Leica has just unveiled the M-Monochrom digital rangefinder camera. Leica has been known to satisfy a very specific niche market, and this new addition to the lineup takes it a step further. The new Leica M-Monochrom rangefinder has an 18-megapixel CCD sensor, and has an ISO range of 320 to 10,000 (and a 160 pull). The camera can only shoot in black and white because of the lack of color filters in the front of the sensor. This has many benefits in terms of image quality and ISO performance. Color sensors have to go through the process of demosaicing, where colors that are captured from the sensor are blurred together to get the right colors. That process removes resolution and sharpness. With a black and white sensor, none of the neighboring pixels have to be blurred together to get colors, resulting in a much sharper image.
The Leica M-Monochrom is surely going to appeal to many existing Leica users, especially those who swear by black and white photography. The camera will retail for $8,000.