Leica’s $2,800 CL Mirrorless Mixes a Classic Design with Modern Tech

Leica recently has being going through a bit of a change in direction manufacturing-wise. Until recently, Leicas built camera that weren’t striving to implement all of the modern tech in cameras today. They instead focused on building more classic-like cameras and giving them high price tags. However, since Leica released the $1,950 TL2, which supports 4K video, and now announcing their new $2,795 24.2-megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera, the CL, Leica seems to be moving towards building cameras that combine the charm of handling a classic camera while still giving access to modern features.

The CL seems to be similar to the Leica’s TL2, having the same 24-megapixel sensor and the same overall performance. What is different, though, is its design. The TL2 seems to have more of a modern design to it; the CL looks to have a more traditional inspired design, appealing to those who want a more classic feeling camera.

Also different from the TL2 is the CLs electronic viewfinder. It has a 2.36-megapixel display mounted on its top left side. While you may not be that impressed with that viewfinder, it’s probably an improvement from the TL2’s detachable viewfinder that slid into its hot shoe.

The CL’s two control dials are supposed to retain the TL2’s customization and offer the option to be programmed for whatever parameter you want. On top of each of the dials however, there’s a button that adds secondary functions to the dials, allowing you to switch between two different control schemes. And we can see that there’s a small LCD display at the top of the camera as well.

In addition to having a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, the CL’s said to use Leica’s Maestro II image processor, shoot 4K video at 30 fps or 1080p video at up to 60 fps, and shoot up to 33 DNG and JPEG full resolution images at 10 fps. It’s also said to carry a 14 stop dynamic range, ISO up to 50,000, a contrast based autofocus system with 49 points and both mechanical and electronic shutter options.

The CL won’t have any I/O ports, meaning that the only ways you’ll be able to get your files off of the camera is to remove the camera’s SD card and plug it into you computer or use Leica’s iOS or Android app so you can wirelessly transfer.

To see a glimpse of the CL, watch YouTuber Kai W's hands-on preview:


Leica says that the CL is compatible with their TL mount system, which has a total of seven lenses, like the 18mm f/2.8. It’s also supposed to be compatible with the seven lenses in the SL system and Leica will be offering mount adapters so you can use M- and R-mount lenses on the CL as well.

You can get the CL in a few bundle kits or you can also just get the body. If you want a kit that includes the new 18mm lens, it will cost you $3,795. For a kit with an 18-55 zoom lens, it will set you back $3,995. For just the body, you can get the CL for $2,795, which is cheaper than a lot of other Leica cameras. The CL mirrorless will arrive at the end of this November. Check out Leica’s official site for more info.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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