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Leica CL and 5014 vs CM or Minilux



I am thinking about buying a used Leica CL. Since the measurement basis is a different one then the M6, I heard that this could cause in wrong focussing at open apertures like an M50/1.4 or M90/2.0.

Has anybody made this experience and how serious is this wrong focussing? Or is it more theoretical difference, but not visible in handheld shootings?

Second question for the CL users is the comparison between the CL and the Minilux or CM. Would you rather prefer the newer P&S or is the old CL with 40/2.0 "on par" with the Minilux/ CM.

What other kind of pitfalls shall I pay attention to when looking for a used CL. How about repair costs, if you had some in the past etc.

Thanks in advance.


I had a Leica CL for many years as my only camera. I had no focusing problems with the 40mm Summicron-C or 90mm f4 Elmar-C. Then I found a M4, my first proper M, and was amazed at the increase in focusing precision it gave above the CL. This is entirely due to the larger rangefinder base of the M series. With the CL it is not a matter of 'wrong focusing' but rather of limits to accuracy and precision which become critical when your depth of field is tight, as it would be at f/1.4 with a 50mm lens or F/2 with a 90mm.

Having said all that, the CL is a great camera with an excellent meter (assuming it is in good condition).



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for FAQ about the CL.

I have a CL and have used a Cosina-Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 with it with good results. The baseline is short so don't expect it to be dead-on every time. I tend to refocus and shoot a couple of frames if I can to be safe. It is truly a practical issue, not theoretical, but you can work with it. When in doubt stop down slightly.

On the other hand, CL's are getting old. I like mine, but getting a good one may be more expensive than a Minilux. The meter can be a problem, the prism can be a problem, the availability of mercury cells can be a problem, the previous owner's dropping it can be a problem, etc. Buy from someone you trust and have a return policy. Remember the newest CL is 30 years old now.



Well-Known Member

There are equivalents for almost every mercury cell now, even if you have to assemble them yourself from a combination of silver cells of various thicknesses. I would strongly recommend that everyone disposes environmentally of any mercury cells they have, since they leak when they go flat, as they inevitably do. The resulting gunge could eat its way through a nuclear reactor casing and is virtually certain to kill your camera. Check various battery web-sites for conversions. Spoken from bitter experience - I bought a Minox that has suffered!