The Leica CL has a vertical-running focal plane shutter, with cloth curtains, giving ½ to 1/1000 speeds. There is a through-the-lens CdS exposure meter mounted on a pivoting arm just in front of the shutter, like the Leica M5. The exposure is manual and the shutter is mechanical. The shutter speeds are visible in the finder. The finder’s framelines are for a 40mm, 50mm or 90mm lens. The 40mm frameline is always present and the 50mm or 90mm frame line is automatically selected upon mounting of the appropriate lens.
Today the CL is a superbly compact and quite cheap camera on which to mount M-mount lenses, but it does not have a rangefinder as precise as that of any Leica M body. The rangefinder base of the CL is 31.5 mm and the viewfinder magnification is 0.60, leading to a small effective rangefinder base of 18.9 mm. This is too short for accurate focusing with lenses longer than 90mm and fast lenses used at full aperture. Some users report the camera is rather fragile, especially the rangefinder alignment and meter mechanism.