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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 drive2.0 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
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Comments

Total comments: 452
1234
Virgilio G Santos

i wonder why people who cannot afford...or don't understand.... what a Leica is- hang around this section and post their comments, which is very innapropriate for the esoteric culture of Leica users.

if you can't afford....or don't understand... the attraction or mystique of the product- then skip this part and go buy your CanoNikons and we won't bother you, nor comment on your choice.

have a nice day!

1 upvote
whawha

So sorry that us plebeians are hurting your esoteric sensitivity with our inappropriate comments, Virgilio. You really ought to buy the Hermes special edition, the instant mystique will undoubtedly act as an elixir vitae that will ameliorate your afflictions...

13 upvotes
tessl8d

Didn't know there was an 'Esoteric culture amongst Leica users',I thought photography was a tactile and pragmatic venture. thank you for enlightening us all 'great master'.

8 upvotes
Virgilio G Santos

so sorry that the "plebeians" (your term) are "hurt" by Leica products.

photography is definitely for everyone, very true.
anyone who wants to get from point A to B driving a Kia or a Hyundai will defintely get there, being "tactile & pragmatic". same with the one driving a Jaguar or AlfaRomeo. people have choices, whether tactile or pragmatic. so do the companies who produce the products, whatever they want to produce and sell. do one go to a Jaguar or Ferrari store and complain about the prices being too high?

have a nice day again.

0 upvotes
Photozopia

Most Leica users at least try to feign an air of normality. Thanks for your honesty, Virgilio - as an obvious pleb (like many posting here) I/we appreciate your superior attitude and hope you and your 'esoteric' cameras have a long & happy life together!

4 upvotes
Virgilio G Santos
2 upvotes
whawha

I think Photozopia was being ironic, Virgilio. You know, irony... one of those annoying things money can't buy. :)
And, personally, I don't go to Ferrari stores to complain about prices. I don't go to Ferrari stores at all - I leave those places and those products to the sort of people who value appearance over substance, and cash value over values.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
nekosama

Sorry whawha but I think Virgilio was ironic too ;)
And if it is possible to criticize Leica on many points, I do think that a Digital fullframe rangefinder is substance...

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa

I think Virgilio knows what irony is, whawha, and responded exactly for that reason.
On the "plebeians" discussion, well, I think we're all mature enough to understand that money doesn't buy irony or love or emotions, but it does buy a Leica.
Which is, IMO, and in the opinion of a great lot of esteemed photographers in the world for many decades - not that I'm one of them, mind you! - a camera that produces wonderful, constant results, maintaining at the same time high economic value - however you look at those points.
And now I'll go back to my E-PL1, which is what I can afford, and what helps me express my emotions as I like.

0 upvotes
Andreas Roca

I doubt that anyone who talks about the "esoteric culture of Leica users" and the mystique of a product which cannot be understood by the uninitiated would have any idea of the meaning of the term irony.
Leica took a foothold in professional photography by being the first 35mm camera. Nowdays its not hard to guess that the largest part of Leica's revenue by far comes from posers who buy status symbol objects, like Ferraris and Porsches. Expect to see them on cruise liners and expensive package holidays... No one in their right mind would take $20000 or more of camera equipment on a battlefield or on a risky expedition, when there are tools that will perform the same if not better at a fraction of the cost.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
hexxthalion

@ Virgilio - that Jag and Ferrari analogy is very bad, very very bad. Jag is every day car, Ferrari is not. You don't seem to know about either and therefore I don't actually think that you know what you're talking about when you talk about Leica. Just look around and see yourself what garbage is out there taken by this 'esoteric culture' - rubbish, utter rubbish

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
tessl8d

The 'sample' pics are awful. If I feel like checking out some great BW's I go to a Ricoh GRD forum or share site.

1 upvote
camillako

read all the posts, haters and fans.

then i look at the samples and... wow, those are amazing pictures, they just look... yummy.

maybe it's just me....

3 upvotes
Michele Kappa

Not just you. :)

1 upvote
Plastek

These ain't haters. These are just people with no basic idea of what's going on (vide: Lightroom does better! D90 in B&W mode does better!) while probably will spend their lives not being allowed even to touch one of these monochrome Leicas.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
cxsparc

"not being allowed to touch"?
You know, this reminds me of Tom Sawyer. That part where he has to paint that fence and in the end by adding exclusiveness to this task ends up that all others do the job for him and even pay him!

Your post shows that by merely keeping exclusiveness to a product, Leica succeeds in selling overpriced products AND sorry for the word, "brainwashing" some people that the product simply MUST be good, since it is expensive and exclusive.

