Leica M Monochrom, X2 Compact, flagship 50mm lens unveiled today

Only Leica would do this: New rangefinder only shoots black and white

Note: Adorama is accepting pre-orders now for the Leica M Monochrom, Leica X2, and Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH, and will fill them on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit cards will not be charged until the order ships.

Black and white photography with a color sensor? That's so yesterday. Today, The Leica M Monochrome, the world's first 35mm sensor camera to shoot only in black-and-white, was introduced in a press event in Berlin, Germany. Also introduced were the Leica X2, an APS-sensor-based compact camera with a 35mm (equivalent) lens and what Leica claims is fast autofocus, and the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH, which Leica is calling the new flagship of its M-series lens line.

Leica M Monochrom

The Leica M Monochrom features a new 18MP, 35mm-sized CCD sensor that only captures monochrome, but because there is no color Leica claims it will produce fine-grain images at up to ISO 10,000, while image quality is said to be 100 percent sharper than an equivalent color image. This specialized camera is being marketed to street photographers and photojournalists who work exclusively in black-and-white. The advantage of a dedicated black-and-white camera, according to Leica, is that real brightness values are available for each individual pixel, producing sharp, accurate black and white images without the need for post-processing. The camera is packaged with a full version of Silver Efex Pro 2 to let users recreate the looks of popular film, and registered owners can take advantage of Whitewall, the Leica Monochrom print service that uses traditional wet chemistry silver process.

The Leica M Monochrom will have a street price of $7,950 (a grip LCHGMM will be available for $240) in August.


Leica X2

The Leica X2 is the second generation posh point-and-shoot, replacing the X1, which was introduced in 2009 and was plagued by focus problems. Featuring a 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor which Leica claims produces very low noise, high dynamic range and accurate color rendering, the Leica X2 is said to have a new, faster autofocus system that the company claims is fast and silent. Leica has changed the touch and feel of the shutter release and dials, added leather trim, a latch trip for the pop-up flash, and an optional electronic viewfinder. (The X1 had an optical one). Other features include a 24mm f/2.8 ASPH lens (35mm equivalent: 35mm) and a 2.7-inch LCD monitor. The Leica X2 will be bundled with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

The Leica X2 will be available at the end of May, in Black or Silver, for $1,995; the Leica X-2 EVF Electronic Viewfinder will cost for $525.


Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH

Finally, the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH is said to be the new jewel of the Leica M lens line. Leica is claiming several technical milestones, including corner-to-corner sharpness, a sophisticated method of minimizing color error and color fringing at sharp edges, and over 50% contrast. Leica says the 50mm f/2 is optimized for use in cameras such as the new Leica M Monochrom. Leica says the lens will produce soft, outstanding Bokeh, has an integrated, extendable lens hood, and a milled brass lens front cap.

The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH will be available in August for $7,195.


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