Leica M10 Monochrom Review

April 8, 2020 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Launched at the start of 2020, the Leica M10 Monochrom is the latest in a line of limited-run, niche-audience products which Leica has released in recent times.

The M10 Monochrom follows on from the Leica M Monochrom, which was announced in May 2012 and included an 18-megapixel CCD sensor. The M10 Monochrome takes the form factor of the Leica M10-P rangefinder, but installs a black-and-white only 40 megapixel, newly-designed CMOS sensor inside it.

Aimed at sub-section of photographers who prefer to shoot exclusively in monochrome, the design of the 40 megapixel sensor should mean that detail, ISO performance and dynamic range outperforms typical ‘normal’ colour sensors.

Not only does the sensor not feature a colour filter array, it’s also missing an optical low pass filter. By removing both filters, in theory you should end up in images with sharper detail, increased dynamic range and better performance at high ISOs.

As with all products from Leica, this is not a camera for those on a budget. At the time of writing, the Leica M10 Monochrom retails for around £7,250 / $8,295 body only, which makes it more expensive than the Leica M10-P, which you can pick up for around £6,489.

Ease of Use

Leica M10 Monochrom
Front of the Leica M10 Monochrom

In terms of the body design, the M10 Monochrom uses the same design as the M10-P, which sees some tweaks when compared to the standard, original M10. It has a brass and magnesium alloy body, which gives it a sturdy and well-constructed feel. It balances best with some of the smaller Leica prime lenses for the M system - for the purposes of this review, we were mainly working with a 28mm lens.

Probably most noticeable from an everyday usage point of view is the “quiet” shutter. While this is not completely silent, it is a lot more discreet than that found on the original M10. This helps for those who want to use the M10 Monochrome for street photography. Another thing you might physically notice is the lack of an iconic red dot on the front of the camera - just like the M10-P, this is also designed to help keep it as “discreet” as possible.

As with other Leica M cameras, the M10 Monochrom is a rangefinder, which means that you only get manual focus. This can feel like a step backwards, or an old-fashioned way of working if you’re somebody who has been otherwise very used to working with autofocus. It can take a bit of time to get used to manual focus, but especially so with a rangefinder, which has a rather unusual way of achieving focus.

Leica M10 Monochrom
Rear of the Leica M10 Monochrom

There are in fact a couple of different ways to achieve focus. The traditional way, looking through the viewfinder, will feel quite alien to the uninitiated. Essentially, what you need to do is line up the image you see in a central box with an image superimposed on top of it. You twist a ring around the lens to bring the image into focus - once you see the two images in the viewfinder match up, you’re ready to shoot. As the two images are in the central portion of the viewfinder, it can be quite problematic if you want to focus on something on the edge of the frame. It can also be quite challenging if you’re trying to photograph something with a fairly fussy background.

The alternative method of focusing is to use Live View, via the screen. This is particularly helpful as you can switch on Focus Peaking as well as see an enlarged view of the scene in front of you. A coloured outline will appear where sharp focus has been achieved.

After some practice with a rangefinder, you’ll also likely find that you become intuitively aware as to what will be in focus and what won’t, working with the distance markers printed on the lens.

Leica M10 Monochrom
Top of the Leica M10 Monochrom

The viewfinder itself is again the same as found in the M10-P, as well as the original M10. With a magnification factor of 0.73x, it gives a good view of the scene. Its design gives it a widest focal length of 28mm, so if you find yourself working with wider lenses, you won’t be able to see the whole scene. Even with the 28mm lens, it can be quite difficult to see properly into the corners of the frame. Another alternative is to invest in the optional electronic viewfinder - with which you can also use focus peaking and enlarge the view.

If you like your cameras to have a minimalist design, then, just like its predecessors, the M10 Monochrome is likely to appeal. The body is not overwhelmed with a vast array of dials and buttons, but you still have direct access to the most commonly used settings.

On the top plate, there’s a shutter speed dial, which features speeds from 1/4000-8 seconds. You can also use the “Bulb” setting, fi you’re working with a remote release and want to leave the shutter open for long exposures, or you can also use the Auto position to have the camera choose the shutter speed for you based on the aperture and ISO selected.

