The camera will probably sell itself on name alone, but it’s more defined by what it can’t do.
The camera will probably sell itself on name alone, but it’s more defined by what it can’t do.

Bizarre omission on $9000 camera

Smartphones have turned the humble digital camera into a decidedly niche product over the past decade, but there are still some people who like owning a "real" camera and are willing to pay for the privilege.

One company is asking them to pay a lot.

You might know the Leica name already, a German company that's over 100 years old.

Its cameras and lenses - particularly the M-series of rangefinders - were used to capture some of the biggest moments of the 20th century and along the way they built up a rolled gold reputation that means they can still command thousands of dollars on the second-hand market for enthusiasts and collectors.

You might have seen the name more recently on smartphones from Huawei as well.

This week Leica announced its newest camera - The Q2 Monochrom.

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The Q2 Monochrom has Leica’s usual understated design. It’s so minimalist it only sees two colours.
The Q2 Monochrom has Leica’s usual understated design. It’s so minimalist it only sees two colours.

It costs $8990 and only shoots in black and white.

Obviously this is not for everyone but the Leica name carries enough weight in photography circles that it should still be able to sell a fair few to shutterbugs suffering from gear acquisition syndrome.

Leica Australia managing director Ryan Williams called the camera an "attractive evolution" of the Q line of cameras, which are fixed-lens compact cameras with 47.3 megapixel full-frame sensors. (This means they're around the size of an old 35mm film negative - the bigger the sensor the more light it captures.)

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The camera has IP52 resistance to the elements.
The camera has IP52 resistance to the elements.

Mr Williams added the Q2 Monochrom "defines new quality standards in black and white photography".

There is also a standard version of the Q2 if you want a camera that shoots colour and also costs $1000 less.

The price tag of $7990 is still a ridiculous amount to pay but hey, it's your money. (Please don't put one on Afterpay.)

It is the kind of money enthusiasts and professionals will spend on a favoured hobby or tool of their trade though.

The camera has a 28mm f/1.7 fixed lens.
The camera has a 28mm f/1.7 fixed lens.

Leica has also made Monochrom variants of its M-series cameras in the past.

To celebrate the launch of the latest camera, Leica linked up with Sydney photographer Knox Bertie.

Mr Bertie is also a chemistry teacher and uses that knowledge to push the processes of film developing in the darkroom.

He said the Q2 Monochrom was his first encounter with shooting a series on a digital camera.

"I fell in love with its design straight away and I like the simplicity and how stealth it is on the street."

Black and white photography is where the Leica Q2 Monochrom excels and all it does. Picture: Knox Bertie
Black and white photography is where the Leica Q2 Monochrom excels and all it does. Picture: Knox Bertie

He also praised the build quality and said the 28mm Summilux f/1.7 lens "rests perfectly" in the palm.

"You can tell that a lot of time and thought has gone into ensuring that the ergonomics are perfect. Nothing seems out of place and it's very comfortable - for a street photographer who needs to work fast, this is very important."

The black and white restriction adds drama. Picture: Knox Bertie
The black and white restriction adds drama. Picture: Knox Bertie

You might want to try one for yourself before you go plonking down close to nine grand.

Leica has a store in the QV Building in Sydney and two stores in Melbourne on Collins Street and at Chadstone.

Originally published as Bizarre omission on pricey new camera

Mr Bertie praised the Q2 for being ‘lightweight, fast and silent’. Picture: Knox Bertie
Mr Bertie praised the Q2 for being ‘lightweight, fast and silent’. Picture: Knox Bertie


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