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

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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.

The price of the Leica M9-M is $7,950.00.

Technical data LEICA M MONOCHROM
Camera type: Compact digital rangefinder system camera with a dedicatedblack-and-white image sensor
Lens mount: Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding
Lens system: Leica M lenses from 16 to 135 mm
Image sensor: Active area approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm, 5212 x 3468 pixels(18 megapixels). Infrared blocking filter for invisible light withwavelengths longer than 700 nm, no low-pass filter
Resolution: Optional resolution, DNG™: 5212 x 3468 (18 megapixels),JPEG: 5216 x 3472 (18 megapixels), 3840 x 2592 (10 megapixels),2592 x 1728 (4.5 megapixels), 1728 x 1152 (2 megapixels),1280 x 864 (1 megapixel)
Image file formats: DNG™ (RAW), uncompressed, JPEG with quality-preserving compression
File sizes: DNG™: 18 MB (compressed), 36 MB (uncompressed),JPEG: approx. 2–10 MB
Color spaces: sRGB hardwired
Storage media: SD-cards from 2 GB, SDHC-cards up to 32 GB
Menu languages: German, English, French, Spanish, ItalianJapanese, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Russian
Exposuremetering: Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), center-weighted at working apertureCenter-weighted TTL-metering for flash with system-compatibleSCA-3000/2 standard flash units
Metering range: at f/1.0 / ISO 320/26°: EV 1 to 21.The left triangular LED in the viewfinder blinks when light levels are outside the lower metering range
ISO sensitivityrange: ISO 320/26° to ISO 10000/41°, selectable in 1/3-ISO increments with aperture priority metering (A) and manual exposure settings, choice of automatic control or manual setting. ISO 160 also available as a pull-function
Exposure modes: Aperture priority (A) / Manual(M)
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  • Nobody Special

    Puke.

    It better be because really, it gets pretty ridiculous reading Leica finding another way to say they are the greatest.

    • Ryu

      Yup, more like marketing gimmick than real innovation. Any other brand can release a bw sensor with probably better performance. If that happens, what will Leica brag about then?

      • grayscale

        gimmick?, have you seen the proofs?
        They are extremely sharp for 18 mp, as you would expect from a monochrome matrix. It’s a simple solution but is pretty awesome, if money is not an issue…

        http://us.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/m_monochrom/download-192_5.html

        Rather just get a d800 though, then I can do digital color filtering and still have super sharpness.. but massive files.

        • bert

          The Leica ones are just as massive as the D800 ones, Leica wastes 2 bit/pixel (hey you need 2 byte for 14 bit!) and offer no lossless compression. Both make 36Mb RAW files.

        • bert

          I can’t judge the proofs. They are over the top sharpened, that’s for sure. Or the Leica has an amazing lot of noise. D-range looks crap too. But you are right: their 35mm is damn fine and crazy sharp lens! But a 14-24 on a D800 delivers more detail, more D-range, higher iso, and colour. That’s sure too.

        • Ryu

          So what happens if another brand as I’ve said releases a better bw sensor at a fraction of the price. Have you heard what happened to the sales of the x1 when fuji released the x100. Where’s the innovation? Sure it does the job well but nothing that Sony, Olympus, or whatever brand you want to mention can ‘t out do without splurging on research and development. Heck if the others want they can already release their version in less than six months.

  • h

    Anyone think the leather vulcanite is ugly? It’s flat!

    • thatguy

      Only you. So shut it!

  • elnoma

    oh my god – the same crappy LCD

  • jp

    Someone has fallen off the medicine cabinet and hit their head…. $8k b/w only. Instead of adding new features they have resorted to removing the main feature(color) the M9 corrected in the M8.

  • Regular

    Admin, can you please confirm the price of the new items? who are those dealer prices, that Leica does not want to see revealed, for?

  • skinnfel

    Stop whining. For a lot of people (myself included) this looks like pretty close to the perfect camera. Monocrome-only sensor makes a LOT of sense when I convert 90% of my pictures to black and white anyways. I can live without the last 10% of the tradeoffs are what leica promises here.

    This is a specialty product, not a jack-of-alltrades (master of none) like for example the Canon 5D.3

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      You might think it’s the perfect camera because you don’t know better

  • Banksie

    Do you have any more specifics on the sensor? Is it a Truesense Imaging Inc. sensor?

