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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
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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
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Comments

Total comments: 484
1234
lxstorm
By lxstorm (May 11, 2012)

Wow! First consumer digital camera that delivers real film-alike look. My congarts to RedDot guys!

Now I wish something like digital version of Yashica T4 Super Tessar T* with B&W digital sensor at realistic price.

0 upvotes
amatoer
By amatoer (May 11, 2012)

Well done Leica. As can be seen, B&W still sometimes is superior. I like the dpr samples from this camera and the samples and 100 pct crops are of course much better than what we usually get out of our (more advanced) compact, m4/3 or DSLR cameras, with all their 'filters', sometimes more or less natural colors and occasionally therefrom converted B&Ws....
Hopefully this first Leica B&W niche attempt could develop into an X3-Monochrome with a summilux 50mm/1.4 equivalent, which could be more within reach of us lower/middle class amateurs. E.g. as a 'once in our life' investment supplement to our color cameras.

2 upvotes
dgc4rter
By dgc4rter (May 11, 2012)

Totally agree with Zigadiboom. I fail to see how I cannot achieve just as good B&W results and then some from my newly acquired D800, a copy of Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro.

I will admit that photos taken by a Leica M do appear to have a certain unique quality about them but, come on, Leica still remains the domain of wealthy enthusiasts who prefer a badge over technical features and performance.

8 upvotes
Ulfric M Douglas
By Ulfric M Douglas (May 11, 2012)

This is the first camera where the old colour filters will actually do a proper job!
I think its a great forward-step in manufacturer options.

Now all we need is a sensibly-priced camera company to jump on the bandwagon.
My money's on Canon first ...

0 upvotes
diarsi
By diarsi (May 11, 2012)

If this is the result of a right market study all will be o.k.

0 upvotes
Jacqves
By Jacqves (May 11, 2012)

To achieve this resolution, you only have two choices, buy a roll of Adox 20 CMS for your M6 or buy a Leica M! The Leica M is a further step in digital photography, we like it or not ?

3 upvotes
Zigadiboom
By Zigadiboom (May 11, 2012)

If I was to buy a D800 or 5DMark3 I know that the premium in investing in one of these will give me the lastest in sensor tech, unmatched high iso performance, build quality, image quality, superior dynamic range, cutting edge speed and performance and a plethora of flexibility when it comes to manual controls. I know what I am paying the extra money for.

With the Leica at twice the price of the D800 and 5DMark3 what exactly am I getting extra? Somebody needs to enlighten me. Leica is a fine company and they make some of the best optics going around and have a strong pedigree. There is no denying this but there is only so much a company can use its badge to command a price premium. The so called thoroughbred monochrome samples that I see above doesn't move me in the slightest for what this camera is worth.

However the camera does have one thing. For $7950 u at least get the privilege of reviewing your high resolution 18mp images on its state of the art 230,000 dot screen.

5 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (May 11, 2012)

If you can see the images and still say that which you have just said above, then this camera is definitely not for you.

1 upvote
pcblade
By pcblade (May 11, 2012)

What about getting access to the wonderful lineup of leica's lenses ?
Could you compare canikon lenses with them ?
You have to read more Ken Rockwell reviews and statements (pun intended)...

1 upvote
theswede
By theswede (May 11, 2012)

"U" get a compact rangefinder which makes use of Leica glass.

If that's not what "u" want, then "u" are free to spend your money elsewhere, but the desires of "u" are not universal and shared by everyone.

Whoever "u" is.

3 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (May 11, 2012)

Those pictures are the most beautiful "Image Samples" ever posted on DP review, and I'm not a monochrome guy.

Simply breathtaking. Thanks.

2 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (May 11, 2012)

Breathtaking ? Those shots ? Seriously ?
...

9 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (May 11, 2012)

Yes, seriously.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (May 11, 2012)

Your sarcasm is a bit too subtle.

2 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (May 11, 2012)

If you are serious then what was the last time you have been to an ophtalmologist?

2 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

Breathtaking...? wow, Leica should be glad to have costumers like you with you very easy to pleased.

