Leica could announce new film camera in October: will it be the Leica M-E?

New Leica film camera render
(Image credit: Future)

Update: September 23, 2022, Further to the Leica rumors site suggesting that Leica will relaunch the beloved Leica M6 camera, and this will be the new camera due to launch in October. It has now been stated that this relaunch of the Leica M6 will showcase the Leitz logo on the camera, just like the early originals of the Leica M6 "classic" - Classic stating that it will not have TTL metering, so far there is no official announcement from Leica relating to this rumor.

There has also been no comment on the price of this potential new film camera from the german manufacturer however, after looking on eBay and finding a Leica M6 with the Leitz red dot and comparing them with standard issued Leica M6s, a good one will cost you roughly $2,500 / £2,000. Personally, I can see this new Leica film camera reaching an asking price of $4,000 / £4,000 - some $1,500 / £1,500 cheaper than the current Leica MP still available. 

Leica "Leitz" M6

Leica M6 with "Leitz" red dot (Image credit: eBay)

However, if this were true it would make for a rather interesting change of events. Leica is known for launching cameras and then a year later announced the same camera, just will better components or tweaks to improve upon the original design, this first happened with the Leica M8 series, the first digital M rangefinder.

A short time after its official launch, Leica announced the Leica M8.2 which was launched with a software upgrade, a quieter shutter (at the cost of a slower maximum shutter speed of 1/4000sec) along with a Sapphire glass LCD cover, and brighter frame lines within the rangefinder. 

This practice is still carried on with the P varients of Leica camera models which stand for professional, these -P models tend to have a quieter shutter and  Leica logo omitted, along with a few tweaks to improve upon the handling of the cameras.

If this rumor is to be believed, and Leica will launch a new edition of the Leica M6, then following previous trends with the company this new film camera could be called the Leica M6-P or Leica M6.2. 

Where this leaves the rest of the Leica film lineup is a mystery, but using the M6 is a very good way to bring new customers to the Leica brand, after all the original M6 is still to the day the most sought-after film camera on the second-hand market.

Original Story: Leica is globally renowned for producing some of the best cameras in the industry, and it is the only camera manufacturer still making and selling new 35mm film cameras, the Leica M-A and Leica MP. Leica Rumors has recently reported that they have received information that a new film camera made by Leica could be announced in October. Is there any evidence? Let's investigate.

The best Leica cameras that you can buy today include both film and digital models. Leica first announced the Leica M-A, a totally mechanical camera, back in 2014, and started producing the Leica MP, a mechanical camera with a built-in light meter in 2003. These 8 and 19-year-old cameras respectively are due an upgrade – but how do you upgrade "mechanical perfection"?

Having extensively used the wonderful Leica M-A, it is hard for me to see Leica upgrading this camera. Yes, it is 8 years old, but there are 60-year-old Leica's still being used today, and being serviced by Leica. However, I can see Leica improving upon or developing a side project based around the Leica MP.

Leica MP

(Image credit: Leica)

Film photography has never truly died, as many thought it would when the digital revolution took hold of the industry. Now, as the film resurgence has well and truly taken hold, and many are picking up a Leica M6 film body or opting for the advanced Leica M7, it makes sense for Leica to introduce a new film body to the market to fill the demand.

This could take many forms, and according to the rumors, this new film camera has already been tested by photographers out in the field, with an expected announcement in October and a scheduled press event to take place in Germany.

My best guess is that this new accessible Leica film camera will take design styles from the Leica M11, Leica M-A, and the Leica M7. After all, the Leica M7, which started production in 2002 and was discontinued in 2018, was the most advanced Leica film camera. It featured Aperture Priority mode, so the camera itself chose the right shutter speed to make your f-stop by offering alternative shutter speeds that traditional Leica film cameras did not.

The M7 also featured a DX code reader so that you would set your ISO dial on the back to DX and no matter what film you put in, as long as it had a DX code the M7 would automatically set the ISO of the camera, a feature that was only available on the M7 at the time. The Leica M7 also featured TTL flash metering, up to 1/1000th of a second!

Leica M7

(Image credit: Leica)

I personally believe that if the rumors are true and this new Leica film camera will be announced in October of this year and aimed at getting film enthusiasts into the Leica brand, I can see it being a reborn M7 under the Leica M-E branding with a Typ number. This seems the logical route for Leica, it happened with the M9 series where Leica introduced a more accessible camera called the Leica M-E (typ220) which was still an M9, but did not feature the USB connection and was only sold in anthracite grey color.

The M-E also appeared when the Leica M (Typ 240) was announced. Just as before the Leica M-E (Typ 240), it was an entry-level camera to the new M system. 

Leica M-E

(Image credit: Sebastian Oakley / DCW)

What we want to see from a new Leica

1. Design

Same design styling as the M11, with either an anthracite grey color or also be available in chrome and black paint.

2. Aperture Priority Mode & DX reader

If this new film camera featured the same aperture priority as the M7 it would bring confidence to new film users and allow them to learn the rangefinder system, without having to worry if there images will be properly exposed.

DX code reading is a must have feature now, many films support it, and again is a feature that can be set once and left - after all Leica's are about easy of use.

3. Electronic shutter

There is something to be said for the new electronic shutter on the M11 or even the Q2 series of cameras and I can see Leica introducing this within a new film body, the traditional 1/1000th of a second speed is good, but if this could be expanded with an electronic shutter it would be the fastest shutter speed film camera in existence. 

4. LCD frame counter

The traditional Leica M-A/MP frame counter is good, but it is something hard to read when you are in a rush or poorly-lit environment, this is a longshot, and something I would love to see come to fruition - an LCD frame counter in the style of that on the M8. All it needs to be is a little circle with a digital ready out of battery and frame counter and it will appeal to all the Leica loyalists - I'd certainly buy one! 

If you're invested in the Leica brand, you might also like to discover the best Leica M lenses. Film photographers should check out our guide to the best film for 35 cameras, roll film, and sheet film.

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.