My Blog

  • Wedding Photographer using a Leica M9. Documentary style by available light.
  • Model Photographer specialising in female Fashion & Beauty portrait photography.
  • Photography Tuition & Lighting Workshops ran from Coventry UK studio.
  • Film Photography using 35mm film & Medium Format film cameras.

More Details:

Leica Wedding Photographer. Coventry Wedding Photographer offering Leica Wedding Photography both in the UK and worldwide. Natural documentary style wedding photography and stunning high fashion wedding portraits. Provides both Leica digital photography (Leica M9 and Leica M8) and 35mm Leica film photography (Leica M2).  As a Leica wedding photographer I like to work quietly as an observer in the background.  I shoot by available light where possible, adding flash for subtle creative lighting.

Leica Lifestyle Photographer.  I have realised from how I direct my model shoots that I am in fact a lifestyle photographer.  Posing often everyday people in everyday situations to look very natural.  I have not yet branded myself as a lifestyle photographer but it may be a route I take in 2015 as this style comes very naturally to me and I find it easy to work closely with my clients to get the best from the images.

Fashion and Beauty Portrait Photographer.  Studio based model photographer in Coventry specialising in black and white female portraiture.  I use both available light and flash photography in my images.  I help girls build their model portfolio and collaborate with experienced published models both in the UK and across Europe.

Photography Workshops. I provide 1-2-1 photography tuition and lighting workshops from my Coventry studio.  I will help you to understand light and your camera and bring to enhance your photography. I have also started running London photography workshops teaching photographers how to work with a professional model out on location.  The date I announced for June 2014 sold out in under 48hrs.  If you are interested in booking a workshop please get in touch.

How I Started:

Hi, I setup my blog page in March 2013 as my Flickr followers keep asking me to share some of my thoughts. To give you a brief background, I’m 36 and live in the UK.  My photography began in 2008 after getting a Lumix TZ5 for Christmas.  Almost 5 years later I now have many cameras and offer Photography Tuition to those who often get paid for their work. Besides teaching, I shoot as a Wedding Photographer and Model Photographer.  I am 100 % self taught so thought a blog would be a great way to share some of the things I have learnt so far.  At the end of 2012 I started to develop a passion for Film Photography and in the summer of 2013 I bought my first Leica camera.  I am now officially a Leica nut and use a Leica M9, M8 and Leica M2 film camera for 99.99% of my photography, whether Leica wedding photography, Leica lifestyle photography or Leica fashion / model photography.

Blog Includes:

I’ve made this post sticky and will add links as I get chance to write. Check back soon for updates!

Matt

Homepage – http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk/

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Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 lens (1951)

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

Yesterday I was visiting London for two model shoots and to do some Leica street photography. I stopped in at a vintage camera repair shop in walking distance of Euston train station to have a look around. ‘Camera City’ ran by Pany and his team was full of amazing old cameras. Some very early film cameras through to newer digital cameras. I was looking at the Rolleiflex TLR cameras as that is one type of camera I have not yet owned. I checked to see if they had any vintage Leica lenses in and they had a modified 1951 Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 lens. The original design in that era (as showed in the photo) was Leica thread mount (LTM) but my copy is a bayonet mount (LM). I can tell the year of production from the serial number and mine is one of the early ones. The Summaron was in production in Germany from 1949 – 1960. The lens optics look reasonably good for the age of the lens and there is no obvious haze or internal dust. That said, I think the lens was probably cleaned when it was modified. This in not a problem for me as I buy vintage Leica lenses to use not to polish.

I struck a deal with Pany and part exchanged my Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm f4 now that I have the Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8. I loved the size of the 21/4 in LTM mount but I found those lenses sometimes had focus shift so I thought I would stick with the 21/2.8.

It was a totally unplanned purchase (again!) but after really enjoying the use of my 1954 vintage Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 I knew I would soon be looking for a vintage 35mm to match. You can see the advantages of older lenses by looking at my Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 blog post.

Here are a couple of samples using the Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 on my Leica M9

Camera City – test shot before agreeing to buy the lens @f3.5

Camera City, London

Leica street photography in Central London @f3.5

Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5

I love the flare of the old lenses. I recently bought the Voigtlander Skopar PII 35mm f2.5 which is sharp at f2.5 and controls flare well. Both these small 35mm lenses are compact and have their own character. I like the old Leica glass for personal projects but for paying clients I will often use newer glass if I need the look of modern optics and/ or reliable sharpness shot wide open.

