Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

April 30, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | Digital | Comment |

The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) is a new black and white rangefinder camera. The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) features a newly developed 24 megapixel full-frame black-and-white CMOS sensor, ISO range of 320-2500, high-performance Leica Maestro image processor, 2Gb buffer, Live View function with focus peaking, 1080p HD video recording, 3-inch 921K-dot LCD with a Sapphire Crystal screen, and compatibility with almost all lenses of the Leica R series.

The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) will be available in early May for £5750 / €7200.

Leica Press Release

New: LEICA M MONOCHROM – maximum picture quality in black and white

Leica Camera AG, Wetzlar, is taking the next step forward in its successful digital black-and-white photography concept for the Leica M rangefinder camera system and presents the new Leica M Monochrom (Type 246). With improved performance and features and a newly developed black-and-white sensor, the camera by far exceeds the high standards set by its predecessor. At the same time, it keeps its core competence sharply in focus: black-and-white pictures with maximum quality in all respects.

The new components of the Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) are a high-performance Leica Maestro image processor as installed in the current Leica M and a buffer memory with a capacity expanded to two gigabytes. This combination ensures higher speed and makes the Leica M Monochrom even more versatile. For example, as the processor enables extremely fast processing of the image data captured by the sensor, sequences can now be shot much faster and assessed almost instantaneously in review mode on the camera’s monitor. As a further benefit, the Leica Maestro image processor also takes less than two seconds to deliver high-quality JPEG files in addition to the RAW data files in DNG format.

Another highlight of the camera is a new 24-megapixel high-resolution black-and-white sensor in full-frame format without a low-cut filter. As the sensor of the Leica M Monochrom does without a colour filter, which means that interpolation is no longer required for the calculation of luminance values, it enables exceptionally sharp pictures at all sensitivity settings up to ISO 25 000 with exceptional depth, clarity and resolution of details that by far exceed that of colour exposures. Pictures captured with the M Monochrom are uniquely characterised by finely grained rendition of details with no disturbing artefacts. Another advantage of the new sensor is that, in addition to the M-Lens portfolio, almost all lenses of the Leica R series can now be used on the Leica M Monochrom to expand the creative capabilities of the Leica rangefinder system, as is also the case with the Leica M.

The design of the Leica M Monochrom reflects the established philosophy of the Leica rangefinder system and concentrates on particular robustness and discretion. The top deck and baseplate are machined from solid brass blanks and finished in black chrome, whereby the raw materials used are especially homogeneous and sourced only from selected suppliers. The camera body is manufactured from a high-strength magnesium alloy. The extremely scratch-resistant and almost unbreakable sapphire crystal cover glass of the LCD monitor is of equally high quality. It is treated with an anti-reflection protective coating that ensures that photographers can precisely assess and check their images in any lighting situation.

The Live View function of the Leica M Monochrom provides a viable alternative to looking through the viewfinder. The high-resolution 3" monitor with 921,600 pixels ensures that photographers have complete control of composition, exposure, focusing and depth of field. Live View also offers two additional focusing methods: the up to tenfold magnification in Live View Zoom mode provides full control of the sharpness of details in the subject or the closest focusing distance. In Live View Focus Peaking mode, sharply focused edges in the image are automatically highlighted by coloured lines. Depending on the situation or the photographer’s preferences, the Leica M Monochrom provides a choice of several options for capturing exceptionally sharp pictures.

Thanks to its 1080p full-HD video capability, the M Monochrom can also capture high-quality video in black and white. Video recording can be quickly and conveniently started and stopped with a separate release button. Video sequences can be recorded in Motion JPEG format – that is, in true, individual full frames – which brings enormous advantages for video editing. Thanks to a dedicated adapter, almost all Leica R-series lenses can now be used with all available functions both for shooting video and capturing still pictures. Optimum sound is ensured by the optional Leica microphone adapter set, comprising an adapter and a stereo microphone.

At the touch of a button, exposures captured by the M Monochrom can be converted from black and white to a series of characteristic toning effects traditionally used in analogue photography – for example, sepia, cold or selenium toning. All users need to do is save the image in JPEG format and select the desired toning effect – simply and conveniently, and with no need for post-processing. Leica M Monochrom customers can download a free copy of Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® from the Leica website for professional post-processing.

