A question I asked myself…
How do I start writing on the epitome of imaging quality from a brand such as Leica? And more so for a photography tool that is unique only to them in the whole market. But kindly bear with my attempt.
The photography tool we focus on today is the Leica M10 Monochrom with the 35mm f1.4 Summilux APSH (M60 version). I will not wax lyrical on how well built and tuned this is. Even within Leica, they aren’t built equal.
If you know, you know and that is simply that so let us focus on the photos instead.
The build quality of the M60 version of the 35mm Summilux makes the standard 35 Summicron APSH I or II weep in deference.says me, the owner of a 35 Summicron ASPH I
Before Leica Camera Singapore kindly loaned me the Leica Q2 Monochrom (linked) for a review, I was, like many of us, a non-believer of why a pure monochromatic camera would cost more than the color, more versatile counterparts.
At least that was my belief until I saw the files on my computer’s screen, and I went away convinced.
After the Q2 Monochrom, I am a firm believer that the Monochrom sensors represents a step higher in imaging quality even within the lofty standards in Leica.
However, I did not pursue whether it was possible to try the Leica M Monochrom one day. Maybe there was a part of me that did not want to know. But I guess fate played a hand and a kind friend generously lent me his set for a spin.
My (short) journey with the M10 Monochrom
Words sometimes do not suffice, so I will go ahead with sharing my creations during the few short days with the set-up. I hope you enjoy them.
Using a rangefinder has always been its own unique experience (no, my very loved Fujifilm X-Pro3 is not a rangefinder, but a rangefinder-inspired design). I will definitely invite you to try a rangefinder if you haven’t.
The Leica M has always presented a even higher level of potential optical performance than the Q series.
Heart-achingly good because you know few will ever come close to the M Monochrom and how unattainable it is due to the price of entry.
The Monochromatic sensor renders black and white images differently from how a color-capable sensor would, and I am not saying this from a marketing spew perspective and from what I have experienced handling the monochrom’s files.
I shot from the eye, the hip, zone-focused, and frankly no one even bothered, and this feeling of being unnoticed is what I really enjoy.
The last bit about portraiture and the lovely 35mm world
I am not a professional street photographer (if that is a thing), and I have a heavier focus on portraiture. Again, how the M10 Monochrom rendered portraits with the 35mm Summilux ASPH lens made my heart beat faster.
The 35mm Summilux APSH is not the most characterful 35mm lens; I find it pretty clinical in nature (though, in my opinion, the 35mm Summilux FLE is even more clinical), but I love how the crispness of the lens rendering lends a dimension of extreme sharpness and details which falls-off very gently to the out of focused areas. Many modern pieces of equipment end up having a ‘steep’ fall-off which I find harsh, unlike the gentler rendering I prefer.
Going by common sense, nothing is and should be perfect, so I will say the M10 Monochrom is not perfect, but it is so heartachingly close to perfection as a photography tool.
Some will still lament the M camera’s lack of auto-focus (well, I am not here to offend, but quite a big percentage of this people likely have not shot adequately long with a Leica M camera to understand) but if it is back to what Leica terms as the ‘Messsucher’ experience, few will come close to distilling the photography experience to the most essential interplay between subject, tool and photographer like the M Monochrom.
Thank you for reading.
Self-plug: Not all of my test cameras make it into a review; instead, they go onto my Instagram account. If you don’t mind, follow me at http://www.instagram.com/keith.wee
- All images shared were photographed by me and edited in Lightroom Classic CC to my preferences.
- I only use DNG files with the Monochrom. This is the same when I use the Leica M10 and Q.
- I take pride in not being a writer who earns through selling affiliate links and can provide a neutral point of view.