If the CL doesn’t cut it for you, here’s 7 best Leica CL alternatives for you to consider. Some are better, smaller, fixed lens, cheaper…there’s something for everyone.

Hi, my name is Sven the Leicaphile and this is the 7 best Leica CL alternatives. Make sure you read the Leica CL review but if for any reason you don’t want the CL but something else, here’s the list of comparable cameras.

Leica CL alternatives list

AspectLeica CL1. Leica TL22. Leica D-Lux 73. Fuji X-PRO 34. Fuji X100v5. Ricoh GR III6. Leica Q27. Sony A7c
Camera typeCompactCompactCompactMirrorlessCompactPocketCompactRangefinder style mirrorless
Sensor sizeAPSCAPSCMicro 43APSCAPSCAPSCFull FrameFull Frame
Lens typeInterchangeableInterchangeableFixedInterchangeableFixedFixedFixedNot fixed
Lens specs (35mm)28mm f2.8 (bundled)28mm f2.8 (bundled)34-75mm f1.7-2.8NA35mm f228mm f2.828mm f1.7NA
Megapixels2424172626244724.2
ArticleLeica CL reviewNANANANA
Where to get it Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price
List of Leica CL alternatives

Yes there is quite a few Leica CL alternatives if you want to shoot or get something else. Let’s get into the details of each camera, what makes them comparable and different, with image samples when available.

1. Leica TL2

One of the best Leica CL alternatives is it’s brother

leica tl2 18mm
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Much cheaper
✔️ Same in most respects
✔️ Double FPS
✔️ Amazing unibody design
✔️ Thinner
🛑 No viewfinder
🛑 More touch oriented

If you are looking for the most straightforward Leica CL alternative well this is it. When coming up with their new ASPC sensor line, Leica wanted to cater to two markets and ended up making two cameras: The CL which is more classic in it’s approach and the Leica TL which is more modern.

And modern this is, this camera is made out of a single block of aluminum and the only controls are pretty much the two dials on top. Everything else is touchscreen based, so if you are fine with this approach, this is the ultimate alternative.

Because besides the differing approach this is the same guts as the Leica CL, same sensor, same mount with a few main differences. First there is no integrated viewfinder, but you can always add one after the fact. Second this is slimmer then the CL and also for some reason this is twice the amount of FPS (20fps) then the CL. But probably the best part is that the TL2 is about $1000 cheaper, and that also includes the kit 18mm lens.

So if your main reason for looking into Leica CL alternatives was price, the Leica TL2 is the best one.

2. Leica D-lux 7

The best fixed lens of the Leica CL alternatives

leica d lux 7
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ 1/3 Of the price
✔️ Wonderful image quality
✔️ One of the best zooms you can get
✔️ Great dials for control
🛑 Smaller sensor
🛑 Fixed lens
🛑 Partnership camera

Next as Leica CL alternatives is another from Leica themselves. Well, not completely. This is a partnership camera between Panasonic and Leica where the CL is 100% Leica, made in Germany. If you don’t care about this (I am looking at you, Leica snobs), this is not only one of the best Leica CL alternatives but also quite frankly one of the best compact cameras on earth, period.

This camera has a smaller sensor than the CL (4/3 vs APSC), and while that is often seen as a negative in terms of image quality, not this time around. Panasonic has been maximizing the 4/3 sensor for years and you can shoot more than adequately at ISO3200. Plus the smaller sensor allows for a smaller body.

Since the sensor doesn’t need to cover too much, it also allows for really fast lenses while keeping things small. And this is where this camera truly shines. Where the CL comes with an 28mm f2.8 equivalent, this has a 24-75mm f1.7-f2.8 equivalent lens.

This kind of lens on larger full frame cameras are very heavy and expensive. This on the other hand is compact and can go wide angle to telephoto making it very versatile out of the box, without the need to go out and get another lens to shoot street photography or Bokeh portraits.

It has a rangefinder design and like the CL has an integrated viewfinder, and even better for video as this has silky smooth image stabilization. Also, you cannot get this type of lens on the CL even if you wanted to, the vario TL lenses are on the slow side.

The ultimate cherry on top however is probably the price, you can get this at 1/3rd of the price of the CL. If you are looking into Leica CL alternatives because of price and wanted better versatility, this is a stunning option.

Leica d lux 7 portrait photography 1
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3. Fuji Xpro 3

The king of Leica CL alternatives come with bulk

fuji x pro iii camera
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ One of the best APSC sensor cameras
✔️ Amazing Sensor and IQ
✔️ 20 FPS
✔️ Hybrid viewfinder
🛑 Large & Bulky
🛑 Hate it or love it flip screen

Next camera as Leica CL alternatives is from another manufacturer. Fuji cameras are probably the only cameras that can rival Leicas. The Fuji X-pro 3 is similar to the Leica CL where it counts. They both are APSC sensors with rangefinder-type bodies.

