Leica CL Review

The Leica CL is a brand-new small system camera that was unveiled by the company in the same time frame as the Leica TL2 in the summer of 2017. It is compatible with lenses from the SL line and utilizes the same lens mount as the TL2, which is also compatible with those lenses.

The components that make up the CL are pretty similar to those located in the TL2. For instance, it utilizes the same Maestro II image processor and a sensor with a resolution of 24 megapixels and an APS-C format.

The design of the CL’s body is the primary area in which it diverges most significantly from that of the TL2. The older camera has an interface composed entirely of touchscreens, so image composition takes place on the screen. In contrast, the CL has a significantly smaller screen, but it also has an integrated viewfinder and additional buttons that can be used to adjust various essential camera settings.

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Leica CL Mirrorless Black Camera Body

Last update was on: April 23, 2024 10:42 pm

With the release of the new 18mm f/2.8 pancake lens, there are now seven TL lenses and seven SL lenses compatible with the CL. Additionally, fifty-nine M and sixty-four-four lenses can be used with the CL utilizing an adapter.

When this article was written, the pricing of the Leica CL was set at £2250 for the body only, £3150 for a “prime kit” consisting of an 18mm lens, and £3275 for a “Vario kit” consisting of an 18-55mm lens.

Leica CL Build Quality

The Leica CL is designed in the traditional form of a rangefinder camera. In addition, it is easier to operate than other Leica models, such as the Leica M10. The primary reason for this is that it includes autofocus in addition to a viewfinder that is simple to use.

The viewfinder is on the left, in the same fashion as a rangefinder, so that you can keep your other eye on the scene unfolding in front of you. Because of this, it is ideal for street photography or anything else where the location may change while you take the photo (however, this only applies if you shoot with your right eye).

When used with the 18mm pancake lens, the Leica CL is about the same size as the Leica X2 compact. Because of its lightweight and small size, the Leica CL is an excellent camera for walking around. Despite this, it has a solid feel to it and the high-quality build that you come to expect from Leica-branded cameras; the CL is manufactured at a plant in Germany.

Leica CL Image Quality

The Superfine JPEG option at 24 megapixels was used to capture each sample photograph included in this study. This setting results in an image that is around 12 megabytes in size on average.

The image quality of the Leica CL is outstanding, which is very much to be expected from any product that bears the iconic Leica brand.

The colors captured by the Leica CL camera have a pleasingly saturated quality without seeming too artificial. The “Film Type” setting labeled “Standard” is a suitable option to keep the CL shooting in for most scenarios. However, the “Vivid” setting is practical when subjects may benefit from increased saturation.

Under artificial lighting, the automatic white balance produces correct colors, with only a slight tendency toward yellow or warmer tones. This feature is helpful in the majority of cases.

Switching to a different white balance option is advised if you want your photos to have the utmost accuracy, mainly while shooting under gloomy skies, when colors may appear somewhat warmer than they are.

When viewing photographs at A4 or smaller, the overall sense of detail is excellent, and when you zoom in at 100%, you can see that the CL can resolve excellent information.

When taking low-light pictures, the CL performs admirably up to an ISO setting of 6400. Images captured at an ISO of 12800 can be used only to display them on a modest scale. However, images captured at an ISO of 25000 or above should be avoided.

The all-purpose metering mode is suitable for most everyday situations since it produces exposures that are balanced correctly in most scenarios. In high-contrast circumstances, switching to spot metering can be helpful, as might dialing in some exposure correction; nevertheless, this does not appear to be a particularly prevalent issue.

Leica CL Specs

ModelLeica CL
Body TypeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Manual Focus
Lens MountLeica TL
Number of Lenses56
Focal Length Multiplier1.5x
Macro Focus Rangen/a
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Size3.00″
Screen Resolution1,040k dots
Live View
Touch Screen
Viewfinder Resolution2,360k dots
Viewfinder Coverage100%
Viewfinder Magnification0.74x
Min Shutter Speed30s
Max Mechanical Shutter Speed1/8000s
Max Electronic Shutter Speed1/25000s
Max Continuous Shooting10.0 fps
Shutter Priority
Aperture Priority
Manual Exposure Mode
Exposure CompensationYes
Custom White Balance
Image Stabilization
Built-in Flash
Flash Rangeno built-in flash
Flash Modesno built-in flash
External Flash
AE Bracketing
WB Bracketing
Center Weighted
DxO Overall Scorenot tested
DxO Color Depthnot tested
DxO Dynamic Rangenot tested
DxO Low Light ISOnot tested
 Report a correction
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Dimensions23.6 x 15.7 mm
Sensor Area370.52mm2
Sensor Resolution24 megapixels
Max Image Resolution6014 x 4014
Max Native ISO50,000
Min Native ISO100
RAW Support
AF Touch
AF Continuous
AF Single
AF Tracking
AF Selective
AF Center
AF Multi Area
AF Live View
AF Face Detection
AF Contrast Detection
AF Phase Detection
Number of Focus Points49
Video Resolutions3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
Max Video Resolution3840 x 2160
Video FormatsMPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Port
Headphone Port
Wireless ConnectivityBuilt-In
Environmental Sealing
Water Proof
Dust Proof
Shock Proof
Crush Proof
Freeze Proof
Physical Dimensions131 x 78 x 45mm
Battery Life220 shots
Battery TypeBattery Pack
Battery ModelBP-DC12
Self TimerYes (2 or 12 secs)
Timelapse Recording
Storage TypeSD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-II supported)
Storage Slots1

Leica CL Conclusion

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Leica CL Mirrorless Black Camera Body

Last update was on: April 23, 2024 10:42 pm

Users of Leica cameras have always been individuals who desire exceptional image quality in a well-built body and a conventional appearance. The TL2 was a successful model, and the CL builds upon that success to deliver something that is, in some ways, even better, particularly for those who enjoy using a viewfinder.

The camera has excellent handling and use, with a user-friendly interface that consists of a straightforward mix of dial turns and buttons, pushing for the most significant camera settings. You will become accustomed to this system very quickly.

Street photographers will adore the Leica CL because of its traditional rangefinder design, which makes the camera a discreet option for capturing candid moments on the street.

We’ve only had the chance to test it with the 18mm lens, which makes for an excellent walkabout combination; however, the fact that there are now many other lenses to pick from inside the system suggests that it will stick around for a while.

The Leica CL appeals to those who want an entry into Leica products without the faff of a manual focus rangefinder – and though the CL is not cheap, it is still much more affordable than its full-frame brother. In essence, the Leica CL is the same as the much more expensive and much more complicated to use Leica M series.

Leica CL FAQs

Is the Leica CL a real Leica?

There is no question that the Leica CL is a genuine Leica camera. 

Is Leica CL discontinued?

I believe the Leica CL will not be phased out of production any time before September 2021. 

Is the Leica CL made in Germany?

The Leica CL is not produced in Germany, contrary to popular belief. Made in Japan in conjunction with Panasonic, it can be purchased there. 

Is the Leica CL weatherproof?

The Leica CL does not have a weatherproof design; however, it is constructed out of high-quality materials that are both sturdy and enduring. 

Is Leica CL a full frame?

The Leica CL is not a full-frame camera, despite popular belief. Instead, it is equipped with an APS-C camera.

Is the Leica CL mechanical?

The Leica CL is a combination camera that combines electrical and mechanical aspects into a single device. 

Does Leica CL have autofocus?

The Leica CL does come equipped with a speedy and reliable autofocus system. 

What is the ISO range of Leica CL?

The Leica CL has an ISO range from 100 to 50,000, but it can be expanded to 50 to 50,000.


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