Sadly I don’t have six grand burning a hole in my pocket. Even then I’m not sure a shiny new B&W-only Leica M Monochrom would be on my shopping list – certainly not ahead of a Nikon D800 (E?) and a couple of fancy lenses for it.

Much though I love my black and white, one thing I love about digital photography is that you shoot in colour and can defer until later the decision about how to separate the colours into black and white tones. It’s not that I don’t know how to use coloured lens filters or am lazy. In fact I happily carried two bodies or film backs, one loaded with colour and the other B&W, and I used to keep a range of coloured lens filters in my bag. I appreciated and enjoyed choosing a filter that seemed to make the best of the scene, and from what I hear Monochrom users are indeed working that way. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that in return for the Monochrom’s better high ISO and higher resolution they’re willing to give up the ability to control the relationships between greyscale tones in Lightroom or Photoshop, while I find doing that in post processing to be one of digital’s big steps forward. In the past I might have got it right with a coloured filter, but with digital I can decide at my leisure and try a few alternatives.

Still, having a mono-only camera is an interesting idea, and I’m sure the Monochrom produces fine pictures. Thanks to Leica’s wise use of DNG as their raw format, it’s already supported in the free copy of Lightroom that comes with the camera, as well as Silver Efex Pro.