The 10 Best Leica Cameras

Describing a camera as it was designed and made by hand in Germany still comes with a certain cachet – and one, in the Leica case that many photographers find, is worth paying a premium for. Want to own a Leica? Then you’ve come to the right place because we take you through our selection of the Best Leica Cameras. The famous red Leica logo on the front of most models is both a beacon for gear nuts and a proud emblem. Simply put, owning a Leica is a goal for most photographers who take their art seriously. To use a worn-out car analogy, Leica is the Ferrari of the world with digital cameras.

And almost all of them have a price that fits together … so if you are looking for value for money, go to our guide for the best cameras in the area. But it’s not just about luxury. There are many professional and best Leica cameras that carry a deafening price tag, but if you don’t want to blow more than a monthly wage on a camera, there are more affordable and desirable Leica models to be found. Note, for example, the Sofort instant cameras that use Fujifilm Instax Mini film suits. And there are also a number of compacts, modeled after designs developed with Panasonic.

So with the above in mind, let’s look at 10 of the best Leica cameras currently on the market and available to buy.

Here are the Best Leica Cameras

Leica Q2

Leica’s latest full-frame camera has much to recommend it if you can afford it

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor size: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 47.3MP (effective)
  • Lens: Fixed 28mm, f/1.7
  • Autofocus: Contrast-based AF system
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 20fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Enthusiast

The successor to the four-year-old ‘Q’, the Leica Q2 is aimed at photographers who want a powerful camera that is also relatively small and discreet. The main features are a 28 mm f/1.7 maximum lens with a fixed focal length that corresponds to the original ‘Q’, but this time an impressive 47.3-megapixel full-frame sensor. In addition, the camera body is now water and dust resistant and there is a 4K video recording option with the choice of ‘C4K’ (Cinematic 4K). In terms of burst/continuous shooting, the camera offers up to 10 fps if the mechanical shutter is used. Otherwise, it is 20 fps using the electronic shutter.

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Although not the fastest on the market, the 0.15-second autofocus performance of the Q2 is comfortably described as fast. The Q2 is now Bluetooth enabled and is of course built by hand in Germany, with a magnesium body construction. The downloadable Photos app from Leica, when used in combination with the Q2, can ‘wake up’ the camera and also serve as a remote control and as a means of transferring and sharing images. Yes, this is really a luxury option for the street photographer, but the 47-megapixel sensor delivers a whole series of beautiful details. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras that you can buy.

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Leica M10-P

Leica’s quietest rangefinder ever marries beautiful design to latest digital tech

  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Sensor size: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24MP (effective)
  • Lens mount: Leica M
  • Autofocus: None, manual focusing via rangefinder or Live View
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: Direct Vision
  • Continuous shooting: 5fps
  • Max video resolution: None
  • User level: Enthusiast/Professional

A stealth version of the previously released M10, this version is delivered without the red Leica dot on the front palate but is otherwise virtually identical except for a few extra adjustments. These include the Leica M10-P, which becomes the first Leica rangefinder with an LCD touch screen and an electronic spirit level, while the shutter release mechanism is also the quietest in its class. Added to this, the plastic hot shoe cover of the series has been replaced by an all-metal. There are many reasons that make it one of the best Leica cameras to buy.

This camera radiates that intoxicating mix of old school charm and distinctive Leica luxury and focuses by aligning a ghost image with the fixed optical viewfinder, while the resolution remains reasonably conservative despite the inclusion of a full-frame sensor. We also get no option for capturing videos, in an attempt by the maker to distill the camera to the pure essence of photography. That said, the LCD screen makes use of Live View and focus peaking possible – so this camera feels like the best of both worlds in many ways, by linking digital know-how to classic analog operation.

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Leica D-Lux 7

For a Leica, this is a very affordable compact camera

  • Type: Zoom compact
  • Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
  • Megapixels: 17MP (effective)
  • Lens: 24-75mm f/1.7-f/16
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 11fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Enthusiast

A premium compact for both photos and street photography, the D-Lux 7 is a camera with a fixed lens, travel zoom that still radiates that luxurious look (the designation is D-Lux = Deluxe) that we would expect from a camera costs almost a large. The most important features are a 17-megapixel play-it-safe resolution of a Four Thirds CMOS sensor with 21.77 megapixels. This is married to a lens with an equivalent range of a wide angle of 24-75 mm in terms of 35 mm film. The maximum aperture of the lens is an impressively fast/clear f/1.7, with the option to adjust it manually via a lens ring that offers incremental settings of up to f/16. Or you can of course simply click on the automatic setting, which owns button.

Given the long-term cooperation between Leica and Panasonic, it is not surprising that this model arrived so soon afterward and looks like the cheaper Panasonic LX100 IIh. This way we get the Panasonic-like recording options that contain both 4K photos and 4K video options. It may be unfortunate that the 3-inch LCD screen is resolutely fixed, but it offers at least touch control. We also liked that the rangefinder-like top plate for shutter speed and exposure compensation control gives the D-Lux 7 a classic experience, the camera brings things to life including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras on the market.

