Leica CLLeica today introduces the Leica CL, a new mirrorless camera with APS-C sensor. Sensor and image processor are indentical to the Leica TL2 but design and user interface remind more of classic Leica values. Another big difference is the electronic EyeRes viewfinder with 2,36 MP resolution.

The Leica CL will be available by end of November in black only, the price is $2,795 / £ 2,250 / 2,490 €.

Leica CL at a glance

  • 24 MP CMOS sensor and Maestro II image processor
  • Electronic viewfinder (2.36 MP) with 0.74x maginfication
  • Electronic shutter up to 1/25,000 sec (until 1/8,000 sec mechanical)
  • Contrast AF with 49 AF sensor elements
  • Sensitivity ISO 100 – 50,000
  • Serial speed 10 fps
  • 4k Video at 30 fps, Full HD 60 fps
  • WiFi / Remote operation via app
  • UHS II compatible

Leica CL Product Images

Leica CL Design

The Leica CL is similar to the Leica TL2, the full format Leica Q is a little bit higher. Only the round viewfinder protrudes a little bit.

Leica CL Vergleich frontal mit Leica TL2 / Leica Q

The top view comparison shows the close relation to the Leica Q with a similar position of the viewfinder, of the dials and the shutter button. The top display with the essential exposure information is known from the Leica SL.

Leica CL Vergleich von oben mit Leica TL2 / Leica Q

Especially the back view of the Leica CL shows the difference to the Leica TL2 which has a bigger display but no buttons as it uses almost only the touch interface. In contrast the Leica CL has a classic layout with 3″-display with buttons (left) and rocker switch (right).

Leica CL Vergleich Rückseite mit Leica TL2 / Leica Q


The buttons beside the display have functions known from other Leica cameras:

  • PLAY switches displaying and recording images
  • FN offers quick access to some menu options
  • MENU displays the camera menu

The Leica CL has a touch display too: Wiping switches photo and video, play and record mode.

The two dial-button-elements on the camera top are crucial for operating the Leica CL: The dial function depends on the mode, it can be aperture, shutter time, exposure compensation or program shift. With a short push both dials change their function: The left dial changes the record mode, the right one the ISO sensitivity.
The assignment for the right button can be changed by a long push of the corresponding button.

The „Leica APS-C System“

Apparently Leica has not determined what the future name of this camera system (APS sensor and L-bayonet) will be – and how the relation to the Leica SL with a bigger sensor but the same lens bayonet will be described.

No matter how it’s going to be named: With Leica TL2 and Leica CL this system has to cameras with similar performance but different design, different handling and a different target group. The Leica TL2 and its predecessors have a modern design and user interface via touch screen, targeting younger people used to smartphone displays.

Leica CL / Leica TL Familie

The new Leica CL addresses – like the successful Leica Q – customers who want modern technical features in classic design with a classic user interface.
Both cameras have in common the lens range of now seven native APS-C lenses plus Leica SL full format lenses.

Summary: Will the Leica CL be a success?

Until now the Leica T/TL system didn’t catch on with Leica’s core customers, in contrast to the Leica Q which features Leica’s core values with modern features. Most Leica fans agree that the Leica Tl lenses are great but most don’t like the touch interface.

I’m pretty sure that the Leica CL will be a great success story for Leica:

  • The lens range covers the most important needs and continues to grow
  • Design and handling take the best from Leica SL, Leica M and especially the popular Leica Q.
  • Image results and reviews by the testers are extremely positive and often include the intention to buy the Leica CL

The new Leica CL has the potential to fulfill different customer requirements repeated in the Leica Forum

  • Leica Q with interchangeable lenses
  • Compact version of the Leica SL or
  • Leica TL2 with electronic viewfinder

Your opinion? Join the Leica CL discussion!

