• #2313
    Josh Lehrer

    Finally Leica has announced the highly rumored Leica M Monochrom and it does not disappoint. I can only imagine how noise-free these files will be, without a Bayer filter over the sensor Leica was able to increase the maximum ISO to 10,000 and offer a true RAW histogram.

    Are you looking forward to this new camera? Leica's product philosophy over the past few years has been to introduce unique products without equal and this certainly fits right in.

  • #2314
    Brian

    I am excited about it, there has not been a monochrome digital camera (not counting digital back) since the Kodak DCS760m.

    Now- will they leave the IR filter off of it?

  • #2315
    jto555

    I am sorry, but what a waste of time! An M9M that costs more than an M9 but I bet will have a lower resale value in a years time.

    I am guessing here but if Leica is having supply issues with the M9 sensor maybe the M10 was supposed to be launched on M(ay)10th but there is also a supply issue there too.

  • #2316
    Josh Lehrer

    From what I understand there are no supply issues with Leica M9 sensors. The cameras are still available brand new and we can always order more from Leica when needed.

    Leica is all about unique products that are peerless, and I think the new Leica M Monochrom fits that perfectly. Of course they understand it won't be the volume seller so that puts the price point a bit higher.

    Leica never planned on launching an M10 today, that should hopefully be something we see at Photokina this year!

    So I suppose I respectfully disagree that this is a waste of time. The M9 has been hugely successful for Leica, and they have a clear understanding of the customer base. Thousands of M users came from shooting black and white film and value a beautiful, natural black and white image, and now have the ability to shoot the finest black and white photographs possible with a 35mm sized sensor.

    I think the Leica M Monochrom will be a smashing success, and offer breathtaking image quality and the truest, purest black and white shooting experience this side of Tri-X.

  • #2317
    Brian

    jto555;2237 wrote: I am sorry, but what a waste of time! An M9M that costs more than an M9 but I bet will have a lower resale value in a years time.

    I am guessing here but if Leica is having supply issues with the M9 sensor maybe the M10 was supposed to be launched on M(ay)10th but there is also a supply issue there too.

    The resale value of the M9-M will be higher than standard a standard M9 or any other color camera. The resale value of the DCS760m was far higher than the DCS760, about a factor of 4. Monochrome cameras are, and continue to be low-production items that serve a very dedicated user base. Once you shoot with a dedicated monochrome camera, it's difficult to be happy with a converted digital color image.

    This is a good move by Leica to serve a loyal customer base.

  • #2318
    Jack MacD

    Josh,
    I am very pleased that Leica did the MM. Given that it has no competition I expect it to sell very well to the purists. It is quite cool that only Leica can go to this length.

    The Luminous Landscape predicted some would unfortunately complain about the existence of this camera.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/leica_m9_monochrom.shtml

    But they also praised it's existence. Hey what's wrong with more choices? And no surprise that it costs this much for a limited run.

    I would love to have this camera, but I am now committed to the S system.

  • #2327
    David K

    Back and forth on this as it would not be in addition to my M9…the high ISO is really appealing to me as that's the kind of photography that I am shooting. Need to see the difference between this one and converted M9 images using Silver Efex…

  • #2331
    stephan

    the MM is really an interesting product, and not that much more expensive than M9P, considering the software added (SE2).

    The only point is, in my eyes, that once a M10 (with a higher resolution and maybe better ISO will arrive), the advantages of the MM will be somehow be smaller.

    But for now, if you shoot BW in low light, actually there is nothing that comes close to a MM in such a small package.

    Also I think the MM will be a vey long lasting investment, as I cannot imagine anyone bringing out such kind of equipment. I think this camera can stand 10 years or longer for an enthousiast BW-photographer

  • #2333
    jto555

    Brian;2241 wrote: The resale value of the M9-M will be higher than standard a standard M9 or any other color camera. The resale value of the DCS760m was far higher than the DCS760, about a factor of 4. Monochrome cameras are, and continue to be low-production items that serve a very dedicated user base. Once you shoot with a dedicated monochrome camera, it's difficult to be happy with a converted digital color image.

    This is a good move by Leica to serve a loyal customer base.

    Hi Brian, I think we will find out in a years time which one of us is right. I suspect that after the initial rush for the camera demand will drop off.

  • #2334
    jto555

    Josh Lehrer;2238 wrote: From what I understand there are no supply issues with Leica M9 sensors. The cameras are still available brand new and we can always order more from Leica when needed.

    Leica is all about unique products that are peerless, and I think the new Leica M Monochrom fits that perfectly. Of course they understand it won't be the volume seller so that puts the price point a bit higher.

    Leica never planned on launching an M10 today, that should hopefully be something we see at Photokina this year!

    So I suppose I respectfully disagree that this is a waste of time. The M9 has been hugely successful for Leica, and they have a clear understanding of the customer base. Thousands of M users came from shooting black and white film and value a beautiful, natural black and white image, and now have the ability to shoot the finest black and white photographs possible with a 35mm sized sensor.

