Using a Leica CL

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by richard jepsen, Jan 1, 2000.

  1. I am interested in others experiences using a Leica CL. I like the CL's spot meter, size, room around the 40/50/90mm frames, and the match needle. Wearing glasses I can see the entire view, however the finder is very small.

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    How do you get a diopter adjustment (would current X-370/700 Minolta diopters fit?

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    Would the 40 and 90mm CL lens be competitive with Minolta MD or C&N glass.

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    Would multi-coated Minolta Rokkers made in the 80s be an improvement over Leica badged single coated lens?

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    Does the CL have an accurate focus at distances over 3 ft since the rangefinder base is short?
     
  2. I have not used a CL extensively but can answer your questions. The
    eyepeice correction lenses are CL only and are extremely difficult to
    find (found this in the Leica-users archives). The 40mm summicron is a
    very sharp, highly regarded lens and just as good as the 50mm
    summicron of the day (ie. excellent). Both of the 90mm f4 lenses were
    made by Leitz in Germany and are very good if a little slow compared
    to what we are now used to. The lenses for the CLE were multicoated
    but they also used a different focussing cam. The original CL lenses
    used a "steep" cam that was different from the M camera's lens cam.
    When Minolta made the CLE and its lenses they switched to the M camera
    type of cam so these lens are not supposed to focus accurately on the
    CL. I have heard people say they work just fine but would recomend you
    do your own focussing tests with a yard stick to be sure before
    buying. The CL rangefinder is fine for focussing its lenses. I would
    not mount a 50mm f1.4 to it nor would I mount a 90mm f2.0. If you
    stick with the CL's original lenses you will get sharp contrasty
    properly focussed images. Some people use a 90mm F2.8 and say it
    focusses fine but do your own tests first. The CL was a great camera
    and singlehandedly killed off the M5 and almost took out the M4 line
    as well. Leica stopped making them as they made very little money off
    them, though Minolta did alright making them for Leica, and the CL
    took away from sales of t
     
  3. Well it cut off my final line which was to say that the CL took sales
    away from Leica's premium (and money making) cameras
     
  4. Some people maintain that the CLE 40mm and 90mm are actually better
    than the CL lenses, because they are multicoated. They are certainly
    cheaper and of equal quality, although the 28mm is apparently not as
    good as the Elmarit of the same vintage. As to steep focussing cams
    etc. I think this was Leica propaganda. If Leica-M-lenses work on the
    CLE then it must work the other way round too. It was Leica basically
    attempting to stop CLE Rokkors from stealing their market for M
    owners.
     
  5. The CLE lenses do not use the steep cam, only the CL lenses do. The
    CLE lenses work fine on any Leica M camera but the CLE 28 will bring
    up the 35/135 frameline on a Leica M camera. It is possible to modify
    the bayonet flange by adding extra material to bring up the correct
    framel
     
  6. It cut off my last word again! Frameline. I will inset this garbage
    sentence s
     
  7. The Minolta CLE was a much better choice for me than the CL. I found
    that the CL's meter always seems to be jumping around, even on
    cameras that just had been repaired by a Leica specialist. The
    rangefinder base on the CLE was larger as well. As far as the lenses
    go, the 40mm multicoated Rokkor for the CLE is as good as any lens I
    have ever used, and is sharp even at f2.0. I wasn't as happy with
    the 90mm f4.0 and sold it. I already had a 90mm 2.8 Elmarit that
    works great on either the cl or cle, and is noticeably better than
    the f4.0 Elmar/Rokkor at all f-stops.
     
  8. Andrew, your advise came in handy for me. I happen to buy a used CLE
    recently and I was comtemplating whether to buy the Leica 90mm or the
    Minolta one. Looks like Leica will be the choice. Thanks.
     

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