Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica CL continues to impress reviewers

Leica CL continues to impress reviewers

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  As Patrick notes, the SL and CL are complementary cameras, able to share lenses. This was taken on the SL with the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-TL lens mounted. TL crop lenses on the SL use only the central part of the sensor, so the resolution is reduced from 24MP to 10.3MB. Yet I find the results impressive and certainly very usable. If you normally use only manual full-frame lenses on your SL, the TL optics provide a lightweight and compact route to autofocus (image Mike Evans)
As Patrick notes, the SL and CL are complementary cameras, able to share lenses. This was taken on the SL with the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-TL lens mounted. TL crop lenses on the SL use only the central part of the sensor, so the resolution is reduced from 24MP to 10.3MB. Yet I find the results impressive and certainly very usable. If you normally use only manual full-frame lenses on your SL, the TL optics provide a lightweight and compact route to autofocus (image Mike Evans)

The Leica CL continues to receive very positive reviews despite the odd quibble about lack of weather protection and stabilisation. Leica owners aren’t phased these aspects but they are appreciating the small size and handling of the camera — some say it is the “mini M” that everyone expected at the launch of the X-Vario. 

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It’s the viewfinder wot dunnit: A built-in viewfinder, at last and by popular demand, is one of the most popular changes for the CL (Image Jonathan Slack)

My friend Patrick Leong in New York has published a very detailed and impressive CL review on his Finding Range blog which you should check out. He’s a long-standing Leica aficionado and is especially fond of the SL. Says Patrick:

“As a Leica user, this is one tempting little camera. I keep saying to myself that this would make a great companion to my SL. In so many ways, the CL draws its strength from many other Leica cameras because a lot of the best qualities from other Leica cameras are incorporated in the CL. You can call it a mini M but in many ways, it can be a mini SL or an updated X.  For those who love the X, pop the 18mm or the 23mm on this baby, and the CL becomes an X on steroids. 

  For many, the design of the CL takes us right back to the Leica III, one of the prettiest cameras ever made. It is compact and convenient, especially with this 23mm Summicron or the even smaller 18mm Elmarit-TL (Image Leica Camera AG)
For many, the design of the CL takes us right back to the Leica III, one of the prettiest cameras ever made. It is compact and convenient, especially with this 23mm Summicron or the even smaller 18mm Elmarit-TL (Image Leica Camera AG)

“The electronics feel light years ahead. Furthermore, the CL not only has the built-in viewfinder we always wanted in an X, it has an absolutely outstanding one. For those who like the M but have issues focusing it or just want autofocus, I feel the CL can be a great alternative for some. In addition to having autofocus lenses, the CL works absolutely great with M lenses.  I can actually focus faster, and get more consistently in-focused shots thanks to the focus peaking and quality of the EVF. If you’re lugging around an SL like I am, and want a sidekick to it, the CL is also a great choice. It shares a lot of similarities not just in design but it can also share the same lenses without an adapter.

“To me, the CL is not just a fantastic Leica, it’s a fantastic camera when compared to its peers as well. It’s a much needed camera in the Leica system that should’ve been out a long time ago if you ask me. But as they say, better late than never, right?

After nearly three months with the CL I couldn’t agree more with Patrick’s thoughts. 

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1 COMMENT

  1. As an early adopter in November of last year I was able to take the CL to Paris and Florence over the Christmas holidays – with the 18mm pancake it was a perfect travel companion ensuring that my M10 never emerged from its case. The wide angle was great for the Duomo and Florence and close up palace rustication was sharp and detailed. An X2 indeed. More recently it has been my new X-Vario with the badly named ‘kit’ lens 18-35, and equally importantly a mini-SL with my R Summilux making a much lighter package. It’s in my bag or pocket every day – the chameleon Lieca

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