So seems that Leica managers read their Mark Twain :-)

2 upvotes
ecka84

No ISO 3200-10000 samples? Why? Is it bad?

0 upvotes
jon404

It's obvious that Leica has figured out that older people have more money that younger people. And that the best way to get their money is to offer a product that creates waves of nostalgia for 1960, 1950, 1940, 1930...

2 upvotes
RunStrom

I would feel right at home with this camera, it has the same screen resolution as my Nikon D3100 but not quite as big!

0 upvotes
Thomas Tien

$8000 for a B/W only camera? NO WAY! not even a Leica, I'll do just fine with my Nikon D90 in B/W mode

2 upvotes
Timbo101

I've read through the comments and the majority of posts are saying this is an overpriced gimmick that only someone with too much money and too little sense would buy (mind you, people say that about every Leica camera). I tend to agree but what if, hypothetically, a manufacturer put out a B&W only camera body that had stunning low light performance and resolution which worked with your current lenses (Canon EOS or Nikon or micro 4/3, whatever) and cost, say, $600 USD… would you buy one? I would be tempted… very tempted.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml

Same here and I could see myself carrying such in low light situations. Luminance noise on really high ISOs could even be desirable.

0 upvotes
Zigadiboom

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
sailar

Recently a caricature was sold for 113 million dollars. What is $7950 for people who bought it? They could safely put 15,000 for it, there would be plenty of buyers for it.

3 upvotes
Petka

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.

3 upvotes
RRJackson

And monochrome conversion in PS or Lightroom will remove the Bayer array and the AA filter in your camera retroactively so you capture extra resolution?

This is a camera people will have to approach like B&W film with contrast filters and an eye for the kind of light illuminating the scene. People who don't take photography that seriously aren't going to have any idea how to properly use a camera like this.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Petka

I am not saying that the monochrome sensor does not give extra resolution (at least in theory, like to see real tests). I still doubt that it is better than D800e for example, at less than half in price. What comes to approaching B&W in the old school manner (because at that time there was no other way, not that it was better), you can attach color filters to your D800, shoot B&W and pretend you have no possibility of tweaking the color interpretation in post. No need to pay $8000 for the privilege of giving away creative possibilities, you can do the same for free by not using those sliders in PS.

1 upvote
ghostwheel

When you shoot with a color camera, there are exactly 3 filters you use: R, G, and B. With the sliders you can adjust the intensity coming from each one of these filters. There is nothing you can do to put in a filter at a different wavelength than was originally used, or to use a filter with a different mix of wavelengths. That information is lost.

1 upvote
RRJackson

When you debayer an image you're interpolating information. Avoiding that is the reason Foveon fanatics are willing to disregard all the shortcomings of their sensor. A monochrome sensor is the "purest" form of digital capture. Everything that you see in the final photo is what the sensor saw, not some kind of interpolation. That also means that you don't get noise "clumping" the way you do with a color sensor. I love seeing these simulated B&W shots that still have (now monochrome) chroma clumps.

0 upvotes
bigdaddave

1930's throwback intentionally crippled and they want how much for it?

If I ever see someone with one of these I will make sure I laugh at them

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
RRJackson

Crippled how?

0 upvotes
Petka

For example no possibility to adjust the color to B&W conversion in post. That is a huge drawback in a monochrome sensor. The sliders in PS and Lightroom 4 B&W converter correspond to an infinite size bag of filters you would need for the Leica, and still you would have no way to make adjustments after the shutter button is pressed.

1 upvote
RRJackson

Actually, that's a huge advantage because the Bayer array used to capture that color information limits the resolution being captured by the sensor as well as imposing a penalty on how much light makes it to the sensor.

Now you can properly capture the detail in the scene with no interpolated data from a Debayering process and you can learn to use your filters again. They do a much better job than "virtual" filters in Photoshop, anyway. And really, a yellow, red, orange, blue and green filter added to your case still won't make the case as heavy as the extra weight of a DSLR.

2 upvotes
bigdaddave

This is clearly the camera for you.

Sadly that just says a lot about you.

2 upvotes
Petka

RRJackson: how do the physical filters do a much better job than the filters in PS? With one slider in PS or Lightroom you can both simulate a yellow filter by sliding it to the right, steplessly even, and by sliding it to the left it effectively turns into a complementary color filter, also infinitely variable. So instead of your 4 filters in your bag we have 16 variable filters which can be applied and experimented with in PS, even 8 of them at the same time with no penalty in resolution or contrast. Think about stacking 8 filters on your Summicron.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
RRJackson

Because the physical filters actually remove part of the spectrum of light from what's striking the sensor and physically changes the way the camera is seeing light. It's not a simulation of what that might look like. It's an actual physical change in the capture. And you don't need to stack 8 filters. If you did the result would be a mess. You commit to a look based on what you're shooting. Once you learn something about B$W photography that choice will probably seem pretty simple to you.