0 upvotes
Just a Photographer
By Just a Photographer (May 11, 2012)

NOT very film like!
Very boring grayscales. There is no juice to these black and whites.
Not something I would expect to come from a Leica.

9 upvotes
theswede
By theswede (May 11, 2012)

Define "juice" please? I suspect what you're seeing is the amazing (compared to film) DR the camera is capable of, and misinterpreting that lack of image destruction as something negative.

3 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (May 11, 2012)

Oh my...
I wish color digital camera will have the same level of the IQ someday.

2 upvotes
abi170845
By abi170845 (May 11, 2012)

Kodak still manufactured Leica's sensors? If yes, until when? if stopped, then who will substitute and will Leica charge these nutty prices?

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (May 11, 2012)

Well, they just needed one wafer. ;-D

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (May 11, 2012)

hahahahaa
yes, one wafer to last them for the next 5 years !!!

2 upvotes
Peter Herth
By Peter Herth (May 11, 2012)

Kodak sold off the sensor business last year already. So the Leica sensors are provided by an independent and supposedly healthy company.

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (May 11, 2012)

ahahahahahahaha

1 upvote
waxwaine
By waxwaine (May 11, 2012)

Seems Dpreview is closed for this week, for private party.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (May 11, 2012)

Leica should come out with a B&W monitor to complement this B&W sensor.

The color monitors just don't cut it... the pixels stills show color...

...and

They should really come out with a B&W printer without muddy mix of other colors.

...and

Come out with B&W EVF

...and (to be continued)

10 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (May 11, 2012)

oh oh leica promoting B&W. i am glad my B&W tv is no longer used but regret junking it, didnt know there are folks that still lives in cavemen time. Losing color information..is losing a lot of value to the photo. imho, if folks just wants loads of details, get the SD1 sigma, the details with colors are resolved beyond standard comparison and turning that into B&W is a much better and cheaper...process

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

Not satisfied with just knocking the camera, now let's knock B&W photography.
The Sigma SD1 can be converted to B&W and the colour channels manipulated without loss of resolution which is a big advantage over a Bayer sensor. The disadvantage with the SD1 is the limited dynamic range, vertical banding noise and poor high ISO performance. For B&W photography nothing beats a monochrome sensor for outright image quality.

3 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

If you forget the possibility of adjusting the color interpretation in post. Resolution is only one thing, and many color sensors can give plenty of that. How color is turned into B&W plays a great part in the quality of the image. With monochrome sensor there are no adjustment possibilities at all after the shot is taken.

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Have you good people never used the B&W conversion function in newer versions of PS or Lightroom? It is not just that you pull the saturation slider to the left and get a B&W photo. In Lightroom 4, for example, there are 8 sliders for different colors with which you control how those colors appear on the B&W output. That gives the same flexibility as having an infinite number of color filters to put on in front of this monochrome camera when shooting, except that you can do it in the privacy of your own home, and experiment and make different looking B&W prints from the same file. All this flexibility and creative possibility is lost with this Leica. Leica know this, but hopes and prays that the people getting this camera do not know it.

I hope somebody makes an honest comparison with D800 and this Monochrom showing this simple fact how much creative and quality adjustment possibilities are lost when using a monochrome sensor compared to color RAW and B&W conversion in post.

10 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

Petka do not expect any decent comparison at least from all the guys who went to Berlin, I am talking about the Huff's, Read's etc, they are too busy playing with the Leica toys they got trying to convince themselves that this joke makes any sense. So far those first pics looks like any other M9 file converted to BW.

4 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (May 11, 2012)

I think people who buy this Leica are aware of this fact. The other fact is convenience does come with a cost. You can play with the sliders all day but the results will not have the same quality as this Leica produces. For example, try mimicking the effect of a dark red filter on a Bayer sensor. The result is significant resolution loss. Even the mighty D800 will result in only a 9MP image.
This is a niche product. If you cannot see the benefits then this camera is not for you.

