The film photography world is all a-twitter about the new Leica M6 2022 edition and I love the idea of Leica bringing back the iconic M6. But does this “new” camera live up to the hype? Or is it just an MP in M6 clothing? Hit the jump to watch the video!
The New Leica M6 – Video Review
So the finally released the new Leica M6 and it’s quite the looker. But they didn’t just bring the old camera back from the dead with all the same parts and designs as the original. This is a thorougly modern camera dressed up in M6 clothing. And that’s a good thing!
In this article, I’m going to talk about what this “new camera” is, what it’s not and most importantly whether or not I’m gonna get one.
So let’s get into it!
What The New Leica M6 Is
The new M6 is the third film camera in Leica’s current lineup and it joins the MP and M-A which are both currently still for sale. Leica is the only manufacturer currently making 35mm film cameras. So this is kind of a big deal.
The “new” camera is styled after the original 1984 M6 with a few modern updates to the internals. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds for people that like the idea of an M6 but prefer to get a new camera.
There’s a lot going on with the new M6 but here’s a few things that stand out to me.
What I Like About The New M6
I like the sense of nostalgia this camera evokes. The red dot says Leitz instead of Leica. Just like the original in 1984. The stoic Leitz Wetzlar text along the top plate. The leatherette is stamped with “MADE IN GERMANY” on the back. They even brought back the plastic box all M6 cameras came in. The whole package makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. And I like it.
I like that they’ve gone back to brass top and bottom plates. The finish on the M6’s zinc plates could bubble up depending on humidity and other factors. So this feels like a step in the right direction.
According to an interview with ANDREA PACELLA (Leica’s director of global marketing) New brass top and bottom plates are lighter than zinc version. Not sure if they’re thinner or if it’s some kind of new alloy. But i’m going to count this as a positive. Cuz my MP weighs as much as a small automobile.
I like that the new M6 only comes in matte black. And there are no plans for a silver version. This is the same scratch-resistant matte black paint they use on the M11. Much better than black chrome which always looked dirty to me. So thumbs up on the finish!
I like the rapid rewind crank. My MP uses an old school knurled knob. Sure, it has less moving parts so it’s more reliable. But takes 42 turns to rewind a roll of 36 exposures. Believe me – I have an MP. It takes forever. That rapid crank is a welcome addition. Especially for a street photographer like me.
It’s got the modern multi coated viewfinder that’s the same as the MP. The original M6 viewfinder would flare out if lighting wasn’t just right. And make the rangefinder patch impossible to use. A lot of M6 users would spring for the MP finder upgrade on their M6. Now it’s already in there.
And the new M6 also uses the same light meter as the MP. See 2 arrows with a dot in the middle in the viewfinder. Left and right arrows show exposure greater than 1 stop. Left or right arrow plus middle dot says you’re half stop out. And the middle dot alone says correct exposure. (According to the meter anyway). It’s simple but effective. And it’s good.
So there’s a lot to like here.
What the New Leica M6 Is Not
But let’s not fool ourselves. Leica didn’t bring the M6 back from the dead. They haven’t retooled or rebooted the original M6 assembly line using all the original plans and parts. This is a replica of the M6 built on the Leica MP framework.
The first clue is the complete lack of plastic strap bumpers. It has naked shoulders like all the modern Leicas including the MP and M-A. In fact, let’s just say it. This is just an MP dressed up to look like an M6.
And I’m okay with that.
It would be ludicrous if Leica just cranked up the old assembly line and started pumping out M6s again with the same tools and parts and designs that they used 30 years ago. The production line is already set up for the MP which is largely a refined version of the M6 anway. If they’re going to bring an M6 style camera back to market then it makes sense to incorporate the updates and improvements they added to the MP.
I own an MP and I know how reliable this camera is. So the new M6 is going to be a solid performer. Throw in the classic M6 styling and you’ve got a lust worthy camera that a lot of film shooters are going to like.
Heck, the rapid rewind crank alone is enough to make me want one.
It kind of feels like the logical next step for Leica’s film line up.And I wouldn’t be surprised if the MP eventually disappeared and the M6 became the standard film Leica moving forward. The M-A would probably remain as a throwback to the early Leicas with no meter and the knurled rewind knob.
You know, for people that want to torture themselves.
It will be interesting to see when and if Leica makes a move like that. But I’m kind of glad I got my MP when I did!
So Am I Getting A New M6?
I can only think of one reason why I wouldn’t get a new M6. The Leica MP. This is my dream camera and there’s really no compelling reason (apart from MAYBE the rewind crank) to switch to the new M6.
But if I was in the market again and I didn’t already have an MP and the Leica Store had an M6 2022 version in stock? I’d get it. But if they also had a black paint MP at the same time? I’d still go with the MP. No question.
They both do the same thing. But I like the lack of forward facing branding on my MP. And the glossy black paint finish is everything to me.
This being said, I can see the new Leica M6 as a compelling choice for a lot of Leica shooters and it’s great to see this iconic camera back in production. Even if it’s an M6 in name only.
You can find out more about the new Leica M6 on Leica’s website:
So what’s your take on the new Leica M6? Are you shooting with an M6 now? Black or silver? Or do you have some kind of weirdo special edition? Are you tempted by the new M6? Even a little? I love hearing what you guys think so post a comment down below and keep that conversation going!