Photography News issue 20

Latest photography news


Leica’s latest monodelight Leica announced its secondmonochrome- only camera recently, and editorWill Cheung got hands-onwith it at the launch


PRICE £5750 body only

so it can’t produce colour images, and it means each pixel site can do a great job of recording levels of grey. The result is better

RESOLUTION 24 megapixels SENSOR 35.8x23.9mm CMOS with no AA filter IMAGE SIZE 5952x3968 pixels LENSMOUNT Leica M ISO Auto 320-25,000 SHUTTER RANGE 60secs to 1/4000sec MONITOR 3in, 921k dots STORAGE CARD

Words by Will Cheung

One of the many joys of shooting digital is that you can decide whether you want colour or black & white pictures when you’re in front of the computer. What then is the appeal of a camera that shoots monochrome only and costs £5750 for the body only so £7000 by the time you get a lens on it? Well, that’s exactly what Leica’s latest M rangefinder offers and despite its hefty price tag, I can see why it will appeal to dedicated monochrome workers. The M Monochrom (Typ 246) is the second monochrome-only Leica and offers the latest significant performance benefits – 24 instead of 18 megapixels, a top ISO of 25,000 instead of 10,000 and improved handling. The Monchrom’s Belgian-made 14-bit sensor has no RGB colour filter array like other digital cameras

It’s aperture-priority or manual for exposure but focusing is manual only using Leica’s famed optical rangefinder system. There is live view with focus peaking. Manual focusing seems a throwback but there is something special in using Leica’s system and the depth-of-field scales on Leica lenses means you can focus hyperfocally. That process is helped by the camera’s ISO performance. The minimum ISO 320 is on the high side given the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/4000sec so small apertures and ND filters might be needed on bright days. The M Monochrom is clearly not for everyone and even monochrome only shooters will need deep pockets, but it’s undeniably fine and capable.

dynamic range and excellent noise performance in DNG Raw or JPEG files. Detail rendition is helped further by not having a low-pass filter. The files I shot in my brief foray with the Monochrom looked excellent, even those at ISO 12,500 and 25,000. My test shots were processed through Lightroom 5.7 with no noise reduction. Handling-wise the Monochrom is excellent if a little quirky, although if you have had the good fortune to use the Leica M9, you will be perfectly comfortable picking up and getting on with the Monochrom immediately. After one press of the shutter release one thing is instantly apparent – this camera is much quieter than the M9.


π To find out more about the MMonochrom (Typ 246), go to

Issue 20 | Photography News

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