4 upvotes
KSV
By KSV (May 11, 2012)

Funny - you pollute all thread with this "convert color into B/W with 8 sliders" stuff (to say it polite). Obviously you cannot get what is dedicated B/W sensor about. Simple answer - this camera or even idea is not for you. Move on.

4 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

I think I get it perfectly well: the same any modern FF camera gives with those sliders centered.

1 upvote
Mark Smith
By Mark Smith (May 11, 2012)

Petka how is that true? Surely the strength of a mono camera is that no Bayer colour interpolation takes place? With colour sensors there is need for complicated demosaicing and all the resultant lowering of quality that goes with that.
So if you think having a high DR mono sensor is the same as an interpolated colour array just moving sliders–I don't think you 'get it' at all!
I think there is a lot of Leica hate here rather than any actual thought about the technology of mono sensors.

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

"I think I get it perfectly well: the same any modern FF camera gives with those sliders centered."

Obviously you did not, sorry.

2 upvotes
ashwinrao1
By ashwinrao1 (May 11, 2012)

Wish I coiuld have shot with you here in Seattle...Looks liek you guys have quite the set up of Seattle photogs shooting Leica...great caps...

0 upvotes
davidxyz
By davidxyz (May 11, 2012)

Kewl

0 upvotes
RavelR
By RavelR (May 11, 2012)

I think that, for that price, and for what they seem to be aiming for in terms of form and function, they could've gotten a little more creative with the camera (like, make the camera as manual as possible and remove the screen on it, for example?). The sampled picture does look pretty good, through.

0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (May 11, 2012)

That would be just stupid. The whole point of a digital camera is that at least you can check the pictures.

0 upvotes
rjjr
By rjjr (May 11, 2012)

When I first thought about using a digital camera 8 years ago I originally wanted monochrome only since I was working mostly in BW film. Now there is one and hopefully other companies will make less expensive ones available eventually.

2 upvotes
noiretblanc-dpreview
By noiretblanc-dpreview (May 11, 2012)

I agree with you. I really like the idea of a b/w only senor, especially, like you, I do most of my work in b/w film. But obviously I belong to the poor bunch.

If a dedicated b/w sensor helps resolution, sharpness, and all those other stuffs, how about a camera with swappable b/w and color senors?

0 upvotes
johneriutta
By johneriutta (May 11, 2012)

My sentiments exactly. Perhaps we'll see a Fuji Monochrome at some point in the future.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

There is one already: choose B&W in the X-Pro1 menu.

At the same time you loose the possibility to adjust the color interpretation for B&W in Photoshop or Lightroom, with is extremely important and useful.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
J Parker
By J Parker (May 11, 2012)

Hey, I've never spent more than $175 on a camera (that includes my DSLRs) and don't plan to -- but in fairness, photographers with an open perspective can be a wonderful thing.... The monochrome camera Phase One put out a while ago cost much more than the Leica -- $40,000 for the back alone -- and certain purchasers (fine artists, scientific photographers for example) found it quite justifiable based on their photographic objectives. Despite Phase One charging 5x more than Leica for a similar concept, I somehow don't remember Phase One being vilified in the same way as Leica has been by many of us.

Just as color photographs are remarkable in the painterly aesthetic they are capable of achieving, monochrome images can possess a scuptural quality that is no less remarkable. Hopefully, this concept will be embraced by other camera makers to the extent that prices come down to a point where all of who choose to can access it.

6 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (May 11, 2012)

What you said! Problem is, it's DPR...nothing new with the sarcasm, bashing, envy, etc..

3 upvotes
Ace Disgrace
By Ace Disgrace (May 11, 2012)

In reality i cant afford this camera. [not right now] but in the future i would love to have a high end Leica. I respect the B&W feature of this camera, i am no purist but this is something would win respect of other street photographers. I love it, whatever negative feedback of close minded people have to say here. Leica have done great things as always, they should be paid well for their name because they earn it and did all the hard work.

