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The Best Lenses for the Leica CL (the Original)


There are tons of Leica lenses out there, and a lot of them are for the Leica M mount. But, because it’s the smallest Leica m-mount camera, the Leica CL stands out. The best lenses for the Leica CL balance image quality with size. That’s the focus (pun intended) for this round up. Dive in with us!

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How We Chose the Best Lenses for the Leica CL

The lenses for the Leica CL that we’re choosing are all for great reasons:

  • First off, know that all the lenses in this roundup were reviewed by our staff. In fact, all the product photos and sample images were also shot by us. Each section has links to our full reviews where you can find and explore more.
  • The best lenses for the Leica CL are small, just like the camera. We’re not including any large lenses because they won’t be balanced.
  • The best lenses for the Leica CL aren’t necessarily from Leica. Indeed, we think there are some third party options that suit the small size better.
  • The Leica CL is also known as the Minolta CLE and the Leitz Minolta CL; each of them has variations.

Leica 40mm f2

Pros

  • Crazy sharp on digital cameras and when using a UV filter
  • Compact
  • Smooth
  • Well built
  • Beautiful image quality

Cons

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“The colors from this lens are a bit muted with less contrasty than more modern optics, but some like that look. For skin tones and portraits, it’s now one of my favorites, even over the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art.”

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Leica 50mm f2 Summicron (Non APO)

Pros

  • Small
  • One of Leica’s most affordable M mount lenses
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Sharp without being overly sharp
  • Nice bokeh
  • Gorgeous colors
  • Truly a lens you want to bring with you everywhere

Cons

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“The Leica 50mm f2 Summicron M is a stunning beauty in the image quality department. If you’re a pixel peeper, you’ll probably be impressed here. But honestly, this site was designed for folks who don’t pixel peep. Instead, you’ll appreciate how sharp it is without using tricks like contrast or saturation to make it appear sharper than it really is. Sharpness isn’t everything. The bokeh is smooth. The colors are beautiful. And, of course, there’s lens character.”

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7Artisans 50mm f1.1

Pros

  • Very beautiful bokeh
  • Stop the lens down just a bit and it will be tack sharp
  • Nice feeling in the hand
  • Works beautifully on M mount cameras and when attached to a Sony a7r III
  • This gorgeous lens flare
  • Fun to use
  • You get a rubber focus tab that you can paste on for yourself
  • Very affordable at $369

Cons

  • There are these empty screw holes on the focusing ring. I’m afraid of stuff getting in there in the long run.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“Oh man, am I in love with this lens. Want that soft look? You can get it. Want that super sharp look? It’s got that. Want lens flare? Oh man, does this lens control it just right! The 7Artisans 50mm f1.1 surely has character to it. In the same way I’ve always felt that Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses have a specific character to them, so too does this one. I don’t think it’s meant to be 100% perfect, but it’s surely gorgeous in every single way.”

Buy Now

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.







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