0 upvotes
tkpenalty

Petka, bigdadave, you guys need to learn what a bayer filter is, and what a photosite is as well. This is entirely different to post processing, think of it as an entirely different type of film.

It is NOT stupid. There are technical and objective reasons behind B&W versus colour.

It saddens me how not technical minded most people who use cameras are. I'm not even going to call them photographers.

1 upvote
RRJackson

BTW, in terms of filters I've gone through years of my life with a #8 yellow filter on my lens. I'm not saying that's an ideal methodology, but it's a very good general-purpose filter for B&W and it only knocks a stop off the incoming light. I have a small cabinet full of filters, but even now I tend to use a #8 yellow filter when I shoot B&W.

0 upvotes
Imagefoundry

Don't know about this one, but if Fuji puts out a monochrome version of X100 I'll get one like in a flash

0 upvotes
Petka

X-Pro1 has 4 different B&W settings if, for some strange reason, you want B&W straight from the camera. Plus sepia toned B&W.

0 upvotes
Imagefoundry

I know, I have one.
There are many reasons to want B&W images straight out of the camera.

Back to my original point, a small retro-styled camera like X100 would be pretty attractive to me if it was offered as a B&W-only option. 36MP in grayscale is a pretty attractive proposition, and I think the lens on X100 can handle it.

0 upvotes
ageha

Photos are underwhelming.

4 upvotes
Chris Grossman

That usually has more to do with the photgrapher than the camera.

2 upvotes
marianco

A Leica Man can easily afford both the Leica and the Nikon D800e. Thus, there is no need for compromise.

If you can't afford it, get second job.

2 upvotes
Chez Wimpy

Then use the free time between your two jobs to take Leica "street" pictures inside your commuting bus.

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
10 upvotes
Josh SZ

I guess a Leica Man will have this camera and buy a D800 or 5D3 as back up....

0 upvotes
Stewart Pinkerton

I think you mean that a rich photographer will have a D800E or 5dmkIII as a main camera, and the Leica as an interesting toy to do a little street photography if he wants to play at being Cartier-Bresson.

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa

Marianco, with my wages I should probably get a fourth job.

0 upvotes
Alexdi

Technically stunning, these shots. And some very nice compositions.

While the narrow market this camera targets will adore it, the D800 produces equivalent or greater output. That, and a couple of standout Nikon lenses like the 14-24, would be a preferable kit to whomever can bear the weight.

0 upvotes
RRJackson

A couple of things here. First off, a D800 is a 31-ounce camera vs a 21-ounce camera. And of course the lenses are smaller for the Leica, as well.

Also, no DSLR wide-angle lenses really perform as well as the best wide-angle glass for rangefinders. Even the 14-24 produces about 4% distortion at its worst where depending on the lens you can get essentially no distortion in some rangefinder glass. The Zeiss 21mm f/4.5 is a classic example of a nearly perfect optic that just won't ever happen for a DSLR.

But yeah, if you don't mind the extra weight and the limitations of the optics a D800 can produce an image you can scale down to sort of sub for a Leica image.

1 upvote
Ben Raven

Good points, RR,

But to be fair, BELOW 21mm even rangefinder glass, (with its inherent design leeway advantage) Leica, Zeiss, Voigt., what have you, all start showing distortion (and increasing falloff), some of it complex.
[I am talking technical performance here -- the intangible magic of particular glass (of course Leica comes to mind) is not to be ignored.]

And tho the RF glass too is of course correctable to one degree or another in pp, UWA lenses like the remarkable Nikon 14-24 on the cutting edge FF D800 (and for my money the D800E !)referenced by Alexdi, still stand out--tho his point (and yours RR) of being able to "bear the weight" (especially on a long hike, and climb, for example) is VERY well taken.

Though sorry, Alexdi, I am neither stunned technically, nor impressed compositionally, by any of the DP sample images -- but that's DP.

The Leica, by spec., rep, and M9 reference, would appear to be capable of far greater.

I await superior IQ and compositional examples.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
DaveMarx

There are certainly some intriguing reasons to buy this camera, and at least as many reasons not to. As with any other specialized device, the user aims to do something in particular, particularly well. Today's top line DSLRs are working very hard to be all things to all photographers, so that's what we expect of every professional device. Stripping away some of the excess is a nice idea.