Leica M10 Monochrom
The Leica M10 Monochrom In-hand

Speaking of ISO, there’s a secondary, smaller dial on the left hand side of the top plate for adjusting that. First you’ll need to lift the dial from the housing before you can twist it around, a design which has been included to prevent accidental changes. Here again you can choose to work in automatic and let the camera choose the best setting for you. The dial displays up to “12.5k”, or ISO12500, but you can also set the dial to M if you want to select a higher value. It’s worth noting that the lowest ISO value here on the dial is ISO 160, compared with ISO 100 of the M10-P - but that’s still a lower native resolution available than on the Leica M9 Monochrom (ISO 320 was the lowest there).

To control aperture, you’ll need to turn a dial on the lens itself, which will be marked with the stops. The 28mm lens for example allows you to choose between full and half stops between f/2.8 and f/22.

Flip to the back of the M10 Monochrom, and it’s another minimalist affair. There’s just three buttons, alongside the touch-sensitive screen - the same screen as brought along from the M10-P (the original M10 didn’t have touch-sensitivity). The buttons are “LV” (Live View), “Play” (for playing your images back and “Menu” for accessing more in-depth settings than the dials afford you. When you press the button you’ll be shown a list of “favourites”, which means you’ll need to select the “menu” option if you need to delve into further into a deeper menu. You can also customise exactly which options appear on the favourites list if you find you’re often wanting to change a particular setting.

Leica M10 Monochrom
Side of the Leica M10 Monochrom

A four-way navigational dial sits to the right of the M10 Monochrom’s screen. This you can use together with the screen to set the area you want to examine critical focus, as well as using the navigational keys to move around menus and your images in playback.

The final dial to mention here is a small scrolling dial which can be found on the back of the camera where the thumb rest is. By default, this is used to adjust exposure compensation, but it can be registered to operate a different function if you prefer.

Touch-sensitivity was a first for the M series when it came to the M10-P, and it has been kept here for the Monochrome version. With it, you can perform a number of tasks, such as pinching to zoom in on your images in playback, double tapping to quickly zoom in to check critical focus and swiping between shots. When shooting in Live View, the touchscreen can be used to choose a magnification point, or to double tap to quickly jump to the magnified view.

Leica M10 Monochrom
Battery and Memory Card Compartment

An electronic level can be displayed on screen, which is useful when shooting with Live View, but it’s not something you’ll be able to see if you’re shooting through the optical viewfinder. If you purchase the optional additional electronic viewfinder, you’ll be able to see it through that, though.

As we’ve seen before with previous M series cameras, a fun quirk which harks back to M series film cameras is that the entire of the bottom plate needs to be removed to uncover the SD card slot and battery slot. It’s something which is quite fun, but also quite unnecessarily faffy if you just need to quickly change a card.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 40 megapixel JPEG setting, which produces an average image size of around 17Mb.

Just as we’d expect from a Leica - especially one with such a high price point - the images directly from the M10 Monochrom camera are superb.

Sharpness and detail is exquisite, and if you’re somebody that only ever shoots in black and white, there’s little to dislike about the final image quality here.

On the whole, multi-purpose metering does a good job of producing accurate exposures, but you do need to watch out for clipped highlights. A black and white sensor - unlike a colour one - has no way to bring back those lost highlights - so if you burn out a sky to white (for example), it’ll remain white no matter how much tinkering you do in post-production.

You might also find that you need to invest in a set of filters to place in front of the lens to achieve the look you want. If you’re somebody who used to shoot film, this will be a familiar process to you - with different colour filters having a different effect on the final outcome.

As part of this review, I loaned the Leica M10 Monochrome to talented landscape photographer Matt Walkley, while we were together on a group photographer’s retreat in Scotland earlier in the year. In his images, he uses a yellow filter, which suited the overcast and rainy conditions of the highlands. Remember that using a filter prevents light from getting to the sensor, so you may also need to use higher ISOs if you want to shoot handheld.

