Colorblind Radical: Leica M Monochrom
The relentlessly black body, set off by minimal white lettering (and no red dot in sight), starkly states the mission of the Leica M Monochrom: This digital camera captures only black-and-white images. The choice makes perfect sense from a cultural standpoint. After all, Leica photographers, digital types included, have always been identified with a black-and-white aesthetic.
But there is considerably more method to Leica’s madness here. The 18-megapixel, Kodak-designed Trusense CCD sensor, with no red, green or blue filters over the pixels, can take in more light than color sensors can. And, with no need to interpolate color rendition from the pixel array, the sensor can (at least theoretically) deliver more resolution than a color sensor of the same pixel count.
Our colleagues in the Popular Photography Test Lab will eventually provide hard numbers on these claims, but in the meantime, hands-on experience shows that the M Monochrom can deliver images with exceptional dynamic range with little noise, particularly in shadow areas. An available-light shooter’s dream, the camera offers ISOs from 160 to 10,000, capturing images in much dimmer conditions than is possible with the Leica M9.
Aside from that, the M Monochrom works just like an M9—manual focusing via the optical range/viewfinder, manual or aperture-priority exposure, and that’s that. Leica fans wouldn’t have it any other way. $7,950 for the body only. us.Leica.com