Beauty amongst the Beasts




It’s impossible not to notice the prevalence of DSLR cameras being lugged around by everyone ranging from 8-year olds up to your old favourite aunt. Now that people are really getting into the swing of digital photography through firstly their iphones, and then taking the next step with buying a DSLR (the market must be really falling out of the compact camera segment) I see the great beasts out and about everywhere. Everything from the smaller Canon Rebels up to the massive IDS Mark 1-3 behemoths it seems the DSLR is the must-have accessory. And the bigger the better.
Well, except for Leica. I have seen a Leica M7 in the flesh and was awe-inspired as to how, well, petite it was compared to how enormous your average DSLR is. After being so obvious with a DSLR it was nice to see how unobtrusive one could be with these rangefinders.
But it was this new release that really caught my eye.
After producing a run of digital rangefinders in the M range which derive their styling from their mechanical counterparts, Leica has gone out on a limb and brought out this little beauty. It only takes black and white images. Yep, you read that correctly. The Monochrom is a digital camera that only takes black and white pics. How poetic. I want one! But at $8000 for the body alone I’m not going to get one. I have read posts on this with people absolutely puzzled why they would do this. Well, I can see why they would. Black and white brings photography back to an art form, and challenges the photographer to really, imaginatively visualise what the scene is going to look like, what lenses and filters to use to realise its full potential. The distractions of colour are dispensed with and the scene is whittled down to the bare elements of tone, light and shade.
So hip, hip hooray for Leica to go against the flow and produce something that seems almost hipster retro man!