  • baboodaboo

    Why haven’t I seen any sample pictures from the new M??

  • Regular

    Reading through Leica websites, it looks like their samples pictures were post-processed with silverfx pro, and there are not straight from sensor.

    so you will still continue to spend time in photoshop/gimp.

    • CHD

      LOL…harshly put…but true.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      Take a look around online – there’s definitely some sample images that are straight out of camera, not all processed with Silver Efex. In fact that is the goal of the whole workflow – Leica have tried to make it so that you can use photos SOOC with minimal or zero post production.

  • http://blogg.hogbergphotography.com Danonino

    Why does not the “Jacob Aue Sobol” link to work done with the M9M work? Anyone ??

  • Nobody Special

    Okay, the thing I wonder is; I would think that a ‘daily working pro’ (I am not, I freelance) would have to be able to/need to shoot BOTH color and B&W….on demand, spontaneously. So what/who exactly IS the TARGET MARKET? Fine Art photographers? Serious amateurs?

    As nice as the files may be, it still seems a bit of a stretch that this is a big market product – even ‘big’ for Leica. I read elsewhere today, that Kaufmann is a big fan of B&W; please, please, don’t let me find out this was his idea.

    • Nobody Special

      I mean; like his idea because he thinks it’s ‘his’ toy….like he thought the S2 was a great idea….Like what he wants, he gets.

      • Banksie

        Well, it is his company. Steve Jobs always got what he wanted. Not implying the Kaufmann is any Steve Jobs, but Leica is his ‘toy’ now. One can either accept that and just move on, or complain forever. But the latter tends to just create angst and not much else.

        • Nobody Special

          Agreed. There are those of us – myself included that are second generation Leica users and owners – I’ve freelanced and used Leica’s for 40 years and my father 30 before that.

          So, some have a real bond and understand and have lived through the lineage and evolution of the brand and have a unique understanding of what the brand was – how it started – heck, knowing the old lettered catalog/product codes took effort to remember.

          I’m not saying that my view is special, but when one starts with an old A series body, graduates up to the G series, M, SL/SL2, and R and used them and the tactile from one system to the next could be felt in hand and eye, the familiarity with it goes deep.

          So, to my experience, I can almost sense that Kaufmann has little real knowledge of that – even though he talks a good line. One can see through is words w/o much difficulty. Even so, I’ve given him the opportunity to show his intentions – and from what he has done so far, well I just don’t trust him with the heritage that he ‘purchased’.

          Early on, he hired Steven Lee, who was a big fan of the SL and R series cameras. The speculation of Lee’s dismissal are a little foggy – but it’s interesting that he thought Leica needed to be more visible, too, it seemed he was a proponent of a DSLR R system – well, we all know what happened – he got canned, the R system was dropped and the S was produced.

          At that Photokina, when most everyone expected to see the R digital, there was an empty space at the top of an R system family tree display which one might assume was for the banished R digital. I’ll give Leica ’til Photokina to see what they do, but as I said, it takes more than money to understand Leica’s heritage.

          • Banksie

            “…it takes more than money to understand Leica’s heritage.”

            I’m not so sure Kaufmann is as evil as you make him to be. Despite his eccentricities, Leica is now a viable company and profits can go back into R+D. As we all know, Leica has definitely been near the brink of extinction many times. And without Kaufmann taking a risk to resurrect it, it may not have been here today. If you look at the current Leica marketing strategy, they are clearly pushing the ‘Leica heritage’ as a main selling point. I think it’s forefront in their minds but with the pragmatic side of running a business (and whether it’s sold to current Leica owners or newbies doesn’t matter, you have to sell product to stay alive.) And he is surrounded by a team of people who know the heritage well. It’s not that he’s completely blind to it.

            I think the M system is the emphasis here (and it always has been the center of the ‘heritage’), but I have a feeling that the S platform will start to evolve more and stretch itself into a range of products. But Leica is not a big company with huge assets and resources like Nikon, Canon, or Fuji, and they have always been relatively conservative.

            I’m also literally (and emotionally) invested in Leica, and the M system is basically all I’ve used for decades. I started on the M4. And except for Nikon SLRs (and now the D3s) for specialty work that the M cannot do, it’s all I use in 35mm.

