Leica Camera AG, the iconic German camera manufacturer, has put up a rather exceptional camera for pre-order in India. The model in question is the Leica M10 Monochrom, and comes with a newly developed 40-megapixel, full frame sensor that only has monochrome pixels and absorbs no colour data. This is paired with native sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 1,000,000, which also sets new standards for monochrome sensor cameras. This is the third edition of Leica’s monochrome cameras, and the rangefinder-style camera puts much emphasis on the aesthetics and the essence of photography, as a result of which it is not quite as technically advanced as some of its contemporaries.
The 40-megapixel full frame sensor has seemingly been developed just for the M10 Monochrom, and is a step up from the 24-megapixel colour filter array of the sensors inside the standard M10 series. Being a monochrome sensor, there is no instance of demosaicing for the sensor, since there is no extrapolation of colour data between the pixels on the sensor. As a result, the Leica M10 Monochrom should technically produce sharper images than its colour sensor counterparts, and this should be further aided by the extended native ISO range of 160 to 1,000,000.
Particularly at the higher ends of the ISO range, the Leica M10 Monochrom should benefit from sharper pixel data in reducing noise and artifacts, which in turn would improve its long exposure performance and contribute to its aesthetic photography appeal. This would also be crucial since despite its lofty pricing, the Leica M10 Monochrom does not come with in body image stabilisation. What would be interesting to see is how its aliasing and moire performance works at the lowest ISO levels, which would further detail how this sensor performs in terms of contrast, saturation and dynamic range.
The Leica M10 Monochrom also gets a traditional rangefinder, but has an optional electronic viewfinder that can be used separately. It has the looks of a traditional rangefinder camera, and removes Leica’s iconic red dot logo to go with the monochrome aesthetic. At Rs 6,75,000, the Leica M10 Monochrom is definitely very expensive, and does not suit everyone. For mainstream and professional shooters, cameras such as the Sony a7R IV (review) and the Nikon Z6 (review) serve as far better full frame mirrorless cameras. However, this is not the segment of photographers that Leica is trying to target, and the entire premise of the Leica M10 Monochrom lies in the emotions of photography.