Home Uncategorised Leica: APS-C is a continuing part of our product range

Leica: APS-C is a continuing part of our product range

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During Friday’s on-line conference between members of the LHSA – the International Leica Society – and Leica bosses, product director Stefan Daniel confirmed the place of APS-C in future plans.

He had been asked whether, in view of some market-place price reductions on the Leica CL, there was a future for the crop-sensor range.

He told participants that the APS-C market is very competitive, with Fuji and Sony, in particular, offering a good price/performance ratio. However, he said that the CL is “far from being discontinued but needs some stimulation”. He confirmed that APS-C is a part of Leica’s product range and will continue.

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38 COMMENTS

    • I agree – I would love an X type 113 with the evf – for me that would challenge the Fuji 100 series, and could be competitive if priced well – another Q buster type experience for Leica if they nail it.

  1. Leica dropped the ball big time here… After releasing nothing new for 3 years saying that Leica APS-C needs some stimulation qualifies for the understatement of the year. After the Leica S this is the second product line that was completely mismanaged and run into the ground by Leica. Unfortunate to say the least…

  2. I find it interesting how many professional photographers use the CL as a back up camera to the SL though. The reasons given being it is small, light, the image quality is excellent and the SL lenses can be used on it giving alternative focal lengths.

    I am aware that many of these photographers are connected to Leica in some way but there is a genuine enthusiasm for the camera — and if it was poor then I doubt the Leica connection would be enough to persuade them to keep using it.

    Personally I do prefer the TL2 for its looks and minimalist controls but I think the CL is a good little operator.

      • Professionals use Leica as their camera but they are certainly not mainstream. First of all, they have to have deep pockets to have their secondary Leica cameras and glass or another professional grade system. Real professional cameras have professional support systems in place such as Canon and Nikon. God help you if you need even just a rangefinder adjusted. Every camera and glass repair I have experienced has taken more than 6 months, including M240 rangefinder that came with out of adjustment rangefinder. I did not send in M240 as I had waited for one year to get and then used overpriced out of date Leica EVF to focus. A professional without back door access to Leica or deep pockets would not use a Leica to pay their mortgage.
        I have love Leica glass since the 80s but their customer support results in my need for an alternative solution.

        • May Leica find a better product manager and hire a service executive that cares about customer service and respect. A competent product manager would focus limited resources on the M and L mount and not lead on APC-S and S customers. A competent marketing manager would not announce products that two years later are still not readily available or not even available.

  3. Although I doubt if Leica will ever see a tilting screen as part of “das Wesentliche”, it would put them in a much stronger position vis-a-vis other APS-C manufacturers.

  4. The CL range of equipment is something that interests me immensely, however if i invest in the system i need to know that it is going to be around for some time to come…i like the idea of its portability. Weight is an issue when hiking and travelling. In the future IS will be a consideration for me due to low light situations. I use larger and heavier DSLR camera’s, however they are a bit too cumbersome when walking in the hills for over 6-7 miles. So yes the CL could be a very good alternative camera for myself, and so fulfilling a requirement to be more portable for my rambling adventures…(An optically good quality 24-105 zoom would be great, lightweight too)

    • The CL is a good camera, Alan, and I have only one issue – that of the impossibility of fixing the focus point to screen centre. This is a well-known issue but I know that many users don’t care. Peter Karbe, the head optical designer at Leica, explains that the range of TL lenses did not include stability because of the additional weight and size. It was a reasonable defence back in 2014 but these days people tend to expect OIS in longer lenses, such as the 18-56 and 55-135 zooms.

      However, I do agree that a new 24-105 (equivalent) zoom would be very welcome. Since the days of the 28-85mm “kit” lenses, the 24mm focal length has become more popular (despite Leica’s recent decision to discontinue 24mm M lenses). It’s also much more convenient to have just one lens rather than a bag of two zooms. A 16-80mm standard zoom for the TL/CL would, therefore, be useful to many people, offering an equivalent range of 24-120mm. It would probably have to be slow, probably a constant f/4, to keep the size and weight down, but the current TL zooms are no faster except marginally at 18mm.

  5. I don’t think OIS is exciting in the CL line, but I would like to know — did anyone ask about the possibility of IBIS in a CL@ without making the body any bigger. Leica pulled that off in the SL2, which has IBIS in a body the same size as the SL.

    • I think the difference is that the SL body was big to start with. It’s the same as the S1 so that made ibis a possibility.

