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jamesthurley

Thinking of downsizing from an SL to a CL. Anyone else done this?

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Posted (edited)

I used to use an M240 and an M9 before that, however I was finding that when on holiday with family and young children I just couldn't manual focus fast enough and kept missing moments, or missing focus, so I decided to switch to an SL with the 24-90mm to get the benefits of autofocus (and to save some lens swapping).

I love the SL. The 24-90mm is so versatile that I've found to my surprise I don't even really use my old M lenses any more. In fact I think I'll be selling my M lenses. However, after a year with the SL, and taking it on holiday over the summer, I have one misgiving which is the weight.  I switched from a shoulder strap to a hand strap which helped a lot, but even so I can't say I relish the thought of carrying it around all day when heading out on a trip.

I was thinking that a CL might be a great compromise. I'd probably get the 18-56mm and the 35mm f/1.4 to start with, but only take one of those out with me. I'd have to sell the SL as I'd find it hard to justify having both, but I might keep the 24-90mm to try on the CL and just in case I regret the change in the future.

The CL photos posted on this forum look fantastic, somewhat alleviating my worries about going down to an APS-C sensor.  I'll miss being able to back-button focus, but I think I'll adapt.  However I've read the forum posts saying that the SL (and the Q) really are a step up in quality compared to the CL, which makes me nervous.

Has anyone else here downsized from the SL?  Any regrets?

Edited by jamesthurley

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I use both SL and CL.  Differences in quality are minor to undetectable.  For the CL, your M lenses are probably a better solution than the hefty 24-90 SL zoom.  The SL Summicrons should work well on both the CL (with 1.5X magnification, same 24 MPx resolution) and the SL, but only the 75 and 90 are available at the moment.  I think you will find that the CL with its 35/1.4 or with the 11-23 zoom gives resolution and handling that is hard to distinguish from the SL with its 50 and 16-35.  The cost and weight are reduced by about one-half.

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I would disregard those posts. The quality difference between M10, SL, Q and CL is negligible.

Camera use dictates the choice.

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Thanks guys, that sounds very encouraging.  Scott, as you have both and say the quality difference is negligible, what would make you decide to use SL over the CL on a particular day? The handling, or certain features perhaps?

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I like Scott have both the SL and CL but use the CL for traveling mostly. The SL Summicrons, I have the 90mm only, are amazing lenses on the CL and of course are effectively a 135mm lens. I am eagerly awaiting the 35mm and 50mm Summicrons promised by Leica for the last year. I love the weight of those on the CL, doesn't feel unbalanced at all.

I use the SL when at home doing any family portrait work or if I am traveling by car where weight isn't an issue. I do like the joystick on the SL for moving focus points and while I can't really point to a quality difference I feel there is a slight benefit to full frame, although as Jaap says it is negligible for sure. May just be my long use of full frame that makes me feel that way, so all in my head.

The 18-56 TL lens is the most versatile lens that Leica makes in my view and I find it is the lens on my CL 90% of the time. The 35 1.4 is great for low light shots but for general daytime travel the size, weight and focal range of the 18-56 can't be beat.

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I stopped using the SL in preference to my M-D when I closed down my professional photographic work and went all personal for precisely that reason: The SL is a superb piece of kit, but it and its native lenses are larger than I want to carry for my personal work which involves a lot of bicycle and motorcycle riding where space is tight and weight becomes burdensome (especially on the bicycle). The CL fitted with a similar lens is very close to the size and a bit lighter than the M, and has the versatility of TTL viewing and focusing for my close up, copy, and table top photography.

I have found no significant differences in image qualities with the CL compared to the SL other than that the smaller sensor means a bit more noise when ISO settings are well elevated (past 3200 to 6400). Obviously you need to use focal lengths appropriate to the format for the same field of view, but the native lenses for the CL are just as good if not better performers than the SL and M lenses as a general rule, at least from what I've seen made with them. 

