The Leica M Monochrom doesn’t separate the light into colours, offering ‘true’ black-and-white images.
The new Leica M Monochrom uses a newly-designed 18-megapixel CCD sensor, which has been stripped of the conventional Bayer Pattern filter. "This means that the sensor never separates the light into colours, and subsequently there is no need for complicated colour algorithms," says Leica.
As the camera does not "see" colours, says Leica, "every pixel records true luminance values to deliver ‘true' black-and-white images that are significantly sharper than comparable exposures from a camera with a colour-sensitive sensor."
The camera has a sensitivity range of ISO 320 to ISO 10,000, and features a new raw data histogram display that offers "original, unprocessed and unmodified raw data allowing for precise correction or optimisation of exposures."
Encased in a body similar to Leica's M9-P, the M Monochrom has been designed for discreet handling - it features a matt black chrome top plate with just the name of the product engraved on the accessory shoe - and can use most of Leica M lenses built from 1954 onwards.
"Black and white photography has become more popular than ever before, with photographers continuing to be fascinated by it as an expressive medium," says Jesko von Oeynhausen, product manager for the M-System at Leica. "This is confirmed by the numerous monochrome images presented to us by members of the Leica M community, with whom we are in constant contact. With the Leica M Monochrom, we are offering photographers the opportunity to explore black and white photography with a product that is unique in the digital world, producing consistent and authentic results. The camera's exclusively black and white sensor brings an enormous technical benefit that is reflected in the outstanding image quality it delivers."
While Leica says that it's the world's first full-frame digital black-and-white camera, both Kodak and Phase One previously released black-and-white only models in the early 2000s.
The Leica M Monochrom will be available from July at a retail price of £6120.
Leica has also announced the release of a new APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens, which has been designed to "fully exploit the opportunities offered by high-resolution camera systems."
The lens is said to have "achieved the best test results ever seen in the Leica M-Lens programme," says Leica. "This means that all images captured in any situation show extreme sharpness and resolution of details from corner to corner."
The lens incorporates a floating element, which changes position in relation to the front group during focusing to achieve greater image quality throughout the lens' focusing range. In total, the lens uses eight elements in five groups.
The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH will be retail at £5400 from July.
Visit www.leica-camera.co.uk for more details.
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