Leica CL

Leica CL front
  • 24MP - APS-C Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 100 - 50000
  • 1/8000s Maximum Shutter
  • 3840 x 2160 video
  • Leica L Mount
  • 403g - 131 x 78 x 45mm
  • Released November 2017
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Lenses
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Leica CL overview

Leica CL is Leica's Advanced Mirrorless digital camera originally revealed on November of 2017. It comes with a 24 MegaPixel, CMOS APS-C size sensor with a maximum resolution of 6014 x 4014.

The CL is scored #43 out of 62 in Advanced Mirrorless cameras & all-around #245 out of 1465 for cameras in our collection. Remember to try our Smart camera finder to see camera listings based on your personalized criteria.

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Below is a diagram of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Leica CL Pros and Cons

Here is a selection of good and bad points of the Leica CL based on aspects that are usually viewed as useful in a digital camera.

change lenses (Leica L mount)
comes with touch to focus
decent sensor resolution (24 megapixels)
has touchscreen
includes face detection focusing
max shutter speed is good (1/8,000s)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
saves RAW formats
screen size is decent (3")
silent shutter (1/25,000s)
very good ISO range (50,000)
very good min ISO (100)
very good screen resolution (1,040 k dot)
video resolution high (3840 x 2160 pixels)
bad battery (220 shots)
does not have external microphone port
does not have HDMI port
does not have headphone port
does not have phase detect AF
focusing manually not possible
no image stabilization
screen does not articulate
screen is not selfie friendly
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Leica CL Sensor features

The Leica CL features the Maestro II chip. The size of the sensor in the Leica CL is 23.6mm x 15.7mm (APS-C). The 371 mm² sensor is able to resolve 6014 x 4014 pixels using aspect ratios of 3:2.

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The CMOS sensor has 24 megapixels and gives a standard ISO range of 100 - 50000. RAW files are supported therefore you have more margin for error.

The picture below illustrates the CL's sensor size compared to other popular sizes. The CL sensor has a crop factor of 1.5 and is displayed in green.

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To get a sense of various aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Leica CL dimensions

Leica CL weighs in at 0.89 lbs (403 gr or 14.22 ounces) & has external measurements of 131mm x 78mm x 45mm (5.2" x 3.1" x 1.8"). The weight of normal Advanced Mirrorless camera is 454 gr so the Leica CL is lighter as compared to other rivals.

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Below is a visual of the Leica CL beside a softdrink so you can get a feel for its size.

Leica CL dimensions scale

The top view below will illustrate the button design on the CL.

Leica CL topview buttons dials

Leica CL Lens features

The CL uses the Leica L mount and has 52 lenses available in the market. Here is a few of the lenses we have in our database that will work with the CL.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Sigma-24mm-F2-DG-DN-C-L-Mount lensSigma 24mm F2 DG DN C24mmf/2 365g
Leica-APO-Summicron-SL-35mm-F2-ASPH lensLeica APO-Summicron-SL 35mm F2 ASPH35mmf/2720g
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Sigma-85mm-F1.4-DG-DN-Art-Leica-SL lensSigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art85mmf/1.4630g
Sigma-14-24mm-F2.8-DG-DN-Art-Leica-SL lensSigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art14-24mmf/2.8795g
Sigma-24mm-F1.4-DG-HSM-A-Leica-L lensSigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM A24mmf/1.4 665g
Sigma-24-70-F2.8-DG-DN-Art-Leica-SL lensSigma 24-70 F2.8 DG DN Art24-70mmf/2.8835g
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Leica-Vario-Elmarit-SL-24-90mm-F2.8-4-ASPH lensLeica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm F2.8-4 ASPH24-90mmf/2.8-4.0 1140g
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Leica CL Connectivity

The CL has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes

Cameras which have NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility are able to be used wirelessly through smartphones. You will be able to transfer images and oftentimes adjust settings with no need to connect straight with the camera.

Several apps also allow a Liveview and click the shutter whenever you aren't close to the camera. If the camera boasts a HDMI port, it can easily be hooked up to an external screen. Virtually all cameras will allow you to charge the battery through the USB port.

Photography Glossary

Leica CL Video features

The maximum video resolution in the Leica CL is 3840 x 2160 and you can record in MPEG-4 and H.264 file format. 2160p gives a superb resolution for video. You are able to downsample to Full HD in order to get improved video. Be mindful of the massive file sizes and ensure you have good SD cards with good write speeds. The body doesn't feature a microphone and / or headphone socket which means that you have absolutely no control over the sound. It is probably best to shop for an alternative camera should you want good sound for your videos.

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Leica CL Weather Sealing

There is no weather proofing for the Leica CL so you have to be cautious in rainy or dusty situations.

Leica CL Screen and Viewfinder

The Leica CL comes with a 3" fixed screen having a resolution of 1,040k dots.

Moreover the screen is touch friendly which means you are able to set focus point and change settings using your fingertips.

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The View Finder specifications for Leica CL are below:

  • ViewFinder Electronic
  • ViewFinder Resolution 2,360k dots
  • ViewFinder Coverage 100 percent
  • ViewFinder Magnification 0.74x

Viewfinders can be really beneficial in bright outdoor situations which can make the camera screen washed out and very difficult to see.

