Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6

Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

May 2016

 

Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

(Hasselblad 501C + 50mm, 60mm, 80mm, 120mm, 150mm lenses)
(Mamiya 6 + 75mm lens)

Intro

Firstly, sorry for the delay on this!  I know a few of you asked me about it weeks ago and I said then I’d share my thoughts soon.  At least waiting til after two trips overseas using the Mamiya 6 I can now give a fair writeup  versus my Hasselblad 501C.  As a quick recap I recently bought the Mamiya 6 to provide a smaller alternative to my 500 series Hasselblad for trips abroad (especially).  Both cameras are 6×6 medium format film cameras taking 120 film.  Both camera are roughly the same price with the Mamiya 6 probably costing slightly more here in the UK due to there being not many Mamiya 6 cameras on the market.  My Hasselblad 501C was my favourite camera before buying the Mamiya 6 so expectation was very high.  Both cameras seem to receive positive reviews from reading prior to my purchase so without further ado lets crack on.

Size Comparison – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

I love the modular 500 series Hasselblad cameras but I only use mine with a prism viewfinder which unfortunately adds both size and weight.  I wish I could focus accurately without the prism finder but I really cannot see properly with Acute Matte non-spot screen glass.  It is perhaps my biggest disappointment with the Hasselblad as I love the waist level viewfinder view / experience on my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II camera.  The Hasselblad 80mm kit lens is the most compact followed by the 100mm from those I have owned.  My go to lenses are the 60mm Distagon (second shortest of my Zeiss lenses and gives a very usable field of view) and 120mm Makro-Planar for close up portraits and ultimate image quality (more on that to follow below).  The Hasselblad has the advantage of a removable film back so I can use two film backs and have colour film and black and white film running side by side without having to finish a roll.  My Mamiya 6 has the 75mm lens which is the smallest of the 50mm, 75mm and 150mm lens line up.  The Mamiya 6 design allows the lens to partially retract when not in use making the camera small enough to fit in my Leica M camera bag. The bag I use is a Billingham Hadley Digital and the Mamiya 6 will just fit with lens down into the bag.  The size benefit of the Mamiya 6 is not to be under estimated.

Ease of Use – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Being ‘Mr Leica’ is it perhaps no surprise that I love rangefinder style cameras.  The Mamiya 6 like the Leica M cameras is a rangefinder focus design and I love the fact that I have a definitive focus confirmation regardless of the F stop.  I am a little short sighted and wear prescription glasses for driving but not when using cameras.  As such I enjoy knowing that a subject is in focus with a rangefinder when the subject is further away.  That said my biggest complaint of rangefinder cameras is I cannot focus as close as I would like.  Leica M cameras are my bread and butter so it is just normal for me to not be able to focus at a distance closer than 0.7m.  If I then add a Hasselblad 501C to the mix you can imagine my joy when I can focus in really close, especially with the Zeiss 120mm Makro-Planar lens.  I love nothing more than viewing subject through the big bright Hasselblad viewfinder.  If I could see every day life with the same view the Hasselblad gives I think the world would be a more beautiful place!

The Mamiya 6 rangefinder design lets me work at slower shutter speeds / lower light levels at the same aperture as it has no mirror to flap inside causing vibration.  I have shot the Mamiya 6 at a shutter speed of 1/8-1/15 and got a decent photo handheld.  I tend to use the Hasselblad handheld too for ease and shoot normally at a shutter speed of 1/60-1/125 with the light levels I am in.  That said, if I am honest to myself I think I can get more and sharper photos if go back to using a monopod.  I plan to try using a monopod again to compare results. Sometimes I am not sure if I moved or the model moved when using a very shallow depth of field and the eyes are not as sharp as I want.  I find the Hasselblad tends to pull me in perhaps too close at times resulting in many close up portraits.  The Mamiya 6 on the other hand let me work easily at a distance giving images with a different style and lets me make better use of the location.