» Join the Leica CL discussion

Leica CL Technical Specifications

Camera type: Digital APS-C system camera
Lens mount: Leica L bayonet with contact strip for communication between lens and camera
Compatible lenses: Lenses with Leica L-Mount, Leica M/R lenses using the Leica M-Adapter L/R-Adapter L
Sensor: APS-C sized CMOS sensor (23.6 x 15.7 mm) with 24.96/24.24 million pixels (total/effective), aspect ratio 3:2
Photo Resolution: DNG: 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 Rates: Optional: DNG, JPG or DNG + JPG
Video recording format: MP4
Video resolution/frame Rate: Optional: 3840 x 2160 p (4K) 30 fps, 1920 x 1080 p (FHD) 60 fps, 1920 x 1080 p (FHD) 30 fps or 1280 x 720 p (HD) 30 fps
Video recording time: Depending 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 media: SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, multimedia cards, UHS II-standard is supported
ISO range: Automatic, ISO 100 to ISO 50000
White balance: Automatic, presets for daylight, cloudy, halogen lighting, shadow, electronic flash, two memory slots for manually metered settings, manual color temperature setting
Autofocus system: Contrast-based
Autofocus metering Methods: Single point, multi-zone, spot, face detection, touch AF Exposure modes Automatic program, aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and manual setting, Fully automatic, sport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, fireworks, candlelight, sunset, digiscoping
Scene Modes: Fully automatic, sport, portrait, landscape, night portrait, snow/beach, fireworks, candlelight, sunset, digiscoping, miniature, panorama, HDR
Exposure Metering Methods: Multi-zone, center-weighted, spot
Exposure compensation: +/-3 EV in 1⁄3 EV increments
Automatic exposure Bracketing: Three pictures in graduations up to +/- 3EV, adjustable in 1⁄3 EV increments
Shutter speed range: 30 s to 1⁄25000 s (up to 1⁄8000 s with mechanical, beyond that with electronic shutter)
Picture series: Max. approx. 10 fps with mechanical shutter/ 10 fps 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 modes: Adjustable with attached, system compatible flash
Flash exposure compensation: +/-3 EV in 1⁄3 EV increments
Flash synchronization: 1⁄180 s
Monitor: 3” TFT LCD, 1.04MP, touch and gesture control possible
Viewfinder Resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels (2.36 MP), enlargement: 0.74x, aspect ratio: 4:3, eye relief: 20 mm, eyepiece: adjustable +/- 4 dioptres, with eye sensor for automatic switching between viewfinder and monitor
Top-Display: Resolution: 128 x 58 pixels
ISO Accessory shoe: ISO accessory shoe with center and control contacts for Leica flash units
Self-Timer: Selectable delay time 2 or 12 s
WLAN: Complies with IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard (standard WLAN protocol), channel 1-11, encryption method: WiFi-compatible WPA™/WPA2™
Power supply: Leica BP-DC12 lithium ion battery, rated voltage 7.2 V (7.2 V D.C.), capacity 1200 mAh, (based on CIPA standard): approx. 220 pictures, charging time (after total discharge): approx. 140 min manufacturer: Panasonic Energy (Wuxi) Co., Ltd. made in China
Charger: Leica BC-DC12, input: AC 100–240 V, 50/60 Hz, automatic switching, output: DC 8.4 V 0.65 A, manufacturer: Shin Tech Engineering Ltd., Made in China
Body: Top and bottom covers: milled and anodized Aluminum, front and rear body shells: Magnesium
Tripod thread: A 1⁄4 DIN 4503 (1⁄4“)
Body dimensions (WxHxD): 131 x 78 x 45 mm
Weight: Approx. 403 g/353 g (with/without battery)
Scope of delivery: Camera body, bayonet cap, carrying strap, accessory shoe cover, battery (Leica BP-DC12), charger (Leica BC-DC 12), mains cables (EU, US, local mains cable)
Software: Leica CL App (remote control and picture transfer, free download in Apple™ App-Store™ / Google™ Play Store™)


A new camera expands the Leica APS-C System

The Leica CL unites innovative technologies, extremely easy handling and iconic compact design in a perfect balance.

