Poland Models – Leica Ms

Poland Models – Leica Ms

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

December 2016

Mr Leica - Poland

Happy New Year!  I wrote this on the flight back to the UK after spending four nights in Poland visiting my model friends in Sopot. It was a Christmas present to myself to fill the quiet time between Christmas and New Year!

As with all my model photography trips I like to be busy and make good use of my time and this was no exception. I only had 3 full days in Sopot but managed to still do 12 photoshoots (even after cancellations). A big thanks to Malva Models who recommended many of the models for this visit.

Leica Camera bag

I took my Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag and in it fitted the following:

  • Leica M 240 camera (digital body)
  • Leica M4-P camera (with B&W film)
  • Leica M4-P camera (II) (with colour film)
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens
  • Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
  • Leica Elmarit-M ASPH 28mm f2.8 lens

I do love Leica M cameras for many reasons but one of their best features is their size. I can carry 3 camera bodies and 4 prime lenses in the same space as a DSLR and a zoom lens. This is a huge help to me when I’m shooting overseas with models.

I bought a Leica M4-P film camera after my last trip to Budapest as wanted a Leica M body with a hot shoe so I could use strobes with film. My Leica M2 and M3s only have cold shoes so it is not as easy. A few weeks before Poland I decided to buy another Leica M4-P camera body as saw one at a good price and that way I could pack both Leica M4-P cameras and load one camera with colour film and one camera with black and white film.  (This is the reason why I have two Leica M3s too.  Both M3s are in need of slight recalibration but I hope to start using those in the summer when using available light only as the M3 viewfinder is the best Leica M viewfinder bar none I think).

Hotel photoshoot

Kodak Motion Picture Film

For this trip I decide to pack all home rolled bulk loaded Kodak motion picture film. For colour film I rolled equal amounts of Kodak Vision3 50D (daylight balanced film like the Cinestill 50D), Kodak Vision3 200T (tungsten balanced film) and Kodak Vision3 500T (tungsten balanced film and the same film stock as Cinestill 800T). For black and white film I recently bought myself a 400ft bulk roll of fresh boxed and sealed Kodak Eastman Double-X film. I used my 35mm bulk film loader to run off whatever film I needed.

Polish Girl

I was in Poland last December too, staying in Gdansk, and the days never seemed to get light. For this visit I thought I could shoot Kodak Double-X at ISO 1600 if needed and Kodak Vision3 500T at ISO 1000 or more with ease. I also had a speedlight with me for backup. Luckily the Sopot hotel on the sea front has much more light and even though the weather was cold it was brighter and blue skies one day. I managed to persuade a few cold hardy models to join me on the beach for pictures as I prefer outside photos where possible. I managed to shoot mostly Kodak Vision3 50D film (for colour photos) but it was under exposed a few stops for some pictures so it will be interesting to see the results. I shot the black and white Kodak Double X film at anything between ISO 100 and 800 on the same roll. Kodak Double-X is great for this and so too is the Kodak Vision3 500T. I could shoot either of these films all day and not meter the light once and still get results.

Polish Model

Models

Despite not seeing many of my regular models I still managed to do 12 shoots with up to 5 shoots on a single day. I worked 8:00-18:00 to use as much of the daylight as possible but still used the speedlight a lot inside to try to add interest.

A big thanks to Monika at Hotel Bursztyn for having me again and in no particular order thanks to models; Natalia, Marta, Karolina, Agnes, Agata, Magda, Dagmara, Gosia, Teresa, Aleksandra and Kasia. Also big thanks to MUA Kate and Marta!  I felt I discovered some amazing new talent so hope to work with some of the girls again when I return in spring 2017. Lastly thanks to Gdansk based clothes designer ATR Wear that supplied some of the clothes used in the photos.

