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Leica M MONOCHROM (Typ 246)

35mm MF digital rangefinder camera

Specification

Production details
Announced:April 2015
Order No.:10930 - black 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:5976 × 3992 - 24 MP
Shutter
Type:Focal-plane
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:60 - 1/4000 + B
Sensor-shift image stabilization:-
Exposure
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Manual
Physical characteristics
Weight:680g
Dimensions:138.6x80x42mm
Accessories
Body cap:14195
14397

Manufacturer description #1

April 30, 2015 – Leica Camera introduces the new Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) today, the next step in its hugely successful digital black-and-white photography concept for the Leica M rangefinder camera system. The new Leica M Monochrom, the first and only digital camera to enable a real black and white image – still or moving – without image processing or filtering, will be available May 2015.

“With never-before-seen imaging performance, outstanding low-light capabilities, and richness of detail, the new Leica M Monochrom surpasses the high standards set by its predecessor,” said Roland Wolff, VP of Marketing and Corporate Retail for Leica. “At the same time, it keeps its primary aim sharply in focus: black-and-white images with top quality across the board.”

Thanks to its high-capacity 2GB-buffer memory and Leica Maestro processor, the new Leica M Monochrom captures sequences three times faster than its predecessor. The new processor also enables extremely fast display of the captured images in review mode, making the new Monochrom even more versatile.

The Leica M Monochrom follows the successful route taken by the Leica M and captures decisive moments with 24-megapixel resolution. The monochrome CMOS sensor produces exceptionally sharp pictures at all sensitivity settings up to ISO 25000. As the M Monochrom has no color filter array over the sensor, it requires no interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. The result is 100% sharper images with brilliance and detail contrast that far exceeds what color photography can do.

The new Leica M Monochrom can also capture high-quality full-HD video in black and white. The optional Leica microphone adapter set, comprising an adapter and a stereo microphone, ensures perfect sound. The high-resolution 3" monitor with 921,600 pixels ensures that photographers have complete control of composition, exposure, focusing and depth of field.

Moreover, the camera now offers full visual control with its Live View function, which provides two focusing methods: the up to 10x magnification of Live View Zoom mode, enabling full control of the sharpness of details in the image on the monitor or the closest focusing distance; and Live View Focus Peaking mode, where sharply focused edges in the image are highlighted by colored lines.

Another advantage of the new CMOS sensor is that, in addition to the M-Lens portfolio, almost all lenses of the Leica R series can now be used with an optional adapter on the Leica M Monochrom to expand the creative capabilities of the Leica rangefinder system, as is also the case with the Leica M. Additionally, all equipment and accessories from the Leica M series are compatible with the new Leica M Monochrom.

Other new features include:

  • Nearly unbreakable sapphire crystal cover glass for the LCD monitor, treated with an anti-reflection protective coating to ensure precise assessment of images in any lighting situation.
  • A body manufactured from high-strength magnesium alloy, with a top- and baseplate made from solid brass blanks and finished in black chrome.
  • New yellow, orange and green filters, available in July.

Manufacturer description #2

Black-and-white is the essence of photography as an art form. In the more than 100-year history of the medium, there have been, and still are many photographers who specialize in the aesthetics of black-and-white photography to express their creativity. Leica produced the first digital monochrome camera in 35 mm format, to provide these connoisseurs with a contemporary tool for the pursuit of perfection in capturing the world in black-and-white. The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) is the next step forward in this unique concept. The new innovations it brings exceed the high standards set by its predecessor, but never lose focus on its core ideology: true black-and-white photography with unrivaled sharpness at the cutting edge of modern technology.

With the Leica Maestro, the Leica M Monochrom features the same high-performance processor as its full-color counterpart. Additionally, it also offers all the benefits of a high capacity, 2 GB buffer. This combination makes slowdowns a thing of the past: The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) captures and records images three times faster than its predecessor and delivers exceptional M-quality black-and-white images. This can be seen instantaneously, as the processor allows for extremely quick display of the captured images in review mode. As a further benefit of its prowess, the Leica Maestro image processor reduces the load on the battery while simultaneously delivering top-level results.

With its sensor, the Leica M Monochrom follows the successful path of the Leica M (Typ 240) and captures decisive moments on a high-resolution, 24 MP full-frame CMOS sensor. As the M Monochrom has no need for a color filter array in front of the sensor, it records images without using interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. The consequence of this is that each pixel receives more light, leading to 100 % sharper images with a dynamic range and detail resolution that far exceeds what is possible in color photography. In fact, even the JPEG files the M Monochrom delivers can satisfy the demands of professional stock agencies. Photographers can now expand their black-and-white creativity by utilizing the entire range of Leica M-Lenses and nearly all legacy R-Series lenses by using an adapter in tandem with Live View functionality.

