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I would like to share my experience with the Leica CL after one year of use.

The first idea was to find a replacement for my Canon 6D after 6 years of loyal service.

Why change to a Leica CL, you ask? 

- To gain in size and weight and really take my camera everywhere.
- to benefit from EVF technology
- to make full use of the lenses of my Leica T, which I love but is not the most efficient camera available.
- to use my M lenses much more easily than with the T.
- to finally have a single ecosystem

The observation is simple: the CL is an excellent daily camera especially with the Zoom 18-56 mm, when the light is there ...

- The EVF is of good quality.
- The image quality is very good, as is the ISO management.
- The weight and size are very nice.
- The Thumb support greatly improves ergonomics and allows to limit the movement of the focus slider.
- Only the autonomy is a real weak point and 2-3 batteries are essential.
- Wifi is very slow and for my part almost unusable, I don't have enough patience !

Concerning the TL lenses, I am more reserved :

The Elmarit-18mm was part of the kit, I will discard it because I'm not too comfortable with this focal length, but the image quality is good and I recommend it to anyone who likes to shoot with 28mm.

The Zoom 11-23 is very good, the color rendering is excellent, but for specific and occasional use. I only use it very rarely. 

For my use, the zoom 18-56mm  at my preference on the CL, the quality is good, and the weight perfect. It is really the ideal partner of this camera because it is very versatile.

I don't need the 55-135mm zoom and haven't tried it. (Same for the Elmarit TL 60mm)

The fact remains that, at this stage, a luminous lens is missing, a real all-purpose optic, usable indoors and for street photography :

I used the TL-35mm for a few months, but I didn't keep it. The lens is heavy and the 50mm is not my favorite focal length. But clearly the image quality is superb.
The Summicron TL- 23mm, which I had with the T, I didn't have a very good experience with it and I sold it.

But here it is, 35mm is still my favorite focal length and one year after selling the TL-23mm, I ended up buying one to give it/me another chance.

What motivated me besides the very low price at which it is possible to find it in new condition, is the fact that it is possible to use it with the SL, of course with a reduced resolution but what a result!
So much so that I don't think I'll go for the Sigma 45mm for the SL.

Whether with the CL or the SL, we are very close to the Summicron-M 35mm.

This brings us to the use of the CL with the M lenses :

The use is simple and efficient, the quality of the images is up to the M.
An advantage is also that an M 50mm becomes a 75mm, ideal focal length for portraits.

On the other hand, I much prefer the ergonomics provided by the SL for the use of the M optics (the EVF and the joystick really make the difference).

To sum up, I will continue to use with pleasure the Leica CL with the 18-56mm zoom and the 23mm to have a light and luminous equipment
if needed and hope to have a software improvement of the WIFI.

 


 

Edited by Torpille

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Posted (edited)

Nice for sharing your experience. 
You should try Sigma’s trio made for APS-C mirrorless : 16mm, 30mm & 56mm f/1.4 DC DN. 
Their size weight are perfect for CL. And they are fast with f/1.4 aperture. 
 

Maybe the best M lens for CL is Elmarit/Summicron-M 28mm. It provides 42mm field of view. Which is a very sweet spot between 35 and 50mm. 
 

You should also tried Macro-Elmar-R 60mm f/2.8. To get a very nice macro and portrait lens. TL 60 is over the top. But its price is too. 
Or my favourite lens for CL : APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 100mm f/2.8. This lens is crazy. And still manageable with CL. 

Edited by nicci78

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Posted (edited)

Hi Nicci,

Thank you for your answer.

To be honest, I didn't know about the sigma series for the leica CL until a few weeks ago. 

I would like to keep the equipment for the CL to a minimum. Globally the 18-56mm zoom and the 23mm suit me well and I'm going to resell the surplus, especially the 11-23 that I really only use occasionally and probably the 18mm. 

The use of the M lenses on the CL is rather occasional in my opinion because I find the whole system not very ergonomic unlike the M lenses used with the SL. 

For the R lenses, I'll pass my turn, they are too imposing.

PS: Does anyone want to share feedback with the system CL?