Image Sharpness – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

The main section of this post and to me what it all boils down to is image quality and more specifically for me image sharpness.  The Hasselblad had set the bench mark very high so the Mamiya 6 had a lot to live up to.  When I read ‘film vs digital’ reviews online the film camera used is often a Mamiya 7 as perhaps the best example camera film can offer in terms of sharpness, say (excluding large format).  To my knowledge the image quality of Mamiya 6 and Mamiya 7 lenses is not noticeably different.  As such I expected very good results from the Mamiya 6.  To explain further and to cover myself, the Mamiya 6 photos / experience / review is based on the 75mm lenses I own.  The Hasselblad has an advantage as I have the Zeiss 50mm Distagon CF, 60mm Distagon CF, 80mm Planar CF, 120mm Makro-Planar CF and 150mm Sonnar CF lenses.  I have also owned the Zeiss 100mm Planar CF lens.  If I have to place these lenses in order of sharpness I would say 120mm first, 50mm/60mm/100mm about equal (without thorough testing), 150mm and lastly  the 80mm.  I am rarely happy with the results from my 80mm lenses.  The 150mm Sonnar gives a completely different look to the other lenses, a less fine more buttery smooth image.  My conclusions of the Hasselblad 501C performance is based on the 60mm/120mm lenses that I use most often.

So how does the  image sharpness compare between the Hasselblad and Mamiya 6.  The Mamiya 6 does produce fine grained (if I can describe it like that, regardless of film stock) sharp images with lots of detail captured, with the lens shot wide open or stopped down.  It is perhaps comparable to a sharp digital image in that the image is flat but sharp.  I find it good for further away subjects especially like full body shots.  The Hasselblad 501C and it’s Zeiss lenses produces a different sharpness.  The next few sentences may make some readers cringe as they have read it a 100 times but I cannot describe it any more accurately.  The Zeiss optics on the Hasselblad camera make an image ‘pop’.  There is a lot written online about the mystically Zeiss 3D pop look but it is just fact in this instance.  The Mamiya 6 photos are very flat and to me lack the wow factor.  They are documentary style photos accurately capturing the detail in the scene but they lack the zing.  I don’t take photos to capture ordinary.  I try to create the extra-ordinary as cheesy as that sounds!

Fluff aside, how do the Hasselblad photos differ and perhaps why?  It seems the Zeiss optics have greater micro-contrast which helps give the apparent additional sharpness.  The Zeiss optics focus closer which gives a shallower depth of field at the same given aperture helping to give the 3D look.  Focusing closer can increase image distortion with wider lenses which can also give a kind of 3D look to an image.  Focusing closer to a face naturally lets me see every eye lash and skin pore using the Hasselblad that I can’t see as closely with the Mamiya 6 as I am too far away.  As such the Hasselblad photos look sharper to my eyes.

With all the excuses aside, I am 99.99% sure that my Hasselblad photos are a bit or a lot sharper than the Mamiya 6 photos.  Some Hasselblad negatives need no additional sharpening after scanning whereas I think I always boost sharpness with the Mamiya 6 film scans.  I tend to process all my film scans to bring out the sharpness in a image regardless of the camera I use.  All the example photos below have been processed but it is worth noting that each photos is probably as sharp as I can get it without introducing additional grain / over doing it (too much)(to my eyes / taste).

Conclusion – Hasselblad 501C vs Mamiya 6

Based on the cameras and lenses I use and the resulting photos I would say the Hasselblad 501C camera images appear sharper that the Mamiya 6. I will also say the Hasselblad Zeiss optics render images in a much more pleasing way, to my eyes and taste.  I prefer the Hasselblad camera for close up portraits and when working within up to say 1.5m distance.  The Mamiya 6 for me is still a keeper due to it’s compact size, rangefinder focus system and being sharp enough for me to use happily.  It is not always possible to carry the Hasselblad with me when working with models overseas so the Mamiya 6 is my next best option.  If carrying gear was no option I would take both cameras to a shoot and use the Hasselblad for <1m photos and the Mamiya 6 for those at a greater distance.  I would perhaps get the Mamiya 6 50mm f4 G lenses for wide shots and have the 120mm Zeiss Makro-Planar on the Hasselblad.  This combination would also suit me well for film wedding photography for my style of working.

I am not interested by a Mamiya 7 as I prefer the 6×6 film format of the Mamiya 6 (versus 6×7) and the retractable lenses of the Mamiya 6.

Below are lots of example images using the Hasselblad and Mamiya 6 with different models, different film, different light so you can make up your own mind on what camera produces the ‘nicer’ images to your taste.  I have also included a sneak peek of a few images to come from my Poland and Ukraine trips as I didn’t have enough examples photos from the Mamiya 6 in the UK.

