Sony Supposedly Working on a Full-Frame Camera that Shoots Only Black & White


It seems Sony’s intent on raining all over Leica’s parade. First, the company releases the A7 and A7R — AF-equipped mirrorless full-frame alternatives to Leica’s cameras — and now Sony is supposedly working on a black & white-only full-frame shooter of its own to compete against the M Monochrome.

The rumor is being reported by sonyalpharumors, who has a phenomenal track record and ranks this particular tidbit only one step below “almost certainly correct.” According to one of the website’s known sources, the camera is under development and will be launched within a year.


As with the M Monochrome, the advantages of a black & white only sensor include higher dynamic range, much sharper images and less noise at high ISOs. And although our own Nelson Tan does say that buying an M Monochrome is “not quite a black and white decision,” the decision is only truly difficult for those who are torn between the M9 and its monochromatic sibling.

Buying Sony’s take on a monochrome digital camera, assuming it performs as well as we know the M Monochrome does, will probably be a much easier decision to make if the price is a fraction of the 8 grand you’d have to pay for the Leica.

Unfortunately this rumor is a pretty long way from becoming a reality, even if it is accurate. But while we wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) to see if this one pans out, let us know what you think in the comments down below. Would you drop a couple grand on a digital camera that can only shoot black & white?

(via sonyalpharumors)

Image credits: Photographs by Nelson Tan

  • Nate Parker

    yes, yes I would.

  • cacamilis

    If it took A mount lenses and cost less than a A7 yes! But that’s not gonna happen

  • Jonathan

    This is the kind of story that will have me investing in the FE lens lineup. This is added to the fact that Sony is pursuing a Foveon-style sensor. Though, if Sigma announces a full-frame Foveon sensor, I may be wavering.

  • benorchard

    In a heart beat.
    As a 5mk2 shooter with zero upgrade to an mk3 envy, I would love a real camera.
    I am so tired, so very very tired of the race to the bottom with the most pixels. I want a camera that takes fine grain low light photos. Something that is fast and sharp.
    Yes, I have toyed with going back to film, but dont want to deal with scanning negs.
    Please Sony, give us an M for mono with good glass.

  • Jake

    Still don’t get it. “Let’s take technology that can easily do anything at the press of a button, and just take away the button.”

  • Dominic

    I’ll definitely pick one up if the price is right and it has a viewfinder on the side, versus center mounted, and performs as well as the Leica Monochrom.

  • R O

    You cannot increase the dynamic range, maximum light sensitivity and sharpness of a sensor with the press of a button. You do it by creating a sensor that does not need to dedicate any resources to capturing color information.

  • JTom

    Just make sure the shutter button is responsive like the m’s and unlike the A7(s). I cannot control exactly when the photo is being taken on the sony.

  • Terry Clark

    As a 40 year professional Leica user I can assure you, Sony isn’t raining on Leica’s parade. It’s not even a drizzle. They are two totally separate type systems. You can’t compare one to the other. I’m not saying either is better, just that they server different purposes.

  • fsjal

    Sony found a solution to the color shift problem ;)


    In a heart beat. My dream camera come true.

  • Jason

    No color.

  • Stan B.

    “They are two totally separate type systems. You can’t compare one to the other.”

    Hear, Hear!!!

    Yes, one exists- the other is… a rumor! They are TOTALLY (ie- completely) Different. In fact, I can’t possibly imagine how much more different they could possibly be…

    But I totally agree- reality and rumor serve totally different purposes.

  • Big Daddy J

    Oh My God. They’re looking into skipping the step of the manufacturing process that applies the Bayer filter? THEY SAID IT COULDN”T BE DONE. WILL SUCH MIRACLES NEVER CEASE?

