affair de coeur – Leica M10 Monochrom

Jul 28, 2020  By Richard Rejino

images by Paul Brown

From the winner of the LHSA M10 Monochrom Sweepstakes, Paul Brown.

Having only dreamed of owning this particular camera body/work of art, it seems quite surreal holding it in my hands – let alone calling it mine! (special thanks to LHSA sweepstakes). It’s been 11 days since it arrived at my doorstep and I’m not embarrassed to say, its been around my neck on every one of those days. I just wanted to give something back in sharing a few thoughts using it at the start of what has already become an affaire de cœur. Yes I know a camera is only a “tool” used to capture ones vision or moments in time. But when so much thought and care has gone into the look, feel and materials used to craft such an elegant object of desire …and leaves you rewarded …having used the necessary skill required, to feel a part of the process in capturing the desired image …AND at the end of the day when you look at the images, are blown away with the rendition of such “tool”, you cannot help but be seduced by such “tool”. 

Being the first Leica Rangefinder I have actually used to produce images (having owned an SL in 2015 and bought a faulty M-P typ 240 from a scammer in May of this year), I thought the learning curve would have been much greater. I found the rangefinder to be simple to use and I do enjoying the slower process manual focussing brings. At other times zone focussing is a breeze. The specifics of the the M10 Monochrom being 40 megapixels of glorious black and white (and grey) tones, lend to a feeling of creating art with every capture. Having put in the effort of finding the right subject, moment and light, before releasing with a deft touch, the near silent shutter release, you are rewarded with images that are beautifully detailed, and files wonderfully malleable, to be adjusted to suit ones flavour of tones. High key or low key, or somewhere in between, the 40 megapixels of goodness have you craving to capture more, like an addict needing a constant fix (M10 Monochrom Addicts Anonymous Member: 0001 – who else is in?). 🙂 The low ISO images are detailed yet creamy in tones. The high iso grain is so fine as to be unobtrusive and only add to the aesthetic. Images as high as 50,000 still have so much detail with it only being of real concern at iso 100,000 where banding might start to be noticed. At all but the very largest of prints, I don’t see why you can’t shoot and not worry about iso ever again – especially if your images are only viewed digitally.

Overall, I really like the fact the Monochrom is a camera that focusses me. I don’t have to worry about white balance or colour. I’m more engaged in the image capturing process and I think only of light, composition, and subject matter. My post-processing is more focussed. I know it’s not technical feedback, but with Leica its always going to be 50% tech and 50% heart – which adds up to 100% Art. There’s just something about an object that has been refined over many many a year, that gets out of the way and keeps you immersed in the art of photography …and with great precision and craftsmanship, beautifully put together by hand.

Richard Rejino
Richard is the Executive Director of LHSA - The International Leica Society and a part-time professional photographer. He is also a classically trained pianist, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.


Glad your enjoying my camera. After losing the sweepstakes, I settled for IIIf to reacquaint myself with black and white.

    Haha thanks Bruce, I’ll take good care of it for you. How are you finding the IIIf? I’ve been tempted to get one in the past but never pulled the trigger.

    I’m currently looking at some m39 50mm lenses to use on my Monochrom for portraits as the 35mm paired with the Monochrom is so rich with detail and contrast.

      Glad i chipped in, and someone worthy got it.
      Congrats, great shots !

Hi, it would be useful to know what lens(es) Paul Brown used for these impressive images.

Great images!! I’d love to know what lenses were used as well. And does he have an Instagram profile?

I hope that you enjoy every moment with your M10M. I’m also luck enough to own one. After some experimentation I have settled on a 50 mm Summilux with an Heliopan Yellow filter, I try to keep my shutter speed at 1/250th or above and remind myself to expose for the highlights. (Most of this wisdom I credit to Gregory Simpson, aka Igor.)

    Hi Crispin, thank you! I too try and keep it at 1/250th on the streets and expose for highlights as there’s so much latitude in the shadows. I usually have my exposure compensation at -0.7. Sometimes -2!
    I’m having so much fun with this camera and the challenges it presents.

Hi Gerry, I didn’t want to distract attention from the camera 🙂 The lens I use is the ZM 35mm 1.4. I’ve had it a couple of years adapted to other mirrorless bodies and now it sits proudly at home on an M.

Paul, Very nice images and congrats on winning the M10-M. It looks like you’ll put the Monochrom to great use!!

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