Leica is no stranger to releasing cameras that buck the norm, such as its M10-D which lacks an LCD screen entirely or the various generations of M Monochrom cameras that only capture black-and-white images. The company is now expanding that Monochrom line with the new Q2 Monochrom, available starting on November 10th for $5,995.
The Q2 Monochrom is the company’s first autofocus Monochrom camera, with all of the previous models having been based on M-series rangefinders. As you can expect, it’s based on the standard Q2 and shares the same design, handling, viewfinder, autofocus system, processor, battery, software, and more. The fixed 28mm f/1.7 lens is unchanged, as is the IP52 weather resistance rating.
The difference, of course, is that the Q2 Monochrom has a black-and-white 47-megapixel full-frame sensor that can capture a wider dynamic range and has better low-light sensitivity than the color sensor in the standard Q2. Leica claims it can capture up to 13 stops of light, two stops more than the color model, and its ISO range extends from 100 to 100,000. The company also says it has a higher effective resolution than the color sensor, despite having the same number of physical pixels, due to the lack of a color filter array. It is the highest resolution Monochrom camera you can get.
Leica says that to make a Monochrom camera, it completely redesigns the sensor inside, including the microlenses that focus light on each individual pixel. This is what allows the black-and-white cameras to work better at high sensitivities and capture a wider dynamic range.
From the outside, the Q2 Monochrom looks essentially the same as the standard Q2, though there is no red badging and many of the details are simple monochrome etchings. The body is painted in a more matte finish than the standard model, as well.
The M Monochrom has been beloved by black-and-white photographers since its original release in 2012 for its ability to capture better tones and details than a color image that’s converted to black-and-white after the fact. But you had to be a fan of shooting with a rangefinder and manually focusing for every shot, which can be off-putting for many modern photographers. By expanding the Monochrom family to the Q line, which has a thoroughly modern autofocus system and even the ability to shoot 4K video, Leica is making it more accessible than before.
That accessibility is slight, however, as the $6,000 price tag puts the Q2 Monochrom a full thousand dollars above the already staggeringly expensive Q2. Should you be okay with that price tag and content with only being able to shoot in black-and-white, you can order the Q2 Monochrom at Leica dealers across the world starting now.