  • Gav

    Only a problem if you use Leica lenses. Think that says a lot more about Leica than Sony…

  • Gav

    Yes I agree. Leica looks to the past. Sony looks to the future. Completely different…

  • Oj0

    Here in South Africa you can have your negatives scanned for around $1.30 – I do, it’s so much easier and the photo lab doesn’t exactly use entry level equipment. For me, it certainly is worth the pocket change to have my scans done for me.

  • faloc

    I think I would still like a Leica M Monochrom and their fantastic glass than some plastic fantastic sony…. so yes I would and it will be worth it

  • Pedro

    I want one that only shoots shades of pink. Hear that Sony?

  • Pentaxian

    Don’t give Pentax/Ricoh any ideas!

  • Steve G. Bisig

    It would defineately be a consideration for me.

  • Weng


  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    what does this have to do with anything?

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Leica can bite my arse…thank you very much

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    what else can Leica do..if Leica could they would outlaw digital photography

  • Canonical

    Sony copies Lecia’s M Monochrome, but somehow Leica is backward looking and Sony is forward looking. That makes sense.

    Sony have yet to design an original lens, but Leica regularly come up with the gold standard in optics.

    Yeah, keep telling yourself that ‘Leica looks to the past. Sony looks to the future.’

  • Oj0

    benorchard said: “… but dont want to deal with scanning negs.”

    I replied to that, I don’t know where he lives and if a similar service is offered in his area, but here in South Africa it’s very cheap having your negatives scanned.

  • Itsnotsoblackandwhite

    We’ll, Leica looked to the past far enough to see Kodak’s DCS 760M digital monochrome camera.

  • Alex Dickson

    Colour shift problem?

  • 写真家

    First digital camera was Sony Mavica FD83. Then many Nikons with Sony sensor. Always loved Sony sensors, but cameras seem to be all over place with mounts and systems so not sure I would want.

  • JoeNoName

    because the lenses are too close to the focal plane, corners get smudgy color shift in magenta type (like vignetting but in magenta color), this didnt happen in Film era, just in digital because the film is thin, sensors are a bit thicker and light rays enter at different angles.
    Most side angle glasses for rangefinders have this problem, even Leica, but their cameras can detect the lens and work out the problem, but only with their Leica M glass, put a Voigtlander and see weird shizzles

  • Christopher Stoltz

    Want! I really hope the price point is reasonable.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Digital is way better for fine grain low light photos than film. Film has interesting toe characteristics that are a bit harder to reproduce in digital format, but try shooting 1600 ISO film and then come back and talk to me about fine grain…

  • Bernie Eck

    I completely agree. Leica is not the least bit worried about Sony. People who buy Leica are buying into a very unique experience. I, personally, don’t think Leicas are worth anywhere near the prices they enjoy, but there are people who do. If you can afford it, and that’s your thing, go for it.

    That being said, Sony is not taking ANY marketshare from Leica ever. There may be some who want a Leica and cannot afford it who will go with the Sony, but I argue that’s not taking marketshare.

    If Sony sticks to this format, and builds out the lens offering, Canon and Nikon have a lot to be worried about.

  • Kyle Sanders

    All digital cameras have black-and-white only sensor – we just put colored filters on top (RGGB) and algorithms in the software to make a colored image. If your end goal is B&W, this “eliminates the middle man” so to speak, increasing [potential for] quality in the process.

  • Mack

    I’ll wait for Canon, who will make it quite good and relatively — relatively — inexpensive.

  • Jake

    Okay cool, didn’t know about the technical aspects of it.

  • James

    Leica 13k, Sony 4k, Cannon 499 + Tax.

  • James

    I think that’s it really, I mean that’s what it really comes down to.
    if they can release this at half the cost of a similar Full Frame camera it will sell like hotcakes, any more and well some people will buy it, but i think most would rather have the option to go color.

  • James

    Side note, Colored Infrared is kick ass.

  • asdf

    what about the poor rendering in the bokeh areas that merges stuff together making a blob of color

  • Mike Parry

    Yes, I would most definitely. Sony, get a move on!