Leica M10 Monochrom Hands-On Review With Sample Photos

Full size sample photos and photos of the brand new 40.8mp Leica M10 Monochrom - Leica's new monochrome digital rangefinder.

|  Leica M10 Monochrom in Mirrorless Cameras
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The Leica M10 Monochrom is Leica’s latest monochrome version of their digital rangefinder, and like the M10 it features a newer, more compact body, but with an important difference, the 40.8mp monochrome CMOS sensor.

Colour 35mm film was introduced by Kodak in 1938, and if you harken for the past and you'd like to travel back in time to black and white photography, then this camera might be what you're looking for.


Leica M10 Monochrom Features

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It’s been 5 years since the M Monochrom (246) digital rangefinder was introduced, and the new M10 Monochom is updated with a new 40.8mp black and white CMOS sensor. It's also based on the more compact Leica M10, and shares the same “thin” body, being the same thickness as Leica’s M film cameras, it also shares the new silent shutter fro the M10-P.

When the first M Monochrom was introduced, the expectation of Leica was that this would be a limited “Special Edition” run, but instead, the popularity of the camera took Leica by surprise, and they continued to manufacture the camera, with the new M10 Monochrom now being the 3rd dedicated monochrome camera they've released.

Leica’s cameras have an almost timeless quality to them, with solid and hefty build quality giving the camera a serious presence. It’s the kind of camera that is strong enough that it could survive being dropped on to a hard floor (not that you'd want to).

The timeless nature continues with the lens mount, the Leica M-Bayonet mount, which was introduced in 1954. Does any other camera system still use the same lens mount? We think the answer will be no (Nikon's F mount was introduced in 1959). In a refreshing alternative to the constantly changing lens mounts used by other companies*, Leica’s M-mount cameras and lenses are a clear investment. If you bought a lens 20 years ago, you can still use it on a new camera, as well as old cameras, and we expect this to be the case for the next 10 to 20 years. *ignoring, of course, the relatively new L-Mount system.

With a monochrome sensor, you can get true black and white photographs, and the sensor allows for sharper, more detailed results in comparison to a Bayer colour sensor (see our guide to sensor technology). There are other benefits from shooting with a monochrome sensor, including the “automatic” reduction in chromatic aberration and purple fringing. The sensor receives more light, as there is no colour filter in the way, and any noise is rendered in black and white, giving a grain-like look. You don't need to worry about moire either.

For monochrome purists, this could be a dream camera, but for others, the lack of colour will be a clear limitation, and for those that like to convert colour images to black and white (for additional control over the process) this won’t be the camera to use. The camera also lacks video recording, keeping the camera focused on stills photography. Of course, Leica will happily sell you a colour M10, if you have the budget.

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Leica M10 Key Features

  • 40.8mp Full-frame CMOS sensor (Monochrome)
  • Leica M-Mount, with 6-bit coding
  • 3inch touch-screen, 1038K dots
  • 0.73x magnification optical viewfinder
  • 4.5fps continuous shooting (10 frame buffer)
  • Exposure up to 960 seconds (16 minutes)
  • ISO range: ISO160-ISO100,000
  • JPEG and DNG shooting
  • Sepia and colour toning options (JPEG)
  • SD card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • No video recording

 

Leica M10 Handling

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The Leica M10 Monochrom is one of the most subtle Leica M cameras of all time (according to Leica), with black buttons, where previously these have been silver. The "A" (Auto) position text, on the shutter speed and ISO speed dials, are now grey instead of red, and of course, as a subtle Leica camera, there is no "Red dot" on the front of the camera.

If you’re ever picked up a Leica M camera, digital or analogue, then the feeling is the same with the new M10 Monochrom, there’s a serious feeling to the camera, with a solid magnesium alloy chassis, and brass top and bottom plates, with a weight to match. Being 660g, the camera isn’t exactly “compact and lightweight”, although it is Leica’s most compact digital M camera, along with the M10, M10-P, and M10-D, all being the same thickness as Leica's film M cameras.