    I think the Leica M Monochrom will be a smashing success, and offer breathtaking image quality and the truest, purest black and white shooting experience this side of Tri-X.

    Hi Josh, yes the M9 has been a huge success for Leica and is a good camera with great lenses. But with the M9M try to lighten parts of say the blue channel and darken other parts. Say darken a blue sky while lighting a blue dress. I can with an M9 and photoshop.

    I suppose that I am just disappointed as I was looking forward to an M10 and, I am sure that you will agree, that Leica launching the M9M on M(ay)10 is leaving them open to a bit of bad or disappointed press.

  • #2338
    Al Tanabe

    jto555;2259 wrote: Hi Josh, yes the M9 has been a huge success for Leica and is a good camera with great lenses. But with the M9M try to lighten parts of say the blue channel and darken other parts. Say darken a blue sky while lighting a blue dress. I can with an M9 and photoshop.

    I suppose that I am just disappointed as I was looking forward to an M10 and, I am sure that you will agree, that Leica launching the M9M on M(ay)10 is leaving them open to a bit of bad or disappointed press.

    jto555,
    The M9M will being a monochrome capture will not have the color matrix filters and not be able to do the Photoshopping that you have mentioned. You will have to think in B&W and marry the subject to the capture medium. It is a learned discipline – to think in B&W.

    -Al

  • #2341
    jto555

    Atanabe;2263 wrote: jto555,
    The M9M will being a monochrome capture will not have the color matrix filters and not be able to do the Photoshopping that you have mentioned. You will have to think in B&W and marry the subject to the capture medium. It is a learned discipline – to think in B&W.

    -Al

    Hi Al, I understand what you are saying. I spent the first part of my career shooting B/W but I think you are missing my point which is that for shooting B/W the M9 is, I believe, more convenient as the image is more open to interpretation after the event.
    With the M9M, I will need a bag of filters for each size lens filter mount. Also, the idea of putting a $100 filter in front of a $7000 lens does nor appeal.

    One has to spent more money for less convenience.

    John

  • #2343
    Al Tanabe

    jto555;2267 wrote: Hi Al, I understand what you are saying. I spent the first part of my career shooting B/W but I think you are missing my point which is that for shooting B/W the M9 is, I believe, more convenient as the image is more open to interpretation after the event.
    With the M9M, I will need a bag of filters for each size lens filter mount. Also, the idea of putting a $100 filter in front of a $7000 lens does nor appeal.

    One has to spent more money for less convenience.

    John

    John,
    The M9M is not for everyone and a very bold statement for Leica in that it is a no compromise, high resolution, monochrome camera. Yes, it is not as convenient as a one camera solution but for those individuals who are dedicated to capturing their images in B&W this is an ideal solution. I too recall the days of carrying two Ms, one black loaded with TriX and a chrome one loaded with Kodachrome and having to switch back and forth. Now in post processing I can get both out of the same dng, sadly it has made me lazier and not pre visualizing in B&W as often.

    So for a user like yourself, this may be a no go, but for others who shoot only B&W this is golden. The gray scale latitude would not be possible in a bayer array capture and those dedicated to high quality B&W film will be satisfied. For now enjoy the M9, it is a great camera that will be hard to improve on.

    -Al

  • #2347
    linusm

    “Leica is all about unique products that are peerless, and I think the new Leica M Monochrom fits that perfectly. Of course they understand it won't be the volume seller so that puts the price point a bit higher.”

    But this is precisely the reason why Leica was almost bankrupt a few years ago. This is not a smart business decision. Leica develops a technological marvel for a very small market segment. They spend a good deal of money on an aficionado's dream but questionable impact on the bottom line. While their decision is to be applauded by the engineers in us, they could have spent their resources better focused on the M10 or an S3. What exactly is the purpose of an MM? Does it lead to a wider market share or an extended product line?

    Unfortunately, this is the mistake many high tech companies make as well. You make a ton of money on successful products, then waste it on niche market products. This pleases the purists and the founding engineers but in the end the owners of their existing successful products suffer as they take away resources from those product development efforts.

    All in all I find this to be a misguided decision.

  • #2348
    stephan

    I don't think they spent a lot of money to implement this b/w sensor. The changes to the sensor itself is minimal (just replace the bayerpattern) and some programming and there you go. Probably they spent more on marketing than in the technical improvement. it is probably the last kick of the M9-line before comming out with a M10.

    The other point is, that within a year or less we will see a M10, that will have, let's guess, somewhat 30 mpix and maybe a CMOS-sensor, and then you will have the best of two worlds and equal B/W-quality.

    The difference is: You get your MM now 🙂

    On the other hand, as said before, when you are a b/w photographer, I don't see any need to replace the MM soon. With it's high ISOs and high resolution there is just no need for replacement.

