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Just Posted: Leica M-Monochrom hands-on preview with image samples

By dpreview staff on May 10, 2012 at 19:04 GMT

We've prepared a hands-on preview of the Leica M-Monochrom 18MP black-and-white rangefinder. The M-Monochrom has no color filter array in front of the sensor, meaning it captures more of the available light but cannot perceive color. It also means there is no need for demosaicing (the process of combining color information from adjacent pixels), so higher levels of detail are retained. Our preview includes real-world samples we shot with the M-Monochrom, to show just what that means in-use.

Click for a 100% crop from the M-Monochrom
32
I own it
62
I want it
2
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 484
1234
raybies
By raybies (May 12, 2012)

One born every minute, but does that also apply to the 1%?
One born every 99 minutes?

0 upvotes
Mosesnz
By Mosesnz (May 12, 2012)

Sure it's expensive but it's not that expensive if you are really into photography. Plenty of hobbies and toys cost a whole lot more.

It's the price of a steel Rolex. Plenty of people have those.

0 upvotes
photoaddict
By photoaddict (May 12, 2012)

The images don't look impressive. If I were to decide on a monochrome camera, Sigma SD1M would be the one. Sigma seems sharper and has more "depth" to it. The images from Leica looks flat and boring.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (May 12, 2012)

The Leica monochrome is probably more pixel sharp with its photos not needing any noise reduction but a Sigma SD1M could come very close with minimal noise reduction and 15MP resolution. The SPP raw converter doesn't have an option to remove all the noise reduction.
If size and weight matters, then one should wait for the DPMs which we reckon will even be sharper than any SD1M photos at a camera size similar to Leica.

1 upvote
maxnoy
By maxnoy (May 12, 2012)

Except they fall appart rather quickly at higher ISOs.. But for color, Faveon can be just about magic.

0 upvotes
photoaddict
By photoaddict (May 13, 2012)

maxoney, it falls apart in color at high ISO but not in BW. BW stays relatively clean even at high ISO.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sigmasd10/13

Sigma looks significantly better than Canon in high ISO BW imaging.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (May 13, 2012)

No SD1 images I've seen compare to the Leica for sharpness. SD1/2 maybe but I'm now leaning towards the Leica being the sharpest camera I've seen at 1:1.

0 upvotes
jkokich
By jkokich (May 12, 2012)

From all the hype, I expect images that are simply stunning, that make me sit up and say, I've never seen stuff like this anywhere else. Yes, yes I have, from dozens of cameras that are WAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY cheaper. Anyone who buys this is being taken.

3 upvotes
Bamahry
By Bamahry (May 12, 2012)

So when will the M-10 arrived?!

0 upvotes
jkokich
By jkokich (May 12, 2012)

I hear Rolex is going to put out a watch that only has an hour hand, for $50,000.

1 upvote
Sam Carriere
By Sam Carriere (May 12, 2012)

Fortis has a watch like that, but it is a mere $2,000. It's actually rather nice.

0 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 12, 2012)

Yeah, but it's not a Rolex. You have to consider the craftsmanship and history when evaluating a piece of equipment like this. The Seiko wearing proletariat just don't understand how determining the time is a more sublime and deliberative process with fine equipment.

1 upvote
maxnoy
By maxnoy (May 14, 2012)

Yeah, something stamped out of plastic has exactly the same value as an intricate hand-assembled mechanical mechanism of original design. That's something a lot of people just don't seem to understand. Thanks for clarifying.

0 upvotes
Jim Radcliffe
By Jim Radcliffe (May 12, 2012)

I am not surprised by anything Leica does anymore. The uber expensive Leica MM (More Money) is just Leica being Leica. $7,000 for a lens is.. well.. hard to find the words.. but clearly Leica is content to do what they have always done. Charge a premium for a simple camera with no bells and whistles (and now not even color).. and charge more for every new version/model/iteration even if nothing about the new camera warrants a price increase.

Like many here I have always been a Leica fan (there is a difference between being a fan and being a fanboy) but Leica has simply put themselves out of my reach. There will always be enough affluent individuals to purchase their products and keep the company afloat but I must say the image of Leica has become, in my opinion, quite tarnished.

Leica glass is without question, some of the best in the world if not the best but nothing Leica makes is what most of us would consider affordable. That is the sad part. Where is the Digital CL?

