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Leica to sell Black and White sensor "M" camera? (rumor)

Discussion in 'Leica Cameras' started by Boid, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. akulya

    akulya Veteran

    Mar 1, 2011
    I'll believe it when I see it - and if it does materialise - and accept M lenses; it will NOT be a budget item.
    I'm thinking M9 price minimum, and if limited edition, quite a bit more.
  2. Boyzo

    Boyzo Veteran

    Jul 14, 2010
    LOL this will thrill the Leica fans ;-)
    I would Pick TRIX for Grain
  3. Wait a minute, I always thought the best B&W conversions are the ones that have colour information in the RAW?
  4. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    As Brian stated, a sensor is a monochrome device, it is sensitive to light level only. The colour information is added by either the Bayer filter, or in the case of the Foveon the depth to which various wavelengths of light, i.e. different colours penetrate the silicon. Therefore the camera has added the colour information to the image. The uncoloured information must by inference be the truest representation of the light levels of the original scene.
    The colour information in a black and white conversion can be used to manipulate the image which normally to me means distort the image from that that would be obtained by black and white film. That doesn't necessarily make for the best black and white conversions in my humble opinion.
    Well that's my understanding for what it's worth.

    • Like Like x 2
  5. hmmm ok thanks for explaining that.
  6. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    No- the best Monochrome images are done with a Monochrome sensor, whether electronic or chemical based. Otherwise, Kodacolor 400 would have put tri-X out of production decades ago. Filtering, also best done optically rather than digitally.

    IF Leica brings out a Monochrome camera, it will be like what Kodak did 20 years ago: develop firmware and software that supports both color and monochrome detectors and offer two versions of the camera. The camera hardware will be either moncochrome or color depending on which version of the detector is used, but the firmware and software will handle both. That way you do not have to maintain two code trees and test procedures. That is the hard part of having different versions of a camera. Otherwise, a Monochrome sensor is just like ordering a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich without the mayo. Leave out the color dye, have the firmware skip color interpolation, everything else stays the same.
  7. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I'm not sure whether I'm nitpicking, or simply not understanding a couple of things:

    Black and white film (whether silver- or dye-based) doesn't have equal sensitivity to all wavelengths of light (hence pan- and ortho-); How does this play into the discussion?

    I "get" that a Bayer filter adds colour, but if the Foveon is sensitive to different wavelengths, is it not recording rather than adding colour?
  8. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    Hmm, I knew there was a reason why I normally avoid discussions such as this :confused:  Paul, I would suggest that you are correct about the Foveon sensor.

    • Like Like x 1
  9. Boid

    Boid All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
  10. Michael Penn

    Michael Penn Veteran

    Sep 14, 2010
    Look for the Leica M9-M in a few days. Rumored price $8,500 or $9,000.
  11. Spoke with a Leica dealer yesterday.

    He said he's not exactly sure when the M10 will be announced, it could very well be May 10 but if so, it won't be available until around September. What he does know is that the new M10 will have a Nikon sensor the likes of the D800. The Kodak sensor will be permanently retired.

    What will be announced on May 10 will be the B&W M9, of which Leica will produce only about 1000 limited edition copies (I bet that will be priced out of reach for the vast majority of us), using the surplus Kodak sensors before they move on to the new Nikon sensors.

    Another camera announced on May 10 will be a mirrorless interchangeable camera.
  12. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    I cannot believe that "surplus" sensors will be used for a Monochrome version of the camera. A custom run of the KAF-18500 is required to leave the dye out of the mosaic layer. If the camera is nothing more than "fancy embedded firware" to "black-and-whiteize" the output from a color sensor, it is a waste of effort.

    The Kodak sensor group did not close their doors, they are under new ownership. If they are doing a new run of monochrome detectors, and Leica is doing a new version of firmware to handle both a color and monochrome version of detector- then existing cameras could be fitted with the monochrome CCD.

    We'll find out soon enough. I'm betting on a Monochrome version of the KAF-18500.

    On a humorous note- When I called Kodak last year to ask what it would take to do a custom run of the KAF-18500 in monochrome, one of the engineers remembered me from when I called about an Infrared version of the KAF-1600. The answer was about the same, needed a run of about 50. On that one, they called back and told me they were doing it.
  13. 'Surplus' was my own word. It was the impression given to me by the Leica dealer that the B&W M9 is Leica's last hurrah with the Kodak sensor with whatever they had left - that is, whether it's their last contracted run of sensors or otherwise.
  14. Forgot to mention - not sure if there is going to be a digital back too.......
  15. AldPixto

    AldPixto Rookie

    Jul 24, 2010
    USA: CA and NY
    I've used Kodak IR, Konica IR, and SFX films. Several things could make a B&W digital camera interesting:
    - ability to adjust the spectral response to UV or Visible or Near-IR or recover select spectra from RAW
    - EVF for focus confirmation especially for UV and IR where focus is shifted
    - ISO selection that includes very low settings, e.g. ISO 6, 12, 25, 50 so I can shoot wide-open at slow shutter speeds
    - ability to tether to an iPad or laptop for critical EVF viewing and touchscreen UI

    I know I'm way way off, but I can dream.
  16. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    I'm happy to see this- there has not been a monochrome camera since the Kodak 760m. Monochrome backs exist, but are VERY expensive - even compared to a Leica M9.

    It will make a lot of photographers very happy.
  17. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Good news because it means that someone is producing B&W sensors (other than medium format)! Now let's see it on the Ricoh GXR!

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