15 May 2012


No -it's not a misspelling -Monochrom without the "e" is German for monochrome and that is the nomenclature of the latest Leica camera- the Leica M Monochrom which was announced last week.It costs $8000 -$1000 more than the M9 on which it is based and yet it only takes monochrome -( black and white) images -no colour. That's right $1000 more than the already incredibly expensive M9 .And that is just for the camera body-no lens .
 Leica have obviously been to the Porsche school of pricing where stripped down versions of the 911 without aircon and sound system and rear seats etc cost more than the standard car .
The M Monochrom proves that the Germans do have a sense of humour because this and the price of their new $7000 50mm lens (yes $7000 for a lens) are a big joke.

Reports say that the images produced by the M are superb and the well respected Luminous Landscape website is very enthusiastic about it .But the M9 takes superb images and this I am sure equally applies to the black and white images it produces .With most digital cameras,above the basic level,you usually have the option of taking black and white images and in any case nowadays most black and white images are colour originals converted by post processing software such as Photoshop,Silver Efex and Lightroom.

I love Leica gear-I've owned a lot of it over 44 years .My Leica X1 compact produces beautiful images but pricing like Leica have just announced will put the brand totally out of reach of all but a tiny number of very rich buyers .My feeling is that the M Monochrom will  prove to be a commercial white elephant spurned not because it is not a clever idea and a great camera but because Leica have been too greedy in their pricing-way too greedy.They are out with the pixies.

As my personal contribution to some balance in the monochrome world a shot from Paris in monochrome and its colour original .Taken on a Canon G7 in colour and converted in Lightroom.At today's pricing on ebay you can buy 53 Canon G7's for the price of just one M Monochrom body.If you threw in one of the new lenses with the M for the price of this colour blind camera with a fixed lens you'd be able to buy over 100 G7's -and they'd all have zoom lenses and shoot colour as well .Not really a fair and valid comparison-bit like comparing a well used MX5 with a new Porsche Boxster S- but food for thought nonetheless.

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