Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Leica CL

Leica CL 50 Jahre (50 Year) camera, with 40/2 Summicron.

The CL (Compact Leica) was not designed with the professional photographer, or even the serious amateur in mind. It was built for people who wanted a high quality compact camera. The camera was designed in Germany by Leitz, but was manufactured in Japan by Minolta. It evolved into the Minolta CLE.

The camera featured the same sort of swinging meter arm used earlier on the M5, and therefore cannot use 28mm Leitz M mount lenses below serial number 2314920, and all Super Angulon lenses without damaging lens and/or meter arm. Collapsible lenses can be used so long as they are never collapsed while on the camera. The rangefinder is a short base, and some say too short to accurately focus 135mm lenses, or fast lenses shot at full aperture.

Two lenses were designed for use with the CL, although they may be used on any M camera, are the 40/2 Summicron-C, and the 90/4 Elmar-C. Both are designed to be light and compact.

In 1975, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Leica production, 3500 CL cameras were engraved with the "50 Jahre" logo.

Production estimates:

Actual production figures not available