Home Cameras/Lenses Leica The sad Leica CL anniversary: Today six years ago was the beginning...

The sad Leica CL anniversary: Today six years ago was the beginning of the end

On 21 November 2017, Leica announced the digital CL camera. Nobody would have thought that it would not only be the latest, but also the last APS-C camera. To honour the occasion, here is a small tribute and many recommendations for further reading.

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Many Leica fans will perceive it as a sad anniversary: Today six years ago, Leica launched the CL, as their new APS-C camera. On 21 November 2017, Leica promised an “ideal balance between state-of-the-art technology, mechanical precision and compact construction”. As we know today, it was the beginning of the end.

After the revolutionary but luckless Leica T, later renamed TL and still later greatly improved to the Leica TL2, the CL seemed to fulfil all wishes. A fairly familiar user experience, a built-in electronic viewfinder with decent quality (by standards then) and a clear design allusion to the Leicas as they had become iconic over the decades. On 21 November 2017, it was announced and shipped only a few weeks later.

On the Leica CL anniversary, let’s not forget the nice lens line-up

Add to this a nice lens line-up with three zooms (11-22, 18-56, 55-135) and four primes (18/2.8, 23/2.0, 35/1.4, 60/2.8), and success seemed to be secure finally. Leica had invested quite some money into their APS-C mirrorless system, and the CL should be the breakthrough. But sales were soon slowing down, and on the fifth Leica CL anniversary, the obituaries for the system were already written.

How could this happen? Newcomers might have been more attracted to Fujifilm’s APS-C range with continuous improvements both on lenses and cameras, image stabilization and some more state-of-the-art features. Leica aficionados soon saw the advantages of the full-frame part of the L-mount world. And existing Leica APS-C users… were not so many.

Other brands had more success with APS-C cameras

The rest is history. But let’s remember, on this Leica CL anniversary, all the euphoria about a new Leica on that November 21st, six years ago. Marketing talk was even that the CL was the camera Oskar Barnack would invent today. Compared to the force of this statement, Leica’s commitment to the CL and possible successors was remarkably short-lived. The CL was to be the last APS-C camera ever to leave the Leica works. Other companies had more success with their APS-C ventures. The Fujifilm X100 is in its fifth iteration now and still in high demand, with Leica-like waiting lists.

So let’s light six candles today for our good friend. The Leica CL anniversary, however, is more than a day of grief. This beautiful small camera is still much loved in parts of the community, and second-hand prices tell the story of a desirable product. If only Leica had…. – this sentence has often been brought to a fitting end. Pick any of the popular options:

… given the APS system enough marketing attention;
… brought a CL2 with IBIS early enough;
… offered a few more interesting APS-C L-mount lenses;
… really cared to a mid-price (by their standards) level line-up;
(fill in your own explanation/expectation).

The Leica CL anniversary raises one question: How long…

For now, we can indulge in memories and hope the best for the future regarding our existing Leica CL cameras. How long will Leica support and repair the CLs? Will they become modern classics, just as Keith James is claiming for his Leica TL2 camera? Will the new CL be mentioned in the same breath as its namesake, the analogue Leica CL from 1973 (a camera which was discontinued because it was too successful and stopped people from buying the more expensive Leica M cameras)?

Just some of my favourite images with the Leica CL with various lenses

Read on in one of many Macfilos articles on the Leica CL

On the occasion of the Leica CL anniversary, here come some links, for the old times’ sake as well as for everybody who is discovering the Leica CL only now:

And much, much more. Just type “Leica CL” into the search on the Macfilos home page!

What feelings do you have for the Leica CL? Still in love? Parted with it? Happy to have never bought one? Or having one in the drawer with a more or less bad conscience? Have you made your peace with Leica’s decision to give up APS-C? Or is the time of mourning still not over? Let’s discuss in the comments section!