Thoughts

I had hoped to shoot less in the hotel and use the local area more but the weather was just too cold on the whole to do much outside for very long. After doing overseas model photography trips for quite a while I now realise there is no one camera setup to suit all situations. In Budapest I shot mostly on 35mm lenses and craved a wider focal length. In Sopot I could have easily used 50mm on two camera bodies as 35mm was a little too wide for the plain hotel rooms. I did use all lenses including the 28mm Leica Elmarit-M ASPH but found I usesd the faster lenses the most in the low light. I might be tempted to take the 75mm Leica Summicron APO on the next visit to Poland to get a different perspective as I have shot on mostly 35mm lenses for over 12 months.

Leica Elmarit-M ASPH 28mm f2.8

As it has taken me so long to post this I have already shared both digital and colour film photos on my Flickr, Instagram (@MrLeicaCom) and Facebook pages.  I will wait and process more colour film negatives and develop the black and white film and then share a blog post for the film pictures shot on my Leica M4-Ps. Here are some more digital Leica M240 photos until then –

Winter Sun
Empty Beach
Agency Model
Hate U 2
Lingerie Shoot
Beach Photoshoot
 

Pipeline

I realise I have so many promised and unposted blog posts to come but to recap here are some posts on their way for 2017

  • Ukraine Models 2016 – Leica M240
  • Ukraine Models 2016 – Nikon F4 + Kodak T-Max film
  • Kodak Vision3 50D Film
  • Kodak Vision3 200T Film
  • Kodak Vision3 500T Film
  • Leica Elmarit 28mm f2.8 ASPH
  • Leica Summarit 50mm f2.5
  • Budapest Models 2016 – on Film (various)
  • Leica Weddings 2016
  • Poland Models 2016 – on Film – Leica M4-P
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1 Camera (M240) + 1 Slow Lens

1 Camera (M240) + 1 Slow Lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

September 2016

Hamburg Agency Model

Broken Leica M240

Last December I was shooting with my Leica M240 in Poland only to find it was misfocusing and needed recalibrating.  The weeks past but I always had a need for my main workhorse camera, the Leica M240 so couldn’t part with it. I found if I used a 35mm lens and shot it at f4 I had sufficient depth to focus and get my subject sharp. As such the tiny Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 pancake lens became my do everything lens, every model photography trip and every Leica wedding photography shoot.

Fast Lenses

If you have seen my previous photography you may have noticed I love fast lenses, from my early Nikon days using lenses like the Samyang 85mm f1.4, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-S and Nikkor 200mm f2 Ai-S to some of my Leica-M mount lenses such as the Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5, Leica  Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH and of course the mighty Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0. All those lenses shot wide open kind of dissolve the background to leave just the subject to catch the eye in the photo.  You can pretty much shoot anything anywhere with a fast lens and it looks good and the look can’t be replicated with an iPhone.

To go from that way of shooting to suddenly having to shoot at f4 on a 35mm lens with most things in the photo in focus was a bit of a shock. I had to make ‘cool’ photos with everything in the photo in focus (or at least visible).  Hmm!

Learning to shoot without shallow DOF

I found shooting with most things in focus helped me concentrate on trying to use better or more interesting light, stronger or different compositions and alternative camera angles in addition to working more closely with the models to try to fine tune their pose, look or expression. I am certainly far more picky now and often assist with applying makeup or styling suggestions to help try to make a stronger final image in camera. For a time I used the M240 for test shots then either shot the final image on film with say the Leica M6 or Hasselblad 501C or more recently warmed the model up with the Leica M240 then switched to the digital Hasselblad H3D-31.

Leica Germany Repair

I managed to finally send my Leica M240 off to the Leica Germany engineers for recalibration at the end of July 2016 and the camera was back with me in August looking literally brand new. I’m 99% sure it received more than just a recalibration and all under the Leica warranty scheme. I cannot speak highly enough of the Leica customer service and you certainly get what you pay for with Leica (in my experience).

What did I Learn?

