Leica CL vs Olympus E-PL8
The Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2017 and September 2016. Both the CL and the E-PL8 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (CL) and a Four Thirds (E-PL8) sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica CL (Typ 7323) and the Olympus PEN E-PL8? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Leica CL and the Olympus E-PL8. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The E-PL8 can be obtained in three different colors (black, brown, white), while the CL is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-PL8 is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Leica CL. Moreover, the E-PL8 is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the CL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the CL nor the E-PL8 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Leica CL||131 mm||78 mm||45 mm||403 g||220||n||Nov 2017||2,795|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|3.||Canon 2000D||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 200D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||117 mm||68 mm||40 mm||361 g||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X100F||127 mm||75 mm||52 mm||469 g||390||n||Jan 2017||1,299|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|10.||Leica C-LUX||113 mm||67 mm||46 mm||340 g||370||n||Jun 2018||1,049|
|11.||Leica TL2||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||399 g||250||n||Jul 2017||1,950|
|12.||Leica TL||134 mm||69 mm||33 mm||384 g||400||n||Nov 2016||1,695|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The E-PL8 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the CL, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Leica CL features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-PL8 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-PL8 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the CL has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-PL8 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 24.1MP, the CL offers a higher resolution than the E-PL8 (15.9MP), but the CL nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 3.76μm for the E-PL8) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the CL is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the E-PL8, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the CL has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its 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 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-PL8 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 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 Olympus PEN E-PL8 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
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 E-PL8. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Olympus is limited to 1080/30p.
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 E-PL8 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the E-PL8 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-4. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Leica CL, the Olympus E-PL8, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Leica CL||2360||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon 2000D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 200D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Fujifilm X100F||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E3||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||n|
|10.||Leica C-LUX||2330||n||3.0 / 1240||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Leica TL2||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|12.||Leica TL||optional||n||3.7 / 1230||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
One feature that is present on the CL, but is missing on the E-PL8 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 E-PL8 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the CL does not have a selfie-screen.
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 and the Olympus E-PL8 both have 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 E-PL8 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 E-PL8 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
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 Olympus PEN E-PL8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Leica CL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon 2000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon 200D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Fujifilm X100F||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Leica C-LUX||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica TL2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Leica TL||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The CL is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Leica. In contrast, the E-PL8 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the E-PL8 was succeeded by the Olympus E-PL9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Olympus websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Leica CL or the Olympus E-PL8 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Leica CL (Typ 7323):
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.1 vs 15.9MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- 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 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the E-PL8).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus PEN E-PL8:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (115x67mm vs 131x78mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 46g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (350 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica CL and the Olympus E-PL8 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the CL or the E-PL8 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Leica CL||..||..||4.2/5||..||..||4/5||Nov 2017||2,795|
|2.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|3.||Canon 2000D||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 200D||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|6.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|7.||Fujifilm X-A5||..||+||4.1/5||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|8.||Fujifilm X100F||5/5||+||3.9/5||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||1,299|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|10.||Leica C-LUX||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2018||1,049|
|11.||Leica TL2||3.5/5||..||3/5||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2017||1,950|
|12.||Leica TL||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Nov 2016||1,695|
|13.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|15.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|16.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|17.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Olympus E-PL8
- Canon 250D vs Leica CL
- Canon T6s vs Leica CL
- Canon T7i vs Leica CL
- Canon XSi vs Olympus E-PL8
- Fujifilm X-Pro3 vs Leica CL
- Leica CL vs Leica S3
- Leica CL vs Ricoh WG-6
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Olympus E-M10 IV vs Olympus E-PL8
- Olympus E-PL6 vs Olympus E-PL8
- Olympus E-PL8 vs Ricoh GR II
Specifications: Leica CL vs Olympus E-PL8
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 Model||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Leica T mount lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||November 2017||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 2,795||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||370.52 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6014 x 4014 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.92 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.52 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 50,000 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||Maestro II||TruePic VII|
|Screen Specs||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/25000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|USB Connector||no USB||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Leica CL||Olympus E-PL8|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||350 shots per charge|
131 x 78 x 45 mm
(5.2 x 3.1 x 1.8 in)
115 x 67 x 38 mm
(4.5 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||403 g (14.2 oz)||357 g (12.6 oz)|
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