I don’t know if I like my Leica Monochrome Typ 246 more than my original Leica M9 Monochrome. After shooting it for a while now, I have to say that photographically, it’s a big improvement. Blown highlights can now be saved, as well as underexposed shadows. And like the M Typ 240 versus the M9, the Monochrome 246 has all the same advantages of a higher frame rate, a six megapixel boost to 24, and live view. But come on… having shot a Leica since the M3, do we really need live view or video for that matter? In a manner of speaking, the Leica Monochrome Typ 246 is a technological improvement. But in switching from that wonderful CCD sensor to the M 240’s CMOS sensor, it seems to me that this new monochrome has lost some of its soul. In a manner of speaking, it’s become more perfect, which was really never the point of using a Leica.

To be truthful, I am being somewhat unfair to the Leica Monochrome 246. Admittedly, I wasn’t as harsh with it’s older sister, the full color M 240, which shares the same body. In fact, I welcomed the better high ISO capabilities of the M 240 versus the M9. And I also liked the addition of live view as an occasional tool for framing. So what gives with my review of the new Monochrome 246? Simply put, the Monochrome 246 has to compare itself to the heritage of all Leicas before - shot on black and white.

To be honest, that kind of comparison is ludicrous. Film Leicas of yesteryear, shot on the Kodak Gold of yore never came close to the quality of modern digital sensors. But in that lost of analog imperfection we can no longer (or as easily) forgive imperfection as the tell tale handling characteristic of the gear. With greater clarity of the sensor, a missed focus looks like a mistake. And that is a bad thing, because Leicas, especially shooting in black and white, have always been about capturing the moment, not the subject in focus (or not quite in focus). With the new Monochrome 246, it might become the other way around.

With that said, I have to say that there is more of a 3D pop to the subjects on the Monochrome 246. The files appear to retain more details. Overall, it is better than the previous M9 Monochrome. And it will take some getting used to. Ergonomically, like the M 240, it’s much too big for a Leica, and I really do not care for the video function. But then again, I am sure that there are many film makers interested in a true black and white video recording device. I just wished that Leica stuck that onto a hypothetical monochromatic S body than on an M body.

So the final prognosis? Would likely switch over to the Monochrome 246? It is a better technical camera. And despite losing some of its soul, I think I will, or at the very least, give it a chance. It definitely is different, albeit subtle to most. But I think that I would learn to embrace it, once I get used to it - or at the very least, get focus.