I will post a full set of example photos using the Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5 when I find time.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Links
Camera City – http://www.cameracity.co.uk
Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 (1954) –

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Leica Engagement Shoot (2)

Leica Engagement Shoot at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry
Coventry Wedding Photographer / Leica Photographer
Raki & Terri

Leica Engagement Shoot (2)

Yesterday I had chance to do another couple shoot with my Leica M9 camera. We did an engagement themed shoot with model friends Raki and Terri. Neither of them had worked together before but they gelled together really well and it made for an easy to direct shoot.

For most weddings, couples do not set aside enough time to get a wide range of natural yet creative wedding portraits. Many couples are also on a tight budget so skip the engagement shoot option. I organise shoots like this one with Raki and Terri to show ‘real’ couples what is possible for them if they opt for either an engagement shoot or book me as their wedding photographer. I am not looking to shoot a wedding every weekend as I don’t want to mass produce wedding photos. This does not interest me as it kills the creativity and excitment. I much rather work closely with a smaller number of couples that like like my style of photography and share their excitment in the build up to their wedding day. It sounds cheesy but I really do get excited before my shoots and always have a head full of creative ideas during the week leading up to each wedding!

Yesterday I wanted to try my latest addition to my Leica camera bag, a 1954 Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 lens. I shot 90% of the day using this lens and my Leica M9 camera. I changed to a Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 for a short time to do some close up shots. The ‘Cron has a 0.7m closest focal range vs. 1m of the Summarit. I will post a seperate review of Leica Summarit lens in the coming days.

Here are some sample images from the engagement shoot that are already on Flickr -

Leica Engagement Shoot

Leica Summarit 50/1.5

Leica Engagement Photography

And here are more sample images not yet posted (selection of black and white and colour) -

Thank you to Satti B MUA who provided the hair and makeup for Terri. I used one off camera speedlight throughout the shoot. See if you can guess where it was placed for each image!

The vintage Leica Summarit lens produces softer images than modern lenses but I love the look it gives and plan to use it as one of my regular lenses going forward.

To book a wedding or engagement shoot with me do not hesitate to get in touch.. no matter where you are in the world!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

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Billingham Hadley Digital

Billingham Hadley Digital – Leica Camera Bag
MatthewOsbornePhotographer – Leica Wedding Photographer

Billingham Hadley Digital

The Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag is the latest edition to my Leica camera outfit. I already own quite a few camera bags including rucksacks, a Thinktank shoulder bag and an Ona small shoulder bag. I wanted something smaller that would not hinder my movement to carry just essentials in. For a Leica wedding day I have the Leica M9 as my main digital camera and then the Leica M8 as a backup digital camera. If I was shooting digital only I would have the M8 in the ‘Hadley’ on my back. If I was shooting Leica film photography and digital photography I would have the Leica M2 in the bag so it was with me and leave the M8 in my larger ‘backup bag’.

How much Leica camera equipment can you fit into a Billingham Hadley Digital camera bag?
Answer. More than you think! Today I did an engagement shoot so got to road test the Billingham bag.
Main compartment: has 2 small internal ‘pockets’ perfect for Leica lenses leaving a ‘T’ shape space to fit a camera and lens with lens pointing down. In the 2 compartments I packed a Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 and Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens. I then had the Leica M9 with the Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 (1954) attached facing down. I then placed a micro cloth over the top (back screen) of the M9. On top of this I fitted the Leica M2 film camera (body only).
Front pocket: I managed to fit 2 Leica spare batteries, filters and step rings, spare SD cards, iPhone 5, 4x spare AA batteries for speedlight, wireless triggers, micro cloth, car keys and credit cards. There was still space left to use so I fitted in the little Voigtlander Skopar 35mm f2.5 PII lens. Impressive!

More about the bag..

Comfort? The Hadley Digital does not have a shoulder pad but it really is not needed. I had the bag on my back all afternoon and almost forgot it was there. It stayed in place when I when low or leant over without restricting my movement. This is ideally for my wedding photography where I want to be able to stay light and mobile.

