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Leica announces M-Monochrom black-and-white 18MP rangefinder

By dpreview staff on May 10, 2012 at 19:00 GMT
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Leica has announced the M-Monochrom, a black-and-white version of its M9 full-frame 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. In most other respects, the M-Monochrom shares its hardware with the M9.

The camera can add three toning colors to its monchrome output or its uncompressed DNG files can be edited using the included copy of Photoshop Lightroom. A full version of the mono processing software Silver Efex 2 is also included. It will cost around $7,950.00.

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Press Release:

LEICA M MONOCHROM: THE FUTURE OF BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY

Solms Germany (May 10, 2012) - Leica Camera AG presents the Leica M Monochrom, the world’s first digital camera exclusively for full-frame, 35 mm black-and-white photography. Featuring a sensor designed specifically for this purpose, the new addition to the Leica portfolio enables photographers to capture images in outstanding black-and-white quality, setting entirely new standards. The latest camera in the flagship Leica M-System, the Leica M Monochrom continues the successful story of the Leica rangefinder system, which has written numerous chapters in the history of innovative photography.

“Black-and-white photography is more popular than ever before. Even today, it has lost none of its fascination as an expressive medium, not even for younger generations of photographers. This is confirmed by the numerous monochrome images shown by members of the M-Community, who we are in constant contact with,” said Jesko von Oeynhausen, Product Manager for the M-System at Leica Camera AG. “For the first time ever, we are offering an opportunity to consistently and authentically explore black-and-white photography with the M Monochrom, a tool that is unique in the digital world. The camera’s exclusively black-and-white sensor brings an enormous technical benefit that is reflected in the amazing imaging quality it delivers.”

The 18 MP image sensor of the M Monochrom is perfectly matched to the unique properties of the Leica M-System and the superior performance of Leica M-Lenses. As the sensor does not ‘see’ colors, every pixel records true luminance values – as a result, it delivers ‘true’ black-and-white images that are significantly sharper than comparable exposures from a camera with a color-sensitive sensor.

To allow precise control of tonal values, the Leica M Monochrom offers a raw data histogram display to exhibit original, unprocessed and unmodified raw data. This, combined with a configurable clipping display, allows precise correction or optimization of exposures.

At the touch of a button, images captured by the M Monochrom can be converted with characteristic toning effects from black-and-white film photography (sepia, cold or selenium toning). All users need to do is save the image in JPEG format and select the desired toning effect – simply and conveniently, with no need for post-processing.

The classic, iconic design of the Leica M-cameras is carried forward by the Leica M Monochrom. The matte-black finish of the chromed top deck allows the camera to be an unobtrusive tool. Only an engraved script on the accessory shoe reveals the product name. The camera features particularly soft leather trim with ideal grip that perfectly complements the camera’s discreet character. The camera package also includes a genuine leather carrying strap in premium full-grain cowhide.

The M Monochrom is supplied complete with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, a professional digital workflow solution. The software is available to customers as an online download after product registration. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom offers a wide range of functions for the management, processing and presentation of digital images. For example, this software allows for the creation of simple print layouts, slide shows and photo books.

A full-version of Silver Efex Pro 2, the world’s leading black-and-white image processing software, is also included in the package. Silver Efex Pro 2 offers an impressive collection of unique and powerful, darkroom-inspired tools for the creation of high quality black-and-white images. Silver Efex Pro 2 emulates over 20 different types of black-and-white film to recreate the glory of classical black-and-white film photography. The emulation of each film type is based on the analysis of many rolls of the respective type and guarantees perfect reproduction of the characteristic look of many popular films from ISO 32 to ISO 3200.

For the production of high-quality black-and-white prints, Leica Camera AG also offers a unique service in collaboration with Whitewall. After registering their Leica M Monochrom on the Leica website, customers can have their digital images from the M Monochrom printed on premium-quality baryte paper. These prints can be ordered from Whitewall through a personal link.

From photojournalism and available light photography to discreet, artistically aesthetic, creative compositions – the Leica M Monochrom adapts flexibly to every application and enables the expression of personal photographic style and consciously creative composition. The enormous potential performance of the current M-Lens portfolio, with focal lengths from 16 to 135 mm, is also fully accessible. In line with Leica’s renowned commitment to extreme system compatibility, almost all lenses of the Leica M range built since 1954 can still be used on the M Monochrom.