Cheers

Peter

Edited by Torpille

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Haven't paid that much attention to the CL system per se. I bought it to work with my M lenses. But I did buy the 23 and find it to be a really good lens. I would like the 11-23 but I have an 11-16 Tokina adapted from Nikon, it prefers AF but I have come to using it on manual focus. I have 2 soon to be 3 macros, an off beat 40mm f2.8 Makro Kilar, 105 f2.8 micro Nikkor, a beast but makes very nice images at a decent working distance, and soon to receive 65 Elmar, I am just curious about this lens and can use it on my M3 with a Visoflex, the 60 Elamarit is probably better but at 10x what I paid for the 65. I also have a 200and 400 Telyts.

When I go out I generally have the 23 and a 55 7Artisans the two focal lengths I use the most, and the 55 is pocketable.

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Posted (edited)

With the possibility of higher ISO you don’t “need” fast lenses as a general rule. It would be nice to have something like the Sigma 56 with f1.4 as a stand-alone portrait lens though.

I value lightness and compactness so I’m happy with the 18-56. I also have an 11-23 that gets used for “city” photography where the more extreme wide-angle works well, and a 23 that currently has an ElPro52 attached to it for casual macro opportunities.

I passed on the 55-135 but can see that eventually being added as it’s relatively light and compact for what it offers. The 18-56 + 55-135 is pretty much all you need with perhaps the 23 f2.0 for more compactness and a bit more light capture or the Sigma 56 f1.4

In the end the lighter and more wieldy your equipment is, the more likely you are to take it with you when going out.

Edited by Le Chef

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Hi Peter I bought mine after wanting something smaller. I have previously had a Canon EOS RP with some L series zooms/primes then a A7iii with the zeiss Loxia lenses... I’m currently using and enjoying the Elmarit M 28 f2.8 (Only had the lens a week) & Summarit M 50 f2.4. I had the TL18-56 but I have recently sold it as I preferred to use the M lenses. 
 

I have attached an image using the Elmarit M 28
 

Regards,

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Have to comment on 2 lenses, I like the 55 f1.4 7Artisans lens, it is small light, l mount and can focus reasonably close, 1.2 ft or .35m, it is not autofocus but it is quick to focus on a CL. Its only problem is the aperture ring doesn't have click stops and while focusing you can hit the aperture ring. It is a very good performer and costs $150 approximately. 

The other lens is the 56 - 135, man I needed that lens last weekend, the shot was perfect for a 135, so I grabbed and old Schneider Retina Tele Xenar I had, it just wasn't up to it, old lens my father bought it in 1960.  Just not as good as I am used to, the 50 is excellent, the 28 OK but the 135 was just mushy. Since this was my first time using a 135 in I don't know how long. So either an Tele Elmar f4 or a 56-135 has to be on my wish list. 

 

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On 10/7/2020 at 1:23 AM, Torpille said:

On the other hand, I much prefer the ergonomics provided by the SL for the use of the M optics (the EVF and the joystick really make the difference).

Just curious, what does the joystick do in combination with M lenses?

I still like my CL as well but the D500 has become my main camera in the meantime.

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Posted (edited)

SL/SL2 joystick is awesome for three reasons :

  1. It is at the right place : just under your thumb
  2. You just have to click it to magnify, as many times to get the desired magnification.
  3. You can move around the magnified zone with the joystick

That’s why it is so much easier to use M lenses with SL/SL2 than with CL.

CL + official M-Adapter-L procedure :

  1. Dials are at the right place for thumb and/or index manipulation
  2. Just rotate the dial to magnify, as many time to get the desired magnification
  3. But to move around the magnified zone, you have to use the ill placed D-pad. It is not ergonomic at all.

M10 + Visoflex procedure :

  1. Engage live view with LV button
  2. Just turn the focusing ring and the magnification will kick in automatically. It is awesome
  3. Press front button to cancel/trigger magnification again. Just to check focusing without having to alter focusing. 
  4. Use D-Pad to move around the magnified zone. Just as ill placed as the CL one. 

 

Edited by nicci78

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, nicci78 said:

SL/SL2 joystick is awesome for three reasons :

  1. It is at the right place : just under your thumb
  2. You just have to click it to magnify, as many times to get the desired magnification.
  3. You can move around the magnified zone with the joystick

That’s why it is so much easier to use M lenses with SL/SL2 than with CL.

