Are you looking for the best Leica cameras for beginners? You are in the right place. Nothing is more exciting than launching your journey as a photographer than buying your first Leica. But get the wrong one and your experience quickly sours.

So in this list I will reveal the very best Leicas suited for beginners, and why. I’ve also added many sample images so that you have a great idea of what you can expect.

What makes Leicas great for beginners?

If you are reading an article about the best Leica cameras for beginners, it’s pretty important to figure out what makes a camera beginner friendly. Earning your stripes on a Leica is special. They don’t feel like any other camera and they ooze “photography” when you hold and shoot them. But more practically the reason why you want Leicas are the dials and prime lenses.

All the cameras on this list have dials that make it easy to understand your Aperture, ISO, Shutter speed (they are the ABCs of photography). Leica lenses usually focused on prime lenses, so no zooming possible.

While that might sound scarry at first, it is the best to learn photography because it teaches you to be used to one focal length in order to train your eyes.

In the list below we made our selection based on a few other criterias that are important to beginners, like making sure that you have all you need to shoot right away (fixed lenses, or having the lens packaged in) and also longevity. Here’s the selection of the Best Leica cameras for beginners:

Best Leica cameras for beginners list

NameSensor SizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica Q2Full Frame28mm f/1.7 Check Price
Leica CL+18mmAPSC27mm f/2.8 Check Price
Leica TL2+18mmAPSC27mm f/2.8 Check Price
Leica M10RFull FrameM Mount Check Price
Leica D-lux74/324-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Check Price

Now let’s look at what makes each a contender to see why they earn their spot as the best Leica cameras for beginners.

1. Leica Q2

The best Leica cameras for beginners with room to grow

Leica q2
The Leica Q2 is one of the best Leica cameras for beginners
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ Amazing Sensor
+ Portable
+ Great dials for control
+ Fantastic lens
+ 47 Megapixels
– Is a fixed lens

Let’s start this list of the best Leica cameras for beginners with Leica’s hit: The Q2. The most popular Leica camera is the Leica M line, it is interchangeable lens but the up-front cost is steep for beginners because just one lens can double the price of the body only. This camera is pretty much like the Leica M line and has a stellar fixed 28mm f/1.7 attached and makes for a much more affordable package.

leica q2 sample image 1
Sharp, Bokehlicious, Full Frame, the Q2 is one of THE best Leica cameras for beginners [1]

The Leica wide angle lens is perfect for genres like travel, street photography and even portraits. Even tough the 28mm has been a favorite of photographers for decades, there is a digital zoom included. It goes to about 75mm, putting it in the telephoto range. It’s not a real zoom as this is simply cropping, but the 47.3 megapixels is so powerful that you still get a 7 megapixel image even zoomed in completely.

leica q2 sample image 2

For reference, most cameras give you a 20 megapixel file. So while this is a fixed lens, if you do not mind the reduced megapixel count, it is also a zoom camera. And 17 megapixels is more than enough for giant prints.

leica q2 sample image 3

What makes this great above the M cameras is that there is no steep learning curve as this is an autofocus camera. The great dials will make you familiar with the photographic process in no time.

The lens of the Q2 has the same Leica engineering behind it, so it is razor sharp. The combination of the huge sensor and Maestro II processor will leave you with some incredible images.

leica q2 sample image 5

The lens is also f/1.7, meaning it can blur backgrounds easily. This is a favorite of photographers who like to put their lenses at an open aperture in order to make the background blur. You can see the effect here with this portrait:

leica q2 sample image 4

There is no better than the Leica Q2 for beginners. There’s nothing else to buy, it has a lens included and it’s pretty much everything you will ever need for your photographic journey. While we started this list of the best Leica cameras for beginners with full frame, let’s look at Leica’s smaller sensor offerings.

2. Leica CL + 18mm

Best Leica cameras for beginners with the possibility of more lenses

leica cl 18mm
The modern, smaller M is one of the best Leica cameras for beginners
Reasons to buyCons
+ ASPC sensor
+ Portable
+ Great dials for control
+ Includes fast kit lens
+ Autofocus lens
+ Classic look
– Not fullframe

If the Q2 is a bit too much, then the CL will fit the bill as one of the best Leica cameras for beginners. Remember those 35mm cameras? The fullframe cameras have the same size as these. A step smaller than these are APSC cameras.

While full frames beat APSC in terms of overall image quality and the power to blur the background better, APSC has it’s own advantages. First is the smaller bodies and smaller lenses making the cameras more convenient to carry everywhere.

Leica cl beginners

There is also the price as these tend to be cheaper than full frame cameras. Plus, the technology is now so good that it’s practically impossible to see the difference between the two.

The CL camera is the very best APSC camera Leica offers. Plus it is autofocus so no steep learning curve needed.

Leica cl beginners 2

This pretty affordable package also comes with an 18mm that acts like a 27mm. Without going into details this is due to the crop factor of APSC sensors. All you need to know is that the kit lens is about a 28mm, a wide angle.

It’s pretty fast too at f/2.8, so it can blur the background. Moreover the lens is a pancake lens, meaning it’s pretty thin. Since this is an interchangeable lens camera you can always add more lenses as you see fit.

These can allow for more telephoto and blurring like below:

Leica cl beginners 3

But the overall package is great as is and perfect for beginners, nothing extra to get. The camera has a rangefinder style look to it that is downright sexy, and it also comes with a viewfinder if you do not want to use the screen.

Leica cl beginners 4

There is an alternative to this camera that is our 3rd choice and really depends on how you like your cameras.

3. Leica TL2 + 18mm

One of the best Leica cameras for beginners who like touchscreens

leica tl2 18mm
The Leica TL2 is one of the best Leica cameras for beginners, one of the cheapest, too!
Reasons to buyCons
+ ASPC sensor
+ Portable
+ Great dials for control
+ Includes fast kit lens
+ Autofocus lens
+ Modern look
– Not fullframe
– Touchscreen operation
– No built-in viewfinder

This, along with the CL is one of the best Leica cameras for beginners, the real question is, what’s your camera flavor? This too is the best APSC camera that Leica offers, but it feels different than the CL. They pretty much share everything like the stellar sensor and even take the same lenses.

Leica tl2 beginners

The differences inside wise come down to frames per second. This one can do 20 frames per second while the previous one can only do half of that.

Leica tl2 beginners 2

What it comes down to is if you like your cameras with more classic rangefinder camera style, or if you like your cameras more sleek and modern. Besides the dials on top, this camera only has a touchscreen in the back for all the operations.

Leica tl2 beginners 3

It also lacks a viewfinder, so if you want one this will be an added accessory to get. On the flip side, it is smaller than it’s CL brother, but shares much of what makes it great.

Leica tl2 beginners 4

This is the camera for beginners who are used to their phones and like touchscreen operation. If you like more classic style cameras, then it’s the CL.

4. Leica M10R

One of the best Leica cameras for beginners who are serious

leica m10r
Reasons to buyCons
+ Full frame
+ Amazing Sensor
+ Portable
+ Great dials for control
+ Interchangeable M lenses
– Manual focus only
– Takes a while getting used to
– Heavy up-front investment cost
– Body only, needs a lens

Up until now we’ve been pretty considerate of beginner needs. But if you want to jump the line and use the camera that many others use, then it is the Leica M.

Let’s get something out of the way first, it’s a steep price to pay for beginners because the M line is the flagship line and one lens can easily double the price of your kit.

There is also the fact that this is a manual focus camera and has always been for decades. So you will not only need to get used to that, you also need to earn your stripes rangefinder focusing, where it’s a smaller square in the middle that indicates the focus.

If you are fine with these two points, then there is no better than the Leica M10R. It is the top of the line beast that every photographer salivates to shoot. It is fullframe, so maximum quality is a given, and it has decades worth of lenses that can be used for it.

This is the no-quarter camera that is a great buy if you know you are into photography. As any Leica these have a long shelf life so it is actually a great investment in the long run.

The overall camera being a rangefinder style means that it won’t be as big as your aunt’s brand new DSLR, but having the Leica seal means you’ll be able to make razor sharp images and blow them up real big if you want to print them. Sample images:

leica m10 sample image 1
leica m10 sample image 2
leica m10 sample image 3
leica m10 sample image 4
leica m10 sample image 5

Useful links:

5. Leica D-Lux 7

One of the best Leica cameras for beginners that has fast zoom built-in

leica d lux 7
The all-in-one D7 is one of the best Leica cameras for beginners
Reasons to buyCons
+ 4/3 sensor
+ Great zoom range
+ Portable
+ Great dials for control
+ Stabilization
+ Great video
– Fixed lens
– Only Leica branded camera

This is the final choice for our list of the best Leica cameras for beginners. Heads up, this is not fully a Leica. It is a collaboration between Pansonic and the German company and this is Leica’s version. If you are fine with this then this is by far one of the best Leica beginners camera.

It’s really all about the lens. There’s the zoom range that goes from 28mm (wide angle) to 75mm (telephoto) so it pretty much covers everything you will ever need as a photographer, let alone a beginner.

Not only that it’s a fast lens, it goes from f/1.7 to f/2.8 so it’s stellar for portraits if you put it at 75mm f/2.8. See for yourself:

Leica d lux 7 portrait photography 1

And then zoom out and you can do things like street photography:

Leica d lux 7 street photography 15

This is the only camera on this list that has a zoom built-in. But there’s more, the 4/3 sensor (smaller than the APSC sensor) strikes the balance between making the camera small and still have the ability to have stunning image quality, the possibility of blurring the background and have a small price tag.

Leica d lux 7 travel photography 6

This is the best value camera on this list and it’s perfect for beginners. It also has Panasonic’s know how built in, so there’s stabilization so it will allow you to shoot when the light starts dropping. It also has incredible 4k video that can allow you to do some cinematic videos if you so chose.

Leica d lux 7 sample image 9

Best leica for beginners: Conclusion

There you have it, a list of the Best Leica cameras for beginners. Without a doubt the best one is the Leica Q2. If you want interchangeable lenses then the CL (classic look) or TL2 (modern look). If you want to jump the line then go straight to the M10R and if you are looking for a budget option, the the D-lux7. Happy shooting!

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