Leica New Leica Mono coming soon???

VINCETAN

Top Veteran
Pure speculation on my part but I expect the EVF to be the same as the M 240. I don't think it makes economic sense for them to change anything right now for the Mono since the volume is probably way to low. I just hope the next version of the M will be a little less bulky. Funny also that they included video in the mono.
 

Amin

Hall of Famer
I inquired about trading in my M240 for the new Mono. They offered me $3500 value for my M240. Not enough for me to want to make the jump, but I am tempted. The samples look really great IMO.
 
I would like to see some samples with Lens detection turned off, would like a measure of the vignetting that occurs using the CMOS detector. Of course one of my first jobs at the Lab was writing software that produced radiometrically calibrated data from digital sensors. In 1981. Before that, it was doing the same from scanned film images. Scanners were big, think a room with a computer with tape drive. You learn to appreciate sensor uniformity.
 

asiafish

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Andrew
I HIGHLY doubt the EVF-4 is supported as it would require new firmware. If it is, we should see new M240 firmware shortly, and with any luck, new X Vario firmware.

Even if the X Vario is updated I doubt I would spring for the better EVF. The VF-2 is nothing special, but it does what its supposed to and its paid for. I'd rather put the money toward another lens.
 
The EVF-4 would require new firmware and a new chipset for the hardware interface. Think of it kind of like USB3 vs USB2. It would not be hard.

I'll bet the next digital M comes out before the end of 2015 and supports a higher resolution EVF. Personally, I would have skipped the M246 and brought out a new color and monochrome camera with the next update. In the long run, would be easier to maintain replacement parts and firmware.
 

VINCETAN

Top Veteran
I inquired about trading in my M240 for the new Mono. They offered me $3500 value for my M240. Not enough for me to want to make the jump, but I am tempted. The samples look really great IMO.

Wow, that is a big hit. I think you can sell the M 240 pretty quickly at around $4K.

As much as it is tempting, I am more tempted in the old Mono. At round $4.5K, the price is right and still a great camera.
 
The new M246 is limited to using the EVF2. That is a 5 year old EVF.

I am sure the new camera will deliver some beautiful images. As an Engineer, I'm disappointed that Leica did not wait until the next update of the M platform and offer it in color and monochrome. As a customer- Within a year, the comparison will be between the M246 monochrome and the next generation color camera. As someone that has worked with imaging sensors for a very long time: it would have been easy to design the next sensor with both color and monochrome versions. Firmware: even easier.
 
Thinking about this camera- The first M Monochrom was the M9 in monochrome, with a lot of work going into improving noise and uniformity. I'll have to printout some out the sensor characteristics that the M9 and M Monochrom store in the DNG file.

The first one was testing the waters to see how well the camera would be received, and it had a lot of "Naysayers" that were converted over when they saw the results.

The new camera is the M240 which is about to be replaced. The M246 is "old" right out of the gate. The M240 and M246 use a 5 year old EVF. We can assume the new color M will be use something closer to the EVF4, if not better. The CMOSIS sensor has shown flaws with banding at High ISO, and the early reviews already mention banding in the cameras given for test. Leica has lost an opportunity to bring out the next camera with color and monochrome versions in sync with each other; the same model camera offered with Color and Monochrome. Like Kodak did: a DCS460c and a DCS460m, DCS200c and DCS200m, etc. I've given up on an M250ir.

I'm happy with my M Monochrom. I know the camera and the sensor, get highly uniform results (no banding) at ISO 10,000. This is native to the sensor.
 

asiafish

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Andrew
My guess is the next color M (and a three years from now the next Monochrom) will use the Visoflex 020 from theeica T and X. The 020 is a fully modern EVF with 2.4 MP resolution and built in GPS.

Only other possibility is hybrid EVF a la Fuji.
 

Amin

Hall of Famer
Brian, the new Monochrom has banding issues?

Vince, where can one buy the first Monochrom for around $4500?
 
Jono Slack mentions that banding is a possibility at high ISO.

But this thread on the Leica users forum-

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/244450-monochrom-m246-dng-technical-analysis/

States that the M246 uses 12-bits per sample. The file size of 34.5MBytes for uncompressed 24MPixel files also backs this up; the M240 uses 48MBytes per uncompressed image.