The controls on the camera remain simple, and direct, designed to be used as a photographic tool meaning you can pick up the camera and use the analogue dials and buttons, rather than having to spend time in a menu system changing settings. You can also set these while the camera is off, meaning you don't have to wait for the camera to "respond" to your settings like you would with an electronically controlled digital camera. You'll find a shutter speed dial, and ISO speed dial on top of the camera, and the aperture is set using the ring on the lens.

When you do want to access the menu options and settings, these are neatly laid out in a list, keeping things simple and easy to access, with a list of favourite settings appearing first. To access the full menu system, you scroll to the bottom of this, and then you can select the menus. You can't use the touch-screen to select and set menu options, instead the 4-way control is used.

Like other rangefinders, you use the optical viewfinder to focus, however, if you do want to use the screen you can switch to live-view and focus peaking will aid the process with bright red lines.

 

Leica M10 Monochrom Hands-On Photos of Equipment

Hands-on photos, click to view larger.

 

 

Leica M10 Monochrom Other sample images

Sample photos provided by Leica, click to view full-size JPEG images. You can view additional sample photos in the EQDB.

 

Leica M10 Monochrom Initial Verdict

The rangefinder shooting experience isn’t for everyone, for a start, there is no autofocus, and this will take some getting used to. There’s also the “old fashioned” focusing method of aligning the image in the viewfinder, again, something that will take time to get used to, for anyone unfamiliar with rangefinders. Therefore this camera is really only going to appeal to people who already use Leica rangefinders and those that want a pure black and white camera. (A niche within a niche, if you will).

But that doesn’t mean that this is a bad idea, or that there aren’t buyers out there for this camera. They’re most likely the people who don’t spend all their time arguing on the internet about technology and gear, instead they’re likely to be quietly taking photos of you as you walk down the street without you even realising. Capturing the moment, and taking photographs. Like people used to do before "chimping" even existed. If you're someone who's fed up of digital controls, and long complicated menu systems, then the analogue feeling, and "old fashioned" rangefinder might be a great option. The camera is also a great option for those looking for the sharpest results possible, with the level of detail captured being extremely impressive, thanks to the use of a black and white sensor.

For those with the money to afford this camera, this could be an extremely appealing creative tool. However, for those without £7250 burning a hole in your pocket, we might suggest picking up a secondhand film camera and a roll of 35mm black and white film - featuring multiple full-frame "sensors". Although you will definitely have to wait longer to see the results, giving you a truly old-fashioned experience.

 

Leica M10 Monochrom Specifications

ManufacturerLeica
Image Sensor
Pixels40.89Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)7864
Pixels (H)5200
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeFull-frame
Sensor Size (width)36mm
Sensor Size (height)24mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1036800
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Manual
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest960sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Manual
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity160 - 100000
White balance
  • Auto
Exposure CompNo Data
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting4.5fps
Video
Movie modeNo
Video Resolution
    Video FPSNo Data
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Optical Zoom with VideoNo Data
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    Interface
    HDMINo Data
    USBNo Data
    Wi-FiYes
    Storage
    Card Type
    • SD
    • SDHC
    • SDXC
    File Type
    • RAW
    • JPG
    • RAW + JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeLithium Ion battery (7.4V, capacity 1300mAh)
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsCharger 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
    Dimensions
    Weight660g
    Width139mm
    Height80mm
    Depth38.5mm

    View Full Product Details

     

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    Comments


    Houndog18 Plus
    12 70 1 United Kingdom
    18 Feb 2020 10:09PM
    Hi ,
    If anyone has got a spare 7250 they'd like to give me I'll put it to very good use BlushBlushBlushBlushBlushBlushBlush Wink

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    Houndog18 Plus
    12 70 1 United Kingdom
    18 Feb 2020 10:14PM
    Hi,
    Forgot to say, and 4210 for a lens BlushBlushBlushBlushBlush Wink
    20 Feb 2020 8:11PM
    I had the first version of the Monochrom. Even now, if I look at the pictures they take my breath away. In the end, though, I sold it as I couldn't justify having all that value for such esoteric use. I would love this latest one, but sadly won't be indulging!

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