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Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Review

May 27, 2015

Overall Rating:

5

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)


Pros:

  • - Brilliant dynamic range
  • - Leica M-mount has a large range of superb lenses
  • - Basic and traditional photography controls similar to a film camera
  • - Good at High ISO sensitivities

Cons:

  • - Viewfinder frame lines are only an approximation
  • - Limited to monochrome
  • - Prone to Highlight clipping

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£5,750.00 (body only)

Leica’s M Monochrom (Typ 246) features a full-frame black & white-only sensor. See if it justifies its huge price tag in our Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) review. By Callum McInerney-Riley

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Review – Metering and Dynamic Range

There are two settings on the M Monochrom. Advanced is evaluative metering that meters from the image sensor, and Classic, inherited from Leica film cameras. Classic meters from grey-painted blades on the shutter curtain and provides centre weighted metering, but is less accurate than Advanced metering.

Thanks to the camera’s great dynamic range it is possible to bring up a lot from the shadows, but once the camera goes near the white point of highlight details there’s very little that can be brought back. Highlights tend to clip very easily with evaluative metering.

Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 product shot 1

All major exposure adjustments are close to hand

Throughout my time shooting with the M Monochrom I used between -0.3EV and -1EV exposure compensation to prevent highlight clipping. With stacks of detail that can be brought back from the shadows and midtones, it makes sense to shoot in this way and protect the highlights. However, it would have been useful to see a highlight-protection metering system of the kind found on the Nikon D810 and the Nikon D750. I think this would greatly benefit this Leica and play to the strengths of its sensor.

With the M Monochrom’s excellent dynamic range and small amount of luminance noise from the sensor, it’s possible to pull up a lot of detail from the shadows. Also, with no colour filters and no colour noise or artefacts that come with it, the shadow slider can be pushed more than usual (three or four stops) before the image is affected by noise.

  • Sensor: 24MP, full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Output Size: 5952 x 3968 pixels
  • Lens Mount: Leica M Mount
  • Shutter Speed: 8 -1/4000 sec, Bulb
  • ISO Range: 320 - 25,600
  • Metering: Advanced, Classic
  • Exposure Compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3-stop steps
  • Drive: Up to 4fps
  • Movie: Full HD @ 1920 x 1080, 24/25fps
  • LCD: 3in, 921,600-dot fixed LCD
  • Vewfinder: Rangefinder
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Power: 7.4V Li-ion battery, 1800 mAh
  • Dimensions: 138.6 x 80 x 42mm
  • Weight: 680g body only

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