I remember when a photographer might wear several cameras, loaded with various films and lenses (not that I could afford to). So, if this suits a photographer's needs and budget, why not?

Personally, it doesn't appeal at all on the practical level, but I can't deny the romance of a device dedicated to the art of b&w. It disciplines one to excel at that one medium, and to follow a great, old tradition. But truth be told, when I shot and processed b&w as a kid, one reason was that it was dirt cheap, and another was that what I was shooting would be published in b&w. Times have changed.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
ljmac

These images simply aren't aesthetically pleasing, let alone accurate. The lack of colour overemphasises certain unattractive elements (e.g. bloodshot eyes), while destroying a lot of detail in complex areas of the scene, which needs colour to resolve properly. It seems that in practice converting colour to monochrome in accordance with the needs of the specific image produces far better results - or even better, not converting it to monochrome at all.

0 upvotes
Michel Aristegui

Saying that colour is superior to monochrome doesn't make any sense. It's different, that's all.

1 upvote
wb2trf

When the history is written, digital will be the death of Leica cameras. It will be written that 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, ie. Leica owners are to contemporary photographers as philatelists are to the Internet. 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.

DPR should aspire to being unable to write usefully about Leicas in the way that, for example, Nature cannot usefully discuss Creationism.

1 upvote
topogon

Wrong. Since the release of the M8 Leica''s fortunes have gone from strength to strength. They are in better shape now than any time in the last 15 years or more. Their only problem is they cannot keep up with the massive increase in demand for M lenses over the last three years resulting in wait times of up to 6 months for some optics.

0 upvotes
jmmgarza

Now... a high-quality black ink only large-format ink jet printer.

3 upvotes
Michel Aristegui

... and a high-quality monochrome computer screen.

4 upvotes
jmmgarza

Yes, I hate spending hundreds on color ink that I won't use, that eventually settles into the cartridge as worthless goo.

0 upvotes
max metz

Beautiful. The best definition astophotography comes from monochrome sensors, the adoption of the principle in mainstream photography is something that's been waiting to happen, let's hope other camera manufacturers pick up on this.

2 upvotes
cxsparc

Errr.. the best astrophotography is where the sensor e.g. hubbles records multiple wavelengths and this information is rendered in (false) color to human eyes. It adds drama and allows us to receive more information using our natural eyes.

0 upvotes
Joesiv

Wouldn't the hubble telescope use filters to filter out each of these wavelengths and then stack them?

I agree with max, monochrome seems like a good idea for astro, though I don't do it admittedly. What we need now is an auto filter changer.

I can't wait to see some stacked astro pictures from this camera!

0 upvotes
RRJackson

So for a while I've really wanted a monochrome M-mount camera with a 24x36 sensor to use with the Zeiss 21mm f/4.5. With a color sensor there are color shifts across the frame, but with this camera you could shoot distortion-free (essentially) wide-angle with a lens that's quite a bit nicer than any wide angle lens available for DSLRs, IMO.

Of course Leica still doesn't offer any viewfinder options, so you'd still be stuck with a viewfinder that can only frame as wide as 28mm. I mean, you can wing it. Or mount an auxiliary viewfinder. But how amazingly cool it would be if they'd offer something like the Bessa R4's .52 viewfinder with brightlines for 21mm.

Of course, I can't afford it, anyway. ;-)

1 upvote
Gesture

This development begs the question: wouldn't there be some way to have such a camera take alternate sensors? Will be interesting if Ricoh tries a B&W sensor for the GXR platform.

2 upvotes
Alizarine

Sounds like a good idea...
Reminds me that the GXR is still by far the most versatile camera out there.

0 upvotes
lajka

Yes,yes,yes. Please Ricoh just do it. I have your m-unit and 28-unit and love them both. Do it Ricoh, B/W unit and HD unit just for filming. Of course both in leica m-mount.

0 upvotes
brujo74

One can try this: download an original D800 (a cheap camera) jpeg, turn it b/w, resize it to this Leica resolution and compare. Still eager to buy one?

1 upvote
Guidenet

I too am a bit underwhelmed. Most monochrome I see these days are failed color images where the photographer chose to go b&w in an attempt to be artsy, to same the failed image. I even see it here in critiques where people tell the photographer to try the same image converted to monochrome.

We look at some of the old greats like Ansel Adams and point at wonderful images, but that was the best medium available in those days. As technology improved, Adams moved forward. Today I believe he'd be shooting digital color and use Photoshop CS5.

