Leica may extend its b&w imaging sensor idea to future compact cameras, and even its professional S-System DSLR, if its M Monochrom proves a hit, bosses have revealed.

Leica’s product management director Stefan Daniel said: ‘It depends on the success of the Monochrom – why not add other products to the range? Nothing is forbidden.’

Daniel stressed that the Monochrom M is ‘not a limited edition’, but an addition to the M range.

‘It’s kind of an experiment. If it all goes well, who knows?’

Daniel was speaking at a press event in Berlin, Germany where Leica Camera AG chairman, Dr Andreas Kaufmann, said he sees dedicated b&w sensors featuring in the M-range for the next 10, 15 or 20 years.

‘As long as we have sensors, it can make a lot of sense to have them for black & white – as we had b&w film – and have a [different] sensor for colour,’ said Kaufmann.

Kaufmann revealed that, theoretically, a b&w sensor could be installed in an X-range digital compact.

‘Would it make sense? At the moment, we are looking into the market,’ he added in an interview with Amateur Photographer, and a small contingent of other UK journalists on Friday.

Leica CEO Alfred Schopf added: ‘The most iconic pictures on the planet are in b&w.’

To illustrate the apparent popularity of monochrome images, Kaufmann said he has been informed that 40% of the entries at this year’s [Panasonic] Lumix festival for young photojournalists in Hannover are b&w.

‘I see this [Monochrom M] more as a product that attracts a broader range of customers. I don’t see this as a pure niche product,’ insisted Kaufmann.

Last week, Leica unveiled the X2, an APS-C format digital compact, housing a 16.2-million-pixel (effective resolution) sensor.

The Leica X2 boasts faster AF than the Leica X1, and a pop-up flash that sits slightly higher, and further away from, the lens.

A black version of the X2 (pictured above) will also be available – a colour designed to be more suitable for candid street photography than the silver anodised-finished model, said Leica X-System product marketing manager Maike Harberts.

The X2 is due out this month, priced £1,575.

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