Leica CL camera review: "​The quality is supreme​"

Photo of Mogens Johansen

Leica's newest release suits photographers who want an easy-to-use camera for spontaneous pictures at home or on the road.

I have recently picked up the new Leica CL for a quick test run after its Perth launch. It is a classic-looking camera with a stylish, minimalist and functional design. 

The Leica CL is the company’s newest addition and it sits alongside the Leica TL2. 

Both are mirrorless compact cameras that suit photographers who want an easy-to-use camera for spontaneous and discreet pictures at home or for travel. 

The TL2 and the CL have the same specifications, they are made in Germany and they feature a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor. Where they differ is in the design — the TL2 is a sleek modern-looking camera, whereas the CL much more like a classic-looking Leica. 

The most important difference compared to the TL2, is that it includes an electronic viewfinder in addition to the articulating LCD on the back. 

Leica have developed what they call EyeRes technology specifically for the CL, it gives 100 per cent coverage and has 2.36MP resolution. 

The Leica CL is not packed with features you will never use but has what you need. 

It has the familiar Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual shooting modes. The Maestro II series processor delivers fast and accurate autofocus modes, 10 frames per second continuous shooting, 4K video at 30 frames per second and it has integrated wi-fi. A Leica CL app for iOS and Android allows you to easily share your pictures and videos and it allows you to use your smartphone as an off-camera remote viewfinder, where you can also control the camera’s shooting modes and enable the self-timer function.

Leica claim the APS-C sensor combined with the Leica TL Elmarit lenses offer best in class performance because the new lens range has been manufactured to reproduce 60 lines per millimetre rather than the normal 40 lines per millimetre. The TL lenses share the L-Bayonet mount with the SL and adapters are available for Leica M and R lenses so you have access to a full suite of top quality lenses. 

I like that the Leica CL pays homage to its heritage; the retro look and minimalist design is classic Leica. It is an exceptionally well-built camera that does what you need it to do and it is easy to use.

The Leica CL may lack some “gimmicky” features compared to some of its competitors but it has all that is required and the quality of the camera and the Leica Vario-Elmarit lenses is supreme.

Key specifications

Fact File


The camera was lent to Mogens Johansen by Camera Electronic.