AF is not an issue for me, I use mostly my R lenses on the CL along with a couple of M lenses; don't own any native lenses. The Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8, the Pentax-L 43mm f/1.9 Limited, and the Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 have been my standard lenses on the CL, and now I'm just about giddy with how nicely the Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5 works on it as well. Most of my more technical work has been done with the Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm f/2.8 and Macro-Elmar-R 100mm f/4 (on the Focusing Bellows-R) ... The photographs have been very satisfying. 

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1 hour ago, jamesthurley said:

Thanks guys, that sounds very encouraging.  Scott, as you have both and say the quality difference is negligible, what would make you decide to use SL over the CL on a particular day? The handling, or certain features perhaps?

If you need a weathersealed pro camera, SL might be the choice. The 90-280 is somewhat big and heavy for the CL body, the ultra-wideangle choice is limited on the CL.

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I have both systems and have the three zooms for each. I can get the CL and its three zooms in one sort of small bag which weighs what the SL with 24-90 does so I tend to leave the house with the CL. The IQ is outstanding and at 70 years old, my body is suffering with joint pain far more than I wish. If I am working form my vehicle, I use the SL but to walk around, the CL is it. FWIW

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, jamesthurley said:

Thanks guys, that sounds very encouraging.  Scott, as you have both and say the quality difference is negligible, what would make you decide to use SL over the CL on a particular day? The handling, or certain features perhaps?

Or how I feel that day.  If I will be on my feet all day or am traveling with only a day or to to shoot, then the SL stays home.  If I am covering an event where my presence is obvious, the SL is fine.  I like the idea of using the same lenses on both the SL and CL to get the 1.5X difference in effective focal length, but I haven't actually done too much of that, except with 50 mm M lenses,  I just got a 75 SL SX, which in principle could be used on both, but it is so great on the SL that it could stay there for a long while, while I do other things with the CL and other lenses. The 50 and 24 SL Summiluxes, when they finally arrive, are natural two-body SL/CL lenses. 

I've been shooting construction projects and, in general, how Jerusalem is changing.  When that requires capturing details at a distance, and I am shooting from my car mostly, long R and SL lenses on the SL are best, unless I really need to extend the focal length beyond 280 mm.  Shooting hand held with wide angle lenses, I think the 16-35 on the SL feels stronger than the 11-23 on the CL (probably because of the better EVF resolution), but it is a pretty big unit, and the small size of the CL helps when I have to get down low or climb around.  

The CL + 90-280 is a great combo for airshow flybys...

So it's a combination of what I think I will have to do and whether I need to be less conspicuous.

Edited by scott kirkpatrick

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Posted (edited)
On 1/9/2019 at 12:53 PM, jamesthurley said:

Thanks guys, that sounds very encouraging.  Scott, as you have both and say the quality difference is negligible, what would make you decide to use SL over the CL on a particular day? The handling, or certain features perhaps?

Like Scott I have both and use both extensively....... fine images as mentioned with minimal differences and I wouldn't be at all worried about that factor ....

but ....

- The CL is limited as a landscape camera due to the maximum 30 sec exposure time and with the various lenses all having different diameters using filters can be a pain.

- Low light does pose issues ..... no native lens OIS and I cannot handhold down to as low a shutter speed as I can on the SL ..... and generally you have less latitude to pull detail from the shadows from the RAW files on the CL.. 

- Ergonomically I find the CL a bit fiddly compared to the SL.

- Using SL lenses on the CL is possible but they are all very unbalanced and if anything the combo appears heavier than the SL plus the same lens. The smaller M lenses balance nicely though. 

Every once in a while I leave the SL behind and just take the CL + trio of zooms ....... OK it's a light and compact package ..... but I always miss the SL's big EVF, intuitive easy handling, reliability in producing great images and knowledge that it can get soaked, dropped, caked in mud and just keep on working ....