Build Quality? The Billingham Hadley Digital is extremely well made and I can see it still going strong in 50yrs time. I think it will grow old gracefully with my Leica camera equipment. The internal pocket is very well designed and padded keeping your beloved camera secure. The outer cover/ fabric provides a reliable weather seal for your camera. This is especially important living in the UK! :) The clasp is secure yet easy to open quickly given immediate access to your camera without having to undo zips and the like.

Would I buy another Billingham camera bag in the future?
Yes absolutely. I don’t think I would buy any other make after now owning a Billingham bag.

Fashion statement? In addition to being practical and very well made the Billingham Hadley bag is also a very good looking bag and I am more than happy to carry it with me for events such as weddings.

Billingham Hadley Digital for Leica Street Photography? As noted above the Hadley Digital bag is perfect for travelling light while carrying all your ‘essentials’. In addition to wedding photography and event photography I will also use the bag for Leica street photography. Is ‘my’ bag the right choice for the street? The khaki colour looks good but if money was no object I would probably buy a second Hadley Digital in black for street photography. On the street you do not want to draw attention to yourself or your nice camera so black is the practical choice. It is just a matter of using your common sense as to when and where to walk around the streets with a bag on your back that says ‘nice camera inside’ written all over it.

I am very happy with my purchase and cannot recommend Billingham bags highly enough.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

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Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

My latest purchase! A 1954 Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 lens. This is the later version of the lens with the Leica M bayonet mount. The earlier version released in 1949 had the Leica screw mount (LTM). Both these lenses were based on the design of the 1936 Leica Xenon design.

Why did I buy another Leica M mount 50mm?

I wanted an older Leica lens with that signature ‘vintage’ look. This in plain English means a lens that is low contrast, prone to flare and produces soft focus images when shot wide open. Why would anyone want those characteristics from a lens!? Surely all the manufacturers are trying to make the sharpest lens ever with the greatest micro-contrast and most flare resistant lens coating? This is true, but I already have lenses that can do all those things, sharp, contrasty and without flare. Example lenses include the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (“Lux”), Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (“Cron”), Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm F2 T and Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 C. (All to varying degrees).

As you may have seen I shoot mostly female portraiture and a soft focus lens can be perfect for this if used correctly. I like to use flare in a creative way in my photos so a lens prone to flare is something I look forward to. The Leica M8 and Leica M9 colours in camera tend to be over saturated for my taste. Zeiss lenses especially are known to produce rich colours but I often like de-saturated tones if I am shooting colour portraits. Low contrast images means you retain maximum shadow and highlight detail so perfect for black and white photography.

The right tool for the job -

If you know that in your camera bag you have a high contrast Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 lens and a low contrast Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 lens then you can select your most suitable tool for the task. If a day is overcast with very little direction light I would select the ZM Sonnar to boost the contrast from the even light. If however, I was shooting in potentially unflattering low direct sunlight, then I would chose the Leica Summarit to minimise blown highlights and retain both highlight and shadow details.

Why not correct the photos during post processing?

If I am shooting colour 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film with my Leica M2 film camera and get a lab to scan the negatives and also run me a set of prints then I want to get the desired look of my images in camera. If I am doing black and white photography and shooting with Kodak T-Max 100 film then I can adjust my B&W film developing method accordingly to increase or reduce contrast yet further depending on the conditions in which I took my photos.

If I took the photos with my digital Leica M8 or Leica M9 cameras then I can edit the images in Lightroom to obtain the desired look but even then I can only work with the details captured in the DNG (RAW) or JPEG files. If I have blown the highlights with a high contrast lens then I can only save so much detail in post processing. For example a bright sky becomes completely white in the final image. If however I used a low contrast lens such as the old Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5 then the cloud detail is retained in the sky and I can then boost the contrast without losing detail if desired during post.

I will get some real examples images posted to Flickr and shared here as soon as it arrived.

A big thanks to Charlie for selling me the Summarit lens!

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

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London Photography Workshop 2014

London Photography Workshops – 2014
MatthewOsbornePhotography

London Photography Workshop 2014

Mentor – MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk
Model – Katie Harvey

I am happy to announce two more London Photography Workshop dates after the positive feedback received after our last workshop.