Speaking of noise though, the M10 Monochrom produces nicely grained images when shooting in low light with very high ISOs selected. Up to around ISO 1600, noise is barely visible, becoming slightly noticeable at ISO 3200 when examining in fine detail at 100%. It’s not particularly problematic until much higher, with even some images shot at ISO 50000 being useable, if a little painterly in places.


The Leica M10 Monochrom has 11 sensitivity settings at full resolution running from 160-10000.



ISO 160 (100% Crop)

ISO 160 (100% Crop)

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ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

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ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 12500 (100% Crop)

ISO 12500 (100% Crop)

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ISO 25000 (100% Crop)

ISO 25000 (100% Crop)

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ISO 50000 (100% Crop)

ISO 50000 (100% Crop)

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ISO 100000 (100% Crop)

ISO 100000 (100% Crop)

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Leica M10 Monochrom camera, which were all taken using the 40 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Leica M10 Monochrom enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Leica RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Product Images

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

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Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom

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Leica M10 Monochrom

Leica M10 Monochrom


Overall, it’s difficult to give a camera like the Leica M10 Monochrom a rating. It’s almost irrelevant what any reviewer will say, because it’s one of those cameras that you either want and will seriously consider, or you don’t.

If most Leica cameras are niche propositions, the M10 Monochrome is super-niche, something that only a handful of consumers will realistically consider for purchase. For the majority of people, only being able to shoot in black and white is going to be a problem - many would probably prefer to have the flexibility of being able to shoot in colour and later convert images in post-production to monochrome.

That said, if you’re somebody who wants the best of the best, predominantly shoots in black and white anyway and craves the prestige of a Leica - and of course if you have a super-high budget - then you will likely be very tempted to buy one.

In an age where you can rent what might otherwise unattainable camera equipment, it could also be a good one to consider trying out, too if you have a specific project in mind.

Image quality is superb - just as you’d expect it to be - with those who are black and white aficionados having an awful lot to like here.

The main criticism of a camera like this is, naturally, the price. But for cameras like this, it’s akin to criticising a very-highly priced sports car or designer watch - there will be enough people to justify Leica producing it, and that’s really all that matters.

To sum it up, the Leica M10 Monochrom is a niche of a niche, but it produces superb results and does exactly what it sets out to do exceedingly well. It won’t be to everybody’s tastes - or budgets - but neither does it claim or expect to be.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 3
Image quality 5
Value for money 2

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Leica M10 Monochrom.

Leica M10

The Leica M10 is a new digital rangefinder camera, offering a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor, Maestro II Processor, optical viewfinder, built-in wi-fi connectivity and 5fps burst shooting. Is this the best ever digital M camera? Find out now by reading our in-depth Leica M10 review now...

Leica M10-D

The Leica M10-D is a simplified version of the M10 and M10-P digital rangefinder cameras, replacing the rear LCD screen with an exposure compensation dial. Why on earth would you consider buying a digital camera without an LCD screen?! Find out now by reading our in-depth Leica M10-D review...

Leica M10-P

The Leica M10-P is a stealthier, quieter version of the existing M10 digital rangefinder camera, offering a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor, Maestro II Processor, touchscreen control, optical viewfinder, built-in spirit level and 5fps burst shooting. Is the quietest M camera also the best ever digital M camera? Find out now by reading our in-depth Leica M10-P review...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Leica M10 Monochrom from around the web.

digitalcameraworld.com »

This is a camera that simplifies the picture taking process, and forces you to concentrate on one thing. It may seem like an anachronism, but the Monochrom drives you towards seeing, composing and shooting images in a very different way. It makes no concessions to novices, and it's up to you to make the effort to master it. That alone will divide opinion... though not as much as the price.
Read the full review »

techradar.com »

Leica cameras are often considered excessively expensive, but they are premium cameras unlike any other. As a rangefinder that only shoots black-and-white photos, the Leica M10 Monochrom is about as niche as photography gets. Image quality is incredible, though, and high ISO handling is mind-blowing.
Read the full review »


Camera Leica M10 MONOCHROM

Type no. 6376

Order no. 20050

Camera type Compact digital view and rangefi nder system camera with a dedicated black-and-white image sensor.

