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Minilux or CM



I have got an offer to buy a Minilux 40/2.4 in silver for 300 Euro (second hand). How much better is the CM in picture quality and handling in your opinion? Would it justify the price difference?

How good is the lens of the Minilux already? how much better is the lens of the CM?


I think you'll find the lens is the same on both cameras, and five stars.

The differences as far as I can tell are in the retro styling of the CM and more viewfinder information.

Personally I'd take the Minilux. I've got one and think it's the best camera I've ever had. And I've had a few.


I suggest you check out the leica website which will give you the technical differences (
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). I own neither so can't comment from a practical viewpoint, but the CM has improved coating version of the Summarit f2.4 on the Minilux, though I would expect the differences to be very small.

Otherwise the CM has the improved viewfinder and provides aperture & shutter information within the viewfinder. CM closes to f22 (f16 on the Minilux), and the shutter speed goes up to 1/1000, whereas the minilux reaches about 1/400. Manual focus on the CM has a proper rangefinder focusing system, whereas you have to estimate the distance on the Minilux (as per all? other compacts with a manual over-ride on focus).

CM is a little smaller too.

Most of the above changes will not really affect photo quality - just improve the handling - but I've been sorely tempted....

The bottom line is that you'll only get a CM new, whereas Minlux may cost about 1/2 of the cost due to second hand models. This makes the minilux good value for what must be a lovely camera.


PS - I own a Leica C3 compact - which takes lovely pictures, but no manual over-ride which is a constraint - but has got the 28-80 zoom lens which provides more choice of perspectives.

I understood from Erwin Puts that the lens of the CM is the same as on the minilux except for a slightly better coating. Under normal circumstances you will see no difference.
I'd still would choose the CM for all the other improvements.



Dear Dick,

I have owned a black Minilux for a few years now and cannot fault it other than the lack of lens-hood which was overcome with a home-made one.

The optical performance is stunning and indistinguishable in large scale projection from Leica prime lenses.

Personally I am not induced to "upgrade" to the CM as there are no dynamic improvements for my use, it is too small for me and not available in black.

At that price you would get your money back.

Have fun.



Well-Known Member
I do not believe that the CM has a 'true rangefinder' manual focusing system, as was previously indicated. There is a distance readout in the VF, which is a nice improvement, but it is still a guess focus system. Which is fine, but the CM is not a low-priced AF-capable motor driven M camera. Rather, it is a nice upgrade to the venerable Minilux, preserving the superb optics and adding some nice enhancements and overcoming some limitations of the aging Minilux design.

Flash shoe, faster shutter speed, better information management on camera and in VF, passive AF instead of active (though not any expansion in the focusing range) and updated styling.

As a Minilux user I am not compelled to upgrade. Well, I would add a CM if not for the cost, but not replace the Minilux. The CM flash shoe is the most important change for me, however on the downside is the passive AF - I much prefer active AF like on the Minilux, particularly for very low light shooting, where the Minilux really outshines most other P&S cameras. I guess the faster shutter is the other really big win - I find the 1/400 sec max speed of the Minilux trips me up when I have 400 film in the camera and a nice shot appears in midday sunlight...

Maybe they will come down in price, or start showing up used, in 12 to 18 months - we can always hope.

BTW: anyone heard if the Minilux is being discontinued?

- marc


From the CM brochure, the indication is that the CM does have the rangefinder focus system - "lightbalance sytem as used on modern m seiies for manual focus" - and you can see the 2 windows on front of the camera. Not seen it in practice though so can't confirm.

Looks great to me....



I have been asking about this on other forums and have not received an answer as yet. I cannot see how on earth the CM can have a real rangefinder, as on an M camera. There is no RF patch in the finder and, more obviously, there is no focus ring on the lens. I gather you set the distance with the dial, as on the Minilux or a Contax G1/G2 and hope for the best. Therefore I do not see the role of the LED "focus aid" of which they speak. I gather they light up when the camera has achieved focus, as far as IT is concerned, which bears no relation, necessarily, to where you WANT it to focus. I find all this peculiar. As a Leica fan, and owner of both a Minilux and an M6, I think it is weird for Leica of all people to be deceptive about a cameras capabilities. That, and the fact that they have--according to another forum--withdrawn ALL CMs in Italy, due to defect. This is astonishing to me, assuming it is the case.

Re: "I think it is weird for Leica of all people to be deceptive about a cameras capabilities. That, and the fact that they have--according to another forum--withdrawn ALL CMs in Italy, due to defect. This is astonishing to me, assuming it is the case."

I'm not surprised. The Leica CM brochure also states that the CM has "Program Shift." As best I can tell, it does not have true program shift.
BTW, it appears that Leica is going to TRY to build a digital camera that will take M lenses. I can hear Canon's people laughing all the way to the bank....