            But I suppose if I had gone to the R system, I’d probably feel the same as the rest of the R and DMR folks who feel abandoned. Like current Saab owners…..

          • Nobody Special

            We’ll see how his decision to sell off nearly half of the Leica brand to money-men will reflect back on him in the future.

            That does not seem to reflect on good intentions or concern towards the Leica brand heritage.

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

        Leica brand heritage… interesting that you should mention that.

        Personally, I think that keeping the company in business shows great respect for the heritage!

        Or you would prefer that Leica ceased to exist? Then all Leica cameras would instantly become collectible, but no new products to continue the legacy? That’s better than creating a niche product and releasing special edition cameras?

        • Nobody Special

          Sounds like you work for Leica, as you ignore what has happened with Leica since K took it over/bought it.

          His actions have alienated many of the Leica customer/user base. At the very least it shows he has little idea of how to ‘save’ the brand w/o chasing many away from it – he is NOT the best owner of the brand to date – he just has the most $$$.

          I don’t think the brand will be anything like it is today or was in the past simply because his ‘ideal’ for it is not based on having a first hand user knowledge of the product. Try this concept on for size; part of a brands heritage includes (not eliminates) it’s respect for the users that have kept it alive through the years, by developing products that keep them involved by ‘inclusion’ to the future of the brand.

          Now if you don’t understand that, then I’m wasting my time.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      Who exactly is the target mareket?

      Obviously not you, so don’t concern yourself. Easy solution for a non-problem!

      • Nobody Special

        How do you know I’m not part of the ‘target market’?

        I’ve said that if the M mono has the tonal qualities/look’ of an 8×10 B&W negative I may be interested – still, based on what Leica/Kaufmann has done up to this point, the market will be small.

        What about you? Are you interested in the M mono???

  • CHD

    I actually wouldn’t mind having this camera…if it was like $4000. Seems like a bit of a one trick pony for $8k. Also…..I am astounded that Leica is unable/unwilling to change out that crappy LCD.

  • CHD

    I aqctually wouldn’t mind one of these…for maybe $4000. At $8k seems like a lot for a one trick pony. Also, what’s with Leica and their stubborn refusal to give us a decent LCD??? Seriously, this LCD is on par with my 20D from 2004.

    • CHD

      Whoops…double post…didn’t think the last one went through.

  • Hom Thogan

    The future? are you sure? sincerily if Leica keeps this path I don’t see them lasting another decade in the business…

    • Banksie

      That’s what people were saying back in the 1970s.

      • Nobody Special

        Remember, the R system kept them alive – even when the M was teetering on the cliff. It’s safe to say that they stayed alive – even if barely – because of that and the M6.

        Things are different now. But interestingly, the R series were basically a Minolta chassis and users still bought them – over 400,000 – not counting the SL/SL2 – no one seemed to be bothered by that as long as they had a body to use R glass on. The lack of auto-focus really shot down the R system.

        So it’s easy to speculate that the digital M by itself may not be able to keep the brand afloat – certainly the S system won’t be as helpful as the R series was in helping to keep the brand alive. I think they really, really, really, better have a ‘whizz-banger’ for Photokina.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      Leica revenues are through the roof since the M9. They can’t make cameras or glass quickly enough to keep up with demand. On top of that – there’s all the special edition M8/M9s that people can’t seem to get enough of.

      Leica is not going away.

      Although I can see why you’d make that rash statement. Just remember that Leica is a luxury brand, you can’t compare them to any other camera maker. That’s just how it is.

      • Nobody Special

        It’s more of a luxury brand now, since Kaufmann bought the company than it ever was before – it use to be expensive before – and some crazy special editions would come along – but not like it is now.

        • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

          Yes, this just confirmed that I am no longer part of Leica’s target audience. Maybe some of you are, but this is going way out of what I can afford to buy. For me even the M9 was a stretch. Otherwise I like the idea of a B&W M body, but not the way it was executed by Leica – same screen, same processor, same battery – not worth IMHO. The Leica X2 I think is dead on arrival – same 230k dots screen, not so good high ISO (based on one comparison I’ve seen). I am curious about the new 50mm Cron – how much better could it performed compared to the 50 Lux? I am not even going to discuss the Hermes edition – looks beautiful, but $50k?