Thanks

Hasselblad 501C Portraits

Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Film Portrait
Hasselblad vs Mamiya 6 !!
Hasselblad Fashion
Hasselblad 501C + Delta 100
Flashback
Hasselblad + Zeiss Sonnar 150
Hasselblad Double Exposure Fashion
Hasselblad 501C
Hasselblad 501C + Sonnar
120 Ilford Pan F 50
Hasselblad + Pan F 50
Haselblad 501C Portrait
Hasselblad + Fomapan 100
Hasselblad Studio Session
Pageant Girl
London Model Shoot
120 Ilford FP4+
Zeiss Planar 80mm

Mamiya 6 Portraits

Mamiya 6 + 75mm Lens
Mamiya 6 Sharpness
Mamiya 6 + 75 + Tri-X
Fomapan 100@800
Mamiya 6 Fashion
Summer Vibe
Mamiya 6 Rangefinder
The view from my hotel, Ukraine

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Lights & Light Modifiers Compared

Lights & Light Modifiers Compared

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
March 2016

Lights & Light Modifiers Compared

Intro..

Lights

I have collected quite a few lights and light modifiers over the last 5 years or so.  I would say it is my biggest weakness when it comes to buying new gear.  Luckily for me my taste in lights is not yet as expensive as my choice of cameras (such as Leicas!).  I don’t have a Profoto B1 (though they are very nice) nor Elinchrom Quadra kit.  My first high power lights for location were Lencarta Safari 600W twin head kit.  They were powerful for sure.. so much so at the time that I found them too bright so sold them.  It sounds crazy – “too bright” but at the time I was shooting everything wide open at f1.4 on the Nikon D800 so even at the lowest power the Safari 600W were an overkill.  I then moved to using Yongnuo 560ii and 560iii speedlights and for inside I got some Lencarta 200W and 300W studio strobes. Next I think was a Godox AD-180, then a Godox TT850, then a smaller Neewer TT520 speedlight and more recently a Godox AD-360.  I also used to use an Arrilight 650W fresnel light in the studio but sold that also.

Light Modifiers

I love using additional light (where possible) to make my images hopefully look better than if the photo was taken with just flat light.  Additional light might be from a reflector, a continuous light or a strobe.  I soon realised how useful different light modifiers were and so started to build a collection.  As with my lights I don’t use high end brands such as a Boncolor Para or Westcott Rapid Box even though they are very nice.  I tend to invest in lenses and where possibly analogue film cameras (rather than digital) and then skimp on everything else.  I started with the basic white shoot through umbrella and the silver reflective umbrella and then moved to a softbox, umbrellabox, octabox, stripbox, beauty dish, reflectors with grids, gridded softbox, bigger octabox, very large umbrellas and then back the other way to small 20×20 and 40×40 softbox for portability.

Comparing different light modifiers

Yesterday I didn’t have a model so decided to compare the effect of different light modifiers side by side. It was a non-scientific experiment for purely my own entertainment but I thought others might find it of interest.  I setup a Godox AD-360 on a tripod at a distance of 2m from a white wall in the garden.  I then tried various light shapers / light modifiers to see the effect on the light spread and light power.  I wasn’t organised enough to record photos by each modifier sorry but I did write down the power output. I used a Sekonic L-758D spot meter to meter the light hitting the wall at the bright point.  The Godox AD360 was set to full power and the lightmeter at ISO 100.

Results

  • Bare Godox AD360 – f16.3 (base – to nearest 1 stop)
  • White shoot through umbrella  (shot through) – f16.3
  • White shoot through umbrella  (bounced) – f16.1
  • Silver reflective umbrella (bounced) – f22.3 (+1)
  • 40×40 softbox (+2 diffusion layers) – f16.2
  • 40×40 softbox (+1 diffusion layers) – f16.8
  • Godox 32″ softbox umbrella + diffusion layer – f16.9 (+1)
  • Godox 32″ softbox umbrella + beauty dish inner – f16
  • Godox 32″ softbox umbrella (bare) – f22.5 (+1)
  • Godox white dome  – f16.5
  • Silver beauty dish – f22.9 (+2)
  • Silver beauty dish + grid + diffuser – f8.9 (-1)
  • Small silver studio reflector – f32.5 (+2)
  • Large deep silver studio reflector – f45.5 (+3)
  • Godox kit reflector – f45.7 (+4)
  • Godox kit reflector + diffuser – f32.9 (+3)

I then tested the power of a few other lights..

