The Leica M Monochrom

The Leica M Monochrom

I added the Leica M Monochrom and Summicron 50mm f/2.0 to my collection.   I was on the fence for a while if I was going to get this camera or not which is easy to do when there is a waiting list months long.  I got a call on Friday that one was available if I wanted it and I instantly knew I did.

It is such an interesting camera and the amazing ISO capability is fascinating and will open an entire new world of Leica photography for me.

Leica M Monochrom and Summicron 50mm f/2.0

I haven’t done any processing so the images are exactly what you see out of the camera.  The one thing I noticed right away is how much sharper the images are.

Construction in Jiyugaoka

Motorcycle in Tokyo

I love how politely Popeye Camera says ‘we are closed’…by pulling down the door and then blocking with with nice plants, a bird house, a nice chair and a cute little bench.    While they are still closed…it is somehow welcoming…

Popeye Camera in Jiyugaoka

Taxi in Jiyugaoka

The one thing with the ISO in this camera gives you is the ability to stop down and have much faster shutter speeds.

Jiyugaoka Station

I took the train to Yutenji

Jiyugaoka Station

Well I actually took the ‘Express’ and missed Yutenji all together and ended up in Nakameguro

Question: Haven’t I been living long enough in Japan to not do stupid things like this?

Nakameguro Station

Easy, I just hopped the train in the other direction to go back one stop…except I took the ‘Limited Express’ and skipped the stop again.

Answer:  Apparently not!

Gakugedaigaku Station

Finally made it to Yutenji

Me in the mirror‘ Monochrom style…

Me in the mirror

Bike parking in Tokyo

Bike parking in Tokyo


Sake bottles

A delivery truck in Yutenji, Tokyo, Japan

Some weird Curry Rice Train place…

Curry Rice

KFC coming to a Christmas near you

KFC Delivery

A passing train…

A passing train

On the train

Tippy Top in Jiyugaoka

On the train

Shibuya Station



I ran out to MAP Camera to pick up a few accessories for my Monochrom… including a Yellow Filter.

Map Camera


Map Camera

Yodobashi Camera

The chaos that is Shinjuku Station…

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station

Shibuya Station

Shibuya Book Store

Don’t touch my ball…


I am so excited by the possibilities with this camera…

Popeye Camera in Jiyugaoka

Believe it or not but Christmas is full commercial bloom here in Tokyo… Starbucks is blaring ‘Jingle Bells’ already!

Starbucks at Christmas in Tokyo

Thanks for stopping by today… I am off to Vegas for a few days of work in the AM so get ready to see Sin City in monochrom!


  • Fadel R Alshobaki

    amazing photos from amazing camera


    Nice M Monochrom shots, Dave :)

    Really enjoyed them. Let’s do a Monochrom Tokyo photo-walk soon :-)

  • Dave

    Good Idea Stig… I feel very luck to have gotten this camera!

  • Chris

    Dave, so far this is my method of processing. Open in ACR, grey gamma 2.2, 16 bit, native size, highlight and shadow warning on, adjust exposure to balance, then pull back highlight, shadows to just loose warnings, boost white or black if required, tone curve medium contrast, no sharpening, select lens correction if required, process adobe 2012 (some seem to reckon 2010, but I think this was prior to Monochrom official release. This will give your files a little more contrast, blacks will be black, whites will be white. Where the Monochrom excells is when the lighting is diverse, the sensor captures this really well. I’ve placed some images here

  • Harry van Aperloo

    This is the camera i want to have,but i think the Leica M is beter for my profession.

  • witold

    Congratulations. I also love my Monochrom. So I completely agree with you. This is very good.

    Wish the buffer were a bit bigger. And I wish the camera did not crash as often as it does.

    But the files are beautiful and the experience is so rewarding.
    Feeling good about this one.

    I like your test photos and the commentary.

  • Carlos Ferreira

    Goodness, these are almost painfully good. The detail and definition are some of the best I’ve ever come across.

    I was among the many people shrugging when Leica announced the M Monochrom. I actually did think it was only a gimmick, that this thing would have nothing on the M9. I stand corrected.

    Now Dave, about that new Leica M. You know the one, the no-it’s-not-called-the-Leica-M10-thank-you-very-much Leica M… have you taught your wife to shoot the M9-P yetm so she can have it when you upgrade? 😉

  • 94-ers

    Love your photos. Please take more!! :))

  • Hyde Stevenson

    Nice Leica … would love to have the money for that … will continue to use my 5d and x100 instead :/

  • Katira

    Gorgeous shots, I really like the black and white it is so classy. Also the images seem to be popping out. Have fun shooting in Vegas!

  • Lucas


    Great photos, this camera really is incredible! I really liked the photos at night, amazingly sharp. There is no sign of noise at all.
    I just think you should do a little processing to get a little bit more contrast.

    Have fun in Vegas, a great place for photos.

  • Dave

    Thanks for sharing Chris. Are you using a yellow filter to makes the whites more white and blacks more black in the base file? If you look at my last from (after MAP camera) I added a yellow filter. I think the contrast is better and less ‘gray’…

  • Dave

    Witold – Mine hasn’t crashed yet (fingers crossed) but I read about people having issues with that. I am not really concerned about the buffer as I am not rapidly shooting with it.