I now have the novelty factor of being able to shoot fast lenses again on the Leica M240.  I can also shoot a range of longer focal lengths again, 50mm, 75mm, 90mm and so on. Before the period of shooting with just a 35mm lens I regarded myself as a 50mm man. Coming out the other side I would say I’m probably equally 35mm or 50mm biased and do find 75mm and 90mm quite limiting with their tighter crop for regular use. Equally during my Leica Noctilux phase I shot everything at f1 regardless as to whether it was a flat brick wall or something against a distant backdrop.  Shooting this week with the Noctilux I am shooting perhaps ‘smarter’ in that if a model is against a wall I might stop the lens down to f2 to improve the sharpness or if a subject is further away I might shoot at f1.4 to get a slightly crisper photo than just everything very soft.  It is a battle of styles as I love super sharp such as the Hasselblad Zeiss 120mm Macro-Planar CF lens or the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO but also love pleasing bokeh and the painterly feel of say the Noctilux or Pre-ASPH Leica Summicron 90mm f2 shot wide open. It’s a balance and depends on the subject too.

Conclusion

It not ideal to have a semi-function main workhorse camera (or any camera to that matter!) but I don’t think it did me any harm overall.  That said it is nice to be able to use all my Leica M mount lenses again. 🙂

Here are a few recent example images with the Leica M240 and Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar in Hamburg, Germany

Calvin Klein Shoot

Hamburg

Runway Model

Agency model

 

Many more example images in my last Leica M240 post

Other Related Posts

Leica + Voigtlander 35mm Lenses

Leica Cameras + Voigtlander 35mm Lenses
Leica Wedding Photographer

The photo shows my two Leica camera setup for Leica wedding photography. The lenses are optional.

Leica Cameras

Top – Leica M9 (18MP) released in 2010
Bottom – Leica M8 (10MP) released in 2006

Voigtlander Lenses
Top – Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
Bottom – Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii (New!)

Why do I need two 35mm lenses you may ask?

The CV 35f1.2 is perhaps my current favourite Leica M mount lens of all my LM mount lenses. It is sharp wide open at f1.2, produces beautiful bokeh with a shallow DOF and renders images in such a way that they are pleasing to the eye. Why do I need a second 35mm then?  The Nokton 35/1.2 gives great results and is brilliant in low light however if you are stopping the lens down to f2.8 onwards, perhaps for street photography, then it is an unnecessary weight to carry around your neck all day. The 35/1.2 also makes your Leica M camera much more bulky and more easily noticed by others.

My newly purchased CV 35/2.5 ii is one of the smallest Leica M lenses (The MS Optical Super Tripet III Perar 35mm f/3.5 is smaller) and both lightweight and more discreet. Samples will follow but the 35f2.5 is sharp enough for portraits at f2.8 and also renders images beautifully. It really is THE perfect walkabout lens or travel lens, fitting into a large pocket and unlikely to draw attention to itself.

Leica Wedding Photography
One way I could use the pair of lenses and cameras is have the 35f1.2 on my crop sensor M8 giving me an almost equivalent of 50/1.2 (35×1.33=46.55mm). This would be great for low light and portrait photos. I could then mount the 35/2.5 Skopar on my Leica M9 for discrete reportage / documentary style wedding photography where i can work close to my subjects without drawing attention to myself.

Lastly, why buy Voigtlander lenses?

I bought the CV Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii rather than the Leica Summilux ASPH 35mm f1.4 as I liked the images and preferred the lower cost.

I bought the CV Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii for 3 reasons.
#1. Size. I love the small size. A camera or lens that is easy to carry with you all the time is more likely to get used and be with you when you see that special moment you want to capture. (For a contrasting comparison, the Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s lens must be one of the most amazing and high quality lenses ever made however due to it’s weight and bulk I find I don’t use the lens as much as I should on my Nikon D800).

#2. Price. The 35/f2.5 ii is very competitively priced and one of my cheapest Leica M mount lenses. The Voigtlander lens is 5x cheaper than the Leica M Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH and 2x cheaper than the Zeiss ZM Biogon 35mm f2 T.