Dates:
Saturday April 26, 2014
Saturday June 28, 2014

Location:
Central London

Meeting Place:
TBC

Duration:
6hrs

Start time:
TBC depending on attendees but around midday

Number of places per date:
3 places for photographers available per day. I want to keep the groups small so you get the maximum benefit from the day.

What equipment do you require on the day?
As a minimum you will require a camera with manual settings (even if you use the aperture priority or shutter priority settings to take your photos) and ideally a camera body with interchangeable lenses. I will bring a speedlight with Nikon triggers. You do not need a speedlight (flash) but feel free to bring with you if you have one. Please bring whatever lens you would use for portraiture for you style. This can be wide angle through to telephoto. I will bring a 5-in-1 reflector but again if you prefer to use any other light modifiers please bring them with you if not too bulky.

Previous experience required?
No experience of portraiture required. If you have some photography experience that would be beneficial but be no means essential.

What is included on the workshop?:

I will be teaming up with the amazing model Katie Harvey who is normally based in the south of the UK. I will give you the opportunity to shadow me on a location model shoot in London photographing Katie on the street. I will teach you how I see light and shadows and use these to enhance your portraiture photography. We will use Central London as a backdrop to our portraits and I will show you how to get the best from different light sources. Lighting will include daylight only, daylight + reflector, daylight + speedlight (on camera and off camera flash), artificial light sources such as tungsten lights and any other light source we come across. I will teach you how to pose a model and Katie will give you help and tips as to how to work with models and what are the do’s and don’ts when working with models for the first time. I normally include some street photography as we move between locations so if that is your thing I will also show you how to zone focus and focus easily on moving subjects with manual lenses. I normally break up the day for light refreshments in a reputable coffee shop. This gives us chance to talk techniques and rest our legs over coffee and gives Katie chance to change outfits ready for the second half. Please review my images on Flickr before signing up to the workshop so you understand the style of images I will be teaching. Thanks.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/sets/72157633135264195/

Cost:
£150 per person.
Deposit of £25 payable in advance to hold you place. Balance payable on the day (or before).

Birmingham workshops and Coventry photography studio workshops:
If you cannot make it to one of my London workshops but would like to book tuition, I run 1-2-1 evening and weekend workshops from my Coventry studio at £35ph. (Please see my website link below for more details). I am also looking to run workshops in a second city, Birmingham if the demand is there.

If you would like book a day or request more details on any of the above please contact me at mosbornephotography@gmail.com

Sample images from the last London photography workshop:

London Photography Workshop

London strobist workshop

Model Photography

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4

Finally, here is a shot from model Katie who was posing with my Leica M8 and took this photo of the cameras pointing at her. I am the photographer in the centre of the image with my Nikon FM SLR film camera.

Photography Workshop, London

Feedback from the last workshop:

Adam – “This has been my 3rd workshop with Matt and yet again I have walked away from the day completely inspired to be able to shoot more confidently. Matt’s relaxed and fun way of learning is a joy to be part of and this particular workshop recently attended in London was no different. His introduction to using flash with ambient light was exciting to learn and gave an insight into what opportunities you had in every outdoor situation.

I would thoroughly recommend a day spent with Matt to blow your mind with knowledge that you can take away from the day and put into practice in your own time. Whether it be simple photography techniques or re advanced portrait work, Matt has it covered”.

Thanks
Matt

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer
http://www.matthewosbornephotography.co.uk

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35mm Black & White Film Photography

35mm Black & White Film Photography
Leica Photographer

35mm Black & White Film Photography

Good news! I am back shooting 35mm film photography after my recent purchase of a 1958 Leica M2 film camera. I already had a Voigtlander Bessa R3A but the shutter has jammed so I decided to treat myself to a Leica film camera. I love my Leica digital cameras (M8 and Leica M9) but the older Leica M2 has exceeded all expectations.

As the Voigtlander Bessa had jammed mid roll of film I decided to rewind the film in camera then load it into my Leica M2. I then fired off 15 shots with the lens cap on to advance the film (the Leica M2 film advance lever motion is to die for!). I then fired off some shots around the house to finish the film and to check the M2 was operating aswell as it felt in my hand.

