When Memories Are Just Thoughts Of You
May 01, 2021
Spring cityscapes over downtown Tokyo with the Leica CL.
We picked up the Leica CL on a whim a couple of months ago and it has quickly become our most-used camera which is kind of amazing given that it is an eye-wateringly overpriced 3-year old APS-C camera with no in-body stabilisation, an anemic lineup of fairly unexciting lenses (which also lack stabilisation), an aging sensor and perpetually seems like an afterthought in Leica’s lineup.
On the other hand, shooting with this camera is a joy, from its tiny compact size to its fabulous user experience1 to its amazing build quality. And those relatively boring lenses trade off their lack of stabilisation for relatively slow/variable apertures for tiny pocketable sizes2, strong optical performance and similar amazing build quality.
And given its tiny size, it now competes with the Leica Q2 as my “always with me” camera every time I go out. Great stuff.
Which is a testament to the value of an amazing user experience. I simply just love using this camera far more in all respects than any of my various far-superior-in-any-given-spec-except-the-UX Sony bodies where despite their amazing technology I always feel like I’m fighting a machine and the world’s most unintiutive regurgitated garbage pile of a menu that feels like it was created by looking at old VCR remotes and asking the question “how can we make this more worse in every possible aspect?” There is a joy to holding, using and experiencing the CL (and similarly in other Leica bodies like the Q2 and to an extent, the SL2-S) that is just missing from the Sonys, and for me, that helps cover for the aging specs, lack of OSS, slower focus, etc.3 ↩
I actually own all of the Leica APS-C lenses at this point save the 60mm macro, including even the kit lens, which I bought separately and to this day still can’t quite believe I paid nearly $2000 USD for an 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 non-stabilised kit lens. Amazingly though, it ended up being my second most-used lens on this system, just behind the Summilux 35mm f/1.4 ↩
This definitely should not be your first camera - let’s be real, there are a ton of compromises here. But as a second or third body? Quite possibly, depending on how much of a premium one places on design and experience over raw specs. ↩