Updated 13th May 2012
Well I was hoping for an announcement from Leica at yesterdays press conference of a new S3 to replace their stunning S2 digital medium format camera and with the date being May 10th i.e. M10 I was hoping the M10 would be announced.
Currently the M9 and S2 are out of my price range but a new M10 and S3 may have made the old version drop enough to enable me to consider one.
Instead we get the M9 mono, and the updated large sensor compact the new X2. The X2 does not interest me as it does not have a built in viewfinder but the M9 mono does.
Many people will ask why?
Surely a colour camera is better and you can convert to mono and use the colour channels to customise the image as you see fit.
Well actually a mono sensor has a number of advantages, with no demosaicing there is an increase in resolution, the base ISO can be higher and again less noise at higher ISO values as again there is no demosaicing.
Until now you had to spend $40000 for a PhaseOne Mono digital back for your medium format camera.
For black & white enthusiasts this could be an amazing camera, for those after the ultimate in quality this should produce the best yet black & white images from a digital small format full frame 35mm sensor.
Is it worth the money well, for some yes, those who want the ultimate in quality. For those willing to sacrifice a little in quality then there are far more cheaper options available.
Would I buy one? Well if money was no object then yes I have to admit I would. I love Black & White and this is the closest a digital camera has yet come to producing that ‘real’ Black & White experience.
Unfortunately, while I can justify buying high end Nikon SLR’s every few years as I can make money from them, a Leica M Monochrom would be for personal work and I could not justify the expense. Lets hope in five years time or so a new Leica MM comes out based on the M10 and I can pick up one up second hand. Until then i’ll produce my monochrome images using Adobe Lightroom and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro.
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