Leica CL Comparison Review
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in November 2017 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.1 megapixel.
Is the Leica CL a good camera? The CL has a Camera Elo of 2675. This rating puts the CL among the top 40 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the CL ranks among the top 20 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4-star performance rating.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Leica T mount lenses|
|24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 50 000|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|10 shutter flaps per second|
|220 shots per battery charge|
|131 x 78 x 45 mm, 403 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Leica CL vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Leica CL alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Leica CL||5.2 in||3.1 in||1.8 in||14.2 oz||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Fujifilm X-T100||4.8 in||3.3 in||1.9 in||15.8 oz||430||n||May 2018||599|
|Fujifilm X-T20||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.5 oz||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|Fujifilm X-A3||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|Leica C-LUX||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Leica TL2||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||14.1 oz||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica TL||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Leica T||5.3 in||2.7 in||1.3 in||13.5 oz||400||n||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Nikon D3500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||12.9 oz||1550||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D5600||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D3400||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Leica CL was launched in the US market at a price of $2,795. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Leica CL among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The CL indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the CL can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the CL has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2360k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.49x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Leica CL along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
One useful feature of the CL is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Leica CL (Typ 7323) and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the CL offers wifi support. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the CL. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Leica CL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|Fujifilm X-T100||+||79/100||4/5||..||4.5/5||May 2018||599|
|Fujifilm X-T20||+ +||82/100||5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|Fujifilm X-A3||..||74/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|Leica C-LUX||..||..||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|Leica TL2||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|Leica TL||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|Leica T||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2014||1,850|
|Nikon D3500||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||429|
|Nikon D5600||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D3400||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Leica CL FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the CL.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the CL based on?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Leica equipped the CL with the Maestro II image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the CL?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Leica CL (Typ 7323)?
Leica does not publish a shutter rating for the CL. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
Is completely silent shooting possible with the Leica CL?
The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Leica CL (Typ 7323) has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Leica CL?
The CL offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Leica CL feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The CL's flash sync speed is 1/180 sec.
Does the Leica CL support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s).
Which battery does the CL use?
The camera gets its power from the BP-DC12 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
|Camera Model||Leica CL|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 2 795|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||371 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6 014 x 4 014 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50 000 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II|
|USB Connector||no USB|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Battery Type||BP-DC12 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)|
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