better than the first.

Ukraine is an amazing place for me as I can walk the street in a town centre and perhaps 7-8 out of every 10 girls aged 18-25yr (say)  look ‘good’. By that I mean well presented in nice clothes, dresses and skirts paired with high heels, often long shiny hair and with a slim elegant figure that catches the eye. Walking everywhere is popular and fast food is not yet that common so most people tend to be much slimmer than we see in the west.  Models I photo in the UK that are slim are often labelled ‘too skinny’ yet to the Ukranian girls these slim girls merely looks ‘pretty’ and normal size. I guess our eyes get used to the body shapes we see around us each day.  To me the UK is like the US.  The people that are interested in keeping in shape are super in shape (and this is proving very popular for fitness models on Instagram) and then everyone else is now bigger than historically what was the average size.  The problem for me as a model photographer in the UK is there are so few super in shape models in England that the demand  for them is sky high from fellow photographers (which is most people now everyone has a camera!).  The girls become mini-celebrities in the model world fueled by Instagram so I never actually get to shoot with most of them.  In contrast I can go to Hungary and shoot Miss Universe within 4hrs of a contact making a telephone call.  This inbalance which is why I shoot mostly overseas and favour Ukraine, Poland and Hungary (of the countries I visit most).

Models

Back to the trip..!

As I used to work in Ukraine most of my Ukraine ‘models’ prior to 2016 were/are just normal girls, often studying, doctors, dentists and lawyers seeming the most popular of those I meet. In May I collaborated with the local model agency and started to work with girls that both looked nice but also had some professional experience in front of the camera working on contracts with larger agencies overseas such as IMG and Woman Management Paris. In May I think I only filled the time I had remains with agency models and spending the rest of the trip photographing model friends from previous visits.

After successful model photography trips to Hamburg, Budapest and Sopot working solely with model agencies this time I asked the Ukraine model agency to supply all the girls / models for my visit (with a few friends added at the end to fill gaps). Normally I work with the same faces each visit but this time I met 11 new faces of the 14 girls I photographed with and 16 photoshoots in all across 3.5 days. This was a great decision and I met some really high standard models and potentially faces to look out for in the future. Some of the girls really brought a fashion feel to the photographs with their own style and posing, others were just extremely beautiful people. There was a really selection of looks and personalities which I think helps to produce a diverse set of photos. Some girls were just great from the first photo and others needed warming up a bit but I think every model produced either a few or a lot of good images. They seemed happy and my big grin showed I was too! One model even asked “Do all English people smile as much as you?” I replied “If they came to Ukraine probably yes!” 🙂

Makeup

The one thing I am starting to appreciate the more model photography I do is don’t underestimate the power of makeup! I now ask all models to bring makeup and I either direct the look I want, apply additional makeup or do all their makeup for them from scratch. I don’t yet own makeup but I feel I might have to soon invest. Not all girls own a lot of makeup in Ukraine so I was using none mainstream approaches to get the look I desired, lipstick for eyes lips and cheeks or eye pencil for eyes, cheeks and lips!  I basically used whatever they had.

Clothes

For my style of model photography the hair and face is normally the key part of the image with clothes always being secondary. If a model has a good face I could wrap them in a hotel towel and they will still look good. I light for the face and the rest of the photo is often less important to me.

Language

As with previous visits language is always a slight barrier but my Ukrainian is very slowly starting to improve as I pick up new words each day just by being in constant contact with the people there. As with previous visits I can normally get by with a smile and hand signals for the most part but it is nice to learn new phrases and improve my communication.