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43 COMMENTS

  1. From Thorsten Overgaard:

    Yes and no, the Leica SL3 will maintain the proportions of the Leica SL2, but it will appear a bit more compact (just as the Leica SL2 appeared slightly more compact than the Leica SL 601 du to design adjustments). And an eventual future medium-format version will likely have the same proportions as the Leica SL3.

    But now that you ask, a smaller Leica L-mount body is expected in 2024-2025. You might remember the Leica CL (2017, Typ 7323), which was a Leica L-mount camera with an APS-C format sensor. It was a camera I personally was not very impressed with due to reasons of build quality and overall un-simplified controls (see my video review here). Leica announced in 2022 that they would discontinue the Leica CL and any other APS-C format cameras like the Leica TL2 (2017) and focus on full-frame format cameras in the future. Many Leica CL users were genuinely disappointed. I would say the disappointment was so significant that even I started giving long looks at Leica CL cameras for sale. ‘Should I get one before it’s too late?’

    It seems the Leica CL will come back in some form, with a full-frame sensor, just as I expect a compact new camera model to come out that takes Leica M lenses, based on the design of the Leica Q. Wait, did I just say that? Please erase that mention from your memory. But do keep an eye out for the new Leica CL with a full-frame sensor in 2024-2025.

  2. Hi Joerg-Peter, Leica’s decision to abandon the APS-C arena clearly still evokes strong feelings within the Macfilos community. It is like a sore spot, which when poked, produces a new wave of pain. I wonder if the response will be the same when you post your future article about the 10-year anniversary of the announcement!

    My observation is that articles about the demise of the CL lead inevitably to a discussion of a smaller/lighter Leica FF L-Mount body, or an M-mount body with built-in EVF. Interest in the latter seems to be motivated by the challenge of rangefinder focusing, particularly as owners age and eyesight deteriorates. Interest in the former seems to stem from dissatisfaction with the size and weight of the SL bodies.

    On the face of it, these appear to be two quite distinct areas of interest. But in practice, I think the availability of M-to-L adapters opens up the possibility of meeting both sets of concerns/hopes in a single system. I plan to share my experience more fully in a future article, but I have found that an M-to-L adapter on a Panasonic LUMIX S5 body means I can use Leica manual M-lenses on a body with a built-in EVF, IBIS, a 24 Megapixel sensor, excellent focusing aids, and a tiltable/swiveling rear screen. And, it is light and compact. For anyone with a substantial collection of M-lenses, who would prefer an EVF to a rangefinder focusing mechanism, I think this approach is well worth considering.

    And, of course, if you remove the adapter, you have all those attributes in an L-mount body. Talk about versatility!

    Cheers, Keith

    • True, Keith,

      the sore spot is clearly there. I think it’s mainly about the character of Leica. The APS-C range stood for accessibility for somewhat wider audiences. Leica’s decision to abandon the range, while economically maybe perfectly sensible, still evokes the feeling that the company has fully turned into a luxury brand. And this leaves many of us a disappointed.

      The discussions you mention exist in fact, and they have become more vivid since the demise of the CL. For now, the Pana S5 ticks many boxes apart from the red dot and the M-like form factor. Maybe Panasonic finds a way to make full frame camera with the look&feel of a GX9.

      So, let’s see. And the versatility clearly speaks for using M-Mount lenses with an adapter on and L-Mount camera!

      JP

  3. I don’t know but suspect that the idea of an L mount lens system came first. An early decision would likely have been made about whether to have a physical aperture control ring on each lens or not.

    The dye was cast and at that point T through to SL camera were equipped with PASM controls. And that was that.

    I have a CL and enjoy using it, but I enjoy using my Q2 now Q3 more because of the physical controls. An ILC camera based on the Q would be lovely, but if you want to keep a physical aperture ring you need a significant redesign of L lenses. And that’s before you consider the weight of the lenses.

    I fear Leica have so backed themselves into a corner with the decision to do away with the physical aperture ring on L lenses that the only real possibility of an ILC based on the Q would be a new line of lenses. Does Leica have the budget and time to develop that?