3 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (May 12, 2012)

I think a digital B&W camera is a great thing considering you get better low light and resolution from the same sensor compared to color but the Leica price is unfortunate. I would love to see other cameras in other form factors and price ranges adopt a B&W version in the same vein as the MM.

0 upvotes
fstein
By fstein (May 12, 2012)

I miss my old leica microscope - value for money

0 upvotes
diogenisd
By diogenisd (May 12, 2012)

You are just parroting the fabled "Leica glass is the best glass in the world and blablabla" and then you ask yourself how can a lens cost like $7k. Well if you do know how to read MTF graphs of a lens take a ride to Leica site and check them. If you can find -anywhere- in the world a lens that can give you more than 50% of contrast, wide open @ f/2.0 and in the whole picture area, and this when you record the FINEST details of 40lp/mm then you will eventually understand the technical feat.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
jeff hladun
By jeff hladun (May 12, 2012)

There are the professional photographers who can do a hard cold analysis of the cost and benefit of purchasing these expensive products, and there are the well-heeled amateurs of varying levels of photographic skills who can simply afford them. Both of these market sectors have kept Leitz busy manufacturing product at their full capacity. Is it any wonder that they wisely choose to increase their prices? Why wouldn't they? In what way are they tarnishing their image by doing this? The fact that you choose not to purchase their products because of the cost is something I fully appreciate; they are far too expensive - new - to me as well. But your continued mission to slag Leitz at every opportunity borders on manical obsession; you take it as a personal affront that Solms doesn't make product affordable for you, as if you represent the market they should be targeting. You aren't, nor am I.

Leitz has thought this out carefully and has profited as a result. Good for them. Leave them be.

3 upvotes
ulfie
By ulfie (May 11, 2012)

Next up on Leica's autobahn map is the M-dag. Short for M-daguerreotype. Only US $39,995 and images barely better than the first Brownie box camera. Already a line around the block at B&H waiting to pre-order it. A fool and his money...

6 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (May 11, 2012)

ok - the Leica ambitious man shot anyway just in black and white

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (May 11, 2012)

Indeed, highly creative black and white marketing (yes, I know it is a beautifully build camera with a Leica logo on it)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 48 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 11, 2012)

I'm always ready to jump on people who say "such and such is too expensive!" because all that means is "I can't afford - or am too mean to pay for - such and such" and how is that our problem? Get a better job, poison your rich uncle, or buy something you can afford and shut up.
But really, Leica pricing is offensive. It's so insane it is clearly designed to put off actual buyers so that stuff can be sold to a tiny club of people with infinite money and no sense who can then be milked. If Leica sold their probably rather good new lens for $700 there would be endless banging on about it being "too expensive". At seven thousand dollars the value-for-money merchants are stunned into silence, and the sheep are queueing up to be sheered.
Which leaves the rational amongst us to tell Leica where they can put their $7,000 50mm f2, but it might hurt a bit. And to howl with laughter at anyone gullible enough to pay for one.
The B&W camera, the 7K f2 50mm lens - this is therapy, not photography.

6 upvotes
Damo83
By Damo83 (May 11, 2012)

Wow, your tone really changed direction there. Makes for slightly confusing reading.

1 upvote
maxnoy
By maxnoy (May 12, 2012)

I am also a bit confused. But, if you want the absolute best 50 out there, pony up. If it's not worth that to you, get one of the others. They are still selling the non-APO cron for what they were selling it before. And there is the summarit 50 as well. And there is no shortage of 50s in all brands as well.. What's the problem exactly?

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 12, 2012)

Hmm. Well, I though my point was extremely clear, but obviously not.

How to put it more simply? Some things cost a lot to make. That puts the price up. And because the price is high you don't sell that many, so you don't have many economies of scale so the price goes up again. In some cases so high the item never gets made at all... So complaining about the price of these things is stupid.

But in some other cases things are made insanely expensive because they do a job that is different to the one they appear to be doing.

In this case the camera is designed to allow the very rich to demonstrate that fact, and also (falsely) reassure the wealthy but insecure they have the best camera.

Cont...

1 upvote
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 12, 2012)

....

Someone has already drawn the parallel with a $10,000 watch. If you buy a $10,000 watch because you like watches, great, if you buy a $10,000 watch because you want people to know $10,000 is nothing to you, well, I think that's a bit shallow but, hey, it's your $10,000. Anyone who buys a $10,000 watch because they want to know the time is a gullible fool. By the same token anyone who buys this camera, the new 50, etc etc expecting better photos is plain silly.