Clothes Designer from Kiev

Ahead of the May trip to Ukraine I contacted a clothes designer in Ukraine on Instagram commenting nice clothes and we should collaborate or words to that effect.  To my amazement and to a cut a long story short, the designer travelled 13hrs on a train from Kiev to meet me and brought her clothes (and steam iron!) along too. She was even still finishing sewing garments on the train from Kiev. I spent a full day with Eva and we worked with local talent to model her clothes for photos. I have done clothes shoots in the studio before but it is often product photography so headless photos and I just concentrate on lighting the garments. As mentioned above I only light for the face for my own work. Shooting models on location with one speedlight proved quite tough as if the face looked good the clothes didn’t and vice versa. The only problem with all my overseas model photography trips is I am using the most basic (Leica cameras are of course very nice but I mean using mostly small cameras and small lenses) and minimal equipment (maybe a speedlight).  When I shoot in the UK I get to play with all my big lights (which I love) and it’s pretty hard to make a bad lit photo.

Modeling

Eva looked amazing to my English eyes even though she was not a model so I managed to persuade her to have a photoshoot before she left.  The photos we made together were some of my favourites from the whole trip.  (*If I see a beautiful person, guy or girl, anywhere, I always have an overwelming urge to talk to them and try to make some photos together.  I know inside me that if they let me take their picture they will like the photos and that gives me the confidence to approach them.  One of my life long goals is to photograph the most beautiful humans on the planet.  To me a beautiful person captured on film in flattering light is as good as it gets). 🙂

Cameras

I had my usual digital Leica M240 camera (which still needed the rangefinder calibrating) and the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens that has been permanently attached for quite a while. I know if I use the lens at f4 I can sharp photos despite the misaligned rangefinder due to the depth of field. I knew I wanted to do strobist work so decided to take my Nikon F4 SLR instead of a Leica film camera as the F4 has a flash sync speed of 1/125 instead of 1/50 so it is easier to balance ambient light and strobes. For the Nikon F4 I took the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2 lens as it is small and sharp.

Here are some digital Leica M240 example photos and I will write a second blog to share the Nikon F4 film scans.

Example Photos – Leica M 240

Leica M Typ 240 B&W
Real Ukrainian Woman
Leica B&W Portrait
Window Light
Available Light Portrait
Available Light Portrait
Ukranian Woman
Leica M240
Clothes Designer
Leica B&W
Supermodel
Street Portrait
Ukrainian Women
Direct Sunlight
Sssh!
Leica M240 Colours
Ukraine Summer
Ukraine Girls
Ukraine Shoot
Leica Fashion
Ukrainian Woman
Voigtlander Skopar 35mm
Ukrainian Model
Fun in Ukraine
Window Light Portrait
Ukraine

Sorry this post was so late.  I still have the film photos to share from this visit to Ukraine too.  To follow!

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Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Poland

Hasselblad Fashion Portraits – Model Photography, Poland

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

November 2015

Finally I can share a selection of Hasselblad portraits taken in Poland during my model photography trip last month.  There are still plenty of film negatives I have not yet edited but here are some of my favourites so far.  I have split the photos by film stock used.  Details of camera lens, filters, camera setting, developing method and model can be obtained by clicking on the any photo.

All photos were taken with a Hasselblad 501C 6×6 medium format film camera and shot with available light only.

Hasselblad Black and White Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Fomapan 100 Classic film Portraits
Natural Beauty
Hasselblad Film Fashion
Fomapan 100 Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22366409789

Hasselblad + 120 Fuji Acros 100 film Portraits
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad Model Photography
Film Fashion - Hasselblad
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22280771681/

Hasselblad + 120 Ilford Delta 100 film Portraits
120 Delta 100 Portrait
Smoking Kills
Hasselblad + Delta 100
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/21599331033

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak T-Max 400 film Portraits
120 Kodak T-Max 400
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Kodak T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad + T-Max 400
Hasselblad T-Max 400 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/23191551005/

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Fashion
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22207347931/

Hasselblad Colour Film Portraits

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 400 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Kodak Portra
120 Kodak Portra 400
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22766676486

Hasselblad + 120 Kodak Portra 160 film Portraits
Hasselblad + Zeiss 80mm  Planar
120 Kodak Portra 160
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22436532230/

Hasselblad + Expired 120 Kodak Portra 160NC film Portraits
Expired Kodak Portra 160 NC
120 Kodak Portra 160NC
Expired Kodak Portra 160NC
https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/22972010211

Favourite Film Stock?