I can make a lot of guesses as to why a Monochrome CMOS sensor designed for 14-bit color would use 12-bit samples. Getting rid of two bits would reduce pronounced banding. Getting rid of two bits would make non-uniformity corrections easier to allow for the higher light loss at the edges compared to a CCD camera.

There is no way that a 12-bit camera can offer the flexibility of a 14-bit camera for post processing. If this is a firmware driven, Leica needs to put the 2 bits back into the image. This is a $7500 camera and 12-bit images are for entry level DSLR's.

My first Digital Imager used 12-bit ADC's. In 1981. By 1985, we had it up to 15-bit ADC's. That was hard, 30 years ago. The M Monochrom has one of the smoothest 14-bit images that you will find in a digital imager. Going to 12-bit images, especially for a MONOCHROME camera, is a huge mistake. I hope this is just some pre-release software done quick-and-dirty to get something out to test. Otherwise, hold onto you real M Monochrom. Unless you really need video and live-view and a 5 year old EVF.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/244417-monochrom-m246-reviews/page-4

Jono confirmed that the new M246 uses 12-bit pixels. He understood it to be a performance issue.

I suspect that CMOSIS and Leica expended too much time, effort, and money for this camera to be shelved. These days, 12-bit images are relegated to entry level DSLR's. If I were to guess, the CMOS sensor could not produce the uniformity required for a 14-bit monochrome image. This is hard to do, and i am in AWE of the CCD in the M Monochrom.

I hope the next sensor used in the next M gets it right. I would bet on Back-Side Illuminated sensor technology to handle the geometry of the M-Mount.

So what about this M246: it's monochrome video capability make it a reasonable choice if looking at doing monochrome video, cheaper than what else is available. Maybe some users with a corroded sensor in their M Monochrom will be offered one in exchange. For still photography, the M Monochrom offers 14-bit images that allow incredible detail to be pulled out of the image. You cannot do that with 12 bit pixels.

I've posted for years that the uniformity of a CCD and ability to efficiently collect light at high angles of incidence means that they are better suited for M-Mount geometry, and that this is especially true for monochrome cameras. Interpolation is used in color cameras, will smooth over non-uniformity. Going back to 12-bit pixels based on performance issues of the CMOS sensor tends to back this up. This is one case where I truly wish that I was wrong and that this camera was a worthy successor to the M Monochrom. It isn't, wait for the next one.
 

Amin

Hall of Famer
The early samples I'm seeing from the new Monochrom look fantastic. Nothing against the original one - I'd love to have either one - but I think the new one looks like a great upgrade.
 
The high-ISO looks good, what I cannot understand: if the High-ISO looks good, and the sensor has a high dynamic range- why not use 14-bit values for base/low ISO and truncate the low-order bits as sensor artifacts creep in at higher ISO. I'm going to guess that the camera is applying a lot of processing to the internal 14-bit image and storing 12-bits of it. So, "out-of-camera" images look better than what you would get from the CCD which stores very lightly processed data. Pass an ISO 10,000 image through LR with some noise reduction to take out the last 2 bits, you get a clean image. The M Monochrom images compare with my Nikon Df at ISO5000 and 10000.

So far, only Jpegs are available and these are 8-bit images. The test comes when you have the raw image on the computer and start applying "curves" or anything else to it.

Okay, I'm mad about the 12-bit pixels. I'm betting Leica could revise the firmware and move to 14-bits for low-ISO, move to 12-bits as processing is applied at High ISO. That's how I would have done it. Of course, hard to know what is locked into hardware and how much flexibility is left in firmware. The difference in the M8 14-bit Raw files compared to DNG-8 is incredible, and the camera went 8 years before someone corrected Leica's mistake.

"Usual Disclaimer", I never have any strong opinions, and even if I did- would never think of expressing them. And this is why I never wait for someone to ask "But Brian, tell us how you really feel about this"...
 

asiafish

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Location
Bakersfield, CA
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Andrew
I think it is fairly obvious from the reviews that there is more processing going on in-camera with the M246 than with the MM just by the higher contrast of the unprocessed files. The MM's files are very flat right out of the camera precisely because Leica gave us the raw sensor data, which makes the files very easy to work with, but quite underwhelming (most of the time) right out of the camera.

All the more reason why the original MM is destined to be a cult classic. I think I'll take mine to Los Angeles this Sunday.
 

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