Confused about the selection of Leica cameras available? It can be quite confusing! In this Leica camera models explained article let’s look at all of the offerings from Leica and figure out what makes them special.

Table Of Contents

Hi, I’m Seven the Leicaphile and here are all Leica camera models explained. It can get a bit confusing as, well, Leica is a company that has been around for about 100 years (when it comes to cameras). So keeping that in mind, let’s dig right in.

leica x2 grab

Leica camera models explained

The best way to start an article about Leica camera models explained is to divide it by sections of cameras. Let’s look at each camera line one by one.

1. Leica M line: Rangefinders

1.1 The latest model: M10

If someone talks about Leica cameras, they are most likely referring to the digital M mount cameras. These are manual rangefinders that have been around for decades. While the latest models are digital, they are still manual focus cameras and the most well known Leica cameras.

There’s a few versions of this so make sure to check out the Leica M10 versions guide.

1.2. Leica M8 / M9

leica models explained m8
Leica camera models explained: The M8 is the only non full frame Leica M

The current line of M10 digital rangefinders have superseded the Leica M8 and M9 line and a few others. But these are still being sought after and used to this day.

1.3. Leica M film cameras

Leica Poster M6 cutaway color
Leica M6 Cutaway (here)

Leica stopped producing film M cameras after the Leica M7. The M8 is the first digital M. But the pre-M8 film cameras are still sought after to this day just like their digital counterparts.

Many consider the Leica M6 as their “Forever camera” to say everything about the staying power of Leicas. The M6 is one of the most durable Leicas ever made and it might even outlive you, Leica lenses are worth it for that same reason.

1.4. Pre M rangefinders

leica models leica iii
Leica camera models explained: Pre M rangefinders

Before the Leica M3, the first M camera, yes it started with the M3, there was the pre M leicas like the Leica III, these do not yet have the iconic look of the Ms and are small rangefinders.

2. Leica Q line: Between old and new

leica models explained leica q
Leica camera models explained: The Q is between old and new

Next our Leica camera models explained article is the Q line. The Leica Q are relatively new cameras that have taken the world by storm. It is essentially a M mount camera with a fixed auto-focus lens. Just like the M line, the sensor is full frame so you have tremendous image quality and the lens is superb. The current model is the Leica Q2, and has an upgraded sensor and weather sealing compared to the original Leica Q.

3. Leica made compact cameras

3.1. CL/TL2 cameras: APSC interchangeable lens Leicas

These are modern Leica mirrorless cameras. Unlike their older M brother, these are APSC sensor cameras with autofocus lenses. They are smaller than M cameras but also much more affordable. Many actually preffer these to the M cameras. They came in two varients:

The Leica CL takes after the M series of cameras and has a classic look
The Leica TL2 is made out of a solid block of aluminum and has a modern look

The Leica TL has a screen-based operation and omits a viewfinder. So if you want one you will need the Visoflex Leica accessory. Make sure you update the firmware before hand as this can brick your camera.

Interestingly, the Leica SL camera and the CL/TL cameras have the same L mount and can swap lenses. All of the lenses will work on the CL/TL however while they will also work on the SL DSLR, there will be a crop because while all these cameras share the mount, some of them are designed for APSC sensors and others full frame.

3.2. The TL series

The ancestor of the TL2 is the original TL and the even older Leica T. All of them feature mostly touchscreen operation and the same mount.

3.3. The X series

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Leica camera models explained: The X line is modeled after the Leica III series

Let’s move on our Leica camera models explained article with one of the best vintage digital Leicas you can get, the X series. The Leica X were series of fixed lens, aspc sensor cameras that had either prime lenses or zoom lenses. Extremely compact it is like a fixed lens Leica CL.

NameSensor SizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica X1ASPC36mm f/2.8 Check on ebay
Leica X2ASPC36mm f/2.8 Check on ebay
Leica X VarioASPC28-70mm f/3.5-6.4 Check on ebay
Leica X (Typ 113)ASPC35mm f/1.7 Check on ebay
Leica X-UAPSC35mm f/1.7 Check on ebay

These are the best alternatives to the current Leica CL cameras but they are fixed lenses. The vario variant is on the slow side, and the one to get is the last model, the Leica X (Typ 113) as it has a faster lens. The X-U is nearly identical but can go underwater.

Leica Partnership cameras

Next up our all Leica camera models explained article is the -Lux series. These are a series of cameras developed with partnerships with Panasonic. What’s special about this line is that the cameras are inconsistent, some are point and shoot and some are interchangeable.

For each of these cameras there is a Panasonic equivalent without the Leica branding and looks, but the Panasonics still have the Leica name on the lenses. Lastly these are mass produced by Panasonic and not made by Leica themselves.

Leica Digilux series
NameCamera TypeSensor sizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica Digilux 1Point and shoot1/1.8″33-100mm f/2-2.5 Check Price
Leica Digilux 2DSLR4/328-90mm f/2-3.4 Check Price
Leica Digilux 3DSLR4/34/3 Mount Check Price
Leica D-lux series

Same as the above, an eclectic catch-all Panasonic laden series of cameras. These are more serious compact than the point and shoot c-lux series

NameCamera TypeSensor sizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica D-luxPoint and shoot1/2.5″35-105 mm 2.8-4.9 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 2Serious compact1/1.65″28-112 mm f/2.8-4.9 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 3Serious compact1/1.65″28-112mm f/2.8-4.9 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 4Serious compact1/1.63”24-60mm f/2-2.8 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 5Serious compact1/1.6.3″24-90mm f/2-3.3 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 6Serious compact1/1.7″24-90mm f/1.4-2.3 Check on ebay
Leica D-Lux (typ 109)Mirrorless4/324-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Check on ebay
Leica D-lux 7Mirrorless4/324-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Check Price
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Leica camera models explained: While not made by Leica the -Lux series are partnership cameras
C-lux series

The C-lux series are Leica point-and shoots

NameCamera TypeSensor sizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica C-lux 1Point and shoot1/2.5″28-102mm f/2.8-5.6 Check on ebay
Leica C-lux 2Point and shoot1/2.5″ 28-100mm f/2.8-5.6 Check on ebay
Leica Leica C-lux 3Point and shoot1/2.33” 25–125 mm f/2.8–5.9 Check on ebay
Leica C Type 112Point and shoot1/1.7″28-200mm f2-5/9 Check on ebay
Leica C-luxPocket superzoom1 inch
24–360mm f/3.3–6.4
Check Price
V-lux series:

A series of superzoom cameras that are in the compact format and bridge camera format. These make perfect Wildlife and Travel Leicas.

NameCamera TypeSensor sizeLens Info (35mm eq)Get it here:
Leica V-lux 20Point and shoot1/2.33″25-300mm f/3.3-4.9 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 30Point and shoot1/2.33″24-384mm f/3.3-5.9 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 40Point and shoot1/2.33″ 
24-480mm f/3.3-6.4
Check on ebay
Leica V-luxPocket superzoom1 inch
24-360mm f/3.3–6.4
Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 1Bridge superzoom1/1.8″35 – 420mm f/2.8-3.7 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 2Bridge superzoom1/2.33″25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 3Bridge superzoom1/2.3″25-600mm f/2.8-5.2 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 4Bridge superzoom1/2.33″25-600mm f/2.8-4.5 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux (Typ 114)Bridge superzoom1 inch 25-400mm f/2.8-4 Check on ebay
Leica V-lux 5Bridge superzoom1 inch24-400 f/2.8-4 Check Price

Which one to get? The Leica D-lux 7. An amazing all around camera

4. Leica SLRS

While Leica is known for their smaller cameras they also have a line of SLRs.

4.1. Leica SL2

leica sl2 camera

Normally Leica keeps in their rangefinder camera territory. But the L mount cameras are basically Leica’s DSLR and they come with the bulk attached to this type of camera. To be precise these are technically not DSLRs, but DSLR type mirrorless cameras.

What’s special about them is the large lenses, but also the pretty unique rendering. The images pop and look 3D, almost medium format-like. The latest version is the Leica SL2

4.2. Older SL model

The older version of the SL2 is the original SL camera. Prior to that Leica had SLR film cameras.

4.3. Leica R mount cameras

leica models explianed r7
Leica camera models explained: The R line is Leica’s SLR line

This was Leica’s SLR cameras for decades (We are talking 1960s here, folks) and cumulated in the Leica R9 (film camera) in 2009. The whole series have been discontinued for the modern Leica SL line of DSLR type cameras. The R line was manual, just like the M line.

4.4. Leicaflex

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Leica camera models explained: The Leicaflex is even older then the R models

Before the R series was the even older Leicaflex series of SLRs

5. Leica S: The medium format line

This is the last section of our Leica camera models explained article, the S series. This is Leica’s biggest sensor cameras and they are large format, medium format digital cameras with their own lens mount. The latest is the S3, preceded by the S2 and S1.

leica models explained leica m
Leica camera models explained: The M series is one of the most sought after in the worls

Leica camera models explained: Conclusion

There you have it, every Leica camera model explained. Leica has a long history spanning almost a century. They have their rangefinders, both Digital and Film, but also a slew of compact cameras and a long line of partnership cameras with Panasonic. Their SL line is well know for their 3D look and their biggest format is the S cameras.

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