If you're an avid Leica follower, you would have already heard about the company announcing the return of the Leica M6 film camera. While the Leica community was hoping for an affordable film camera, though, the new reissue is not that – it's not that at all!
Hence why I want to give my two cents to those who have been wanting to buy a second-hand Leica M6 rather than the brand new Leica M6 that was announced today – which I am going to refer to as the "Leitz M6" from now on (as it has a Leitz logo and not the traditional Leica red dot).
So, if you're in the market for a Leica film camera, it's guaranteed that the first thing everyone points you to is the Leica M6. Launched back in 1984, it is referred to as the pinnacle of Leica's film cameras and holds the highest tier of respect from all those within the photographic community, thanks to its timeless looks, flawless performance, and high-level German engineering.
This all sounds amazing until you look up the Leica M6 on eBay and realize that this second-hand, 38-year-old camera is still fetching $2,500 / £2,400. Jaw-to-the-floor, welcome to the world of Leica.
So, you've done a bit of research, and after watching a few YouTube videos you're sure that you want a Leica M6. You're ready to pull the trigger… and now Leica has announced the Leitz M6.
The differences? It appears to look the same, just that the black paint or chrome looks brand new, the top plate has been reworked for a modern take on the classic camera, and while the body stays the same size, the material is not. You're now getting a full-blown brass body, which sounds fantastic until you hear all the original M6 users say they love the weight of the seasoned zinc-bodied camera.
If you think the brass body adding some additional weight is fine, and you enjoy the facts that it now has a 0.72x rangefinder magnification, and a new light meter that now shows a red dot (like the Leica M7) when you have a perfectly metered photo as well as the two arrows, then the new Leitz M6 is sounding pretty good… until we mention the price.
This new reissue of the Leica M6 will set you back a whopping $5,295 / £4,500 (AU pricing to be confirmed). That's considerably more than the Leica MP, and even more still than the amazing Leica M-A. Leica, what are you thinking?
So here is my take: if you have the money to afford the new Leitz M6, or you are thinking you now have to save even more as you are better off getting new, don't. My honest advice would be to continue on your route of buying a classic Leica M6 second-hand from a site such as eBay, and use the rest of the Leitz M6 budget to buy yourself a good second-hand Leica lens. You honestly can't go wrong with that advice, and you might even thank me for it later down the road.
Personally, as a huge Leica fan and shooter, I can't see any benefit in purchasing this new Leitz M6 – unless you are certain you want to have that Leica M6 experience, but with a full warranty just in case, along with the unique feel of a new film camera. And who am I to argue with you?
But for the Leitz M6 to cost more than the considered "Mechanical Perfection" Leica MP, or my absolute favorite film camera the Leica M-A is mind-blowing. I know I'll get a lot of stick from the Leica community about how the Leitz M6 is a vision for the future of Leica film cameras, and how it will rejuvenate film in the younger generation while bringing a younger audience to the brand… but for £4,500 I think Leica misread the room on this one.
This is very hard to say, as I am a true Leica believer, I shoot solely on a Leica M-E and I love the rangefinder experience, but I'm afraid I will still be recommending the original Leica M6 to all those that want a rangefinder with a built-in meter. And for those that don't, it has to be the M-A – a camera I will own one day.
To conclude, I'd say of course this camera is going to sell like hotcakes, and the Leica community will be most fully behind this new Leitz M6 and will possibly add it to their collection. However, for those on the outside looking into Leica, I can see everyone else picking up the original Leica M6 all day long. I know which one I would go for – do you?
If you found this article interesting, you'll definitely enjoy our review of the Leica M-A, or the best 35mm film to shoot in your new film camera, or if film isn't really your thing then why not take a look at the Leica M11 review, or our thoughts on the Leica Q2 Reporter.