The X-Pro 3 however is larger and heavier and so are the lenses, so if you are looking at the X-Pro 3 as a Leica CL alternative, there’s some bulk involved. But what the X-pro and most of the Fuji line has is the Hybrid viewfinder that is -ironically- more Leica like than the CL.

The viewfinder acts like a rangefinder, you see the image passing trough and your frame lines. There’s some wizardry also where even in that mode you can have your histogram displayed, like augmented reality. Flip a switch and an electronic viewfinder takes over completely.

Fujis are the only ones with that type of viewfinder an it’s extremely impressive. As an alternative to the CL you’ll want to note that it has about twice the fps and the CL is only a few hundreds more. The X-Pro has no bundles similar to the CL, so getting an 18mm will set you back $599 on top of the body.

This is just something to know in case you are looking at Leica CL alternatives primarily because of price, the difference isn’t that great. Another thing to consider is that the back screen is by default hidden, so if you want to check your images you need to push the screen down.

Lastly, if you want your M lenses, Fuji has an official adapter available making it one of the rare few third party cameras that have special support for M mount.

fuji xe1 leica lenses sample image 8
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4. Fuji X100V

One of the best Leica CL alternatives if you don’t mind fixed lens

fuji x100v camera
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ APSC sensor
✔️ 1/3 Price
✔️ Very versatile
✔️ Hybrid viewfinder
🛑 Fixed lens

If the Fuji X-Pro 3 is a bit too much overkill for you then the Fuji X100v is one of the best Leica CL alternatives. It is like an X-pro with fixed 23mm f2 lens, an equivalent of 35mm f2 and has the same sensor size and amazing hybrid viewfinder.

The X100v is comparable to Leicas because it has that hybrid OVF / EVF viewfinder and rangefinder design. You can even change the aperture directly on the lens and the shutter speed with a dial on top like a film rangefinder.

Do not let the lack of interchangeable lenses fool you however, the X100v supports a wide angle and telephoto conversion lens that widens the 35mm into a 28mm or 50mm lens keeping the f2 aperture.

Best part is probably the price. The X100v by itself is about 1/3rd of the price of the CL. Add both conversion lenses and you still have about $1000 saved compared with the CL. One of the best Leica CL alternatives if you don’t want Leica. Image samples:

Fuji x100v sample image 1
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Fuji x100v sample image 2
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Fuji x100v sample image 3
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Fuji x100v sample image 4
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Fuji x100v sample image 5
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Fuji x100v sample image 7
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6. Ricoh GRIII

One of the best Leica CL alternatives if you shoot street exclusively

ricoh gr iii camera
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ APSC
✔️ Same lens
✔️ Pocketable
✔️ Great dials for control
✔️ Snap focus
🛑 No viewfinder
🛑 Not as versatile

This is one of the best Leica CL alternatives, but it is NOT for everybody. If what attracts you to the CL is the bundled 28mm f2.8 lens and you pretty much exclusively shoot street photography, the GR III might well fit the bill.

Compared to the CL there is no viewfinder possible (only EVF) and it is nowhere near as versatile, you are stuck at 28mm. That might be a good thing or bad thing, depending on what you want to shoot. If you are a wide angle photographer, this is impossible to beat as you can slip it in your pocket and have portable DSLR portability.

Unlike the CL it does have stabilization and while it doesn’t have the same feeling, there’s dials that allow you to shoot and change your settings with just one hand.

Finally if you like to shoot street, the Ricoh has the full press snap feature that no other camera has. With this, you can half press and shoot AF like normal, but if you press completely without half-pressing, the camera will go to a preset distance like 1m, allowing you to zone focus and AF on the fly, heaven for street photographers.

ricoh gr iii sample image 1
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ricoh gr iii sample image 7
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6. Leica Q2

For stunning black and white portraits

Leica q2
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Full frame
✔️ Amazing Sensor
✔️ Great IQ & fast lens
✔️ Digital zoom
✔️ Viewfinder
🛑 Fixed lens
🛑 Price

If you want better image quality then this is a stunning option from the Leica CL alternatives. Imagine the CL, but bigger. And instead of an APSC sensor you had fullframe and a fixed 28mm f1.7 summilux lens, that is the Q2. This is one of the best Leica CL alternatives if price is no objection, because this is about twice the price.

But it’s worth it as this is fullframe with a Summilux lens attached. The design is modeled after the Leica M but keeps the shutter speed dial and front aperture change ring, and has an integrated viewfinder.

While this might not sound as versatile with the fixed lens, it has an ace up it’s sleeve. Yes it has a fixed 28mm, but it also has 47 megapixels allowing you to crop a LOT. You can set up your digital zoom up to 75mm and have a 7 megapixel file left, plenty to print nicely.

