Leica bets big on monochrome-only digital camera

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© Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

In an age where black-and-white film and traditional photo paper and chemicals are disappearing from the marketplace, Leica Camera has launched a risky bet that high-quality black-and-white photography will continue to be in demand in the 21st century.
Their bet? A brand new digital camera that does not take color photos. The Leica M Monochrom camera is optimized to capture the fullest possible tonal range for smooth, rich, super-high-resolution black-and-white photography. I’m not a technical expert, but apparently by creating a sensor that ignores the typical RGB filters, each pixel of the new 18 megapixel camera records a subtle variation of black, white or grey only — a technique that is far superior to converting typical RGB color digital photos to black-and-white.
And indeed, Leica camera enthusiasts from all corners of the globe (including many, many high-profile professional photographers) flew in to Berlin last week and cheered loudly as they got the first look at Leica’s latest release — “the world’s first digital camera exclusively for full-frame, 35 mm black-and-white photography.”
Lens Culture was honored to be invited to this special event, and to meet the enthusiastic international crowd at C|O Berlin photography gallery in Berlin. Award-winning Magnum photographer, Jacob Aue Sobol, was one of the experts who got to test-drive the new camera before its public release. Sixty of his stunning new digital photos were on display during the event. We’re including three of those images here. And be sure to look for a great video interview with Sobol in Lens Culture in our next issue.
For more details on the new camera, check the Leica website.
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© Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

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© Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

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Photographers from all over the world crowd around the new camera unveiled by Leica last week at the C|O Berlin photography gallery