Today, Leica announced a new M camera that looks and function just like the current M9P model, except this camera is equipped with a black and white only sensor, the "M Monochrom". If you are interested in seeing what this camera can do, I suggest to first read Jonathan Slack's page [HERE] and then check out his images from this camera [HERE]. By the reactions observed in the various forums, I think a few distinct groups emerged. There are those who loved the idea and can't wait to buy one because it's what they've wanted for so long. There are those who thought it was interesting but unsure whether they're ready to give up colors and they're content with doing B/W conversion in the post processing. And, of course, there are those who hate it, balk at its price, and rather just load some B/W film in their film bodies if they really wanted true black and white.
Fallen... ZM50 f/1.5 ISO 200
Me? I don't know what to think... I'm probably in the middle group because I just don't know any better. I have enough troubles just converting the raw files from my M9 into black and white because I don't know the proper contrast, tonality, or any of the technical stuff, I just wing it. So I'd be pretty scared if I am forced to think B/W from even before the image is captured. To me, B/W treatment belongs in the post-processing, somewhat of an afterthought, because I'm concentrating on getting the image first.
Sometimes I wonder if colored film were widely available, whether Henri Cartier-Bresson would still shoot mostly black and white? Even today, there are professional photographers who shoots only in black and white. While I don't see myself falling into that category, I do feel that there is a place for black and white photos. Some people say that B/W photos have more "soul". I think they just have less distractions. Perhaps without colors, we're forced to concentrate more on the subjects in the photos and therefore become more receptive to the messages that's embedded within them. But as I've said before, I feel that colors can provide the extra mood or feelings that I'm trying to invoke in my pictures. So, I'm content with the M9 that I have, and I love to have the freedom to choose how I want to paint my images. I feel relieved, more for the sake of my bank account, because the "M Monochrom" is not a camera that I would lust for. I was inspired, though, to give B/W a deeper look when processing the following recent images:
Sorry, I couldn't resist adding the last image in color. It's sort of my rebellious middle finger to this grayish day :)
My Journey into Leica...
A path not to be taken lightly, not without reservations, and not without dedication, but the results can be sweet, OH SO SWEET! This is a documentation of my trials and tribulations into the world of Leica Rangefinder Photography, and I hope you'll enjoy coming along with me.