    • Hi Jon,

      as for your last (maybe rhetoric) question: No, they haven’t. They have time and budget for sure, but they spend it on other things. The Q is their cash cow, M buyers are not so price sensitive, and APS-C L-Mount is a dead and for them. So, certainly no new lenses with an aperture ring and the like. As Joshua Rothman writes perfectly right, Fuji caters for such needs with a beautiful line-up.

      And I have said it often, but why not once again: An interchangeable lens based on the Q is difficult or maybe even impossible to design. The Q is so good because the lens and the sensor are a perfect match, despite a rear nodal point very close to the sensor. Electronics help a lot there. All this would hardly be possible to achieve with a number of different lenses, maybe even some without coding or the like.

      Best wishes, JP

      • Hi JP, my personal impression is that also full frame L-mount is eventually going to be a dead end for Leica unless there is a renewed commitment from Leica, it seems they only care about the M and the Q nowadays and a mythical medium format system that might (or might not) appear 2-3 years from now… Is Leica still designing its own L-mount lenses? Are there any new designs in the pipeline? It is a valid question, The 21mm is a lens that was already announced 5 (FIVE!!!) years ago. All other recent lenses are rebadged Panasonic and Sigma lenses. It hardly seems a viable business model to me.

      • I think it’s less to do with keeping the tightly integrated lens focus mechanism, OIS, the shutter mechanism and the proximity of the sensor, and more to do with the form factor.

        Reading between the lines buyers liked the CL for its form factor but not its controls. They also dislike the size and weight of the “full fat” SL system, despite having terrific optical qualities.

        There are endless strings online asking Leica to build a camera that has the form factor of the Q or CL with a range of TL-sized lenses. Or an M form factor camera where the rangefinder is replaced by an EVF and uses M mount lenses.

        If you were Leica’s market research department those type of responses may have been evaluated, tested with consumers and maybe even priced out for production before being rejected.

        The chances are we will never know…

  4. I owned and enjoyed a CL for about a year, then sold it, and I can understand why Leica stepped away from it. Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but for me there was a crucial disconnect between the CL’s M/Barnack-like form factor and its lens lineup and SL-style use of configurable knobs on the body to control aperture and shutter speed. What I was hoping for was a kind of mini-M with autofocus, which is the experience that Fujifilm delivers with its small “Fujicron” lenses (or its X100 series). The 23, 35, and 50mm f/2 “Fujicrons” are tiny, jewel-like, and affordable, and have both AF motors and aperture rings, and so the experience they create is traditional, with f-stops on the lens and shutter controlled by a clearly labelled dial. On the CL, it’s hard to get that experience. There are ringless prime lenses from Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma, many of them quite large and expensive, and there are M lenses (but if I’m going to shoot M lenses, I’ll just use an M body). The Sigma “contemporary” primes are very good and have rings, but Leica lenses are a big part of what justifies the cost of a Leica body. So I think it wasn’t just bad marketing that put a headwind in front of the CL; IMO, there were issues with the design and lens ecosystem. It was all a little complicated. Ultimately, Fuji’s cheaper APS-C X-mount cameras did a better job of offering the “affordable mini-M” experience that the original film CL provided.

    Many of us talk about our wish for a kind of ILC Q camera. But note that the Q offers the kind of controls that (in my view) the CL should have offered, with aperture on the lens and then dedicated dials on the body for shutter and exposure compensation. I think this simplicity is part of the reason why the Q has succeeded. Even if a full-frame L-mount version of the CL existed, there would be the problem of a somewhat non-obvious control scheme. Where is the aperture—on the lens or the body? Which knob controls what? It’s all configurable, and it depends on which lens you mount (L mount? M mount? Sigma “contemporary” prime, with ring?) There’s a certain quantity of fiddliness that never goes away. Because of its controls, I think it’s probably more proper to see the CL not as a “mini-M with AF” or as an “ILC Q” but as a mini-SL. The SL appeals because of its flexibility, but I’m not sure that flexibility was the right idea for a small digital camera like the CL.

