Just for fun: Can you spot which image is from the Monochrom?

Just for fun: Can you spot which image is from the Monochrom?

Thought I would have some fun today and play a little game. I have a Leica M and Monochrom here and took one shot of a brick wall with each to see what the difference is between the M and Monochrom when it comes to sharpness and detail and B&W tonality. Both shots were tripod mounted, self timer and both were shot at f/8 with the Leica 50 APO Summicron and were taken 1 minute apart.

One is from the Leica Monochrom and one is from the Leica M converted to B&W using Alien Skin Exposure. Can you tell which is from the Monochrom? You can click each image for full size and place your vote in the poll box below to see if you can guess which one is from the Monochrom! Have fun!


PS – will announce the correct answers tomorrow morning ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE: Answers in the new post HERE




FINAL POLL RESULTS: 63% to 37% for image 2 as the Monochrom

Answer is image 1 is the Monochrom

But there was a possible error read the update here for more comparisons


  1. Would love to see a blind 4 or 5 way (say 35mm) comparison. Resizing to match at 100%.
    You don’t even tell us even which cameras are used, we have to guess for each shot – THEN see how far off people are! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Image 2 no doubt has superior detail at 100%. Higher contrast as well and over all more punchy.
    Image 1 has a wider tonal range and is using a filter of some type to lighten the tones in the wall and plant on the right. Probably alien skin stuff.
    Image 2 must be the monochrom.

  3. This is tougher than the part #2 – as both images have the same size – that means the M240 has been resized down to18 Mpix what would decrease the apparent difference in detail per pixel, but I would still expect the MM to be better there. On the other hand M240 is supposed to have better DR so unless there would be stronger processing (which Steve tried to minimize) the M240 should give flatter images

    #1 is flatter than #2
    2# has better fine detail than #1

    based on the above:
    #1 – M240
    #2 – MM

  4. It’s a great comparison, thanks for doing it Steve. It shows quite a difference and i’m excited to see the answer here as it could go either way.

    I would like to think the sharper one is the monochrom but who knows. The softer of the two images is sharper in the centre, softer at the edges and I understand the new M is sharper across the entire field ( sharper edges than the M9) due to better sensor micro lenses. So maybe the 240 is sharper.

  5. Image two is not only sharper but seems to have a lot more depth of field, looking at the branches in the background, which are far more defined.

    But if these are shot with the same aperture, how is that?

  6. Well well, what a difference an enlargement makes. I voted for no.1 too fast. Now I would definitely say no.2.
    Yes – all that stuff about sharpness and shadow detail but I dare say that the mono has something of a ‘signature’ colour-wise. Since I am an architect I will call it “cement”. It is a special looking (and abundance of) grey in the mid-tones.

    … of course I may be wrong ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Second image is the Monochrom, without a shadow of a doubt, much higher resolution.
    This is particularly apparent on my 23inch high-res DELL-monitor.
    especially if you look at the left edges of both pictures.

    I did not think there would be such a difference beteween these two cameras, I am surprised.

    Thank you Steve!

  8. The second is slightly sharper, with less noise and better contrast, but I presume such small differences would not be noticeable in normal use. Probably means image two is from the M. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I believe the Mono is the sharper of the 2 cams….so just find an area of super tiny fine detail…then find which image loses it or gains it.

    Image 1 has more microdetail by far, easily seen in the top left corner of the plant.

  10. # 2 looks like the focus is better, it is much sharper.
    But at f8 they both should be pin sharp, so not sure what to make of this.

        • Sorry, but when #1 was took some shaking blurred it โ€” It’s clear due the double pattern on the wall (mainly on left side).

          • Sorry, not possible. Tripod mounted, self timer, F/8, 1/1500 second, no one by it when it fired. Was steady. But keep an eye on the site tomorrow….

          • I Think i should come up with a new nickname, too many Luiz around here…

            BTW, I think the other Luiz could be talking about the shadows moving fast during the shot, but at 1/1500 I wouldn’t bet on it either.

            Anyway, not the kind of shot that brings the best of both cameras. I wonder about the ISO also. But the Mono looks like the second to me on my iPad.

          • That’s funny!

            I’m Luiz, the first. ๐Ÿ™‚

            I wasn’t talking about the shadows rather all picture is blurred like moving. At 1/500 it’s hard to see a shaking image but it remains possible (tripod on grass or earth do it easier for instance).

  11. Image no2 is the Monochrom… DR and resolution is better here and image no1 looks ‘mushy’ so at least I hope so;o)

  12. I don’t think I am qualified to tell which is which as I don’t know either camera well enough, but all I can say is that I think image #2 appears to me to be the better of the two.

  13. I’ll go with #2 as the Monochrom, based on slight edge in resolution with my eyes and monitor. I don’t see a lot of practical difference.

  14. I’d have to say image #2 (guessing the mono) has better edge to edge sharpness and better overall contrast. I like the bokeh trees in the distance in image #1 more (and I think that’s the 240) but the contrast and sharpness of #2 much more.

    • Steve – I am still sticking to my guns on image choice – but wanted to thank you for doing this blind compare – I think it really opened up some eyes. It’s easy to say X is better than Y when you know what camera / lens the image came from because of preconceived notions or seeing what we want to see. But with this great blind compare, you find you have to dig more to identify the camera. Hope to see more (maybe a ME vs M to settle once and for all – did the CCD Leica look vanish with the CMOS – or is it all in our heads? Hoping you can prove my thoughts on that wrong!)

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