Beethoven dont need ears to make great music and some photographer dont need colors to get a good photograph.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (May 11, 2012)

Pre-ordered!
Sold by it's excellent engineering and complete lack of chroma noise at high ISOs (ISO 1,638,400)
And above all, a Leica camera, manual focus, BW sensor just makes me think so much more...I had been thinking so hard why the heck did I buy a BW camera in 2012, at $7,950.00.

5 upvotes
shutterdragon
By shutterdragon (May 11, 2012)

Seriously, with all these talks about B&W-only sensor, I wonder how many actually realize the fact that the viewing of these images are done on color monitors. I just don't see a realistic, practical benefit to this camera unless you choose to print on specialized B&W printers.

3 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (May 11, 2012)

Monitors are getting better all the time now, though, keeping pace with advances in images generally. A high colour gamut, 'retina' display could be a great medium for viewing these images, which will be some of the most natural and unfiltered digital camera images yet.

It makes me realise that more work needs to go into Foveon-type sensors to get true colour at full resolutions. While we may have reached a plateau with the D800/E, there are many areas of progress opening up behind it. The Monochrom seems to be one such example.

0 upvotes
shutterdragon
By shutterdragon (May 12, 2012)

I would love the idea of B&W-only sensor if someone were to make an ultra-high density monochrome monitor - and I mean like Kindle-kind of resolution with something like 24 bit depth. Then I'd be interested in buying one, but there is really no practical merit while we're viewing the images produced by the M9-M on a conventional color monitor...

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (May 11, 2012)

Perfect image quality.
A perfect camera only for people with good taste and superior creative spirit.

3 upvotes
MIKE GG
By MIKE GG (May 11, 2012)

lol ok sure

4 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Where the creative sprit does not include the infinite possibilities to adjust the color to B&W conversion in PS or Lightroom.

3 upvotes
Faintandfuzzy
By Faintandfuzzy (May 11, 2012)

Good lord. A bunch of posts by a bunch of whiners who are just bitter they can't afford this new camera.

6 upvotes
kewlguy
By kewlguy (May 11, 2012)

I second that.

3 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (May 11, 2012)

Some can't buy, others don't want to buy.

3 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (May 11, 2012)

A bunch of insightful photographers who are expressing their opinions that to buy this camera with that price one must either be fanboy or have no idea of what the other possibilities are, while some of them could be affording more than what that camera costs however rather for some other priorities.

5 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (May 11, 2012)

So, have you pre-ordered like i did?!

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (May 11, 2012)

This "camera" is very affordable for those who have zero sense (cents?) and are only interested in a toy.

1 upvote
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (May 11, 2012)

Nonsense. I have pre-ordered mine, and chosen its place in my display case already.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (May 11, 2012)

In fact I would like to hear or read a good and consistent justification to have this camera.Does not come with the excuses of if has money can buy.

1 upvote
Faintandfuzzy
By Faintandfuzzy (May 11, 2012)

B&W with superior tonality, no artifacts from an AA filter nor Bayer filter. What's so hard to understand? Can't you read?

6 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (May 11, 2012)

Are you trying to tell us that we must pay $7,950.00 for that?
B&W with superior tonality, I doubt.
can you read $7,950.00?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (May 11, 2012)

If you want B&W with superior tonality buy a used Hasselblad 500 CM and some good B&W film.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 53 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Deleted-pending
By Deleted-pending (May 11, 2012)

Good for Leica shooters : great initiative, hope that Fuji will follow
but please stop the snobbish : Nikon 50mm 1.8G AF-S prime lens beats even the best schneider optics, it was tested to be the best 50mm ever, sharp wide open from to corner to corner.
Also, if you claim being a pure B&W shooter, then you should be thinking of buying a proper Digital Devere enlarger : I dont see the logic in shooting with such a camera to show the images on the web or not print on proper Fiber based paper.

5 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (May 11, 2012)

What is the base ISO of the sensor? IS there an optimum for B&W? What kind of metering system does the camera use? Is there spot metering that can be integrated a la many Olympus cameras-OM-4; C-2040. There is nothing wrong going back to basics, I did many a pix with Sunny 16 or Sekonic Studio Deluxe, but how many of these electronic marvels do multiple spot metering that can be integrated?

