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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. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    I sold equipment, cameras and lenses, to pay for the M9 and a pair of Noktons. Figure I spent about $4,000 for the cameras and lenses- sold them for about $8K. Time and effort went into repairing cameras and converting lenses to Leica mount. I have 20% of the M9M sitting in Paypal as of this week. If I get one, most of it will be subsidized by selling gear.
  2. silverbullet

    silverbullet Regular

    Oct 20, 2010

    I'm not so optimistic about this cam, because......it's from Leica....... ;-) Why?

    With the first glance it looks terrific to offer such a b&w shooters dream, but until now the over all adjustments as there are tuning the sensor to appropriate wavelengths etc. isn't solved by Leica. All pics which I could see are dull, flat and sharp or totally overprocessed. Now it seems that Leica repeats the story of the M8 with its filters, but now there are no color channels which can be adjusted......

    Fore me this cam is a huge trick to overcome the dead time zone until at Photokina in autumn the M10 will be introduced.....

    As a mainly b&w shooter beside the price this cam is my dream but Leica and their software rookies might repeat the mistakes with the M8, the M9 (SD card glitches + colorshift with wide angles) and now the M mono.
    We shouldn't forget that their main goal is the M10 as a much higher volume model, the M mono will be a cam for the niches of niches......

    But all the brave who might buy - Good Luck! I trust the TRi-X or Acros more...... ;-)
  3. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    Of course you are looking at JPEG conversions on your own monitor.

    What the DNG files do on print- different medium.

    Kodak has been making monochrome sensors for a very long time. The "spin-off" group is the same unit, they know what they are doing. Kodak management- different story.
  4. flash

    flash Veteran

    May 6, 2011
    Interesting comments about the M8 and M9. While I agree there have been problems (I disagree about the colour shift on the M9) it's as if no other manufacturer ever has issues. Canon have released the 5D3 with a light leak from the top LCD panel that actually affects the cameras meter. Mirrors started falling of 5D's because they were incorrectly attached. The flagship 1D3 Canon designed for sports shooters wouldn't AF properly in CAF and Canon tried first to deny it and then to cover it up. Nikon SB900's burnt out by the dozens and the solution in the SB910 is to shut the flash down rather than implement heat management.

    The M9 corrects for colour shift with software corrections to help overcome a major technical challenge with a sensor that large close to the lenses it uses. And Leica lense don't have colour issues, only third party ones do. The card issue is probably a Leica issue but easily solved. Don't use Sandisk cards in the M9.

    Leica camera can certainly have issues. But to assume that it will because it's a Leica and wouldn't if it were another brand just doesn't hold up. Leica don't need a huge trick. They're still selling large numbers of M9s and lenses. Especially lenses. Personally I think Leica know they're a niche brand and they're learning to exploit that. Find niches and make money.

    99% of photographers would be better off without a Leica. They're either too restrictive, to expensive, too limited or they just don't get it. For the other 1% they are a joy. And that 1% is all Leica needs. That 1% will make the camera work for them. And they'll be prepared to make changes to make it work. And they won't feel bad about it.

  5. Kingsfan

    Kingsfan Regular

    Apr 27, 2012
    Highland Park, CA
    got it, too bad i can't get that much for my m43 gear
  6. BrianS

    BrianS Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Apr 3, 2013
    Hard to believe this discussion was 6 years ago. The M Monochrom (original) sales were about 5x what Leica expected. The Monochrom type 246 followed. I ended up selling lenses and trading a Nikon SP (1 of 3 I had) in for the M Monochrom. Took delivery of the camera in Dec 2012, used it yesterday. I'll use it until it can no longer be serviced, same with the M9.

    I end up using deep yellow and orange filters, mostly. I also wrote my own post-processing software for the DNG files, adds a gamma curve and converts the pixels from 14-bits to 16-bits, writes new DNG files. After that- mostly just straight export to JPEGs for viewing. Using 16-bit pixels means being able to scale 14-bit pixels without losing spatial resolution to contouring. Dusted off some Fortran-77 code written in the 1980s.

    DNG-16 Conversions

    18260702086_e215d0f694_o.jpg L1005046 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    100% crop of original image, straight export to JPEG using Lightroom.

    18099313128_299ae24346_o.jpg L1005046_100crop by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Gamma curve to pull shadow detail.

    18100975559_9db0eac470_o.jpg G5046_100crop by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Worth the effort? I love writing code, as much fun as taking apart lenses.

    18399758435_65bc8993c5_b.jpg gamma1m1_SEFX2 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    ISO 10,000. The Gamma curve and DNG "Black Level" parameters selected for the converted DNG files also tends to reduce noise.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  7. slackercutser

    slackercutser Rookie

    Feb 10, 2018
    Nice work!

    Loved the MM's. But my 5 MM's have been sitting at Leica NJ almost 10 months for corroded sensor repairs. No end in sight for getting them fixed. No idea if they will ever even repair them.

    I was told they were sending them to Germany after sitting in NJ for 8 / 9 months with nothing being done. Then got a letter from Leica a short time later saying they can't repair them as the sensors are out of stock. Told them if they can't fix them to just send them back. Wrote multiple times with no reply.

    Very sad how Leica has turned out. Someone said Leica likes making collector cams now since no one uses them and defects wont show up.

    In the original literature I got with my Leicas, it talked about how to minimize artifacts from the sensor issue by not shooting stopped down with a wide angle. I've been using Leica since the early 70's. If someone else made a digital rangefinder with a LM mount I'd gladly switch.

    Shot with the MM...when I had them.



