Nikon F4 – Ukraine Girls 2016

Nikon F4 – Ukraine Girls 2016

Matthew Osborne Photography / @MrLeicaCom

September 2017 (from July 2016)

Dusty Film Scan

July 2016

Here are some of the film photography scans I took on my last trip to Ukraine last summer. I cancelled my return trip to Ukraine in July 2017 as wanted to concentrate on my Ironman triathlon training but managed to fit in another trip before the end of 2017 to catch up with my model friends. It feels like ages since I was last there!

 

Camera Gear

When packing for Ukraine last time I planned to do strobist work so decided to take my Nikon F4 SLR instead of my usual Leica film cameras. The Nikon 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 pancake lens as it is small and sharp and the Nikkor 60mm f2.8 Micro. All the film scans seem to be shot on black and white Kodak T-Max 100 so it looks like I was keeping it simple!  All photos were home developed using Kodak Xtol and scanned with a flatbed Epson v800 scanner.

 

Nikon F4 and Kodak T-Max 100 Film Portraits

Kodak TMax 100 B&W
Voigtlander 40mm f2.0 Ultron SL II
Nikkor 28mm f2.8 E Series
Ukrainian Women
Kodak T-Max 100 Portrait
Film Scan
Film is King!
Nikon F4 Portrait
Nikon F4 + Kodak T-Max 100
Kodak T-Max 100 Portrait
Nikon F4 Portrait
Film Scan Portrait
Girls in Ukraine
Available Light Photography
Nikon F4 Portrait
Nikon F4
Fine Art Portrait
Nikon F4 Fashion
Nikon F4 Portrait
Low Key Film Portrait

 

Nikon F4 vs. Leica Rangefinder – Any difference?

As I normally use Leica film cameras such as the Leica M3, M2, M4-P, M6, that are all rangefinder style film cameras I thought I would summarise how I find shooting with the more modern Nikon SLR that accepts auto-focus lenses.

I am short sighted and don’t wear glasses for photography so an SLR style camera is OK for me to use accurately if I use up close to a model (perhaps at =<1m distance) with a manual forcus lens such as the Voigtlander Ultron 40m f2.  For longer distances I have to rely on auto-focus lenses to capture a subject in focus.

The Nikon F4 is quite chunky and heavy with the 4x AA batteries in the battery grip vs. a solid yet more compact Leica film camera.  When I am packing small I would always pack a Leica as both the cameras and lenses are smaller.

Leica cameras such as my 1950s design Leica M3 are built to last and just keep going.  That said they do need recalibrating now and again to be able to capture accurately focused images using fast lenses with a shallow depth of field.  The Nikon F4 too is built like a tank.  I dropped my F4 down a flight of concrete stairs on a workshop in Zurich and to my amazement both the camera and Nikkor 60mm Micro lens continued to work when I caught up with it!  You couldn't do that with a modern camera (I think!).

For image quality with film cameras it is down to the lens and choice of film probably more than the camera body itself.  If you select a good lens for the Nikon F4 I would say I probably could not tell the difference vs. a photo taken with a Leica film camera.  I think I compose better with a rangefinder camera like a Leica and probably work faster with it but in terms of sharpness I think generally speaking the images would be quite similar in most cases with both cameras.

Lastly if I could pick only one film camera I would chose a Leica M3 as I prefer cameras that don't rely on batteries, that are as small as possible, it's simplicity and the magnified viewfinder for accurate focusing.

 

Full details of the trip

For full details of this trip to Ukraine please see my Ukraine Models (#2) linked below.

 

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Nikon F4 vs Leica M3: Photo Test

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3: Photo Test

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
April 2016

Last year I bought myself a Nikon F4 SLR so shoot alongside my Leica M3 double stroke and various other film cameras. I thought it might be quite nice to compare the 35mm Nikon SLR to the 35mm Leica rangefinder. For each camera I chose my go to lenses (at the time) and loaded both cameras with 35mm Ilford Delta 100 film. It was a bright day so I shot both lenses at f5.6 for the shoot. Harriet was modelling for me and kindly offered to be the subject for this short series of shots.