    • Given that the Fuji X-T4 has IBIS and that the rumored Canon M5 Mk II would also have IBIS from a marketing point of view it would be a tough sell to launch a CL2 without IBIS, especially given that its lifecycle will probably be 3-4 years. I can easily see Leica launch a (cheaper) TL3 without IBIS and a CL2 with IBIS though.

      • Well it seems to me that if they are really committed to APS-C then something has to be done. Since none of the lenses has OiS it’s definitely logical to put IBIS in a CL2.

        • No problem putting IBIS in CL or CL2 with Panasonic relationship. However, a small specialty company such as Leica should focus limited resources on core products – the M and L mount and even X cameras. The S is a dead end and the CL ball has been dropped against formidable competition. Most of the SL glass is still missing in action or rare as hens teeth. I would love to own one of the long one overdue SL 21, 24, 28 lenses but at least they have not teased us with more nonexistent products. The SL2 is still not readily available. The only thing keeping L mount alive is Panasonic and Sigma. I love Leica but I also have go be able to afford other cameras and glass and a Psychiatric care to stay sane. And then there is their legendary terrible service and communication. If I was the owner, I would be incognito out in public as he should be ashamed.

      • I fully agree. I expect that to happen as well. My guess would be be that Leica will do the bare minimum needed to keep the platform going for another 3-4 years and that is probably IBIS and the announcement of 1 or 2 lenses.

        • No problem putting IBIS in CL or CL2 with Panasonic relationship. However, a small specialty company such as Leica should focus limited resources on core products – the M and L mount and even X cameras. The S is a dead end and the CL ball has been dropped against formidable composition. Most of the SL glass is still missing in acton or rare as hens teeth. I would love to own one of the long one overdue SL 21, 24, 28 lenses but at least they have not teased us with more nonexistent products. The SL2 is still not readily available. The only thing keeping L mount alive is Panasonic and Sigma. I love Leica but I also have go be able to afford other cameras and glass and a Psychiatric care to stay sane. And then there is their legendary terrible service and communication. If I was the owner, I would be incognito out in public as he should be ashamed.

  6. May Leica find a better product manager and hire a service executive that cares about customer service and respect. A competent product manager would focus limited resources on the M and L mount and not lead on APC-S and S customers. A competent marketing manager would not announce products that two years later are still not readily available or not even available.

  7. If you want to assess whether Leica is still supporting APC-S or even S camera systems, check out the amount of product release over the past few years. Compare that to competitors. The answer is obvious, invest in something else and get out enjoying taking pictures rather than fermenting on the lens that you need that is never going to come.

    • The TL lenses were designed, probably, around 2012 and decisions were made on weight and size versus performance and, crucially, on not incorporating OIS. The decisions were probably right for the time if you compare with Fuji’s contemporary line up. But since the introduction with the original T, nothing has changed.

      The two (I think) initial lenses were followed pretty quickly by the rest of the current line up. The T was innovative but, I suspect, was chasing a market that didn’t exist. Dr Kaufmann mentioned in Friday’s conference that they had been working with a Taiwanese manufacturer on a camera/organiser project which didn’t reach fruition, but that some of the technology was used in the control system for the T. Indeed, this could have been the main instigator of the T concept.

      The CL was a good addition and has many fans, but is now in serious need of an update. I think Leica has about 12 months to really get to grips with the APS-C product line or, as you suggest elsewhere, stick to what they do best.

      Even if the company does put some impetus into the lineup, the price will continue to be a problem. Both Fuji and Sony have a compelling offering in the APS-C market and it is really hard to see how Leica can compete without some drastic updates.

      There is then the presence of Micro Four Thirds. There’s a lot of logic in using MFT as a sidekick to full-frame and, in this, I think Panasonic has the right lineup. APS-C remains somewhere in the middle. It’s good enough to stand on its own as a primary system, but not small or light enough to challenge MFT where it excels – in lightweight bodies and small lenses.

  8. I own the T, TL2, CL and all 7 lenses. The only reason I stay invested in Leica APS-C is the potential of more lenses like the Summilux-TL 35mm. The CL with the Summilux-TL 35mm gives me image quality that is pretty much indistinguishable from the SL but with a distinctive size/weight advantage and at a lower cost. The SL with its lenses is simply too heavy and except for the Sigma 45mm there are no lightweight native AF options and their won’t be any for at least another 1-2 years. I would happily buy a Summilux-TL 14mm, 18mm, 23mm and 60mm at $3K each. The fact that Sigma released its APS-C lenses for Canon EF-M but not yet for L-mount is very disappointing as well. It could have revitalized the system.

