Leica reintroducing the M6 film camera is a stroke of pure genius

Leica M6 2022
The 2022 version of the Leica M6 (Image credit: Leica)

When I last visited Leica's smart HQ in Germany – which was a while ago thanks to a certain virus – we were taken on a factory tour at Leitz Park. Along the way, our guide explained that all the tooling from the original Leitz factory in Wetzlar is still in use to make parts for repairing the many mechanical Leica cameras that are also still out in the world. In fact, Leica can still service any film camera that’s up to 100 years old. It can also look in its archives and tell you exactly when your camera was built and where it first went after leaving the factory.

Whether the idea of resurrecting the M6 was kicking around at the end of 2019 isn’t clear, but having all the original tooling on hand would have made the idea much more feasible. It was during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that the already highly-desirable mechanical 35mm Leica M cameras – and in particular the M6 which has been described as the best 35mm camera ever made – began sky-rocketing in value as demand reached new heights. This was allied with a much bigger interest in film photography – there were a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands – and a Leica M is really cool, right? It was probably about then that Leica decided it wouldn’t mind a slice of this action, especially as dusting off the original tooling made it rather easier – and more economical – than starting a new model project from scratch. 

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Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.