Should I buy a Leica camera?
Then you’ve come to the right place, as we take you through our selection of the best Leica cameras.
Describing a camera as designed and handcrafted in Germany still comes with a certain prestige, and one, in the case of Leica, that many photographers find worth paying a premium for.
Acting as both a beacon for gear nuts and a badge of pride is Leica’s familiar red dot logo on the front of most of their models.
At a Glance
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Are leica cameras any good?
Owning a Leica is a goal for most photographers who are serious about their craft.
To use a well-worn car analogy, Leica is the Ferrari of the digital camera world. And almost all of them are priced to match… so if you’re looking for value for money, head over to our guide to the best cameras.
However, not everything is luxury. There are plenty of professional Leica cameras that command a price tag that makes you cry, but if you don’t want to lose a month’s salary on a camera, you’ll find more affordable and covetable Leica models.
Look for Sofort instant cameras, for example, which use Fujifilm Instax Mini film packs. And there’s a range of compacts too, inspired by designs developed with Panasonic.
So, with the above in mind, they are excellent for their work due to the quality of their image and their classic style in their structure, even though their price-quality balance skyrockets. If you have money left buy it!!!
Our Recommendation For Best Leica Cameras
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Best Leica cameras for each type of photography
Best Leica for street photography
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Type: Compact | Sensor Size: Full Frame | Megapixels: 47.3MP (effective) | Lens: Fixed 28mm, f/1.7 | Autofocus: contrast-based AF system | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.04 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 20fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: enthusiast
Leica’s latest full-frame camera has a lot to recommend it if you can afford it
Successor to the four-year-old ‘Q’, the Leica Q2 is aimed at photographers who want a powerful camera that’s also relatively small and unobtrusive.
Key features include a fixed focal length 28mm f/1.7 maximum aperture lens that’s compatible with the original ‘Q’, but an incredible 47.3-megapixel full-frame sensor this time around.
In addition, the camera body is now waterproof and dustproof, in addition to the 4K video recording option that also includes the option of ‘C4K’ (Cinematic 4K).
In terms of burst/continuous shooting, the camera offers up to 10fps if the mechanical shutter is used.
Otherwise, it’s 20fps with the help of the electronic shutter. While not the fastest on the market, the Q2’s 0.15-second autofocus performance is comfortably described as fast.
The Q2 is now Bluetooth-enabled, and of course, it’s hand-built in Germany, with a magnesium body.
Leica’s downloadable Photos app, when used in conjunction with the Q2, can “wake up” the camera, as well as act as a remote control and a means of transferring and sharing photos.
Yes, this is a luxury option for street photographers, but the 47-megapixel sensor offers a lot of precious detail. You’ll also want to queue up for Leica’s Q2, with a waiting list likely.
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best Leica viewfinder camera
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Type: Rangefinder | Sensor Size: Full Frame | Megapixels: 24MP (effective) | Lens mount: Leica M | Autofocus: None, manual focus via rangefinder or Live View | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.04 million dots | Viewfinder: Direct View | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Max Video Resolution: None | User level: enthusiast / professional
Leica’s quietest rangefinder ever brought together beautiful design with the latest digital technology
A ‘stealth’ version of the previously released M10, this version comes without the bonus red Leica dot on the faceplate but is nearly identical except for a few extra tweaks.
These include the Leica M10-P becoming the first Leica rangefinder to feature an LCD touch screen plus electronic spirit level, while its shutter release mechanism is also the quietest in its class.
Added to this, the series’ plastic shoe cover has been replaced with a full metal one.
Giving off that heady mix of old-school charm and signature Leica Luxury, the camera brings you into focus by lining up a ghost image with the fixed field-of-view optical viewfinder, while despite the inclusion of a full-frame sensor here, the resolution is still quite conservative 24 megapixels.
We also don’t have any video capture options, in an attempt by its manufacturer to distill the camera down to its photographic essentials.
That said, the LCD backplate allows for Live View and focus peaking, so this camera feels like the best of both worlds in many ways, blending digital know-how with the classic analog operation.
Leica DLux 7
Best Leica for traveling
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Type: Compact Zoom | Sensor Size: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 17MP (effective) | Lens: 24-75mm f/1.7-f/16 | Autofocus: yes | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 11fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: enthusiast
For a Leica, this is a very affordable compact camera.
The D-Lux 7 is a premium compact for both stills and street photography, it’s a travel zoom fixed lens camera that nonetheless exudes that air of luxury (the key is that D-Lux name of luxury) that we would expect from a camera. which costs almost a grand. Key features include Play-it-safe 17-megapixel resolution from a 21.77-megapixel Four Thirds CMOS sensor.
It is married to a lens with a range equivalent to a 24-75mm wide-angle in 35mm film terms. The lens’s maximum aperture is an impressively fast/bright f/1.7, with the ability to adjust manually via a lens ring that offers incremental adjustments up to f/16. Or, of course, you can simply hit the auto setting, which it has its own button.
