Monochrom 2.0 – the New Typ 246

M-MONOCHROM-CROSS-CATGEORY-TEASER_teaser-480x320It would appear that Leica has done everything right with the second generation of Leica M Monochrom, the Typ 246. As stated on previous posts, this is not a blog that will review equipment, however the improvements appear to be substantive.

Here is the condensed list of upgrades: 24 MP, full frame Maestro Image Processor with 2GB memory buffer, Live View zoom, focus peaking, and 1080 Full-HD video. For those of you that would like to read the full 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 (Typ 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.”

5 Reasons You Should be Printing Your Photos

©Andrea Zocchi

©Andrea Zocchi

I am frequently astonished by all the homes, offices, and institutions, that have no original artwork on the walls. Even more astonishing, is the number of photographers I know that, “don’t print.”

So who cares? I want to believe that anyone who shoots with a Leica M Monochrom would care. I also believe that a photographer that is actively working to improve their craft, would also be using all methods available to make a better image. So here are my 5 reasons you should be printing your photos.

1. The best way to evaluate a photograph is through a print. I think we have all had the experience of viewing one of our digital images on screen, and thinking we did a pretty good job. However once printed, the flaws in the image begin to reveal themselves. Without the knowledge of an image’s shortcomings, how can a photographer correct them? Because of its resolution, and ability to present a unified image, the print is the best way to judge image quality.

2. Printing forces you to edit. Editing allows the photographer to get at the core of the artistic intention behind a body of work. Good photographers make good images. Great photographers make great bodies of work.

“The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance.”
Ansel Adams

3.  The print has value. I doubt you will see an auctioneer at Christies holding a DVD and boldly announcing, “What will you bid for a digital scan of this Alfred Stieglitz portrait of Georgia O’Keefe?”

4. The print is archival. A good black & white silver gelatin print can take a beating and last over 200 years or maybe more, we are still counting. 

5. Giving that special someone a digital file, via email, is a piss-poor token of appreciation. I am willing to bet that all my readers have at least a few images that are worthy of display. Get them in a frame and on a wall!

If you have a hard drive full of images and no prints you have work to do. By the way, if you own a Leica M Monochrom, our sponsor Digital Silver Imaging will make you a real silver gelatin print for FREE! Click on the banner at the bottom of the page for details.

Børge Indergaard

 

Frozen Lake, Trondheim Norway - © Børge Indergaard

Frozen Lake, Trondheim Norway – © Børge Indergaard

“Photography is more than a hobby for me – it’s a part of my life, a lifestyle, something I really enjoy doing, and a way to express myself and my creativity.”
Børge Indergaard

I came across Børge’s photo blog, “Observations,” when I started this site. I was looking for camera reviews and quickly became frustrated by the cookie cutter approach employed by most reviewers. I found Børge’s site and his yearlong review of the M Monochrom, and I thought how brilliant. I was even more impressed that he used only the M Monochrom and one lens exclusively.

I could go on about “Observations” but your time is better spent exploring the blog site. I have posted a link to Børge’s site below.

Børge was kind enough to provide some images for this post and answer a few questions.

Q: For the readers who have not visited your blog, how would you describe your approach to Photography?

BI: My approach to photography is quite simple. I try to keep things as simple as possible. I basically use one camera and one focal length and try to stick with that, as it makes me focus better. Photography is a passion for me, and not something I do as work. If it starts feeling like work, I will normally take some time off and let the camera rest. I want to enjoy photography, and I enjoy the process of taking photographs the most. Editing and post-processing is something that I do not enjoy as much, which is also why I rarely publish photographs, and also why my quick-selection in Lightroom always is filled up with hundreds of photographs that are waiting to be edited and processed.

Juliet's Wall, ©Borge-Indergaard

Juliet’s Wall – © Børge Indergaard

Q: I like the quotes from artists that you often include on your posts. Is there an artist/photographer that has inspired you, or some one you would like to emulate?

BI: Thank you. I like the quotes myself, as they inspire me, and the reason I post them is that I hope they will inspire others as well. There are many photographers that inspire me, but I don’t have one photographer in specific who inspires me more than others.

One ©Borge Indergaard

One  – © Børge Indergaard

Q: I have noticed a quality of light in your photographs that is very particular. Do you think that being from Norway, living so far North, has influenced your photography?

BI: I haven’t thought about this myself, but that might be. The light changes a lot from winter to summer time here. It’s quite a dramatic change having daylight from between 4am to midnight in the summer, to having daylight from 10am to 3pm in the winter. I find that the change will cause me to look for and go for a different mood in my images, depending on what time of year it is.

Q: You spent a year shooting exclusively with the Leica M Monochrom and a 50mm lens. Now that you have a little distance from that experience, how did it influence your photography?

BI: The year that I spent with a MM and a 50mm lens is the year that I personally felt that I have learned the most in photography. I still only use a 50mm lens (although I have two lenses, both of them are 50mm), but I currently use a Leica M240. I miss the Monochrom a lot, but I can not own both an M240 and MM for my limited use. Processing the M240 files takes a lot more time, but I can get about the same results from it that I got from the MM – Except at very high ISO (which I rarely found myself using, even in the dark). The best thing about the MM for me was the fact that the files are very simple to work with: No color corrections to worry about, no aberrations to worry about when shooting wide-open, and the files are extremely flexible and can be pushed in any direction and still retain a natural look.

To visit Børge Indergaard’s site follow this link.  indergaard.net

Craig Semetko “Unposed and Unseen”

©Craig Semetko

©Craig Semetko

Leica Camera invited 10 photographers from around the world to participate in an extraordinary event. These photographers would be paired with their artistic “fathers” and asked to shoot a series of images with that person in mind. Craig Semetko’s creative progenitor was Elliott Erwitt and with Erwitt’s influence to inspire him Semetko set off for India in the summer of 2013.

 “India is a street photographer’s dream. The people are extraordinarily welcoming—they do not mind having their pictures taken, in fact, they usually welcome it…”

©Craig Semetko

©Craig Semetko

Craig Semetko is one of the best street photographers practicing the craft today. Craig was gracious enough to allow us to use three of his images from his India trip in this post. These photographs along with many others are included in an exhibition currently showing through 5/25/14 at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles.

This body of work is also now available as a limited edition book, “India Unposed.” Sure to be a collector’s item, you can find the book by visiting the link below.

India Unposed – Book
Leica Gallery Los Angeles
Craig Semetko’s Web Site

 

©Craig Semetko

©Craig Semetko