All characteristic properties of the Leica rangefinder system are also present in the new Leica M Monochrom. This, for instance, also includes the system’s intuitive and discreet handling. Its manual focusing based on the combined viewfinder and rangefinder concept and aperture priority exposure mode is an aid to photographers rather than placing undesired limitations on their creative freedom. In combination with the monitor display on the back of the camera, the simple menu navigation needs only a few control elements to enable rapid access to the entire range of camera functions. Together with its compact construction, the camera’s almost silent shutter benefits discreet and unobtrusive photography. Photographers can even select the appropriate moment for re-cocking the shutter. When longer exposure times requiring an extremely steady camera stance are essential, a slight pressure on the shutter release button in ‘soft release’ mode is sufficient.

All functions of the Leica M Monochrom are constructed with extreme robustness and a long working life in mind. Its one-piece, full-metal housing, made from a high-strength magnesium alloy, and the top deck and bottom plate, machined from solid brass blanks, provide perfect protection for its precious inner mechanisms. The digital components and shutter assembly of the M Monochrom are similarly constructed with a view to a lifetime of endurance. For photographers, this provides absolute reliability over decades of use. The experienced hands of Leica technicians at the factory in Solms are responsible for the assembly and calibration of M Monochrom bodies and the precise testing of all mechanical and electrical components. Leica Customer Care has decades of experience in repairs and maintenance and therefore creates a solid foundation for long life and enduring value. Even today, the service department maintains and repairs all M-Cameras built since 1954.

The Leica M-System has played a significant role in the development of the company’s performance in recent years. The annual figures have been correspondingly positive since the launch of the Leica M9 in September 2009 and are now registering record revenues.

The Leica M Monochrom in black chrome will be available from Leica dealers including the Leica Store Washington DC beginning in late July 2012.

Leica M-Monochrom specifications

Price
MSRP$7,950.00 / £6,120 (inc VAT)
Body type
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy with synthetic leather trim. Top deck and baseplate in brass with black chrome finish
Sensor
Max resolution5212 x 3472
Other resolutions3840 x 2592, 2592 x 1728, 1728 x 1152, 1280 x 846
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels18 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors19 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
Color spacesRGB hardwired
Image
ISOAuto, Pull 160, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 8000, 10000
White balance presets0
Custom white balanceNo
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Standard
File format
  • DNG (RAW) 14-bit uncompressed (36 MB)
  • JPEG (Fine / Basic)
  • DNG + JPEG
Image parameters
  • Sharpening (5): Off, Low, Standard, Medium High, High
  • Contrast : Low, Medium Low, Standard, Medium High, High
  • Toning: Hue (Sepia, Cool, Selenium), Strength (Off, Weak Strong)
Optics & Focus
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Lens mountLeica M
Focal length multiplier1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size2.5
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT color LCD with a sapphire glass LCD cover
Live viewNo
Viewfinder typeOptical (rangefinder)
Viewfinder magnification0.68×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed32 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesFront Curtain, Rear Curtain, Slow sync
Flash X sync speed1/180 sec
Continuous drive2 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes
  • Center-weighted
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3, 5, 7 frames )
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
MicrophoneNone
SpeakerNone
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC card
Storage includedNone
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMINo
Remote controlNo
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion rechargeable battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)600 g (1.32 lb / 21.16 oz)
Dimensions139 x 80 x 37 mm (5.47 x 3.15 x 1.46)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Additional images

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Leica M-Monochrom

Comments

Total comments: 224
12
RRJackson
By RRJackson (May 11, 2012)

Oh, this is a thing of beauty. My goodness. It's everything a digital Leica should be. Now if I could just afford it...

2 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (May 11, 2012)

Here is my main critique. If you are going to do something like this have real spot metering, with the ability to integrate several readings-something I can do on my Olympus C-2040!

2 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (May 11, 2012)

It's depressing how people around here are so conservative.
You wouldn't survive a day without a shot of your cat in color..

What if... what if I wanted to see my cat in color 20 years from now?
Well, I couldn't. It'll remain a mystery forever. I'm attracted to the idea. Gotta live on the edge.

1 upvote
DioCanon
By DioCanon (May 11, 2012)

right!

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
1 upvote
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (May 10, 2012)

You can't fix STUPID!

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (May 11, 2012)

You stand as living proof.

2 upvotes
c76plus
By c76plus (May 10, 2012)

Money for a leica now... not really but I see myself in the future with one.
I see no reason to go BW all the time, there is no way to go back to color and thats deal breaker for me.
If I was a millionaire... I'd have both but lets be honest I don't see myself being one.

