In 2012, Leica caused a stir when they presented their latest release: a digital rangefinder camera that shot exclusively in black and white. What might initially look like a limitation, soon turns out to set the camera apart from any other – provided your heart belongs to black and white photography.
The camera body conceals an optimised sensor board with a monochrome CCD sensor. The chip itself barely differs from that of the standard M9, offering the same basic design. However, the colour filter matrix, or 'Bayer Filter', has been removed – so that the image's luminance values (rather than the colours) are converted into greyscale.
As a result, interpolation errors are eliminated, the sensor creates lower levels of image noise, while at the same time offering a greater dynamic range than an RGB sensor, even at identical ISO settings.
With the Leica M Monochrom, photographers are, at last, able to pursue authentic black and white photography in digital form.