Leica CL Shutter features

Leica CL is able to shoot continuously at 10.0 fps. The highest shutter speed is 1/8000 sec. The camera also offers silent electronic shutter of 1/25000 sec. Beware that the electronic shutter might lead to "rolling shutter" under some situations.

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Leica CL Flash and Hot shoe features

Leica CL comes with external flash ability but is lacking built in flash.

Leica CL Autofocusing features

Leica CL comes with only Contrast Based Autofocus & doesn't have Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection autofocusing is more faster and accurate as compared to Contrast Based autofocusing. The camera comes with Face detection which can be handy for taking portraits of people.

The AF system comes with 49 focus points to choose from. Leica CL has tap to focus. You can use your fingers in order to change focus points. Leica CL lacks manual focusing. Manual focusing ability is good in low light conditions or you require more exact focusing control.

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Leica CL Battery life

The battery (BP-DC12) for the Leica CL is fashioned to last for 220 photos as per the CIPA benchmarks making it lesser in comparison with it's competition. The general Advanced Mirrorless camera battery life is 390. Sony A6600 has got the highest possible (810) battery life in this kind of cameras.

Following is a list of Advanced Mirrorless cameras with the best battery life:

Leica CL for varying categories of photography

The following diagram indicates a summation of the Leica CL for varying categories of photography. To understand more, visit the specific paragraph below.

Leica CL Portrait photography highlights

The Leica CL receives a score of 72 which is above average, meaning that it is a respectable pick to use for portraits. Photographing portrait images favors heavily to sensor dimension, support for RAW files & option to utilize external flash.

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decent megapixels (24MP)
sensor size is good (APS-C)
offers face detection autofocus
exports RAW files
focusing manually not possible

Leica CL Street photography highlights

Having a very good rating of 73, the Leica CL is a fine pick for street photography. A decent street photography camera comes with a perfect balance of picture quality and portability.

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decent sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW formats
offers touch to focus
above average ISO range (50,000)
screen is fixed
lack of image stabilization

Leica CL Sports photography factors

A nice sports photography rating of 62 indicates the Leica CL is a good pick for photographing sports. A camera must have great tracking and shutter speeds for sports photography.

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maximum shutter speed is high (1/8,000 seconds)
silent shooting (1/25,000 seconds)
decent MP (24 megapixels)
nice sensor size (APS-C)
does not have image stabilization
low battery power (220 CIPA)
no phase detect auto focus

Leica CL Travel photography advice

Size is pretty crucial in picking a camera for travel. Overall, the Leica CL gets a very good 66 for a travelling camera which makes it a fine fit to purchase for your travels.

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boasts focus via touch
good resolution (24MP)
low battery pack (220 CIPA)
display isn't selfie friendly

Leica CL Landscape photography information

If you find yourself looking to buy a camera for landscape photos, the most vital aspect will no doubt be image quality. The Leica CL and it's nice grade of 68 as a landscape camera is a fine fit compared to its competitors.

Photography Glossary
switch lenses (Leica L mount)
screen size is good (3 inches)
good megapixels (24MP)
good sensor size (APS-C)
great ISO range (50,000)
supports RAW files
manual focus not available
no image stabilization
bad battery pack (220 per charge)

Leica CL as a Vlogging camera

A vlogging camera should posses a articulating display screen, microphone input and ideally image stabilization. Considering every thing, the Leica CL is simply not very good for vlogging as it delivers a horrible score of 33.

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built-in touchscreen
comes with face detection focusing
video resolution high (3840 x 2160 resolution)
display isn't selfie friendly
lack of image stabilization
no external microphone support

Leica CL Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives to the CL, below is a list of the highest scored cameras which fall within the category of Advanced Mirrorless.

The line graph underneath provides you a summary of the CL compared to it's top rated competitors shown above.

Following are several cameras you might check out as alternatives. To read a thorough comparison, simply click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Leica CL
Advanced Mirrorless
Body design
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Maestro II
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.6 x 15.7mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
24 megapixels
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
Highest resolution
6014 x 4014
RAW files
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Autofocus center weighted
Multi area autofocus
Live view autofocus
Face detection focus
Contract detection focus
Phase detection focus
Total focus points
Lens mount type
Leica L
Number of lenses
Crop factor
Screen type
Fixed Type
Screen diagonal
Screen resolution
1,040k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch functionality
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder resolution
2,360k dot
Viewfinder coverage
100 percent
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO All around rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Slowest shutter speed
30 secs
Maximum shutter speed
1/8000 secs
Maximum silent shutter speed
1/25000 secs
Continuous shooting speed
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Expose Manually
Exposure compensation
Set white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash distance
no built-in flash
Flash modes
no built-in flash
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Video resolutions
3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
Highest video resolution
Video file format
MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone jack
Headphone jack
Environment seal
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
403 grams (0.89 lb)
Physical dimensions
131 x 78 x 45mm (5.2" x 3.1" x 1.8")
Battery life
220 shots
Type of battery
Battery Pack
Battery ID
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 secs)
Time lapse recording
Type of storage
SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-II supported)
Storage slots
Price at launch