0 upvotes
goodlensgoodlens
By goodlensgoodlens (May 10, 2012)

I don't get the concept of this: at the present moment I just select from my camera whether I want to shoot in colour or in B/W, how is this new model any better in terms of choosing the mode that I want to shoot in?

Maybe they should develop B/W glasses for the photographer too

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (May 10, 2012)

Yes it is. You'll want to read both the article and some of the earlier comments. A color camera is not what people think it is, starting in color and are converted to black and white. A digital cameras has a black-and-white sensor with color filters in front of it to synthesize the color, compromising resolution. For example, there is a space between each blue sample because you need room to put the red and green filters. In a way, you never actually see the entire scene because of all the microscopic gaps.

If you convert that to B&W, you've basically trashed the original B&W by going to color, and tried to reassemble it.

This camera starts by being what it already was in the beginning: A B&W sensor. Then they don't put a color filter on it, so you never distort or filter out the original data. In theory, this should improve B&W quality for many reasons. But that doesn't mean the camera is worth buying unless it tests out to produce better B&W than the conventional digital camera.

5 upvotes
SigmaChrome
By SigmaChrome (May 11, 2012)

Not entirely true. A Bayer-based digital camera has a black and white sensor with colour filters in front of it. A Foveon-based camera (Sigma) is a fully NATIVE colour sensor, as it captures blue, green and red light at every pixel location. It also does pretty nice B&W too.

1 upvote
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

It might improve the resolution of the B&W image, but that is only one side of digital B&W photograph. What you loose is the infinitely flexible possibility of applying all possible color filters to the image in post, like you do with PS, Lightroom etc. This is a huge minus and in my view makes this Leica totally worthless.

1 upvote
derfla1949
By derfla1949 (May 11, 2012)

@Petka
Please think again. It is exactly the other way 'round.

1 upvote
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (May 11, 2012)

"....But that doesn't mean the camera is worth buying unless it tests out to produce better B&W than the conventional digital camera."

This is the key point. This is only worth doing if the resulting images are clearly superior to ordinary digital cameras shooting in B&W mode or superior to colour images converted to B&W in PP.

With several cameras out there already with 24mp and 36mp sensors I suspect the gains due to lack of the colour filters will be offset by the higher resolution sensors.

Both this and the foveon solutions are far more elegant than the bayer approach but despite this bayer cameras are already producing stunning images at far less cost.

It will be interesting to see if this sensor is less demanding on lenses and technique or due to being "better" demands the same discipline. The Nikon D800 review makes the point about the demands high res sensors place and I see it to some extent with my Sony A77.

0 upvotes
aleckurgan
By aleckurgan (May 11, 2012)

SigmaChrome you are not right, Foveon has the same BW sensitive sensor elements with color filters over them as a Bayer-type sensor. But they are organized in a different manner, i.e. stacked instead of placed in the same plane.

0 upvotes
SigmaChrome
By SigmaChrome (May 11, 2012)

Are you sure about that? The Foveon sensor uses the properties of silicon itself to capture blue, green and red wavelengths of light.
From Foveon's site:
"The layers of pixels are embedded in silicon to take advantage of the fact that red, green, and blue light penetrate silicon to different depths..." Take it up with them.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

@derfla1949: Please elaborate. With in-camera B&W image the color mapping into grayscale is fixed. With color image converted into B&W in PS or Lightroom 4, they give 16 possible adjustable filters, 8 can be applied simultaneously. Great flexibility. With Leica you are stuck with image, or you can play with filters in front of the lens.

Fuji X-Pro1 has straight panchromatic B&W from the camera, or red, yellow or green filtered B&W. Even that is 3 more options compared to Leica.

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

SigmaChrome is right, Foveon uses different sensor depths for different colors. If you stacked three filters on each pixel, then no light would get through. :)

0 upvotes
Valentinian
By Valentinian (May 10, 2012)

I will never have the money to buy a Leica. So, whatever I say, maybe it won't count.
But long ago, in the film era, I used a Leica. No camera in the world, then, could in my opinion beat Leica.
Now, it's another story. Only the Leica lenses still lead. The Leica camera no more. Maybe Leica should adapt their lenses to be used on other cameras, and become a sort of high level Sigma.
But, what do I know; as I wrote, I will never have the money to spend on a Leica. Those who can maybe, and rightly so, have a different opinion.

