The Leica Digital Cameras That Will Become Classics

These slightly older Leica digital cameras are great performers, affordable, and bound to be classics.

Leica cameras are lusted after by many photographers. For most of us, though, the cameras put out by the legendary German manufacturer are out of our reach due to pricing, but what if we said you can get your hands on some slightly older Leica digital cameras that won’t break the bank? Not only are these Leica digital cameras affordable, but they’re also incredible performers that will help you create some truly gorgeous images. If you’ve always wanted to own a Leica, the slightly older Leica digital cameras that we have rounded up after the break are the ones you should go after.

Captured with the Leica M-D

In the right hands, the Leica digital cameras we have listed below are all capable of greatness. They sport excellent sensors, built like tanks that will last for years, and timeless designs that will never go out of fashion. We’re pretty sure that the prices of the Leica digital cameras we listed will only appreciate, and that they will go down as modern classics. If you want to get your hands on a Leica camera before their prices skyrocket, these are the models worth a look.

Leica M9-P

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sapphire glass LCD screen is easy to view
  • The new covering on the camera makes it easier to grip
  • Mesmerizing image quality with gorgeous colors
  • Gorgeous retro rangefinder design

Cons

  • Metering is all over the place which means you have to meter manually
  • The shutter is very loud
  • Not the best images when shooting at higher ISO settings

Buy now: Used from $1,500

Leica X2

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Wonderful design that reminds us of the Leica M2 and M3
  • The autofocus is snappy and on par with the Fujifilm X100
  • Truly remarkable battery life
  • Beautiful image quality
  • It creates versatile files to play with
  • Great up to ISO 6400, 12,800 is fine for web use

Cons

  • No built in viewfinder
  • According to sunny 16 , the X2 underexposes by 1/3 stop

Buy now: $1,676.41

Leica M Monochrom

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Leica M “feel” and build quality
  • Excellent image quality
  • High ISO performance
  • Unique file output
  • Compatibility with the worlds best lenses

Cons

  • Some may find B&W limiting

Buy now: Used from $2,500

Captured with the Leica M Monochrom

Pro Tip: Like all other cameras out there, these affordable Leica digital cameras need to be taken care of if you want them to last. A simple cleaning routine can extend your camera’s life for years. Clean your camera regularly and you will find that they just keep going. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a cleaning kit either. This one will do just fine.

Leica X Vario (Typ 107)

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent image quality: right up there with current APS-C cameras
  • Built like a tank: exactly like you’d expect considering the price tag
  • Basic operation (shutter, aperture, zoom, focus) is perfectly user-centric

Cons

  • Relatively slow lens, with max aperture ranging from f3.5 to f6.4
  • Some questionable choices were made in the design of the user interface

Buy now: Used from $850, New $2,950

Leica M (Typ 240)

Leica Digital Cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Lack of anti-aliasing filter means pixel-level sharpness (with the right lenses)
  • Beautiful image with great color, lots of dynamic range and very little noise overall
  • Live-view with focus peaking and video mode are great additions to the M rangefinder

Cons

  • Extremely pricey
  • Due to the classic M body shape, it’s not as comfortable to hold as other cameras
  • The outdated electronic viewfinder doesn’t go along with the camera’s otherwise premium appearance

Buy now: Used from $2,969

Leica XE

Leica Digital Cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful LCD screen that is very vibrant and not too terribly low of a resolution
  • Nice feeling in the hand
  • Beautiful silver and brown finish
  • Dials feel nice though in the wrong locations
  • Extremely versatile RAW files with fantastic high ISO results from all 6400–through 12,500 doesn’t need as much editing as we’ve encountered before with previous camera sensors
  • Focusing isn’t terribly slow; and when using the Spot AF you’ll get amazingly accurate focusing. This especially wowed us.
  • Exceptional battery life when the screen is dimmed

Cons

  • The design begs for an integrated viewfinder
  • An articulating LCD screen would have been very nice
  • Wish the aperture ring were around the lens and that the focusing dial were also there
  • An integrated lens cap would be nice–not a pinch style
  • It’s 2014, and Leica should have integrated Wifi connectivity into the XE

Buy now: Used from $1,000

Captured with the Leica X2

Pro Tip: When you own a Leica, you own a piece of history. These cameras are meticulously designed and crafted, and they wear that bright red dot with pride. There are many books on the market that talk about Leica’s history and what it means to own one. There are also books about Leica cameras which show you how to get the most out of them. If you decide to pick up one of these Leica digital cameras, check out these books that will compliment your new purchase well.

Leica M-D

Leica Digital Cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Pretty solid battery life when fully charged
  • Fairly simple to use once you read the manual
  • Major emphasis on just shooting and none of the other crazy stuff
  • Removal of video features makes you really just concentrate on photography
  • Great build quality
  • Bright viewfinder
  • Very solid image quality
  • Makes you shoot in a totally different way–as do pretty much all rangefinders
  • Higher emphasis in your mind on really getting the shot right

Cons

  • A 24mm viewfinder frame line would be nice
  • Didn’t work with Sony SD cards, and in fact, Leica says that it won’t work with all SD cards

Buy now: Used from $2,000

Leica CL Digital

Leica Digital Cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • This is the best version of the 24MP (allegedly Sony) APS-C sensor that we’ve seen; it’s tied to Fujifilm’s X Trans sensor
  • Very nice ergonomics
  • Knobs are nice
  • Top LCD screen is something many more companies need to do
  • Illumination of the LCD screen when the camera is in the dark is fantastic
  • Feels like an M in some ways
  • Decent autofocus, but we wouldn’t really recommend it for street photography
  • Some of the best battery life of any mirrorless camera we’ve used
  • Beautiful, sharp viewfinder

Cons

  • Autofocus suffers in low light
  • We wish that the menu system worked with the camera’s touch operations

Buy now: $2,680.90

Leica TL2

Leica Digital Cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super solid build quality
  • Nice, big screen
  • Simple touchscreen interface, but can get complicated depending on how you configure it
  • Feels better in the hand than you’d think
  • Good image quality
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Autofocus is fast, but not fast enough for something like street photography
  • Attaching camera straps to it can be a bit of a pain

Buy now: $2,190