  • Bare Neewer TT520 – f16.9
  • Bare 200W studio strobe – f16.9
  • Bare 200W studio strobe + white shoot through umbrella – f16.3
  • Bare 200W studio strobe + white shoot though umbrella (bounced) – f11
  • Bare Godox TT850 @ 105mm – f32
  • Bare Godox TT850 @ 28mm + white shoot through umbrella – f11

Conclusion

The effect of different light modifiers on the light power output

I found it really interesting to do this little experiment.  I’ve used all the above light modifiers and lights with my models but I normally just set the power for the exposure I desire at the time and shoot away.  The experiment clearly showed the impact of light shapers on the light power.  I was surprised at how little impact some modifiers had on the power output of a bare tube strobe.  Equally I was super impressed at how magnified the power output was using reflectors with bare tubes.  It makes perfect sense of course but it is nice to put a value to it.  To recap the Godox AD-360 was 4 stops brighter with the Godox kit reflector attached than if a bare tube.  Interestingly the cheap Neewer TT520 speedlight, the 200w studio strobe (bare) and the Godox AD-360 (bare) all had equal output at 2m distance.  Of course the speedlight light output is more concentrated to the area being metered whereas the other 2 lights light the wall the same brightness but over a much wider area.  I think the Godox TT850 speedlight at 50mm would have also been the same power output on full power as the previous 3 lights mentioned.  It would be interesting to have tested a Profoto B1 against the Godox AD-360.  The Profoto B1 light is recessed (not bare bulb) and similar looking to the Godox AD360 + reflector + diffuser layer.  The Godox in this setup metered at almost f45 which I think will be plenty bright enough for my current needs.

The effect of different light modifiers on the type of light emitted

In terms of how “nice” the light was coming from the various light modifiers I think the winner for me was the silver beauty dish for soft diffused light for portraits.  The Godox softbox umbrella performed well too and a simple cheap white shoot-through umbrella is probably impossible to beat in terms of value for money, small, lightweight and gives a super soft light output.  For magnifying the light output the reflectors are a must for a bare tube light but less useful for a speedlight with a zoom head function.  A softbox can help control the spread of light better than an umbrella and grids can be used to control the light even further.  The tighter the grid pattern the tighter the light output pattern.

Diagrams comparing different light modifiers

The are already plenty of similar light modifier comparisons online with diagrams as to the type and shape of light emitted.  You can easily find a diagram via Google of a softbox vs umbrella or beauty dish vs softbox if interested.  I was mainly interested in the light power for this test.

Real example images

I am planning to do some strobist location work at my next 1-2-1 workshop so I will get the results on Flickr (and eventually on here) when they are ready.  I will be using the Hasselblad 501C with it’s Zeiss leaf shutter lenses at up to 1/500 flash sync speed to control the ambient light.  Can’t wait!

Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures in this post.  I have another post to follow consisting of mostly attractive model photos 🙂

 

 

Olympus PEN-F Images

Olympus PEN-F Images

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

February 2016

Olympus Pen-F Portraits

Olympus PEN F – Thoughts

To recap the Olympus PEN-F is a 1960s 35mm half frame SLR camera.  I bought the Pen F last month and i’ve now had time to shoot a few rolls of film in it.  I must say i’m more impressed with the resulting images than I thought I would be.  Half frame is certainly not half as good.  I enjoy the size of the Pen F, the stylish sleek look, the vertical framing, the close focusing of an SLR (verses say a Leica rangefinder) and the fact I can get 72 shots on a 36 exposure roll of 35mm film.

Olympus PEN F – Diptych

I found I enjoy shooting the Olympus Pen F by taking photos in pairs (diptych) the most.  My Epson V800 scanner recognised each pair of photos as one photo and then I just process the negative scans together and share as one image. Here are a few examples:

Olympus PEN-F Camera
The Dancer
Olympus PEN-F Diptych
Olympus PEN-F Test Shots
Olympus Pen F Portrait
London White Van Man
Olympus Pen F

Olympus PEN F – Triptych

I’ve also tried a few triptychs by taking a series of three photos together:

Admiralty Arch Triptych
Olympus PEN-F Triptych
Olympus Pen F Street Photography

Olympus PEN F – Detail and Resolution

Despite taking most photos in pairs I am still very impressed at the resolution and detail captured in a single frame:

Olympus Pen-F - Half Frame Detail
Half Frame Olympus Pen-F

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Leica M9 Part Exchanged for Leica M 240

Leica M9 Part Exchanged for Leica M 240

Matthew Osborne Photography

August 2015

After buying a used Leica M9 camera two years ago today I bid it farewell when I part exchanged the M9 for a brand new Leica M Typ 240. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/20411540031

Leica M 240 – Why the sudden purchase!?

