I recently wrote about the two cameras I use: the Fujifilm X100F and the Olympus Pen-F. They are both very good cameras, each with their own features, and each with their negative points. They are priced at what I would call the high end of affordable; each of these brands sells cameras that are cheaper and more expensive, and other brands of camera for the enthusiast use can be much more expensive.
But if I had an unlimited budget, the camera I would buy is the Leica M Monochrom (Type 246), in black, of course. As the name suggests, this is a camera that shoots black and white only. And it’s a Leica. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)
I know, the gear doesn’t make better photos, but still; Leicas are among the finest cameras made, and this one in particular is special. I very much like black and white photography, and the standard way of shooting is to take a color photo and convert it to black and white (either in camera, using the camera’s own JPEG conversion, or in post production). But the Leica M Monochrom has a sensor that records no color information, so there is no conversion.
The Leica M Monochrom has a 24-megapixel resolution on a monochrom CMOS sensor similar to the Leica M. As the M Monochrom has no need for color filters, it needs no interpolation for the calculation of luminance values. This results in brilliant images which have 100% more details and contrast than what is possible in color photography.
With 24 Mp in full-frame size, this camera makes photos that give you plenty of latitude for cropping, even if you plan to print them at large sizes.
It’s also a minimalist camera; there are no fancy options, it’s essentially a manual camera, with a rangefinder. It’s old-school photography (except that it’s new-school digital).
I know, it’s expensive. With either a 35mm or 50mm lens, it would run at least £7,000. (Funny, my bank sent me a letter yesterday offering me a personal loan at a killer interest rate… No, I’m not going to do this.)
I wish other manufacturers would make monochrome cameras. There’s not a huge demand, but there are probably enough people who like black and white photography that it would be viable. The X100F in a monochrome version would be ideal, because of the nature of that camera.
In any case, I bought a lottery ticket; you never know…
Check out my photo website, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to PhotoActive, a podcast about photograph and the Apple ecosystem.