Leica M4-P vs. Leica CL – and a Story of Loss and New Experiences

My first encounter with 35mmc throughout the seek for my first rangefinder digital camera in 2020. As a pupil again then, with a restricted funds, the alternatives have been somewhat slender being cut up between the traditional m-bodies and the Leica CL. Contemplating that I’d simply snagged a summarit 50 lens on ebay for an honest value, the funds dwindled right down to with the ability to purchase solely the CL. It didn’t nonetheless cease me from umm-ing and aah-ing over the opposite primary decisions which on the time I believed can be the following upgrades as extra money happened. The cash happened however the physique improve didn’t. Issues solely modified in 2022 once I misplaced my Leica CL with a Summarit 35 lens. From then, I went on one other loop of looking out opinions for my ideally suited Leica physique to fulfill the rangefinder-shaped void in my life.

Leica CL with the signature black tape to cover the brand, offset utterly by the lens cowl

The Leica CL and the Leica M4-P are each identified to be the “funds” choices within the M mount household however each present the important rangefinder expertise. On this article I wished to supply a comparative evaluation of the traditional low-cost physique and good lens and barely much less cheaper physique with a shade skopar, a distinction between the licensed miniature physique and the offshored physique, all of the whereas commiserating the lack of the mentioned good lens.

Leica CL with summarit 2.5/35 (the one which’s lacking.. )

Leica M4-P on the map digital camera boutique with the Mild lens elcan duplicate and a doomo mild meter

One of many benefits that the compact Leica had throughout the choice part is the inbuilt mild meter, whereas the M4-P is completely mechanical with out a meter. The CL that I had specifically was one of many fortunate ones with a functioning TTL mild meter. Nevertheless, the peculiar factor concerning the CL mild meter is that it’s on the precise hand aspect of the viewfinder, which after utilizing a transparent finder from the m4-p might really feel a bit distracting. The battery for the sunshine meter was additionally a wierd 1.35 mercury cell, the replacements for that are arduous to search out within the 20s, however fortunately conversion kits can be found just like the MR9 battery adapter . Till the sunshine meter stops working that’s, which is what occurred to my mannequin in the long run. With the M4-P there may be nothing to fret about because it’s all mechanical-4-perfection. For it I simply caught a doomo light meter on the highest of it, which has USB-C!

On the subject of the viewfinder, except for the sunshine meter on the CL there are additionally some distinct variations between ones current within the two fashions. The patch on the M4-P is noticeably greater with a standard M mount base size, which makes the rangefinding a bit simpler. The CL is meant to have a shorter base size however in honesty, when utilizing a focal size between 28 and 50 mm, there isn’t a major distinction between them by way of accuracy. The important thing distinction nonetheless is the sphere of view of the 2 finders and the out there focal lengths, because the CL has a 40, 50 and 90mm whereas the M4-P has the now frequent pairs of 28/90, 35/135 and 50/75. Unexpectedly each have an identical quantity of obstruction within the viewfinder as a couple of discipline of view is current on each. As a result of greater patch and the absence of a distracting mild meter on the aspect, the M4-P feels higher whereas in use. Though, it ought to be famous that the m4-p and earlier brass our bodies endure from the viewfinder flare concern that the CL seemingly avoids so once more, choose your poison.

View from the viewfinder of the M4-P

Since we talked about batteries for the CL earlier than, the development and the construct of the cameras are fairly totally different with the CL feeling extra sensible however fragile in comparison with the M4-P which is sort of sturdy. The practicality I discussed is relating to the truth that the whole base of the CL comes off somewhat than simply the baseplate which is frequent for the Leica movie cameras. This makes loading a roll fairly straightforward with much less errors attainable, greater than the straightforward load system within the M4-P. The durability of the M4-P is on one other stage although, particularly for those who’re fortunate sufficient to have the brass high fashions. Lastly, the fast spool methods on both digital camera are incredible. Each are straightforward to make use of and have a particular really feel when the roll is spooled up.

As a system when paired up with the incredible Summarit 50 and 35 lenses, the CL was very straightforward to entry and use as I might stash it away into my pocket. Such a factor is tough with the larger physique of the M4-P. The lens pairing additionally balanced effectively with the aesthetics and weight of the CL and Summarit matching effectively whereas with the M4-P and the Voigtlander, the lens is notably lighter than the physique. The sleek really feel of the Summarit lenses’ aperture ring and the main target tab additionally labored effectively with the tactile rewind knob, which activated the sunshine meter and was in fixed use, and the shutter of the CL. The sensation of the Colour Skopar aperture ring no less than is an inferior expertise because the M4-P physique itself feels extra tactile. Including a smooth launch to the M4-P balanced out the haptic emotions a bit extra to the lens.

Among the many Leica crowd, at instances there’s a sure feeling concerning the authenticity of the CL particularly when in comparison with the mainline M cameras. Its robustness particularly,  is commonly introduced into query maybe rightly so when the sunshine meter and the construct is taken into account. Regardless of this, it has been a workhorse in its time for a sure Terry O’Neill and if it was adequate for him, it can actually be adequate for anyone else.

Terry together with his beloved Leica

Had I recovered the Summarit lens then maybe I might discuss concerning the pairing with the M4-P. Alas in the future I hope it finds its manner dwelling. In any case, the M4-P gives a greater “Leica” expertise, with it offering the identical essence as the opposite mainline Leica rangefinders, however the CL additionally stands by itself as a compact sized rangefinder expertise, which in the long run is what all rangefinder aficionados are right here for. I’ve included footage comprised of each of the cameras and as with most movie photographs it’s tough to say which is which however please have a go in any case.

And as a ultimate word, loss is at all times a tough factor in relation to treasured possessions, which is why the M4-P has an Airtag case caught on it now.

With a brand new 12 months’s particular airtag

p.s. for those who see a Summarit 35 f2.5 lens with the serial quantity(4234110) within the footage, it’s possible nicked from me in Japan.

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