Photoessay: Landscapes with the Leica M-Monochrom

Sadly the M-Monochrom had to go home on Wednesday, but I did get a chance to make another quick set of images with it. Landscapes with the MM are slightly tricky, as the subtle tonal variations that normally make a nice landscape don’t work in luminance-only B&W. Instead, you have to force yourself to look for those extremely contrasty scenes which you’d probably normally be avoiding with a color camera and conversion.

I also want to address one of the major criticisms I saw on my earlier review regarding lack of mid-gray tonal variation: given limited time to shoot and lots of rain, I only managed to get the camera out around midday – which in the tropics, means extremely harsh light. This is of course the enemy of nice mid tones; there’s only so much you can do here under these conditions. Furthermore, web compression is not doing the images any favors – the subtle differences are being crushed into those 8×8 pixel JPEG blocks. The files do look a LOT better at full size, uncompressed on a good monitor. I suspect they will print even better still, but I haven’t had time to do this yet.

Now here’s a thought: Why doesn’t Leica do an X2 Monochrom for people who want B&W-only resolution, tonality and acuity, but would also like AF and a more compact package? MT

This set shot with the Leica M-Monochrom, 50/2 APO and Zeiss 28/2.8.

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  1. Pictures are stunning Ming! Well done! – Eric

  2. I echo most of the commentators’ positive remarks re the M Monocrom – I have been puzzling how to produce balanced landscape exposures with this camera (I have recently purchased one) – apparently Lee have a dedicated range – finder filter/mount ND grad kit, with various size adaptor rings and 75mm square (or rectangular?) ND grads and a circular polariser – sounds interesting and it should release yet more potential for this beauty of a camera.

    • I don’t think it’s necessary providing you expose carefully – it has the same or slightly more dynamic range than the regular M9, which I haven’t had issues with. Ensure that any polarizers or filters you use also cover the finder square, otherwise you might have some issues with not being able to preview the effect…

  3. Xenia Edberg Kledzik says:

    The Leica MM looks to me like a highly desirable camera, but your photographs of landscapes are even more impressive! Thank you, Ming!

  4. Did you try to use orange or green filters? Nice shots by the way!

  5. Overwhelming! ….and: my monitor also can´t handle this in perfection. But it is good enough to guess what quality would be possible…

  6. Robert Stark says:

    This appears to be a wonderful camera/lens though full credit to the photographer for the beautiful photographs. As always, thank you, very much.


    • Thanks Robert! I think some of these will print beautifully because of the resolution and tonality – only one way to find out, I suppose.

  7. Wow, I never thought I’d say that photos could look “too” detailed. Some of these are pretty crispy at web resolution (as you mentioned). Very nice shots, though! I like your idea about an X2M :-).


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