    None of this is to impugn the CL. It’s a fantastic camera, and I really enjoyed using it. I sometimes think of buying one again, especially now that the prices for the zoom lenses have fallen on the used market. But what I’d really like from Leica is an actual reboot of the film CL: that is, a digital M with a rangefinder that’s cheaper and smaller. That will never happen, of course.

    • Joshua, I have no way of knowing: but I suspect your early assumption is accurate. You are alone in your thoughts about the CL. Leica made no attempt to promote CL as a mini-M camera. They also made no attempt to mount and maintain a convincing marketing campaign.

      As photographers age, they are less able to manage rangefinding systems. Hybrid focusing on the CL allows me to have a satisfying and reliable experience in getting the point of focus where I want it. The CL affords the elderly photographer the opportunity to enjoy photography into their twilight years. Sorry, but I can’t agree with any of your arguments.

    • So well put Joshua, I could not agree more. I likewise invested including several lenses but try as i might never got to like, let alone enjoy the way in which the CL and its numerous controls. In short although I have stayed loyal to Leica’s other products when it comes down to to continuing view on all less than full frame alternatives, Fuji wins hands down. Donworked

    • Hi Joshua, when I shoot with the Leica CL I typically have Auto ISO turned on, and I use my thumb to control both the aperture (left wheel) and the shutter speed (right wheel). That is literally the only thing I have to do. I rarely dive into the menus. I am not sure how it could get any simpler? The Leica CL might not operate in the same way as a traditional film camera but in my opinion that certainly does not make it more complicated. For me it is actually the simplest camera I have ever used. As always, YMMV and that is perfectly OK.

  5. I stumbled upon a 2019 interview with Kaufmann recently. He said the following about the Leica X-U (another unique but commercially unsuccessful APS-C camera): “We even did the X-U, which is the first APS-C compact and dedicated underwater and adventure camera. This was a really good idea, but we didn’t do as much as we could on the marketing side to communicate it. This was never intended to be a huge seller, as we only sold 2500 cameras.” The same could pretty much be said about all 8 (or 9 if you count the TL as a separate camera) Leica APS-C cameras. No committment, no full support, inadequate marketing, a very throw it at the wall and see what sticks type of approach. About a more compact L-mount camera, it might still show up one day but it might also be a case of too little too late then. Leica has had all stepping stones in place since 6-8 years now but is IMO clearly afraid to cannibalize M (and Q) sales. If it shows up I expect it to be crippled one way or another. Bottom line, if you want a more compact and lighter full frame ICL camera today buy a Sony a7c II or a Nikon Zf but before you do so perhaps give the excellent and fantastic Ricoh GR III a try if you haven’t done so already.

    • Interesting summary of events with which I entirely agree. Undoubtedly lack of intelligent and sustained marketing contributed to lack-lustre sales, regardless of rationale. I love my CLs, note the plural, but have upgraded my X1 to a Ricoh GRiiix, which is superb. If allowed, here is a link to a recently published feature in the “My Way….” series. https://www.davidaskham.com/my-way-with-the-ricoh

      Global demand often exceeds supply of all Ricoh products and accessories. There is certainly a sustainable market for a well-designed compact camera.

      • I have the Ricoh III, which I love. When the 40mm IIIx came out, I was tempted to buy it as a second body, but haven’t done anything about it. Maybe I will buy one if I see a used example on sale. Jörg-Peter Rau has the IIIx and is very pleased with it. But, as far as I know, he didn’t spring for the 28mm GRIII

    • The ZF is hardly compact. GRIII has no viewfinder. (not to mention a teeny tiny battery). I don’t understand why, since even the pre-digital film GR’s had an optical finder. I would buy one if it did.I have been ‘tempted’ by the 40mm IIIx but not without a built in finder I think.

