Intelligent, succesful, quirky and expensive. Yup, it

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Oh, Leica. As soon as once more you have given me the ambivalent feels.

The CL, the corporate’s “basic” APS-C mirrorless mannequin — the alter ego of the “trendy” TL2 — is a Leica by and thru. It has the trademark nearly too clear design aesthetic, its wonderful type taking priority over operate. And the worth…? Sigh. Sharp APS-C pictures and strong autofocus pace come at the price of an amazing full-frame.

The CL is a pleasant digicam with some actual design strengths and sharp pictures, however the physique’s probably not $2,800 price of good. And in a package with the brand new 18mm f2.eight pancake prime, it is undoubtedly not $Three,800 good; the lens alone is $1,300. And the package with the too-slow-for-the-price 18-56mm f3.5-5.6 will run you $four,000.

I haven’t got UK or Australian costs but, however instantly transformed for the UK these imply £908 for the 18mm lens, £2,110 for the physique, £2,900 for the package with each and £Three,020 for the zoom package. For Australia, these convert to about AU$1,715 for the prime lens, AU$Three,700 for the physique, AU$5,030 for each and AU$5,300 for the zoom package.

Kits are new for Leica, and it is good the corporate’s venturing into the territory. Whereas you should use plenty of Leica-mount lenses with its APS-C mirrorless line, many new digicam patrons do not have a stack of ’em sitting round.

However I do not discover 18mm, with its 60-degree discipline of view on APS-C (27mm equal), greater than sometimes helpful — the pancake prime makes the digicam appear extra compact, however until you get proper as much as the topic (which is not my type) the pictures all really feel like snapshots. Broad-angle pancakes make extra sense on smaller sensors the place they work out to a narrower discipline of view, which is why a 17mm package for Micro 4 Thirds is rather more sensible than on APS-C. 

Quick and sharp

A mix of things make the pictures sharp. As with many cameras lately, the 24.Three-megapixel sensor would not have a blurring antialiasing filter. Incessantly, you run into moire (interference patterns in advantageous meshes and textures), even when just a bit, however I did not see any right here.

Additionally, by default Leica may be very light-handed with its noise discount, that means you may see some graininess total and colour noise in darkish areas, however the picture retains element. And what little noise discount there may be intelligently handles brighter areas much less noisy than the darker areas. Nevertheless, it additionally means you may see plenty of scorching pixels (pixels that clip to white in low-light pictures).

The 18mm lens has excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, however as a result of it is vast angle there’s some curvature and edge distortion accompanying the brief focal size. Leica says they designed it to not want a lens hood, however I did get some flare or inner reflections in some pictures.

The Leica CL’s automated white stability was off for these photographs (too blue-red), however you possibly can’t actually inform by the way in which that is rendered. In regular capturing, the digicam’s AWB was correct to chill.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Leica performs with little or no noise discount on its excessive ISO sensitivity pictures, making them look grainy. You may see colour noise in darkish areas, nevertheless it retains extra element than different cameras. That is ISO 12500.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Nevertheless, that graininess also can make the pictures excessive distinction. Prior to now, Leica’s JPEGs information have regarded nearly similar to the uncooked DNG information. There’s a bit of improve in distinction by default with the CL’s JPEGs, which clips shadows and highlights, one thing we continuously see with cameras. There appears to be adequate tonal vary on the whole to recuperate highlights and shadows that are not fully blown out, however nothing distinctive.

Colours look good, defaulting to correct moderately than saturated. In winter mild the auto white stability may be thought-about a bit of too devoted, rendering the whole lot very cool. However the cool white stability works for low-light capturing. Often it delivers wonderful outcomes with no colour casts. Leicas are a few of my favourite cameras for avenue capturing at night time. There is a Pure setting, nevertheless it’s extra flat and low distinction than “pure”.

The video seems to be like typical 4K UHD video. Sharp. Your solely publicity adjustment possibility is publicity compensation, and you may set a profile for saturation, distinction and sharpness, so total you do not have plenty of management.

The digicam’s moderately quick, with pretty typical autofocus pace and fast processing so it feels responsive. It could possibly burst at about 10 frames per second with steady autofocus for precisely 33 frames in uncooked or an successfully limitless variety of JPEGs. I did not get an opportunity to provide it an actual exercise, since steady autofocus accuracy is difficult to evaluate with a wide-angle lens. Handbook focus works properly, too, and the main target peaking makes it straightforward.

If you need, you possibly can shoot on full auto or with scene program modes, in addition to let it mechanically select the autofocus areas. The latter works about in addition to it does on any digicam, which suggests it is fast however comparatively inconsistent and dumb, selecting totally different areas each time you prefocus on the identical scene, and it chooses both as many areas as it will possibly give attention to or sticks to the closest and highest distinction issues it will possibly discover.

Battery life, although, must be higher than 220 photographs, particularly because it then takes over two hours to recharge.  If you get two batteries with a digicam for analysis, it is a signal that the corporate is aware of the battery life blows.

Typical capturing pace


Shot lag (brilliant)

Shot lag (dim)

JPEG shot-to-shot time

Uncooked shot-to-shot time


In seconds (shorter bars are higher)

Steady-shooting pace


Frames per second (longer bars are higher)

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