Leica Announces M Monochrom – The Future of Black and White Photography


The world’s first digital rangefinder camera with dedicated, full-frame black and white sensor for true monochrome photography

Leica Camera AG has presented the world’s first digital camera designed exclusively for full-frame, 35mm black and white photography: the Leica M Monochrom. The Leica M Monochrom is a pure black and white rangefinder camera, using a special, newly-designed 18 million pixel CCD sensor. As this sensor does not see colours, every pixel captures light in its purest form – and as a result, it produces true black-and-white images that are significantly sharper than comparable images from cameras with a colour sensor. Images from the M Monochrom also require very little or no further image processing.
Leica M Monochrom

Leica M Monochrom

The Leica M Monochrom continues the successful story of the Leica rangefinder system, which has written numerous chapters in the history of innovative photography. The special image sensor is also perfectly matched to the outstanding performance of Leica M-Lenses, and the camera is compatible with almost all M-Lenses manufactured since 1954, offering focal lengths from 16 to 135mm. Features at a glance:
  • Newly-developed monochrome CCD sensor with 18 million pixels resolution
  • 100% sharper images
  • Extremely low, fine-grain image noise up to ISO 10000
  • Classic, iconic Leica M-Series design with black chrome finish and leather carrying strap
  • Includes Nik Silver Efex Pro. 2 and AdobeR PhotoshopR LightroomR
  • Exclusive access to the Leica Monochrom Print Service in cooperation with Whitewall
  • Includes an original fibre baryte print of a Magnum photo from the Leica M Monochrom campaign by J. A. Sobol
Jesko von Oeynhausen, product manager, M-System, Leica Camera AG, commented, Black and white photography has become more popular than ever before, with photographers continuing to be fascinated by it as an expressive medium. This is confirmed by the numerous monochrome images presented to us by members of the Leica M community, with whom we are in constant contact. With the Leica M Monochrom, we are offering photographers the opportunity to explore black and white photography with a product that is unique in the digital world, producing consistent and authentic results. The camera’s exclusively black and white sensor brings an enormous technical benefit that is reflected in the outstanding image quality it delivers. The classic, iconic design of Leica M-cameras is also continued with the Leica M Monochrom. With its matt black chrome top plate, the camera is unobtrusive, with just the engraved name of the product on the accessory shoe revealing its identity. The camera features a particularly soft leather trim, ensuring a positive grip, and perfectly complements the camera¡¦s discreet character. The camera package also includes a black leather carrying strap in premium full-grain cowhide. At the touch of a button, images captured by the M Monochrom can be converted using characteristic toning effects from black and white film photography (sepia, cold or selenium toning). The user simply saves the image in JPEG format and selects the desired tonal effect, and with no need for post-processing. From photojournalism and available light photography to discreet, artistically aesthetic, creative compositions – the Leica M Monochrom adapts flexibly to every situation and enables the expression of personal photographic style and consciously creative composition.
Leica M Monochrom - Test image

Leica M Monochrom - Test image

Furthermore, the Leica M Monochrom has all the characteristic properties of the traditional Leica rangefinder system, for example, intuitive and discreet handling, simple menu navigation, manual focusing, and aperture priority exposure mode, all giving the photographer maximum creative freedom. Together with its compact construction, the camera¡¦s almost silent shutter ensures discreet and unobtrusive photography. Photographers can even select the appropriate moment for re-cocking the shutter. If longer exposure times requiring a steady camera stance are required, slight pressure on the shutter release button in soft release mode is sufficient. All components of the Leica M Monochrom are constructed with extreme durability and a long working life in mind. The one-piece, full-metal housing, made from a high-strength magnesium alloy, and the top and bottom plates machined from solid brass, provide perfect protection for the camera’s 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 amounts to absolute reliability over many years 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, and even today, maintains and repairs MCameras built from 1954 onwards. The Leica M-System has played a significant role in the improvement of the company’s financial position in recent years. Since the launch of the Leica M9 in September 2009, Leica’s annual results have been correspondingly positive, and the company is now reporting record revenues.

Included software and Whitewall Printing Service

The Leica M Monochrom is supplied with Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom®, a professional digital workflow solution. The software is available to M Monochrom 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 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 monochrome images. Silver Efex Pro 2 emulates more than 20 different types of black and white film to recreate the glory of classic 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 is also offering a unique service in collaboration with Whitewall. Following registration of their Leica M Monochrom camera on the Leica web site, customers can have their digital images from the M Monochrom printed on premiumquality baryte paper and can order copies from Whitewall by means of a personal link.

Pricing and availability

The Leica M Monochrom (black chrome) is scheduled to be available in the UK from the end of July 2012 from authorised Leica dealers including the Leica Store Mayfair: www.leica-storemayfair.co.uk, tel: 020 7629 1351. A full list of authorised UK Leica dealers is available at www.leica-camera.co.uk. The suggested retail price of the Leica M Monochrom is £6,120 inc. VAT (camera body only, not including lenses).

Leica warranty and added value services

The Leica M Monochrom comes with a two-year warranty and a one-year Leica UK ‘Passport’ (complimentary accidental damage cover). UK customers are also welcome to visit the Leica Store and Akademie in Mayfair, London, for a complimentary demonstration or training session on the features of the camera. Technical support by telephone is available via Leica’s London-based Client Care department.

One thought on “Leica Announces M Monochrom – The Future of Black and White Photography”

  1. John Ernest says:

    Those Monochrome pictures are very beautiful for an artist’s eye. But for normal people it looks like just any black and white picture that you can see on old albums. Are there any advantages to taking your pictures in black and white?

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