Leica used to be just scarily expensive, but they have now gone beyond that and have become an emotional prop for the wealthy but insecure. It's sad, because it means most sensible people would not be seen dead with one, and they are quite interesting cameras.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (May 12, 2012)

That's one of the best ways of summarising Leica products I've seen to date (the first paragraph, not the second) - have to make a note of it for future use when customers ask after the little red dot.

1 upvote
diogenisd
By diogenisd (May 12, 2012)

Louis, this is almost a hand made camera made in Germany. The 50mm lens is also made in Germany and if we trust the firm with very rare qualities. So it's more a question of whether you can afford such a package in the end or not. The lens is independent of the camera by the way: you can get it and use it on any Leica M that you happen to have old or new. Even the first Leicas of the 50's

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
maxnoy
By maxnoy (May 13, 2012)

you are assigning motivation there, Louis.. they make great and in some ways entirely unique products and charge a hefty premium, so what.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (May 13, 2012)

Not all Leicas are Made in Germany, just for the record and let us not be deceived. The "made in germany" that is embedded in the camera is not completely true. The Leica M8 97% is made in Portugal.

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 13, 2012)

Made in Portugal? Hey, great, that's where I live!

Anyway, I don't care if it is made on the moon by the love children of supermodels and rocket scientists, the link between manufacturing costs and retail price has been completely broken and the target markets are people who think they can buy talent and people who think they can buy good taste. Since I have both talent and taste (and arrogance), there is no way I'd buy the damn thing, and if anyone gave me one I'd have to stick a Samsung badge on the front.

0 upvotes
maxnoy
By maxnoy (May 14, 2012)

There is no badge on the front, you know :)..

0 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (May 11, 2012)

today tried to buy a black and white TV -
without success

6 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (May 11, 2012)

Revolutionary! Can someone tell me if there is a new 27" monochrome monitor to properly view these pictures on?

1 upvote
thanda
By thanda (May 11, 2012)

May need to print(silver) those images down rather viewing through the monitor.

2 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (May 12, 2012)

There are high end monochrome monitors for X rays.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
rusticus
By rusticus (May 11, 2012)

peanuts für 8000 Dollar
and only in black and white

to shoot the bird from Leica

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (May 11, 2012)

Cor, shades of the old Kodak DCS 760M, which was roughly the same price (but this was back in 2001). I've always wondered how practical it is to launch a monochrome SLR in limited quantities - presumably, given the difficulty Nikon has with the 800E, it's not a simple matter. I suspect in this days of 34mp colour sensors you don't really gain much from cutting out the demosaicing. And presumably the output from a Foveon sensor, converted to monochrome, would be much the same. And of course for less money you could buy a used Rolleflex f/2.8 and a lot of film.

2 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (May 11, 2012)

No CFA and no color data means better low light and noise given the same sensor. A monochrome D3s 12mp FF sensor with no CFA would destroy the D800s 36mp sensor in terms of low light performance.

The trade off is color for more light and more resolution.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (May 12, 2012)

there is no indication this will beat d800s resolution you are talking out of your butt

3 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (May 12, 2012)

@Kodachrome200
I never said resolution. I said low light performance.

0 upvotes
Ithackermike
By Ithackermike (May 12, 2012)

Ashley, what difficulty with the D800E are you speaking of?

0 upvotes
thanda
By thanda (May 11, 2012)

If this camera gives me prints that are more than anything, I do not mind spending just 8k for a camera and some more for a lens. But the question is, Can I able to shoot and print that are more than anything? I do not know...

0 upvotes
Bevardis
By Bevardis (May 11, 2012)

If you look for the most amazing resolution to print, the film is the way to go. A $200 6x6 camera like Bronica with an OK film directly printed to paper (no scanning) will smoke Leica big time. Very BIG TIME.

A smaller film camera like a proper SLR (think Olympus OM + 50mm) will be quite close, good modern film camera (Voigtlander + 40mm 1.4) will be extremely close (in both cases the limiting step is the lens).

Oh, and these pictures will have more "cool" spirit than Leica. Really.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
thanda
By thanda (May 11, 2012)

Totally true. This double M may come close, but everything should be pre-visualized in tones of gray, with or without filter.

