Leica M Monochrome Sees the World in Black and White

April 30, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

Leica is following up its native monochrome digital camera with a new model that promises speedier performance, improved focusing tools and a tougher display. 

The Leica M Monochrome (Type 246) gets a speed boost courtesy of a new Maestro processor and expanded, 2GB buffer memory. The end result is a camera that’s three times faster than the original, Leica said. 

The M Monochrome uses a 35mm-sized 24-megapixel monochrome CMOS image sensor without a color filter array. Ditching the filter enables the cameras to produce sharper images as there is no interpolation, according to Leica. With more light reaching the sensor, the camera is also capable of improved low light performance up to ISO 25,000. 

The classic rangefinder style gets a modern update with a 3-inch display forged from sapphire crystal for improved durability. Focusing in live view through the display has also improved with options to magnify an image to 10X and turn on focus peaking.

The M Monochrome records HD video in black-and-white but to record sound, you’ll need to spring for an optional adapter. Toning effects like sepia, cold or selenium can be added to images in-camera and saved as JPEGs. RAW images are captured in the DNG format.

The camera will work with Leica’s M-series lenses as well as R-series rangefinder lenses with an optional adapter. 

Black-and-white enthusiasts can get their hands on the camera in May for $7,200. It is available for pre-order now.