I shot these pictures with my Leica M6 TTL, the lens Noctilux, the flash Leica SF 20 , and film Kodak Portra at speed box. The great thing about this combo is that the flash is TTL compatible which means that the light meter takes into account the ISO, the shutter speed and the light coming “through the lens” . In the viewfinder a “thunder” symbol appears, that indicates that the flash is well connected. The internal meter of the camera will take everything into account and will guide you to get the perfect exposure. You’ll find it by playing with the aperture until the green light is on. Just as an external meter would give you the right aperture in a studio when you fire the flash for testing.
The big challenge is the compulsory shutter speed you have to use : 1/45s . Faster than that, the flash doesn’t fire. But finally, I managed to keep my hands steady and the pictures turned out sharp. I think the flash is really necessary when you shoot models indoors, because it lifts the shadows and make the image brighter without pushing the film. Besides, with color film, you don’t take too much risk with a flash because it can handle overexposure pretty well in case the TTL function doesn’t do its jobs perfectly enough. All in all I’m very happy with the rendering and I think the pictures look really nice.
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I shot the most beautiful girls of Bangkok with the Leica Noctilux wide open at the aperture f/0.95. It was mounted on the Sony A7R2 with the Techart Pro adapter. This adapter makes the lens autofocus. It works with any M mount lens. The face detection works very well.
This pictures were shot during a motor show in Thailand called Big Motor Sale 2018.
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In June 2018 I was in New York and I decided to shoot some film at the panoramic desk of the Empire State Building. It’s a great place to get some amazing 360 views of New York. This day it was raining which adds some charm and mystery to the pictures. I shot a roll of Cinestill 800T because New York is a very cinematic city and I thought it would fit perfectly with this film which comes from the motion picture film Kodak Vision 3 5219. The major landmarks of the Big Apple are there on the pictures : Flatiron, New York Life (golden top pyramid), Chrysler, 432 Park Avenue (the new and tallest building of the hemisphere), and the Hudson river!
I used my trusted Leica M6 TTL and the lens Noctilux. I had a lot of light despite the rain, and it’s a 800 iso film, so I was most of the time at maximum shutter speed, and the aperture was between F8 and F16.
You can see below the video and the pictures
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I was in Lisbon in June 2018 and it was a good opportunity to do a “Bokeh Challenge f/0.95” ; it’s about shooting an entire roll of film wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. I used my Leica M6, the lens Leica Noctilux, and Ilford HP5 Plus 400. As it was a bright day, I was afraid of overexposing the film even at the highest shutter speed of 1/1000s. So I used a yellow filter to block a little bit of light, and at the same time it could give me more contrast with the black&white film ;
Heliopan 60mm #8 Medium Yellow Filter made in Germany, bought in B&H New York 3 weeks earlier for $65. It blocks one stop of light. But I didn’t have to worry about this because my M6 is TTL so it measures the light through the lens. I just had to follow the internal meter.
I started shooting avenuda de la Libertad, Restauradores , then I went to Praça Rossio. I walked to Baixa-Chiado via rua do Carmo. This is a very lively neighborhood with locals and tourists. Fernando Pessoa used to come here regularly for a coffee in the famous Café A Brasileira. Then I walked down to the Praca do Commercio on the banks of the Tejo river. Not far from there, there is San Antonio’s church, build above the crypt where Saint Anthony of Padua was born in 1195. I finished my roll by walking around and shooting the legendary Tram 28.
You can see below the video and the pictures.
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June is a great time to shoot Street Photography in Paris. The weather is beautiful, many tourists are visiting and there is a lot of action in the city. I choose Montmartre and le Sacré Coeur to try for the first time the TechArt Pro adapter for shooting street photography. I had the Sony A7R2 and the Leica Noctilux. In order to add some fun to that I shot all the pictures wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. It’s rare to see this kind of pictures at this aperture. Usually people use the zone focusing technique with an aperture around f/8. As I don’t like to do like everyone else, I did the contrary, I shot wide open! At this aperture you need to nail the focus perfectly. That’s where the autofocus function of the Techart Pro is essential. The depth of field at 0.95 is so shallow that too much time would be necessary to manual focus and I would miss the shot. Obviously people won’t pose for you. The concept is to catch a slice of life, to capture a special moment, to document street life. To do that you need to focus quickly otherwise the scene will change and you miss the picture.
The adaptor worked perfectly! Sometimes the face detection was working, but not always. When the face couldn’t be detected it was not a problem because the focus points could detect my subject and I just had to shoot. I was really glad to have it and try this experience because street photography makes more sense at this aperture. As only your subject is sharp, it draws easily the attention on it and immerses instantly the viewer into the story.
