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Leica TL versus Leica CL

The Leica TL and the Leica CL (Typ 7323) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2016 and November 2017. Both the TL and the CL are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The TL has a resolution of 16.1 megapixel, whereas the CL provides 24.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Leica TL vs Leica CL

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Leica TL and the Leica CL is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the TL – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Leica TL vs Leica CL
TL versus CL top view
TL and CL rear side
Body view (TL on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica CL is notably larger (11 percent) than the Leica TL. Moreover, the CL is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the TL. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the TL nor the CL 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 the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left 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 camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 no 2016 1,695discont. check
Leica CL (⇒ lft) 131 mm 78 mm 45 mm 403 g 220 no 2017 2,795 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 no 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 no 2016 979 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 350 g 410 no 2015 399discont. check
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 140 mm 82 mm 43 mm 450 g 300 no 2012 1,699discont. check
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 no 2017 6,595 latest check
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 no 2017 1,950 latest check
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 no 2014 1,850discont. check
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt) 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 no 2013 2,850 latest check
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 no 2012 1,995discont. check
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 60 mm 32 mm 306 g 260 no 2009 1,995discont. check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 no 2015 649discont. check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.


Sensor comparison: Leica TL vs Leica CL

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and 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.

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.

Leica TL and Leica CL sensor measures
Sensor size

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the CL offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixel, compared with 16.1 MP of the TL. This megapixel 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). However, it should be noted 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.

TL versus CL MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Leica CL (⇒ lft) APS-C 24.1 6014 4014 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.4 12.4 1262 77
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/24p - - - -
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992 no 24.4 13.2 2133 86
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.1 6014 4014 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.2 4944 3278 1080/30p 23.0 12.7 1082 75
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3272 1080/30p 23.4 12.7 1320 78
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 no - - - -
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 12.2 4272 2856 no - - - -
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p - - - -

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the CL provides a better video resolution than the TL. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the TL is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison: Leica TL vs Leica CL

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica TL and Leica CL in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) no no 3.7 1230 fixed YES 4000 5.0 YES no
Leica CL (⇒ lft) 2360 YES 3.0 1040 fixed YES 8000 10.0 no no
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting no 4000 6.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 5.6 7 no
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1440 no 3.0 1230 fixed no 4000 6.0 no no
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1037 fixed no 4000 5.0 no no
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.7 1230 fixed YES 4000 7.0 no no
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.7 1300 fixed YES 4000 5.0 4.5 no
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed no 2000 5.0 YES no
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 2.7 230 fixed no 2000 5.0 YES no
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 2.7 230 fixed no 2000 3.0 YES no
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 7.0 9.3 no

The CL is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. 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.

Review summary: Leica TL vs Leica CL

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Leica TL or the Leica CL – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer 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: Can take more shots (400 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • 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).

Advantages of the Leica CL (Typ 7323):

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 16.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the CL comes out slightly ahead of the TL (7 : 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.

TL 06:07 CL

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the TL or the CL handle or perform in practice. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Leica TL (⇒ rgt) - - - - 4/5 2016 1,695discont. check
Leica CL (⇒ lft) .. .. .. .. 4/5 2017 2,795 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2017 779 latest check
Canon M5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 82/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 979 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 74/100 4.5/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-A2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 399discont. check
Fujifilm X-Pro1 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 1,699discont. check
Leica M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4.5/5 2017 6,595 latest check
Leica TL2 (⇒ lft | rgt) .. .. 4/5 .. 4/5 2017 1,950 latest check
Leica T (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2014 1,850discont. check
Leica X Vario (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,850 latest check
Leica X2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 3/5 - 4/5 2012 1,995discont. check
Leica X1 (⇒ lft | rgt) - Rec - - 4/5 2009 1,995discont. check
Panasonic G7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 649discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.


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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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