should I get a Leica CL?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by msbarnes, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    OK so in 35mm I have/use an M2, M3, 35mm Summaron, and 50mm Summicron. (I actually have more cameras...but I am probably selling them but that is besides the point).

    My most recent 35mm camera is a Rollei 35 (Tessar) and I absolutely love it. When the light is good, I'd much rather use that thing because it is so portable and liberating (guess focus and guess exposure...well I guess exposure). I've used it indoors but the results are a hit/miss at close distances.

    I thought of maybe adding a Rollei 35s + external rangefinder but the Leica CL + Cron seems like a more logical choice. (I'm not interested in folders or Leica IIIc's...I want the best viewfinder I can get). What I like about the CL compared to M's is that it is way cheaper, and it is lighter and smaller (I'm not sure if it feels THAT much lighter/smaller in use).

    Overall, what are your thoughts with the CL and perhaps with respect to the M? Part of me feels that it doesn't shave enough bulk to make it a worthwhile purchase, but I am unsure. How do you use it compared to your M's (if you have both)?

    And just to clarify, I'm not interested in using any other lenses outside of the 40mm f2 rokkor/cron.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2013
  2. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    The CL feels nimble and small with the 40 - maybe the measurements are similar to an M camera, but it feels much smaller. Go for it and if you don't like, you got it out of your system and can move on.
     
  3. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Just wondering, any reason to go the CL over one of the Bessas?
    I was looking at a CL/CLE, but the Bessas beat it for rangefinder EBL, viewfinder brightness (apparently), the -A versions have aperture-priority, and the metering is a lot more long-lived. Finding CLs second-hand, most of them seemed to have dead-meters (or "untested" on the fleabay description is as good as writing "dead"). For a decent working one with a guarantee they still go for more than a lightly-used Bessa R-series.
    I suppose the CL beats them for size though, and it's got the Leica nameplate (at least, half of them do).
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    If you can aford it - go for CL or CLE. You can always sell it later for same money +- some small amount :smile:.
     
  5. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Hi Michael,

    I can't see much point in getting a CL and 40mm given what you already have. I doubt there's too much of a difference weight-wise in actual practice between the CL and an M. Given that, why would you choose to go out shooting with the CL in preference to an M3? If it's purely for the 40mm then I've heard that you can use that lens quite successfully on the M3 by using the 35mm framelines. As you're probably aware, the Leica frame lines are quite conservative, showing a good bit less than you're actually going to see on film. This means that the 35mm framelines are a reasonably accurate guide to what you could expect to get shooting with the 40mm.

    I appreciate that this isn't what you're asking but might I suggest picking up a Hexar AF? It's well made, has a really superb 35mm lens, a very good viewfinder (probably not as as good as an M's but good enough) and will set you back less than the cost of a CL body alone. I have one and, despite not being a rangefinder-type of guy, I can't bring myself to sell it because the lens is so good. You can see a few black and white landscape pics I've taken with it here.

    The Hexar, unlike the CL, gives you something you don't already have - an auto exposure, AF rangefinder-type camera. You might not want to shoot like that all the time but sometimes it's nice to have a change!
     
  6. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I'm looking for broken-metered CL's which can go for less than $150. There are other differences between the two but the main reason for going CL is because of the size. Im not sure if the differences in EBL and viewfinder brightness are apparent enough to seriously consider. Another reason to go CL is that the shutter is mechanical which I prefer.
     
  7. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks for your advice.

    Why CL over M3?

    I like to carry a 35mm camera in all lighting situations/scenarios and smaller/lighter cameras are simply more practical. The M3 is too large/bulky. I feel that the Rollei 35 is much more portable than the M and hence I use it more but adding the CL might superflous because it isn't as portable as the Rollei 35 and not much smaller than the M. I don't know though...maybe this is something that I have to try. This has nothing to do with 40mm framelines/lens. I like 40mm FOV but I wouldn't buy this camera JUST to use this lens or anything like that.

    In general, I'm trying to get by with the least number of cameras. Not even because of money but because I want to be minimal with my equipment. The issue for me, and many people, is where to draw the line...

    Thanks! I've thought about the Hexar too. I actually sold mine a few months ago because I preferred using my M2 but I have considered buying one back to fill in this void. I did appreciate it's size and ease of use. I might just go back to it...

    [​IMG]
    Untitled by Michael_Sergio_Barnes, on Flickr
     
  8. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    Nice Hexar pic, Michael. That's where it excels - low light and fast film. In the UK it's just about impossible getting hold of Diafine just now otherwise I'd have TriX at 1260 ISO in the Hexar all the time.
     
  9. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Part of me thinks that the Hexar is simply a better compliment...not sure. The decision for a complimentary camera is basically a Hexar AF and a Leica CL. The only pro of the Hexar is price and the real minor con is batteries (to me). I doubt that the differences in build and viewfinder are enough for me to care (the Hexar AF is good in these regards) and the FOV is close enough for me not to care. AF is the real difference but I don't consider that a pro or a con. AF is fun sometimes and the Hexar worked well 90% of the time but it isn't like I nail focus on my own 100% of the time anyways...I might grab that again because I think it provides a unique enough experience in my current suite of cameras.
     
  10. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    not much difference in weight between an m and a cl? Huh?