      • At least the Zf is 200g lighter than the Leica SL but then again most cameras are… I am fine with the Ricoh GR III not having a viewfinder, it makes it smaller and that is what sets to efficiently operate the T/TL2 though without an EVF but I can easily do so with the GR III, not sure what the difference is… The batteries are tiny but they only cost $40 and they weigh next to nothing, not an issue for me personally.

        • […] it makes it smaller and that is what sets it apart, I was not able to efficiently operate the T/TL2 though without an EVF […]

        • Again, you are right on the battery. It is small but replacements are cheaper. I keep my GRIII on charge from a battery pack when it is in the bag. It’s now routine to plug it in when storing it.

      • I have the small 28mm OVF for the GRIII but seldom use it. The camera is so unobtrusive that I now prefer to compose on the screen, iPhone-wise. People just don’t notice and tend to write it off as a cheapo camera or, even, a form of phone. Adding an EVF to the body would probably be counter productive in terms of increased sie. There just isn’t enough real estate without drastically reducing the size of the screen.

        • I agree wholeheartedly. Lack of a vf aids stealthy operation. Also, the GR can operate in viewpoints which my eyes could not easily reach, nowadays. It is a fabulous little camera.

  6. Leica made the same mistake twice, first in the 1970s by cancelling the original CL, and then half a century later by cancelling the digital CL. It’s a shame, to say the least (I’ll leave more emphatic words unwritten). Instead of splitting the market between the T/TL/TL2 and the CL, it should have dropped the TL series and continued on with a CL2. Or even better…

    I would never buy a Q/Q2/Q3 due to its fixed lens (especially a 28mm lens!), but somewhere at the theoretical intersection of the CL and Q cameras lies the PERFECT camera. That is to say, a full-frame camera like the Qs but with interchangeable L-mount lenses like the CL. Call it a CLQ or a QL or whatever. It would restore the “small camera, big pictures” motto that Leica was all about in the past and should be again.

    • Uh-oh ..the name ‘QL’ has inadvisable references to the Sinclair QL ..the home (..and office?!..) computer which went on sale unfinished – you had to buy a clunky add-on box to keep it running ..or, as Wikipedia says: ‘Part of the firmware was held on an external 16 KiB ROM cartridge also known as the “kludge” or “dongle”‘.

      The QL became shorthand for ‘high aspirations ..inability to deliver’, so, er, a Leica QL might seem to be doomed from the start. Just as you wouldn’t want a ‘Leica C5’, if you knew or remembered the history of the silly Sinclair C5 ‘vehicle’..!

      • That’s really only an issue with older Brits. The rest of the world missed out on the full excitement of Sinclair products.

        I worked on Sinclair’s advertising and marketing in the 80’s and it was painfully obvious that they did no consumer research or product trials with real people so lived in the cloud cuckoo land of their designers and engineers.

        An absolute converse was Alan Sugar and Amstrad: a man who had a good sense of what buyers wanted and built it to a price. It may all have technically been crap, but it met a need. Unlike Sinclair’s later fantasies…

        • I had the pleasure of attending the press launch of the Sinclair C5 and have a vague recollection (thankfully almost erased from consciousness) of negotiating heavy London traffic with a flag aloft to warn motorists of my presence. What a contraption!

        • I tried the C5 on launch day, but insisted on taking it out onto a REAL road, instead of around the silly ‘skating rink’ track within Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace hall of entertainments in north London). [I was working on computer magazines then.]

          It rolled nicely down the hill, but after turning it to go UPHILL back to AP it ran out of juice and began rolling backwards! No brakes! Impossible to catch the pedals and try to power it uphill again. Meant for grannies going to the shops?! Absolutely lethal on a slope!