 

Edited by thighslapper

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I own both SL and CL. And they both have their advantages. Here is my 2 cents in what situations I prefer which camera. I hope this helps.

I like ergonomics of the SL. Everything is easy to reach and in good distance for my (big) hands.Plus I like the joystick. The CL is more of a challenge for my size hands and fingers, especially operating the inner of the two top wheels.

I use SL for portraits together with the Summicron SL 90. The DOF on an APS-C camera is not as shallow as on FF. 

SL is superior at low light. High ISO performance is about 2 steps better.

SL is better outdoor in bad weather, because it is weather sealed.

When I travel or do mountain climbing, I prefer the CL. Less weight and volume.

In most cases IQ in decent light situations is so close, that you can only tell the difference in direct comparison, but not when you have a print on your wall.

In street photography I prefer the CL. The camera is much more unpretentious, you attract a lot less attention than with a "pro"-looking camera. This make you capture better street scenes with the CL.

At this moment, CL offers more primes. With the 18mm the CL even fits in your pocket. The 35mm TL Summicron on the CL is incredibly sharp. Good choice.

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I had the M240, added the SL, and then the CL and TL2 - and I've now sold the M240 because it wasn't getting much use.

I agree about the IQ of the CL (and TL2) being close enough to the SL as to make little difference. IMO, the CL's high ISO performance is as good as the SL's - not surprising in a more recent sensor. The TL2's is not quite so good.

I use the SL for organised and planned shooting sessions: portrait sessions, concerts/recitals and other events. I use it with both 24-90 and 90-280 zooms and with a handstrap, and I'm comfortable carrying it around all day for such events. For this use I have immense confidence in its ability, both on its own and with flash (Godox wireless, not the expensive limited stuff Leica sells) I've tried it for walking around the street and you notice the weight, and others notice its bulk - you feel like you stand out.

I use the CL and TL2 for family, social and travel. Light and easy to pack. I have the 18-56 (90% of my shooting), the 11-23, 18mm (on the TL2 as a pocket camera) and 60.

You will notice the much shorter battery life with the CL: you will need one or two spares for all day use.

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28 minutes ago, LocalHero1953 said:

...

You will notice the much shorter battery life with the CL: you will need one or two spares for all day use.

For sure: I carry four batteries, although I've only once needed more than two (for a long session of copy work, connected via the Leica FOTOs app for more than 500 exposures). Luckily, the batteries for the CL are the same as several other cameras and third-party batteries are available for as little as US$12 each, and these third party batteries seem to last just as long as the OEM batteries Leica sells for US$99. 

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I don’t have an SL but - I do have a CL and 2 adorable grandkids and nieces and nephews, so I thought I would weigh in, hoping perhaps to be helpful. You *can* reliably capture the decisive moment with the CL and fabulous TL lenses.

The high ISO capabilities in concert with the fast-enough focusing 18/56 will carry the day most of the time. The primes seal the dea for the restl. The 35mm 1.4 is spectacular- getting close enough to the SL while being a whole lot less imposing or bulky.

Regarding size and haptics, I find the left-mounted viewfinder exposes more of my face - which connects me closer to the subject and gets more smiles than with a bigger imposing center-mounted EVF DSLR (or SL). That may seem small - but it’s big.   Technical differences aside (which for these purposes are negligible) - I feel I can capture more emotional photos with the smaller format CL - the camera literally doesn’t get in the way.   I can’t tell you how many more compliments I get since I switched from a DSLR.  I think this aspect is huge.  

If I weren’t in the witness protection program I would post photos.  Sorry about that.

The CL allows you to take great photos AND be in the moment.  Leica got it right.  With AF you don’t need an RF or M10 even.  AF is fast enough with the CL  

I suggest you consider renting one for a week or weekend with the TL lenses. I did the opposite and spent a weekend with an SL - and have no intention to change.  For my uses, the IQ diff is negligible and it’s not worth the extra bulk. Maybe like me, you won’t want to put the CL down, while being impressed with the results.  