  • #2349
    jto555

    stephan;2275 wrote: I don't think they spent a lot of money to implement this b/w sensor. The changes to the sensor itself is minimal (just replace the bayerpattern) and some programming and there you go. Probably they spent more on marketing than in the technical improvement. it is probably the last kick of the M9-line before comming out with a M10.

    The other point is, that within a year or less we will see a M10, that will have, let's guess, somewhat 30 mpix and maybe a CMOS-sensor, and then you will have the best of two worlds and equal B/W-quality.

    The difference is: You get your MM now 🙂

    On the other hand, as said before, when you are a b/w photographer, I don't see any need to replace the MM soon. With it's high ISOs and high resolution there is just no need for replacement.

    OK Stephan, I'll go with that. As I said in an earlier post I am just disappointed their is no M10 now.

    John

  • #2352
    ski542002

    Talk about a niche product offering! Maybe the television manufacturers will take a hint from Leica 🙂 No offense intended towards Leica; just took delivery of my first M9, the 35 1.4 and the 75 2.5.

    The system is everything I expected, and I am making money using it, which was my intent. I had agonized over the thought of waiting until 5-10 before ordering the M9, but then came to the realization that if an M10 were announced, I'd be stuck on a 9 month backorder list anyway. I'm glad I pulled the trigger when I did.

    You can pull some fine b/w files from Lightroom and other software solutions. I think one would have to be a very dedicated b/w shooter to justify the expense of a monochrome M.

    Given the age of the current M9 chip, I thought that Leica would have made an upgrade a top priority. What do I know!

  • #2355
    Brian

    I used to shoot Panatomic-X developed in Microdol, 35 years ago.

    The M9 is as close to using a classic film camera as any digital camera gets. The M9M is as close to using black and white film as any digital camera gets. Some people don't want to spend all of their time in Photoshop to mimic the results of black and white film. I never post-processed my output from the monochrome Kodak to “look like film”. I went as far as writing my own raw convertor to retain the original output as it came off of the CCD. It was very clean, kind of like Pan-X in Microdol.

    As far as whether this camera will be popular- Leica will sell all that they make. Now the real question for when the M10 comes out, and if there is no M10m- Will Leica Convert existing M9's to Monochrome? Change out the sensor, load the new firmware. Done.

  • #2357
    ski542002

    That brings back memories. I was an Ilford guy processing in Rodinol 1:75. Acutance you could cut with a knife. The smell of the acetic acid stop bath eventually destroyed most of my ability to smell certain scents. It was great fun and I don't miss it a bit!

  • #2366
    stephan

    Some people don't want to spend all of their time in Photoshop to mimic the results of black and white film

    To reduce the M-M to a camera that saves you just the time developping your b/w-pictures would be a real misunderstanding of this concept.

    With the M-M you get (over a standard M9):

    – Significant better ISO-performance (look at samples of ISO 2000 pictures). They say it's about 1,5 stops, but I from what I have seen so far I would say it's even more)
    – Significant better resolution from processing

    What I have seen from 5000 Iso-shots is that you get a film-like grain (nota bene from fine grain film) that is very usable.

    In my opinion the downside is that you need more carefull exposure and probably more careful postprocessing, and of course the loss of flexibility (sometimes you just want color!). So this is only for really serious b/w-photographers or for those who can afford a second camera.

  • #2371
    Al Tanabe

    I wonder what Ralph Gibson would do? He made a career of shooting fine art nudes with TriX and Ms.

  • #2455
    tinchohs

    I have shot mostly color in my M9. But lately, I've been considering working for a while exclusively in B&W. I'm curious if I can make it work for me.

    With the arrival of the MM I am very tempted. And yet I wonder if for my scenario it's not better to buy an M6 and shoot film for B&W and wait for an M10 for my deep desire of a camera that performs better in low light.

    Do you have a point of view on this? I'm going to be visiting the US next week and if I'm going to go with film, I could look for a used camera. Thanks.

  • #2456
    David Farkas

    tinchohs;2399 wrote: I have shot mostly color in my M9. But lately, I've been considering working for a while exclusively in B&W. I'm curious if I can make it work for me.

    With the arrival of the MM I am very tempted. And yet I wonder if for my scenario it's not better to buy an M6 and shoot film for B&W and wait for an M10 for my deep desire of a camera that performs better in low light.

    Do you have a point of view on this? I'm going to be visiting the US next week and if I'm going to go with film, I could look for a used camera. Thanks.

    If you want to work only in B&W, then I can't think of a better camera than the M Monochrom. It's quality and flexibility is way beyond that of film.

  • #2458
    ski542002

    My opinion; I'd hold off on a pre-owned M6 and put the funds towards the eventual M10. I'm enough of a purist to get into the M rangefinder system, but strongly feel that
    going back to film will provide no technical, aesthetic, or professionally competitive edge. Especially to my last point, I strongly feel if you still shoot film, you will be at an eventual competitive disadvantage.

    I am getting more beautiful b/w M9 files than I ever could shooting film, and I don't have to worry about the chemicals causing further harm to my body.

    Thanks!

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