3 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (May 11, 2012)

They should, really. I've seen fullsize JPEGs from an M9. They're *nasty*. They really ought to phone up Olympus and figure out how to make a jpeg engine.

Also, I wonder how good their lenses really would be compared to another company's short-backfocal-distance lenses. Is Leica's 24mm Summicron any better than the Olympus 12mm f/2? I imagine that if it is it's not much better. What about the Leica 90mm compared to the Zuiko 45/1.8? When you look at SLR lenses, there are some wickedly good ones too, like the Olympus 150/2.

There are lots of folks that make great lenses these days -- I mention Olympus only because I know them. Leica doesn't have anything special any more, other than "fit and finish" -- which doesn't show in prints.

2 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

I would be curious to see then new Fuji 35mm f:1.4 pitted against this Summicron 50mm f:2, at 1/10 of the price... I would not bet on Leica.

0 upvotes
JohnTanner
By JohnTanner (May 11, 2012)

I know that MTF curves aren't the whole story, but the new Leica lens as the best curves I've ever seen I think. So the resolution/contrast should be class-leading. The MTF curves don't give you the whole picture (pun slighly intended) of course.

0 upvotes
RStyga
By RStyga (May 10, 2012)

This is typical Leica, I fear. A very expensive camera with certain beyond-low-budget features, most specifically, a sup-par LCD. By crippling a camera, Leica product designers, you don't create a niche product but one which damages your company's reputation and reduces sales. Well -not- done, Leica.

7 upvotes
Uaru
By Uaru (May 11, 2012)

I feel the LCD is not the most important part of the camera. But really, I suppose those things are not that expensive nowadays, so it is not really a saving - unless they got a stock of them already;-)

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (May 10, 2012)

Now I think I have proof that Leica and those that buy them might be certifiably nuts... a BW only image sensor? For this pricepoint? Why not just shoot Tri-x in an M-4?

3 upvotes
Faintandfuzzy
By Faintandfuzzy (May 10, 2012)

Because the Tri-x will be grainy, offer lower resolution, need to be processed and scanned by a good scanner to even begin to compete. The M4 has a lower max shutter speed which casues problems shooting wide open. It has a slow flash sync. Anything else you missed? Just let me know.

2 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (May 11, 2012)

OH, thanks for pointing that out... now here is the real kicker: (wait for it...) PhotoShop will offer for $200 a plug in that will ADD the increased grain, slow shutter motion blur, slow flash sync ghosting, etc. for folks who buy this new Leica!!! Or God forbid... use a Lomo/Holga "filter" on top of it!!!

2 upvotes
Gothmoth
By Gothmoth (May 10, 2012)

leica is not for the poor.
im not sure if leica is for photographer these days..... but it´s definately not for the poor. it seems more aimed at russians oil moguls and their wifes.
i can´t complain about the price.. that is the market.. and if they can sell it´its fine.

my aunt buys handbags for 3500 euro!! so what?

but the LCD and some other odd stuff... im not sure why a photographer would want to buy this camera...??

the pictures quality looks a bit lame too.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
hlritter
By hlritter (May 10, 2012)

Prediction: the announced price of $7195 for the new apo aspheric Summicron 50mm (!) will prove to be erroneous. The price is completely unreasonable--higher than any other M lens except the $10,995 Noctilux, more even than the exotic 21mm f/1.4--and almost twice that of the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux, which would mean no market position at all for it!

And yet B&H just listed it--for, yes, $7195!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (May 11, 2012)

It's sort of an odd marketing strategy to release an APO lens and a black and white camera at the same time...

3 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

The light entering the lens is not filtered into monochrome, so APO lens makes a sharper image for B&W also. No color fringing of course, but softer image altogether.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (May 11, 2012)

Aside from what Petka says...

It's a rangefinder. If you put a strong color filter on the lens, you'll have focusing errors if the lens has chromatic aberrations. Hence, another need for APO lenses.

0 upvotes
Vasyl Tsvirkunov
By Vasyl Tsvirkunov (May 10, 2012)

Interesting move. There is actually a third party mod for some cameras: http://maxmax.com/b&w_conversion.htm . No idea if it works well though.

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 10, 2012)

I think leica should come out with three lens filters (RGB) So people with this camera can take 3 images and merge them like old times!

