Leica M-Monochrom: The Ultimate Black and White Camera

In this blog post, we explore the Leica M-Monochrom, a specialized camera designed specifically for black and white photography. We'll take a closer look at its features, benefits, and why it's a favorite among professional photographers.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Leica M-Monochrom article cover photo

Key Features

May 10 2012


18 megapixels


Sensor TypeFull frame

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Overview of the M-Monochrom

Black and white photography has been around since the invention of the camera. However, with the advent of digital photography, the art form has taken on a new life. And no camera is better suited for capturing stunning black and white images than the Leica M-Monochrom. This specialized camera is designed to produce monochrome images that are rich in detail, texture, and contrast. It uses a highly advanced image sensor that is optimized for black and white photography and does not have a color filter array. This means that every pixel is dedicated to capturing luminance information, resulting in sharper, cleaner, and more detailed images. In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of the Leica M-Monochrom. We'll discuss its features, benefits, and why it has become a favorite among professional photographers. Whether you're a novice or an experienced photographer, you'll learn why the Leica M-Monochrom should be your next camera investment.

Leica M-Monochrom Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Leica M-Monochrom camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High image quality
Versatile lens compatibility
Simple and intuitive interface
Compact and lightweight design
Long battery life
Low light performance and ISO sensitivity
Effective noise reduction
Film-like grain structure
Excellent tonality and dynamic range


Expensive price point
No autofocus
Manual focusing can be challenging for beginners
Limited ISO range for high-contrast scenes
No video recording capability
No image stabilization
Limited selection of Monochrom lenses
Requires careful exposure and composition techniques
Limited availability and support

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Leica M-Monochrom

Weather sealed
Dimensions139 x 80 x 37mm

Weather Sealing

The Leica M-Monochrom is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (rangefinder)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution230k dots
Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 2.50" screen, with a display resolution of 230k dots. This makes the Leica M-Monochrom not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


M-Monochrom includes a optical (rangefinder) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of Unknown and a magnification of 0.68x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Leica M-Monochrom has a 18MP sized CCD sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 18 pixels. Leica M-Monochrom has a native ISO range of 160 - 10000 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

May 10 2012


160 - 10000

ISO Range

SensorFull frame
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution5212 x 3472 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Leica M-Monochrom camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the M-Monochrom is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Full frame



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/SDHC card
Battery Life350 shots
Battery Model
Wireless Connectivity


The Leica M-Monochrom supports SD/SDHC card with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Leica M-Monochrom uses the undefined model of battery pack. This is rated for 350 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Leica M-Monochrom does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Leica M-Monochrom boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


Leica M-Monochrom does not have autofocus (AF)

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Leica M-Monochrom?

The Leica M-Monochrom features a CCD sensor

Is the Leica M-Monochrom weather sealed?

No the M-Monochrom does not have weather sealing.

When was the Leica M-Monochrom announced?

The Leica M-Monochrom was announced on May 10 2012

Does the Leica M-Monochrom have in-body image stabilization?

No the M-Monochrom does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Leica M-Monochrom?

The M-Monochrom has a native ISO range of 160-10000, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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