Black-and-white photography reduces a picture solely to luminance values to achieve a unique and particularly appealing look. The same principle applies to the minimalistic design concept of the Leica M Monochrom. It is completely free of any embellishments. The camera body is manufactured from a high-strength magnesium alloy. The top deck and baseplate are machined from solid brass and finished in black chrome, whereby the materials are of the highest quality and sourced only from selected suppliers. The same top quality criteria also apply to the incredibly scratch-resistant and near-unbreakable sapphire crystal used for the cover glass of the LCD. This is treated with an anti-reflective protective coating that ensures photographers can precisely assess and check their images in any lighting situation.

In order to sense colors, the sensors of conventional cameras are outfitted with color filters. Luminance values are then calculated by interpolation. As a camera constructed exclusively for black-and-white photography, the Leica M Monochrom has no need for such color filters on the sensor. This means that more light reaches each pixel, light sensitivity increases, and luminance values are measured directly at the sensor. Now that interpolation is no longer needed, images taken with the Leica M Monochrom have a particularly fine-grained noise characteristic at high ISO values that is reminiscent of the aesthetic of analog photography. The M Monochrom produces the finest detail in highlights and shadows and razor-sharp images at all ISO sensitivity settings, thanks to the combination of low susceptibility to noise, a bright viewfinder/rangefinder, a low-vibration shutter release, and fast lenses. The Leica M Monochrom opens up new dimensions for black-and-white photography in low light never dreamed of before.

Thanks to its 1080p full-HD video capability, the Leica M Monochrom can also capture high-quality video in black-and-white. Filming can be started instantly with one touch of the dedicated video recording button. The Leica M Monochrom also offers the option of recording video as motion JPEGs, where each frame is stored as its own full image, lending enormous advantages and flexibility to video editing. Thanks to a dedicated adapter that allows for full compatibility, the legendary R-Series lenses can now be used for shooting black-and-white video and still pictures. An optional Leica microphone adapter set, comprising an adapter and a stereo microphone, ensures quality sound.

With Live View, the Leica M Monochrom provides an alternative to only composing through the viewfinder. The high resolution 3" monitor, with 921,600 pixels, allows photographers to preview composition, exposure, focusing, and depth of field in real time before capturing the shot. Live View also offers two additional focusing methods: Live View Zoom and Focus Peaking. Live View Zoom mode can magnify the live image on the LCD up to 10 × for checking critical focus. With Live View Focus Peaking, colored lines automatically highlight sharply focused edges in the image. Depending on the situation or the photographer’s preferences, the Leica M Monochrom provides a choice of several options for capturing exceptionally sharp pictures.

With the Leica M Monochrom, classic toning effects from black-and-white film photography can be applied to images at the touch of a button. Users can simply and conveniently select the desired toning effect for JPEG files, from blue or selenium toning to sepia.

With a full native resolution of 24 megapixels, the Leica M Monochrom delivers 100 % sharper images than a comparable color sensor. As its sensor does not “see” color, every single pixel records true luminance values. This means that the sensor of the M Monochrom receives more light and delivers a true black-and-white image. The combination of the brilliant image quality 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 post-process sharpening in software. The result is incomparable image quality at a level that previously could only be expected from a medium-format camera. Thanks to the choice of a low compression rate, the quality of the JPEG files directly from the Leica M Monochrom is even comparable with that of professionally processed TIFF files.

By modifying the conversion of colors to grayscale values, the yellow, green, and orange filters designed especially for use with lenses mounted on the Leica M Monochrom offer new opportunities for the exploration of creative effects with light and contrast at the time of image capture. The color of the glass filter mounted to the lens intensifies the brightness of that matching color in the scene, as its complementary color is rendered darker. For example, an orange color filter attached to an M-Lens on the M Monochrom to capture a landscape image will lead to brighter luminance levels in orange foliage, and yet darker levels in a blue sky. Utilizing these add-on filters can be particularly effective for creating unusual moods in landscapes, portraits and other types of photography. At the same time, multicoating reduces reflections and ensures high transmission.

The Leica M Monochrom satisfies the needs of discerning users and fine-art photographers with a raw data histogram for the rigorous assessment of tonal values. The difference from conventional histograms is that it displays original, unprocessed, and unmodified raw data. The combination of this with a configurable highlight and shadow clipping display is a particularly effective tool for the precise correction and optimization of exposures. The subdivision of the raw data histogram into stops enables especially-dedicated black-and-white photographers to employ a digital interpretation of the classic zone system.

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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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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.