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Author Topic: Off Brand: Leica M Monochrom & Leica APO-Summicron 50 f/2 ASPH Announced  (Read 14228 times)

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This is a non Canon post, if you don’t like reading about other camera brands, please skip this small article. Thanks!

From the minds of Leica
No other camera manufacturer is more polarizing than Leica. So I had to post todays announcement, because it’s going to bring about a lot of debate, intrigue and questions about what they’re doing in Solms.

A lot of you will know I do shoot with a Leica M9, and enjoy the camera as well as the M lenses I own. However, I do have a hard time answering “yes” to the inevitable question I get from people… “Is it worth the money?” So when I see them announcing a new segment of 35mm digital camera for $8000, and still retaining things like the 5 year old technology 230,000 pixel LCD displays, I’m not sure what to tell people about getting into Leica.

Why does this matter to the Canon user?
I have always said I think there’s a market for a full frame “mirrorless” camera, and the first one to do it for half the price of Leica, will have a big winner on their hands. Today Leica threw a curveball with a B&W sensored camera, as well as a staggering technical marvel with their new 50mm lens.

Leica M Monochrom
Today in Berlin, the Leica M Monochrom was announced. It is an 18mp black & white only digital rangefinder.

“It has a sensor designed exclusively for black and white photography. It has no color filter,” said Leica Chairman Dr. Andreas Kauffman. “This allows twice the amount of light to reach the sensor. So we combined this special sensor with our rangefinder system and we present you the M Monochrome with the maximized image quality available with Leica lenses.”

Main Specs

  • 18MP CCD monochrome sensor (24 x 36mm)
  • No anti-aliasing filter
  • No color filter array
  • ISO 320-10,000 (with a ‘Pull 160*’ option)
  • 2.5″ 230,000 dot rear LCD
  • Supplied with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2

Leica M Monochrom

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 f/2 ASPH Lens
A $7200 50 f/2 lens? That’s exactly what Leica announced today. I find it intriguing, because it’s going to set lens testers and lens geeks into a tizzy waiting to get their hands on one. There are some bold claims about the performance of this lens.

This lens is a new milestone in the history of optical design that achieves previously unattainable values in all technical performance characteristics. For instance, there is practically no fall-off at the edges – even at full aperture – in the MTF curves for image sharpness. Even the finest details are rendered with more than 50% contrast – a previously unheard of value that confirms the exceptional properties of this lens.

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH

The camera is an intriguing step, but hard to stomach the $8000 price tag without having addressed some of the biggest issues with the M9, the LCD screen being one and lack of focus confirmation for the optically challenged. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s more responsive than the M9.

The lens may be the greatest thing ever created by man, I am looking forward to the comparisons between it and the Noctilux and Summilux variants. Can lenses be made much better than they already are?

Neither is scheduled to ship until August 2012.

That begs another question, if this camera isn’t out until August 2012, how can an M10 be coming a month later?

Now’s the time Canon, lets see the worlds first full frame autofocus mirrorless camera! Consider it preordered.


« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 07:37:21 AM by Canon Rumors »

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the BW image quality at dpreview looks unimpressiv.
and for that money?

i guess only saudis princes and weapon dealer will find this camera interesting.  :)

the X2, well i have to take a closer look.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 06:00:53 PM by Astro »


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Has Leica posted the MTF graphs for this lens anywhere?

In the .pdf linked by "technical data" here: http://us.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/lenses/8884.html

the MTF charts look amazing, even at f/2. For that price, they'd better be!


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Finally, we can use color filters again like in the old days, without blocking the light up to 75% of Bayern pattern, and make the images blurry with an e.g., red filter.

But $8K, certainly not my idea for such. Since we can't update the camera on the cheap with a new film emulsion, like in the old days, which was the fun of new developments.

I'm not certain how many people will take one. (A 36MP camera has the same options to illuminate 18MP with out filters [we can argue about that of course, but well...] ... and cost nearly the same.)

I would love to have one of these, but I think my limit would be $2K for it. Just my two cents. Leica or not...
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 06:19:02 PM by drs »


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Return on investment. You pay $8k, the pictures you sell pay back multiple. By the way, a 200Mp (!!) Hasselblad costs $45k. Then there's Andy Warhol who does the job on a Polaroid. Philosophically, to push the limits of state-of-the-art you have to be a genius and the German scientists in Optics (and Chemistry) Rule. Leica is an icon (not Nikon). Let's figure these points for various conclusions.

As to Canon's move in mirrorless as compared to Leica I wouldn't bother, it's like comparing Beethoven and the disco version of the 5th. Myself, after the Leica 50/2 I wonder what Canon is up to with the 50/1.4II  ::)


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While it is nice to see a monochrome offering outside machine vision/astro/medium format, I kinda wish it wasn't Lecia doing it.  While a few people are willing to pay the premium, Lucia digital rangefinders are incredibly over priced status symbols, and thus it has no utility for demonstrating the viability of such a body.. which is something the industry could really use since the 'common knowledge' is such cameras have no market, even though people keep asking for them.

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cost more than 1D X

my god, i like black and white but i better stick with canon

not enough money to burn
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Though I am kinda surprised they only managed twice the light.

I think when Maxmax tested their conversions they got about 2 stops out of it, and that was after accounting for the loss of the microlenses.  So I would expect the Lecia senor with no CFA but intact microlenses should get more 1 stop of improvement.


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I'd like to see someone make a B&W DSLR, but Canon wouldn't do it 'cause they would be afraid that it would cannibalize their color DSLR market ;)

When and if, Leica builds a R10Digital maybe they will include a B&W model.


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If their new 50mm f2 is as good as they say, I'll be amazed that nobody has created such a good 50mm lens before. The double Gauss formula has been tinkered with for 100+ years and it has always had its flaws. Top build quality alone doesn't magically result in a near flawless lens so I'm intrigued to see what Leica has done differently.


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while the double Gauss has flaws, it delivers very good performance even in basic designs. And the design here is not a classic double Gauss. The back part is quite different. Also, it's only f2, not very fast for a 50 mm. That plus the liberal use of expensive glass types should do it.
my guess is Canon could produce the same for 2k. it's just a matter of market.


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I have a feeling i will drool over this camera and lens and if i had one i would LOVE it to death. But, and there is always a but.

If Leica's digital cameras lasted as long as their film predecessors i would be happy to invest in this camera. But they don't and things move so fast in the digital era how can this cost be justified?

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Now’s the time Canon, lets see the worlds first full frame autofocus mirrorless camera! Consider it preordered.

That's precisely my sentiments as well. A full frame mirrorless camera is gonna ROCK. Throw in a good 40 MP sensor with wide dynamic range at low ISO and landscape photographers will be all over it. Cheap (no expensive pentaprism), light weight, good image quality... what's not to like?


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I have a feeling i will drool over this camera and lens and if i had one i would LOVE it to death. But, and there is always a but.

If Leica's digital cameras lasted as long as their film predecessors i would be happy to invest in this camera. But they don't and things move so fast in the digital era how can this cost be justified?

The price of this vs. the usefulness of it more or less means it's a toy more than it is a tool. I'd like one, probably, but I'd rather have an M6.

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