Anyone Leica Black and White?

As long-rumored, Leica today announced a monochrome version of the venerable M9 camera, the M-Monochrom. While this may perplex some, there are three substantive gains to removing the Bayer pattern from a sensor:

  • There's an approximately 1.5x increase in resolution (no demosaicing means no invented data).
  • More light gets to the sensor so the base ISO is higher (ISO 320 on the M-Monochrome).
  • Less noise is produced at higher ISO values because there's no demosaic interpreting values.

I've been a long-time advocate of monochrome-only options for our cameras. Indeed, ever since using the Kodak DCS760 briefly back in 2002 I've been a convert to non-Bayered cameras.

It's a shame Leica didn't take the time to make a few other adjustments on the camera. A 2.5" 230k dot LCD really is a throwback, and a camera like this is just crying for TIFF output. I'm also not clear as to why Silver Efex Pro is thrown in for free (along with Lightroom), unless Nik has worked on altering monochrome data in a new version. Price is US$7950.

Originally I had written that we needed more exposure tools. I had missed the point about the camera first displaying histograms from the JPEG but then correcting that to display the raw histogram.

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