It is difficult for me to chose one film stock as a clear winner as conditions were different each day and each model has a certain look. As mentioned in a recent blog post, I think 120 Fomapan 100 Classic offers excellent value for money (being the cheapest film I used).  I have just stocked up on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 for the winter months and again I think it is an excellent film.  One of my favourites.  Kodak T-Max 400 was also a very strong performer and to be honest no film resulted in a sub-standard image. The expired Kodak Portra 160NC worked fine despite being out of date, without a foil wrapper and with an unknown storage history.  In these photos I preferred the Kodak Portra 400 to the Portra 160 but that might just be the lighting.  All in all I was happy with all the films chosen for the trip.

Do you have a favourite film stock?  It would be great to hear your thoughts!

Polish Models

Big thanks to all the girls again – Agnieszka, Irmina, Natalia, Marta, Marta, Teresa, Weronika (as included here).  With the help of these amazing models and my new Hasselblad 501C film camera I think I may have produced some of my best work to date.  I travelled to Poland with less cameras and a clear goal which was to take fewer but hopefully higher standard photos.  The Hasselblad seems to have helped me step up a gear with the quality of images I am now able to capture.

Favourite model?  I’m not sure I am allowed to have a favourite but if you think one girls stands out above the others let me know and I will feed it back to them.  I’m sure they would be thrilled to hear!

As always I cannot wait to get back to Poland.  My model photography trips overseas tend to be my highlights throughout the year.  Before I return to Poland I am heading out to New York City to teach 1-2-1 model photography for a week.  It will be my first visit to NYC and only my second visit to the US so you can imagine how excited I am!  Coming soon! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed these images as much I did.  I think my most photogenic blog post so far! 🙂

Thanks

Matt

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Rollei Retro 80s Film

Rollei Retro 80s Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

May 2015

The Film

Rollei Retro 80s is a black and white film manufactured by Agfa in Belgium.  I am still experimenting with new film types so bought myself a roll of 35mm Rollei Retro 80S for my Leica M2 rangefinder camera and took it with me to a recent model photography workshop in Zurich, Switzerland.

Zurich Model Photoshoot – Anne-Marie

It was day three of my three day trip and we got to work with the beautiful Swiss agency model Anne-Marie.  It was blue sky with the sun overhead so the lighting was proving difficult for my usual model portraits.  I metered the Rollei Retro 80s film at box speed (ISO 80). I was using my digital Leica M9 so could see the results on the camera LCD and I also used a Sekonic L-308S to meter for the film photos.  Here are some of the results from the model shoot.

M2 + Rollei 80 S

Leica M2 + Rollei Retro 80S

High Key B&W Film

Zurich Agency Model

High Key Film Portrait

Film Developing

I develop my own black and white film with a Patterson tank system.  I knew the conditions were bright so wanted to try to retain as much of the highlight detail as possible.  From past experience developing different film types I therefore processed this roll of film as follows:

  • 1:3 Xtol + 1:400 Rodinal
  • 10 Minutes with agitations for the first 30 seconds and then every other minute
  • 20 Degrees
  • Epson v800 scan using Epson v700 35mm insert

My Thoughts

Rollei Retro 80s film is high contrast fine grain film that gives soft look images when developed as above.  It is very easy to lose highlight detail shooting at film box speed so next time I would expose Rollei Retro 80s at perhaps ISO 25-50 under similar conditions or perhaps box speed on an overcast day.  I would then also develop for perhaps 9 mins instead of 10 and see how the result look.  Another point to note is my negatives were very thin compared to Kodak T-Max 100, Kodak Tri-X, Kentmere 100 and Ilford Pan F 50that I have used recently.  As a result the developed film negatives curled easily making it slightly more difficult to scan.