          Sugar’s equipment (e.g; Amstrad ‘hi-fi’) although universally mocked and derided was – I found, anyway – really good for the price. He did a great – cheap – amplifier/graphic equaliser with a bank of several faders ..great value for money ..but it was considered ‘smart’ and/or ‘knowledgeable’ to deride and belittle his products. He sold a lot of those Amstrad home computers ..choosing to use the CP/M operating system, as it was cheaper to license, so it was cheaper for the eventual buyer ..or ‘end user’. But it was cheeky to use the name ‘PCW’ (Personal Computer / Word-processor) for his built-into-a-screen home accounting and w/p machine ..piggy-backing on the popularity of the ‘PCW’ (‘Personal Computer World’) magazine. I was surprised that he wasn’t sued for use of the name.

          He was badly burned by IBM supplying sub-standard drives for his business machines ..but he eventually – as you probably know – got a hefty re-imbursement for being sold duds ..but by then his machines’ reputation had taken a severe – irrecoverable – knock. But he’s made a fortune from property since then.

          • Feeling very ancient but the first ad agency I worked for (in the mid-70s) had the Sinclair account. The agency had the novel idea of putting ads for the Sinclair Executive pocket calculator into the Sunday colour supplements, rather than the traditional business trade mags – the must-have executive toy was born. It was only after Sir Clive took his advertising account elsewhere that the silliness started (imho). Not my fault, guv – by then I’d moved ton my second ad agency, which happened t have the Leica account.

  7. I own the original analogue CL and the Minolta CLE and I was just about to buy a new digital CL to supplement my SL2s when they suddenly killed it ( again ) and it disappeared from the shelves. What’s this all about Leica and where is that missing full frame CL2?

  8. Just after the CL was discontinued I bought a nice used one. I realized that Leica would not re-enter the APS-C market and that Panasonic would likely choose to continue their 4/3 cameras. I was rewarded by Sigma introducing a nice complement of APS-C L-mount lenses to round out Leica’s original line. I find the CL a nice complement to my digital M: autofocus when I need it, great quality pictures and fast lenses that might be large, but do not intrude into the field of view (as on the M).

    • Hi Rick, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Some of the Sigma APS-C L-Mount lenses are amazing indeed. I once used the 56/1.4 which delivered a stunning image quality and all the more so if you count in the really moderate price. The 16 and 30 have also a very good reputation. JP

  9. The T has become so cheap I couldn’t help myself and it became a gateway drug.
    First I added an 18mm and was pleasantly surprised at the quality, then found an 11-23mm at a good price and was blown away by that lens.
    Unfortunately that led me to look for a CL, but they have gone up in price since being deleted so unless a reasonably priced one comes up I’m stuck using the back screen of the T as the visoflex is just too ugly and too expensive.
    With Sigma still releasing aps-c lenses in L-mount I can only hope they release a body to suit. Or maybe Panasonic although that seems unlikely.
    Maybe if Sigma can’t get the full frame Quattro sensor working they could carry on with the sensor from the Sd quattro but with the L-mount. That would make me very happy….
    All the best, Mark

    • Hi Mark, I agree. If anyone brings a new APS-C L-Mount camera, it’s Sigma. Panasonic is committed to Micro Four Thirds and has no reason to offer something between MTF and full frame. Sigma, on the contrary, still launches APS-C lenses such as the new 10-18. Of course, they are more focussed on Sony owners, but maybe they see a strategic niche for an APS-C L-Mount camera. JP

      • I don’t see why Panasonic couldn’t release an APS-C version of the S5 II, the Micro 4/3 G9 II is exactly the same body but with a much smaller sensor. Develop one body and market it with three sensor formats.

  10. Thanks Joerg-Peter,
    I still have my CL and a number of lenses and can see future possibilities through adding M lenses to that kit. It still frustrates that Leica shut down its APSC line of cameras and small L lenses.

    Yesterday I was in a camera shop that mainly sells vintage cameras but they also sell new to a lesser degree. A man had come in to pick up a Fuji X100V and those of us in the shop got to take a look. It’s pretty impressive and one can only wonder what might have happened if Leica had introduced a “QL” fixed lens APSC model based on the TL2 or CL.

