Today, Leica has expanded their APS-C offerings with a new interchangeable lens mirroless system camera – the Leica CL. With similar specifications to the recently launched Leica TL2, the CL trades in the pure modern unibody design of the TL2 for more iconic styling. Leica DNA abounds with the CL’s black anodized machined aluminum top and bottom plates, elegant black leather covering and simple control layout.

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Still sporting the same 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, Maestro II processor and L mount, the CL features a more traditional body design with three rear buttons and direction pad like its big brother, the M10. And, instead of needing an add-on EVF, the CL has one built-in, with the same specs as the add-on 2.4 MP Visoflex 020 that’s used on the M10 and TL2.

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The top is graced by a two dials, a shutter release/on-off switch, and a small monochrome LCD. The top display shows the selected aperture and shutter speed along with other basic info, as the two control dials have no markings on them. In the center of both dials there are user-assignable function buttons. This is a clever way to handle multiple adjustments with a very simple control interface, and follows Leica’s rallying cry of delivering Das Wesentliche, or the Essentials.

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The CL seems like a natural evolution for Leica. And while the X line has quietly gone by the wayside, the CL appears to pick up where the X left off, and compliments the TL2 nicely. Where the TL2 is minimal and futuristic, both in design and function, the CL reminds us of Leica’s past. It evokes feelings of the Leica screw mount cameras from the  1930s, yet bears familiar resemblances to its modern-day kin, the Q and M10.

collage FINAL Kopie

The Leica CL is slated to start shipping by the end of this month (November 2017) and is priced at $2,795 for the body only. There are two kits available as well. For those wanting the smallest possible package, the CL Prime Kit includes the 18mm f/2.8 Elmamrit-TL pancake lens, which was also announced today, for $3,795. For those wanting the convenience of a standard zoom the CL Vario Kit comes bundled with the 18-56mm Vario-Elmar-TL for $3,995. Both kits represent a decent savings over buying a la carte, $295 and $450, respectively.

The CL and both CL kits are now available for pre-order at Leica Store Miami by clicking one of the links below, emailing info@leicastoremiami.com, or by calling 305-921-4433.

LLeica CL, black anodized finish – $2,795
Leica CL Prime Kit with Elmarit-TL 18mm – $3,795
Leica CL Vario Kit with Vario-Elmar-TL 18-56mm – $3,995

 

Image Gallery

 

Comparison Between CL and TL2

Leica CL
Leica TL2
Resolution24 MP @ max 10fps<24 MP @ max 20fps
Video4k @ 30fps, Full HD@30/60fps4K @ 30fps, Full HD@60fps, Slomo
AF Fields4949
Display3”, 1.04 million pixels, Top-Display3.7”, 1.3 million pixels
Storage MemoryNo Internal, SD cards (UHS-II)32 GB Internal; SD cards (UHS-II)
ISO100-50,000100-50,000
fps10 fps with mechanical, 10 fps with
electronic shutter
7 fps with mechanical 20 fps with electronic shutter
Shutter speedMechanical up to 1/8000s, Electronic up to 1/25,000sMechanical up to 1/4000s; Electronic up to 1/40,000s
EVFBuilt-in: 2.36 MP, magnification:
0.74x, eye relief: 20 mm adjustable
+/-4 diopters, with eye sensor for automatic switching
Optional; 2.4 MP
InterfacesWiFiUSB-C 3.0; HDMI 1.4; WiFi
Touch ScreenYes, touch & gesture controlDepending on function (swipe, tap, etc.) up to 8 times faster than T/ TL