Given the long-standing collaboration between Leica and Panasonic, it’s no surprise that this model came so soon after, and closely resembles, the cheaper Panasonic LX100 IIh. So we get the Panasonic-like shooting options that include both 4K stills and 4K video options.
It’s a shame the 3-inch LCD is resolved, but at least it offers touch control. We also liked the fact that rangefinder-like top-plate dials for controlling shutter speed and exposure compensation give the D-Lux 7 a classic handling experience, the camera updates things by including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
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Best Leica for beginners
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Type: instant camera | Sensor Size: N/A | Megapixels: N/A | Film Type: Fujifilm Instax Mini Format | Image size: 6.2 x 4.6cm | LCD: only for settings | Viewfinder: Direct View | Continuous Shooting: N/A | Max Video Resolution: N/A | User level: beginner
- Close up of instant prints
- The ‘magical’ fun of analog photography.
- More expensive than other instant cameras
- ongoing cost of film
Best known for launching cameras into luxury markets these days, this is your chance to own a Leica at an affordable price, and one of the best instant cameras available today.
Like Fujifilm’s less expensive Instax Mini 90, the Leica Sofort is available in several color options. You can use Fuji’s Instax film packs, which work out around £1/$1.50 per printed image. Leica’s own branded film packs are more expensive.
These instant packs provide credit card-sized images, smaller than the Polaroid instant prints you may remember from your childhood.
Undoubtedly, though, it’s still thrilling to see an image slowly ’emerge’ before the eyes once the camera squeezes out a print. You can also buy black-and-white movie packages, for wacky extravagances.
The camera comes with a Leica-branded shoulder strap, which comes in handy because at 122x94x58mm, the camera is too bulky for a jacket pocket, although its manageable 310g weight means it’s fairly easy to carry around.
A smaller front mirror helps to take the inevitable selfie while keeping operation simple, as the only control on the camera’s top plate is a shutter release.
Focusing as close as 0.6 meters, a 60mm lens on the front of the Sofort provides the equivalent of 34mm, meaning what we get in terms of film images is similar to what the human eye sees. .
‘ Sofort’ is German for a bit, in case you were wondering.
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Best Budget Leica
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Type: Compact Zoom | Sensor size: 1 inch | Megapixels: 20MP (effective) | Lens: 24-260mm f/3.3-6.4 | Autofocus: Yes, 49 points | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: beginner / enthusiast
In truth, Leica doesn’t really budget, but the C-Lux comes close.
Coming to Light Gold or Midnight Blue, here’s another compact Leica that looks like an existing Panasonic model – in the case of the Leica C-Lux , it’s the Panasonic TZ200. And, yes, this ‘compact luxury’ option is again more expensive than its doppelganger.
Still, for a Leica camera of any description, it’s actually relatively reasonably priced.
For that, we get a retractable 15x optical zoom that provides a 24mm to 360mm equivalent focal range, plus 4K video recording at 30 frames per second from which 8-megapixel stills can be captured.
There’s a 3-inch touch-sensitive LCD screen on the back plate, but it’s fixedly resolved, plus a small eye-level viewfinder.
However, imaging enthusiasts will appeal because the camera is larger than average for its one-inch sensor class, boasting a respectable 20-megapixel resolution.
Another advantage is that the camera’s autofocus quickly locks onto the target, thanks to the 49 AF points.
Users also have the opportunity to shift focus to a particular area in the frame simply by touching the rear touch screen, where selectable points are displayed. As expected at this price point, there’s the ability here to record Raw and JPEG files, or both in unison.
Okay, you might be able to buy a mirrorless or even DSLR for a similar outlay. But considering this is a Leica with a one-inch sensor, the manufacturer offers more bang for your buck than usual here.
Best Leica APS-C CSC camera
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Type: Mirrorless | Sensor Size: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP (effective) | Lens mount: Leica L | Autofocus: Yes, 49 AF points | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: enthusiast
L-mount mirrorless camera packs a lot of technology into a tiny body
This attractive and compact German system camera builds a large-for-class 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor on a Leica L lens mount, as recently adopted by Panasonic for its full-frame ‘S’ system.
It is a sister model to the TL2 camera released around the same time, which also boasts a similar feature set. On the CL , meanwhile, the main highlights include a 3-inch touch-sensitive LCD, an attractive eye-level viewfinder, 4K video along with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and up to 10fps burst shooting. for up to 140 JPEGs, or 33 RAW and JPEG files in tandem.
Since it shares the L mount with the TL2, it can use the TL line of Leica optics, while the Leica M and R series lenses can be used with adapters and SL lenses without the need for one.
Top plate dials give the camera the classic hands-on operation loved by Leica users, while the external flash can be attached if desired via its free hot shoe.
While there’s a lot to love here, the rear screen can’t be tilted or adjusted, whereas Leica Premium typically pays for a hand-built camera rather than a mass-produced one.