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  8. BrianS

    BrianS Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Apr 3, 2013
    Five M Monochroms!

    I sent mine in about a year ago, had the sensor replaced. It took about 4 months, was done free-of-charge. I'm surprised that Leica did not offer a trade-in on an M246. My M9, which is now 7 years old- has not shown any problems as of yet. The S8612 cover glass is the problem, the same glass used by Kodak on their full-frame DSLR's 15 years ago. Same story- some are fine, others corrode. Hard to say what the difference is- my M9 has had more use, in colder and warmer situations, than the M Monochrom. S8612 glass is a fine choice for use in the lab, poor choice for a consumer product because of it's reaction with moisture. The BG-55 cover glass used to replace it is much less susceptible to damage. The glass used on the M8 is extremely resistant, but has a 5% IR leakage.

    Just looked- OnSemi no longer lists the KAF-18500 as being available to other customers, Leica is the sole customer most likely due to demand. Before the corrosion problem started, Digi-Key sold them. The KAF-16801 and KAF-16200 are in the same family, and the availability is 8-12 weeks ARO. OnSemi must be back-ordered on the KAF-18500.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
  9. slackercutser

    slackercutser Rookie

    Feb 10, 2018
    The MM's were in perfect shooting and cosmetic condition except they all had corroded sensors. Some were doable with lots of spotting, others had terrible corrosion.

    I still use ancient 6mp Epson RD1's...so age does not have any bearing on me. If it goes click and freezes time I use it.

    This is a 6mp'er from the RD-1...


    Really, I could never afford to shoot digital Leica. Only reason I have these MM's was they had dropped tremendously in value and I picked them up used for a few thousand each. Still could not even afford to do that, but my mom died and left me a small inheritance that I used to invest in my photography. Now inheritance money is all gone, so would not be interested in buying new Leica's anyway. Can't afford it.

    I had a 6th MM, but it missed the free sensor cutoff, so I sold it and got a used Sony A7RII. I adapt my ZM lenses to it to make it half 'Leica-like.' It has it + / -. For what I shoot I prefer a compact rangefinder. Or if they made a little M43 Leica knockoff rangefinder, I'd like to use it.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  10. BrianS

    BrianS Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Apr 3, 2013
    Nothing gets older faster than anything digital.

    The 5cm F1.5 Xenon used on the M Monochrom for this shot is as old as the Subject.

    38289242396_2f7523bb6b_b.jpg G1017739 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    38289242916_c963e85de4_b.jpg G1017735 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    If the M9 and M Monochrom both died, I'd either look for a used one or get an M10. More likely get a lightly used M9 from someone "upgrading" to an M10. For the M9- wrote a custom DNG processor to use a yellow filter and produce Monochrome DNG files.

    Leica M9 and M8 Monochrome Conversions

    16991248947_6487e3a71f_b.jpg M1012676_small by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    It uses a custom demosaic algorithm.
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  11. asiafish

    asiafish All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Wow, cool to see this thread resurrected.
    I bought my M Monochrom in early 2013 or perhaps late 2012, and then had the sensor misadventures in early 2016.

    The camera went to Leica New Jersey and after waiting 10 months, was returned with a description that there were oil spots cleaned from the sensor, but no corrosion.

    Well, there was corrosion, it went right back the following week and eight months after that I was informed that it would be about 6 more months for another sensor. I argued with the management in NJ about how I should be at the very front of the queue because of their previous 10 months possession of my camera, and after receiving "no promises" of faster service I took the step of sending Dr. Kaufmann a private message through FaceBook. Two days later and I had a brand-new M Monochrom.

    I used the new camera for a few months and then it got jostled fairly hard and the rangefinder was knocked out of alignment. I sent it to New Jersey (big mistake) and four months later it came back to me, horizontally aligned, but still off vertically. I traded it in towards a new M10 as I just didn't want to deal with it anymore.

    The M10 was lovely. I also traded in my M-D (the one with no screen, itself an upgrade from my M-E (new sensor in 2015, but with old style cover glass). The M10 was, if anything, too good. With the EVF attached it felt more like using a Sony, and without the EVF it was like using the M-D, only thinner, with worse ergonomics (I loved the M-D ISO dial, hated the M10's) and files that if anything were too perfect.

    A few months ago I downgraded to another M Monochrom (with the updated coverglass on the CCD and only about 1,000 actuations) and another M-D, which is just so much fun to use without an LCD. I also downgraded from mostly modern Leica glass to vintage, and only have two modern lenses for when perfection is preferable to character (Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon ZM and Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton ASPH), otherwise I'm far more likely to use my ancient 1937 Sonnar (thanks Brian) or cheap though lovely Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton SC.

    I must say it is SOOOOOOO good to be back to the M Monochrom. This has got to be my all-time favorite camera.

    Here is an image from 2013 with my first M Monochrom and the 1937 CZJ 5cm f/1.5 Sonnar (coded as a Summilux) 37085937163_8d76a9850d_o.jpg
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  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    Five MM with corroded sensors? That boggles my mind. Have any other major companies had problems like this?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Hall of Famer

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    I'd love to own any of the cameras listed above, but even if I could afford the equipment, I couldn't afford the frequent repairs they seem susceptible to needing. The modern Leica rangefinders appear to be rather delicate beasts, though I never had any problem with the low-end X1.
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  14. BrianS

    BrianS Super Moderator Moderators Team

    Apr 3, 2013
    I've had the M8 for 8.5 years, no problems. The M9- over 7 years, no problems. If the sensor needs replacing, I'll pay for it and get a full CLA. The M Monochrom- rquired that the sensor be changed, bought it when first out.

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