Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced

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Philippa Grafton

Leica has announced the latest iteration of its black-and-white-only camera

Black-and-white photography has never been more intuitive with the latest version of Leica’s monochrome-only camera, the M Monochrom (Typ 246).

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced

Earlier this afternoon the new Leica was announced, with an improved spec as well as a more affordable price. With this new iteration, it puts Leica’s current camera range at a total of seven cameras, with the older M Monochrom intended to be gradually phased out.


Featuring a 24MP CMOS sensor that shoots in both RAW and JPEG, plus a vastly improved ISO range of 320-25000, the M Monochrom (Typ 246) is ideal for large prints and fine-art creations. The Monochrom is also capable of almost four frames per second, thanks to a larger memory buffer of 2GB, compared to the previous iteration’s buffer of 1GB. There’s plenty of science behind the M Monochrom (Typ 246)’s upgrades. Images are of a significantly higher quality than the Monochrom’s colour-shooting companions as a result of the sensor, which has had its RGB filters stripped, ensuring no loss of quality during the actual capture.


Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced


The LCD screen has also received a major upgrade and has increased in size to three inches. Resolution has also been improved at 921,000 dots. Featuring sapphire crystal coating glass, the screen is essentially scratch resistant, and anti-reflective coating ensures that the screen can be used in bright conditions. Despite this, however, during our hands-on time with the camera, it was difficult to see the image on the screen in direct sunlight. The LCD is also fixed onto the back of the camera and cannot be angled, which makes it hard to shoot candidly with the M Monochrom (Typ 246).


Live View is a new feature for the Leica M Monochrome, however, and it was an impressive addition. When focusing, the camera zooms into the centre of the frame to ensure precise focusing, and the inclusion of a focus-peaking indicator provides an even more accurate shot.


Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced


Design-wise, it’s almost identical to the M (Typ 240) and all the accessories that are compatible with the M (Typ 240) can be used with the new Monochrom. One noticeable difference – by the lack of it – is the logo on the front of the camera. With an uninterrupted matte black finish, the M Monochrom (Typ 246) is the most discreet Leica yet. Similarly, it’s possible to use R-system lenses with the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246), providing you’re using the correct adapter. The R-system lenses are renowned for their high-quality images, and despite being discontinued, they continue to sell extremely well on the second-hand market.


In hand, the camera is surprisingly sturdy. It weighs much more than it looks, but if anything that’s reassuring because it gives you the impression that it would cope with a knock or two. Despite a relatively minimalist chassis, there are convenient grips where your hands naturally rest on the body.


Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced

Another first for the monochrome-only Leica is the inclusion of 1080p HD video capabilities, and you can attach the M (Typ 240)’s microphone via the hotshoe for stereo sound captures.


Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) announced
A sample image taken on the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Costing £5,750, the new M Monochrom (Typ 246) is a snippet of the price of the older iteration. Whether the new M Monochrom will fare as well as the previous version, however, is yet to be seen. It will be available from early May. Check back in a later issue of Digital Photographer for a more in-depth review.

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