The worst secret of the year has transformed into the best new film camera we’ve seen in decades and one of the prettiest Leicas we have ever had the pleasure to lust after. Leica’s reincarnation of the M6 “classic” is to hit dealers’ shelves in November, 38 years after the original was announced in 1984. It even bears the Leitz red dot in homage to the original production run, although Leica nerds will know it was replaced by the modern Leica badge a couple of years later.
We had the opportunity to examine the new M6 ahead of this announcement, and it is an absolutely gorgeous combination. The camera appears to be a perfect reproduction of the original M6, and the black finish is excellent, similar to that on the current M11 but a little shinier and smoother. It looks and feels just right, and I am certain this will be a winner for Leica. It will sell like hotcakes (to coin a phrase).
I defy any Leica enthusiast not to lust after this lovely little camera. And the silver steel-rim lens (see separate announcement) perfectly complements the reincarnated body, so that’s another burden for your credit card to bear.
The 2022 camera also incorporates a modern version of the M rangefinder, with an 0.72x magnification. It is equipped with a battery warning indicator, and the top cover has also been redesigned, now milled from solid brass covered by an abrasion-resistant lacquer. This replaces the previous version’s die-cast zinc.
The shutter-speed dial remains identical to that of the M6 and the current MP, working in the opposite direction to the more logical operation which was adopted for the M6TTL, M7 and all subsequent digital cameras. I asked a factory representative to comment on this. The newer mechanism would have resulted in a slightly higher body, which would have been contrary to Leica’s aim of producing a new version of a classic camera. As a result, the smaller shutter-speed dial, identical to the 1984 version, is also adopted instead of the larger dial used on modern cameras.
All the new camera’s optical surfaces are now coated and thus less sensitive to stray light. In addition, the correct exposure is now indicated by a central red dot in addition to the two arrows originally used. The central dot first appeared on the M6TTL and remained a feature of the M7 and is now used on all digital Ms. The M6 exposure meter measures light via a brightened area on the mechanically controlled cloth shutter, and recent achievements such as the optimised rangefinder ensure even more functionality.
Announcing the M6 today in Wetzlar, Stefan Daniel said, “The Leica M6 is a milestone in the corporate history of Leica Camera AG. Since 1984, countless iconic pictures have been taken with it; it was a part of the product range for over 18 years and is still a fascinating camera with an extremely high utility value. Conscious analogue photography, as an antithesis to the flood of digital images, is enjoying great popularity. Therefore, it was only logical for us to produce the Leica M6 again as one of the most popular representatives of this camera type”.
The Leica M6 is available globally in Leica stores and authorised dealers from 3 November 2022. The retail price in the UK will be £4,500, including tax.
All images Leica Camera AG
Note: In case you are worried about batteries, you will need two PX76/SR44 or one DL1/3N battery, both available from Amazon and other outlets.
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