Off-topics: OM-1n is a jewel and Zuikos are gems.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (May 11, 2012)

Amazed at that. Digital was blowing my Bronicas away years ago.

3 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (May 12, 2012)

yeah i used to shoot medium format portraits. now we use dslrs. digital slrs were printing far sharped than the medium format ever did years ago

2 upvotes
Rod K
By Rod K (May 11, 2012)

"Niche", truly.

0 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (May 11, 2012)

If you love hand made stuff you've all the reasons to love Leica. If you love photography you've all the reasons to stay away from it. All the posts about Leica are great reading material for shrinks. Not for people interested in the best they can get for their hard earn cash.

Now, don't get upset, and try to use your head for once in a while.

6 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (May 11, 2012)

At first I was skeptical at the camera, more to as "why"- but I've come to a change of heart and am glad such a product exists. The more diverse cameras out there thinking out of the box the better.

... ;) I still won't buy one because of the Red Dot mark up, but it' good to know it's out there.

2 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (May 11, 2012)

I see some absolutly black pixels here and there
http://masters.galleries.dpreview.com.s3.amazonaws.com/1950522.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=14Y3MT0G2J4Y72K3ZXR2&Expires=1336747458&Signature=OpgI%2fVcqgN9rwK%2fmYnLrwCmRIQM%3d

0 upvotes
BBnose
By BBnose (May 11, 2012)

I am never able to imagine any camera factory of any brands would launch a camera with a monochrome sensor.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (May 11, 2012)

OK output, sometimes quite nice. I've shot tons of B&W with my Rollieflex, Pentax 67, and 4x5 which is fantastic because you can develop it yourself. Images have an intangible quality. That said, this new Leica would clearly need to be a second body. And I'm still not sold on the advantage of a camera that has no color filter array. OK, if Sigma made a DP2 panchromatic for $700 that would be one thing. But this price, it reminds me of the Ikonoshop A-Cam DII Panchromatic 16mm video camera. Video from it is gorgeous. But at 8000 Euro for the body only, they'd have to be head and shoulders above what you can get desaturating in post. I'm not sure the Leica images are that spectacular, or dramatically different than a LR conversion. Certainly they don't look as good as nice scan of Ilford Delta. But OK, Leica deserves credit, just as Nikon does for the D800E. These kind of products that push the envelope can only be good for photographers. This or M9, an M9 for sure.

0 upvotes
rudymnv
By rudymnv (May 11, 2012)

First photos from Leica-M looks good. I really do respect Leica and it's cameras, fine glass, these marvels of old school engineering, history wise, and as peaces of mechanical art and as collectors items.

However reading comments from Leica owners, here and elsewhere, make's me feel quite sad. Most of them lost touch with photography and art in essence. They look to me like members of "cult of material worship", where equipment has more value then photography and art itself.

From my standpoint, photo matters most, I don't need to know what equipment is used to fully appreciate capture of moment, and I'm almost sure that all great Leica photographers through history would share similar mindset, oppose to materialistic mindset of some of current Leica owners.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see those cameras used for ART, not locked away or used as status symbols, just for reason that one can buy Hermès limited editon (for instance).

4 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (May 11, 2012)

Amen, I have seen a few of them. Even though I am a proud Leica fan and owner some others would ridicule me because I like cheaper Zeiss and Voigtlander glass and even if not, would not remotely consider acquiring more Leica glass unless the prices halve.

However, at the same time, you only need to look around here to see that these people are a tiny minority next to the legions of Leica haters. Fans of both Canon and Nikon are typically united in one thing, hating on Leica and making false assertions based off of no knowledge whatsoever that everything Leica makes and made is junk. It is no mere sour grapes either, they seem to have a pathological hatred of Leica as if the Germans are out to destroy the Japanese camera industry and their fans are agents.

2 upvotes
danaceb
By danaceb (May 11, 2012)

Also, I too own a Nikon and well...for every single annoying Leica fan, there tens if not hundreds of even more obnoxious Nikon or Canon fanboys. Look at what they write about their brand and others, its the exact same cult impossible to quantify but holier than thou speech. Or twenty years ago Konica fans, I too owned one of those and was taken aback by some of their ridiculous assertions about their superiority.

2 upvotes
Priaptor
By Priaptor (May 11, 2012)

thank you danceb and the reason behind my annoying posts.