  • Dave

    Thanks Carlos… I don’t think I need the M (10) at this point. I am not really interested in live view or shooting video so I am not sure there is something that attracts me there. Also if I can be super petty I had that the dial on the back of the black one is silver. What were they thinking…? I am pretty happy with my camera collection, for now…

    PS – Mrs Powell is a great shot…

  • Dave

    Thanks Lucas. I will figure out a workflow… I just wanted to start with those. I think the yellow filter really helps a lot. Most of those were shot at ISO 2000 which is unusable on the Leica M9.

  • Douglas Nelson

    Brilliant work. I’d truly love the Monochrom but have been waiting over a year for a Summicron 50mm and no sign of one for months to come so getting the body is pointless at present. Exceptionally frustrating especially after seeing the superb quality of your photographs.

  • Dave

    Thanks Douglas… you can get the rigid 50mm cron in the meantime. That’s what I did…

  • Douglas Nelson

    Do you think that a part of the incredible sharpness could be due to the new 50mm f2.0?

  • Douglas Nelson

    Apologies. Wrote my last comment before I received your reply about the Summicron. Still amazed at the quality of your Tokyo work. Thanks for sharing.

  • Witold

    Oh yes, I do exercise the shutter quite a bit sometimes. And we have a five month old boy here, he often has the best expressions after he hears the shutter go off three times. Oh well.
    The camera did not crash today. And I also did not run into buffer problems today. Maybe I should comment here more often.
    Looking forward to more of your photos.

  • Douglas Nelson

    Dave, now you have really given me a problem! I could get the older 50mm ‘cron + the Monochrom for about the same price as the new Summilux 50mm if I trade in my Nikon D700 which is rarely used. Excellent website with some truly outstanding photographs. Douglas

  • Chris

    Dave, no filters used, I have a batch on order so hopefully will arrive by the weekend. I’m in two minds as to whether it’s best to shoot with a filter adding contrast to the RAW file pre processing, or post shooting – only experimentation will tell. Anyway, all good fun and like you I’m really enjoying the Monochrom. Great stealthy camera, although I’ve already had one person in the know come up to me and ask about it.

  • witold

    Filters have made a big difference for me personally. They do slow the camera down by a stop (or more) but the files are influenced in a way that just can’t be adjusted in post. That’s because there is no way to adjust the tonality of a specific color channel, or color range in post, as there are no color channels to manipulate once the file is recorded.

  • Chris Robinson

    I’d love to see a post comparing black and white photos from the Monochrom, black and white film, and from you regular digital Leica.

  • Dave

    Welcome… I wish I had the APO 50mm.

  • Dave

    Wltold… that’s right. Reading my blog improves photography. Pass it on!

  • Dave

    Douglas… I sold a Canon 5DMKII and 9 Len lenses to make my move to Leica.

  • Dave

    I hate post processing so I prefer to use the filters and avoid adjusting later.

  • Dave

    Thanks Witold… Are you using Yellow Filters or trying others.

  • Dave

    Good idea Chris… Maybe I’ll give that a try.

  • Carlos Ferreira

    I am very happy for you that Mrs Powell is a good shot. Just make sure she stick to cameras and doesn’t take up archery or clay pigeon shooting…

  • RichardWarsaw

    To Witold: The MM stops crashing if you use slow cards (less than 30mb/s) also I believe there is a fault with the “discrete”shutter – use the standard one….. No doubt these issues will be cured with a new software release…..;-)

  • David Runacres

    Why am I not surprised you now have one of these? Oh the agony of choice when you leave home – digital or film? Enjoy it.

  • Scott

    Loving these pics – much prefer these to colour pics.

  • Dave

    Good point Richard. I always use slower cards with my Leica and it works much better.

  • Dave

    I couldn’t resist David…

  • http://http// Witold

    @Dave, the Leica Store Munich gave me two B+W filters; one yellow and one orange. I have been shooting with the yellow one most of the time. I think it is helping with the contrast.
    But now I want to try many more filter colors, of course.
    The thing with filters is that they fit certain lenses. So I use the filters on my Summilux 35 and the Summicron 28. I also use an ND filter for these lenses now and then. I have a bunch of filters for other lenses, like the Noctilux, for example. But that immediately shows that I am just beginning to understand what I am doing. Maybe.
    It is all a journey.
    @RichardWarsaw thank you for the advice. I will try to get a slower card somewhere. I shoot in discreet mode on both the Monochrom and the M9. (I shoot people from a small distance sometimes. That’s the only mode I feel comfortable with.) Yeah, there is this bug on the M9 that delays the shutter by some unpredictable time sometimes. But the Monochrom really seems to just crash. It locks itself in a certain exposure and turning it off does not help. Only after I remove the battery does the camera come back to a usable state. I hope this will get fixed. : ) Maybe in firmware version 0.018. ; )
    This site has such a sane conversation going. In some other places I would not like to name right now, it is all about posing and a strange dance. Here it is about reality. Thank you.

  • joanlvh

    hi, always enjoy your webite, really like you Leica Monochrome shots. What is the advantage to shooting blk and wt with the Monochrome vs shooting with the M9 and converting to blk and wt. thanks

  • Pingback: 10 months of shooting film | ShootTokyo()

Pin It on Pinterest