I think it can be fun and rewarding to shoot B&W, and I too do these days, but it's with film and multi contrast paper printed high contrast. For those who still want great B&W, there you have it for much less money than this baby and you're not just trying to be artsy. For $7000, you can buy a complete darkroom, a nice 4x5 field camera & lens along with most everything else needed to really do B&W right. The image was meant that way from the start.

13 upvotes
onlooker

> Most monochrome I see these days are failed color images where the photographer chose to go b&w in an attempt to be artsy, to same the failed image.

Yes, and most poetry is written because authors failed at prose.

4 upvotes
ljmac

Completely agree with all of this. I'm sure Ansell would have used colour for the vast majority of his photos were it available to him, and his images would have been even better.

I agree that monochrome is usually a pathetic attempt at 'art' now.

1 upvote
RRJackson

Kind of sad to see how little respect so many people have for monochrome capture. There are a lot of things you can do with monochrome that don't really work in color. Deep focus shots don't really work as well in color, for example. And of course B&W emphasizes lines in a way that color doesn't, so certain kinds of composition pop in B&W that don't really have the same appeal in color.

The other thing about this camera in particular is that it's probably going to be able to capture close to as much detail as a D800, despite having less resolution as a result of losing the Bayer array.

Honestly, what could be more appealing than a monochrome digital Leica? It makes such perfect sense. If I could afford one I'd already have one pre-ordered.

5 upvotes
Michael Engelen

to ljmac: that's an interesting idea, but Ansel Adams wrote/said that he could never really deal with color in his images. That's why he decided to stay with BW /monochrome. Read about it in "Ansel Adams in Color" Quote: "Adams died in 1984, still planning a book on color photography, a topic that he had wrestled with since the 1950s and that gave him profound discomfort. He allowed that were he a young photographer in the 1980s, he'd work in color, yet in the last letter quoted herein he confessed, "I don't like photographic color. . . . It is not my dish of tea!"

0 upvotes
Guidenet

RR, nobody said B&W was a bad idea. What I said was that most B&W I see these days are attempts to save a failed color image. I have full respect for a monochrome image that was planned to be that way from the beginning. We're talking about the pre-visualized image where the photographer wanted to take advantage of the traits of monochrome photography.

IMO, to really take advantage of monochrome one needs to dive into where those traits lie, and I think this is B&W film photography, not removing the Bayer array from a color sensor. With film you have not only the characteristics of a B&W composition you mention but the characteristics of the film developer, paper and paper developer. You can choose to go more blue on multi contrast paper for that hard high contrast look, or more of a green light. This whole B&W endeavor all can contribute to the monochrome experience.

I think blowing $8000 on a camera might be fooling oneself into thinking they will get a wonderful B&W of old.

1 upvote
onlooker

> With film you have not only the characteristics of a B&W
> composition you mention [...]

Having done B&W photography all my life (film, then digital), I fail to see what film has to do with composition.

> the characteristics of the film developer, paper and paper developer.

These are all elements of B&W chemical processing. This is the exact equivalent of digital processing, except now you can do it much more precisely and deliberately.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Doug Frost

@ljmac - Ansel Adams shot in B&W by choice, not because color wasn't available to him. He always shot in color occasionally, and had been doing so since the 1930s, but chose B&W as his preferred medium for his serious artistic work. Most of Adams' most famous photographs were shot in the mid-40s to late 60s. There was no shortage of color film then. B&W isn't something great artists fall back on because they can't shoot color. Great B&W photography is poignantly beautiful in ways that color can never be.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
OXwing

So why it still needs a COLOR LCD SCREEN ????
I would go for a B&W LCD, and -$1000 on MSRP.

4 upvotes
Guidenet

So, where's Leica going to purchase this monochrome screen and for less money than they are paying for this 230k pixel 2.5 inch crap? Just curious.

6 upvotes
sunhorse

Tell you what. Why don't you check out the manufacturers of monochrome LCD displays. Don't forget to check out the specs. Come back and let us know the results.

0 upvotes
brujo74

Guys, why do they need WB presets for? Am I crazy, or what?

1 upvote
Noirist

You don't understand the Leica Way. A year from now Leica will announce the Leica M Monochrom Ultra, which will cost $1000 more and finally have the coveted monochrome display.

P.S. "Less costs more" is the Leica Way.

1 upvote
Aaron MC

Detail is suitably good. Good on Leica for trying something unique. Bad on Leica for charging even more than they usually do for it.

The ISO performance is at least noticeably better than the M9. That's a plus.

I guess that all I can say is that I'm not interested enough to warrant such a premium.

0 upvotes
MrFlash

Just when you think that Fuji (and others) may drag Leica kicking and screaming into the 21st century, they resist temptation and take a giant leap back toward the 60's.

