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Leica CL pictures and full-resolution photo samples

Innovative controls plus form-over-function omissions make the CL a great but occasionally frustrating mirrorless to use.

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Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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Top dials

I like the layout, with the side-by-side dials rather than front and back. Pressing the left button changes modes, and you can remap the secondary function on the fly by holding its button down. It defaults to ISO sensitivity.

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Traditional Leica design

The CL borrows a lot from the Leica M series, though I think it has most in common with the Leica Q.

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Status display

It has a tiny status display on top that shows you the current shooting mode, shutter speed, aperture and where relevant, exposure compensation setting.

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Streamlined back

By making the top dials multifunctional and mappable on the fly, Leica could get rid of extraneous buttons on the back. A single press of the Fn button lets you change a particular setting; holding it down lets you choose a different setting to be the one-touch option.

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No grip

You really have to hold it with two hands.

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Look ma, no connectors

To keep the clean lines, Leica eschews such niceties as a USB port for charging. So not only do you have to tote the charger, you also have to tote the power cord, because it doesn't have built-in prongs.

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No connectors here either

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Nice display

But I would have liked titling or articulation, even if it means an unsightly hinge. (The plastic bar cutting across the top of the viewfinder eyepiece will not be on the shipping models.)

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SD card in the battery compartment

It's there because Leica didn't want to put an unsightly door on the side, which is annoying.

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Leica CL

No, the lens isn't red. Sigh.

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ISO 160

View full-resolution image.

(Note: CNET crops images to a 16:9 viewport. The originals are 3:2.)

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