This camera provides a lot Leica fans wet-dream: A full frame Leica with a vario lens. With it you can shoot 28, 35, 50 & 75mm, even tough it is digital zoom, the sharpness of the lens and sensor resolution does the rest making images stunning even at the highest setting. Leica Q2 image samples:

leica q2 sample image 1
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leica q2 sample image 2
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7. Sony A7C

The best of the Leica CL alternatives if you need Full frame

sony a7c camera edited
Reasons to buyCons
✔️ Full frame
✔️ Amazing Sensor & IQ
✔️ Interchangeable lens
✔️ Rangefinder-like body
✔️ Cheaper than CL
🛑 Not fully rangefinder design
🛑 Lack of dials

This is the final choice in our list of Leica CL alternatives. If you want the versatility of interchangeable lenses, and an even better image quality, this is the Sony A7C. The Sony A7 series are some of the best Leica full frame alternatives, but they are usually stuck in a DSLR form factor that is a tough pill to swallow for many.

The A7c on the other hand keeps the rangefinder style form factor and has one of the best grips in the business. The operation isn’t rangefinder-like however as there’s only one dial in the back, there used to be 2 in this camera’s ancestor, the NEX7.

But the full frame image quality more than makes up for it. Since this shoots full frame lenses, they are bulkier than the CL lenses, the Sony 28mm is quite big compared to the CL’s pancake. You could always shoot the smaller M lenses on it however, that would bypass the size issue.

For the price the A7C is unbeatable. You can get the body and the 28mm lens and still have about $700 left compared to the CL. But that is not all, you not only get one of the best Leica CL alternatives, but if you add an M adapter, you also have one of the best M alternatives around too, a pretty sweet deal. Sony A7c image samples:

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Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this list of 7 Leica CL alternatives. The most comparable is the Leica TL2, same everything but without the rangefinder form factor, integrated viewfinder but offers a lighter price tag.

Next is the D-Lux 7 that has a smaller lens but with an incredible zoom making it much more versatile. You can always get the Fuji X100v with a closer Leica experience than the CL itself due to the hybrid viewfinder. The X-Pro 3 is just as versatile but with interchangeable lenses and bigger.

The Ricoh GR III is only for those who want to shoot wide angle images and it’s pretty impressive to have DSLR quality in the pocket. If you don’t mind the bulk, the Leica Q2 is very versatile with the digital zoom and the Sony A7c offers interchangeable lenses with full frame and a lesser price. Happy Shooting.

D7:

[1]
(CC BY 2.0)Kevin Law Photography

[2]
Portrait on Teruel(CC BY 2.0)< Warloofer >

[5]
Olda, 16 weeks(CC BY 2.0)MJ Klaver

[11]
30 december 2018_P1010751-3(CC BY 2.0)mauriceweststrate

[12]
Taghazout – Power Nap(CC BY 2.0)mauriceweststrate

Xpro:

[8]
Donut Food Coma(CC BY-ND 2.0)Roshan Vyas

[9]
Setp by step(CC BY-ND 2.0)zmi66 – ZMIphoto

[10]
Pano de là-haut(CC BY-ND 2.0)zmi66 – ZMIphoto

[11]
Entre ciel et neige(CC BY-ND 2.0)zmi66 – ZMIphoto

[12]
Dom at the garden party(CC BY-ND 2.0)zmi66 – ZMIphoto

[13]
St. Matthias Cathedral(CC BY 2.0)marroyo12

gr iii:

[1] Good time(CC BY 2.0)Julien.Belli
[6] Long exposure of a river flowing(CC BY 2.0)Ivan Radic
ishing you away” (CC BY 2.0) by InMyEyes88
[9] Black and white picture of dandelion seeds(CC BY 2.0)Ivan Radic
[11] Close-up of a ginger cat lying in front of the house(CC BY 2.0)Ivan Radic

x100v

[1]
Raindrops(Public Domain)Fouquier ॐ

[2]
2020-09-09 13.14.04 X100V(CC BY 2.0)kenwalton

[3]
Yarra Valley black and white(CC BY-ND 2.0)r reeve

[4]
Scharbeutz II(CC BY-ND 2.0)Michael Behrens

[5]
Coyote Hills(CC BY 2.0)leighklotz

[6]
X100V Portrait BW(CC BY-ND 2.0)Michael Behrens

[7]
Predator(Public Domain)Fouquier ॐ

Q2

[1]
Between Autumn and Christmas(CC BY-ND 2.0)NathalieSt

[2]
Special Delivery(CC BY-ND 2.0)Phil Roeder

[3]
A Walk Around Harvard(CC BY 2.0)Phil Roeder

[4]
Wishing you away(CC BY 2.0)InMyEyes88

[5]
Food Supply(CC BY 2.0)Phil Roeder

a7c:

[1]
Teddy recycling(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

[2]
Mortianna of darkness(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

[3]
Forgotten chair(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

[4]
Lunchtime(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

[5]
Pile of signs(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

[6]
Men at work under bridge(CC BY 2.0)Henry Söderlund

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