As I still had a roll of undeveloped film from last year in the fridge, I decided to develop both rolls of film at the same time. Both film spools were 35mm Kodak T-Max 100 exposed at ISO200. I developed my black and white film in a Paterson tank using semi-stand development and Rodinal + water. My thermometer was not working so I just used a temperature that was warm to the touch. Luckily film is very forgiving! I stood the film for 35mins and then checked the results after fixing. All good. Both rolls of film were exposed correctly. Phew!

Here are a few samples of the negatives I have scanned so far

Voigtlander Bessa R3A + CV Nokton 40mm f1.4
– Monika

Kodak T-Max 100

Leica M2 Test Shots (Please excuse the subjects!)
M2 + CV Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii

Leica M2 Film!

Leica M2 Test Shot

I will try to add more photos to this post as I scan them.

There will be plenty of new Leica M2 film photography example images coming soon. It really is a beautiful camera and my new favourite to operate of all my cameras. (Examples will include me using the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens on the Bessa R3A in London that can be compared to the Leica M9 B&W images).

(The header image was shot in Edinburgh in 2013 with model Emma using the Bessa R3A + CV Nokton 40mm f1.4)

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – UK Leica Photographer

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Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio

Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio – 40/1.4, 35/2.5 & 15/4.5
Leica Photographer – Matthew Osborne Photography

Compact Voigtlander Primes Trio

As a Leica Photographer I have learnt to appreciate the compact size of both the Leica cameras and some of the Leica mount lenses. Over the last six months I have gained quite a nice collection of Leica M mount primes from the likes of Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander. I have some of the well known great lenses such as the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 but also some less well known ones such as those made by Voigtlander. I recently travelled to London where I would be shooting street model / fashion photography in daylight and at night and candid Leica street photography, again during the day and at night. I wanted to take two Leica camera bodies with me to be safe (in case one failed) so I packed my Leica M9 and Leica M8. i then wanted compact lenses to cover my needs. Of all my lenses I chose three to take in my Leica camera bag. They were all made by the same company, Voigtlander.

My lens choice
Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii – Super compact pancake lens for street photography
Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 – Compact and perfect for portraits and low light photography
Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5 – Wide angle for environmental street photography showing the people in their surroundings

My Ona camera bag still had space and I wanted to take a film camera. I packed a Nikon FM SLR with a Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 lens attached. The Nikon FM did well but I lusted after Leica film. When I got home I ordered a 1958 Leica M2 35mm film camera. My camera bag is now complete. Three camera bodies covering film photography and digital photography (Leica M2, M8, M9) and three compact lenses covering all I need (15f4.5, 35f2.5, 40f1.4).

Here are some sample images from my day in London using the aforementioned equipment -

Leica M9 + CV Nokton 40mm f1.4

St. Paul's Cathedral

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4

Leica M9 + CV Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii

London Photography Workshop

St. Paul's

London strobist workshop

Leica M9 Street Photography

Leica M8 + CV Skopar 35mm f2.5 ii

Model Photography

Leica M9 + CV 15mm f4.5 Heliar

London Street Photography (2)

I am really looking forward to shooting 35mm film photography with the beautifully crafted Leica M2 on my next outing. A full review of my 1958 Leica M2 film camera to follow once I have example images.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

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Leica M8 Portraits & Thoughts

Leica M8 Portraits
Follow up post with my thoughts of the M8 after having owned it for a few weeks.

I really have been hugely impressed with the September 2006 released 10.3MP 1.33x cropped sensor Leica M8 digital rangefinder camera. Costing x3 less than a used Leica M9, The M8 is also the most affordable way to enter the digital Leica world. Leica retains this myth around the brand that the Leica equipment is not affordable or in reach of the majority of the population. This is of course not true at all. You can pick up a used Leica M8 camera body in good condition for the same price as a Canon 5D Mk II. Need I say more! You may then say that the camera lenses are too expensive. Wrong again. Older Leica lenses can be picked up on eBay for less than some Canon and Nikon lenses. Leica mount lenses from companies such as Voigtlander and Zeiss also offer equally affordable and very high quality optics. If you have an old Leica film camera collecting dust in your attic that your late Grandfather once owned then a Leica M8 would bring a new life to your Leica lens. Alternatively, if like me you enjoy film photography and love using Leica lenses then you can pick yourself up a used Leica film camera body for even less than the Leica M8. I just treated myself to a 1958 Leica M2 film camera so I can shoot 35mm film with my existing Leica lenses.
(Samples of Leica M2 film photography coming soon!).

