Leica has officially relaunched its classic M6 rangefinder film camera at an event in the company’s HQ in Wetzlar, Germany.
Rumours of the cameras’ re-release has been brewing for some months. The camera is an improved version of the M-mount model which was first released in 1984 and in production until 2002.
The new version of the camera was launched at a ceremony attended by Leica photographers and Leica Store owners on Thursday (20 October).
Leica fan site LeicaRumors reported that the new camera had been accidentally leaked early by a Leica store earlier this week. The new camera will cost €4,800 (£4,185/$4,710).
After its unveiling on Thursday, Leica’s website said of the new camera: “The M6 uses a mechanical rangefinder with 0.72x viewfinder magnification, handcrafted from over 100 individual parts. Aperture and exposure time can be precisely determined thanks to selective exposure metering through the lens, the light balance is displayed in the lower part of the viewfinder. Focusing is done using a superimposed image method or split image method. Both are ideal for focusing quickly with extreme precision, even in poor lighting conditions.
“See more, react better. The rangefinder technology in the M6 lets you see beyond the picture frame, so you can assess the exact right moment to release the shutter.
“Illuminated framelines highlight the image field for six focal lengths, arranged in pairs for 28 and 90mm, 35 and 135mm, as well as 50 and 75mm. After attaching a lens, the corresponding focal length automatically appears in the viewfinder as framelines. In addition, all other framelines can be displayed in the rangefinder using the field selector. This allows you to select the appropriate focal length for your subject before releasing the shutter – and to capture your image at the decisive moment.”
Leica listed the cameras technical specs as:
Large, bright-line rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation
Parallax compensation: The horizontal and vertical difference between viewfinder and lens is compensated automatically in line with the relevant focus setting.
Congruence of viewfinder and actual image. The size of the bright-line frame matches the distance:
– at 2 m: the exact sensor size of approx. 23.9 x 35.8 mm
– at infinity: (depending on focal length) approx. 7.3% (28 mm) to 18% (135 mm)
– less than 2 m: less than film size
Viewfinder magnification: x0.73 (all lenses)
Wide- base rangefinder: Split and superimposed image rangefinder shown as a bright field in the centre of the viewfinder image.
Shutter type: Focal plane shutter with rubber liner, mechanically controlled
Shutter speeds: Mech. shutter: 1s – 1⁄1000s
Flash Synch: up to 1⁄50s
Shutter release: Two-stage: Power up (activation of exposure meter) – Release. Integrated standard cable release thread.
Loading: Manual with quick wind lever or LEICAVIT M, motorized with LEICA MOTOR-M, LEICA WINDER-M, LEICA WINDER
Rewinding: Manual with telescopic rewind knob
Frame counter: On top of camera. Automatic reset after removal of bottom cover.
Working range: 70cm to ∞
Focus mode: Manual
Exposure metering: TTL (exposure metering through the lens), with working aperture Metering cell: Silicon photo diode with convex lens to the top left behind the camera bayonet.
Film speed range: Manual setting from ISO 6/9° to ISO 6400/39°.
Metering principle: The light reflected by a metering spot in the centre of the first shutter curtain is metered. The metering spot has a diameter of 12mm and therefore corresponds to approx. 13% of the full negative format or around 2/3 of the short side of the corresponding frame in the viewfinder.
Exposure control mode: Manual shutter speed and aperture setting, adjustment using LED light balance.
Flash unit connection: Via accessory shoe
Synchronisation: On the first shutter curtain
Flash sync speed : 1/50s; slower shutter speeds possible.
Flash exposure control: Via computer control of flash unit or via guide number calculation and manual setting for the required aperture.
Power Supply: Two Silver oxide button cells (PX76/SR44) or one Lithium battery (DL1/3N)
Leica’s M6 has become a seriously sought-after model amid the recent interest in film photography, with secondhand models often selling for more than £2,000 ($2,300) without a lens.
Leica said in 2020 that they were planning the release of a “cheaper” Leica film camera to complement their remaining film models, the M-mount MP and M-A.
In 2020, its global product director Stefan Daniel told a Leica Historical Society of America meeting: “This level of interest in film cameras was something that he hadn’t seen since the arrival of the digital Ms over 10 years ago.”
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Every time I see the prices Leica is asking for their camera… I just cry. In CDN $, with a lens, that’s, close to 10,000$ (that’s, without taxes), WOW that’s a lot of money for a film camera. Before anybody mentions it, Leica is an excellent camera I know very well, but it’s simply not accessible by 98.5% of the film-lover population. At 10,000$ anybody has any idea how many TOP of the line mint Canon or Nikon I can get in the used market? At those prices medium format looks very affordable, such as “Blad” with maybe 2 lens…… Read more »
Couldn‘t agree more. Not to mention the aged technology (one (!) silicium diode! Imagine that!).
At the price point they have set, what does this new body bring to the table in reality? It is a stock standard M6, with slightly updated tooling used to build it. What separates this camera from a 5, 10, or hell even a 20 year old Camera? The argument can be made that it has an MP finder, but does that justify the price? When your flagship film camera is being built by hand by a small number of skilled technicians, there is no such thing as “Consumer price” unfortunately. Too bad they marketed the release that way. Unfortunately… Read more »