Leica CL: Early Morning Walk on The High Line

Leica CL: Early Morning Walk on The High Line:

I woke up early this morning to go down to Chelsea to meet a friend for breakfast.  I brought along the Leica CL I’ve been reviewing.  Size wise, it is absolutely the perfect camera to carry along when you’re not out purely just for photography.  I had the 18mm Elmarit-TL attached.  I’m not a fan of the 28mm focal length, which this little lens essentially equates to in 35mm terms but nevertheless, it’s been a great little lens to carry along.  It’s sharp, compact, and focuses very fast.  It’s actually been mounted on the CL more than any other lens so far.

So, I took the bus to 14th st., and decided to walk on the High Line.  I haven’t been on it in a long time.  For those who don’t know, it’s basically an old railway that is above ground, and it has been converted into a long walkway/park.  It basically goes through Chelsea.  I used to walk on this a lot when it was first opened but it just got so crowded over time.  However, I got there a little before 8am, and since it was so cold, there weren’t many people at all.  Look at the photos and you’ll see: it was almost deserted.

Speaking of the photos, they were all taken with the 18mm Elmarit-TL f2.8 ASPH.  I decided to convert them all into black and white.  I haven’t processed much black and white lately, and I don’t know, it just felt right for these photos.  I used Capture One to do all my processing.

On a side note, it’s been really cold out lately, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the performance of the CL in this type of weather.  When I go out with the CL, it basically hangs around my neck the whole time because I’m trying to keep my hands warm in my pockets :).  So, it’s been taking the cold and the wind head on basically.  According to the specs, the battery only lasts about 220 shots but I have to say, the battery has been performing really well, especially in the cold.

I have seriously enjoyed using the Leica CL.  I am a huge Leica fan; there’s no doubt about that but I won’t say I like something if I don’t.  The CL to me has a lot of the traits that I would want in a Leica of this class and size.  I hate to say this but in some ways, I prefer it over the M.  It’s not perfect, and there are things I would like to see changed but that goes with every camera out there.  I will talk more about this in my review though.  Anyway, I am actually working on the CL review now, so I will leave you, and thank you for stopping by!

6 comments… add one
  • Hello Patrick,

    OK, now you have me hooked to hear what you will have to say about the CL when your review is completed & published. I certainly like the work you have created with it so far, & your praise that you almost like it more than the M really gets my attention. I’ve been a very committed Fuji X system user since it first came out, but admit to deviating mid course to try out the Leica Q with its fixed lens. What brought me back to Fuji, now with an X-Pro2, were three things: first, the limitations imposed by not having interchangeable lenses; second, the difference in how colors are rendered in the systems; & third but most importantly, the lack of an optical viewfinder in order to better see the subjects of my photos. So the CL probably only fixes one of these issues, but I’m still most interested in what you have to say about it. Cheers,


    • Patrick

      Hi Jed,

      It’s great to hear from you. I always appreciate you taking the time out to read my reviews as well, so I hope my upcoming CL does not disappoint.

      Others may disagree but to me, the CL is kind of like a Q with the ability to swap lenses. That’s why I like it so much. I’m a big fan of the Q but I don’t think I could live with just a 28mm lens, especially since that’s my least favorite focal length. Surprisingly though, the 18mm Elmarit (which is essentially a 28mm lens) has been mounted on my loaner CL more than any other lens.

      Now that Leica have produced this cool little camera body, I want to see more lenses. I don’t buy a lot of lenses but I’d like to see maybe a few more primes. It’s great to be able to use the M adapter but I want autofocus lenses.

      Anyway, my review will be coming soon. Thanks for stopping by!



  • Mahesh

    Hi Patrick, it is cold here in London too. It is freezing with a lovely sunshine! Since you have been using CL, it would be useful to read your thoughts on how you find it in relation to XE3. The major difference I see from a brief 5 minute use of CL in a Leica shop is the EVF. I love the EVF the CL has. But then if you compare the lenses, 35 TL, though very nice is much bigger compared to Fuji’s 35/1.4. I like these black and whites but I wasn’t impressed by this 18mm elamrit when I tried. On a separate note, I suppose you will be testing XA5? 🙂

    • Patrick

      Hi Mahesh,

      I miss London so much :). I had so much fun the last time I went. As for the CL, in addition to the EVF, there’s a difference also handling. One thing I love about the digital Leica cameras are the clean designs. I think in an age where we have cameras that can do a million things that I may not need it to do, it’s refreshing to have just a clean design that does the job. The lack of buttons on the CL really goes a long way for instance, because it not only simplifies things, it makes it easier to hold and use (especially with gloves). The menu system is also more straightforward and easier to navigate through. Then there’s the build, which I love. It feels quite solid.

      Of course, I’m also a Fuji fan as you know. I love my X-T2 but I really feel Leica deserves credit for the CL. The TL cameras aren’t my cup of tea but I am definitely on board with the CL because it does have a lot of the Leica traits that make me continue to buy Leicas. Unfortunately, it also has the high price lol.

      As for lenses, now that they have this cool little camera body, I want to see more variety…specifically primes. I’d love to see a fast portrait lens. The 35mm TL is bigger but at least the camera body is small lol :). The 18mm Elmarit has been good to me so far, and surprisingly, I’ve been mostly using this one lens (I’m not a fan of the 28mm focal length) but I think if I were to buy into the system, I would go for the 23mm. I’d like the extra stop, and I prefer the focal length.

      On to Fuji…I do not have the XA5 yet but I will review it. I’m just not sure what I’m reviewing first after the CL lol. The 90mm SL APO is coming very soon (which will be my copy), so if it comes first, I’ll review it first. If not, I will be going to Fuji, and it’ll most likely be the XA5 with a Handevision X Mount lens.

      I appreciate you stopping by again, Mahesh. It’s always great to talk to you. Stay warm!



  • inthedarkroom

    the west side never looked colder…

    • Patrick

      Hi inthedarkroom,

      it’s been a very cold winter :).



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