Very few people will be willing to photograph exclusively in B&W, so it's a good thing that Leica bodies are priced so that most people can just buy two. One for color, one for B&W. Makes perfect since to me.

4 upvotes
Chilloutbuddy
1 upvote
Michel Aristegui
0 upvotes
dstate1

Leica perfectly understands their customer base...masochists with money (or credit). What will they take away for the next release? How about the lens mount?

Thank you sir, can I have another?

4 upvotes
Nikonworks

Bull's Eye!

Thank you, we all needed that.

1 upvote
Guidenet

"Thank you sir, can I have another?"

Love it! ;)

1 upvote
Photozopia

Why not the lens itself - a M9 B&W variant with a fixed pinhole of f64 - got to be the ultimate 'back to roots' Leica! (Oh - pinhole is a $5,000 'extra' on top of basic spec camera)

0 upvotes
Ben Raven

Firstly, I am a long time user and appreciator of Leica product (my second "real" camera was luckily a gifted, old, perfect M3 w/50 lux), and current user of Leica glass, and when there is FINALLY, sometime later in this century, an M10 . . .

Cost aside (!), this is a great niche-dedicated product concept for uncompromising maximum quality digital B&W.

BUT, (yeah, you saw that "but" coming) the IQ of the image samples posted by DP can be summarized in one word: UNDERWHELMING !

I hope they do not represent the true optimum (or even lowest grade) output of this camera. Bear in mind I am viewing them with perfect eyes on a 27" IMac screen.

It is a mystery to me what some of the readers are raving about !

The potential ? I'm onboard, and anxious to see.
THESE samples . . . not so much.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah

I like the idea but not at this price, I would like to see a camera like this on the Micro 4/3 System, or even on other mirrorless cameras

But well done Leica, just make the price lower

4 upvotes
Josh SZ

don't have to be long, you will see monochrome variant camera from fuji or panasonic or samsung because it is not too hard to do it.

0 upvotes
kewlguy

stunning detail!

0 upvotes
Edmund Dorf

There are quite a few typos in this report. Looks like somebody didn't do a good job of proof reading.

1 upvote
Mssimo

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.

8 upvotes
pomoville

Leica makes nice cameras, but this is condescending, man. It's not necessary to criticize people for not being rich.

4 upvotes
KSV

Sums pretty well. I (as most old farts who ever shoot and developed B/W films by themselves) LOVE to have one. Cannot justify cost. So for all those naysayers - just admit that you cannot afford this marvel and stop ridicule yourself by saying that "my iCr@p can do the same").

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
dmanthree

I guess you can include me in the "my camera can do this" crowd, because based on these samples, it can. And, with the ability to mimc filters in PS, it can actually do more. These images aren't really that good. Sorry, that's what I see.

4 upvotes
Rage Joe

"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."

Sounds like you are not going to take any pictures with your collectors item ... but the camera still makes you feel more like a photographer, which is good.

4 upvotes
Jogger

Your camera may be worth more, but, the D4 and 1Dx users are MAKING money from their cameras by USING them. These are meant to be kept in the box; dont want to break the seal.

0 upvotes
Mssimo

I will never buy one of these cameras. I use u4/3 and FF cameras. What I was trying to say is that you don't compare a Rolex watch to a Timex. A Timex can do a better job at keeping time but it will never be cross shopped with a Rolex. The camera is a timeless work of art like every other Leica before it. (I dont include the PnS models)

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nikonworks

My D700 and D7000 and D300 and D5000 and Samsung TL500 can do the same thing.

3 upvotes
persiyan

Um... No.

2 upvotes
Nikonworks

Um... Yes... Open your eyes, try it.

2 upvotes
Ramjager

Dream on Nikonboy...the Leica glass alone destroys every Nikon lens ever built.
If you avn ever felt or seen a DNG file from a Leica do yourself a favor and at least comment having seen one.
No Canon or Nikon camera can produce a file to match the overall quality out of camera of a Leica body when combined with the sharest lenses ever sold.
You think your distorted sharp 14-24 is any good..? If you do look at the Leica 21 or 24..it will redefine what you think is good.

0 upvotes
rgolub

'Felt' a DNG? Now you're getting all artsy on us. Of course, looking at a Flash gallery of pictures on a random LCD monitor doesn't quite give you the reproductive impact of a large print in person, but given the fact that most of us have seen lots of monitor images AND prints and understand the differences, I have to agree with Nikonworks and others - I'm underwhelmed. I can take images every bit as detailed, with the same or higher contrast, better tone and range with any modern DSLR and Photoshop.

