Almost a year with the Leica Monochrom by Allen Bourgeois
I have had my Leica M Monochrom for almost a year now and my 35 Summilux FLE for a little over a year. There are plenty of others that have gotten into the technical aspects of this camera and that has been compared and debated a lot in other reviews. I wanted to give a personal view of this camera and lens and how it works for me and the way I see. I also want to avoid the film vs digital debate in this because I love both. I feel that they are different and that’s a good thing.
Here are some thoughts on both the camera and the lens after some real-time with them both.
For me and the way I see and work, especially concerning my personal work, this has been a very good match. I had noticed before I pulled the trigger on the MM that a lot of my personal work was ending up as black and white final prints. It just seems to be the way I was and still am seeing. So when Leica announced the M Mononchrom I went on the waiting list.
When the camera first arrived and I put the 35 Summilux FLE on the camera it just felt right. I went through a bit of a learning curve and for me it takes a while for a camera or any equipment to become second nature. And this was no different from any other camera or lens. But it was soon after I really spent some quality time with this camera and lens that I found how well it worked with the way I work and see. I have read others say that this camera just gets out-of-the-way and I would say that is true for me. It has taken some time for this camera to become a real extension of my vision but it has and it has in a way that few other cameras have in the past. It’s a tool and a wonderful tool if you are like me and tend to see in black and white.
The fact that I can now shoot at 1600 and 3200 ISO is a great plus if you work on the streets the way I work. To be able to shoot at f/8 and f/11 and have shutter speeds of 1/500 of a second and faster is a great tool to have for fast paced street work. The lens has very good depth of field scales and makes it easy to hyper focus. I also find manual focus to be really good with this camera lens combo The files are amazing to work on and in my opinion you really do need to use some kind of post processing to get the best out of the files but also in my opinion that could be said for most digital files. I also prefer CS6 over Light Room and/or Silver Efex. Thats just personal preference.
There is no perfect camera that is going to be right for everyone. The one size fits all is not what this camera is about. It is a specific tool. I prefer manual focus, manual exposure, black and white and no frames per second. So for me and my personal work this camera has been a good fit for the way I see and work. It simple, uncomplicated operation, does just get out-of-the-way.
OK enough words already. Heres some work from the past year. I hope that you enjoy it. I did post some street work in D.I. #405 on April 16th, 2013.