From August 2015, a series of specially calculated filters in the colours yellow, green and orange will be available as optional accessories for altering the greyscale conversion of particular colours in the subject when shooting with the Leica M Monochrom. These allow photographers to create unusual moods and effects in their subjects and further expand the creative capabilities of the camera – for instance in landscape or portrait photography.

The Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) will be available from May 2015.

Technical Data                                  LEICA M MONOCHROM (Typ 246)

Camera type:                                    Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246), compact digital view and range finder system camera with black-and-white sensor

Lens mount:                                       Leica M bayonet with additional sensor for 6-bit coding

Lens system:                                      Leica M lenses from 16 – 135 mm

Picture format / image sensor:        B/W CMOS chip, active area approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm (corresponds to usable format of analog Leica M models) without color and low-pass filter

Resolution:                                         DNG™: 5976 x 3992 pixels (24MP),

JPEG: 5952 x 3968 pixels (24MP), 4256 x 2832 pixels (12MP), 2976 x 1984 pixels (6MP), 1600 x 1072 pixels (1.7MP); For video recordings: 720P, 1080P

Data formats:                                   DNG™ (raw data), either uncompressed or compressed (lossless), JPEG

File size:                                              DNG™: Compressed 20-30MB, uncompressed 34.5MB,

JPEG: Depending on resolution and picture content

Video recording format:                   Motion JPG/Quicktime

Video frame rates:                            24fps, 25fps

Buffer memory:                                2GB / 30 pictures in series

Sound recording:                             Mono, stereo using microphone adapter, choice of automatic or manual modulation during recording or fixed "Concert" setting

Storage medium:                              SD cards up to 2GB / SDHC cards up to 32GB / SDXC cards

Menu languages:                              German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Korean

Compatibility:                                   Windows® Vista® SP2/ 7R / 8®; Mac® OS X (10.5 or higher)

Exposure metering:                          Through the Lens (TTL) metering, with variable aperture, center-weighted TTL metering for flash exposure with system-compliant SCA-3000/2 standard flash units

Metering principle / method:           By metering the light reflected by light blades of the 1st shutter curtain onto a measuring cell: Strong center-weighted; for metering on the sensor: Spot, center-weighted, multi-field metering

Metering range:                                (to ISO 320, room temperature and normal relative humidity:) EV0 (with aperture 1.0) to EV20 (with aperture 32) Flashing of the left-hand triangular LED in the viewfinder signals that the exposure meter reading is below the working range

Sensitivity range:                              ISO 320 to ISO Push 25000, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments, choice of automatic control or manual setting

Exposure mode:                               Choice of automatic shutter speed control with manual aperture preselection - aperture priority A, or manual shutter speed and aperture setting

Flash exposure control

Flash unit attachment:                     Using accessory shoe with center and control contacts or using SCA adapter set

Synchronization:                               Optionally triggered at the 1st or 2nd shutter curtain

Flash sync speed:                              = 1/180s; slower shutter speeds can be used, if working below sync speed: Automatic changeover to TTL linear flash mode with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units

Flash exposure metering:                (with SCA-3502-M5 adapter or SCA-3000 standard flash unit, e.g. Leica SF 26) Control with center-weighted TTL pre-flash metering

Flash measurement cell:                  2 silicon photo diodes with collection lens on the camera base

Flash exposure compensation:        +/- 3 1/3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV steps via the menu, and when using correspondingly equipped Leica system flash units

Displays in flash mode:                    (in viewfinder only) Ready: Constant illumination of flash symbol LED in viewfinder


Viewfinder principle:                       Large, bright-line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation

Eyepiece:                                           Calibrated to -0.5 dpt.; corrective lenses from -3 to +3 diopter available

Image field indication:                     By activating two bright-line frames each: For 35 and 135 mm, or for 28 and 90 mm, or for 50 and 75 mm; automatic switching when lens is attached; frame color (red/white) selectable in menu

Parallax compensation:                   The horizontal and vertical difference between the viewfinder and the lens is automatically compensated according to the relevant distance setting, i.e. the viewfinder bright-line frame automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens

Matching viewfinder and

actual image:                                     At a range setting of 2 m, the bright-line frame size corresponds exactly to the sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm; at infinity setting, depending on the focal length, approx. 7.3% (28 mm) to 18% (135 mm) more is recorded by the sensor than indicated by

the corresponding bright line frame and slightly less for shorter distance settings than 2 m

Magnification:                                   (For all lenses) 0.68 x

Large-base rangefinder:                  Split or superimposed image range finder shown as a bright field in the center of the viewfinder image

Effective metering basis:                 47.1 mm (mechanical measurement basis 69.25 mm x viewfinder magnification 0.68x)


In the viewfinder:                             Four-digit digital display with dots above and below

On back:                                           3" TFT LCD monitor with 16 million colors and 921,600 pixels, approx. 100% image field, max. 170° viewing angle, glass cover of extremely hard, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for Live View and review mode

Shutter and shutter release button

Shutter:                                              Metal blade focal plane shutter with vertical movement

Shutter speed:                                   For aperture priority: (A) continuous from 60s to 1/4000s., For manual adjustment: 8s to 1/4000s in half steps, B: For long exposures up to maximum 60s (in conjunction with self-timer T function, i.e. 1st release = shutter opens, 2nd release = shutter closes). (1/180s): Fastest shutter speed for flash synchronization, HSS

linear flash mode possible with all shutter speeds faster than 1/180s with HSS-compatible Leica system flash units); for video recordings (aperture priority and manual mode): 1/30 to 1/4000s, for manual mode possible override of specified shutter speed to ensure correct exposure

Activation of shutter:                        By integrated motor, low noise operation

Picture series:                        Approx. 3 pictures/s, ≤ 30 pictures in series

Shutter release button:                    For single pictures: Two-stage, 1. Activation of exposure metering and exposure lock (in aperture priority mode), 2. Shutter release; standard thread for cable release integrated.

Self-timer:                                         Delay optionally 2s (aperture priority and manual exposure setting) or 12s, set in menu, indicated by flashing LED on front of camera and corresponding display in monitor.

Turning the camera on/off:             Using main switch on top of camera; optional automatic shutdown of camera electronics after approx. 2/5/10 minutes; reactivated by tapping the shutter release

Power supply:                                   1 lithium ion battery, rated voltage 7.4V, capacity 1800mAh, capacity indicated in top panel display, when shutter held open (for sensor cleaning) additional acoustic warning of low capacity, maximum charging current/voltage: DC, 1100mA/ 8,25V. Model

no.: BP-SCL2, Manufacturer: VARTA Microbattery, made in Indonesia

Charger:                                           Inputs: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, automatic switching, or 12V DC, 1.3A; Output: DC, 7.4V, 1000mA. Model no.: BC-SCL2, Manufacturer: Guangdong PISEN Electronics Co., Ltd., made in China

GPS:                                                  Optional (only with multifunction hand grip attached), not available everywhere due to country-specific legislation, i.e. enforced automatic shutdown in those countries), data written to EXIF header in picture files.

Level indication:                               Measurement using 3-level acceleration sensor, measuring range: inclination (about transverse axis) and tilt (about longitudinal axis) each +/- 90°, measuring accuracy / display sensitivity: ≤1° at 0-40°C / 32-104°F and horizontal alignment, display in monitor

Camera body

Material:                                           All-metal die cast magnesium body, synthetic leather covering. Brass top panel and base, black chrome plated finish

Frame selector:                                 Allows the bright-line frame pairs to be manually activated at any time (e.g. to compare detail)

Tripod thread:                                   A ¼ (¼ “) DIN stainless steel in bottom

Operating conditions:                       0-40°C / 32-104°F

Interfaces:                                         ISO hot shoe, accessory socket, contact strip for Multifunction Hand Grip M

Dimensions:                                       (Width x Depth x Height) Approx. 138.6 x 42 x 80 mm /

515/32 x 121/32 x x 35/32”

Weight:                                               Approx. 680g /24oz. (with battery)

Scope of delivery:                             Charger 100-240V with 2 mains cables (Euro, USA,

                                                           varies in some export markets) and 1 car charging cable,

                                                           lithium ion battery, carrying strap, body bayonet cover,

                                                           cover for accessory shoe / accessory socket, of Adobe®

                                                           Photoshop® Lightroom® license

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