I'm sure the Leica aficionados will flock to this camera. The rest of us, not so much.

Now, if Nikon did this ....

0 upvotes
Alizarine

Nope, you can't sell any of those for more than $3000 each. Leica can with their cameras.

0 upvotes
Michel Aristegui
0 upvotes
D1N0

Really want to shoot monochrome? shoot film and get a darkroom! This camera is for snobs.

6 upvotes
keepreal

For a monochrome afficianado with deep pockets this camera must be the holy grail.

With black and white you need to have a very different eye and know how to use tones to convey mood. But it can be very powerful and is a completely different technique from colour.

IMO Karsh portraits are an order of magnitude better than any other portrait photographer but can you imagine them in colour? Likewise Ansel Adams landscapes and Eugene Smith's best shots at Minamata? In colour, each would lose something.

Back to these Leica samples, the detail from corner to corner looks extremely good in L1000492-DNG. However it is a pity that DP Review churns out samples haphazardly from one camera to another with nothing in common that allows you to compare the results from each. Also, if there were shots with genuine high dynamic range here, we might be able to come to some valid first conclusions about this aspect of the camera. The bigger DP Review gets, the lower their standards. A great pity.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
OBI656

How do I view these images ... anyone know ? If I click on image it takes me elsewhere but on to picture I am clicking on ... Frustrating ...

0 upvotes
hexxthalion

hmm, would be quite interesting to see what images would fuji produce if they remove colour filter ;) these from leica are stunning

0 upvotes
Jim Evidon

I assume that a reasonable company like Leica, having removed the Bayer filter and, I imagine, the anti-aliasing filter, not to mention all of the company logos and engraved scripting will no doubt offer this camera to the buying public at a price set well below that of the standard color-able fully scripted M9. Of course, I am given to other fantasies as well.

2 upvotes
persiyan

Makes sense, no? This camera is cheaper to manufacture than their regular M9. But that's not the point is it? Leica knows how to sell niche products, that's why they are still around.

0 upvotes
Photozopia

Jim - how could you tease Leica fans so? Everyone knows high end products charge extra for .... well, extras!

In the case of Leica (who regularly omit modern technology from their products) their 'extras' are actually the things they omit. I've already postulated the M9-MP (B&W - fixed pinhole mount) in these pages.

I believe it could be the interim model before the introduction of an M10-FB, in which Leica will remove all electronics/sensor and substitute it with a replaceable polyester film based (FB) medium of 36 frame capacity that is rotated individually in front of the lens (or optional pinhole unit - $5000) for exposure.

The RAW files will be removed and returned to authorised agents who will 'develop' the images using a proprietary process.

Only then will the true ethos of Leica have achieved it's zenith.
(Camera will, of course, be available only as a $100,000 limited edition - LOL)

0 upvotes
cmeier

Lovely, but ridiculously expensive, as expected.
Maybe Leica should consider weatherseals, so that you don't have to worry as much about losing a 8000 USD camera to the elements.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
jaysonmc

Looking at the samples: detail certainly looks good, dynamic range seems a generation back as well as the metering. Seems like a tough sell to "photographers" at $8000. I would have expected higher DR and a cheap (though slightly) going with an all Monochrome camera. I am failing to see the benefit here, except in increased detail. A Shame.

3 upvotes
Joesiv

Metering is what you make of it with a manual only camera.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler

It isn't a manual-only camera - it offers P, A and S modes, just as most other modern cameras do. At which point metering is a valid concern (though it must be stressed this is a pre-production camera, and metering may yet be adjusted).

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
michelowski

To be more precise, it's a camera with the DR of the D200 of yore... and that requires a good meter.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Gesture

". Also, if there were shots with genuine high dynamic range here, we might be able to come to some valid first conclusions about this aspect of the camera." I agree. In addition to all the stills masters, we can find no finer work in black and white photography than so much of the the cinema of the 30s and 40s. The care taken to get tonal range and make the photography say something. I remember watching a British film based on Dickens. I think it was Pickwick Papers. Right away, I said to myself, this is what I have been trying to accomplish all these years in B&W photography!

0 upvotes
JonB1975

So DP, it has Program and Shutter priority modes does it?

When did Leica start putting an 'A' position on their M lenses?

0 upvotes
rocklobster

I don't see the point to this camera. At that cost and especially when some of those samples exhibit clipping.

Would any of you enthusiasts with spare case really want a camera like this?

Cheers

4 upvotes
marianco

Money is NOT a limiting factor for the true Leica user.

This is a great camera for black-and-white rangefinder photography.