0 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

I heard this camera was originally ordered by a daltonic millionaire...

2 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (May 11, 2012)

Too much fuss over something invested by Leica engineers not more than a couple of weeks work. For the first time DPR has posted a whole album in B&W; mind that the M9M is not the only camera to shoot B&W.. Wait for someone to come up with some comparison shots by a D800E and a M9M on the same subject through the whole ISO scale and RAW. Let's see the results and then start talking.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Fatality
By Fatality (May 11, 2012)

The photos are gorgeous from this camera, but for the price they are asking I don't think it's worth it.

If I'm not mistaken the camera and the lens add up to $16000.00. You can buy and develop a lot of B&W film for that amount, plus have a great amount of control over the look/grain.

Anyway, in a couple of years Olympus and Fuji will release their B&W toys possessing the same quality image for a fraction of Leica's price. I didn't bother mentioning Canon, for obvious reasons..

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

Really? Do any of them have a rangefinder?

1 upvote
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (May 11, 2012)

No they have the 21 century equivalent called mirror less.

2 upvotes
Fatality
By Fatality (May 11, 2012)

Optical and mirrorless viewfinders work just fine.. Before putting the viewfinder to my eye I analyze the scene and the composition, so I know exactly what I want to capture. Usually a noobie is uncertain and insecure of his composition and needs to see more. :P If I absolutely need to see a larger area beyond my composition before taking a shot, I can slightly zoom out and then after taking a shot just crop the image to my desired composition. It's not really that difficult.. Besides, if there really was an advantage using a rangefinder -Canon, Nikon and many other manufacturers would be on board as well, not to mention all the photographers..

Apart form that, I would be embarrassed to have a Leica around my neck -purchasing such an overpriced product is embarrassing. I rather get an Oly or Fuji, and with the saved cash buy a Kawasaki Ninja, it looks a lot more "cooler" than a red dot. :)

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
odl
By odl (May 11, 2012)

Kudos for doing something other companies wouldnt. Would have been cooler a bit cheaper though... say.... $4000 and you could have justified the cheaper cost due to the simplified processing and sensor... (even it is was a bit tongue in cheek).

But hey, they may well sell tonnes of these.

Ab

2 upvotes
obeythebeagle
By obeythebeagle (May 11, 2012)

Black and white! What will they think of next? I thought I saw some dust on the print, and then realized it was on my computer screen.

I fear beloved Leica is becoming a fashion/jewelery brand, exclusively for the uppercrust.

1 upvote
mapgraphs
By mapgraphs (May 11, 2012)

I’m not planning to trade in my Olympus gear any time soon but I do get it. Impressive. Leica has a very elegant solution here. Thank you DPR for the preview!

1 upvote
putomax
By putomax (May 11, 2012)

WOW!!!
For me, eh?!, the sharpness of the sample images are just perfect.
Even at 1:1 ratio they have the right amount of contrast.
And it is good to see again a grey scale full of nuances.

Now back to normal life

gashô

1 upvote
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

"Merda d´artista" (Artist´s faeces) was an art work by Piero Manzoni in the 60´s, the project consisted in literally canned his own fecal matter and exhibit in museums. One of those cans were sold at 124,000 euros by Sothebys in 2007.

If that kind of thing happens in this world, Leica jokes do not surprise me at all... There will always be willing to buy "Merda d´Artista".

15 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (May 11, 2012)

this is different.
I bet if you had the money you would buy it.

0 upvotes
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

DioCanon: not all the people who can afford something has to buy it. My amateur work has been exposed in England, Italy, Japan and Mexico, I have a Photography Masters Cup award, and I been feature a few times in BW Magazine, and some of those shots were made with the first digital Rebel, Epson RD1s, and Nikon D70. So, no, even if I can afford it I won't buy it, I leave those toys for those who believe the camera makes the photographer.

