So it seems all the rumors about Leica releasing an all new M9 with a dedicated B&W sensor were true. At an official announcement party yesterday they made the announcement along with the release of an all new 50mm F2 aspherical lens. While this is great news for Leica fans, it seemed a lot of the sheen was taken off the proceedings by the general shock and bewilderment of the price point on these new releases. While we all know Leica to be a superior optics company who produce a supreme mirror-less digital range finder body, which are already priced to only those with deep pockets. The announcement of this all new colourless camera body for $8000US was quite a shock to most. Then the announcement that the accompanying lens the all new 50mm f2 aspherical would be priced at $7992US had most jaws squarely locked to the floor.
Fellow photo blogger Steve Huff has exclusively had the opportunity to have a 1 hour shoot with the camera yesterday and I must confess the results do seem impressive. You can read his first impressions with test shots here:
However, now having had a day to process the news, it did occur to me that I had seen great B&W images previously from owners of Leica M8’s and M9’s. I wondered if these were all just post processing conversions done in Photoshop. So after doing a bit of a google around I came across articles on forums from Leica M8 and M9 users raving about the vintage B&W setting in the camera and the files they got from using it. They also all reported much higher usable ISO’s.
Here are some examples of the great in camera B&W from the M8 that I found they had shared:
This is a whole folder by E.Mager
and this is another one of by him
and here is a whole folder of work done in this setting on the M9 by Alex Es:
I find it interesting how similar the rendering seems…
I’m sure there are those that have a desire and need for this all new Leica M9-Monochrome, however I also wonder whether it could also be more practical for some of those who desire this look to consider investing in an M9 for $2-3K less than this model or even consider a second hand M8 for around $2-3K, you could by 2 and still have some change.
I’m not sure you would have the same resolving power, but if it is just the look you are chasing, surely one of these options are viable.
All in all you have to applaud Leica for striving to push the boundaries in extreme excellence. While many of us can only dream of using their gear with the extreme price tags, we are at least blessed to live in a world where we can enjoy the lushes IQ of others who can afford to enjoy this extraordinary gear.
Till next time, keep well and happy snapping. 🙂