For $9,200, Leica’s M11 Offers the Promise Of Museum-Ready Photos

No color? No problem.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Representative image. (Source: Unsplash)</p></div>
Representative image. (Source: Unsplash)

If you think there’s the soul of a Robert Capa or Henri Cartier-Bresson lurking deep inside your creative heart, you might find it with Leica’s new $9,195 M11 Monochrom, the fifth entrant in the brand’s series of noncolor cameras. Leica’s sturdy bodies and sharp lenses have been the gold standard for photography since the company first released a portable 35 millimeter camera in 1925. The M11 harks back to those analog roots: It doesn’t have autofocus, and you must control the aperture by hand—though ISO and shutter speed can be set to automatic.

THE COMPETITION• Although it has a smaller 26mp sensor, the $2,200 Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome still delivers luscious images. And it offers autofocus and image stabilization, features that the Leica (intentionally) lacks.

• Leica’s more modest Q2 Monochrom, at $6,200 including a fixed lens, has a 47mp sensor—huge, but smaller than the M11’s. Its greater level of automation will smooth the way for less experienced photographers.

• The $1,800 Fujifilm X-Pro3 can shoot in color, but its filters are intended to emulate the company’s film of bygone days, including several monochromatic options. And unlike the M11, it can shoot video.

THE CASEMost digital cameras have a filter that sorts the spectrum into red, green and blue elements. The M11 doesn’t, so more light reaches its 60 megapixel sensor, meaning you’ll get hyperdetailed images with less distortion. There are a few 21st century goodies such as a 3-inch touchscreen, light metering to get the exposure just right and a phone app to easily share your work. The only drawback is the price. “For that, you could get a good used car,” a friend says, “and it would be in color!” The counterargument is that this level of investment indicates serious commitment.

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