Yesterday the British Journal of Photography reported that Leica has announced a new rangefinder camera, the Leica “M” Monochrom, that includes an 18 MP, full-frame CCD sensor stripped of its conventional Bayer Pattern filter.
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.
On their website, Leica imaging writes on the Leica “M” Monochrom:
The Leica M Monochrom more than satisfies the expectations of discerning users with a raw data histogram for the precise control of tonal values. The difference from conventional histograms is that it displays unprocessed and unmodified raw data. The combination of this with a configurable clipping display allows precise correction or optimisation of exposures.
At the touch of a button, images captured by the M Monochrom can be converted with characteristic toning effects from black-and-white film photography (sepia, cold or selenium toning). All users need to do is save the image in JPEG format and select the desired toning effect – simply and conveniently, and with no need for post-processing.
Sample images available on the Leica website illustrate outstanding dynamic range and beautiful tonal values across the board.
I think this is a great idea, as have several other commentators over the years, particularly in Black-and-White Photography magazine.
Just one issue: the list price for this new camera body is an astounding 6,120 British pounds, or $9830.86 Canadian. I hope the shutter and electronics are bullet-proof!