The Leica Monochrom Typ 246 in 2022

Panos Voudouris
9 min readNov 21, 2022

If you read a few of my stories so far you’ll know that I shoot film. I do not want to go into why film or digital or all that. It is what it is. I tried various different digital cameras from Canon and Nikon and Fuji over the years and I just never got along with them.

I like film and that’s it. In fact, I like colour film. I just don’t get the colours and tones I like from digital without significant post-processing. It is hours on the computer vs sending a roll to the lab.

On the other hand, I never really got along with black and white film. It always felt a bit indifferent, a handful of great shots vs a lot of mediocre nothingness. Perhaps black and white is all about doing it yourself. You choose the developer, you print it optically or scan it however you like. The possibilities are just too many for a lab to pick the one for you, unlike C41 colour film where the process is fixed.

So…how to solve. Well, I thought and thought and thought and after a while realised that what I need is simple: a black and white digital camera. Leica does that camera: the Leica Monochrom.

The Monochrom Chronicles

Leica first came up with the Monochrom in 2012. A second version, the Typ 246 came out in 2015, followed by the current model is the M10-M. They are all effectively special versions of whatever model was produced at the time, with a black and white sensor. I won’t go into the details that much, just quickly saying that digital sensors are in fact black and white to begin with and to get to colour there is a lot of magic happening. As such, the advantage of using the pure black and white sensor is that you get extra sensitivity and resolution. I’ll let you google the rest.

So…here we have a rangefinder that will match nicely to my M4, shoots black and white only and will easily hit some silly ISO values, 100,000 to be precise for the M10M. The problem is that the M10M not just hits a silly value for the ISO but also for the bank account. Thus, I skipped that and looked at the previous generation, the typ 246. Far more reasonable in price (at least in the Leica price spectrum), yet not burdened by the archaic operating performance of the first generation (which bizarrely isn’t that much cheaper).

Click, click, click and a few days later it arrived.