Category Archives: Leica Monochrom

There’s a Lenny Kravitz Joke Here Somewhere

A week ago, Leica released a new special-edition M Monochrom rangefinder named after late rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jim Marshall. Jim Marshall photographed The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash and Miles Davis, among others, presumably with a Leica. Marshall died in 2010.

Jimmy Page and Bob Dylan, photos by Jim Marshall

The Leica M 246 Jim Marshall Edition Leica M Monochrom shoots only black-and-white. It comes with a 50mm f1.4 ASPH lens. Both the camera and lens are finished in brass with Jim Marshall’s signature on the camera’s top plate. There will only be 50 models of the Marshall Edition available, each at the cost of $12,950 (about £10,050 and AU$17,400).

Here’s what you’ll get for your measly $12,950 (excluding tax) when you purchase your Jim Marshall Edition Leica:

  • Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) in brass
  • Summilux-M 50mm f1.4 ASPH brass lens
  • Brass lens hood
  • Brown leather strap
  • Jim Marshall Limited Edition Estate print of “Thelonious Monk at Monterey Jazz Festival 1964′
  • “Jim Marshall: Jazz Festival” book with a special dust jacket
Jim Marshall

Leica Monochrom vs. a Leica M2 and Tri-X

Templeton MM Templeton Tri-X

Above are two pictures I shot in the autumn of 2014 in Glasgow. Both with a 28mm Summicron ASPH and a B+W red filter. The top picture was shot on my M Monochrom mk1, the lower picture on my M2, loaded with Kodak Tri-X film.

The M Monochrom is an incredible camera, and it’s as close to shooting black and white film as I’ve yet come across. It’s also versatile since the ISO can be altered from frame to frame, and convenient, because the images are instantly available.

The M Monochrom is also very sharp. In the M Mono shot attached here, you can zoom in and count the ridges and veins on some of the leaves. With the film image from my M2, there is less detail, but a more beautiful veiling grain, especially in the sky.

Crucially that’s the difference. I’ve made both of these images into prints, and everyone who has seen them, including me, instantly prefers the image shot on film. It just looks nicer. In the M Monochrom shot, the tree trunk has a kind of plastic look to it.

Film requires more dedication than digital. But when you get a shot that you’re happy with, you’re always glad you shot it on film. It looks nicer, and you have a negative, a permanent record of the event, whereas with digital, you’re always worrying that the file will become unreadable one day.

Colin Templeton is a newspaper photographer for the Herald/Times/Sunday Herald/The National in Glasgow, Scotland.  You can see his personal work here