CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Minilux or CM



I have got an offer to buy a Minilux 40/2.4 in silver for 300 Euro (second hand). How much better is the CM in picture quality and handling in your opinion? Would it justify the price difference?

How good is the lens of the Minilux already? how much better is the lens of the CM?


I think you'll find the lens is the same on both cameras, and five stars.

The differences as far as I can tell are in the retro styling of the CM and more viewfinder information.

Personally I'd take the Minilux. I've got one and think it's the best camera I've ever had. And I've had a few.


I suggest you check out the leica website which will give you the technical differences (
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
). I own neither so can't comment from a practical viewpoint, but the CM has improved coating version of the Summarit f2.4 on the Minilux, though I would expect the differences to be very small.

Otherwise the CM has the improved viewfinder and provides aperture & shutter information within the viewfinder. CM closes to f22 (f16 on the Minilux), and the shutter speed goes up to 1/1000, whereas the minilux reaches about 1/400. Manual focus on the CM has a proper rangefinder focusing system, whereas you have to estimate the distance on the Minilux (as per all? other compacts with a manual over-ride on focus).

CM is a little smaller too.

Most of the above changes will not really affect photo quality - just improve the handling - but I've been sorely tempted....

The bottom line is that you'll only get a CM new, whereas Minlux may cost about 1/2 of the cost due to second hand models. This makes the minilux good value for what must be a lovely camera.


PS - I own a Leica C3 compact - which takes lovely pictures, but no manual over-ride which is a constraint - but has got the 28-80 zoom lens which provides more choice of perspectives.

I understood from Erwin Puts that the lens of the CM is the same as on the minilux except for a slightly better coating. Under normal circumstances you will see no difference.
I'd still would choose the CM for all the other improvements.



Dear Dick,

I have owned a black Minilux for a few years now and cannot fault it other than the lack of lens-hood which was overcome with a home-made one.

The optical performance is stunning and indistinguishable in large scale projection from Leica prime lenses.

Personally I am not induced to "upgrade" to the CM as there are no dynamic improvements for my use, it is too small for me and not available in black.

At that price you would get your money back.

Have fun.



Well-Known Member
I do not believe that the CM has a 'true rangefinder' manual focusing system, as was previously indicated. There is a distance readout in the VF, which is a nice improvement, but it is still a guess focus system. Which is fine, but the CM is not a low-priced AF-capable motor driven M camera. Rather, it is a nice upgrade to the venerable Minilux, preserving the superb optics and adding some nice enhancements and overcoming some limitations of the aging Minilux design.

Flash shoe, faster shutter speed, better information management on camera and in VF, passive AF instead of active (though not any expansion in the focusing range) and updated styling.

As a Minilux user I am not compelled to upgrade. Well, I would add a CM if not for the cost, but not replace the Minilux. The CM flash shoe is the most important change for me, however on the downside is the passive AF - I much prefer active AF like on the Minilux, particularly for very low light shooting, where the Minilux really outshines most other P&S cameras. I guess the faster shutter is the other really big win - I find the 1/400 sec max speed of the Minilux trips me up when I have 400 film in the camera and a nice shot appears in midday sunlight...

Maybe they will come down in price, or start showing up used, in 12 to 18 months - we can always hope.

BTW: anyone heard if the Minilux is being discontinued?

- marc


From the CM brochure, the indication is that the CM does have the rangefinder focus system - "lightbalance sytem as used on modern m seiies for manual focus" - and you can see the 2 windows on front of the camera. Not seen it in practice though so can't confirm.

Looks great to me....



I have been asking about this on other forums and have not received an answer as yet. I cannot see how on earth the CM can have a real rangefinder, as on an M camera. There is no RF patch in the finder and, more obviously, there is no focus ring on the lens. I gather you set the distance with the dial, as on the Minilux or a Contax G1/G2 and hope for the best. Therefore I do not see the role of the LED "focus aid" of which they speak. I gather they light up when the camera has achieved focus, as far as IT is concerned, which bears no relation, necessarily, to where you WANT it to focus. I find all this peculiar. As a Leica fan, and owner of both a Minilux and an M6, I think it is weird for Leica of all people to be deceptive about a cameras capabilities. That, and the fact that they have--according to another forum--withdrawn ALL CMs in Italy, due to defect. This is astonishing to me, assuming it is the case.

Re: "I think it is weird for Leica of all people to be deceptive about a cameras capabilities. That, and the fact that they have--according to another forum--withdrawn ALL CMs in Italy, due to defect. This is astonishing to me, assuming it is the case."

I'm not surprised. The Leica CM brochure also states that the CM has "Program Shift." As best I can tell, it does not have true program shift.
BTW, it appears that Leica is going to TRY to build a digital camera that will take M lenses. I can hear Canon's people laughing all the way to the bank....


Not to continue beating up Leica, but I have to say that, if I had just paid $1000 for a CM because it was "Made in Germany" AS A SELLING POINT, and it went kaput, I would be VERY unhappy. In my opinion, anyone who spends $1800 on the new Digilux 2, as an immediate adopter, is mad! What has happened to Leica's famed quality control, or, for that matter, to their publicity department. One would think that they simply cannot afford, in the the midst of this digital onslaught, to screw up. It is a pity, as I would love a CM as a point and shoot. It seems there are now two Leica's. The old Solms
Leica, obsessed--we hope--with quality and endurance, and the new "built in obsolescence" Leica, only they are charging the same as the Solms Leica, based on the red dot alone. I hope I
am totally wrong.



Well-Known Member
I own a Minilux and have used it for some time. Just last week I went to handle a CM. There were three big advantages for me in the CM, a couple small ones, and a couple of disadvantages. The viewfinder is much better. Have to go see this one for yourself. Second, the EV dial on the back makes shifting the EV much quicker on the CM. Third, the 1000 second is a godsend compared to the 400 of the Minilux. The smaller ones are that the flash can default to off and hot shoe for external flash. The disadvantage I saw was that the Minilux has a second curtain slow flash synch. The CM does not. I do not think an external flash will be able to provide this either since it is not TTL capable (correct me if I'm wrong). Quality I would suspect is the same so you will just have to decide whether these features are needed or not. Cheers, Scott


Scott, the CM does have 2nd curtain slow synch flash. It is hidden in the second "layer" of flash modes. To access them, press the flash mode button and keep it pressed for a couple of seconds; not immediately apparent, I agree!




Well-Known Member
Thanks Bill, it's always nice to be corrected with good news.
Also of note, the CM seemed noticably lighter and a little smaller.


Scott - Did you also fail to make any sense of the manual focusing system (ie rangefinder system)? Also, what viewfinder info is there in the minlux? I gather the CM is much better in this respect....



Well-Known Member
The only difference that I saw, and Bill can correct me if I'm wrong, but the CM distance dial on top allows for any distance setting while the Minilux, you have to use one of the 11 preset distances. Both use the dial on the top of the camera. The minilux doesn't give any information inside the viewfinder while the CM does.

Anyone know any details about Leica's claim that the CM has "Program Shift?" To me program shift means the ability to shift between aperture priority or shutter priority with one shift wheel (as on the EOS 35mm SLR cameras). However, I see no way to do this with the CM. I'm still considering the CM to complement my Ricoh GR1's 28mm lens.