    My CL is my standard traveling camera for that very reason -- smaller, lighter, quicker to use, dead-on metering, spot metering makes it very versatile, and it uses my 16mm Voigtlander and 25mm Canon lenses very neatly as well. The only camera i've found as good for travel is an Olympus XA, so usually I carry both.

    The Rollei 35 is fun but, lacking a rangefinder, is hard in poor light and, frankly, the square shape makes a painful bulge in my pocket while the XA is rounded nicely.

    The CL has one huge advantage over the M-series -- being small and black it is less visible and, frankly, doesn't make people think you're really seriously taking pictures, so it is very good as a candid camera.
     
  11. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I've got a CLE, and an M2 and M3, and a Rollei 35S -- and I sometimes prefer to carry the CLE because it has a terrific viewfinder, shows SS in the viewfinder, and has off-the-curtain metering. While the Leica is better built and is quieter (a "snic" versus a small "clak"), there are times when having aperture priority right at hand can save a photographic opportunity. And I do find that over time, carrying the lighter Minolta is easier than the M camera. I love my 35S, which is so sharp, but its meter is less capable than the CLE's and of course it is guess focus. I'm a good distance-guesser, but I'm not as good as a rangefinder.

    BTW, I had Don Goldberg modify my CLE so I don't have to push release button to move off the Aperture-Priority setting into the fixed shutter speeds - as there's no way to "hold" an exposure in a CLE, the workaround is to note the SS and then use whatever plus/minus SS you want in order to achieve the photographic result you want. OK, the modification can make changing ISO speeds in the SS dial a bit tedious, but I tend to use the same film all day so it's not an issue -- for me.
     
  12. okto

    okto Member

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    Every model of M also came in black.
     
  13. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    True, but prices of black M3 and M2 are so high that we can say that are non available for shooters :smile:, only for rich collectionars.
     
  14. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I have an M2, Rollei 35T and 35S, and a CL with the 40/2 Summicron. The CL with the 40 is much more pocketable in my jacket picket than the M2. That I said I much prefer using the M2 as I like its weight and balance better and the overall feeling of the film advance, shutter sound, etc. But if I want a small pocketable camera and decide I need more precise focusing than the Rollei 35 gives me I'll taken CL.
     
  15. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    If it were me I would get a Bessa that takes M lenses rather than a CL.
     
  16. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Just curious, why? He's got an M2.
     
  17. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    I think this is a job for a collapsible lens for the M2 rather than a new body.

    An M2 with a 2.8 Elmar is size wise on a par with a CL and 40mm Summicron, what one looses in one direction the other makes up for in the other. Weight wise there is about 300gm in it, favouring the CL, but in terms of slipping a camera in your (coat) pocket the M2 and Elmar beats the CL. True the CL has a nice meter, and I love my CL, it is a nice camera to use, but a thin lens for the M2 is far more fun. If not a Leica lens check the hand made MS Optical compact lenses available from Japan Exposures, the 35mm Perar is a superb little Cooke Triplet design.

    Steve
     
  18. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    How about something slightly different, but small and with a rangefinder like a Contax T? Or slightly larger, like the Rollei XF35?
     
  19. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    This is actually very good advice Steve. Now I have elmar 50mm f2.8 M mount and it is much smaller than 50mm summicron, but what is really smal is screw mount elmar 5cm f3.5! It is like you have M body wihout lens. What OP can do is to buy industar 22 for next to nothing and test it, and if it is what he wants - go for elmar. There is also hektor f2.5 that is tiny when colapsed.

    EDIT> I have M elmar f3.5, not f2.8 :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2013
  20. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Or if he gets a good Industar just keep that!

    Frankly while a good alternative, in my opinion does not cut it. Even with my tiny 35/3.5 uncoated Elmar mounted in my M2, which practically flush to the body and does not need extension, its still bulkier and heavier than my CL with 40/2 Summicron and not as pocketable in a light jacket pocket.

    Another alternative but completely different is a Contax T2. Compact, pocketable and a top class performer. 38/2.8 Sonnar lens. About $300-350 lately.
     
  21. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The CL and CLE are not equivalent bodies. The CL spot meters while the CLE meters off averaging white spots on the shutter curtain (with flash metering during the exposure), which is very nice if you use flash. When you put the CLE in manual exposure mode, the meter doesn't work, and it's a kind of tricky slide switch to turn the meter on and off. The CL covers out to 40mm in the finder, while the CLE has finder lines for 28mm, and is lower magnification. The whole back slides off to change film on the CL and the CLE has a swing-open back. The CL takes a 625 battery in a slot with an edge contact that you can't change with film in the camera, so it's more work to sub new batteries, while the CLE takes two still-available MS76 or equivalent batteries.

    Size and weight are about the same, but the shooting experience isn't that close. I personally prefer the CL, but that doesn't mean you will. I have used a number of the modern C/V Bessa bodies and lenses and like the T and the R3A (probably would have the R3M if I'd bought after it was announced) a lot. The CL and CLE are much quieter than the Bessas.

    Lee
     
  22. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Bessa's have great meters.
     
  23. schewct

    schewct Member

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    Leica CL although not as branded compared to the Leica M bodies but some advantages are it is light and has a built in light meter with appropriate battery.