    • The fact that Sigma has released APS-C lenses for the Canon EF-M system, but not L, tells me the Leica APS-C L line isn’t selling in numbers great enough to justify it. And I would imagine the cost of that wouldn’t be too high, so that tells me the Leica APS-C line is selling hardly anything.
      And why would they? They are fine cameras, but overpriced. The lens line up is anemic. The support is practically non-existent. Everybody wants full-frame.
      I wish Leica would just cut their losses and, as Brian said, concentrate on what they do best. And, come out with a Q camera with a 50mm lens.

    • It was (and perhaps still is) on the Sigma lens roadmap for 2020. COVID-19 might have gotten in the way. About sales figures, some time last year a person from a Leica Store showed me the sales graphs, Leica APS-C L-mount and Leica FF L-mount were pretty much at the same height… Let’s be very honest here as well, if the FF L-mount lenses were selling like candy Leica would not be cutting costs (by making every lens the same size) and would not be delaying production…

  9. I second the idea of a X type updated with a viewfinder – a leica x100V competitor, they seem 90% there with the CL.

    • Yes, I think a fixed-lens CL, perhaps with the 23mm Summilux (it could be made a little shorter if built into the body) or, even, a version of the 18mm, would sell well and would be a viable competitor for the X100 series. It would sell even better if they replaced the two soft control dials with Fuji/Leica X1 physical aperture and shutter-speed controls.

      I am not sure why they haven’t considered this.

  10. I’d only be interested in a fixed lens if the fixed lens was versatile enough. That means a high grade zoom. Constant aperture of at least 3.5.and close focus.Leica already has a great camera with fixed lens called the Q2.
    Totally agree about the physical aperture and shutter controls.

    CL is already pretty great and doesn’t need drastic changes just sensible improvements.
    For me? that darned focus point! and a little weather sealing or a self cleaning sensor.
    I’ll settle for a slightly improved CL2.

    • that darned focus point!

      This has also been my big bugbear with the CL and our view is shared by many readers, including Don Morley to my knowledge. We’re told Leica don’t want to complicate things by adding to the menus, but I see this as so fundamental that it ought to be there from the design stage. Sadly, the trend seems to be away from focus-and-recompose photography and it’s probably something we’re going to have to learn to put up with. Strangely, Leica did include that sledgehammer “lockdown” feature, seemingly after criticism, but it is too severe. Instead, they could have simply provided a lock for the focus point, leaving the rest of the controls usable. I remain very frustrated by this.

    • IMHO a slightly improved CL will not be sufficient. The original CL probably satisfied all of the design goals Leica might have had in mind for APS-C: 1) excellent support of M and R glass 2) a camera complementary to the SL (size, weight, cost) 3) a camera complementary to the M (AF, cost) 4) gateway camera to the L-mount 5) lenses can be used for video on the SL. All of that means less in 2020 though and pretty much nothing at all for people who are new to Leica. The CL really needs to be a system that is able to stand on its own. It would be tough to sell a CL2 without IBIS 2-3 years further down the road I believe especially since none of the TL-lenses have OIS. Sensor cleaning would really be very nice as well and should be a given on a $3K camera. And more native lenses… It has been 3 years since the last lens..

      • I would like to get hold of the 35mm 1.4 TL but wonder whether Leica might consider a 35 f2 TL as a smaller and cheaper option. Very happy with the three TL zooms and of course the 23 f2 TL is an option but would prefer the 35 with the wide and telephoto zoom lenses ideally.

        • I am not too hopeful that Leica will add to the TL lens range. Since the 18mm arrived at the launch of the CL, absolutely nothing has happened. I am waiting to see if there is a CL2 because it would indicate that Leica sees a future. The lens range does need some attention, and an f/2 35mm is an obvious candidate. I’d also like to see a new zoom with a 16-55 or, even, 16-85. Since the 18-56 launched, other manufacturers have moved over to a 24-70(90) effective range and I think that is what people now want.

          • 24-70 mm zoom does sound attractive. However, at what price in size, weight and cost? The existing lens does tick most of the boxes for me. When I need longer or faster solutions, my M-adapter comes into play.

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