Leica M or Leica CL: conflicted
Old 10-21-2016   #1
Pfreddee
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Leica M or Leica CL: conflicted

I own a Leica CL, which I've used some, but I haven't bonded with it for some reason or other. I keep thinking maybe I should get an M body instead. What I want to know is, will the experience of using an M body be appreciably different from using my CL? I think that the problem with the CL is that it isn't an M, and that's making it hard to bond with it. Silly, but there you have it. I had a similar experience with a Canon P, which I used for a few months, and then sold it. Close, but not a Leica M. What are your collective thoughts on the matter?

Thanks to all who reply,

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)
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Old 10-21-2016   #2
css9450
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I bought my CL specifically because its not an M.
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Old 10-21-2016   #3
skibeerr
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Stephen,

an M will feel much more solid is made to higher standards and with better materials.

It is larger and heavier.

There are more spare parts for an M, no batterie problems and more people who work on them.

You might conclude I am slightly biased towards an M.
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Old 10-21-2016   #4
bucs
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Go for an M. You will keep craving for one.

Incidentally i'm looking for a cl. So if you are unloading. Send me a message

I have an M2 and M3. I would not say they are irreplaceable but my GAS was tempered down when I was able finally acquire one of them. Well not for a CL I gusss hahaha
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Old 10-21-2016   #5
Archlich
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You have to use an M to understand what it is not.
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Old 10-21-2016   #6
Mute-on
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There is nothing like a Leica M. You have to use one to discover if it speaks to you.

The M2 speaks loudest to me. The modern MP, less so.
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Old 10-22-2016   #7
ruby.monkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
I own a Leica CL, which I've used some, but I haven't bonded with it for some reason or other. I keep thinking maybe I should get an M body instead. What I want to know is, will the experience of using an M body be appreciably different from using my CL? I think that the problem with the CL is that it isn't an M, and that's making it hard to bond with it. Silly, but there you have it. I had a similar experience with a Canon P, which I used for a few months, and then sold it. Close, but not a Leica M. What are your collective thoughts on the matter?

Thanks to all who reply,

With best regards,

Pfreddee(Stephen)
I have a CL. I have an M3. The M3 is far more comfortable to hold and shoot. The Cl has a slightly brighter finder, but the M3's ha a higher magnification and the rangefinder spot gives greater contrast. The CL is lighter and more compact, and easier to load in a hurry. The M3 is, in my hands, much easier to hold steady and shoot at a lower shutter speed. The CL is made of old tin cans, the M3 hewn from solid brass and angels' dreams.

Pick a CL for compactness. Pick an M for happiness.
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Old 10-22-2016   #8
splitimageview
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If you aren't bonding with the CL, it's because of it's own characteristics, not that it isn't an M.

Try an M. That way you'll know.

They both take exactly the same pictures.
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Old 10-22-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archlich View Post
You have to use an M to understand what it is not.
Very true.

The M is just a refined, simple camera. Nothing more, nothing less. The more you use it the more you understand that there is nothing special, but by then it's got its hooks in and you're doomed
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Old 10-22-2016   #10
richard_l
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I never had a CL. In the late 1990s I got an M6, and I bonded with it almost immediately. For me it remains the ideal camera for 99% of my film photography. I have a Nikon FM2n for those rare times when a rangefinder is not appropriate.
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Old 10-22-2016   #11
Dez
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I have had a CL and an M5, the largest and the smallest of M models, both introduced at about the same time. The features and limitations are very similar, but the subjective impressions of the two are completely different. The CL is small, light and convenient, but to me it feels fragile. The M5 is big and blocky, but has an air of indestructibility, and is in my opinion the best film Leica for actual use. I sold the CL and kept the M5.
But what do I know? I take most of my pictures with a Nikon D700!

Cheers,
Dez
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Old 10-22-2016   #12
superultramega
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It's possible you won't like any rangefinder. The P isn't that much different than a meterless M.
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Old 10-22-2016   #13
Daryl J.
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The M works with the natural flow of hands like no other camera. I probably would have bought it had it been made of cardboard with a few thin-pressed metal fiddly bits and listed a a dollar-fifty. That it is absolutely solid makes it all the more better. That one can get a huge variety of significantly different rendering is better still.

Oh, my favorite M? A beat up, dented, peeling M4-2 with a rather ugly patina.
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Old 10-22-2016   #14
Dan Daniel
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I used a CL for close to a decade in the '80s. When I came back to film in the late 2000's, I bought a CL. First, it didn't have the ability to add a diopter to the viewfinder so I needed to use glasses. ANd I had been shooting with a Rolleiflex for a couple of years before this, and the CL just didn't have the solid feel of the Rollei. Also the noise of the meter arm swinging out of the way bothered me after the near silence of the Rollei.

