With no colour filter array, the 18-million-pixel sensor in Leica’s new M Monochrom rangefinder captures highly detailed black & white images. Richard Sibley considers the advantages of using the Monochrom and finds out if it really is like shooting on film. Read the Leica M Monochrom review...

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Leica M Monochrom

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Leica M Monochrom review

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£6,200.00
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Leica M Monochrom review – Introduction

Although long rumoured, when finally released the exact details of the Leica M Monochrom digital rangefinder still came as something of a surprise. Based on the company’s £4,800 M9, the Monochrom only shoots black & white images – but costs £6,200.

Designing a digital camera solely for black & white images may seem counter-intuitive. After all, one of the major advantages of digital imaging is that the photographer can instantly switch between shooting in colour or black & white. Once an image has been converted to monochrome it is easy to alter the contrast or to add a filter effect, so why would a photographer restrict themselves to monochrome only?

For the vast majority, a dedicated black & white camera is unnecessary. However, there are some photographers for whom shooting black & white images is as much a specialism as infrared photography – and that genre has its own dedicated cameras. Furthermore, there are some significant advantages to shooting with a camera that has a sensor designed exclusively for monochrome. As Professor Newman explains, with no coloured filter array the luminance values recorded by the sensor are for the entire colour spectrum, meaning that a true black & white image is presented, not one that has been converted from a colour photo.

Putting the cost of the camera to one side, I was keen to see exactly what the Leica M Monochrom is like to use, and even more eager to see how much detail it can resolve, especially in highlight and shadow areas.

Image: The Monochrom produces a great range of tones and there is a surprising amount of detail in the shadow areas of this image. However, noise becomes visible when the image is brightened

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

  1. 1. Leica M Monochrom review - Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. In use
  4. 4. Image quality
  5. 5. Sensor
  6. 6. Conclusion
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