FRIDAY FILM: The Original Leica CL by Simon King

FRIDAY FILM: The Original Leica CL

by Simon King

Hi Steve!

Loved your breakdown of the new CL release, I can’t wait to try one in hand! I am a huge advocate of the original Leica CL and rarely leave my house without mine!

One of my favourite images was taken on that, and considering the new release a lot of people are going to be reading about the CL, both old and new, so I thought I’d send over some content for your film Friday features!

Three Shots

I was in the middle of a portrait photoshoot in a park in Camden when I noticed this small lake behind us. I loved the contrast from the shadow of the trees over the water and the white pigeons floating on the surface. I asked the model to bare with me two minutes while I framed up and waited for one to take off. The CL is perfect for shots like this, really spontaneous, perfect on black and white and definitely not one I would have enjoyed as much if I had just taken it on my digital M.

Leica CL – Jupiter-8, HP5 @400

Here is a portrait from the shoot I was doing when I shot the last image with the birds over the lake, and another shot taken during my daily walk. The CL is a great camera to have with you always, I’m really looking forward to seeing what people are inspired to create in their daily lives with it!

I’ll be posting more film work on my Instagram, @simonking_v and also writing more of my thoughts on my personal blog;


  1. I looked at the picture of the CL with the 40/2 Summicron, and looked at the Portrait- thought “That looks like a Sonnar”- then read it was the J-8, mades sense! Beautiful use of the J-8.

    Just a hint… The Canon 50/1.5 (Sonnar formula) is shorter than the J-3, and fits on the CL inside the original Pouch Case. The Canon 50/1.5 + CL- Fast and Compact. The 50/1.5 is smaller than the Canon 50/1.8.

  2. For years my favorite camera
    Wonderful pics on kodachrome.
    Traded it in for the Minolta which was irreparable. My CLE had lived longer and is probably still working. Only care it needed and that was adjusting the rangefinder and that I could do myself

  3. The Leica CL was a Leica new progress in harmony with Oscar spirit and marvelous lenses as this great Summicron 40 C.
    With Minolta they did better with the CLE and the famous Rokkor. Nice gear but easy to break and not easy to repair. Stick on my Leica M3 which I use sometimes with the Sumicron 40 and also on the Sony A7 r2, this lense is a winner.

  4. Love the Friday Film posts – and really enjoyed this. It’s always interesting to see the cameras that have ancestry in film for me; the Ricoh GR, Olympus OM and this Leica – all clearly draw from their historic relatives! It’s a lot more than just retro appeal though, I really believe that by looking back at the classics and what made them great, manufacturers are served well by trying to distill that feeling into modern tech.

    Sometimes it works better than others! Love the middle photo here, really moody and atmospheric portrait. I have a Jupiter 3 and love that lens, the 8 looks great in use on the CL. Thanks for sharing Simon.

  5. One can’t take photos if one’s camera is in a pocket..
    The original CL is/was neat. It came out on the heels of
    Leica’s M5…. a very awkward rangefinder camera to use.
    The CL (film version) really cut into Leica’s prestige image
    as it was ‘made in …….’ Like all the other run-of-the mill cameras.
    Between the CL and the M5 our store sales of Leica dropped

  6. Yes, it is a great camera! I bought one second hand (it works like a charm!!) and it was my entrance to the world of rangefinders. It has a great rangefinder and it is quite small, which I like a lot (in my opinion Leica M camera’s are not really pocketable, the original Leica CL is). The first photo above with the birds is great. I am not sure if I can link photo’s here but one from the beach in the Netherlands is here It was taken with the 40 mm lens which is pretty good (although the bokeh is not great).

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