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Leica Sofort

This plush instant camera is great fun at parties

  • Type: Instant camera
  • Sensor size: N/A
  • Megapixels: N/A
  • Film type: Fujifilm Instax Mini format
  • Image size: 6.2 x 4.6cm
  • LCD: For settings only
  • Viewfinder: Direct view
  • Continuous shooting: N/A
  • Max video resolution: N/A
  • User level: Beginner

Similar to the less expensive Instax Mini 90 from Fujifilm – the Leica Sofort is available in various color options. It can use Fuji’s Instax movie packages, which are around £1/$1.50 per printed image. Leica’s own brand foil packages are more expensive. These instant packs offer credit card-sized images smaller than the Polaroid instant prints that you remember from childhood. But it is undoubtedly still exciting to see how an image appears slowly before the eyes once the camera has pressed a print. You can also purchase monochrome film packages to surrender to extra arty low fi whimsy.

The camera comes with a Leica brand shoulder strap, which is handy because at 122x94x58mm the camera is too bulky for a jacket pocket, although the manageable weight of 310 grams transports it quite easily. A smaller outside mirror helps to take the inevitable selfie, while the operation is kept simple because the only control on the top plate of the camera is a shutter release button. With a focusing distance of just 0.6 meters, a 60 mm lens on the front of the Sofort provides an equivalent of 34 mm, which means that what we see on film images is comparable to what the human eye sees.

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Leica C-Lux

In truth, Leica doesn’t really do the budget, but the C-Lux comes close

  • Type: Zoom compact
  • Sensor size: 1 inch
  • Megapixels: 20MP (effective)
  • Lens: 24-260mm f/3.3-6.4
  • Autofocus: Yes, 49 points
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Arrived in Light Gold or Midnight Blue, here is another Leica compact that is an existing Panasonic model – in the case of the Leica C-Lux this is the Panasonic TZ200. And, yes, this ‘compact luxury’ option is again more expensive than its double. Yet for a Leica camera of any description, it is relatively reasonably priced. For that, we get a retracting 15x optical zoom lens with a focal range of 24 to 360 mm, plus 4K video applications up to 30 fps, from which 8-megapixel photos can be taken. There is a touch-sensitive 3-inch LCD screen on the backplate, but it is resolved resolutely, plus a small eye finder.

What will seduce lovers of imaging here, however, is the camera that is larger than average for its one-inch class sensor, which offers a respectable resolution of 20 megapixels. Another plus is that the automatic focus of the camera can be locked quickly on the target, thanks to 49 AF points. Users also have the option to focus on a specific area in the frame, simply by tapping the back touch screen, after which the selectable points are displayed. As expected at this price, there is the option here to create both Raw files and JPEGs or the two at the same time. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras to buy.

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Leica CL

The l-mount mirrorless camera packs lots of tech into a diminutive body

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor size: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.3MP (effective)
  • Lens mount: Leica L
  • Autofocus: Yes, 49 AF points
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Enthusiast

Built-in Germany, this attractive compact system camera loads a large 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor on a Leica L lens mount, as recently approved by Panasonic for its fledgling full-frame ‘S’ system. It is a sister model of the TL2 camera launched around the same time, which also has a similar function set. In the meantime, important points for attention on the CL include a touch-sensitive 3-inch LCD screen, photo enthusiast, eye-catching viewfinder, 4K video, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and burst shots up to 10 fps for up to 140 JPEGs, or 33 Raw and JPEG files at the same time.

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Because it shares the L mount with the TL2, it can use the TL line of Leica lenses, while lenses from the Leica M and R series can be used with adapters and SL lenses without the lenses. Top plate plates give the camera the classic hands-on operation that is loved by Leica users, while external flash can be attached via the empty hot shoe if desired. Although there is a lot of love here, the rear screen cannot be tilted or adjusted while the usual Leica premium is paid for a handmade camera instead of a camera produced in-store. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras right now.

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Leica TL2

Sleek statement of a digital camera seeks to entice moneyed smartphone users to adopt the brand via huge rear screen

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor size: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.3MP (effective)
  • Lens mount: Leica L
  • Autofocus: Yes, 49 AF points
  • LCD: 3.7in fixed touchscreen, 1.3 million dots
  • Viewfinder: None
  • Continuous shooting: 20fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Enthusiast

With its sleek, minimal and sleek exterior, this Leica certainly makes a fashion statement, while the huge 3.7-inch screen that occupies all of the backplates should appeal to existing smartphone users who are looking for a dedicated image capture device. If we have a gripe, it is that attaching a lens makes the camera feel a bit heavy, while the minimalist design has led to some operational peculiarities – not least the fact that the controls are trying out a bit. There is also no built-in image stabilization and the automatic focus response is not particularly fast.

