Leica has unveiled the world's first digital monochrome rangefinder, a camera  designed specifically for black and white photography and known as the Leica M Monochrom.

Built on the beautiful Leica M design, the diecast magnesium alloy body is finished with a matte black chrome top plate and leather accessories. 

The Leica M Monochrom camera is based around a new 23.9 x 35.8mm full frame 18-megapixel CCD sensor specifically designed for this model. It has no colour filter (Bayer Pattern filter) so there is no splitting of the light and no subsequent processing needed to interpolate the image.

The result, says Leica, is that the Leica M Monochrom produces black and white images that are significantly sharper than those from a traditional digital camera.

You'll get access to an ISO range up to 10000 and the camera is, of course, compatible with Leica's excellent M-Lenses.

There is a RAW histogram display available on the rear 2.5-inch display so you can see the unmodified data results to tweak your levels. You'll also be able to output JPEGs with traditional effects, such as sepia, in addition to RAW.

The Leica M Monochrom doesn't come cheap however. Priced at £6,120 (body only), you need to be serious about your black and white photography to even consider it. The camera measures 139 x 37 x 80mm and weighs 600g with the battery.

It will be available from Leica dealers in the UK from the end of July.