Leica M3 + Summicron 50 DR

Cameras:

  • Nikon F4 SLR + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S lens
  • Leica M3 double stroke + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR lens

Film developing:

I developed both rolls of film together in the same tank using 1:3 Xtol developer solution at about 20 degrees (I guessed as no thermometer to hand) for 11 mins and once dry the photos were scanned with an Epson v800 flatbed scanner.

35mm Ilford Delta 100 Film Test:

Nikon F4 SLR + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S

Nikkor 50mm f1.2
Nikon F4 + 50mm f1.2
Nikon F4 + Ilford Delta 100
Nikon F4 + Delta 100
Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 :)
Nikon F4 vs Leica M3

Leica M3 double stroke + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 (II)
Leica M3 + Delta 100
Leica M3 + Delta 100
35mm Ilford Delta 100

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film:

On a seperate occasion I was again shooting with Harriet and the Nikon F4 + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S lens but this time the F4 was loaded with Ilford Pan F 50 film. Here are a couple of Pan F 50 images to compare to the Ilford Delta 100 film scans. I am a huge fan of both of these film stocks.

Nikon F4 + 50mm f1.2
F4 + Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-S

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3 – Thoughts

Unlike digital photography film cameras of varying price ranges from my low cost Nikon FM or Olympus 35RC film cameras to the more expensive Leica M6 and Leica M3s can all produce similar quality results with decent film loaded.  I would not say that is the case with digital.  I think with digital, to an extent you get what you pay for.  For example I would expect significantly better results from a £30k medium format digital Hasselblad vs a Leica M240 or Nikon D800 and the same with the M240 or D800 vs an entry level camera.  I recently tested my Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera against my 35mm Leica M6 film camera. The 6×6 film negatives did hold more detail but the gap between the two cameras is less noticeable to my eyes.  This may also be the case for the photos from the aforementioned digital equivalent cameras but I would generally expect better results the more I paid with digital (to an extent)(some brands are perhaps over priced such as Leica!) 🙂

F4 or M3?

The Nikon F4 SLR is much bulkier and heavier than the Leica M3 so if I am travelling light I tend to chose a Leica. For film photography when I am using lenses shot wide open at say f1.4 I would always chose the Leica as I feeel the results are better at the maximum apertures. If I am stopping the lenses down to f5.6-f8 I could use either film camera happily. For close subjects I prefer the close focusing Nikon F4. For a subject more than a few meters away I prefer the Leica rangefinder focusing. The Nikon accepts autofocus lenses for fast action and has various other advantages being around 30yrs newer (approx) than the 1954 Leica M3.  The M3 accepts some of the smallest lenses I own such as the Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 collapsible  and Vougtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 so both cameras have their pros and cons. I normally select my camera to use based on size and weight restrictions for that particular shoot if overseas.  In the UK and moreso if in my studio I tend to rotate all the various film cameras to keep things interesting!

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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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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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Nikon F4

Nikon F4

May 2015

Nikon F4!

Today I purchased a used Nikon F4 SLR 35mm film camera which was first released back in 1988 when I was only 10yr!  I already own an older Nikon FM SLR film camera and have experience with digital Nikon cameras before moving to Leicas.  I have owned a Nikon D90, Nikon D700 and still own and sometimes use my Nikon D800.  My Leica M9 is my main workhorse camera now and has been for a while but the Nikon D800 is still a very capable camera.

I have a range of Nikon mount lenses, including Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s, 24f2.8D, 50f1.4D, 85f1.4D, 135f2.8, 35-70AF and the mighty Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-S. I also have Samyang lenses in Nikon mount including the amazing Samyang 85mm f1.4 and some M42 Zeiss lenses which I love to use via an adapter, Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.8 and Zeiss Pancolar 80mm f1.8.