CL + official M-Adapter-L procedure :

  1. Dials are at the right place for thumb and/or index manipulation
  2. Just rotate the dial to magnify, as many time to get the desired magnification
  3. But to move around the magnified zone, you have to use the ill placed D-pad. It is not ergonomic at all.

M10 + Visoflex procedure :

  1. Engage live view with LV button
  2. Just turn the focusing ring and the magnification will kick in automatically. It is awesome
  3. Press front button to cancel/trigger magnification again. Just to check focusing without having to alter focusing. 
  4. Use D-Pad to move around the magnified zone. Just as ill placed as the CL one. 

 

What a precision ! :) Thanks a lot 

Edited by Torpille

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22 hours ago, Le Chef said:

With the possibility of higher ISO you don’t “need” fast lenses as a general rule. It would be nice to have something like the Sigma 56 with f1.4 as a stand-alone portrait lens though.

I value lightness and compactness so I’m happy with the 18-56. I also have an 11-23 that gets used for “city” photography where the more extreme wide-angle works well, and a 23 that currently has an ElPro52 attached to it for casual macro opportunities.

I passed on the 55-135 but can see that eventually being added as it’s relatively light and compact for what it offers. The 18-56 + 55-135 is pretty much all you need with perhaps the 23 f2.0 for more compactness and a bit more light capture or the Sigma 56 f1.4

In the end the lighter and more wieldy your equipment is, the more likely you are to take it with you when going out.

You are right, fast lens, thanks to the iso is not always essential for light management. But it brings a creative axis that can be interesting.

Anyway, I appreciate your minimalist approach which allows you to master a system like CL in the best possible way and to focus on the essential: the shooting.
Cheers

Peter

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19 hours ago, Mucca244 said:

Hi Peter I bought mine after wanting something smaller. I have previously had a Canon EOS RP with some L series zooms/primes then a A7iii with the zeiss Loxia lenses... I’m currently using and enjoying the Elmarit M 28 f2.8 (Only had the lens a week) & Summarit M 50 f2.4. I had the TL18-56 but I have recently sold it as I preferred to use the M lenses. 
 

I have attached an image using the Elmarit M 28
 

Regards,

Thank you for your return, Very nice picture!

The Elmarit 28 mm is a superb lens and I imagine you will love the result with the CL.

Why did you switch from Canon to Sony and then to Leica ?
and I imagine in a short period of time?
 

Cheers

Peter

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Always interesting to see how others perceive their equipment, thank you for posting. 

My sum up after two full years of use:

I bought my CL body-only in early Summer 2018. Three weeks later, I left on a six week trip and carried it with the Leica Elmarit-R 28mm and Summilux-R 50mm lenses, plus four batteries, backup recharge battery, and a table top tripod as my entire kit. My trip took me to the Isle of Man, Great Britain, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and then on a cross-country train trip across the United States back to California, visiting friends and attending events in all those places. 

The performance of the CL was outstanding. I'd bought the body purely to fill the gap left when I sold my SL and its -SL lenses (that left me with just the M-D 262 and nothing to use for macro, long tele, and tabletop work). With that trip, I realized that the CL body had the imaging qualities and the versatility I needed/wanted above and beyond the M-D, so I ended up selling the M-D. Nowadays, the CL is my usual grab and go camera, most usually outfitted with my beloved 1972 Summilux 35mm f/1.4 v2 lens but also often with the Voigtlander 10mm, the Color Skopar 28, and the Summarit-M 75mm. I use it extensively with the Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm and Elmarit-R 135mm lenses for doing close up and macro work (the latter with the Focusing Bellows-R). It produces outstanding results in all of these efforts: it is truly a broad spectrum, versatile camera and suits the M and R lenses brilliantly for me. Because I already have a huge selection of M and R lenses that work so well on it, I've had very little motivation to buy any of the dedicated TL or SL series lenses for it. 