I agree with you. I disagree with the OP. In fact, these forums are testament to exactly the opposite of rudymnv's comments. On the Leica forums they share their output and shooting habits, etc, whereas on other forums it is all about the gear with an occasional picture thrown in between 100s of posts about what new camera is coming out, when it is shipping, new sensor, etc.

In the end, whatever makes you more productive if you earn your living with your gear, what you prefer and ultimately what you enjoy. I just don't get this bitterness towards those of us who enjoy their Leica. It is juvenile.

2 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (May 11, 2012)

After looking at downloaded sample images at 100%, the pixel quality and sharpness is there but it kinda looks similar to another product, a Sigma camera in monochrome.

5 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (May 13, 2012)

Indeed, it would be very interesting to compare the M Monochrom with the SD1.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (May 11, 2012)

Thats why I keep my prestigious Bang & Olufsen black and white LCD almost all handmade, just to see art in every reality show, news and other programs of questionable taste.

2 upvotes
woody24
By woody24 (May 11, 2012)

is it me, or does the space needle photo look really grainy? I would have thought a camera that costs this much, and shoots only B&W would have ultra smooth colors.

0 upvotes
JayFromSA
By JayFromSA (May 11, 2012)

Ultra smooth colors? : D

0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (May 11, 2012)

Stunning resolution not having the demosaicing to deal with. One could get crisp detail in color with landscapes and still lifes by making 3 exposures using RGB filters. Would be interesting to see how the resolution compares.

1 upvote
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (May 11, 2012)

That would be similar to an output of Sigma camera minus all the noise reduction, the resolution would really be high.
Additionally, I also thought about this too with a camera with RGB color filters the size of the sensor that automatically changes and take 3 images in a shot. That would be a niche, landscape camera though.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Funny that people are now all enthused about 3-color shots with B&W Leica, when only about 10 years ago we got rid of those clumsy 3-shot studio digital backs which were a pain to use with anything that could move even a hundredth of an inch. Forget feathers or candles and even many kinds of food...

0 upvotes
Bevardis
By Bevardis (May 11, 2012)

It's a nice camera with an amazing resolution, nice optics and a very special feel to it. Well, the price, however, is funny indeed. A voigtlander bessa with proper lens and good film will match the performance for a 1/10th of price, not to mention DSLRs.

However, the photography is not about the resolution or detail captured. But then the only improvement over M9 is resolution.........

2 upvotes
zerlings
By zerlings (May 11, 2012)

I would rather they update the Digilux 2.

Just put a new sensor, processor and a better LCD/EVF and they will have another big seller.

0 upvotes
King Penguin
By King Penguin (May 11, 2012)

Well done Leica and shame on all the narrow minded commenters.......in car terms this camera is a British Morgan sports car.

Yes, a Ford Focus may carry more people, be more practical to park in the supermarket, go round corners just as well and cost a 10th of the price...........but so what.

Long live individuality and variety

7 upvotes
Mind the Mix
By Mind the Mix (May 11, 2012)

Exactly! We need to celebrate the options we have these days.

BTW. If you have a Ford Focus please buy the same model for your entire life and save the cash for this Monochrome beauty.

0 upvotes
hexxthalion
By hexxthalion (May 11, 2012)

not to spoil anything but Morgans are sh!t (still made of wood)

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
King Penguin
By King Penguin (May 11, 2012)

What's wrong with wood?

2 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (May 11, 2012)

Your comparison between cars in relationship to a digital camera is worthless and totally of no useful comparison.
A digital camera is a tool to create digital images, a digital Leica, a Canon or a Fuji makes no difference, the end results are all the same, pixels - it's not photography (photography is involving a chemical process.)
And this camera has even lesser to do with individuality (I wonder if you know where it stands for)

If you really want to photograph use a film camera, and if you want to photograph in black and white, use black and white film.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
King Penguin
By King Penguin (May 11, 2012)

You are so so wrong, cars all get you from A to B, but because we have different makes of car it means that the experience of getting there is different. Some like a hard ride and some like a soft ride, some like luxury others couldn't care. It all depends on the personal preference and budget of the owner.

Digital photography is still in it's infancy compared to film, and it's much more available and yes more democratic.

As a kid growing up in the 70's I could only afford to shoot maybe 2x36 exposures per month with the Exacta that my father bought for me on my 14th bithday. My son now 14 has a G2 and he shoots more in 10 minutes than I was able to do in a month.

