When Leica announced the Leica Monochrom in May 2012 it was a real game changer. A very bold move which turned out to be an outstanding success. I was lucky enough to take a prototype to China before the launch (Henri in China). The code name for the older model was Henri – and so it’s completely logical that the new model has been codenamed Elliott. The new Monochrom (Typ 246) is based around the Leica M-P(240) with a 24mp CMOS sensor made by CMOSIS rather than the CCD of the old camera. It has a similar stealth livery to the previous model with the sapphire crystal back and no red dot. It’s worth briefly revisiting the reason for a Monochrome camera before discussing Elliott in detail: Current sensors only detect the intensity of light, not the colour. A Bayer filter is placed over the sensor with a different colour filter over each photo-site. When the image is processed (demosaicing) groups of 4 pixels are examined together and in the context of surrounding groups and the colour is calculated. The filter itself imposes a 1 to 2 stop reduction in the light reaching the sensor, and the demosaicing process reduces the resolution. With a monochrome sensor there is no need for a Bayer filter or for the demosaicing process – in theory one might expect a 4x improvement in resolution, but in practical terms it works out more like a two times improvement……..
Leica M Monochrome
Each morning, a sound with the ironic name of “silk” punctuates the dawn and snatches me cruelly from a blissful slumber. I fumble for the iPad, shut off its alarm and immediately launch my email app. Nothing jolts me back into a state of consciousness quite like staring into the cold, hard reality of an inbox full of fresh new problems — each vying for my immediate attention. A couple months ago, one of these wake-up emails bounced across whatever sequence of satellites connects Wetzlar Germany with Vancouver Canada. It was, of course, from Leica. They don’t email me often, but when they do, I know it’s because they want something. Normally, receiving email from anyone who wants something qualifies as “undesirable.” But when Leica wants something, it usually falls into one of two categories: Either 1) they want me to speak at a Leica Akademie, or 2) they want me to test some new piece of gear. Both scenarios require an extensive amount of work, yet both are actually quite enjoyable……..
Leica M Monochrome
Leica has announced the M Monochrom (Typ 246), an updated version of its black & white-only rangefinder camera. Whereas the original M Monochrom was based on the M9 with its 18MP CCD sensor, the new model is based on the latest M-P (Typ 240) that uses a 24MP full frame CMOS sensor. The Typ 246 employs an identical body design to the M-P, but the sensor has no colour filter array, resulting in exceptionally sharp monochrome images. Removal of the CFA means that more light reaches the sensor, and this has a knock-on effect to the sensitivity range, which now covers ISO 320 to 25000. Leica says that dynamic range is also improved, and captured in the 14-bit DNG Raw files. The rear LCD has 912,600 dot resolution, and uses a sapphire glass cover with anti-reflective coatings. Continuous shooting is available at 4 fps, thanks to a 4GB buffer and Leica’s bespoke Maestro processor…….
Leica M Monochrome
Leica’s brand new Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) is the latest monochrome digital rangefinder, updating the original 18 megapixel Leica Monochrom, with a new 24 megapixel black and white CMOS sensor. Using a purely monochrome sensor there is no need for a colour filter or anti-aliasing filter, so there is no interpolation giving sharp images, as each pixel is simply used for detail. This also gives higher sensitivity and improved performance when using higher ISO settings. The camera shares the same size and body as the Leica M (Typ 240), but with a black matt finish which is said to be the most discreet Leica ever released, with no Leica red dot to make it stand out, which will be of benefit due to the value of the camera, having an RRP of £5750.