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

Lens system Leica M lenses, Leica R lenses with an optional adapter (available accessory)

Sensor B/W CMOS chip, active area approx. 24x36 mm, without color and low-pass filter

Resolution DNG™: 7864 x 5200 pixels (40,89 MP), JPEG: 7840 x 5184 pixels (40,64 MP), 5472 x 3648 pixels (20 MP), 2976 x 1984 pixels (6MP)

Data formats DNG™ (raw data, compressed loss-free), JPEG File size DNG™: 40-60 MB, JPEG (40MP)10-20 MB: Depending on resolution and picture content

Buffer memory 2GB / 10 pictures in series

Storage media SD cards up to 2GB/SDHC cards up to 32GB/SDXC cards up to 2TB

Menu languages German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplifi ed Chinese, Russian, Korean

Exposure metering Exposure metering through the lens (TTL), with working aperture

Metering method Light refl ected by the blades of the 1 shutter curtain onto measuring cell.

Metering range At room temperature and normal humidity for ISO 200, at aperture 1.0 EV-2 to EV19 at aperture 32. Flashing of the left triangular LED in the viewfi nder indicates values below the metering range

Sensitivity range ISO 160 to ISO 100.000, adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments from ISO 160, choice of automatic control or manual setting

Exposure modes 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 Via accessory shoe with central and control contacts

Synchronisation Optionally triggered at the 1st or 2nd shutter curtain

Flash sync time = 1/180 s; 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 Using centre-weighted TTL pre-fl ash metering with Leica flash units (SF40, SF64, SF26), or flash units compatible with the system with SCA3502 M5 adapter

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

Flash exposure compensation ±3EV in1⁄3EV increments

Displays in flash mode (in viewfinder only)

Using flash symbol LED


Construction principle Large, bright line frame viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation

Eye piece Calibrated to -0.5 dpt.; corrective lenses from -3 to +3 diopter available

Image field limiter By activating two bright lines each: For 35 and 135mm, or for 28 and 90mm, or for 50 and 75mm; automatic switching when lens is attached.

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 automatically aligns with the subject detail recorded by the lens.

Matching viewfinder and actual image

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

Magnification (For all lenses) 0.73 x Long-base rangefinder

Split or superimposed image range finder shown as a bright field in the centre of the viewfinder image

Effective metering base

50.6mm (mechanical measurement basis 69.31mm x viewfinder magnification 0.73x)


In the viewfinder Four-digit digital display with exposure alerts above and below

On back 3" colour TFT LCD monitor with 16 million colours and 1,036,800 pixels, approx. 100 % image field, glass cover of extremely hard, scratch-resistant Gorilla® glass, colour space: sRGB, for Live-View and review mode, displays

Shutter and shutter release

Shutter Metal blade focal plane shutter with vertical movement

Shutter speeds For aperture priority: (A) continuous from 16min to 1⁄4000s., for manual adjustment: 8s to 1⁄4000s in half steps, from 8s to 16min in half steps, B: For long exposures up to maximum 16min (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)

Picture series Approx. 4.5 pictures/s

Shutter release button Two-stage, 1st step: Activation of the camera electronics including exposure metering and exposure lock (in aperture priority mode), 2nd step: 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 rechargeable battery, nominal voltage 7.4V, capacity 1100mAh.; maximum charging current/voltage: DC 1000mA, 7.4V; Model No.: BP-SCL5; Manufacturer: PT. VARTA Microbattery, Made in Indonesia, Operating conditions (in camera): 0°C - + 40°C

Charger Inputs: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz, 300mA, automatic switching, or 12V DC, 1.3A; Output: DC 7.4V, 1000mA/max. 8.25V, 1100mA; Model No.: BC-SCL5; Manufacturer: Guangdong PISEN Electronics Co., Ltd., Made in China, Operating conditions: 0°C - + 35°C

GPS (only with Leica Visoflex viewfinder attached, available as an accessory)

Optional (not available everywhere due to country-specific legislation, i.e. enforced automatic shutdown in those countries), data are written to EXIF header in picture files.
Wi-Fi Complies with IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard Wifi protocol), channel 1-11, encryption method: Wifi-compatible WPA™/WPA2™ encryption, access method: Infrastructure mode

Camera body

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

Image field selector Allows the bright-line 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

Interfaces ISO accessory shoe with additional contacts for Leica Visoflex viewfinder (available as an accessory)

Dimensions (width x depth x height) approx. 139 x 38.5 x 80mm

Weight approx. 660g (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


Leica is taking digital black-and-white photography to the next level with the launch of the new Leica M10 Monochrom camera. The technical details and the handling of the Leica M10 Monochrom are identical to those of the Leica M10-P.