3 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (May 11, 2012)

Yes. Many people do not realize how "color" images were made before the advent of color films. The RGB filter sequential exposure and silk screening the final print was the way to go. Would be interesting to see how the M Monochrom does, particularly with landscapes.

0 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (May 11, 2012)

Hoya DOES make a set of R/G/B filters, which they call "POP" filters. I've used them both to make rainbow-fringed multiple exposures on Kodachrome 25 (anything that moves is coloured, anything that doesn't is normal, if you get the exposures right) ... I have also used them to make colour photos from three separate mono images taken through a CCD security camera. Much more fun than just giggling about in Photoshop!

Brian

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

We just got rid of the clumsy 3-shot digital backs about 10 years ago, now amateurs reinvent this great way of doing color pictures with B&W camera. Ironic...

0 upvotes
armanius
By armanius (May 10, 2012)

Surely Leica could have at least used a nicer LCD! My M9's LCD is worse than the one from the Oly E410's dating 2007 or 2008.

7 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 10, 2012)

I think the glass on the LCD is the same stuff they put on Rolex watches.

0 upvotes
DaveCS
By DaveCS (May 10, 2012)

I'm surprised no one's been (and DP Review as well) talking/posting about the new 50mm Summicron that was also released today... APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH - all for the low low price of $7,195 USD..... ya.. 50mm... f2... (mind you it's almost distortion free)

6 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (May 10, 2012)

We will be, once we've had a chance. We only got the press materials recently, so we covered the cameras first.

2 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (May 10, 2012)

how dare you imply leica overprices things *rage*

:-)

3 upvotes
Nich0las
By Nich0las (May 10, 2012)

is that a typo? $7,000 for a 50 f2????

0 upvotes
mr moonlight
By mr moonlight (May 10, 2012)

I really hope this is an absolutely amazing camera. The one place where film is still king is when it comes to B&W. Sure, the B&W conversions I'm getting are pretty damn good, but not quite Tri-X good. If this camera can truly give us B&W film quality, then the only thing we'll need is better printers.

2 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (May 10, 2012)

I have always favored b/w photography for my personal work. The masters I admire are, mostly, b/w photographers. Photography in its purest form. Back to the basics, maybe this announcement will make b/w popular again? Looking at the files however, as impressive as they are, I can't really see a real advantage over my D800E or X Pro1.

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Maybe this will make B&W more popular, because people find the extremely flexible tools provided by PS and Lightroom etc. to turn color images into dashing B&W, with all the manipulation possibilities this oddball camera lacks. Everybody can make better B&W photos for free, actually, except maybe the ultimate sharpness, which is not as important as the B&W interpretation of colors, which can not be adjusted with this camera.

0 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (May 10, 2012)

technically all digital cameras are "black and white" ... but this camera is totally perplexing. There's luminance values etc... but it just seems like an odd thing to make. (yes yes, I know it's a Red Dot- so rationality need not apply)

But hell what do I know- I'd love for someone to make a "student full frame" that is manual focus only, only has iso up to 3200, basic white balance, and 1/1000 or rounds about shutter speed. With only 3 lens choices, 24, 50, and 90mm. There's nothing today that equals a Pentax K1000 from back in the day for student photographers, for cost and work-ability of learning.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
DMillier
By DMillier (May 10, 2012)

Because this camera has no CFA Bayer array, no demosaicing is required and as it already has no AA filter, this camera will have the same B&W resolution as a 18MP Foveon sensor i.e. equivalent to a standard sensor of about twice the pixel count. It will certainly challenge the D800 in this respect.

Because there are no colour filters it will also be more sensitive and have less noise than standard sensors.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Brent Lossing
By Brent Lossing (May 10, 2012)

about time someone did this - I hope other mfgs copy it.

1 upvote
Photographically Speaking
By Photographically Speaking (May 10, 2012)

Gotta wonder how the images from this gem will stack up its color-enabled cousin. Could be some offsets in quality with the inability to record color. If it is technically on par or better, I think that it is a brillant move for B & W shooters. If it isn't, it shows just how far out of touch Leica is from the pulse of relevant technology.

1 upvote
Ken Draper
By Ken Draper (May 10, 2012)

I'm not sure if all the commenters here appreciate that recording only the luminance values at each sensor site greatly increases the effective resolution of the image recorded. For photographers shooting only B&W this is a very good thing, and superior to converting from color.

2 upvotes
Ivan Glisin
By Ivan Glisin (May 10, 2012)

I am sure they do not. It seems most people assume B&W sensor is nothing but a color sensor with no color and that's all. Completely wrong.