Wetzlar, 21 November 2017. Leica Camera AG has expanded its APS-C System product portfolio with a new camera that unites innovative technologies, extremely easy handling and iconic design: the Leica CL. Its ideal balance between state-of-the-art technology, mechanical precision and compact construction makes it the perfect everyday companion – especially for spontaneous and discreet pictures.

The Leica APS-C System now offers two camera models made in Germany – the Leica CL and the Leica TL2. In technical terms, they are equals, but could hardly be more different with regard to their design and handling concepts: reflecting the traditions of Leica in the form of the iconic Leica CL and, in contrast, the futuristic look of the Leica TL2. Together with the extensive portfolio of TL-Lenses, they create a system that makes it possible to experience a special kind of photography.

One of the outstanding features of the Leica CL is its electronic viewfinder with EyeRes technology developed by Leica especially for this camera. With a latency time below the threshold of perception and a resolution of 2.36 million pixels, the EyeRes® viewfinder offers an impressive viewing experience and numerous advantages: As the final image is visible in the viewfinder before the shutter release is pressed, users have complete control over the composition of their subjects.

In combination with the high-resolution, 24 MP, APS-C format sensor of the Leica CL, a Maestro II series processor and fast autofocus with 49 metering points guarantee maximum picture quality in all photographic situations. The Leica CL is not only an impressive still picture camera, this also applies to moving pictures captured with its video function at a resolution of up to 4K at 30 frames per second.

The Leica CL also equipped with an integrated Wi-Fi module. Pictures and videos can be sent by a wireless connection to smartphones, tablets or computers and quickly and easily shared by email or in social networks with the Leica CL App for iOS or Android. In addition to this, the remote function of the app lets mobile devices be used as an off-camera viewfinder or for altering exposure parameters – for example when shooting with the self-timer function or from unusual angles.

The Leica CL establishes the unmistakeable simplicity of iconic Leica design in the compact system camera class. In every respect discreet, this compact camera is an ideal companion with a user-friendly handling concept that makes it an intuitive tool. All essential controls are located on its top plate. In addition to the electronic viewfinder, there are two dials for setting the aperture, shutter speed ISO value, and exposure compensation. Everything is so conveniently located that photographs can be made without taking the camera from the eye. An additional display on the top plate instantly provides information about all relevant settings and exposure parameters. Together with the perfectly defined release pressure point, this ensures that users have absolute control over every picture they take with the Leica CL.

The extensive portfolio of TL-Lenses is also available to the Leica CL. The lenses offer superior imaging performance and are responsible for the exceptionally high picture quality delivered by the Leica APS-C System. The portfolio of compact and fast lenses with focal lengths from 17 to 200 mm offers infinite opportunities for all kinds of creative photography. The elegant simplicity of the design of the three zooms – the Super-Vario-Elmar-TL 1:3.5–4.5/11–23 ASPH., Vario-Elmar-TL 1:3.5–5.6/18–56 ASPH. and the APO-Vario-Elmar-TL 1:3.5–4.5/55–135 ASPH. – and four prime lenses – the Elmarit-TL 1:2.8/18 ASPH., Summicron-TL 1:2/23 ASPH., Summilux-TL 1:1.4/35 ASPH. and the APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 1:2.8/60 ASPH. – perfectly complement the Leica CL, not only in terms of technology, but also in looks.

Developed by optical engineering specialists in Wetzlar, the Leica TL-Lenses all offer the exceptional imaging performance for which Leica lenses are famed. The combination of optical and precision engineering expertise and the use of finest materials in their construction ensures their constant quality and reliability in use.

Thanks to the L-Bayonet mount shared by the Leica TL- and SL-Systems, SL-Lenses can also be used without an adapter on the CL and the TL2. Appropriate adapters are also available for using Leica M- and R-Lenses on the cameras.

An extensive range of technical- and style-accessories ideally complements the APS-C System.

The black version of the Leica CL will be available from the end of November.


About The Author

Andreas is Photo Engineer and lives in Bonn, Germany. He runs the international Leica Forum, the Systemkamera Forum (about CSC cameras) and the Fuji X Forum. Google+

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