Leica CL Autofocus With Various Lenses

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
MEDISN Senior Member • Posts: 1,396
Re: Leica CL Autofocus With Various Lenses

Hi John,

The Leica CL is very good for a CDAF only camera. Yes, I have to qualify as such. Not as effortless as some of Sony's latest with PDAF, so if you prioritize speed/accuracy of face/eye AF then might have a look at Sony a6600 or a7c. The ergonomics and handling of them are awful but that is subjective.

In good lighting the CL is very fast and accurate for moving subjects. It is quick to identify the body/face/eye of the subject even as I'm squeezing the shutter button. Here's an example from yesterday. I said the child's name, then pressed the shutter as she looked in my direction with that "why are you bothering me look"

Ambient lighting with the Lumix 50/1.4 (~75mm f/2 equivalent)

The focal plane is very shallow and she was shifting about, but 2 of the 3 shots were sharp like this. The third shot, one eye was behind the focal plan and soft (again, very shallow depth at this distance) but not the fault of the camera AF.

The primary difficulties I have with CL (any CDAF only) are low contrast/low light environments, especially if people are moving freely (indoors without flash). The constant pulsing back and forth of the lenses in C-AF mode can be distracting when you're composing/waiting for the right moment.

As for lenses the Summicron-SL primes are very fast and accurate. The TL 23/2 is moderately fast and accurate but sometimes hunts at closer distances. The Lumix 50/1.4 and 70-200/2.8 are fast and accurate. The Sigma DC (APS-C) 56/1.4 is very good, but the 30/1.4 tends to miss more than it should. The Sigma DG (full frame) 45/2.8 is good, not great on the CL (also applies to SL2, S1R etc). The Lumix 24-105/4 is fast and works well for people perhaps because even wide open the DOF is generous. That lens also has OIS which is nice paired with the CL. For close-ups like macro, it looks like it focuses in the right spot but then during playback it is off. Haven't gotten to the bottom of that issue yet to determine if it's the lens or the camera...or both lol

I use the CL a lot with Mrs. MEDISN's M-mount glass and the manual focus aids are really helpful. But not for kids at play haha unless you zone focus or set a focus trap and wait for them to run through it

Ultimately there is a lot to like about the CL but I don't use it much for kids at play. Not that it's bad, just that some of my other cameras make that type of shooting much easier (EM1mkIII, A9).

Good luck!

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