The result - his learning curve will be much faster than mine 'cos he can use it more and practice more.

I predict in the future, this era (the digital era we are now in) will be seen as an explosion of photographic creativity as more people can take pictures and more people can view them.

Real democracy in action!

0 upvotes
FTW
By FTW (May 11, 2012)

do you think you need an overpriced Leica to make such a picture ..... ?

5 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (May 11, 2012)

Leica is statement ware....what photographed is with a Leica is always cool, good and artistic.

For me it's an expensive beautiful made very limited digital camera..but i'm not a Leica owner (Yes, I do own a a range finder camera - film)

Photography is a chemical process.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JonB1975
By JonB1975 (May 11, 2012)

Photography is drawing with light.

Whether the image is recorded chemically or digitally is irrelevant - remember "digital" photos come from an analogue source - the sensor.

Nowadays the only difference between digital and film is aesthetic.

Besides, with your opinions why are you on "Digital Photography Review"?

PS - I love shooting with film - it just isn't practical for me most of the time.

1 upvote
AnHund
By AnHund (May 11, 2012)

Images looks great.

1 upvote
wb2trf
By wb2trf (May 11, 2012)

When the history is written, digital will be the death of Leica cameras. Leica cameras flourished in the rangefinder era, lost their footing in the slr era, and slowly died in the digital era.

This camera is as relevant to photography as first editions of stamps are to communications. Which is not to say that philately cannot bring its peculiar joys, but whereas stamps once were how personal information moved, now they are now an anachronism of interest only to collectors, so with the Leica camera.

DPR should aspire to recognizing that its perspective is as irrelevant to Leicas as science is to understanding Creationism.

12 upvotes
Rebel Satellite
By Rebel Satellite (May 11, 2012)

Leica sales doubled at the end of 2010, steadily increased throughout 2011 and saw a 28% increase this fiscal year (2011/2012), at least according to my sources. Given the extremely tough market conditions at the moment, I wouldn't quite agree with you. For the record I've never even held a Leica.

2 upvotes
wb2trf
By wb2trf (May 11, 2012)

The baby boom generation of the 50's is now in its peak buying age for expensive baubles. This could account for a transitory increase. (Also, is your data on cameras only or all products or cameras plus add on lenses?) After that the Chinese should be entering the spaces traditionally the exclusive province of the Japanese and Leica will be the first to go, at least for cameras.

1 upvote
cxsparc
By cxsparc (May 11, 2012)

@Rebel: Leica body sales or Leica sales?
Due to the growth of mirrorless cameras, especially the Nex series with APSC sensor & crop factor or the Ricoh, many of those Leica lenses are mounted on others manufaturers camera bodies.
I agree with wb2trf and think that Leica will, in the end only live from their lenses, with a loss-making body thrown inbetween every 5 to 10 years. Not counting the "Gucci" or bw-crippled versions.

1 upvote
0MR0
By 0MR0 (May 11, 2012)

It seems like my dream-cam but I suppose I'll never own it.....

As much as I like the sample shots, it doesn't justify the price for me. I guess most parts of this camera are also being used in the m9 so the cost to develop this one couldn't have been that high compared to the m9..... so speaking of the price, they could have at least upgraded the display.

0 upvotes
NikonScavenger
By NikonScavenger (May 11, 2012)

Now can we have an affordable Canon or Nikon mount monochrome for about 1200 dollars?

It's not that hard to make one, but I applaud Leica for doing this--hopefully it sets off a wave of imitators.

1 upvote
KSV
By KSV (May 11, 2012)

Yep, it is not that hard to make one. Though CaNikon users will not pay for it, while Leica ones will. So do not expect "wave of imitations"

8 upvotes
fz750
By fz750 (May 11, 2012)

Shame, you're probably right, but I wonder if a monochrome version of the X100 or X-Pro 1 would sell in reasonable numbers?

There's a review of the Leica MM on Luminous Landscape and it looks very interesting..

Need to do the lottery again.. Damn.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Quite funny: there is a monochromatic X-Pro1, just click the quick menu and choose either panchromatic B&W, or the same with yellow, red of green filter.

1 upvote
Tee1up
By Tee1up (May 11, 2012)

I am pretty certain engineers from all the other manufacturers watched this event pretty closely and after a few minutes of stunned silence, laughed themselves silly.