The Leica M10 Monochrom is available now priced at £7,250 / $8,295.

Leica Press Release

Leica Camera takes black-and-white photography to the next level

Wetzlar, 17 January 2020. Leica Camera is proud to announce the launch of the new Leica M10 Monochrom. Building on the legendary M-system, Leica is taking digital black-and-white photography to the next level with the launch of the new Leica M10 Monochrom, the modern only black-and-white only camera on the market today. 

The new M10 Monochrom is the first black-and-white camera of the Leica M-system to offer an exceptionally broad sensitivity range of ISO 160 to ISO 100000, making the extremely high ISO performance and dynamic range even better than all its predecessors. With a newly developed 40-megapixel black-and-white sensor, the best black-and-white sensor Leica have made, the M10 Monochrom delivers images with a natural sharpness and an unrivalled resolution in all lighting conditions. 

Similar to the Leica M10-P, the design of the M10 Monochrom is equally as unobtrusive and minimalist. Almost entirely constructed by hand, the Leica M10 Monochrom has no Leica ‘red dot’ logo on the front and only features a discreetly engraved logotype ‘Leica M10 Monochrom’ on the top plate – in black and white, emphasising the character of the camera. The materials and finish are of the highest standards, reflecting the exceptional quality and reliability that Leica has become renowned for. 

The technical details and the handling of the Leica M10 Monochrom are identical to those of the Leica M10-P, a particularly discreet version of the Leica M-Camera that focuses entirely on the most essential camera functions. Its features include quietest shutter release Leica has ever built, making it the ideal tool for capturing authentic photographs from the heart of life. As is the case with all Leica M-Cameras, the new black-and-white sensor on the Leica M10 Monochrom will work with all lenses in the Leica M portfolio, offering the photographer greater flexibility whilst upholding the highest imaging quality.

RRP: £7,250

Leica USA Press Release

Leica Camera Advances its Dedication to the Art of Black & White Photography with the Leica M10 Monochrom

The highly anticipated camera enters a new dimension of innovation in the world of monochrome photography

January 17, 2020 – Leica Camera continues to be a trailblazer in the world of black-and-white photography with the announcement of the new Leica M10 Monochrom. Photographers are now able explore their subjects in vivid tones of monochrome due to the omission of a color filter, resulting in an unparalleled black-and-white photography experience. The newly developed 40-megapixel true black-and-white sensor, new Wi-Fi capabilities and expanded ISO range make room for added creativity with light and contrast, bringing photographers back to the basics with the most up-to-date technology.

Black-and-white photography lends itself to establishing emotional connections between the photographer and subject matter being conveyed.  With the absence of color, a photograph conveys intense, vulnerable and timeless messages that speak to the foundation of a scene without the distractions of color.

The ultra-high resolution black-and-white sensor of the M10 Monochrom delivers images with impeccable sharpness and unrivalled resolution of details in all lighting conditions. While reaching these new feats of resolving prowess, the new M10 Monochrom is even more versatile than its black-and-white forebears, with a broadened sensitivity range at both extremes, now achieving ISO 160 to ISO 100,000 – ensuring that its unmatched imaging strengths can be used in new avenues, from the brightest of days to uncovering light in the darkest of nights. Images captured at all ISO settings offer fine-grained rendition of details with a more analog look and feel than a typical color camera set to black-and-white mode. As is the case with all Leica M-Cameras, the new black-and-white sensor pairs perfectly with the full breadth of Leica M-Lenses, showcasing their contrast, resolution and rendition of the finest details. With this combination, photographers can rest assured that the exceptional quality of the monochrome images they capture holds true to the luminance of their subject.