11 upvotes
Charrick
By Charrick (May 11, 2012)

@villagranvicent:

Someone sure got told. And it was DioCanon.

1 upvote
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (May 11, 2012)

Leica: We provide less for what you pay more for. B&W only is the cool way to be!

2 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (May 11, 2012)

More previews from DPReview...

Where are the actual (camera and lens) reviews that were promised a year ago? Sigh...

3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (May 11, 2012)

Lens reviews are on hiatus (as you know). We hope to restart them in the next few months. No promises were made a year ago.

Reviews have continued at the same rate as usual - they take a long time but there are two big reviews coming soon. Previews are usually written at the cost of news, not at the cost of reviews.

3 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (May 11, 2012)

OK. Can't wait for more lens and camera reviews. :)

As for the two big reviews coming up, I presume they are the Canon 5D Mk3 and Nikon D4. Let me guess... 80% for 5D3 and 90% for D4.

0 upvotes
pluton
By pluton (May 10, 2012)

If Nikon made their own version of this, it'd cost $2500, and the lenses would be $500 to $1000 each.

3 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 10, 2012)

But it wouldn't be a Leica.

I think this is a cool idea, if a very niche product (niche at any price). Interestingly, your theoretical camera would have ungodly dynamic range and maximum equavalent ISO, if the poor quality of the color version of this camera is any guide.

Not that it matters - such a camera doesn't exist, and this remains a singular, cool idea. Even if most of us cannot afford such a luxury.

2 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 10, 2012)

You know, I wonder if the D800E would be a comparable camera with the proper post-processing/levelling. It includes the bayer but skips the de-mosaicing, and has double the pixels. I'd worry about the loss of light due to the filter, but the base sensor seems to be a full 2 stops + more sensitive than the color Leica. You do lose the straight 36MP of unfiltered resolution, but It would seem that reconstruction of an 18+/- pixel image from the RAW data could be done to recreate the mathematical/optical equivalent.

Arguments about form and function stand, of course. Optics may be a bit trickier to complain about given the top-of-the-line Nikkor glass available.

1 upvote
DioCanon
By DioCanon (May 11, 2012)

se me nona l'avea le rode,

sarae n caret...

1 upvote
FilmFeelsDifferent
By FilmFeelsDifferent (May 10, 2012)

Shooting with a Leica, any Leica, is a badge of quality. Doesn't matter how many MP, what the sensor size is, the thing is the "photographer is shooting with a Leica." It has more to do with perception than camera specs and resolving power.

Folks can diss Leica as being overpriced but if they could have one, they would. It's the Apple computer in a land of Windows. It's a Porsche among Chevys.

Beautifully engineered, it's a pleasure to use. I have two bodies I bought used, an M6 and an M8. All I can afford for now. And two lenses, also bought used.

Forget pixel peeping and getting down on Leica, you use one for the incredible engineering and if there are two photogs on the sidewalk, I'd rather talk to the Leica photographer anyway than the EP-2 shooter.

Because I am expecting a little more. That's what Leica sells--confidence. And noteworthiness.

7 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 10, 2012)

...and someone of your socio-economic class.

Please extol the virtues of simplicity and direct connection to the image you make with a machine that requires deliberation and thought while taking a picture. The artist who may only be able to afford a mid-level C/N DX camera, but who shoots on manual or - better yet - a handheld meter and cannot afford a camera bag worth more than their car (or two year's rent) would be ablet o have an admirable discussion with you.

I would even suggest that anyone still shooting film would be a better photographic discussion companion than the average digital Leica owner.

5 upvotes
FilmFeelsDifferent
By FilmFeelsDifferent (May 10, 2012)

Not to say there can't be a great photog shooting with a Ricoh film camera. Or an old Miranda. Of course it is the shooter first. Nobody cared what typewriter Hemmingway used.

But all things being equal, if you hire a shooter, the one who pulls out the Leica will instill more immediate confidence than the Ricoh one.

Because there is the perception that there's nothing like a Leica. And in today's world where everyone's a photographer, we need a little something to stand out in the crowd. The Leica is a part of that.