How did this come about you may ask considering I liked the Leica M9 and my heart is in film photography not digital photography?  I noticed my M9 camera rangefinder needed slight adjustment to get sharp focus at apertures wider than say f4. This is why I took the Nikon D800 to Poland and Ukraine as the M9 was not useable. A Flickr follower, Wolfgang then advised my that Leica Germany had a good part exchange deal. I contacted my friend Jimmy at the Leica Mayfair London store and he said they to had a similar part exchange offer on for the Leica M9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/20207868168

Leica M 240 – Offer details

Leica currently has a fixed price offer for a M9 suffering from a delaminated CCD sensor coating – Pay £2250 and exchange your M9 for a new Leica M Typ 240. The price of a new Leica Typ 240 camera is £4650 in Jessops (to put things in perspective!) (link below). Considering how well used my M9 camera was (high shutter count and strong signs of use including a chipped/ cracked screen), the fact that the M9 CCD sensor had been diagnosed as suffering from delamiantion and needed replacing and the rangefinder needed recalibrating it really was too good an offer to refuse! I find film cameras (Leica film cameras but also medium format and large format cameras) far more rewarding and enjoyable to use compared to modern digital cameras so some people might think I’m crazy to spend a lot of money on a camera that doesn’t really interest me. You would be correct if it was for personal use only but when shooting with model agencies or offering Leica wedding photography I need high quality digital images in addition to film.  I already have a 36MP Nikon D800 but I can operate a Leica rangefinder camera more accurately and quicker and the Leica M mount lenses tend to offer superior optics (across the board)(I recently bought macro lenses for the Nikon to achieve a level of sharpness I was acustom to with Leica). As I have written before, I can achieve sharp focus at f1.0 (using the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 lens) with relative ease on a calibrated Leica body yet I misfocus f2.8-f4 with manual focus lenses on the Nikon (especially at greater distances).  It is for that reason why I am 100% tied in to the Leica M rangefinder camera system.

Leica M 240 – Interest and expection was low

Considering the high cost and me being, in theory a “Leica Fanboy”, I wasnt really that excited by the thoughts of the new Leica M Typ 240 camera purchase. I was far more excited when I fixed the focus issue on my Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera on Friday!  The Leica M purchase was more a job that needed doing ahead of my next wedding (so asap!). I arranged the purchase with the Leica Mayfair store a week in advance and during that time I read up on reviews such as ‘Leica M9 vs Leica M 240’ and asked questions on camera forums like ‘Did anyone buy a Leica M 240 and regret it’.  I then came up with the idea of buying the Leica M 240 then selling it wth zero accuations and buying another used M9. I contacted a shop that sold used Leica cameras and once we did the maths and took VAT into consideration it didn’t really make sense so I decided for now (at least) to keep the new M. I guess it is a bit like driving a taxi for a living.  You have you existing car that you know and love.  You know it’s strengths and weaknesses and have learnt to love it’s little quirks.  The car has been reliable since purchase despite the now high mileage but it suddenly fails it’s MOT.  The garage offers you a brand new car replacement on a new government scrappage scheme for half it’s list price. It has the same german build quality and same excellent customer service yet has no miles on the clock and benefits fromt the latest technology.  Would you say no!?

Leica M 240 – First Impressions

I said farewell to the M9 and hello to the M 240.  I decided to buy a silver  (“chrome”) Leica M rather than black to match my Leica M3s /M2 film cameras.  (I still have the black M8 also).  I didn’t need the manual and soon found my way around the settings from using a Leica M9.  I’ve read many Leica M 240 reviews and people normally always find something to moan about when comparing to an M9. From a handling perspective I quite liked the new thumb roller dial and bulge in body to act as a thumb rest.  I used the “Thumbie” accessory on the M9 body and didn’t notice a real difference.  I love the quieter shutter sound of the M 240. It will be perfect for church weddings yet is still audible.  The near silent shutter of my Fuji GF670 is just unnerving!  The 3 inch LCD screen is amazingly sharp and much welcomed.  The slight increase in size and weight wasn’t noticed and the larger battery capacity will be great for location shoots and weddings.  The optical viewfinder works as well as the M9 and I fitted my 1.4x Leica viewfinder magnifier to it straight away.  The lack of framelines in the viewfinder with the camera switched off is not a problem as I only use the camera when it is switched on.  So far so good it seems!