Based on the Leica M10-P, the M10 Monochrom now benefits from a bevy of newfound abilities for the Monochrom line, including a slimmer body, dedicated ISO dial, touchscreen controls, the quietest mechanical shutter of all Leica M rangefinders – analog or digital – and built-in Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity to the Leica FOTOS app on iOS, iPadOS and Android. For the first time in the history of Leica M Monochrom cameras, users can utilize a mobile workflow that gives them direct access to authentic black-and-white images straight from the camera to their favored social media platform  – no digital filters required.   The FOTOS 2.0 app helps bring Leica users from the decisive moment of taking the picture to the creative moment of processing and sharing the finished photo as seamlessly as possible. This new freedom ensures no boundaries when it comes to capturing and sharing photographs with a Leica camera.

The design of the M10 Monochrom camera body is as loyal to the strict adherence to the black-and-white aesthetic as the image sensor that lives within it. The camera has no Leica red dot logo on the front and all of the usual bold red engravings found on most M cameras have been desaturated to a neutral gray, creating a sleek monochromatic contrast against its bright white engraved numbers. A subtle black-on-black logotype of “Leica M10 Monochrom” on the top plate gives the camera the most minimal branding to avoid distractions. The black-and-white design details combined with the newly blacked-out shutter button and lens release make the M10 Monochrom the stealthiest serial production camera yet from Leica, emphasizing its focus on blending into the heart of the action and capturing the decisive moment.

The M10 Monochrom is built to the highest quality standards expected of a Leica M camera, made almost entirely by hand through the passionate labor of experienced specialists in Wetzlar, Germany with the finest materials, ensuring it can bear even the toughest conditions of use in its stride. The new Leica M10 Monochrom promises to be a long-term companion that delivers an unparalleled experience and impeccable image quality, as timeless as the classical black-and-white photos it creates.

The Leica M10 Monochrom is available beginning today for $8,295 at Leica Stores, Boutiques and Dealers.  

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

First Impressions

Photography Blog attended the UK launch of the new Leica M10 Monochrom camera in central London - find out what we thought of Leica's latest black and white camera by reading our detailed first impressions...

Leica M10 Monochrom designed to provoke an emotional response 

“There’s something very special about this camera; we believe photographers will have an emotional connection to it,” Leica UK MD Jason Heward told us at the London launch of the new Leica M10 Monochrom – a 40MP sensor incorporating digital camera that deliberately only shoots in black and white and eschews the ability to capture video entirely.

This comes on the back of Leica’s unveiling of its SL2 camera last November, for which it told us orders had been brisk, helping to contribute to what it called: “probably our best year ever for Leica. In this challenging industry it’s great that we are still managing to grow, and particularly in the UK.”

As regards the newest Leica M10 Monochrom, “it’s an incredible camera that we’re super proud of,” MD Jason continued, suggesting that using it “bestows a status” on the owner. Photographers will naturally need a certain status to own one – as the UK asking price is a cool £7,250.

The new Leica M10 Monochrom brings the current M10 family to four in number. It joins the existing M10, M10-P and M10-D – the latter famously not featuring a screen at the back.Like that camera, the M10 Monochrom will appeal to a niche market and select type of user. 

“It’s the sort of camera that probably says more about Leica than anything else we have,” MD Jason told us. “It’s something that no one else in the industry would make, really, and one that elicits that emotional connection when we talk to our customers and users. It ‘talks’ to people’s creativity a lot. It’s the ultimate camera for those who are trying to approach their creativity in a different and perhaps a more purist way.”

Holding the latest camera in the palm, it certainly feels well made and indeed tank-like in its solidity and heft. This is thanks to the M10 Monochrom boasting a brass and magnesium alloy body with a black chrome finish, while body only weight with battery inserted is 660g. 

Users have the choice of eye level viewfinder or fixed (i.e non tilting) LCD screen at the back via which to compose images, with a ‘LV’ (Live View) button provided adjacent to said screen. The 3-inch LCD is also a touch display – enabling photographers to pinch and flick an image to enlarge a portion of it and check focus. Manual focusing is aided by the portions of the image in focus being illuminated in red.

