Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/08/11

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Leica CL defense
From: Peterson Arthur G NSSC <PetersonAG@NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 07:41:33 -0400

		The Leica CL is a beautiful little camera, and the frequent
and widespread denigration of it (e.g., "not as rugged as a Leica M model")
is simply criticism for not being something it was never intended to be.  It
seems to me a great pity that Leica cannot (or, at least, does not) produce
something like the CL today, as an entry-level model (which is what it was
for me) and something that is easy to take along almost anywhere.  It has
always been my favorite Leica.

		Art Peterson
		Alexandria, Virginia

		-----Original Message-----
		From: []
		Sent:	Sunday, August 10, 2003 10:05 PM
		Subject:	[Leica] Leica CL defense

		Actually the Leica CL needs no defense. It is exactly what
is was advertized 
		as being, the "smallest rangefinder camera featuring a Leica
bayonet mount and 
		selective theough the lens metering." This is an exact quote
from the 1974 
		introductory brochure 112-92b/Engl. Leica's strategy was to
produce a companion 
		camera to the M series capable of mounting M lenses and
suitable for the 
		occasional or vacationing photographer. It was never
intended to meet the same 
		professional standards as the more robustly constructed M4
or M5s. The brochure 
		suggested that the 40 and 90 mm lenses designed for the CL
would suffice for 90% 
		of photographic needs, and the RF base and magnification
were designed to 
		deal with those lenses.

		I've owned a CL since 1977 and it has accompanied me on most
trips since that 
		time. True to Leica's predictions the two lenses have
satisfied the bulk of 
		my photographic needs when traveling. The camera is a
delight to handle and 
		about half the weight of a regular Leica kit. In the 25
years that I have owned 
		it, it has never malfunctioned. Not even once and I have
used it in some very 
		bad environments. The shutter speed dial is adjacent to the
shutter release and 
		permits easy adjustment in changing light conditions. The
ergonomics of the 
		camera are far better than those of my Ms. Loading is dead
simple. The exposure 
		meter, while not quite a spot meter, permits selective
metering of the most 
		critical areas of a scene. In short it is a joy to use.

		Because I am a left eyed shooter, I had my CL modified by
Leica (Rockleigh)  
		to leave the meter permanently on. The regular CL only turns
the meter on when 
		the winding lever is pulled out to operating position.
Unfortunately this 
		would poke me in the right eye when I looked through the
viewfinder. I also use 
		the Canon 100 mm f3.5 LTM lens instead of the Leica 90mm.
Not that I have 
		anything against the Leica lens, its just that I already had
the Canon and it is a 
		superb performer. The 90mm viewfinder frame exactly matches
the 100mm field of 
		view. There is no 35 mm viewframe, per. se., but the
viewfinder overall field 
		of view matches that of a 35 mm lens. My 35 mm Leica and
Canon lenses can be 
		used without trouble. I've used a Canon 25 mm lens with an
		viewfinder. In this respect it is no different than the M

		The CL will accomodate any Leica collapsible lens that
doesn't extend greater 
		than 16 mm behind the flange. It will mount the 50 mm f2.0
Summicron and 
		Summitar without trouble. No need for the Dymo tape
suggested in the manual. It 
		will not mount the f3.5 Elmar 50 or 90 mm collapsible lenses
without the tape. 
		Both extend about 20 mm behind the flange in the collapsed
position. The 90mm 
		lens will not injure the photosensor since it is stopped by
a fixed meter 
		support. Neither will the CL mount the 50mm Hektor or the
Summar, but then who 
		would want to.

		When the CL was introduced it was suggested that neither the
40 or 90 mm CL 
		lenses would work on the M series cameras because of some
mumbo jumbo reason 
		about the slope of the rangefinder cam. This was pure
marketing hype. The CL 
		lenses were simply cheaper than their M counterparts and
Leica didn't want to 
		impact sale of the more expensive optics. The 40 mm works
just fine on my Ms.

		In short, I am very pleased with my CL and have been so for
the last quarter 
		of a century. It is not a workhorse like the M cameras but
was never intended 
		to be. The only defect I find is that the back must be
removed to replace the 
		meter battery. If the battery dies in the middle of the
roll, the metering 
		function is lost until you change film. Because of the meter
modification I made, 
		I take care to change batteries before every important
shooting session. The 
		battery lasts about six months whether the camera is used or

		Incidentally Sherry Krauter, a reasonably close neighbor of
		participated in setting up the training program for Leica CL
repair in Germany, and 
		trained many of the CL repair technicians in the USA. If you
want to CLA or repair 
		a CL camera, she is the one to send it to.

		Larry Z 
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