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Leica M MONOCHROM

35mm MF digital rangefinder camera

Specification

Production details
Announced:May 2012
Order No.:10760 - black chrome
10787 - silver chrome
System: Leica M (1954)
Rangefinder and Viewfinder
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.68x
Actual rangefinder base:69.25mm
Effective rangefinder base:47.09mm
Bright-line frames:35mm & 135mm, 28mm & 90mm, 50mm & 75mm
Parallax compensation:Yes
Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Imaging plane:35.8 × 23.9mm CMOS sensor
Resolution:5212 × 3468 - 18 MP
Shutter
Type:Focal-plane
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:32 - 1/4000 + B
Sensor-shift image stabilization:-
Exposure
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Manual
Physical characteristics
Weight:600g
Dimensions:139x80x37mm
Accessories
Body cap:14195
14397

Manufacturer description #1

Solms Germany (May 10, 2012) - Leica Camera AG presents the Leica M Monochrom, the world’s first digital camera exclusively for full-frame, 35 mm black-and-white photography. Featuring a sensor designed specifically for this purpose, the new addition to the Leica portfolio enables photographers to capture images in outstanding black-and-white quality, setting entirely new standards. The latest camera in the flagship Leica M-System, the Leica M Monochrom continues the successful story of the Leica rangefinder system, which has written numerous chapters in the history of innovative photography.

“Black-and-white photography is more popular than ever before. Even today, it has lost none of its fascination as an expressive medium, not even for younger generations of photographers. This is confirmed by the numerous monochrome images shown by members of the M-Community, who we are in constant contact with,” said Jesko von Oeynhausen, Product Manager for the M-System at Leica Camera AG. “For the first time ever, we are offering an opportunity to consistently and authentically explore black-and-white photography with the M Monochrom, a tool that is unique in the digital world. The camera’s exclusively black-and-white sensor brings an enormous technical benefit that is reflected in the amazing imaging quality it delivers.”

The 18 MP image sensor of the M Monochrom is perfectly matched to the unique properties of the Leica M-System and the superior performance of Leica M-Lenses. As the sensor does not ‘see’ colors, every pixel records true luminance values – as a result, it delivers ‘true’ black-and-white images that are significantly sharper than comparable exposures from a camera with a color-sensitive sensor.

To allow precise control of tonal values, the Leica M Monochrom offers a raw data histogram display to exhibit original, unprocessed and unmodified raw data. This, combined with a configurable clipping display, allows precise correction or optimization 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, with no need for post-processing.

The classic, iconic design of the Leica M-cameras is carried forward by the Leica M Monochrom. The matte-black finish of the chromed top deck allows the camera to be an unobtrusive tool. Only an engraved script on the accessory shoe reveals the product name. The camera features particularly soft leather trim with ideal grip that perfectly complements the camera’s discreet character. The camera package also includes a genuine leather carrying strap in premium full-grain cowhide.

The M Monochrom is supplied complete with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, a professional digital workflow solution. The software is available to customers as an online download after product registration. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom offers a wide range of functions for the management, processing and presentation of digital images. For example, this software allows for the creation of simple print layouts, slide shows and photo books.

A full-version of Silver Efex Pro 2, the world’s leading black-and-white image processing software, is also included in the package. Silver Efex Pro 2 offers an impressive collection of unique and powerful, darkroom-inspired tools for the creation of high quality black-and-white images. Silver Efex Pro 2 emulates over 20 different types of black-and-white film to recreate the glory of classical black-and-white film photography. The emulation of each film type is based on the analysis of many rolls of the respective type and guarantees perfect reproduction of the characteristic look of many popular films from ISO 32 to ISO 3200.

For the production of high-quality black-and-white prints, Leica Camera AG also offers a unique service in collaboration with Whitewall. After registering their Leica M Monochrom on the Leica website, customers can have their digital images from the M Monochrom printed on premium-quality baryte paper. These prints can be ordered from Whitewall through a personal link.

From photojournalism and available light photography to discreet, artistically aesthetic, creative compositions – the Leica M Monochrom adapts flexibly to every application and enables the expression of personal photographic style and consciously creative composition. The enormous potential performance of the current M-Lens portfolio, with focal lengths from 16 to 135 mm, is also fully accessible. In line with Leica’s renowned commitment to extreme system compatibility, almost all lenses of the Leica M range built since 1954 can still be used on the M Monochrom.