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I was in Singapore a few days and I tried for the second time the film Rollei 400 infrared with the Hoya filter R72. I shot it with my Leica M6 and the lens Noctilux. Following my first experience with infrared, I knew how to expose it : you have to add 6 or 7 stops to the shutter speed of a standard reading. I used the app My Lightmeter Pro. I selected the ISO (400) , the aperture (f8), and the app gave me a shutter speed for a normal film. Form this, I added 6 or 7 stops. For exemple, if the app indicated 1/2000s, I would shoot at 1/30 or 1/15. After shooting half of the frame, I realised that I could get the same result by following the internal lightmeter of my M6. Because the M6 TTL takes into account the light coming through the lens, it takes into account the filter. The filter blocks a lot of light, but at the same time the Rollei film doesn’t have an anti-infrared filter as the other films or as a standard digital sensor. With a standard digital sensor you would have to add 14 stops of lights.
So I went to the Supertree Grove gardens at Marina Bay because there’s a lot of plants and trees and that’s how you get the most of your infrared shots : if your exposure is correct, they must appear white and that’s beautiful! I shot as well in other parts of the city and from my balcony to have some landscapes.
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Coscom Aloha is a great Cosplay event taking place in Bangkok, at the Suan Dusit University. Many beautiful cosplayers attended the event to join the contest and to have their picture taken.
I tested my new Techart Pro adapter from E-mount to M-Mount. That makes my Leica Noctilux an autofucus lens when mounted on the Sony A7R2. It works very well even with face detection.
All the pictures below are shot wide open, at the aperture of f/0.95
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The concept of the Bokeh Challenge 0.95 is to shoot an entire roll at the aperture of f/0.95. I was in Singapore and I went to Chinatown with my Leica M6, Noctilux and a roll of Portra 400. I started by the Sri Mariamman indian temple and I was very lucky because there was a special ceremony, a Puja. It was very lively, colourful, musicians played a typical indian music and the priests were performing the ceremony. Then I went to a taoist temple, Thian Hock Keng, build for the worship of Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess. I was a quiet atmosphere , very inspiring, with beautiful details of decoration to capture.
Doing these challenges is very interesting because you need to take pictures which fit the special aperture of f/0.95 with a very shallow depth of field. The photographe is then encouraged to find a special inspiration, to look for original angles, and to shot subjects that you might not think to shot usually.
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I wanted to shoot with my Leica M6 with a flash for a long time and I’ve finally found a flash SF 20 at the Paris Leica store. It is the only flash compatible with the TTL fonction of the M6. It was a second hand of course because this model is not in production anymore. It’s in mint condition and works beautifully.
TTL stands for Through The Lens because there is a sensor in the camera which mesures the light coming through the lens.
In order for the flash to fire, your shutter speed has to be 1/50s or slower. Higher than 1/50s the flash won’t fire.
When you set your iso at the back of your camera , the iso value is displayed on the flash screen. In the viewfinder you can see the flash sign which shows that the metering system (arrows and the red dot) will take into account the flash. That’s the beauty of this TTL system ; everything is taken into account to mesure the perfect exposure ; the shutter speed, the iso, and the distance from your subject. So when you look into the viewfinder the arrows indicates if you are under or overexposed. The only adjustable data is your aperture ; you can’t change the iso nor the distance to your subject, and you don’t want to shoot under the shutter speed of 1/50s because your image might be blurry. So you have to adjust your aperture to get the right exposure. You have to turn the aperture ring according to the arrows inside the viewfinder. When you see the red dot, you have everything in line and you can press the shutter button.
So I went to the Bangkok Motor show to try the system and I shot some portraits of the beautiful presenters that were working for the car makers.
I shot 3 rolls this afternoon ; Cinestill BWxx 250 (black and White) Cinestill 800T (color) , and Kodak TX 400 . That’s the order of display in this article .
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This is another F/0.95 challenge : shooting the beautiful models of the Bangkok Motor Show with the Leica Noctilux wide open. This time, I didn’t shoot film : the lens was mounted on my Sony A7R2 with the Metabones adaptor.
It was indeed challenging because I didn’t have much time to focus, the models were busy and they were not always still. At 0.95 if the model moves a tiny bit you loose your focus. Besides, the lighting conditions were difficult ; many lights of different colors. I had my flash to fill the shadows and to get rid of the ambiant lights. All in all, I’m happy with de results, the bokeh is amazing and the very shallow depth of field creates a significant separation between the model and the background. And finally, the special look of the Noctilux makes the pictures unique!
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