Absence of AA filter increases sharpness, absence of color filter array (CFA) drastically increases sensitivity, and image does not have to be (re)constructed from 50% green and 25% red and blue pixels in order to "simulate" 100% color pixels, leading to reduced resolving power and unwanted artifacts as a result of the process.

Just one example: converting 18MP color image to B&W simulating deep red filter effectively uses information from 4.5MP red photosites only. In contrast, using a real red filter on the new Leica would still give you an 18MP image. Add to this benefits of not having AA and CFA and we are comparing apples and oranges here.

IMO, Leica M Monochrom makes perfect sense for B&W applications. It will be far superior to any B&W conversion from Bayer pattern color sensors, especially where extreme filtering is required.

1 upvote
Gothmoth
By Gothmoth (May 10, 2012)

well the images look lame.. so what?

2 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (May 11, 2012)

Think there would be some way of introducing basic B&W filters-red, green, orange, yellow??

0 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 11, 2012)

Yes, the lenses have threads for filters. If you mean electronically, no, as the sensor is monochrome.

0 upvotes
Ivan Glisin
By Ivan Glisin (May 11, 2012)

Gothmoth: all test images always look lame. Let's wait until those who know how to do B&W properly start making the real stuff.

0 upvotes
ENicolas
By ENicolas (May 12, 2012)

$8k for what amounts to a novelty camera - definitely for the 1%

0 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (May 10, 2012)

This type of output would be amazing...in 1912.
Seriously, who would spend this much money and want to be limited to B&W? Don't get me wrong, I love B&W photos but Silver Efex is awesome at this.

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

I would very gladly spend them. If I had them.
But since I don't, I won't.

0 upvotes
monseigneur
By monseigneur (May 10, 2012)

What?! So this and the X2 is why they made the 10 may announcement?
I wish somehow the market would make it clear to leica to up their game. Won't happen probably, but one can hope. I really thought something exciting was coming.

4 upvotes
Azimuth46
By Azimuth46 (May 10, 2012)

at least now the max ISO is 10k ... and being only B&W (no color noise), it will be super noise-free. That's the only strong point I can see.

0 upvotes
KevinD65
By KevinD65 (May 10, 2012)

I don't get it. But all the same, I wonder if it will inspire a new breed of landscape and studio color photography by shooting 3 exposures with 3 color filters and then combining them in PP. I'm sure some people will try it just for the nostalgic novelty of it. I wonder if such photos would have a distinct look that could not be created by any other method.

0 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (May 10, 2012)

Hard to justify its existence or price....very hard indeed.

11 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (May 10, 2012)

What a weak announcement. We were all waiting to hear about the M10 and we get this? Come on Leica, stop milking the M9. If I wanted to have B&W photos, I can convert them using software, not spend thousands on a dedicated camera.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 10, 2012)

So, is this what supposed to be M10?

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (May 10, 2012)

As a lover of B&W photography, having shot tons of Ilford, Efke, Tri-X, I find this camera baffling. What is the point when you can simply buy an M9 and apply B&W filters in LR and have the best of both worlds? Truly a niche product for rich nostalgists.

3 upvotes
Andrew Higgins
By Andrew Higgins (May 10, 2012)

Leica make some beautiful lenses, but their digital camera offerings continue to puzzle me, especially at the price. A mono only, huge priced camera is the ultimate puzzle. I'm not criticising those who wish to buy any digital M Leica, just saying I don't get it...

3 upvotes
Petka
By Petka (May 10, 2012)

No go for me. Lightroom 4 gives 8 sliders to control how different colors are represented in B&W. That is irreplaceable for modern B&W photography. Who wants to carry a box of color filters anymore? Certainly some people will buy these, those who not know better (and have more money than good sense and knowledge about digital manipulation possibilities). For "pure" B&W, use Tri-X...

3 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (May 10, 2012)

It's ever so boring I like it. Does this mean that just as with black and white film you could stick a red filter on the front of the lens for high contrast and a dramatic sky?

0 upvotes
Northgrove
By Northgrove (May 10, 2012)

Since it can't see colors even at the sensor level, I assume R/G/B filters to enhance e.g. cloud contrast or improve skin tones in B&W photography is thrown out the window along with color? That would suck if true.