Tech Specs

Lens MountLeica L bayonet with contact strip for communication between lens and camera
Compatible lensesLenses with Leica L-Mount, Leica M/R lenses using the Leica M-Adapter L/R-Adapter L
SensorAPS-C sized CMOS sensor (23.6 x 15.7 mm) with 24.96/24.24 million pixels (total/effective), aspect ratio 3:2
Photo ResolutionDNG: 6016 x 4014 Pixels (24 Megapixels), JPEG: optional 6000 x 4000 Pixels (24 Megapixels), or 4272 x 2856 Pixels (12 Megapixels), or 3024 x 2016 Pixels (6 Megapixels)
Photo file formats/compression ratesDNG, JPG or DNG + JPG
Video Recording FormatMP4
Video resolution / frame rate4K 30 fps, full HD 60 or 30 fps, HD 30 fps
Video recording timeDepending on ambient or housing temperature video recordings are possible up to a maximum length of 29 minutes, maximum file size is 4 GB, if a recording exceeds this limit, the respective part is automatically stored in another file
Storage mediaSD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, multimedia cards, UHS II-standard is supported (32GB internal memory)
ISO rangeAutomatic, ISO 100 to ISO 50000
White balanceAutomatic, presets for daylight, cloudy, halogen lighting, shadow, electronic flash, two memory slots for manually metered settings, manual color temperature setting
Autofocus systemContrast based, 49 points
Autofocus metering methodsSingle point, multiple point, spot, face detection, touch AF
Exposure modesProgram AE, aperture priority AE, shutter priority AE, manual exposure setting, scene mode, video
Exposure meteringMulti-zone, center-weighted, spot
Exposure compensation±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Automatic bracketingThree pictures in graduations up to ±3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments
Shutter speed range30 s to 1⁄25000 s (up to 1⁄8000 s with mechanical shutter, higher speeds with electronic shutter)
Burst shootingMax. approx. 10 fps with mechanical shutter, 10fps with electronic shutter function, max. approx. 33 pictures (DNG + JPG) and max. approx. 140 pictures (JPG only) at full speed, then depending on memory card properties
Flash modesAdjustable with attached, system compatible flash (no built-in flash)
Flash exposure compensation±3 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Flash synchronization1/180 s
Recommended Flash UnitLeica SF 40 flash
Monitor3” TFT LCD, 1.04MP, touch and gesture control possible
Top DisplayResolution: 128 × 58 pixels
Self timerSelectable delay time 2 or 12 s
Wi-FiIEEE 802.11b/g/n, WLAN-compatible WPA™/WPA2™
Power supplyLeica BP-DC12 lithium ion battery, rated voltage 7.2 V, capacity 1200 mAh (min.) (based on CIPA standard): approx. 220 pictures, charging time (after total discharge): approx. 140 min. Manufacturers: Panasonic Energy (Wuxi) Co., Ltd, made in China
ViewfinderResolution: 2.36 MP, magnification: 0.74×, ± 4 diopter settings, with eye-sensor for automatic switching between viewfinder and monitor
BodyTop plate and baseplate in machined and anodized aluminum, magnesium front and rear shell
Tripod threadA 1/4 DIN 4503 (1/4”)
Dimensions131× 78 × 45 mm
Weight403 g/353 g (with/without battery)
SoftwareLeica CL App (remote control and image transfer, free download from Apple™ App-Store™/Google™ Play Store™)
Warranty2 years

Press Release

Leica Camera expands its APS-C System product portfolio with the introduction of the Leica CL, a camera which combines Leica’s classic design with ease of use. The Leica CL’s compact design with exceptional picture quality enables a photography experience unique to Leica.

The Leica CL is an intuitive camera with a built-in high-resolution electronic viewfinder and all essential controls conveniently located on its top plate, designed to be used with L-mount lenses. Atop the camera are two dials, with customizable buttons in each center, for setting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO value, exposure compensation and shooting mode – making it convenient for the photographer to take pictures without taking their eye away from the viewfinder. An additional display on the top plate instantly provides all relevant photographic settings at a glance. The user has total control at their fingertips when taking pictures with the Leica CL, and the perfectly tuned pressure point of the shutter release brings it all together with a satisfying haptic click.

The expansive range of TL lenses and accessories such as the M-Adapter L, R-Adapter L, flashes, straps and camera protector options all enhance the shooting experience with the Leica CL while providing the user with more options for creativity.

To coincide with the launch of this new camera, Leica Camera is expanding its portfolio of TL lenses with the introduction of the Leica Elmarit-TL 18 mm f/2.8 ASPH, the smallest wide-angle APS pancake lens in the market, in black or silver anodized.

The Leica CL, black anodized finish, Leica Elmarit-TL 18 mm f/2.8 ASPH and Leica CL Kits will begin shipping from late November 2017.

IMPORTANT FEATURES

  • World’s most tactile APS-C System Camera
  • Compatible with all Leica TL & SL lenses
  • Adaptable to use Leica M and R lenses
  • Built-in electronic viewfinder, 2.34 MP resolution and 0.74x magnification
  • Locking mechanical diopter adjustment
  • Fast Auto Focus performance with a 49-point AF system
  • 24MP APS-C sized sensor
  • ISO range of 100-50,000
  • Maestro II processor
  • Fast touch and gesture responsiveness for optional touchscreen controls
  • Mechanical shutter speed max. of 1/8,000
  • Electronic shutter speed max. of 1/25,000
  • Option for full-time electronic shutter, making the shutter completely noiseless
  • Quick burst shooting up to 10 fps with either mechanical shutter or electronic shutter
  • DNG+JPG shooting for up to 33 shots in continuous burst
  • Focus peaking and magnification for manual focus aid
  • 4K video recording @ 30fps
  • 1080p Full-HD video recording @ 30/60fps
  • Compact all-metal body with anodized aluminum top and bottom cover
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Made in Germany