  • Gerry

    Why do all these people who will never buy a Leica come on this forum and post stupid remarks. Is it to make you feel better and that you have nothing better to do than searching forums to post negativity? Really people get some life and go take pictures instead of trolling forums all day and night!!

    I have no interest in this camera but it seems a lot Leica users have been whining for this for years. It’s not for me and I am sure it will only be produced in limited numbers as well….but it will make some people happy.

    All those people who are bitching, do a bit of research. Having a B&W sensor does have advantages and for those who only shoot B&W and have disposable income? Well, they got there wish.

    • CHD

      Gerry…..who says us guys bitching don’t own Leica? I have a 50mm and just sold an M8. The reason we’re bitching is because we would like to be able to buy MORE Leica products but at $8k for a f2 normal lens it ain’t gonna happen. People are pissed because no true photographer (save for the VERY small rich minority) or going to be able to buy these things anymore.

      I mean, isn’t Leica’s legacy all about the history of great photographers who have used them??? How many ‘great’ photographers are going to invest in a $8000 5mm f2 lens and what will probably be a $15,000 M10???? Too bad…….

      • Gerry

        umm I thought this post was for the M9M.

        I haven’t even looked at the post for the 50mm lens…..does seem a tad high :-/ OK so go bitch about the 50 lens on the 50 lens post ;-)

        I just read Reid Reviews detailed analysis on the M9M. He is a very balanced reviewer and he raved about it. Very significant benefits for the B&W shooters. Huge improvement in ISO capability, sharpness and tonality.

        As for the price. Well it will be limited production so was actually expecting it to be more.

        The thing that disgusts me with Leica is these limited editions like the Hermes. The cost is enough to save the lives of dozens of people in a third world country…all in the name of fashion. Sorry can’t justify that.

  • anon

    well it hit all the marketing notes…”worlds first”, “innovative”, “new standard”…

  • Kevin

    hmmmm…. very nice samples — noticed the increased dynamic range and increased ISO performance due to the native B&W images.

    however… pretty hefty price to pay for this image quality :)

  • CK Dexter Haven

    This is kinda funny. How all the blogs and interweb spaces are talking about how this brings the photographer back to Henri Cartier-Bresson. Yah. The one thing about the body of HCB’s work — the values inherent in those photographs — it’s all about how critically sharp and high-resolving they are.

    The Leica was good for a few things. Reportage-style FILM photography. And, that was usually about Tri-X (Double XX, or whatever) and D-76. This new group of dilettantes are convincing themselves that by committing to black and white, they’re demonstrating a commitment to the old traditions. Nice that Leica’s tossing in a copy of Silver Efex, so that you can add enough ‘grain’ to give the images some character. And obliterate whatever techn advantages the sensor might have.

    It’s nice that Leica is exploring the possibilities of a monochrom sensor. But, then, they announce their product with the pomp of a cello section. Mixed priorities. Tools for photographers? Or bragging rights for well-heeled hobbyists and bloggers?

    I’ve owned six Leica film bodies. But, in the digital era, it seems Leica isn’t interested in what i’m interested in. I’m frankly shocked they expect people to put $18,000 around their necks to walk around shooting banal ‘street scenes.’ Someone should be embarrassed.

    • jp

      If memory serves, Bresson shot with a standard lens (only one) because at that time it was the least expensive one in the shop and was all he could afford. So, yes they have brought it back to the days of Bresson because very few serious photographers or serious amateurs can afford any of the equipment.

    • http://www.photoandgraphica.com Val

      Totally agree

    • Vlad

      YES. This. Thank you.

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      “Or bragging rights for well-heeled hobbyists and bloggers” – very true!

  • SY

    I will buy GE, AGFAPHOTO, AP15.

  • CK Dexter Haven

    This is kinda funny. How all the blogs and interweb spaces are talking about how this brings the photographer back to Henri Cartier-Bresson. Yah. The one thing about the body of HCB’s work — the values inherent in those photographs — it’s all about how critically sharp and high-resolving they are. HCB had little interest in technical matters and exactitude and precision were not a part of his process. Yet, LL proclaims HCB would be “proud.” Sure.

    The Leica was good for a few things. Reportage-style FILM photography. And, that was usually about Tri-X (Double XX, or whatever) and D-76. This new group of dilettantes are convincing themselves that by committing to black and white, they’re demonstrating a commitment to the old traditions. Nice that Leica’s tossing in a copy of Silver Efex, so that you can add enough ‘grain’ to give the images some character. And obliterate whatever techn advantages the sensor might have.