Rollei Retro 80s for Portraits?

For anyone that follows my photography will know I enjoy my portrait photography.  Would I chose Rollei Retro 80s for portraits in the future?  I would describe the film as like shooting perhaps Kodak T-Max 100 or another ‘regular’ black and white film emulsion through a deep orange-red lens filter.  Blue eyes become almost black and souless as the film darkens blues and lightens red tones.  Blue skies become darker and skin becomes lighter.  I think Rollei 80s would be better with brown eyes than blue eyes so if I used the film again with a model I would bare this in mind as the darkening of the eyes effect would be somewhat lessened.  I think the film would be excellent for high contrast landscapes or perhaps still life photography.

Rollei Retro 80s in the Studio

Lastly here is a few samples of me finishing the roll of film in my Coventry UK home studio and outside with local model Sophie.  As with daylight it was still difficult to retain highlight detail on the face.  Sophie’s hazel coloured eyes were affected less confirming my thoughts about blue eyes.

Rollei Retro 80S in the Studio

Leica Elmar 50 + SOOKY-M

Rollei Retro 80s vs. Rollei Retro 400s

I tried 35mm Rollei Retro 400s back in January 2015 and I was a huge fan.  See my blog post here with example images.  The light in the Rollei Retro 400s portraits was overcast or softer and I think this type of light suits both Rollei Retro 80s and Rollei Retro 400s much better.  To me Rollei Retro 400s was more similar to Kodak Tri-X that Rollei Retro 80s

https://mrleica.com/2015/02/17/35mm-rollei-retro-400s/

Fuji GF670 Portraits

Fuji GF670 Portraits

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk

Leica M9 vs. Fuji GF670!

(Fuji GF670 vs Leica M9 + Noctilux)

I originally bought my medium format film (6×6 / 6×7) Fuji GF670 Pro (aka “Voigtlander Bessa III”) folding camera to assist my Leica M cameras. I wanted a medium format rangefinder that was both compact and capable to fit in my hand luggage for photography trips away, whether model photography / fashion, wedding photography or travelling.  Since then I have bought several other medium format cameras including my Mamiya 645 Super and Rolleiflex SL66E.  My main photography interest is portraiture so I was uncertain that the Fuji GF670 rangefinder would tick all my boxes.  Rangefinders are not known for close focusing, fast lenses or a shallow depth of field.  Nine months on and I have used the Fuji GF670 for wedding photography, travel and fashion / portraiture. Here are some sample images (some you may have seen before on other posts):

Fuji GF670 Fashion / Portraits

Fuji GF670 6x6

Fuji GF670 Folding Camera

Fuji GF670 + 1:2 Xtol Dilution

Medium Format Rangefinder - Fuji GF670

Fuji GF670 B&W Portrait

Fuji GF670 Pro 6x7 Portrait

Fuji GF670 Portrait

Fuji GF670 + Rodinal 1:200

Fuji GF670 Portrait

Fuji GF670 6x6 B&W

6x6 B&W Film Portrait

Fuji GF670 Medium Format Rangefinder

Fuji GF670 B&W Portrait

GF670 Kodak Moment

GF670 + Ilford XP2 400

GF670 + Ilford film XP2

FUJI GF670 Analogue Rangefinder

Fuji GF670 / Voigtlander Bessa III

Fuji GF670 Pro Folding Camera

Fuji GF670 Pro - XP2 400 Portrait

Fuji GF670 + Portra Portrait

Fuji GF670 Film Portrait

#FilmIsNotDead

Fuji GF670 Rangefinder

Fuji GF670 Wedding Photography

Medium Format Film Wedding

Coventry Wedding Photographer - Film

Fuji GF670 Wedding Portrait

Fuji GF670 Travel Camera

Fuji GF670 Travel Camera

Fuji GF670 Rangefinder

Fuji GF670 - Soller, Majorca

Fuji GF670 6x6

So can the Fuji GF670 match the likes of the Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 645 Super, Rolleiflex SL66E or even the Leica M cameras for portraits?