BENEFITS

  • Fast performance in all parameters
  • Best-in-class image quality in every way, particularly in low-light
  • Selection of extraordinary autofocus TL-Lenses, offering a wide range of focal lengths and speeds
  • An innovative modern system that also permits access to the legendary M and R lenses via adapters
  • Outstanding craftsmanship featuring a black anodized top and bottom cover with leather cladding
  • Fast and easy use via the top display
  • User-customizable menus and controls
  • Easy operation with all adjustments made and viewed on the top display
  • Adjustable diopter wheel and eye sensor for automatic switching
  • Traditional design
  • User-friendly
  • CL-App on Apple App Store and Google Play makes it easy to share pictures via Wi-Fi hotspot feature
  • Wide range of additional technical and style accessories including flashes, filters, camera protectors and carrying straps are available

About The Author

Profile photo of David Farkas
Leica Specialist

David Farkas is a self-admitted Leica junkie and an avid photographer since he was seven years old. He also owns and operates leading Leica dealer Leica Store Miami in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida with his wife Juliana. David has years of experience shooting with just about every Leica camera and lens made within the last few decades.

7 Responses

  1. Carlos Ruiz

    Hi,

    Thanks very much for your wonderful reviews and specifically for the CL review.

    I was going to get a Leica Q and since the CL review I am doubting now because I wonder if it is a bad move to get the Q now.

    This is is the Q technology is over 2 years old and so my question is: is it better to invest on the CL?

    Does the CL has better IQ than the Q? Is it a better camera overall in terms of image quality and dynamic range?

    I know all the differences in terms of performance but the two that stack out for me are:

    Is the CL’s viewfinder better than the Q’s?

    Mechanical shutter is very useful at 1/8000 versus the 1/200 of the Q? No more problems with rolling shutter?

    Another question I do not have very clear is that the TL lenses (that you can use on the CL) when they say is 18mm it means is 18mm or is it equivalent to 35mm view in full frame?

    Thanks very much for being so generous

    I hope you find the time to give a brief input

    My email just in case is carlosruizcarmona@gmail.com

    Kind Regards

    Reply
    • Profile photo of David Farkas
      David Farkas

      Carlos,

      The Q, with its 24MP full frame sensor will give a little better quality than the CL with an APS-C sensor. Both are going to deliver great results. The Q for me is a mini M camera where I can’t take the lens off. Even two years on, it still is best in class.

      Really, the decision comes down to one important criteria. If you are looking to get into a full system camera with interchangeable lenses, the CL would be the way to go. But, if you’re happy with 28mm, the Q is tough to beat.

      18mm is the actual focal length of the lens. On APS-C, it will be equivalent to a 28mm in full-frame terms.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
    • Dejan

      Hey Carlos,

      I am an proud owner of the Leica Q, for more then a year now. I was thinking to change my Q for CL, but I am not sold on it. Not yet.

      As David already put it, it depends what you are looking for. If you want interchangeable lenses, then CL is the way to go, if not I’d say Q is the better option.

      Why? Well even if the Q was released 3 years ago, it’s still best in class. It has an integrated 28mm fixed lens, but it also has a macro mode. The electronic view finder in Q has a higher resolution, probably on of the best electronic view finder u gonna find in any camera. It also has in-camera image stabilization, it’s better in low light because of the bigger pixels ( 6.00 vs 3.92 microns) and the list goes on.

      I’m waiting for the release of the new Q, but it seems it won’t happen so soon.

      The only downside I can agree on is the shutter speed, so 1/200 vs 1/800 on CL.

      Reply
  2. ANTONIO DI MARIA

    I am strongly tempted by the Leica CL.
    What about the 18 56 zoom lens ? Should I regret the prime lenses in terms of IQ?
    Do you think that the lack of the stabilizer is a real handicap.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of David Farkas
      David Farkas

      Antonio,

      The 18-56 TL is extremely capable, with excellent image quality and a nice focal length range. I do find myself gravitating to the 23, 35 and 60 primes more and more, though. The wider apertures and DOF control overrule flexibility for me. So, not a straight-up sacrifice in IQ. Rather a difference in overall look. And, no, I haven’t ran into situations with the original T, TL2 or CL where I needed image stabilization.

      Reply
  3. ANTONIO DI MARIA

    I am sorry, just questioning if the lack of the stabilizer should be considered a real handicap in the operational usage-

    Reply

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