#3. Performance. I looked at all three 35mm lenses noted above. I read the reviews but more importantly to me, I reviewed sample images on Flickr from each lens. I own both Leica and Zeiss lenses and tend to lean towards Zeiss for a combination of performance and price. For the 35mm focal length neither the Leica M or Zeiss ZM images impressed me enough to pay more money for a lens that was larger and heavier than the little Voigtlander 35mm pancake (Skopar) lens. As a result my purchase decision was very easy.

Sample images to follow.

MatthewOsbornePhotographer – Leica Wedding Photographer

Leica M9 – Best Leica M Mount Lenses (For Me!)

With my new (to me) Leica M9 black body arriving soon my head is already starting to wander with regards to lenses on my to buy list.

To recap from my last post (here) I bought the Leica M9 body to let me shoot Voigtlander lenses on a full frame sensor body. I want to have a smaller camera to use for documentary style wedding photography. The D800 is great but is hardly discrete. So my brain is already excited at the thought of all the Leica M lenses I can now use. That said I have started to think what lenses I would buy next.

The Leica M mount lenses I own so far are:

> Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4

> Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4

Leica M mount lenses on my to buy list:

I understand many Leica purists would never put a non-Leica lenses on a Leica body but until I have a fatter wallet I am more than happy with the results some of the Voigtlander lenses give.  I have my eye on the following 2 lenses in no particular order:

> Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 Asph II (Steve Huff review here – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/12/02/voigtlander-nokton-35-1-2-aspherical-ii-lens-review-on-the-leica-m9/

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 asph

> Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron (Ken Rockwell review – http://www.kenrockwell.com/voigtlander/28mm-f2.htm)

Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron

>UPDATED* Carl Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 (Steve Huff review – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2009/12/14/zeiss-zm-50-planar-lens-review/#comment-254065)

Zeiss Planar 50 f2 ZM

Why these lenses you may ask?  The Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 is said to be sharper than my Voigtlander 40mm wide open and I would buy it for it’s shallow DOF low light abilities. I love my Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s on my Nikon D800 so a f1.2 lens on the Leica M9 just seems to make sense to me.

UPDATE* I recently read Steve’s review (above) on the Zeiss Planar 50mm f2. Oh my!!! That ticks all my boxes and more! Added to list and now quite possibly at the top! I already own an M42 Zeiss Planar that I have used on my D800 and it i crazy sharp at f1.8, plus the colours are far nicer than the Nikon glass.

I will be using the Leica M9 for wedding photography aswell my model photography. In the UK wedding photography will normally include some low light photography even during the daytime due to our changeable weather. As a Leica M9 wedding photographer I am well aware that the M9 cannot compete with my Nikon D800 at high ISO. By using fast lenses (ie. wide aperture like f1.2, f1.4, f2) I can try to shoot at or below ISO 800 on the Leica body to avoid excessive noise on the images.

It terms of focal length 35mm on my Nikon D800 can be too tight in small spaces such as a cramped room full of people at a wedding reception. I think my 21mm f4 will be a little wide but more so will too slow for the dim indoor lighting faced at many wedding venues. The Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron provides the perfect focal length and speed to accompany my current 40mm f1.4 lens. As the Voigtlander 28mm f2 is also cheaper than it’s 35mm cousin I may buy this lens quite soon ready for the next wedding.

I am not really interested in focal lengths greater than 50mm on the Leica M9 as I can use the Nikon D800 for longer distances. The Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s is a beast of a lens so lets me get my discrete wedding photography photos from a safe distance. Up close most people would run a mile due to it’s size but that is where the Leica M9 comes in, for discrete documentary style wedding photography up close.

For info on all Voigtlander lenses see here – http://www.voigtlander.com/cms/voigtlaender/voigtlaender_cms.nsf/id/pa_fdih7j7h5j.html

Leica M9 wedding photography samples coming soon! See here for my wedding photography style – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/Wedding-Photographer.html

UPDATE – September 2013* I now have all the above lenses.  By far my favourite is the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii. Sharp with a shallow DOF and easy to nail focus at f1.2

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk