Leicas are out of reach (some would say overpriced) but the good news is, you can get Leica alternatives to get pretty much the same experience without breaking the bank. Here’s what you need to know about Leica alternatives to their cameras and lenses.
Hi my name is Sven the Leicaphile and in this article I will guide you trough the wonderful world of Leica alternatives. Since Leica makes multiple camera lines and lenses, I will break in down into sections.
Leica alternatives: What you need to know
It is the law of the market. If something is out of reach for most people, create an alternative. That is nothing new, there’s been plenty of alternatives and outright knockoffs of Leicas for decades. What makes this whole discussion interesting however is that there’s not only alternatives for their Leica M mounts but also alternative lenses. There’s also alternatives to their compacts. And some of these have been made in partnership with Panasonic, so there are a bunch of alternatives there too. Let’s look into each.
Alternatives to specific models
Leica M mount camera alternatives
Leica is usually synonymous with their Leica rangefinders. So let’s kick off this Leica alternatives guide with some bad news: if you are looking for these 3 things that every Leica M has:
- Full frame sensor
- Takes M lenses
- Is a rangefinder camera
You won’t find any.
There are no direct Leica M alternatives and Leica reigns supreme there. The Leica Ms have no modern equals, all you can do is compromise.
How so? You can either get a Rangefinder that is APSC sensor or a Full frame that looks and holds nothing like a rangefinder camera.
In order to find the best M alternative, you’ll have to know what you cherish most about the M cameras, is it the mount or is it the fact that it is full frame and a rangefinder? Check out these lists of Leica alternatives to find out:
- Best Non Leica digital rangefinder cameras (A list of digital rangefinders)
- Best Non Leica M mount cameras (A list of cameras with M mount)
- Best Full frame Leica alternatives (Cameras that are full frame)
- Best Leica alternatives (A List of Leica-like cameras)
What about the lenses? Let’s look into…
Leica M lenses alternatives
The Leica M lenses are some of the most sought after lenses in the industry. But Leica isn’t the only one who makes them, just like Sigma might make some lenses for Nikon, Voigtlander makes lenses for Leica M mount.
The main reason for the lens alternatives is much more affordable prices, and the quality is usually pretty much on par. The lenses are still small and there’s a lot to love there.
- Best non Leica M mount lenses (You’d be surpised how cheap some are)
- Best Voigtlander M lenses
- Best Zeiss M lenses
- Noctilux alternatives
Leica compact camera alternatives
While Leica has the crown in the digital rangefinder camp, when it comes to their compact mirrorless cameras there’s a lot of alternatives there. The biggest heat they take is from Fuji, that tickles the same rangefinder gland as a Leica.
Unlike Leicas however, these are autofocus cameras with a unique viewfinder system. It’s both EVF and OVF at the same time and quite a sight to behold. So if you are looking for an alternative to the CL, TL and other Leica compacts, the best alternative is Fuji, namely Fuji X100V for fixed lens and Fuji X-Pro III for interchangeable lenses. Fuji also makes an official M mount adapter, if that doesn’t tell you who they are trying to get, I don’t know what will.
If you are looking for something like the Leica Q, Sony makes a full frame fixed camera too.
Leica Panasonic alternatives
The Leica -Lux series like the Leica D-Lux 6 are partnership cameras. These are made by Panasonic but on spec by Leica and with Leica’s approval. Made-in-Germany Leicas are handmade in Germany so not a lot of them are produced. The -Lux series are outsourced to Panasonic, and has Leica’s design on the camera and lenses.
But part of the deal is, for these cameras, Panasonic also has the right to put in their own non Leica branded version, so there’s always two versions of these cameras, the Leica and Panasonic version. The difference is usually cosmetic and compatibility. Only Leica cameras can communicate with the Leica Fotos app for example. Here’s the list of all Leica Panasonic equivalents:
|wdt_ID||Leica camera||Panasonic Equivalent|
|Leica camera||Panasonic Equivalent|
Leica Sofort alternative
Leica Sofort is Leica’s instant film camera. The Leica Sofort Fuji equivalent is the Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. It has the same lens, same battery and takes the same film. If you are looking for a Sofort film alternative the Instax mini film will do.
There you have it, everything you need to know about the wonderful world of Leica alternatives. There are no apples to apples alternatives to the M cameras, but you can find plenty of lens alternatives. And while Leica reigns supreme in the rangefinder category, it faces some pretty tough competition when it comes to the compact cameras. Happy shooting!