Yes and no.  The Fuji GF670 will of course not let me focus as close as my other medium format cameras, being a rangefinder (0.9m close focus) so I am never going to be able to achieve the dreamy look of say Contax 645 portraits.  That said, the lens is sharp, very sharp and it is capable of taking strong photos.  I just need to think more before taking an image.  Hopefully you will see a ‘slight’ improvement with the photos at the top of the portrait list vs those lower down.  A nice model alone is not enough to make a good photo with this camera.  Nice clothes and a good pose in a pretty place is not enough.  I need to really consider strong lighting, composition, background detail and have the help of a great model.  Put those all together and we start to see better results.

You may say I need all those components for every image? 

Again, yes and no.  With close focus lenses (even on the the Leica M cameras) the model can be pretty much anywhere in any light with any background and no experience and with a little direction and a shallow depth of field I can pretty much always get a nice image.  I didn’t realise how much I rely on a shallow DOF until I no longer have it!

I guess it is a bit like getting used to a 50mm f1 Leica Noctilux lens or perhaps an 85mm f1.4 lens for a DSLR camera and then being given a standard f3.5-f5.6 kit lens and someone saying go take some nice photos.  As I normally shoot portraits and weddings at f1-f1.2-f1.4-f2 I have to start approaching my photography differently with the GF670.  It is not a bad thing and hopefully it will result in me becoming a better photographer but it needs to be considered.

The Fuji GF670 camera itself seems well built and has an almost unnervingly near silent shutter sound to the extent that if there is any background noise you don’t know if you have taken the photo or not!  Great for quiet wedding photography photos in a church but I must admit I much prefer the big clunk of the larger camera shutters.  The Fuji rangfinder is OK.  I am spoilt with my Leica M3 rangefinder so in comparison everything else seems poor.  The GF670 rangefinder is not up to Leica standards so accurate focusing wide open and up close is not as easy as I would like / am used to. Stopped down a little the GF670 lens goes from sharp to crazy sharp and has a very modern look (I think).  I now need to use the camera to it’s strengths and see what I can get from the Fuji GF670.  I have just ordered some super fine grain 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film and have some 120 Fuji Velvia 50 film to try.  Coming soon!

Matt

See here my analysis and thought process before buying the Fuji GF670 (plus more technical info) – https://mrleica.com/2014/08/10/fuji-gf670-pro/

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Mamiya 645 Super

Mamiya 645 Super – First Thoughts

Medium Format Film Camera – Matthew Osborne Photography

Happy Christmas to me #Mamiya 645 Super #mediumformatfilm #filmphotography #filmisnotdead @mrleicacom

I recently bought myself a Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera.  When I wrote the last post “Contax 645 vs Mamiya 645” (link below) the camera had not yet arrived.  Now I have had chance to run a roll of film through it what do I think?

My first observation is the 645 format is in horizontal orientation in the camera rather than vertical.  As a portrait photographer I tend to shoot in the portrait orientation.  For anyone used to a digital camera such as a DSLR you might think so what?  Well I bought this particular camera as I wanted a waist level viewfinder (“WLF”).  To focus you look down at the top of the camera and it will show a horizontal image on the glass.  To take a portrait photo I have to hold the camera on it’s side and it is not quite as easy to compose when working quickly.  You don’t have this problem with say my Rolleiflex SL66E or a Hasselblad as they are 6×6 format.  I don’t have the issue with the Mamiya RZ67 either as it has a rotating film back.  That said the WLF makes the camera smaller and lighter than with a prism view finder so I am happy to compromise.

The modular design of the Mamiya 645 Super means I can remove and replace the film back.  For wedding photography it is good practice to have multiple film backs, for both speed and efficiency but also so you can load perhaps one film back with colour film and one with black and white.  For that reason I bought myself a spare 120 film back.