So I added an M3. Diopter possible. More solid, secure in use. Quiter than the CL.

They are different cameras. I would see the CL as a well-made sophisticated version of the compact 35mm fixed lens rangefinders so common in the '70s. The M3 is the classic brick rangefinder harking back into the '30s. An SLR without the prism hump and slapping mirror.

What happened with me is that I ended up selling both cameras. Rangefinders simply aren't for me. If I want to shoot 35mm film, I pull out the Pentax SLR.

The 40mm Summicron(Rokkor) is a wonderful lens, by the way. If the CL works for you, it makes a great single lens take-anywhere setup.
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Old 10-22-2016   #15
lxmike
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if you get a chance try and get to use an M2
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Old 10-22-2016   #16
Juan Valdenebro
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That's something only you can decide... But if you haven't tried an M, you should...
Here's my opinion: the M3 and the M2 were very interesting cameras when they were new and nothing was like them. Because of their low sound and build quality they were used and respected by great masters, and obviously because of the lenses they could use: that's how the myth was born: LEitzCAmeras make great photographs, but that's a huge lie. Honestly I don't think the camera is the most important part for good photographs, not the second one, not the third one, but I'm aware people love cameras and their looks... Even brands and logos... On this forum there's a thread going to 4 million views (the most visited one) just for seeing M leica models... It amazes me, really... People caring more about different lenses and what they offer, film exposure & processing, composition, and philosophy of photography, are a minority... As a tool, I prefer a camera that's as capable as possible, comfortable and light. I've used an M3 and I own a IIIf RD, and I prefer cameras with simple back door and 1/2000th shutter (I use that speed constantly)... I never felt home with Leica cameras, but for sure people who started with them, feel great with them, and that's natural... I just don't find them comfortable, and I tried.
That being said, I find M2's are really beautiful, and interesting historically... I might get one in the future.
If you don't feel Voigtlander Bessas are some of the greatest cameras ever by any brand, I've heard the Zeiss Ikons are a pleasure... Or get an M, but they're not really that different from a Canon P... But whatever camera makes you happy, it will give you peace of mind to think of what matters to your photography... Good luck and happy shooting!
Cheers,
Juan
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Last edited by Juan Valdenebro : 10-22-2016 at 16:05. Reason: typo
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Old 10-22-2016   #17
David Hughes
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Hi,

The M2 is big and heavy and has no metering.

The CL is small and light and has CW metering.

Most other things are the same to me, even though the loading is different.

I've owned the CL for decades and it gets far more use than any other camera.

Regards, David
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Old 10-22-2016   #18
aizan
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just buy an m and get it out of your system. it's easier to do that than deal with all of the hangups we have about gear, creativity, and social status! hahaha *sadface*
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Old 10-22-2016   #19
Huss
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I got rid of my CL w/in the week I got it. Tiny RF baselength, just didn't feel right.
In comparison I have two CLEs, and multiple Ms.

Get an M. Any M. There is nothing like it.
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Old 10-22-2016   #20
Ko.Fe.
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If I'm not bonding with camera it goes on sale. Haven't sold any of three Ms, but many other cameras to get my first M. Sell camera you have no bond with and try M.

It is time, I have read enough posts from you about buying M already
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Old 10-22-2016   #21
splitimageview
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The CL EBL is short but the camera isn't designed for superfast lenses and will focus just fine with the smaller lenses for which it was designed, without them partially obscuring the VF. This really isn't really 'bonding' related
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Old 10-22-2016   #22
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
just buy an m and get it out of your system. it's easier to do that than deal with all of the hangups we have about gear, creativity, and social status! hahaha *sadface*
True, no point in being rational if it keeps you awake at night...

Regards, David
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Old 10-22-2016   #23
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True, no point in being rational if it keeps you awake at night...

Regards, David
If buying an M will then allow him to sleep at night, well, that would be a very rational decision!
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Old 10-22-2016   #24
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I used a couple of CLs back in the late '70s. They don't give me the warm fuzzy feeling that an M2, M4 or MP does, but they never broke down. Statistics say the short base rangefinder is less accurate but I got many fine photographs & used the cameras climbing all over the Canadian Rockies, Yosemite & Alaska. I was just thinking about getting one again, since I scored a broken T4 and Mr Miyazaki is remounting the Tessar in an M mount. I never bonded with the feel of the Rollei 35 either, but they gave me great photos. I look at the CL as a sophisticated point & shoot with interchangeable lenses. I might not own one as my only Leica...but I have a soft spot for them. Definitely a nice stealth camera
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