I hope this is helpful. Best wishes with your decision. 

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Thanks everyone, this has all been extremely useful.

8 hours ago, DGP said:

I find the left-mounted viewfinder exposes more of my face - which connects me closer to the subject and gets more smiles than with a bigger imposing center-mounted EVF DSLR (or SL). That may seem small - but it’s big.

That does sound like a really great benefit! Sadly I'm left eyed so I'll still be smushing my nose up against the rear LCD screen with the CL.  I'm very jealous of you right eyed people 😛

I'll go and try the CL next time I'm in London, see how I get on with it. In the mean time I think my current plan will be to sell the 35 Summilux-M and 50 Summilux-M, but keep the 75 Summicron-M. That should free up enough funds to get the CL with the two lenses, along with using the 75 M as a portrait lens with the extra crop. And maybe I'll hang on to the SL for a little while and see what it's like to dual wield camera bodies :D 

 

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On 1/9/2019 at 6:49 PM, jamesthurley said:

I used to use an M240 and an M9 before that, however I was finding that when on holiday with family and young children I just couldn't manual focus fast enough and kept missing moments, or missing focus, so I decided to switch to an SL with the 24-90mm to get the benefits of autofocus (and to save some lens swapping).

I love the SL. The 24-90mm is so versatile that I've found to my surprise I don't even really use my old M lenses any more. In fact I think I'll be selling my M lenses. However, after a year with the SL, and taking it on holiday over the summer, I have one misgiving which is the weight.  I switched from a shoulder strap to a hand strap which helped a lot, but even so I can't say I relish the thought of carrying it around all day when heading out on a trip.

I was thinking that a CL might be a great compromise. I'd probably get the 18-56mm and the 35mm f/1.4 to start with, but only take one of those out with me. I'd have to sell the SL as I'd find it hard to justify having both, but I might keep the 24-90mm to try on the CL and just in case I regret the change in the future.

The CL photos posted on this forum look fantastic, somewhat alleviating my worries about going down to an APS-C sensor.  I'll miss being able to back-button focus, but I think I'll adapt.  However I've read the forum posts saying that the SL (and the Q) really are a step up in quality compared to the CL, which makes me nervous.

Has anyone else here downsized from the SL?  Any regrets?

I'm in the same boat as you.  I love the SL but find the system way too heavy.  The quality of the CL is so good that I'm quite happy to stay with the CL.  One problem I do have is that the CL lenses are slower than the very roughly equivalent SL lenses.  You would think that lenses for a smaller sensor could have wide apertures without a severe size penalty.  So if I want zooms that are a stop or so faster, they would be SL lenses and that's where much of the weight resides!

Bloody physics 🙂

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29 minutes ago, vikasmg said:

I'm in the same boat as you.  I love the SL but find the system way too heavy.  The quality of the CL is so good that I'm quite happy to stay with the CL.  One problem I do have is that the CL lenses are slower than the very roughly equivalent SL lenses.  You would think that lenses for a smaller sensor could have wide apertures without a severe size penalty.  So if I want zooms that are a stop or so faster, they would be SL lenses and that's where much of the weight resides!

Bloody physics 🙂

I get around that by using the R and M lenses, but of course that gives up on autofocus and image stabilization (with the two big zooms) ... Trade off, but it works well for me. 

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I used to have an SL with the 24-90 and a 50 Lux ..... Heavy, gorgeous, but heavy

Traded for a CL with a set of lenses 11-2/23/35/55-135 and I have a Contax adapter and an M42 adapter for my extra long stuff like my Pentax Asahi 300mm f4 and also my Contax 50mm f1.4.

That gives me all I need in a bag that the SL could not fit into. IQ is, as been stated, negligible. I have not notice nay difference in battery life between the SL and CL if I'm honest I'd say the CL is a bit better.

Horses for courses on this one. M lenses work amazingly well on the CL and I am debating getting a couple. 

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