Black and White for a Day

There's a lot of beautiful cameras worth lusting after these days, but one brand in particular never fails to draw my attention and affection- Leica. And, with their unconventional offerings of cameras without screens, autofocus, or even color rendering, it can be easy to see that Leica cameras are not for everyone.

Some of those who have shot with me might know that I usually carry a Leica M9 as my leisure camera for day-to-day use. So, when my local Leica store at Bellevue Square in Washington offered up a Leica Monochrom for a test drive, I couldn't resist trying out the black-and-white only version of the Leica M9, a camera which I love and use often.

So, how was it? In two words: eye opening.

The original Monochrom is a joy to use. Extremely fine detail renders beautifully even in the absence of color. It is the absence of color that actually aids in its sharp and detailed rendering of fine details. However, it is this lack of color that leads the photographer to train his or her eye to look for texture and patterns in order to properly utilize the Monochrom. Photos that rely on wild colors or basic composition fall through completely when using the Monochrom. This camera forces you to see the world for its patterns and textures, rather than what the human eye naturally expects to see.