All characteristic properties of the Leica rangefinder system are also present in the new Leica M Monochrom. This, for instance, also includes the system’s intuitive and discreet handling. Its manual focusing based on the combined viewfinder and rangefinder concept and aperture priority exposure mode is an aid to photographers rather than placing undesired limitations on their creative freedom. In combination with the monitor display on the back of the camera, the simple menu navigation needs only a few control elements to enable rapid access to the entire range of camera functions. Together with its compact construction, the camera’s almost silent shutter benefits discreet and unobtrusive photography. Photographers can even select the appropriate moment for re-cocking the shutter. When longer exposure times requiring an extremely steady camera stance are essential, a slight pressure on the shutter release button in ‘soft release’ mode is sufficient.

All functions of the Leica M Monochrom are constructed with extreme robustness and a long working life in mind. Its one-piece, full-metal housing, made from a high-strength magnesium alloy, and the top deck and bottom plate, machined from solid brass blanks, provide perfect protection for its precious inner mechanisms. The digital components and shutter assembly of the M Monochrom are similarly constructed with a view to a lifetime of endurance. For photographers, this provides absolute reliability over decades of use. The experienced hands of Leica technicians at the factory in Solms are responsible for the assembly and calibration of M Monochrom bodies and the precise testing of all mechanical and electrical components. Leica Customer Care has decades of experience in repairs and maintenance and therefore creates a solid foundation for long life and enduring value. Even today, the service department maintains and repairs all M-Cameras built since 1954.

The Leica M-System has played a significant role in the development of the company’s performance in recent years. The annual figures have been correspondingly positive since the launch of the Leica M9 in September 2009 and are now registering record revenues.

The Leica M Monochrom in black chrome will be available from Leica dealers including the Leica Store Washington DC beginning in late July 2012.

Manufacturer description #2

The Leica M Monochrom perpetuates the tradition of its legendary film predecessors that made history with their numerous groundbreaking innovations: it is the world’s first 35 mm digital camera exclusively for black-and-white photography. It does more than transform analog black-and-white photography into digital: it sets a benchmark in state-of-the-art photographic technology. Thanks to its full-format sensor and the absence of color filters, it achieves unique imaging results with outstanding clarity and unmatched dynamic range. That makes it the perfect tool for contemporary fine-art photography, and for all who share a fascination for black-and-white.

The M Monochrom features a full-frame, 35 mm format sensor developed especially for black-and- white photography. In contrast to conventional sensors, it has no need for color filters for individual pixels, and therefore requires no interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. This means that raw data and even JPEG image files from the M Monochrom can be used directly and without any further image processing. This speeds up the workflow, and enables photographers to capture images with greater brilliance, superior sharpness, enhanced tonal gradation, and resolution that can equal the quality of medium format. Due to their low compression value, JPEG files from the camera also satisfy professional demands.

The M Monochrom offers access to the complete range of Leica M-Lenses, long since recognized as being the best in the world. The first M-Camera was unveiled in 1954, and the system has been continuously advanced and improved ever since. The high-resolution, full-format image sensor fully exploits the performance of the lenses from corner to corner of every image.

It is not rare for a Leica to become its owner’s lifelong companion. This concept is evident in the design and construction of the digital Leica M Monochrom: its top deck and baseplate are machined from solid brass blanks. Its full-metal housing is manufactured in one piece from high- strength magnesium alloy, and offers perfect protection for its precious inner mechanisms. The digital components and shutter assembly of the M Monochrom are similarly constructed with a lifetime of endurance in mind. In short: an Monochrom is an investment for life.

Discretion and unobtrusiveness are particular strengths of the M-System. The shutter of the M Monochrom is also extremely quiet. The very low noise level when cocking the shutter is ensured by a sophisticated motor/gear-train system. In discreet mode, the shutter is only cocked after the photographer’s finger is removed from the shutter-release button, when, for instance, the camera is concealed under a jacket. Then again, when longer exposure times requiring extreme steadiness to capture sharp handheld images, even slight pressure on the shutter release button in “soft” release mode is sufficient to capture the image. At the same time, the combination of camera and lens is significantly more compact than any other full-frame camera system: this contributes to the fact that M-photographers frequently go unnoticed and often simply melt into the background.

The Leica M Monochrom adapts flexibly to its intended use. Its sensitivity range extends from ISO 320 to ISO 10000. At the same time, very low image noise and finest resolution of details in shadows and highlights are achieved over the full sensitivity range, even at the highest settings: the M Monochrom delivers razor-sharp images with extremely fine “grain” even at ISO 10000. Very low image noise, a bright viewfinder/rangefinder, a low vibration shutter with a silky smooth release, and fast lenses make the M Monochrom the perfect camera for available-light photography.

