So a while back i posted about purchasing a Leica CL I’m going to post a quick review with my usual first impressions and the story of myself buying the camera and problems encountered.
Price Paid? In total on this set up i have spent about £467 (Jeez it all adds up when you look at it that way. The price breaks down quite simply, I spent £118 on the camera, £299 on the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 noktor classic sc. I shot a test roll and the film kept jamming and i kept having to rewind the film in a changing back and start again… hense all the light leaks in the image above after removing the shot film from the camera it completely locked up so i sent it off to camerattiks in edinburgh and the eBay seller agree’d to meet me half way on the cost of repair £96 so I spent just under £50 on the repair bill.
After a nail biting week of waiting on the shop calling me to tell me if i’d ruined such a fantastic feeling camera they eventually called took payment and returned my camera the next morning via post. Saying that i was keen to test my new camera properly would be an understatement, With the Leica CL it is a common problem that the meter does not work, i was aware the one i had bought didn’t work and i had made my peace with it… so i was gobsmacked when the camera shop had repaired it. I loaded a quick test film and shot around the house and i must say erganomically I can now see why people rave on about the Leica system. No bells no whistles no fuss. In my opinion the size of this camera is what sets it appart from all the other leica’s in my opinion… I held an M8 once and although that is a digital camera I just felt it was a little to big and clumbsy for me to work with all the time. For example before i bought this camera for size and simplicity I had been shooting on either A Lomo LC-A, a Yashica T4 or an Olympus OM - 10 with manual adaptor. The Leica CL is just a little to big to go in your pocket but put a comfertable strap on it and you wouldn’t even know it was there it is really light.
Another thing i really like is the shutter speed Dial is placed perfectly to slide your finger off the shutter button to change speeds, there is an indicator inside the viewfinder that shows you what speed you are on and a meter arrow so in theory you’d never really have to put the camera down. Changing aperture and focusing are incredibly easy also as with your other hand it can all be done by feel the aperture ring on the lens has a little tab on either side which is easily located by the finger and the focusing ring has a different tab making it easy to tell them apart.
As for the lens i can’t find a single way to fault it, the images are sharp crisp and the contrast/tones are always beautiful unless human error is involved. I’d heard some seriously mixed reviews on this lens and I personally think the haters are just being stuck up as the lens is designed for one of leicas more modestly priced cameras…
Although i’d say this camera is by far my favourite camera I own I’d be lying if i said it was perfect, i feel loading the film is needlessly complicated the first time i loaded this camera i had to resort to a YouTube Video to load the camera correctly but now I’m used to it i can live with it.
In conclusion the Leica CL is a fantastic little piece of kit earning its way to be my favourite camera (the OM - 10 was not easy to dethrone). It has won my heart for its ease of use and small size. I always feel confident that if i have to take just one camera and one lens somewhere with me that I’d take this team as with a focal length such as 40mm being able to shoot at ƒ/1.4 and the optical quality voigtlander bring to the table… I’d never want to choose something else…