Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246)

Following in the footsteps of Leica’s enthusiasm for classic designs combined with current functionality, the M Monochrom (Typ 246) Digital Rangefinder Camera is a one-of-a-kind digital camera dedicated to the production of black and white photography and is available only from Leica.

Due to the lack of a color filter array and an optical low pass filter, the M Monochrom’s full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor records just in luminance values, eliminating the need for color interpolation, in order to achieve the highest possible levels of sharpness, clarity, and resolution.

In addition to its photographic capabilities, the Leica Maestro image processor has a sensitivity range of ISO 320-25000, a shooting rate of 3 frames per second with a 2GB buffer, and the ability to record up to 30 frames in a single sequence, among other features. Full HD 1080p video recording is also possible at frame rates of either 24 or 25 frames per second.

The Typ 246 is a unique digital camera in that it preserves Leica’s penchant for a rangefinder design while also incorporating a 0.68x optical viewfinder with split and overlaid manual focusing, automated parallax correction, and manual picture field selection, among other features.

On the other hand, the camera has a 3.0″ 921.6k-dot LCD with sapphire glass covering to ensure that the magnesium alloy and brass body retain their overall strength and durability.

The M Monochrom, like previous M-series cameras, has the capacity to make use of the extensive network of M-mount lenses, which range from 16mm to 135mm in focal length.

Due to the fact that focusing is done totally by hand when working in live view, focus peaking and a 10x live view zoom can be used to assure crucial focus when working in live view.

The camera’s ergonomic body design brings all of the key controls within easy reach when shooting, including the top shutter speed and drive mode dials, as well as the rear menu navigation buttons and selection dial, which are situated atop the thumb rest, throughout the shooting process.

The DNG files created by the M Monochrom (Typ 246) are not currently compatible with Apple’s Photos and Aperture applications in Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10.3 and 10.10.4) and should not be imported into your Photos or Aperture libraries. For more information, see the DNG file compatibility section below.


Different from the majority of digital cameras, the M Monochrom (Typ 246) is a high-resolution camera that is completely dedicated to capturing black and white images.

Rather than using a color filter array and optical low pass filter, this camera records pictures solely in luminance values in order to achieve superior sharpness while also increasing clarity, depth, and resolution in the image.

Additionally, this architecture leads to lower noise levels while shooting at greater sensitivity levels, up to and including ISO 25000.

CMOS sensor with a resolution of 24 MP and Maestro processor

As well as being equipped with a full-frame 24 MP B&W CMOS sensor and a powerful Maestro CPU, this camera is distinguished by its increased shooting speed and adaptability. A continuous shooting rate of 3 frames per second is allowed, and a 2GB buffer allows for the recording of up to 30 DNG and/or JPEG files in a sequence with the ability to evaluate the images immediately.

In addition, the sensor and CPU combination allows for full HD 1080p video recording at frame rates of either 24 or 25 frames per second. Using the onboard monaural microphone for audio recording and modulation settings such as “Auto,” “Manual,” or “Concert,” or an optional external stereo microphone in conjunction with the included microphone adapter kit.

Both an optical viewfinder and a rangefinder are used.

The optical viewfinder is a large, bright-line 0.68x rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation and LED-illuminated frame lines that are set to match the image sensor size at a focusing distance of 6.6′.

It has a 0.68x magnification and is equipped with automatic parallax compensation and LED-illuminated frame lines. Additionally, on the front of the camera, a viewfinder frame selector may be used to manually modify the apparent picture field, which can be useful for seeing the scene with different focal lengths.

The rangefinder system produces split or overlaid bright field pictures inside the center of the viewfinder in order to aid in proper manual focusing. The effective rangefinder metering base is 47.1 millimeters in diameter (mechanical metering basis 69.25 mm x viewfinder magnification of 0.68x).

LCD Monitor with Sapphire Crystal Cover

In addition to the optical viewfinder, there is a 3.0 “Monitor that has a resolution of 921.6k dots and is protected by a scratch-resistant protective cover made of sapphire crystal glass for increased longevity.

Additionally, in addition, to picture inspection and menu navigation, this monitor also allows for live view monitoring, with the ability to apply focus peaking and 10x zoom capabilities to help assure vital sharpness during the recording process.

When a scene is in sharp focus, the focus peaking feature accentuates bright edges of contrast, and the zoom function allows you to zero in on minute details inside the picture.

Design of the Body

The M Monochrom sports a black chrome-plated metal body design with a magnesium-alloy chassis, brass top and bottom plates, and a synthetic leather wrap, which is reminiscent of vintage Leica designs. The subtle Leica etching on the rear of the body, as well as the absence of any front-facing or top-plate insignia, contribute to the camera’s overall minimalist and discreet design.

The simplified and ergonomic design also enables quick and easy access to all of the camera’s functions, including the top shutter speed and drive mode dials, the rear menu navigation buttons, and the flash.

Additional Camera Functions

  • Leica R-mount lenses are also compatible with the M-mount system, which is designed to take all M-mount lenses. An optional R to M converter is available.
  • Following the purchase of the M Monochrom, a download version of Adobe Lightroom is made accessible, which is well-suited for processing the DNG RAW picture files produced by the camera.
  • The use of an electronic level display can help to guarantee that horizons and verticals are continuously level and plumb.
  • Using in-camera toning effects on a JPEG picture after it has been captured, it is possible to imitate the look of film-based black and white processes.
  • German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Russian, and Korean are among the languages that are supported.

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Max resolution5952 x 3968
Other resolutions4256 x 2832, 2976 x 1798, 1600 x 1072
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISOAuto, 320-25000
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
Manual focusYes
Lens mountLeica M
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (rangefinder)
Viewfinder magnification0.68×
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject/scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Metering modesCenter-weighted
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (25p, 24p)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
Remote controlYes
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-SCL2 lithium-ion battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)680 g (1.50 lb / 23.99 oz)
Dimensions139 x 42 x 80 mm (5.47 x 1.65 x 3.15″)
GPS notesvia multifunctional handgrip

Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) Price

About Author


Freelance journalist Corey has been writing about digital photography since 2006, first as a deputy editor and then as the editor of a variety of photographic journals. Featuring expert product reviews and in-depth features

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