0 upvotes
Joesiv

Clipped highlights are part of the fun of black and whites. Grey bland images typically don't make the best black and whites. High contrast, using light to create shape and evoke emotions is why some people like black and white photography.

Afterall it's call "black and white", not "grey" photography

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Faintandfuzzy

Why? Because the detail is incredible. And because we get the character of the Leica glass. Worried about clipping? Set your meter at -1/3. Problem solved.

1 upvote
rocklobster

Hi Faintsndfuzzy

I'll just have the Leica glass and it's wonderful colours on another camera if you don't mind.

My comment about the clipping was a bit tongue-in-cheek and more about the photographer than the camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
motobloat

At last, a camera for hipsters living off of their parents' money! Pretty easy to afford with a $10,000 a month stipend from dad, and soooo retro! Does it do instagram filters too?

Seriously though, besides hipsters and the insanely wealthy, I can't see much of a target market for this specialty device...

4 upvotes
Gothmoth

you are living from wellfare i guess?

you may not know this but some people work for their money.
well outside greece at least.....

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Mr AB

yes, people work also for they money and is true as well as is true that you are ignorant.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ian Matthew

people work for their money outside Greece... what person writes such a comment... live your dream my friend from where ever you are...

1 upvote
W Sanders

"Hipsters and the insanely wealthy" also describes the pros that will buy this camera right away. The rest of us will have to consider carefully whether to spend $8K (or nearly double that with a lens) on this little wonder or the equivalent amount of Canon or Nikon kit.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
marianco

Leica cameras and lenses were never meant for the poor.

1 upvote
a complete unknown

Sure, we Greeks sit around all day long, never work, we don't ever pay taxes and spend like crazy.... Come and visit us sometime, hardworking man, live with the real people for a little while, and maybe you will revise your opinion.

1 upvote
Poss

Well Leica is German and all Germans own now a second property. It's called Greece.

Before all of you jump at my throat, I've seen these EXACT words on subway ad billboards all over London...

0 upvotes
Photozopia

I'm in for one .... BUT ..... first I gotta email Apple to make a B&W only Cinema display. Couldn't possibly process the M-M output on a full colour one! Keeping It Real Leica!

(Sarcasm alert - in case you were wondering!)

0 upvotes
Gothmoth

well after looking at the sample images i must say im underwhelmed.
i don´t know why someone would want to buy this camera.

5 upvotes
Poss

Hey, such a display would be awesome to watch timeless old flicks on... stuff like City Lights, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca...and so on...

2 upvotes
Ivar Dahl Larsen

Cameras of today,whether this Leica or any other high end cameras are by few exceptions, very much alike in regard to quality. It is mostly up to taste, economy and what one gives priority to. Rudeness has no place here. I have seen wonderfully exhibited photographs taken with a small aps-c modells and you can't really tell which camera produced it. But in many cases you can tell which photographer made it.

0 upvotes
photoshutter

Amazing camera, but, why samples was shoot without filters?

0 upvotes
Stephen_C

I like the images. I hope Fijifilm comes out with a dedicated B&W camera that costs less.

1 upvote
Gothmoth

look at the example image with the ladder. look at the wood.
there is a repeating pattern (square like).
and no that is not a wood structure.

btw: if you have an 8 bit jpg you end up with only 256 neutral grays right?
what about banding?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Mescalamba

Thats processed wood, not moiré. :D

http://pcdn.500px.net/7287434/9a58ca0b764c87b68cffd801657531dacdef4978/4.jpg

8 bit jpeg and I dont see any banding. :D

0 upvotes
Gothmoth

on second thought i had the same idea of some chainsaw, wood plane etc. pattern. but it looked strange.

you don´t see banding in every image... of course not.
but i sometimes had problems with banding when shooting JPG and then converting to BW.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rich Foley

It looks like plane marks.

0 upvotes
kdaphoto

Is it just me or do the full images never download? So far all I can see are pixelated previews and a perpetually spinning icon showing they are still downloading.

0 upvotes
Joesiv

Works for me

0 upvotes
Doug Frost

I'm sorry but I'm just not impressed by these photos. The monochrome tonality in every one looks a little flat to my eyes. I prefer the monochrome results I get from converting my RGB files in post and the flexibility of having Photoshop's photo filters at my disposal. Being limited to only using physical photo filters at the time of shooting seems like a huge step backwards in this digital world.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Mescalamba

Being limited usually increase creativity.

2 upvotes
Doug Frost

That's like saying that having your legs amputated makes you walk better.

10 upvotes
Photographically Speaking

okay but fairly underwhelming samples. I don't see the point to this camera but I am sure some others will.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 452
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