Leica M 240 – CMOS vs CCD

The Leica M 240 24MP CMOS sensor certainly produces nice sharp images but the CCD vs CMOS sensor is a debate for anothe blog post once I have used the camera more.

Testing new camera - Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux. On location photoshoot with Mahi #leicam #leicam240 #leica #noctilux #backofcamera #model #photoshoot - Full details to follow on blog later - www.MrLeica.com

Leica M 240 – First Sample Images

(3 different lenses used – Noctilux, Noctilux, Summarit 50/1.5, Voigtlander 15mm)

Leica M Typ 240 + Noctilux

Leica M 240 + Noctilux Portrait

Leica M Typ 240 + Summarit

Leica M Typ 240 Street Photography

Leica M 240 – Related Links

(If you have the time and interest read them in order listed as you will see my opinion change (as date of writing, oldest first).  Second link has much more spec detail*).

Fujifilm GA645 Professional

Fujifilm GA645 Professional

                         ..Like an noisy ugly slightly overfed Leica!

July 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography

Fujifilm GA645 Pro

Fuji GA645

The latest addition to my camera bag – a 20 year old Fuji GA645 Pro medium format film camera.  Released in 1995, the Fujifilm GA645 Professional is a 6×4.5 format autofocus medium format film camera. The GA645 is fitted with a fixed lens, a Super EBC Fujinon 60mm f4 with a minimum focus distance of 0.7m.  The camera has a leaf shutter lens that operates at upto 1/400 with apertures of f4-f9.5 and at 1/700 with apertures of f11-f22.  The camera takes photos in a portrait orientation when held in the standard horizontal position.  The GA645 has a pop-up flash, LCD display for camera settings, autofocus, auto film advance and auto rewind, auto exposure with centre weighted metering and imprinted data of camera settings onto the film.

Basically the Fuji GA645 is a heavyweight medium format P&S (Point and Shoot) camera!

For anyone that has followed me for a while might be thinking, the list above is everything I said I don’t like in a camera.  For example I sold the Contax 645 as I said it was too ‘DSLR like’ and too automated.  That was almost 2 years ago.

So why did I buy a GA645?

I am still in search of my holy grail camera.  As my photography matures my desires list changes.  In the past I would be attracted to the fastest lenses with the most shallow depth of field possible.  For example the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 lens.  I did not consider camera size, the film format, the speed of the camera use, the reliability and to an extent the cost if it was of good quality.

Today the most important aspects of a camera for me are compact size, maximum resolution, sharp lens, speed of use and reliability.  Tomorrow this may change.

Compact camera –

Leica cameras are compact hence I love them but I want a larger negative for maximum resolution in an image.

Maximum resolution –

The Mamiya RZ67 Pro II 6×7 and Rolleiflex SL66E 6×6 have sharp lenses but they are too big to take on my trips overseas.  The Fuji GF670 is a folding 6×6/6×7 camera so is compact but I wanted 645 format.  To me 6×4.5 format is the perfect mid ground between being 3x more resolution that a 35mm Leica film negative and giving 15 photos per roll of film vs, 50% less resolution than a 6×7 negative that only gives 10 images per roll of 120 film.

Sharp lens –

Many of my cameras are said to have sharp lenses but when a camera has a fixed lens the lens sharpness is a must have.  The EBC Fujinon lenses are well regarded for their sharpness even wide open.

Speed of Use –

The more I do model photography and fashion photography the more I realise that as a creative team we just don’t have time to work at a slow pace such as with my large format cameras, Pacemaker Speedgraphic and Sinar F2.  This was one reason for buying the autofocus Nikon f4 SLR 35mm film camera.  I want to shoot film but do it at the pace of a modern photoshoot.