- 24 megapixel Full Frame monochrome CMOS sensor
- Leica M bayonet with sensor for six-bit coding
- Adobe DNG raw recording
- 3inch screen, 921k dots
- Full HD Video, 25/24fps
- 60s-1/4000s, 1/180s flash sync speed
- ISO320 – ISO25000 (extended)
- 3-4fps continuous shooting
- Dual-axis electronic level
- Magnesium alloy body
- Splash proof camera body
- 800 shot battery life (when not using live view)
- 2-year warranty
Leica M Monochrome
I am not a professional photographer and don´t have to satisfy clients. So I don´t have to rush to see the results right away. That´s why I was question myself, if I really need my M9 or if the M6 would be the right tool for my personal work. I traded my M8.2 for a M9 last month. I still own a digital Ricoh GR, which is so compact that I have it always with me. The M8/9 files, DNG and in camera JPG, are superior in resolution and shadow detail. I can tweak the DNG files with Silver FX or Lightroom to achieve the look of film and add digital grain. But because highlights, shadows, and tones render differently between film and digital, this cannot be emulated adequately with a software filter. Depending on the light conditions and dynamic range of the scene, it seems like sometimes you can´t see any difference when viewing on your screen. So why taking all this hustle with 35mm film? …..
Photographer Jonas Jacobbson is a 23 year old photographer who hails from Sweden and tells us that he’s been very fortunate to travel. He studies full time and the rest of the time is spent on his photography business. Lots of his work focuses on landscapes. “There is nothing more satisfying than standing with your feet before a magnificent landscape. And the journey there is often as important as the final destination.” he tells us in his pitch email. Jonas further states that making money will never be his objective, it will always be about being inspired by the world. We talked to him about his inspirational photos and his mentality of simply going out there and shooting……
aking photos of the interiors of buildings usually means reaching for a wide-angle lens. However you may find that the lens introduces some distortion. The vertical lines in your interior may curve slightly at the edge of the frame, due to the way the light is warped as it travels through the lens. This pincushion (curving inwards) or barrel (curving outwards) distortion can be distracting, as our eyes see walls as being perfectly straight. In a photograph the interior’s walls may also converge slightly towards the top of the frame, instead of running parallel with the edges. Fortunately, Photoshop CC’s Camera Raw workspace has all the tools you need to quickly and easily counteract geometric distortions such as curved lines……..
My recent move to a mirrorless system using Fuji X series cameras has been a smooth and enjoyable transition. One of the items of kit I had decided to get for the new system was a square filter system. The king of the squares is, of course Lee and they have recently introduced their new mirrorless filter system, Seven5. As befits the quality of Lee, the Seven5 is an expensive piece of kit so I went looking to see if there were any cheaper alternatives. The obvious candidate was the Cokin A series, recently rebadged for mirrorless but in my experience, the quality of their filters tends to be poor and they acrylic seems to scratch very easily. I did, however with a little more research come across a small British company producing good quality square filter systems. Like Lee, Formatt HiTech have a background in cinema lighting filters and have used their knowledge to apply it to photographic filters. They have also recently created a small square filter system for mirrorless based on their 67mm filters……..
Formatt Hitech Filter
Probably no one, that is a Fuji fan or user, is unaware of the newest lens to be released shortly. The 16mm f 1.4 is yet another of Fuji’s stellar fast lenses. Joining the 23mm f 1.4 (35mm equiv.), the 35mm f 1.4 (50mm equiv.) and the 56mm f 1.2 (85mm equiv.) the 16 fills that critical 24mm equivalent spot with real speed!!!! It is close to the same size and weight of the 23mm, which is to say, in the three bears story form; “just right”. The lens I got to shoot at the Fuji National Sales Meeting in Phoenix this week was a late prototype, very, very close to a production lens. How good is it? If the production model is any sharper it will have to come with warning label about picking it up, you just might cut yourself! ……
Fujinon XF Lenses
So Lightroom CC is out. Yes, CC not 6; although there is or will be a 6. Which will be the same… I think. Frankly, it’s confusing as hell and I’m pretty sure it’s Adobe’s way of slowly getting folks psychologically ready for the inevitable total cloud switch. But, having hopped on board the Photography Plan last year I guess I can’t really bitch about it anymore. And unless the prices change, I still believe the arguments that made me decide to subscribe still hold true. I’ll be honest with you, I’m ambivalent about this release. Not because there aren’t nice additions and fixes but because I can’t help but find it lacking in imagination, given Adobe’s immense ressources. And because even at version 6, the reality is that it still trails behind the now defunct Aperture in way too many departments, even as it adds “new” Aperture inspired features. So while I started writing this post as a short overview of what was new in CC, it devolved into a re-examination of the application as a whole—something I haven’t done publicly in a long time……