I imagine the next major Leica development will be the Summilux 1mm pinhole lens, for those artists that really want to get back to basics.

1 upvote
Sebit
By Sebit (May 11, 2012)

I suppose I will never own this camera (although it is kind of on the cheap side both for being a Leica and such a niche concept) but it's nice knowing that finally the idea of b&w sensor camera was resurrected in XXI century (Kodak EOS-DCS 1m is one of the 1990' examples).
Hoping that others will follow. It seems that with increasing general demand, level of photographic education and willingness to spend $ on niche products the possibility of b&w camera from, say, fuji ...or sony-minolta-konica hexar ;) is increasing... :)
Perhaps the compact digital camera is dead (or dying, see samsung), but the niches are flourishing :)

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (May 11, 2012)

Great!

Now I can do my time lapse using this wonderful camera!

Show the movie in it's pristine B&W condition...

With the option of overlaying RGB cellophane stripes over the screen like in the 1970's!

.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
me_tarzan
By me_tarzan (May 11, 2012)

Is it me or do most of the portraits in the M Monochrome section appear unfocused?
If they are focused, then the shrpness is woeful.

I'm an Leica "M" film user from a long way back and I would have been extremely disappointed if those samples had come from one of my M cameras. I realsie that the camera is probably pre-production but it is only 2 months pre-production and the camera should be sorted by now.
Am I being harsh? - No, at $8000 I expect impeccable results.

3 upvotes
Sligital
By Sligital (May 11, 2012)

I think it might be you. Can you point to a specific example?

3 upvotes
pcblade
By pcblade (May 11, 2012)

I think of a day where some artists would make "color" photo with it, by exposing 3 photos (or more) with color filter :-)

4 upvotes
pcblade
By pcblade (May 11, 2012)

It's a great move that could lead the path to more monochrome camera (listen to this Panasonic/Olympus/Fuji). I like so much my GF-1 with its b&w dynamic mode (and its 1:1 frame format).

0 upvotes
Marty CL
By Marty CL (May 11, 2012)

Ok, Leica is known for some pretty esoteric products. But a $7,000 camera that only shoots black and white ( sorry, "monochrome")---

WHY?

1 upvote
lxstorm
By lxstorm (May 11, 2012)

Because some Leica users do care about real B&W photography.

Actually plastic artificial IQ with aukward colors that is coming from a digital camera is very boring for guys who experienced real look of a better quality media like chrome on a light table or contact B&W prints.

Leica B&W film exposed and analog enlarged old days were looking almost as good as contact prints. These new monochrome beast samples remind me the quality of the film photography. Color images converted to B&W in Photoshop is just a joke in compare.

Scientific instruments are using monochrome sensors actually.

9 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (May 11, 2012)

I have been using Leicas for B&W since the '60s. Do these monochromes look to your eyes as good as the film Leica B&W pictures? Really??? Have you an idea of what the B&W images look like from some other DSLRs too?

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
openskyline
By openskyline (May 11, 2012)

@lxstorm: there is no such thing call Leica B&W film. It's just B&W film. And have you ever since a proper B&W print, beautiful deep rich black and gray. Not ugly gray without much black like the photo above from M9 monochrome.

3 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (May 11, 2012)

@lxstorm
There is nothing about this monochrome images that can't be done with another camera. There is no such thing as "magical Leica black & white". The only advantages are:

- a bit better high ISO (still worse than other cameras)
- a bit better sharpness (nothing spectacular)

Please stop typing comments purely based on sentimentality and emotions.

2 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

If this new "monochroM" camera is so purist, then why they throw in the package Photoshop? It is supposed the be magic with just one click, no need for post processing, right? Shooting raw I can get at least the same tonal range of these pics with my GF1 and old Minolta MD lenses any day. And I am pretty sure many other folks around here can do the same with their "inferior" and mundane gear!!

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (May 11, 2012)

This is really prophetic:

I can see an era (not so distant), when the traditional true experiences of human life (wooden house, sheep, green grass, even stone axe and flint knife) will be reserved for the privileged few.All tThe rest of us will be deep down in the disposable hitech facebooked waste dump.

5 upvotes
KSV
By KSV (May 11, 2012)

And guess what? I do not like to be on "disposable hitech facebooked waste dump". Though I have to admit that you with majority.