Reliability –

Reliability has two meanings.  The perhaps obvious one that is mechanical reliability and the camera continuing to operate as designed during a shoot.  I cannot afford to take a camera to Ukraine for a week only for it to stop working on the first day.  Luckily this did not happen but I have a growing pile of film cameras needing some attention and are therefore not suitable to take away on trips.  The second meaning and one that bugs me a little is reliable photo taking.  I might have the perfect model in the perfect setting and the image looks focused through the viewfinder yet when I get the film back it is mis-focused due to a misaligned rangefinder or other camera related issue.  My Mamiya 645 nearly always mis-focused beyond a certain distance and even up close the hit rate is not acceptable regardless of the lens.

Fuji GA645 – Recap

So to recap the Fuji GA645 is very compact considering it is a medium format camera so perfect to fit in my hand luggage.  The lens is sharp and it has autofocus and auto film advance to allow me to work quickly if needed.  The 60mm f4 lenses is roughly equal to 35mm f2.8 on a 35mm camera such as a Leica.  With my recent film photography I often stop the lenses down to perhaps f5.6 to get maximum sharpness and also try to back up more to get an environmental portrait in my location rather than a tight head shot that could have been taken in my garden or studio.  If I am to travel to these different countries I need to help myself in capturing some of the city in the photo and a 35mm lens is better suited to do this than my usual 50mm favoured lens choice.  A good example of this was my model photography workshop in Zurich where I tried to capture the model within her environment for some photos.

As mentioned I already own a Fuji GF670 camera but I prefer the older Fuji GS645 camera due to the 645 format.  I love the GS645 but the shutter often sticks so I decided to buy the more modern more automated Fuji GA645 that is a similar size and same format, but with a 60mm f4 lenses rather than the 75mm f3.4 lens.

Creativity with an F4 lens

An easy way to take a beautiful traditional portrait is to use a very shallow depth of field.  The Fuji GA645 will not give me this so it will make me work harder for my photograph.  I need to consider the background as the detail will be visible in the photo and then I need to somehow make the picture interesting without using shallow DOF.  It will make me chose my light and composition more carefully and how they interact with the model .  I think at worst an f4 aperture lens can only improve my photography and my work may benefit when I am using fast lenses on other cameras.

Time will tell

I don’t really enjoy taking photos with the Fuji GF670 as it is so quiet and soulless.  That said the photos produced can be beautiful.  In contrast the Fuji GA645 is very noisy so I just hope it is a little more engaging despite being so automated.

Size is key

Even though I am mainly a Leica shooter when I come to pack for model photography trips in Europe I find I have to pick my very smallest Leica M lenses.  I like to take both a film camera and a digital camera.  Film is for me and digital to give something to the models for their time.  I hope to be able to take the compact Fuji GA645 on my next trip and return with high resolution sharp in focus images of stunning models in the city they live in.  That’s the plan anyway!

Test photos coming soon once the camera is shipped.

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CineStill 50D vs Kodak Portra 160

CineStill 50D vs Kodak Portra 160

Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)

Here is a non-scientific comparison of 35mm CineSill 50D film vs. 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film.  CineStill 50D is a relatively new film whereas Kodak Portra has been around for years (in various forms).  CineStill 50D is a daylight balanced ISO 50 colour film. Kodak Portra is a daylight balanced ISO 160 film famous for capturing natural skin tones.  Kodak Portra can be bought in the UK for £5 a roll for 36 exposures (£25 for a 5 pack of Kodak Portra 160).  CineStill 50D is bought as single rolls and costs from £8 a roll of 36 exposures here in England.  I have shot Portra for several years but this was my first experience to shoot with CineStill 50D.  I have shot with CineStill 800T tungsten balanced film and was impressed with the results so had high hopes for CineStill 50D.

During my Zurich Model Photography Workshop I decided to shoot CineStill 50D side by side with Kodak Portra 160.

The details of the shoot were as follows:

  • Model: Nadja (Option Model Agency)
  • Camera 1: Leica M3  + Leica Summicron 50 f2 DR + 35mm Kodak Portra 160
  • Camera 2: Leica M2 + Leica Summilux ASPH 50 f1.4 + 35mm CineStill 50D
  • Lighting: Daylight only + Reflector
  • Processing: C41 lab developed + Scan, Lightroom + Photoshop

Kodak Portra 160 Model Photography

Kodak Portra 160 vs CineStill 50D

Leica M3 + Kodak Portra 160

Leica M3 + Kodak Portra 160

CineStill 50D Model Photography

Leica M2 + CineStill Portrait

35mm CineStill 50D

CineStill 50D Model Portrait

CineStill 50D + Daylight

CineStill 50D Model Photography

35mm CineStill 50 D

Results and Conclusion

From my personal experience only I feel these two films produce reasonably similar photos with neither being bad.  For my taste and eye I prefer the look of the Kodak Portra 160 film as I feel the skin tones are more natural vs the CineStill 50D.  CineStill 50D has a slight orange cast maybe vs. Portra.  In different light the CineStill 50D may win hands down over the Portra but that is my conclusion to date.