I'm delighted with the CL body and its performance with my entire lens kit. If I had to do it all over again, I'd buy another without thinking more than a microsecond. By comparison to my other small lightweight camera, it achieves just the right balance of versatility in use, simplicity of menus and controls, and excellent performance overall. The battery life is certainly a little short, but the battery is such a popular type that spare batteries are dirt cheap (I bought two with a charger for US$23). The only thing that for me is a negative is that it does not have a port for a dedicated, wired remote release ... But Leica FOTOs does work very nicely for me when I need remote operation so it's not really that huge a deal. 

If/when a CL2 model comes out, what would make me order one almost instantly is if it had that additional port for a wired remote. Almost nothing else is of much real additional value to me, but of course I'll be happy for other upgrades/improvements too. :D

G

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30 minutes ago, Torpille said:

Thank you for your return, Very nice picture!

The Elmarit 28 mm is a superb lens and I imagine you will love the result with the CL.

Why did you switch from Canon to Sony and then to Leica ?
and I imagine in a short period of time?
 

Cheers

Peter

Thanks for the kind words.

 

very short period of maybe 18-24months. The main reason for changing was size. The Canon was fantastic but the lenses for the RF mount aren’t small. I changed to the Sony system as their lenses were smaller but I never really clicked with the camera.


 

 

 

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On 10/9/2020 at 8:43 PM, Mucca244 said:

Thanks for the kind words.

 

very short period of maybe 18-24months. The main reason for changing was size. The Canon was fantastic but the lenses for the RF mount aren’t small. I changed to the Sony system as their lenses were smaller but I never really clicked with the camera.


 

 

 

I couldn't agree with you more. 
I'm from the Canon world too and although I really love their colors, I didn't take the mirorless turn with them because the lenses are just huge...

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The reason i didnt get a CL was the lack of manual controls for the CL lenses. Why didnt they make it similiar to the Leica Q summilux lens and combine manual focusing and AF capability?? Best of both worlds right? Instead they went too minimal imho. In a recent interview with Dr Karbe it was asked if the dual range capability in the Leica Q can be used in other systems, which he replied it was possible. Yes theres an adapter, but why not a native manual SL /TL lenses with AF capability similiar to Leica Q lens? Did they think it was differentiate from M lenses or it would eat into M marketshare? 

Edited by cboy

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On 10/9/2020 at 9:50 AM, nicci78 said:

SL/SL2 joystick is awesome for three reasons :

  1. It is at the right place : just under your thumb
  2. You just have to click it to magnify, as many times to get the desired magnification.
  3. You can move around the magnified zone with the joystick

That’s why it is so much easier to use M lenses with SL/SL2 than with CL.

Matter of tastes. Such a joystick would be a deal breaker for me. My thumb stands higher than yours perhaps due to my use of a thumb rest possibly and i find M lenses much easier to use on the CL personally. YMMV. 

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Torpille 

thanks for your insight into your purchases and their uses. I’m a fairly new user to the CL too and I’ve got the 23/2 mainly for that fixed focal length and the 18-56 which is a good walkabout/holiday lens. Unlike you, I would like to try the 11-23. I’m more of a wide lens user and if I can find an affordable one I’ll be getting it. The 55-135 I believe is a great lens but as I said wider lenses are my preference and a telezoom wouldn’t see much use.

Other lenses I have are a 7artisans 35/2 Chinacron, a very good performer. I also enjoy using a CV15mm 4.5 too and getting in amongst the crowds. Just pre-set the focus and no need to focus.

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On 10/11/2020 at 12:15 PM, cboy said:

The reason i didnt get a CL was the lack of manual controls for the CL lenses. Why didnt they make it similiar to the Leica Q summilux lens and combine manual focusing and AF capability?? Best of both worlds right? Instead they went too minimal imho. In a recent interview with Dr Karbe it was asked if the dual range capability in the Leica Q can be used in other systems, which he replied it was possible. Yes theres an adapter, but why not a native manual SL /TL lenses with AF capability similiar to Leica Q lens? Did they think it was differentiate from M lenses or it would eat into M marketshare? 

Interesting point of view. 
I can't even imagine the price of such a material :)
So which camera do you use ?

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Thank you for your feedback.
The 11-23 mm is fine, I don't use it, just because the 18-58 does the job.
I don't know the 7Artisans, but occasionally I will try them because I hear so many positive things about their products.

 

Edited by Torpille

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