1 upvote
Danlo
By Danlo (May 11, 2012)

Maybee I am hallucinating, but the greyscales look very natural and film-like.. Better then what I have ever seen from an ordinary cmos-converted from colour-bw-image.. It looks VERY natural actually.. Hm.. Or should I say "F**K!" its to expensive!

4 upvotes
hc44
By hc44 (May 11, 2012)

"I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany, and I own a Leica camera"

3 upvotes
Dougbm_2
By Dougbm_2 (May 11, 2012)

I like the idea of this camera but not that wowed by the images I see here.
It would be kind of cool being limited to BW and a single lens (if you chose). Too much choice can LIMIT artistic freedom.

2 upvotes
Sekura Drops
By Sekura Drops (May 11, 2012)

I respect the taste of the people but personally I could not see the "special" in these photos (of course it is not the same special but sth like I had in X10). I believe I will stick with 800E and even XPro-1 and have pretty nice BW eventually. Plus I can also take color images if I want to sometimes :) with nice and still good quality variation of lenses and all will be 25-40% of the price.

Another point is that I started to not like the attitude of Leica with Titanium, Hermes... Its obvious who they are targetting but hope they can turn their faces to us a bit too. Lets see the X2 and may be we still can hold on to sth.

4 upvotes
Buchan-Grant
By Buchan-Grant (May 11, 2012)

I am surprised by the m-mono, I’m not surprised its more costly, I said it would be when it was rumoured, I’m surprised they included an LCD at all, I think that they missed a trick there. I’m not being sarcastic either, I think they should have left it off! With the M9, Leica learned that all publicity is good publicity. The more people who criticized the M9 for its many omissions (when compared to the marketplace) the more people aspired to have one!

Undoubtedly this new camera will appeal to the collectors who just fill display cabinets, and to the many rich people who just want the latest exhorbitantly expensive toy. But this M-mono will appeal to many good and great photographers too. It’s a highly specialised tool which will be used to produced some stunning work in years to come. I’m not sure if it’s for me though. I love the flexibility of being able to use the colour channels to bring out the elements of each black and white conversion. I doubt a few extra stops of noise-free shooting could come close to compensating for the loss of that artistic freedom. Including Silver Effex Pro (which I use) with the M-mono is all very well but your only going to get a fraction of its functionality without colour data to play with.

The price is not unreasonable for such a specialist tool but I’d have to be printing large exhibition pieces to justify buying one.

As for the samples! when are camera manufacturers going to learn? why won't they give their new cameras to people who know what they're doing to make their sample images? these look like they were taken by your average visually illiterate Leica toting hedge fund manager:)

Reply

0 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (May 11, 2012)

"...As for the samples! when are camera manufacturers going to learn? why won't they give their new cameras to people who know what they're doing to make their sample images? these look like they were taken by your average visually illiterate Leica toting hedge fund manager:)"

well, THAT'S exactly the target audience
and by that measure, these pics are beyond average.
Beats those "leica collectors"s photos I have seen by a mile ...
hahahahahaaa

5 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (May 11, 2012)

I take my time to check some full size images, and, sorry for Leica's adepts, but there is nothing worthy the price it cost.

Any modern 24x36 do the same.

6 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (May 11, 2012)

I don't want it.
Even DPreview's talented photographer managed to crush the blacks and blow the highlights. I would highly suggest against OoC JPEGs.
I sure hope for Leica that the 14-bit DNG RAW files be able to retain the detail in the extremes - otherwise, I don't see this camera selling well.

The one thing I did like is the tiny sand-like grain in the out-of-focus regions of the photos, especially at ISO1600. But that's about it, really.

The approach of having the sensor without AA and color filters is great.
And the idea of getting clean & sharp R,G,B channels for later combining them into a color photograph is an oldy but goody. The photographer must make sure the camera stays perfectly still in order to achieve that, though.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
harold1968
By harold1968 (May 11, 2012)

Its an anchronism!

Nobody asked for it
Nobody needs it

It doesn't answer any questions anyone was asking
It doesn't tie into anything the 'market' is asking for

I love it
Its awesome
Its bottled emotion
How can a company have the guts to make something like this!

I want one ......

5 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (May 11, 2012)

I asked for it, but I had given up hope.

Now I just have to gather my pennies for a while ...

2 upvotes
Total comments: 484
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