Leica CL as an All Round Camera?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Laurent, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    after giving the Hasselblad a short trial run, and despite the fact that I like this camera, I think I'll leave it go it's way (it's just distracting me from using the Rolleiflex).

    More an more I find myself carrying a camera every day, and someone is offering me a Leica CL with the Summicron-C 40 / 2 lens as a counterpart for the Hasselblad.

    The camera has been CLA'ed a few years ago, and the meter adjusted for the modern batteries (job done by a reputable French shop).

    Is this the kind of camera I can bring with me every day ? (I mean, will it stand this usage ?)

    I'm very drawn to it's compactness and the lens quality seems very good, but am I missing a point that would make it unsuitable for my expected usage ?
     
  2. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    My CL has been a faithful companion for more years than I can remember, being small and light it is an excellent traveling companion, paired with the 40mm summicron-c the results are peerless. Mine has traveled across deserts and been subjected to dust and jolting and extreams of heat and cold, while it carries scars from the occasional fall I would not hesitate to take it on the next trip. Certainly it receives a CLA though when I return each time.

    I'd say yes!
     
  3. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    I bought my CL about 2 decades ago. I can not imagine not having it. With the 40mm, it is compact, no larger than maky p&s persons keep in their pocket or carry bag. And, a far better picture taker than any p&s I've ever tried. I have the shoulder bag and keep the 90mm and a small flash in it with the camera. It does have drawbacks such as the 2 lug setup and the metering meter being reversed from any others, though it is logical in its action. The spot meter on mine has been spot (forgive the pun) on since it was serviced just after I bought it. I use a C.H.R.I.S. adaptor in mine. It is the only 35mm camera I shoot now on a regular basis. It does take some practice to use as the meter is reversed, i.e. over exposed is down and under exposed up, but the dials are set to work with this system and makes sense. The metering is a spot and hence a user needs to meter differently than many are used to. Only big minus is the location of the battery but, there will never be a lost battery door or stripped threads. Only other negatives is the filter thread as it is not common and the C series lenses and Rokkars thread sizes are different.

    My other ragular user is a Bronica ETRS 6x4.5 but I am also finding I am taking it out less and less, the Leica is less weight for my aging self and the results for general shooting are easily as good. If for some reason I must have a 35mm SLR, I can slap the 35mm back on the ETRS but, that may happen once a year.

    I got the CL not because I wanted it but, to help a photographer friend who was down on his luck. I had my sights on an M body but, after using the CL for a time, the M bodies feel too large and, less portable as adaily carrier. The CL size is closer to the earlier screw mount Leicas.

    Detractors talk about it being not a true Leica, being more fragile, meters that do not work, and other things. Let them, keeps the prices reasonable. A serviced CL is no more fragile than other cameras. And, any camera of that age should be serviced.
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I used a CL with the 40 Summicron as my main "always-carry" camera for a long time, with the 90 Elmar tagging along if I thought I'd need something a bit longer. The only problem with it was that it was also my wife's favorite camera. I also use the C.H.R.I.S. battery adapter with mine. It was only supplanted as my favorite RF body by the Bessa R3A because of the 1:1 finder in the Bessa. I still prefer the selective (spot) metering of the CL, and my wife preferred that metering as well. It's a fine street/candid shooter, quiet, fast handling when you're used to working with it, and works great for cathedral interiors and the like because it's easy to brace against a support and hold steady. It never attracts attention like an SLR, except from the very few people who recognize it. The 40 Summicron is a very fine lens.

    Lee
     
  5. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks for the valuable information, this looks promising !
    I was considering a Canonet, but the Leica looks like a <much> better option.
     
  6. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    since the CL was too expensive, i got a QL17 instead.
    if ever i cross a CL for a reasonable price, i wouldn't think twice about switching ...
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Having used both, a Canonet 1.7 over 41 years, and the CL + 40 Summicron for 30 years, I can say with certainty that the Leica setup has far less flare and significantly greater color saturation, and a much better viewfinder. Still have both cameras.

    My family was looking at 25-40 year old Kodachromes at Christmas a couple of years ago, mostly shot with Leica R and Leica CL/Minolta CLE, but a number of Canonet shots as well. The Canonet shots were easy to spot.

    Lee
     
  8. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    I love the CL and even wrote a tiny blog piece about it...click on the link in my signature below

    Best
    Dan
     
  9. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Great camera, love mine. I use it when I go places I'd rather not carry my MP. That said if you'll not be buying any other lenses consider a good Rollei 35T or 35S. Great results and even more compact.
     
  10. Townytown

    Townytown Member

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    Hi - this is my first APUG post but by coincidence my "new" CL arrived in the post this morning. What a joy to use it is - so easy in the hand and unobtrusive in the street. I put a 35mm M lens on it, loaded up some HP5 and shot the whole roll at the local market. It really is a joy to use.

    This is what Leica should make instead on the X1, simple functionality and access to a range of lenses with manual focus.

    Jeremy
     
  11. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    One thing I would mention about the CL is up-close focusing with fast lenses is often an issue due to the shorter rangefinder base length. i.e. I cannot use my Summarit with it wide open or even f/2 for shots closer than say 12 feet or so, and even my 50/2 Summicron-DR has out of whack focus issues very close up wide open. Just FYI.
     
  12. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Very interesting piece of blog (as is the case with your musings about the EF primes)

    Rich815 : my intent if I give this a go is to use only the 40mm, so this should not create too big an issue.


    Thanks for this !
    Laurent
     
  13. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    I enjoyed the article, now I'm head over heals again over the CL, it is a lovely camera.:smile:
     
  14. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Nice article. Only one small mistake: it is not Summicron-C 4/90 - it is Elmar :wink: