Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

By Molly Kate

Leica officially revealed their plans for a new 35mm film camera product but instead of inventing something new, they have brought back a popular classic, the M6. As we reported back in September, there were rumors about Leica’s new film camera release and what it may be. So, if this is a re-release of the 1984 M6, what has Leica changed since then? Let’s have a look.

For the most part, Leica kept the same structure as the M6 with a number of small upgrades. Leica’s press release mentions a redesign of the top cover originally die-cast zinc, now made from brass and fortified with a scratch-resistance black lacquer. The rangefinder has been modernized using the 0.72x viewfinder magnification also seen in the currently available MP and M-A (Type 127) cameras. The ISO dial is refreshed with electrical components. Two other upgrades include a new red dot showing the correct exposure in addition to the original arrows of the meter as well as a battery warning indicator. The M6 is also only available in black, rather than the option of silver as before. Lastly, the iconic red dot reads Leitz rather than Leica again just like the original.

Leica M6 product image
Images provided by Leica’s Press Center.
Leica M6 product image on white background
New M6. Images provided by Leica’s Press Center.
Leica M6 product image on white background
Original M6. Images provided by Leica’s Press Center.

Other features remain much the same such as the mechanical nature, with batteries (2 PX76/SR44 or 1 DL1/3N) used only to operate the TTL light meter. The shutter, aperture, ISO, focus, and winding are manual operations. ISO can be set from 9 to 6400. Shutter speeds range from 1 s to 1/1000 s and there is also a Bulb mode. Flash can be used via the accessory shoe and synchronises on the 1st shutter curtain. Sync speeds are up to 1/50 s. As for the lens mount, it is the Leica M bayonet. (Source: Leica Detail Product Page)

Leica M6 product image on white background
Images provided by Leica’s Press Center.

The viewfinder is large and bright with automatic parallax compensation. In rangefinder fashion, within the viewfinder are illuminated framelines highlighting the image field for six focal lengths. They come in pairs of 28 and 90 mm, 35 and 135 mm, and 50 and 75 mm. After attaching a lens that coordinates with the technology, the focal length of the lens will appear in the viewfinder. Additionally, you can select the framelines as well. Focus is calculated with the help of either the superimposed image method or split image method shown in the center of the viewfinder.

Leica M6 product image on white background
Images provided by Leica’s Press Center.

‘Write your story’ is Leica’s new M6 tagline. Centered and celebrated as part of the M6’s release are an all-male cast of three photographers that tell their stories around the M6. Mini-films showcase these stories on the product page here.

Twenty years after the last manufacture, the M6 is still handmade in Germany. It is available globally at Leica Stores, the Leica Online Store, and authorized dealers starting November 3, 2022, retailing at €5,050.00 including VAT. For more information head over to Leica’s product page here.

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About The Author

By Molly Kate
Photographer, writer, and CPA currently running a Youtube channel called Eclectachrome. I'm a huge fan of shiny new objects which makes writing news a perfect fit. Favorite cameras are often mechanical rangefinders, folders, and compacts and I love most film stocks. I enjoy developing and scanning my own film as well as printing in the darkroom when there's extra time!
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Comments

AlistairH on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

The current film Leicas are the retro models, so I think they have missed a trick with the M6. Why not bring back the M7? What is really daft is that they have used the old, tiny, back-to-front shutter speed dial, rather than the much better one used in the M6 TTL (which I have), M7, M8, M9, M10, & M11. That is just being old-fashioned for the sake of it! The old M6 never had the centre "correct" exposure LED - that came with the M6 TTL, so why they have taken some features from the later (better) camera and not others is beyond me.
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Huss replied:

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

I agree with you, but Leica did this because it is how it is done with the MP. And this is just an MP with a different name and different top plate. All the rest of the parts are the same

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Anon on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

Very interesting the image they provide for the "original" M6 seems quite battered and worn, not factory fresh.
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Ian H on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

The big story for me is the classic lens line is enlarged with the Summilux 35mm V1 steel rim. We already have the fantastic 28mm Summaron re-issue and 50mm and 90mm options. I find it reassuring absolute resolving power of glass isn’t the only game in town at Leica and character still matters.
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David Wignall on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

I think it's great that Leica have listened to customer demand and re-launched the M6; albeit at a substantial price tag. The circulating rumours of a “cheap” Leica M were always a bit naïve in my opinion. I’m very happy that I bought my M6 before prices went totally berserk! Any new film camera production is a blessing. I hope this will tame the used Leica M market now that the supply has increased. I also hope that Voigtlander will take note and re-release the Bessa series. After all, VC only stopped film camera production around 7 years ago. The situation with used camera prices going ever higher due to demand with ever decreasing supply is obviously not sustainable. This can only mean that one day there will be a film camera “crunch” unless new models are introduced. We are in a weird consumer space right now where new film cameras are either very cheap, plastic, limited function models like those from Lomography or you have to go super high-end to Leica. $50 or $5,000! It’s like only being able to buy a Tata or a Lamborghini! We need a middle ground for normal people.
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Huss replied:

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

Yeah it’s weird there is no medium range offerings. Lomo does still offer the LC-A new which is about $400. But other than that it is reloadable fixed focus fixed exposure @ $25-$50, LC-A @$400, then Leica @ $5500! Nikon quit selling the Cosina made FM10 a few years ago - a very plasticky charmless thing - and at the end it was about $700 w kit lens. The $2500 F6 discontinued a little while later.

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Huss on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

Dan, it’s the other way round. Film mfgs have put the camera mfgs on notice. They sell all the film they are making, but the only mfg that has introduced a ‘quality’ new film camera is Leica. Let alone Leica maintaining production for over 100 years now! Leicas are luxury purchases. They are aspirational purchases. No-one needs one. But it is oh so nice to use one. I placed an order for the new M6 thanks to Britain’s dearly departed PM Liz Truss. She cratered the pound, so it made it so much cheaper to order one from the UK than to buy it in the USA where I live! Thank you PM Truss!
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Dan Castelli replied:

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

Haha! Politicians are good for something! I had a M6, but I couldn’t get used to the data crammed into the viewfinder and I’m not a fan of semi-spot metering. After 50 years, I’m pretty good at guessing exposure. I have an M4-P and it’s all good. I wish you great shooting w/your new M6. Will you call it “Liz”?

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David Wignall replied:

Comment posted: 25/10/2022

Ha Ha I'm glad someone is benefitting from the government's ineptitude.

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Dan Castelli on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

I don’t have a horse I this race. I currently own an armamentarium of m-mount Leica gear. Probably too much. Probably should sell some off. This is what I find confusing: 1. Why buy a new M6 when you can still get a copy for less money. 2. Buy an earlier model M. Any M up to the M5 were assembled by hand, you can have a bespoke Leica camera rather than a mass produced model. Bragging rights. 3. Film prices are on the rise. No more $6.00 Portra 400. 4. Inflation. Leica or grub hub. 5. Leica lens prices are outrageous. Prices for good used equipment (EX ) are almost untouchable, and poor quality or abused gear (EX , please read) is overpriced. Now, I know how markets work, and regardless of the high cost, people will buy. But Leica is smarter than me. They did their market research and decided to relaunch the M6. If Nikon relaunches the FM3a, then that will put film manufacturers on notice…
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Dave Roberts replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

Oh what dreams are made of.....A new off the production line FM3A..... or F3.........

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Tim Bradshaw on Leica’s New Film Camera Announcement: Re-Releasing the Popular M6

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

I don't want to be negative about this it, but I am genuinely interested: who would buy one of these? Looking at the website of a London-based Leica shop shows me a bunch of M6s for around half the price of this, and that's not likely to be a particularly competitively priced place. Add to that any servicing costs and it's still much, much cheaper. I mean, an M6 is a Leica I would seriously consider (built-in meters are a big win for me, and though I admire the look of the M5 it's too big for my hands), but if I had £5k spare I'd buy a nice used one and see if I could get a lens too. So who would buy this? Again: I am not trying to be negative, I just do not understand.
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Molly Kate replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

Thanks for the comment Tim! There might be some folks out there that love Leica and/or the M6 but want to buy a new one off the line and of course have the funds or savings for it plus a lens, or maybe they already have lenses for the system. It can be a little similar to cars, where some folks prefer to buy new off the lot when they could save half the price or more buying used and just pay for the maintenance.

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Andrea Taurisano replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

Well, Tim, I for one did earlier buy a wonderful Leica M-A. Only to find out by myself what everybody had told me: that a mint M2 would do exactly the same and give me pretty much the same joy for a third (quarter?) of the price. So, to answer you: I guess a number of Leica lovers will buy this new M6, just like me to find out what they actually already know..

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Matthias replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

As far as I know the re-release is limited to 500 copies, so it's quite clear who'll buy them: Collector's. And as collectors items, they will be raising in value...collecting dust in vitrines and hardly see any use. That's disappointing, they could sell thousands of them at a price near the actual used price and really take part in the film revival, but that's not what Leica wants.

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Hamish Gill replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

Yes, this sort of happened to me

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Hamish Gill replied:

Comment posted: 24/10/2022

I think that was just a rumour - it is full production as far as I know. It's listed on the website... though for more money than the MP, which seems a little odd - https://store.leica-camera.com/uk/en/leica-m6-black

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