Yet it is also intended as a serious photographic tool, thanks to the approval of the L-barrel, the 49-point AF system for contrast detection – as can also be found in the more ‘conventional’ CL-plus from Leica, uncommonly present for a digital camera, 32 GB built-in memory. Added to this we get the option of 4K video and it can take photos up to a respectable 20 fps using its electronic shutter. Another plus is that the image quality is amazing, even if the somewhat uneven body/lens combination, quirky controls and faster-to-operate responses ultimately leave something to be desired. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras right now.

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Leica X-U

Perfect for a pool party in Cannes (if not a beach trip to Skegness)

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor size: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 16MP (effective)
  • Lens: Fixed 23mm f/1.7
  • Autofocus: Contrast-based AF system
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 920,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: N/A
  • Continuous shooting: 5fps
  • Max video resolution: Full HD
  • User level: Enthusiast

There aren’t many Leica cameras that you would be sure to get into the deep blue and salty – so the full numbers for this water-tight version of the X-E compact camera from the same manufacturer that doesn’t go down when it comes to core specifications. The XU has an APS-C-format chip and a wide-angle 23 mm equivalent clear/fast f/1.7 Summilux prime lens for delivering those shallow (water) depth-of-field shots. The price is a lot to pay for a hardened camera, but this compact is also shockproof, dust-proof and unbreakable. For those who think of a dive, the body is completely waterproof to a depth of 15 meters and it also has an underwater protection filter.

What is also striking here for those interested in image quality as well as robustness is a larger APS-C format sensor that can capture 16-megapixel images. This combo should deliver better quality than the one-inch sensor or 1/2.3-inch chip that can be found in competing waterproof cameras, even if they are nearly a tenth of the asking price of this Leica. This high-end adventure camera can also capture Full HD video – perfect for capturing those schools of fish in the camera. In short, this is a watertight camera for a stunning price and is one of the best Leica cameras.

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Leica S3

The best Leica is still to be launched…

  • Type: Medium Format DSLR
  • Sensor size: Leica ProFormat medium-format sensor
  • Megapixels: 64MP (effective)
  • Lens mount: Leica S
  • Continuous shooting: 3fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Professional

Landing at any time – originally announced on Photokina 2018 – is this update of Leica’s medium format system camera in the S3 (the S2 was originally announced on Photokina 2008), which now features a hefty 63-megapixel resolution (a 1.7x increase in its predecessor). This is an evolution of an existing camera instead of a revolution where the truth is told, and intentionally, with 4K Cinema resolution video that is also offered this time.

The S3, however, possesses the magic of Leica, despite the fact that many controls are not labeled, the absence of a stabilized sensor and the omission of an electronic viewfinder. The Phase One alternative can contain many more megapixels and the rival of Fuji can give us an electronic viewfinder and anti-shake in the body, but they don’t have the desirable red dot on the faceplate. This will be a great addition to our list of best Leica cameras.

Leica’s latest incarnation of its ProFormat sensor can shoot at 3 fps and the light sensitivity is now better than ISO 50,000. Just like its predecessor, the camera delivers Leica DNG (Raw) files and delivers uncut Trimmed Full HD and 4K video in terms of video, while this time the manufacturer opted for a rounder, fuller ergonomics of the DSLR style that most people should feel familiar with, starting at the beginning. The optical viewfinder is also generously proportioned. Yes, this is not an everyday camera for ordinary people, but even if it is sometimes a little impenetrable, it is inspiring.

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Leica M Monochrom

Upgraded black and white rangefinder camera seeks specialist owner

  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Sensor size: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24MP (effective)
  • Lens mount: Leica M
  • Autofocus: None, manual focusing via rangefinder or Live View
  • LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 921,600 dots
  • Viewfinder: Direct Vision
  • Continuous shooting: 3.5fps
  • Max video resolution: Full HD
  • User level: Enthusiast

Here is a curio: a digital camera that only photographs in black and white: inspired madness … or just madness? It is certainly a certain niche and an expensive niche, but the quality of the results justifies Leica’s courageous decision to use a monochrome sensor. The core is a 24 million pixel CMOS chip, linked to the live display option and 24 fps Full HD video capture. The light sensitivity range closes here at ISO25,000, with ISO320 the lowest setting, while shutter speeds range from 60 seconds to 1/4000 sec. Focus is, this is a Leica M for enthusiasts, a completely manual matter.

The camera is quite robust and solid, with copper, leather and magnesium alloy construction. The clear viewfinder provides a dual-range rangefinder image, with guidelines for the lens being used, so that users can compose and focus at the same time. Simultaneous recording in Raw and JPEG can cause a number of delays, but the uncompressed DNG (Raw) files can easily be opened in just about any image editing program or display software. Overall, this is one of the best Leica cameras right now.

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