Edit: BTW, I mean in-camera filtering. I guess you could carry actual, physical red filters etc, but I have to wonder if that's so much fun. At the pixel peeping level Leica is playing this game, that's another optical layer in front of the lens to worry about as well.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (May 10, 2012)

That's not true. You don't need to interpret colour for coloured filters to work, you just need to be capturing luminance across the visible spectrum (ie be panchromatic). Which this is.

2 upvotes
Northgrove
By Northgrove (May 10, 2012)

OK, thanks for the clarification! :)

0 upvotes
le_alain
By le_alain (May 10, 2012)

just have to put color filter ibn front of the lense,
like some decades ago.

and perhaaps a good thing, it really seems to be prone to burn highlight :::!! :(

0 upvotes
richardplondon
By richardplondon (May 11, 2012)

If it's panchromatic mono, why do the camera details listed above say there are 6 whitebalance presets plus a custom WB? (grin)

I also note the colourbalance panel (presumably, futile with this camera) that is showing in the screenshot from SilverEfex that Leica are showing on their site.

Seemingly, it'll take time to get fully adjusted to the idea of this.

1 upvote
Anadrol
By Anadrol (May 10, 2012)

230,000 dot rear LCD... Leica are good for jokes.

10 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (May 10, 2012)

Were you actually considering buying this (or any for that matter) Leica? I wouldn't be surprised if the people who will actually buy it don't care much about the number of dots on the screen.

5 upvotes
Anadrol
By Anadrol (May 10, 2012)

A good LCD would cost them maybe 50 euros, a shameful way of cutting corners.

6 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (May 10, 2012)

50 euros, plus need to redesign the software, hardware and test that everything still works. They are a small company that probably can't afford to spread their resources on things that aren't absolutely necessary.

3 upvotes
Anadrol
By Anadrol (May 11, 2012)

If I pay 6800 euros I expect to have a display as good as 200€ compacts.
I bet that next year there will be a special edition with improved display, like the M9-P with sapphire glass...

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

are you considering buying this Leica?
I bet the people buying this camera dont care about LCD, color or for that matter, photography at all..

All they want is the Leica logo !
;)

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (May 10, 2012)

I prefer 24mm instead of 36mm lens.

It would be interesting to see what kind of color images possible with R-G-B filters applied to 3 shots on this B&W-centric FF sensor fixed prime camera and overlaid together in pp.

No LiveView, also means no ExpSim LV, so this means using old fashioned TTL light meter readings the 'film era' way.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (May 10, 2012)

Wow I can't believe they didn't at leas upgrade the LCD. Then again since you can make perfectly fine B&W photos from the normal M9/M9P I really don't see the point of the this camera. If you want to recapture the nostalgia and feeling of shooting with B&W film, why not just buy a Film Leica M and shoot with B&W film? That way you could even put color film in it instead sometimes if you wanted. This seems like a ploy to milk more money out of an aging camera to me.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Gabor Szantai
By Gabor Szantai (May 10, 2012)

Only Ken Rockwell is able to take oversaturated colour pictures with this.

28 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (May 10, 2012)

thats the best comment i read in this forum ... EVER!!! :)

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
1 upvote
CopCarSS
By CopCarSS (May 10, 2012)

Possibly the funniest thing I've ever read on DPR. Well played!

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

I'm waiting for his review!

0 upvotes
HetFotoAtelier
By HetFotoAtelier (May 10, 2012)

Hmm just bought a fuji x-pro1 for my black and white :P

1 upvote
Superka
By Superka (May 10, 2012)

I knew someone had to do that. Of course nobody, but Leica!

1 upvote
bcalkins
By bcalkins (May 10, 2012)

There is always the Phase One Achromatic+ ...

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 10, 2012)

rumors are true. Cant wait to see the image sensor..should have almost as much resolution/detail as a 35MP+ camera

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (May 10, 2012)

Am I the only one that cant click on sample images?

0 upvotes
openskyline
By openskyline (May 10, 2012)

monochrome but Color space sRGB :) :) :). a roll of Tri-X beat this any day.

4 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (May 10, 2012)

"14-bit uncompressed" RAW DNG, no?

1 upvote
prairiewinters
By prairiewinters (May 10, 2012)

Hard to fault Leica quality but it is pretty obvious that they have been fighting an uphill battle for a long time. Leica should concentrate on broadening their lens line to work with Nikon and Canon DSLR Cameras. Keep your film cameras, drop your digital aspirations. You made fabulous propellers but the world has moved on to the jet engine.

5 upvotes
Total comments: 224
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