The Leica M Monochrom aids photographers with automatic functions whenever required, but it never dictates how to shoot. Depending on the lighting situation, the automatic ISO shift function increases the sensitivity of the camera as soon as an arbitrarily definable shutter speed is exceeded. At the same time, it also limits the shift to a maximum value set by the photographer. This means that correct exposure without camera shake and the lowest possible ISO setting is always available to guarantee the best possible image quality in all situations. In addition, the M Monochrom also offers automatic exposure bracketing with a user-selectable number of shots and incremental exposure values. This function ensures that even high-contrast subjects are perfectly captured.

The CCD image sensor specifically designed and developed for the Leica M Monochrom captures the full 35 mm film format without any compromises. All M-Lenses mounted on the M Monochrom offer the same angle of view they had when using film material and are therefore used to optimum effect. In other words: all the outstanding characteristics of the lenses are now fully maintained for digital photography as well. Because of its high resolution and superior image quality the M Monochrom has the ability to fully exploit the enormous potential of M-Lenses.

In the case of the M Monochrom, it wasn’t a matter of modifying the lenses to match the image sensor, but rather the other way around: the monochrome sensor was perfectly attuned to its role in the very compact M-System and the superior performance of M-Lenses during its development. The omission of the color filter significantly increases the basic sensitivity of each individual pixel. It also means that the M Monochrom captures images with significantly greater contrast and clarity at all ISO settings. The special layout of the microlenses found only in the digital M-Camera sensor makes it tolerant of oblique light rays impinging on its surface, and guarantees uniform exposure and extreme sharpness from corner to corner in every image. Therefore, future lenses can be designed and optimized with uncompromising dedication to the achievement of highest performance and compact construction. A special glass sensor cover ensures the suppression of infrared wave-lengths. The intentional decision to do without a moiré filter, a cause of image deterioration through loss of resolution, ensures maximum resolution of fine details.

The key control element of the M Monochrom is an intuitive four-way switch and dial combination used in conjunction with the large monitor screen on the back. Setting the sensitivity requires only maintaining pressure on the ISO button while simultaneously turning the dial to select the required setting. All other functions important for everyday situations are quickly and easily accessible by pressing the “Set” button: these include image-data compression, resolution, exposure correction, exposure bracketing, and programmable user profiles. User profiles can be programmed with any camera and shooting settings, stored under a user-selected name, and accessed quickly whenever required for a particular situation. All other functions, from automatic lens recognition and six-bit lens-mount coding to sensor cleaning, are easy to find in the clearly laid-out main camera menu.

When the “Info” button is pressed in shooting mode, the monitor on the back of the camera displays the precise charge level of the battery, the remaining capacity on the memory card, and the most important basic shooting settings, for example the shutter speed. In review mode, users can toggle between an image-only view, with a zoom option up to single-pixel level operated by turning the dial, and other image information. This includes, for instance, information on the ISO sensitivity setting, the shutter speed, and a precise histogram display.

The Leica M Monochrom more than satisfies the expectations of discerning users and fine-art photographers with a raw data histogram for the precise assessment of exposure and tonal values. The difference from conventional histograms is that it displays original, unprocessed, and unmodified raw data. The combination of these elements, along with a oonfigurable clipping display, allows precise correction or optimization of exposures. The subdivision of the raw data histogram into stops enables especially dedicated black-and-white photographers to employ a digital equivalent of the zone system.

With a full native resolution of 18 megapixels, the Leica M Monochrom delivers 100 % sharper images than a comparable color sensor. And since its sensor does not “see” colors, every single pixel is recorded as a pure luminance value. This means that the M Monochrom delivers a “true” black-and-white image straight from the sensor. The combination of the brilliant imaging qualities of Leica lenses and perfect harmonization of the sensor with the M-System results in images with outstanding sharpness and natural brilliance without any need for sharpening in post-processing software. The result is incomparable image quality at a level that could previously be expected only from a medium-format camera. The impressive quality of the native raw data from the M Monochrom not only enables images to be utilized directly, but also allows their storage in JPEG format with identical resolution. Thanks to the choice of a low compression rate, the quality of the JPEG files is even comparable with that of professionally processed TIFF files.

With the Leica M Monochrom, photographers can apply characteristic toning effects from analog black-and-white photography such as sepia, cold-tone, or selenium toning to their images at the touch of a button. 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.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

One of the best

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

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Unique Leica Look

Leica lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Leica Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Leica lenses reveal their full potential only when mounted on Leica cameras, since only these have sensors precisely matched to their optical characteristics.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

14195

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

14397

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.