As I now enjoy mostly film photography for personal work and thought it would be nice to get another Nikon SLR film body to make use of these lenses.  I looked at a range of options including Nikon F2, Nikon F5 and Nikon F100 but I settled on a Nikon F4.  I wanted to try a 35mm film camera with autofocus so that ruled out the older F2.  I like the idea of potentially buying a waist level finder so originally I had planned to get an F2 but then more recently I thought that if I start doing film only weddings a camera with autofocus might be nice for moving subjects.  I then looked at the F100 and F5 but they both looked quite big and heavy.  I preferred the Nikon F4 to the Nikon F4s or Nikon F4e as it is smaller without the extra battery grip.

I plan to use the Nikon F4 to compliment my Leica cameras.  If I do a quick comparison with my current favourite camera the Leica M3 you can see some of the ‘advantages’ of the more modern Nikon F4 film camera body.

Here are a few points that are important to me rather than a complete list:

Nikon F4 vs Leica M3

  • Flash sync speed:
  • Nikon F4 = 1/250, The F4 will be amazing for my strobist work!
  • Leica M3 = 1/50, not ideal for strobist work so I often use Bessa R3a (sync 1/125)
  • Maximum shutter speed:
  • Nikon F4 1/8000, removes need for ND filters
  • Leica M3  = 1/1000, M3 requires ND filters on fast lenses in bright sunlight
  • Autofocus option?:
  • Nikon F4 = Yes, AF useful for moving subjects/ action.
  • Leica M3  = No, can pre-focus focus or retain a set hyperfocal distance
  • Long lenses:
  • Nikon F4 = SLR works great with any lens, wide to telephoto like my 200mmf2
  • Leica M3  = 50mm rangefinder. External finder for 50mm harder to focus
  • Batteries:
  • Nikon F4 = Requires 4x AA batteries. Adds weight. Can add battery grip to take 8x AA
  • Leica M3  = No battery needed. I do prefer cameras without batteries.
  • Light Meter:
  • Nikon F4 = Yes, Matrix, Centre-Weighted or Spot meter options
  • Leica M3  = No light meter.  Use external hand held light meter
  • Film advance:
  • Nikon F4 = Auto film advance. No manual film advance lever. Can work more quickly
  • Leica M3  = Manual film advance lever (Single stroke or Double stroke models)
  • Film rewind:
  • Nikon F4 = Auto film rewind. Great in a time pressure environment like a wedding
  • Leica M3  = Manual film rewind.  Not ideal if needs to change film quickly

As you can see if you list the two cameras side by side the Nikon F4 should really compliment my two Leica M3s.  I look forward to reporting back soon once it arrives and I get chance to use it.

Matt

Useful Nikon F4 Links

  • An excellent YouTube Video of the Nikon F4 –
  • Ken Rockwell’s views on the Nikon F4 with more camera details –

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/f4.htm

Gallery – Samyang 85mm f1.4

Sadie SOOC.. the Samyang 85/1.4 MF is back! :DRaj's Pre-Wedding Maiya Ceremony YesterdayClosing of the Maiya CeremonyThe Build Up To Raj & Manny's Wedding DaySadie in MonoSadie with Samyang 85/1.4 @1.4
Evening walk through the fields with SadieGalyna, UkraineGalyna, Uzhgord. UkraineUkrainian GoddessInnocence?Galyna in Sepia
Aylona Relaxing on the RiverbankAlyona in MonoWindow LightDancing in the Rain!Olga, UkraineSadie while on walk yesterday
Poonam & Brampal's WeddingShona, EdinburghAlyona, Ukraine SOOCSvitlana, Ukraine SOOCNovember 2012 - WhatDigitalCamera magazineJon & Elizabeth

Nikon D800 + Samyang 85/1.4, a set on Flickr.

Photos with the amazing Korean Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens.  My favourite Samyang lens and favourite 85mm lens. It is sharper than my Nikkor 85mm f1.4D shot wide open at f1.4!

Photos taken with Nikon D800 & Nikon FM SLR film camera. Photos include Model Photography & Wedding Photography / Digital Photography & 35mm Film Photography.