Best Affordable Leica Camera
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Type: Mirrorless | Sensor Size: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP (effective) | Lens mount: Leica L | Autofocus: Yes, 49 AF points | LCD: 3.7-inch fixed touchscreen, 1.3 million dots | Viewfinder: None | Continuous shooting: 20fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: enthusiast
The stylish digital camera statement seeks to entice affluent smartphone users to embrace the brand via a huge rear screen
With its slim, minimalist, and sleek design, this Leica certainly makes a fashion statement, while the class-leading 3.7-inch display taking up its entire backplate should appeal to smartphone users looking to switch to a device. dedicated image capture.
If we have any complaints, it’s that fitting a lens makes the camera feel a bit front-heavy, while the minimalist design has led to some operational quirks, not least the fact that its controls require a bit of initial determination.
There’s also no onboard image stabilization and autofocus response isn’t particularly fast.
However, it also aims to be a serious photographic tool, thanks to its adoption of the L-mount, 49-point contrast-detection AF system – as is also found in Leica’s more conventional CL ‘plus’, unusually for a camera
. digital these days, 32GB of built-in memory. Added to this, we have the 4K video option and you can shoot stills at up to a respectable 20fps with the help of its electronic shutter.
Another bonus is that image quality is impressive, even if its slightly uneven body/lens combination, quirky controls, and quicker responses might leave something to be desired.
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Best Leica Waterproof Camera
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Perfect for a pool party in Cannes (if not a beach trip to Skegness)
There aren’t many Leica cameras here that you’d feel confident going into deep blue and brightness, so this is a waterproof version of the same manufacturer’s XE compact camera that doesn’t slouch when it comes to basic specs.
The XU has an APS-C format chip and a bright/fast f/1.7 23mm equivalent wide-angle Summilux prime lens to deliver those shallow depth of field (water) images.
The price is a lot to pay for a ruggedized camera, however, this compact is also shock resistant, dust sealed, and shatterproof. For those thinking of taking it for a swim, the body is fully waterproofed to a depth of 15 meters and also features an underwater protection filter.
More noteworthy here for those interested in both image quality and ruggedness is a larger APS-C format sensor capable of capturing 16-megapixel images.
This combo should offer better quality than the 1-inch sensor or 1/2.3-inch chip found in rival waterproof cameras, even if it’s almost a tenth of the Leica asking price.
This high-end adventure camera can also capture Full HD video too – perfect for capturing those schools of fish on camera. In short, this is a waterproof camera at a price that makes you cry, but stands out from the crowd.
Best Leica Medium Format Camera.
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Type: Medium Format DSLR | Sensor size: Leica ProFormat medium format sensor | Megapixels: 64MP (effective) | Lens mount: Leica S | Continuous shooting: 3fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional
The best of Leica is yet to be released…
Landing any day now, having originally been announced at Photokina 2018, this upgrade to Leica’s medium format system camera on the S3 (the S2 was originally announced at Photokina 2008), which now boasts the 63-megapixel resolution (a 1.7x magnification) of its predecessor).
This is an evolution of an existing camera rather than a truth of the revolution to be told, and intentionally so, with 4K Cinema resolution video also on offer this time around.
Still, the S3 has Leica magic, despite many controls not being labeled, the lack of a stabilized sensor, and the omission of an electronic viewfinder.
The Phase One alternative may have a lot more megapixels and Fuji’s rival may give us an electronic viewfinder and in-body shake, but they don’t have the red dot on the faceplate.
Leica M Monochrom (Type 246)
Best Leica for black and white
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Type: Rangefinder | Sensor Size: Full Frame | Megapixels: 24MP (effective) | Lens mount: Leica M | Autofocus: None, manual focus via rangefinder or Live View | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen, 921,600 dots | Viewfinder: Direct View | Continuous shooting: 3.5fps | Maximum video resolution: Full HD | User level: enthusiast
Updated black and white rangefinder camera seeks specialist owner
Here’s a Curiosity: A Digital Camera That Shoots Only Black and White: Inspired Madness…or Just Madness? Admittedly, it’s a niche and an expensive one, but the quality of the results justifies Leica’s bold decision to go with a monochrome sensor.
At its core is a 24 million pixel CMOS chip, along with the option of live view display and 24fps Full HD video capture. Light sensitivity ranges up to ISO25,000, with ISO320 the lowest setting, while shutter speeds run from 60 seconds to 1/4000 sec. Focusing is, this being an enthusiast Leica M, a completely manual affair.
The camera is quite strong and solid-feeling, with the construction that includes brass, leather, and magnesium alloy. Its bright viewfinder provides a dual-image rangefinder view, with guidelines for the lens in use, so users can compose and focus at the same time.
Recording Raw and JPEG simultaneously can create some delays, but uncompressed DNG (Raw) files can be conveniently opened in almost any image editing or viewing software.
In short, yes, almost all digital cameras have a black and white mode and you can convert images to monochrome in any image editing software, but none will look quite the same as an image from the wonderfully eccentric Leica M Monochrom.
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