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Leica CL vs TL

The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Leica TL are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and November 2016. Both the CL and the TL are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The CL has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the TL provides 16.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica CL   Leica TL
Leica CL Leica TL
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica T mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-50000 ISO 100-12500
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.7" LCD, 1230k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
220 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
131 x 78 x 45 mm, 403 g 134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Leica TL? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Leica TL. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The TL can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, titanium), while the CL is only available in black.

Size Leica CL vs Leica TL
Compare CL versus TL top
Comparison CL or TL rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica TL is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Leica CL. Moreover, the TL is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the TL are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The power pack in the TL can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica CL» 5.2 in 3.1 in 1.8 in 14.2 oz 220 n Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica TL« 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X-T100« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 15.8 oz 430 n May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » 4.6 in 3.3 in 1.6 in 13.5 oz 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.0 oz 410 n Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
 
Fujifilm X-A10« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 11.7 oz 410 n Dec 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-A2« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.6 in 12.3 oz 410 n Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » 5.5 in 3.2 in 1.7 in 15.9 oz 300 n Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica C-LUX« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.0 oz 370 n Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
 
Leica TL2« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 14.1 oz 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Leica T« » 5.3 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 13.5 oz 400 n Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Nikon D3500« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 12.9 oz 1550 n Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The TL was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the CL, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Leica CL and Leica TL sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the CL offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 16.1 MP of the TL. This megapixels advantage translates into a 22 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the CL has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 4.80μm for the TL). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the CL is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the TL, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Leica CL implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the CL for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inch or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inch or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.4 inch or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica TL are 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Leica CL (Typ 7323) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 50000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica TL are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).

CL versus TL MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Leica CL» APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica CL
 
Leica TL« APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p----Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X-T100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-T100
 
Fujifilm X-T20« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-A3
 
Fujifilm X-A10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-A2« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/30p----Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/24p----Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica C-LUX« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p----Leica C-LUX
 
Leica TL2« » APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p----Leica TL2
 
Leica T« » APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275Leica T
 
Nikon D3500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the CL provides a higher video resolution than the TL. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the TL is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the CL has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the TL relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the TL can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the Visoflex (Typ 020). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Leica CL and Leica TL along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Leica CL»2360 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Leica CL
 
Leica TL«- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X-T100« »2360 n 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T100
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A3
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.6 Y n Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »1440 n 3.0 1230 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 n n Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica C-LUX« »2330 n 3.0 1240 fixed Y 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y Leica C-LUX
 
Leica TL2« »- n 3.7 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0 n n Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »- n 3.7 1300 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Leica T
 
Nikon D3500« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400

One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the TL is 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.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the CL is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Leica CL has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the CL and the TL write their files to SDXC cards. The CL supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the TL cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

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 Leica TL and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Leica CL»Ystereomono----Y--Leica CL
 
Leica TL«Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X-T100« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YFujifilm X-T100
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A3
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica C-LUX« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Leica C-LUX
 
Leica TL2« »Ystereomono--micro3.0Y--Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »Ystereomono---2.0Y--Leica T
 
Nikon D3500« »Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0--YNikon D3400

The CL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the TL has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the TL was succeeded by the Leica TL2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica website.


Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Leica CL better than the Leica TL or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II) SDXC cards.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the TL).


Arguments in favor of the Leica TL:

  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 1040k dots).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2016).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

CL 10:06 TL

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica CL and the Leica TL place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the CL and the TL in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Leica CL»----4/5 Nov 2017 2,795 i i Leica CL
 
Leica TL«----4/5 Nov 2016 1,695- i Leica TL
 
Fujifilm X-T100« »+79/1004/5-4.5/5 May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
 
Fujifilm X-T20« »+ +82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
 
Fujifilm X-A3« »-74/1004.5/5-4/5 Aug 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A3
 
Fujifilm X-A10« »--4/5-4/5 Dec 2016 399- i Fujifilm X-A10
 
Fujifilm X-A2« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2015 399- i Fujifilm X-A2
 
Fujifilm X-Pro1« »+ +79/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 1,699- i Fujifilm X-Pro1
 
Leica C-LUX« »--4.5/5-4/5 Jun 2018 1,049 i i Leica C-LUX
 
Leica TL2« »--4/5-4/5 Jul 2017 1,950 i i Leica TL2
 
Leica T« »--4/5-4/5 Apr 2014 1,850- i Leica T
 
Nikon D3500« »--4/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Leica CL:
Check Amazon price
Leica TL:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica CL vs Leica TL

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Leica CL Leica TL
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses Leica T mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2017 November 2016
    Launch Price USD 2795 USD 1695
    Sensor Specs Leica CL Leica TL
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.6 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 370.52 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24.1 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6014 x 4014 pixels 4928 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.92 μm 4.80 μm
    Pixel Density 6.52 MP/cm2 4.34 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-50000 ISO 100-12500 ISO
    Screen Specs Leica CL Leica TL
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.49x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.7 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica CL Leica TL
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/25000sno E-Shutter
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-II no
    Connectivity Specs Leica CL Leica TL
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB no USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica CL Leica TL
    Battery Type BP-DC12 BP-DC13
    Battery Life (CIPA)220 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 131 x 78 x 45 mm
    (5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
    134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    Camera Weight 403 g (14.2 oz) 384 g (13.5 oz)

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