The Leica M6: An Icon of 35mm Analog Rangefinder Cameras

October 22, 2022

By Theano Nikitas

© Leica

With renewed interest (again) in film photography, Leica’s reissue of the M6 Rangefinder is perfectly timed. And, given that this publication was named for the style of iconic 35mm analog rangefinder cameras popular in the 1950’s, it’s only fitting that we cover the announcement. Frankly, it’s refreshing to revisit an analog camera that’s focused on the essentials of making photographs without a lot of extraneous bells and whistles—reminiscent of the days of Cartier-Bresson, Kertesz, Capa and other greats in more recent history.

[Read: Leica’s ‘Titan’: A Limited-Edition Film Camera and Lens Set]

Although Leica is currently the only company that still manufactures 35mm analog rangefinder cameras—producing almost 175,000 handmade M6 cameras between 1984-2002—the re-issued M6 (discontinued 20 years ago) is the first Leica film camera the company has launched in 8 years (the M-A was released in 2014).

Leica M6
© Leica

You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the original and the 2022 version of the Leica M6. The body is physically similar and retains M6’s core attributes and features including the slanted film rewind crank—a real reminder of our early days of shooting and the physical process of film photography. But there are updates that are designed to improve the experience of shooting with the M6 such as the 0.72x viewfinder from the Leica MP film camera that minimizes glare. Coating on optical surfaces help prevent the intrusion of stray light and there’s now a battery warning indicator to alert users about power levels. The light meter utilizes dual arrow symbols just like the original model but Leica has added a red dot (no surprise there) to its new LED light meter.

35mm analog rangefinder cameras example
© Leica

Adding to its workhorse reputation, the top cover is milled from solid brass (vs. the original die-cast zinc)  with added protection with an abrasion-resistant black lacquer.

[Read: Why a Fire-Damaged Vintage Leica M4 Sold for Over $2,000]

The camera comes with an embossed leather strap, Leica’s signature red dot on the body (although it reads Leitz instead of Leica) and packaging and paperwork that’s reminiscent of the original M6.

For more details, please visit: The Leica M6 will be available starting on November 3 for $5,295.