0 upvotes
FilmFeelsDifferent
By FilmFeelsDifferent (May 10, 2012)

One other note. The Leica photographer just might take his craft more seriously (I said may) and may not be in the game of what new model is coming out this month. Then that photographer may spend more time in pursuit of photographs and less time catching up on the latest reports on dpreview since they have all they need.

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (May 11, 2012)

Done the same thing with a Retina Ia, Konica I, Kiev 4a, Fed 5, Ricoh 500, all less than $50.

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

That's right "FilmFeelsDifferent", only an owner of a $10,000 camera will take photography seriously, not a student who can only afford a cheapo P&S with a passion for pictures. It's not like a Leica is way too expensive and precious so the person who spent a fortune is going to keep the camera on a shelf for display anyways... oh wait, they do.

6 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (May 11, 2012)

That's the great thing about photography. Some people pursue their dreams with a Hasselblad H4D-60, some with Leica-M, some with a beat up, hand-me-down Rebel and a kit lens. But everyone is heading toward a common goal. We live in an awesome age. Shoot on!

1 upvote
villagranvicent
By villagranvicent (May 11, 2012)

The Apple of the camera world? Apple is a consumer-driven brand, which happens to be the most valued brand in the world right now, so no... Leica would be a 1995 Oki phone trying to compete in the world of the iPhone 4s and Androids.

0 upvotes
Boris
By Boris (May 10, 2012)

Only $8000 for the Leica M-Monochrome + $7000 for the new APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH not bad for a B&W camera, or maybe the $25000 Hermès kit is a better deal...at least it can shoot color!

2 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 10, 2012)

Meh. My Nikon F4s and techpan developed in technidol kicks the crap out of this POS digital camera.

(Sorry, somebody had to say it ;-)

(oh, and for the cost of the Leica I think I might be able to build a time machine to go back and get some :-P)

4 upvotes
jackpro
By jackpro (May 10, 2012)

dpreview please turn off comments on product releases it has no value if people want to be haters they can do it in the leica forums btw the most positive forum on here

0 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (May 10, 2012)

Wonderful output. The results are beautifully sharp and detailed. I love the very fine random noise which looks exactly like B&W film grain. Hopefully this will encourage other manufacturers to produce monochrome cameras.

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 10, 2012)

For all "my camera can do it" comments. Your camera is not a Leica; it does not use M lenses (or you could not afford them), It does not have "clear" pixel filter (color filters cut light by at least 1/3) and your camera will be worth crap in 4 years, this camera will be worth much more money as they years fly by, this is a collectors item. You feel more like a photographer than a button pusher.
You guys sound worse than a 10 year old kid, telling you that his iphone 4s pictures look as good as a full frame DSLR...only difference is that a 10 year old's ignorance is cute.

4 upvotes
JordanAT
By JordanAT (May 11, 2012)

You sound like a ten year old kid who's daddy just bought him a Leica.

I have no doubt that the sensor technology in this camera will be horrifically obsolete in 4 years, just as it will be in most digital cameras built today. That's my problem with digital cameras - the most expensive part of the camera is the "film" and you have to buy a lifetime supply upfront, knowing that the advances in digital film will make it mostly obsolete. My F4s shoots great film pics and it's 20+ years old. How will this camera perform in 20 years? How will my D3 perform in 20 years? The answer to both of those last two questions is the same, and it is not a positive one.

6 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 11, 2012)

You don't really get it. Its not about the camera or its sensor.

1 upvote
Dazed and Confused
By Dazed and Confused (May 11, 2012)

"You don't really get it. Its not about the camera or its sensor."

So it's purely about the name for you, then.

You're the first Leica fan to come out and admit it, and I actually respect you more for that.

1 upvote
Biowizard
By Biowizard (May 10, 2012)

Utterly fantastic - I have LONG been hoping someone would produce a high-quality camera WITHOUT a Bayer Colour Array - just think how much more light reaches the sensor, and how much higher the resolution will be without a pesky low-pass filter. And for those who want to get creative with colour, a set of Hoya "POP" filters or equivalent is all you'd need (as well as a a tripod and some patience) to get glorious colour, or false colour, and more!