Will I use CineStill 50D again? Yes I have another roll to use so I will try to use it in different light next time.  Would I buy CineStill 50D instead of Kodak Portra film to use for paying clients such as wedding film photography?  No.  I prefer the look of Portra for skin tones.  Portra film also requires less available light (especially Portra 400 which has a very similar look to Kodak Portra 160)(or Kodak Portra 800). ISO 50 vs ISO 400 = CineStll 50D requires 300% more light that Kodak Portra 400 to obtain the ‘correct’ film exposure.  Weddings venues often don’t have as much light as I would like so films like Kodak Portra 400 are a must have film.  Lastly Kodak Portra 160 is cheaper than CineStill 50D so that is another factor to consider when deciding a regular film to use.

Medium Format Kodak Portra 160

Here are a few extra photos from the same photoshoot with Nadja using a medium format film Mamiya 645 Super + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f2.8N lens + 120 Kodak Portra 160

Mamiya 645 Super + Kodak Portra

Mamiya 645 + 120 Portra

Mamiya 645  Beauty

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Ilford Pan F 50 Film

Ilford Pan F 50 Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

June  2015

Ilford Pan F 50 film is super fine grain, slow speed, black and white film produced by Ilford.  I bought a roll of 35mm Pan F 50 to take on my trip to Zurich for a model photography workshop.  It was my first time using this film and I was interested to see the results.  I often use ISO 100 speed black and white film such as Kodak T-Max 100 or Fuji Acros 100.  I had not shot with slow speed film before but I was in luck as we had bright sunny weather for the shoot.

I shot the Pan F 50 film in my 35mm Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder camera on the first day of the workshop.  (My Leica M3 was loaded with Kodak Portra 160 and my Leica M2 was loaded with 35mm CienStill 50D film).  The first model we worked with was Joy, kindly supplied by Option Model Agency.  The second model was a local dancer, Julia.

Here are some sample images shooting Ilford Pan F 50 at box speed in my Bessa R3A camera and developed in a soup of 1:3 diluted Xtol solution + 1:400 Rodinal.  I realise other developers may give sharper and finer grain results but I wanted to use the developers I know best at this stage.  Most photos were taken with a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens.

Model – Joy

Ilford Pan F 50 Portrait

Bessa R3A + Ilford Pan F 50

Bessa + Ilford Pan F 50

Ilford Pan F 50 Model Shoot

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion

Model – Julia

Voigtlander Bessa R3A

35mm Film Sharpness

Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion

Ilford Pan F 50 in Xtol + Rodinal

35mm Ilford Pan F 50

Conclusion

I was really impressed with the amount of detail captured with the 35mm Pan F 50 film.  The resolution was something closer to what is achieved with 120 medium format films.  My next test will be to shoot 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film in my Fuji GF670 stopped down for my sharpest possible negatives.

Would I buy this film again?

Ilford Pan F 50 film is certainly not an everyday film as it requires 3x more light than say the popular Kodak Tri-X 400 film.  I believe Pan F 50 is more suited to my 35mm film photography than my medium format cameras as 35mm lens are often much faster with the likes of the Leica M mount Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4. I am also interested to try this film with my latest purchase, a 35mm Nikon F4 SLR with perhaps the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens.  Most of my medium format camera lenses start at f2.8 (x2 slower than f1.4) or smaller with the exception of my Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 C for the Mamiya 645 Super camera.

I plan to shoot Pan F 50  when I can during the brighter summer months of the UK and for some strobist work.  Price wise Ilford Pan F 50 can be found for under £5.00 a roll in the UK making it cheaper than Fuji Acros 100 and a similar price to say Kodak T-Max.  I invested in a 10 pack of 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film to get a slightly cheaper price and to keep me going over the summer months.

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 :)

Matt

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Other Black and White Films