Why would you want a camera that costs £6,120 (without a lens) and does not produce colour photographs: Just simple old black and white? And why would you want a colour version of the same camera that still costs £4,950 and has a rear screen that would disgrace a £300 point-and-shoot. You might well ask. I sometimes wonder myself, because, in addition to my love of computers, I have an absolute passion for photography and Leica photography in particular.
The camera in question is the Leica Monochrom, announced in May and due to hit the shelves next month. The Leica world is divided, with many wondering why to pay more for a hobbled black-and-white-only camera.
I do not have a Monochrom on order, although I do own the Leica M9 and absolutely love it. But I can understand the reaction of many photographers. The Monochrom is something special. Yet without the fetters of colour, the sensor of the MM can produce incredible detail at crazy levels of ISO. And black-and-white photography is a passion that is returning forecefully after half a century of colour mania.
Steve Huff, one of the most respected photo writers on the internet, sums up the conundrum in this post today: The Leica Monochrome is already outdated, therefore it will never be obsolete.
This is one of the most heartfelt assessments of both Leica and the new Leica Monochrom that I have seen anywhere. Steve speaks from the heart:
....why do I need a crazy priced M? The answer to that is simple. I do NOT need one . No one really NEEDS one but in life we have those moments where we WANT and we WANT because it makes us happy and fulfills us in some crazy way. The WANTS in life are the things that bring joy and happiness.
With me, I give up many things in life just to own a Leica M. I have a basic car (Kia Soul), a basic house (worth about $90k), and I do not go overboard with anything in life. Basic clothes, basic computer, basic furniture and I admit, a huge ass TV :) Running a blog such as this does not in any way make me rich or even well off so I have to live simple, but I am a fan of simple and really do not need much in life to be happy.
My passion in life is photography, plain and simple. So to buy a camera that brings me so much happiness and gives me my fondest life memories in return is a no brainer. I do not buy boats, I do not buy RV’s, I do not buy expensive jewelry. </p>
The most expensive thing I own besides my modest house is my Leica camera and lenses and I have never in my life been happier than I am right now and no that is not due to me owning a Leica, it is due to my simple life, my family, my new family and additions to my home and my “Drama Free” rule to life.
As an raison d'etre for the existence of Leica AG in the modern world, this says it all. Compare a Leica with any other professional camera and the boxes will be ticked against it. Get it in your hands and play with it--and then see the results--and passion will take over. Thanks, Steve.