Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

IT’S BEEN A busy cou­ple of months for Le­ica, cul­mi­nat­ing in the launch of a new L mount ‘APS-C’ mir­ror­less camera called the CL. While it es­sen­tially shares the un­der­pin­nings of the ul­tra-mod­ern TL2, the CL has a more clas­sic ex­te­rior de­sign – echo­ing the old III se­ries 35mm rangefinder mod­els – and a dial-based con­trol lay­out. Nev­er­the­less, it also of­fers touch­screen con­trols, in­clud­ing touch AF and swipe ges­tures for switch­ing be­tween the main op­er­at­ing modes. Im­por­tantly, the CL has a built-in elec­tronic viewfinder.

Le­ica has used the CL model name be­fore, on a more com­pact 35mm RF camera in the mid-1970s which was co-de­vel­oped with Mi­nolta and de­signed to in­crease sales. The dig­i­tal-era CL ap­pears to have the same ob­jec­tive as it com­bines com­pact­ness, clas­sic Le­ica de­sign el­e­ments, imag­ing per­for­mance and af­ford­abil­ity

(at least in Le­ica camera terms).

The new CL has the same 24.96 megapix­els (24.24 MP ef­fec­tive) CMOS sen­sor as the TL2, mated with a ded­i­cated ver­sion of Le­ica’s ‘Mae­stro II’ pro­ces­sor. This en­ables con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at up to 10 fps plus 4K video record­ing in the UHD res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els. The camera’s SD for­mat mem­ory card slot sup­ports the higher-speed UHS-II SDHC and SDXC de­vices. The sensitivity range is equiv­a­lent to ISO 100 to 50,000. As is the case across the Le­ica dig­i­tal camera range, RAW files are cap­tured in the Adobe DNG for­mat. RAW+JPEG cap­ture is pos­si­ble. There’s a choice of five ‘Film Style’ pre­sets – Stan­dard, Vivid, Nat­u­ral, B&W Nat­u­ral and B&W High Con­trast – with ad­justable pa­ram­e­ters for con­trast, sharp­ness and sat­u­ra­tion. The CL has both a con­ven­tional fo­cal plane shut­ter and sen­sor­based shut­ter, the lat­ter with a speed range of 30-1/25,000 sec­ond and pro­vid­ing com­pletely silent op­er­a­tion. Other no­table fea­tures in­clude an in­ter­val­ome­ter, auto ex­po­sure brack­et­ing, a cus­tomis­able ‘Favourites’ menu and built-in WiFi.

The built-in EVF has a res­o­lu­tion of 2.36 megadots and a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion is 0.74x. The 7.62 cm TFT LCD mon­i­tor screen is fixed and has a res­o­lu­tion of 1.04 megadots. The CL’s bodyshell has alu­minium top and bot­tom plates with mag­ne­sium al­loy front and back cov­ers. There are two main con­trol di­als on the top plate which per­form all ex­po­sure-re­lated ad­just­ments with set­ting dis­played on a small LCD read-out panel si­t­u­ated be­tween them… Le­ica calls this “the pho­to­graphic in­ter­face”. The CL is ac­com­pa­nied by a new L mount lens, the Le­ica El­marit-TL 18mm f2.8 ASPH ‘pan­cake’ prime lens which is equiv­a­lent to a 27mm wide-an­gle. It brings the line-up of ‘APS-C’ TL mount lenses to seven, span­ning 11mm (16.5mm) to 135mm (202.5mm). It’s also pos­si­ble to fit the SL’s full-35mm for­mat aut­o­fo­cus lenses, plus there are adap­tors for M and R mount lenses.

The Le­ica CL is avail­able in black and priced at $3700 for the body only. There are two kit op­tions priced at $5200 with the new Le­ica El­marit-TL 18mm f2.8 ASPH prime lens or $5450 with the Le­ica Vario-El­mar-TL 18-56mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH zoom lens. Le­ica prod­ucts are dis­trib­uted lo­cally by Le­ica Camera Aus­tralia. For more in­for­ma­tion visit https://au.le­ica-camera.com

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