    It’s nice that Leica is exploring the possibilities of a monochrom sensor. But, then, they announce their product with the pomp of a cello section. Mixed priorities. Tools for photographers? Or bragging rights for well-heeled hobbyists and bloggers?

    I’ve owned six Leica film bodies. But, in the digital era, it seems Leica isn’t interested in what i’m interested in. I’m frankly shocked they expect people to put $18,000 around their necks to walk around shooting banal ‘street scenes.’ Someone should be embarrassed.

    • Gerry

      Nice post. Even read it twice ;-)

  • anon

    leica jump shark

  • c.d.embrey

    Too bad that the B&W sensor wasn’t put in a New R10 body. A B&W S2 would also be interesting. But I wouldn’t take a rangefinder camera as a gift, they don’t fit my style of working.

  • `/1nc3nt

    What the heck?

    Who are crazy actually? The Camera Maker or the Prospect Buyer?

    It’s a matter of ‘being different’ and it’s costly.

    We -humans- are progressing forward, not backwards!

    • Daryl

      Great question, crazy may be both in this case, but Leica is first.

  • Daryl

    What scares me about Leica is what CHD pointed out, the M10 could be priced at $15,000, and that might be conservative. For Leica to price a 50mm lens at $7k indicates they’ve lost touch with reality. Street shooters don’t need the optical quality this lens possesses, and there are certainly ways to get this quality by other means such as Phase One backs and any decent medium format lens, or a Nikon D800E and the Zeiss 50mm F2 Macro.

  • bob_buttons

    Cost more than my kidneys…

    Rich people will still buy it. The same way people spend $10k on a hand bag.

  • Bert

    Ha, This WONT BE SHARP. Want to know why: The objects are still in colour, and colour means aberration. With colour filters, you can shift the 3 colour planes to match exactly. Without a filter, you will have fuzzy corners anyway, there is no option to repair aberration afterwards.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      Sheesh… no point in saying the images won’t be sharp – because they’ve already been made – and yes they are. Go and look at some samples fer cryin’ out loud.

    • Silver

      Poor old Bert. Sounds like you are getting confused.

  • Bert

    And A D800 has a better sensor too. 36 mpixel with bayer-pattern, means 18 mpixel green (the most important for brightness and detail), so that is the same, yet you get 18mpixel EXTRA to render colour. If you want the 9M to be sharp, you need to pop on a yellow or green filter anyway, and you loose light as well.

    • E

      Oh my god! In some way I definitely prefer old times when people could talk about general characteristics of a film without linking them to a brand or camera body. I also prefer old times when your camera could be full b&w or full color as you liked, depending on which film you use, without paying for this a real fortune.

      But whatever, new times are new times and today discussions are different: You are comparing apples and oranges… how to talk about a 36MP color sensor in a DSLR in comparison to a 18 MP B&W sensor in a rangefinder? Do you know at least that the M9M has a descriptive IQ of a camera with 38 MP (in B&W obviously)?

      Besides in my opinion you are doing a mess with concepts. Filters in a B&W support (film or sensor) are for playing with the way colors are rendered in grey tones, not to give any sharpness to image, at contrary… depending on the quality of your filter you could lose sharpness. And who told you that you lose light in every case… for some filters you don’t have any lose or this is minimal.

      • c.d.embrey

        I almost always use either a yellow, green or orange filter when I shoot B&W film. About the only time I don’t is when I’m shooting P3200 (TMZ) at night/dark interiors.

      • bert

        They are to help with the atmosphere, but a colour filter adds sharpness too. A lens that has to focus 1 wavelength is much sharper than when it has to handle all wavelengths and align them at the same spot.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration

        • E

          All my precious books of film and digital photography must be uninformed because not a single one mentions the use of “narrow band color filters” to give sharpness to the image (that will be very suspect because filters correct different things but also are prone to produce unsharpness)… or I haven’t seen it. More interesting for me was the link to demosaicing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demosaicing You have there a good explanation why color color filter arrays (CFA) in digital color sensors produce aliasing. You also need reconstruction algorithms but: “The reconstructed image is typically accurate in uniform-colored areas, but has a loss of resolution (detail and sharpness) and has edge artifacts (for example, the edges of letters have visible color fringes and some roughness)”.