The Mamiya 645 Super comes with a Mamiya Sekor 80mm f2.8 lens as standard.  It is small and lightweight but the reason I bought the camera was to make use of the fast Mamiya Sekor C 80mm f1.9 lens.  I have this lens as it came on my Mamiya 645 1000S (link below) so the first task was to transfer it onto the M645 Super camera.

I bought the camera to use for analogue wedding photography as I can get 15 photos per roll and the 80mm f1.9 lens lets me photograph in low light conditions.  I now plan to use it alongside my Leica M3s and other cameras for film photography weddings.

#filmdeveloping #filmphotography #model Roisin #photographer www.MrLeica.com #camera #mamiya 645 Super #kodakfilm

My first chance to use the Mamiya 645 Super was in my Coventry studio for model photography with friend and model Roisin.  Above is an iPhone photo of my first 645 Mamiya negatives drip drying above the bath.  Below are a few samples of the resulting photos once the negatives had been scanned.

Mamiya 645 Super + T-Max

Mamiya 645 Super + 80mm f1.9

Specsavers Advert!

Mamiya 645 Super @ f1.9

Related Links

Rolleiflex SL66E

Rolleiflex SL66E

Matthew Osborne Photography

Rolleiflex SL66E

I stumbled across the Rolleiflex SL66 E when looking to buy a Hasselblad 500C.  I was weighing up whether the 500C (and it’s lenses) could do what I wanted from the camera and the answer was no so I settled for a Mamiya M645 1000S with a fast Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens.  I got the Mamiya 645 then only days later I discovered the Rollei SL66 / SL66E.  On paper it appeared to be the holy grail of cameras and unlike most others I knew of.  The two striking features for me were (1) the lens could be tilted to give a tilt shift style look and more similar to what is seen with large format cameras and (2), every lens can be mounted in reverse to become a macro lens!  Brilliant!  I couldn’t believe my luck on this discovery and bought one from eBay just hours later.  Vintage film cameras hold their value quite well so if I didn’t like it I could just sell it again.

The Rolleiflex SL66 E was manufactured between 1982 and 1992 and is a 6×6 format medium format film camera that comes with a Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 2.8 HFT lens.  It has a waist level viewfinder (which I prefer) and also a light meter though it doesn’t work on my camera.  This is fine as I prefer to meter manually.

My first chance to use the Rollei SL66E was with model Nella.  Here I used 120 Fomapan 400 film and developed in 1:150 Rodinal.  I tend not to read manuals but once I had shot 12 exposures and it continued to take pictures I got a little worried.  It turned out that the gearing in the film back was not always turning as I cocked the shutter resulting in an film overlap issue.  Here are some sample images

Rolleiflex SL66 E 6x6 Film

Rolleiflex SL66E Overlap Portrait

Rollei SL66E Fomapan Portrait

I was gutted about the overlap issue and had big ideas for this cameras so got myself a spare Rollei film back.  The next shoot was a 3 day London portrait photography workshop with models Gina and Katie.  I was counting the exposures and no more overlap problem. Great!  I still await the colour film to return from the lab and have only developed one roll of B&W film so far but here are a few sample images. Katie on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400@1600 in 1:150 Rodinal.

Rolleiflex SL66E Tilt + Tri-X 400@1600

Rollei SL66E Tilt Portrait

Rollei SL66E = Smiles Allround

The Rolleiflex SL66E is much heavier than my 6×6 ARAX-CM (Kiev 88) but I love the ability to tilt the lens.  At last I can do selective focus photos again and it takes me back to my freelensing days with the Nikon D800.

Me & My Rollieflex SL66E

Colour photos coming soon!

Matt

Related posts

Hasselblad 500Chttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/28/hasselblad-500c-camera-pinup/

Mamiya M645 1000Shttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/28/mamiya-645-1000s/

Rodinal Semi- Stand Developinghttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/22/rodinal-semi-stand-development-2/