Leica describes the new unit as a ‘pure monochrome camera’ that has a new, specifically developed 40.892-megapixel sensor. This has enabled both a much higher resolution and an increased low light performance, which has always been one of the highlights of a monochrome camera. 

Sensitivity runs from a new ‘base’ ISO160 (whereas predecessors started out at ISO 320) up to the equivalent of ISO100,000; adjustable in 1/3 ISO increments. The camera is “almost medium format like” when it comes to the “almost 15 stops of dynamic range provided,” according to Leica Akademie tutor Robin Sinha, also present at the launch. “No light information is lost,” he continued, believing that “results can be compared with a 60MP or 80MP sensor” and that “detail is incredibly sharp because the light doesn’t have to pass through RGB colour filters. 

The pixels have their true luminance value, so the image is almost 100% sharper than the colour equivalent. Combine that with the resolution of the Leica lenses and you’ve got something very special. Plus, thanks to the 40MP sensor, there are increased possibilities for cropping, whilst still retaining a very high resolution for print. It’s certainly closer to medium format performance than what we’re used to seeing from a full frame camera.”

We were allowed a few minutes with the camera and 35mm lens on a rather gloomy morning in London to take a few sample shots. We hope to bring a more detailed assessment and report in due course, when we are able to get the camera in and have a play for longer. Safe to say that, when using the camera for street portraiture, the lack of the familiar red Leica logo on the front of the M10 Monochrom does offer a more discrete approach, enabling you to literally hang back in the shadows. 

That said, anyone spending the £7K+ on this camera may actively be seeking said logo as a badge of pride and an indicator of a certain ‘status’, as Leica UK’s MD referred to it earlier. 

It’s further worth noting that, when it comes to street photography, the Leica M10 Monochrom is being pitched as the quietest camera in the range, with what’s claimed to be, along with the M10-P, the most silent shutter the manufacturer has ever provided on an ‘M’ camera. On a noisy London street, it’s fair to say we didn’t notice any shutter noise at all.

The design and construction of the M10 Monochrom body has also been honed and ‘milled down’ to make the camera more discrete – with the dimensions of the body design more comparable to a film camera of old. Overall, it’s very similar, Leica suggested, to that of the M10-D. 

Here, everything on the camera body is either black or grey – mirroring, to an extent, the images this model delivers. The ‘A’ for auto exposure mode, and red flash symbol have been ‘greyed out’, while the ‘Monochrom’ engraving on the top is also tiny, so you have to look closely to see what the camera actually is. 

Handling wise, it has to be said that this is a camera for more considered image creation, rather than blasting away with shots; that said, buffer memory is reportedly good for up to 10 DNG (Leica’s Raw format equivalent) files at a time.

An Adobe profile for the camera was not available for the start of sales today, but we’re told one is “coming this month” – so will conceivably be ready for when most photographers actually receive the camera.

In summary, key features of the Leica M10 Monochrom are: 

  • its newly developed sensor; even more discrete camera design and analogue film camera body-like dimensions; 
  • a new base ISO160 setting; even finer image quality, without the need perhaps to have to stack ND filters in front of the lens; 
  • even longer possible exposure times of up to 16 minutes; 
  • the ability to colour tone JPEGs with sepia toning; 
  • top plate dials that allow users to have everything set on the camera even before turning it on; 
  • touch screen control like the M10-D; 
  • plus inevitable compatibility with the Leica Fotos app, pitched as being like a ‘gallery in your pocket’.

Hands On

Want to see exactly what the new Leica M10 Monochrom black and white mirrorless camera looks like in the flesh?

Check out our extensive hands-on gallery of photos of the Leica M10 Monochrom mirrorless camera.

A gallery of hands-on photos of the Leica M10 Monochrom camera.

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Preview Images

Ahead of our full review, here are some sample JPEG and Raw images taken with the brand new Leica M10 Monochrom black and white camera.

A gallery of sample images taken with the Leica M10 Monochrom black and white camera.

Leica M10 Monochrom Sample Images

Sample RAW Images

The Leica M Monochrom enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Leica RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

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