          What is the real solution in B&W digital photography for this? Exactly what Leica and other MF manufactures did: B&W sensors without CFA, without reconstruction algorithms and without anti-aliasing filters. All that means better B&W images. You always have chromatic aberrations coming from lenses in the form of “blur”, but that is largely and better corrected with good APO lenses, and that’s the reason why the ideal lens for this M9M camera is the APO-Summicron that went out in same time. Use good glass and you won’t have this problem. Of course APO lenses are in general very expensive, the APO-Summicron is not the exception. Even if I still prefer film photography I recongnize Leica did a great movement with this M9M+Apo cron. I would like to know how this lens performs with film… It’s a shame that all reviews are done now for digital photography only.

  • regular

    People should read this thread :
    http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/customer-forum/128510-leica-m3-price.html

    In the 50′s, a brand new M3 body would cost US$ 288. It is equivalent to US$ 2,434 of today.

    My favourite quote ? “The price of an M3 as 2 weeks wages for a new college graduate in 1966. I made 550 or 600/month then.”

    Leica HQ should also read it.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      I understand what you’re trying to say, but comparing past prices will only result in a flawed comparison and unrealistic expectations. Do the same price comparisons with anything else from 60 years ago, even basics like milk and bread… not to mention luxury goods such as designer clothing and exotic sport cars.

      Another quote from that forum thread that everyone should keep in mind: “Leica’s financial crisis of 2005 drove them to the realization that they couldn’t keep selling everything at a loss and hope to make it up on volume (or ostrich-skin models). Plus – Euro-creep kicked in – along with other (how to put it?) economic events.”

      So yes, Leica in 2012 is very different to Leica of 1950. Therefore it is pointless and irrational to expect an equivalent price point. Doing so would be like expecting to buy a Lamborghini for under $100k, then complaining when they release a new car that is more expensive than the last.

      Whatever Leica was in the past (a more ‘affordable’ brand), it is different today. Expecting Leica to lower prices would be like standing in front of an apple tree and waiting to pick a banana. You’ll be disappointed and waste your time.

  • regular

    People should read this thread in the l forum :
    http://tinyurl.com/c2h88qt

    In the 50′s, a brand new M3 body would cost US$ 288. It is equivalent to US$ 2,434 of today.

    My favourite quote ? “The price of an M3 as 2 weeks wages for a new college graduate in 1966. I made 550 or 600/month then.”

    Leica HQ should also read it.

  • regular

    Admin ,what is the problem with posting a link to a discussion on the L Forum website?
    Comments keep on disappearing, and the L forum domain name is filtered out.
    Regards,

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      I don’t filter or block the l-camera forum, in fact I often link to them. I will check the spam filter when I get back to my computer.

      • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

        Yes, this post was marked as spam by Askimet (together with two other non-spam comments), I manually approved them.

        • regular

          Thank you for the feedback :) i thought there could be a policy with links I was not aware of. Regards.

          • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

            No, I do block certain websites, but not the l-camera forum. Also, sometimes comments apear few minutes later on the blog because of the caching software that refreshes every few minutes.

  • Nobody Special

    I can completely understand the complaints about cost and Leica/Kaufmann just reinforced the fact with the new 50. There has been NO effort from Leica to produce something that is remotely affordable as was the case FOR YEARS before L/K.

    If an owner hasn’t had ANY experience in business or how to be effecient on the job, and never had to purchase the product in ways like the majority of the users that kept the company name alive for years, we should lower our expectations of that ever changing.

    Staying positive about the chances of something changing is a good thing, but the reality is what L/K is establishing should be pretty clear to everyone by now, including the inability to listen to what many are asking for. Can L/K pull it off long-term???

    It seems that the new M mono may have been what K wanted – as he is a big fan of B&W. IF I could get the results of an 8×10 B&W neg from it then MAYBE it would be worth the cash, in the meantime, I hope Kaufmann likes his new toy.

  • Alexis

    No logo in front? Rich guys will not buy.

    • Henri

      Rich people don’t need logos to prove that they can afford expensive pieces.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      If someone really wanted to, they could get their hands on a Leica dot and put it on there. Solution!