    I went back to taking pictures of older cameras and picked up an Olympus OM2 which is still a favorite and which I still regret selling. It fits the das wesentliche approach to camera design as do the TL and CL, and arguably the Q2. The OM2 feels compact, densely packed, with controls that still work with precision 40+ years on. Is this what a CL2 could have embodied? We will never know.

    Lots of unanswerable questions, but in the meantime I’m heading off with my CL to take more pictures.

    • Thanks, Jon, for your comment. Also see my reply to Patrick Chan below. The Fujifilm X100 series is a constant success, and it is no cheap camera for sure (X100V for €1590 if you manage to get one). However, Leica decided to concentrate on the more expensive cameras that, obviously, give them more profit margin. Fair enough from an economic point of view, but the result is that the brand has become less and less approachable for many committed photographers. The OM2 is a wonderful camera to this day, and in many respects, the original OM system is similar to the Leica M system, so this article may be a good read for you! JP

      • Thanks Joerge-Peter. Your OM article was the one that reminded me of what I had discarded. A bit like the girlfriend you broke up with, but should have married and said “til death us do part.”

  11. I am still using and loving my CL, almost a perfect everyday and travel camera for me. I love it enough that I have decided not to “upgrade” to a Nikon Zf as long as my CL works. As for my emotions, I have finally come to terms with Leica’s “abandonment” and visited the Leica Store at SoHo, New York last month. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that Leica will design a portable full-frame interchangeable lens camera other than the rangefinder M. I am hoping it will either be a Q with interchangeable lens or a M with an EVF! As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

    • Dear Patrick,

      thanks for your feedback. We’ll see what Leica comes up with. From what I hear, 2022 was the most successful year in the company’s history. Let’s hope it does not mean they rest on their laurels. A mid-level entry point is sorely missed as I hear from dealers. At the moment, second-hand offerings fill this gap, but not everyone fancies a used camera when spending €3000.

      As for an interchangeable lens Q: As far as I understood, this is not easy to build. The Q relies on a fixed connection between lens and sensor, with a back lens very close to the sensor and a lot of electronic tweaking if the image data. Both is seen as a hindrance for any interchangeable lens concept.

      But you are perfectly right, we shall not give up hope.

      JP

  12. I might have stuck with the CL had Leica chosen to keep it and update it as a product line. Great AF and AE, excellent image quality and I loved the size/performance combination, especially with the 18mm lens.
    A truly pocketable combination (jacket perhaps).
    I migrated to the Q2 which is truly superb in so many ways, but a bit too large for the pocket!
    I am hoping Leica comes up with another pocketable camera, full frame fixed lens, perhaps a rebirth of the CM or CM Zoom. The form factor of the old Rollei 35S comes to mind also. Keep it simple!

    • Hi Bill, you are perfectly right that the CL has many of the classic Leica qualities. The idea of finding a good compromise between image size and image quality was Barnack’s approach, and Leica hade a point six years ago when they claimed that the CL might be just about the camera Barnack would invent today. Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed in bringing all these qualities to their customers’ minds (or, what I suspect, they never really wanted in the fear of cannibalising their more expensive products, see the story of the original 1973 CL). If Leica makes a new approach for an entry or mid level, pocketable camera remains to be seen. For now, the Ricoh GRIII is a great alternative and very much in the footsteps of the mentioned Rollei 35 as I pointed out in this article.

  13. It fills me with sadness every time the CL is raised for discussion. I console myself that droves of strangers visit my website and help to make the article “My Way with the Leica CL” by far my most visited piece I have written. There are many new advocates of the classic little system arriving, despite it being abandoned by Leica.

    • Thank you. David, I couldn’t agree more, and your article is wonderful with stunning images. The fact that Leica has discontinued says nothing about the CL’s qualities! It continues to have many fans, and rightly so. JP

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