Bravo Leica!!

Brian

1 upvote
magneto shot
By magneto shot (May 11, 2012)

they already did....its called Foveon and its a color sensor.
SD1 could outperform leica anyway in details and true resolution be it color or not...

1 upvote
MrFlash
By MrFlash (May 11, 2012)

Fuji X-Pro1 no Bayer Array there!

0 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (May 10, 2012)

For those who are interested in a monochrome camera but cannot afford this Leica, Maxmax have a conversion process for Canon Ti DSLR cameras.

http://www.maxmax.com/b&w_conversion.htm

3 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (May 10, 2012)

This idea has been around for years. Lots of people have been begging and pleading for a black and white only digital camera, because of the sharpness and low-light capabilities.

Now those of us who can't afford $15,000 for a camera and lens combination, or even $1,500, are left out in the cold.

Please, please, m43 or somebody, make a camera like this available to ordinary people. Thanks.

5 upvotes
f_stops
By f_stops (May 10, 2012)

You guys are really silly, this is not a "new idea' and nobody stole your idea.
The great innovator in digital photography created had this concept years ago. Too bad they 'sucked' at marketing and product development.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/kodak-760m.shtml

2 upvotes
Auke B van der Weide
By Auke B van der Weide (May 10, 2012)

I just would love to see Nikon to come out with a steel hammer called D-FM3a for EUR500 or so. Only black and white, no lcd, no autofocus, no videos, just as long as it is rugged, rain- and dustproof, cheap, has a huge VF and its batteries last a month..... that would give digital photography back some meaning

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Stewart Pinkerton
By Stewart Pinkerton (May 11, 2012)

Perhaps more to the point is the obvious question - what does 'monochrome' mean in this context? Sure it outputs a monochrome image, but what is the colour response of the sensor? Is it truly panchromatic, or does it have some specific tone curve? At least with a D800, you can *choose* what colour response you want in your sensor output, using Lightroom to generate a monochrome image with the colour response that *you* want, not the one that Leitz has decided you will have. Pklus if you're starting with a 36MP Bayer array, especially the D800E with no anti-alias filter, you still have more effective resolution than the Leica. And better lenses to choose from, and more accurate focusing.......

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (May 10, 2012)

The cost of the camera and 50/2 would buy you a D800 and $13000 of very good lenses. Am i making too much sense?

18 upvotes
Habib Albanna
By Habib Albanna (May 10, 2012)

Yes you are, but unfortunately Leica has become a rich boy toys... that's why they still making an over-priced cameras and believe it or not in my country there is only one shop selling Leica and most of the time its out of stock and you have to put your name in a waiting list just to get the "mighty" Leica...

5 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (May 11, 2012)

if everyone had your limited mentality we would only see Toyota Corolla on the streets,
what is the point of owning a Maserati when I can buy 15 Corollas?

2 upvotes
dsm6
By dsm6 (May 11, 2012)

The correct phrase would be:

"What's the point of owning 15 Maserati's, when I can own 1 Corolla?"

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (May 11, 2012)

Just a matter of choice.
If I had this amount of money, I would rather go for this B&W Leica with a one and only 50mm or 35mm than a new Nikon Machine Gun anyday.
As a owner of a much older and much cheaper Leica M8, there is no reason I would trade my body for a Nikon D800E or an XPro1 whatever.
Leica is the style of shooting style and experience I have been looking for. I want to stick to it because it is what I like.
You can do all the comparison possible to show how superior an XPro1 and a D800E is superior in sharpness etc. to a Leica M8...I won't trade it anyday for my DailyLife photos. Then if you talk about a "workshorse"...sur I would never buy a Leica M for that matter...except if you work at Magnum as a streetphotographer.

2 upvotes
TomCreek
By TomCreek (May 10, 2012)

Until I win Powerball, I'll keep on shooting my stock of Agfapan 100.

0 upvotes
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