      But it’s quite funny that you mention that, because personally I tape over the logo and branding on my M8. But then again, maybe wanting the red dot is just a rich guy thing…

  • Ove

    Looking away from the price tag, I’m a bit surprised about all the negative comments about the camera itself.

    Creativity often comes from limitations. And choosing a camera like this does not narrow your repertoire as a photographer. It will actually better your skill and style by focusing your thought, sight and effort to black&white.

    I would gladly choose this one over a 9-MP. Anyone agree?

    • Nobody Special

      Learning to ‘see’ in B&W is simply a matter of practise. The equipment has little to do with it, take a set of images (with film) in black and white and then color, study and compare – study shadows, highlights,etc., side by side. Or convert digital files slowly, watch how the composition is affected by the changes. Study, get better.

      In short order, the ability to ‘see’ in B&W develops and it’s a matter of course. Spending nearly$8K on on a M mono is a really expensive way to record it. But if that’s what anyone wants – go for it….I’ll pass on this latest and greatest.

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Pretty much every decent camera, starting from basic P&S cameras have a B&W mode.

      As far as B&W goes, this camera’s only benefit, in theory, is in image quality. Yes… in theory, because sample images online aren’t convincing of that either.

      So don’t say this will improve your creativity. Even back in the film day when B&W actually started (lol), people saw things in colour. If you can’t imagine (a colour scene in B&W) where is the creativity?

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

        I disagree – Ove has a good point. And I can say that because I’m living proof. When I had a DSLR I would often ‘spray & pray’ (as so many do – “Oh yeah, this camera does 10fps.” *Holds down shutter* At end of day, “Wow I’m tired – I took 5,000 photos today”. Oh, fantastic…) Although I always did prefer to take my time and take only a few photos rather than mass shutter-button abuse.

        Switching to the M8 and the limitation of a much slower write rate and fps rating has absolutely helped (forced?) me to think about what I’m doing and spend more time on composition, framing, alternative angles etc.

        So no, Leica M are not for everyone. Definitely not for the speed freaks who love to spray & pray. But for someone who does like to think more about their photography, the rewards of shooting with a rangefinder are definitely worth it.

        Personally I shoot with my M8 set to B&W DNG + JPG. This way I can quickly see if the photo works in B&W, but I also have the colour raw file that I can use as well. I only started doing this after reading about it on Thorsten Overgaard’s website (some great workflow ideas for anyone interested). It’s been a great introduction to B&W photography as it’s an easy way for me to see what works, and start training my eye for B&W.

        Going to the next extreme, the M Monochrom with only a B&W sensor – rather than having the option to fall back on colour photos, the photographer will very quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, when they end up with alot of photos that just aren’t good. The MM is a camera that will put anyone new to B&W photography on a very steep learning curve. But that is definitely one way to learn fast.

        Sure you can set your camera to B&W only, but you are limited to JPG. RAW files will always be in colour. Maybe that is too much of a temptation for someone? In which case the MM is a great camera to completely immerse them into the world of B&W photography.

        • E

          The better way for me to immerse somebody in B&W photography is with film. In that way they will learn also how is a good and rich B&W, not that chewing gum style digital B&W that usually comes out from people that don’t know how to work it. For sure I’m “old school” as some people say with ironic accent…. film is not “old school”, it’s only different and exigent.

  • E

    “As far as B&W goes, this camera’s only benefit, in theory, is in image quality. Yes… in theory, because sample images online aren’t convincing of that either”.

    IQ is there in a spectacular form: much better DR, much better detail, much better ISO… I can see it. But I still prefer film specially for my B&W photography :D

  • greg

    I love it but I would be seriously annoyed if it doesn’t come with the sapphire crystal cover for the (miserable) LCD screen, otherwise the increased price that they are asking for is not justified. Inflation certainly hasn’t arrived in Europe (yet) to otherwise justify the price premium over the current M9.

  • no one special

    I never onwed a Leica. never could afford it. so i have been saving since i really wanted to own one.
    but seeing the prices and seeing what i can get for that money in the market, i have lost interest in becoming a new member of leica club.
    if leica is as good as people say is, then i blame leica for not selling them for reasonable price. there is NO WAY this camera cost them more than 2000 USD and yet they wanna sell it for 8000!!!!!
    shame on them …..

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