Photography

Leica launches third generation black and white digital rangefinder

Leica launches third generatio...
Leica says that the M10 Monochrom "is the epitome of discretion"
Leica says that the M10 Monochrom "is the epitome of discretion"
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Leica says that the M10 Monochrom "is the epitome of discretion"
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Leica says that the M10 Monochrom "is the epitome of discretion"
Around back is a 3-inch touchscreen (color) LCD monitor
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Around back is a 3-inch touchscreen (color) LCD monitor
The Leica M10 Monochrom is built around a newly-developed 40-megapixel CMOS image sensor
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The Leica M10 Monochrom is built around a newly-developed 40-megapixel CMOS image sensor
The M10 Monochrom is compatible with Leica M lenses, or Leica R with an optional adapter
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The M10 Monochrom is compatible with Leica M lenses, or Leica R with an optional adapter
Top view shows an ISO adjustment dial to the left
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Top view shows an ISO adjustment dial to the left
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Cameras sporting the iconic red Leica logo are rugged, expensive and much sought after. They also produce stunning images, rich in color and detail. But there's no red dot on the just-announced M10 Monochrom, and as its name suggests, it only shoots in black and white.

Though the look and quality build might give onlookers a clue to the manufacturer, the only confirmation is an engraved logotype on the top plate that declares this camera to be the Leica M10 Monochrom. In fact, the lack of colorful embellishments on the camera's aluminum body with synthetic leather covering is designed to emphasize its black-and-white photography chops.

The only color of note comes courtesy of the 3-inch, 1.03-million-dot LCD touch-enabled monitor, which offers Live View functionality. Though photographers will likely make use of the in-frame viewfinder with auto parallax compensation to frame up scenes.

Top view shows an ISO adjustment dial to the left
Top view shows an ISO adjustment dial to the left

At its heart is a newly-developed 40-megapixel black-and-white CMOS sensor. Light sensitivity comes in at ISO160 to 100,000, and a generous 2 GB buffer allows for continuous shooting of up to 10 frames. It's also reported to be the first Monochrom to come with built-in Wi-Fi, for the wireless transfer of snaps to a smartphone running the firm's Fotos 2.0 app.

Leica says that the camera benefits from the quietest shutter release of any M-system camera so far, which should help when capturing retro-stylish stills at function gigs like weddings. And it's compatible with Leica M lenses, or Leica R with an optional adapter.

The 139 x 38.5 x 80-mm (5.4 x 1.5 x 3.1-in), 680-g (24-oz) M10 Monochrom is on sale now for US$8,295.

Product page: M10 Monochrom

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3 comments
guzmanchinky
8 grand for this camera? What am I missing here? Isn't 99% of all photography now viewed on a screen and not paper? Is it really that much better than, say, a top of the line mirrorless or SLR and then take the color out? Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about, someone educate me. I know the glass really is that good, but 8 grand???
Michael Lee
@guzmanchinky, there is a difference - in the ability to pick up subtle mid-tone variations and pixel level detail. It is less obvious with a full frame sensor compared to a phone sensor. Take the case if a used Huawei P9 that one can get for $100. This phone has two cameras and two sensors. Comparing colour images converted to black and white, and the native black and white images from it show a vast chasm of differences.
Gizzy Magpie
Ansel Adams would be proud.