Leica’s Q2 Monochrom, a $6K full-frame compact that solely shoots in monochrome.


The Leica Q and its successor, the Q2, has lengthy been one in all my favourite fixed-lens cameras. Since Sony appears to have forgotten its personal RX1R II from 2015, the Q2 is the one full-frame compact nonetheless present. And now the Q2’s new sibling, the $5,995 Leica Q2 Monochrom, joins it as the one devoted black-and-white compact digital camera round. 

Priced at $1,000 greater than the $4,995 Q2, the Monochrom’s value would not precisely jibe with immediately’s recession-beset world economy attributable to the coronavirus pandemic in the midst of its second wind, however nothing has ever screamed “black and white” just like the socially and politically polarized, mentally exhausting and downright depressing yr that’s 2020. 

So thanks, Leica, for the zeitgeist digital camera of the yr that may sadly by no means be the year that never was

It isn’t the corporate’s first mono-only mannequin — that was the M Monochrom in 2012 — and clearly it has been profitable sufficient to advantage increasing the technique through the years. The Q2 Monochrom is simply the newest of Leica’s pure extensions of a selected product line.

Leica nonetheless is aware of that this digital camera is for an excellent nichier area of interest of photographers than the colourful mannequin. That is partly why it is costlier: Leica’s by no means going to make up the price of growing a brand new model of the 47.3-megapixel sensor through gross sales or economies of scale. Extra goes into adapting a sensor than merely eradicating the colour filter array, like redesigning the on-chip microlenses to accommodate the totally different optical wavelength traits of an array-free sensor. 

In consequence, the brand new sensor has a greater dynamic vary: 13 stops, or ISO 100-100000, in comparison with 11 stops (ISO 50-50000) for the colour mannequin. Higher dynamic vary is necessary for black and white pictures, partly as a result of it might probably’t disguise tonal vary deficits in addition to colour can and likewise as a result of one of many factors of capturing it’s within the midtone and shadow particulars, which may make or break a shot.


Pattern picture from the Q2 Monochrom (scaled).

Philipp Weinmann/Leica

The digital camera’s design additionally differs just a little. Leica has simplified the menus by stripping all of the color-related choices. It is also stripped all the colour from the Q2 physique for the Monochrom (in different phrases, there is not any crimson Leica emblem). In all different methods, it is the identical digital camera because the Q2 — Summilux 28mm f1.7 lens, identical controls and management format, OLED viewfinder, 4K recording capabilities, wi-fi connectivity, IP52 climate sealing and extra.

Some individuals discover constraints liberating and broadening relatively than limiting, like writing Haiku or a sonnet or capturing with a single prime lens. Proscribing your picture imaginative and prescient to black and white falls into the identical class. In the event you can afford the posh.

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