LEICA DUSTS OFF CL BADGE FOR NEW MIRRORLESS CAMERA
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