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Can a Sony a7 compete with the Leica Monochrome?


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Given that they both have the same size sensor and MP count, can a converted Sony a7 compete with the pricey Leica Monochrome?

I think that it can, and this is a non-scientific study that I've done to show just that. Please visit my site here to see the results. 




All constructive criticisms are welcome.  Thank you, Daniel of Monochrome Imaging Services


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  • 3 weeks later...

I've got a number of the old Monochroms, but they have all been in the shop for many months waiting for the corroded sensor to be replaced. I just got my first Sony Last night...a A7Rii.


The sensor on the Sony is pretty impressive. I'm just guessing that the Sony would beat the 18mp Monochrom. The old 18mp Monochrom that I use = about 36mp of a color camera.The Leica's benefit is with a compact footprint, no grip, no prism and easy manual controls and rangefinder.  If you don't need a compact footprint, no grip, no prism and easy manual controls and rangefinder, the Sony is a lot cheaper.


I shot both of these with a Monochrom


Candid...shot with a Zeiss 21mm




Candid...shot wide open with a 35mm 1.4 in terrible light




I do highest level candid street and social doc photography. I'm also the world leader in infrared flash street photography.


Candid Infrared Flash




Been at it nearly 50 years, so I know a little about what I'm talking about.


Candid...shot with a little Fuji X-E1




Leica has perfected what is needed in a reporter's cam eons ago. Leica has its problems, but I'm sticking with Leica and supplementing it with the Sony.(I just started to test the Sony at 5 pm last night, so verdict is still out.)  


For the price they charge, Leica has not been known for using top grade sensors in their cams other than the Monochrom. But my photos are dependent on many things beside the sensor. Ergonomics are a big deal with me.


This is how I roll...




That is where the Sony is an issue for me. It is compact enuf, but I don't like the viewfinder on top or the grip. I hate program dials and prefer a real shutter speed dial, as I almost always shoot manual. I only shoot wides, super wides and the occasional normal lens and do lots of zone focus work. If I shot tele,the Sony viewfinder would be great.


I am not into landscapes or architecture. But if the occasional sunset or building thumbs their nose at me, I will shoot it. This what the old Monochrom does in decent light and taking your time...hand held.




You guys and gals want to do museum quality candid street and doc work...pay attention to your cams footprint and ergonomics. They make ALL the difference.





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  Nice images, sir. I'm not sure if you were knocking the Sony or not, but probably not, since you purchased one. I like to carry a converted NEX-7 as my street camera, as it is

quite compact at 24 MP. 

  My comparison of these two cameras is not in their physical similarities, but in their sensors; can the Sony 24 MP Monochrome sensor keep up with the Leica Monochrome

24 MP sensor? I think that many that would like to own the Leica Monochrome, but can't afford it, would buy the converted Sony a7. And the samples shown on my site

attest to this. Are the two sensors identical? No, of course not. Is the Sony Monochrome a viable option? I believe so, and state the reasons why in my article. 

  And the converted Sony a7R II Monochrome does surpass the Leica Monochrome--all be it in a larger footprint. And a Sony is a lot like a Toyota in regards to reliability, in

my opinion. 


Thanks for the feedback. Daniel

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