“The Leica M10 Monochrom is a specialised camera with a full frame monochrome sensor and unusually wide ISO range of 160 to 1,000,000”
Leica is a name that is synonymous with some of the most legendary cameras ever made, and continuing on its expansive legacy, the German camera makers have announced the third iteration of their monochrome-only mirrorless camera. Dubbed Leica M10 Monochrom, as the name suggests, the camera is a monochrome-only version of its critically acclaimed M10 series of cameras. Among other things, the Leica M10 Monochrom comes with an all new sensor — a 40-megapixel, full frame black and white sensor that differs significantly from the 24-megapixel full frame workhorse in the rest of the Leica M10 lineup.
The high resolution sensor is further paired with an unusually broad ISO range, with the Leica M10 Monochrom offering a sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 1,000,000. According to Leica, the wide range of ISO helps the camera offer “finely grained rendition of details and no disturbing artifacts.” Given that it uses a monochrome sensor, having fine sensitivity performance at both the bottom and the top end of the native ISO range will be crucial since artifacts in frames are more likely to occur in such sensors.
One big advantage of the Leica M10 Monochrom is that since it uses a monochrome only sensor, there is no demosaicing involved. Demosaicing is a process that is key to completing the colour data for each pixel in a more ‘normal’ (RGB) sensor. Since all pixels in the M10 Monochrom is a grayscale one, there is no missing colour value for any pixel in the frame, as a result of which the photographs shot by the Leica M10 Monochrom would be inherently sharper than the rest of the M10 portfolio.
Leica has also focused on giving the M10 Monochrom an ultra quiet shutter, and an aesthetic that really suits the M10 Monochrom’s black and white credentials. The classic Leica M-series rangefinder design has been retained, and gets a large viewfinder and an optional electronic viewfinder attachment as well. It removes the Leica red dot logo from the front of the device to go with the monochrome aesthetic. However, technically speaking, the Leica M10 Monochrom is a far cry from the technically advanced cameras that we have gotten used to shooting with. In the full frame mirrorless space, cameras such as the Sony a7 series and even the Nikon Z series offer a more holistic package.
However, the Leica M10 Monochrom is not competing with any of them, and is aimed exclusively at a very niche group of users, for whom the aesthetic and intangible factors appeal far more than the technical details. The Leica M10 Monochrom is now available for pre-order in India at Rs 6,75,000 for the body, and will be compatible with any M-system mount lenses that you may have with you. If you’re seriously considering the M10 Monochrom, chances are that you already have a few of these lenses in your kit.