Leica M8 vs. Leica M9?

As you may know I already have a Leica M9 and bought the Leica M8 as a second Leica body for my Leica wedding photography. After having used the Leica M8 for the last few weeks I can tell you that for the black and white portraiture I normally shoot the M8 is equally as good as my M9 for my taste. The cameras feel near identical to use and if I didn’t look at what was in my hand I wouldn’t know which camera I was holding. The Leica M8 resolution is fantastic and exceeded my expectations. I think the M8 photos are as nice as the M9 ones. I almost like the bigger grain of the M8 images more than those of the M9. I think the M9 is a half way house between the more sterile DSLR look of the M Type 240 and the grainier older M8. I think the M8 gives a filmic look closer to film photography than the M9 due to the grain size. Both cameras use the Kodak CCD sensor that I love so much. I am convinced that the ‘Leica Look’ is from the CCD sensor more so than the lenses. I realise this is a topic of great debate! Each LM lens adds a certain character to an image but the overall Leica look is found in all my Leica M8 and Leica M9 images.

I never thought I would say it but I feel like I could happily own 2 Leica M8 cameras rather than an M8 and a M9. The biggest advantage of the M9 is the full frame sensor so gives each lens a different use to when on the M8.

Here are some Leica M8 Portraits from my last few shoots -

Model Photography

M8 Fashion

Leica M8 Studio Portrait

Leica M8 B&W

Baker Street, London

Zeiss ZM Planar

Zeiss Planar 50

Leica M8 Portrait

Here is a photo taken with my M8 of me in action yesterday teaching a photography workshop in London. I gave the model a chance to get her own back and turn a camera on the photographers! I was using my Nikon FM SLR film camera shooting 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film. Katie did a great job taking this photo without any practice once I explained what to do!

Photography Workshop, London

Finally here is a flower portrait with the Leica M8. The M8 is not limited to people photography! :)

Leica M8 + Leica Lux ASPH 50

I will continue to share Leica M8 images on my Flickr stream (in addition to those taken with my M9, and the soon to arrive Leica M2 which I am very excited about!)

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Photographer

Related Posts / Links
Leica M8 ordered
Leica M2 film camera
Book a photography workshop

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1958 Leica M2!


1958 Leica M2 Film Camera

1958 Leica M2!

My latest purchase! :) I am now a proud owner of a Leica trioM2, M8 and M9!

This was an unplanned buy. I was ready to shoot 35mm film last weekend but found my Voigtlander Bessa R3A shutter completely jammed. I tried the usual tricks to rectify the problem per YouTube but no luck. The Bessa’s are well known to be a poor man’s Leica and although they are great when they work I need a camera body I can rely on. For that reason I turned to Leica.

Leica M2 – Some call it the pinnacle of Leica engineering when it was released in 1958. I have one of the later ones with a self timer and rewind lever. It has a bright viewfinder with 35mm, 50mm and 90mm frame lines. If I want to use a 28mm lens I just use the entire viewfinder area when composing a photo.

Leica M2 vs. Leica M6 Classic
– I toyed with the idea of getting the newer Leica M6. The M6 has a built in light meter but cost more than 1.5x the cost of a used Leica M2. I did not need the meter and wanted an affordable Leica film camera to mount my various Leica M lenses.

Leica M2 vs. Nikon FM – I already own a ‘beater’ or ‘user’ brassed black Nikon FM 35mm SLR camera. It was less than 5x the cost of the Leica M2 and I asked myself can I do without the Leica film camera. I slept on it but it my M2 purchase decision came down to my Leica M mount lenses (a mix of Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses). Their compact size, the focal lengths available and most importantly the fantastic image quality made it a no brainer. For a small film camera setup to thrown in a bag the Leica M2 wins every time. I still have my Nikon FM to use with some of my nice Nikon glass such as the Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s.

I have wanted to get back into shooting film for some time and I have done almost none since I got my Leica M9 last year. Getting a Leica M2 film camera is the quickest and easiest way to get my interest in film photography back very quickly!

Leica M2 sample images will be posted as soon as I get chance to shoot some film and get the negatives developed at home.

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Wedding Photography - Leica digital photography and now Leica film photography also.

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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

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