Leica has finally unveiled the world's first monochrome digital rangefinder after weeks of speculation.

The Leica M Monochrom is a pure black and white rangefinder and features an 18 million pixel CCD sensor which is specifically designed to capture light in its purest form.

No bayer pattern filter (colour filter array) is used on the sensor, meaning there is no need for complicated colour algorithms.

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Leica claims that as the sensor doesn't see colours, every pixel records a true luminance value, meaning it is capable of delivering black and white images which are significantly sharper than comparable images from a colour-sensitive sensor. Leica also says that this means they need very little or no further image processing.

Other features of the camera include a raw data histogram display, and the ability to convert images to classic toning effects from film photography (sepia, cold or selenium toning).

The camera uses a one-piece, full-metal housing constructed from high-strength magnesium alloy, with the top and bottom plates machined from solid brass, which is designed for maximum durability.

The Leica M Monochrom price is £6,120 (around $9,860) and will be available from the end of July 2012.