Why Leica’s resurrection of the M6 35mm camera is great
Leica, one of the world’s most famous, iconic, and best-regarded camera makers, has helped bring back film cameras with its 2023 shipping of one of its most famous models.
This is unsurprising good news because their film cameras are superb, and Leica is one of the very few brands that continue to produce high-quality film cameras for the consumer market.
The company’s classic M6 35mm rangefinder camera is doubtlessly going to be popular with enthusiasts of all kinds, and especially with many street photographers who still love working with film medium.
What’s more, Leica takes service for its cameras very seriously, and even promises to keep servicing models as old as 100 years for their owners.
The company also keeps parts available for its cameras of all ages, ensuring that their owners can keep repairing them for decades to come.
Try getting that sort of service life from, say, Nikon (no offense to Nikon intended either; it’s an outstanding brand in its own right, just not quite like Leica).
Leica had been kicking around the idea of a new release for the last few years, probably since 2019 or so. However, it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a more serious interest in resurrecting this classic Leica film camera for a new generation of users.
In fact, it was during and after the pandemic that interest in film cameras, in general, skyrocketed among many users. And interest in Leica’s classic M-series film cameras in particular caused their prices to skyrocket beyond their already expensive levels.
The M6 has been especially sought-after, mainly because this model is widely considered to be one of Leica’s best-ever film cameras and because it’s just so fashionably iconic.
After all, while anyone can tool around the streets with an old Nikon FM2 or Pentax 35mm camera, someone doing their street photography with the famous red circle logo on their camera is almost sure to spark attention, especially if they explain that it’s a film shooter.
In any case, the M6 no longer needs to be sought as a used camera thanks to Leica’s re-release of this model near the end of last year.
The company naturally wanted to take a part of the burgeoning film camera market for itself, and by simply re-releasing something so popular as the M6, it had both a guaranteed buyers market and a device that was very easy to start manufacturing.
Leica’s other film cameras with recent production were also useful for fans of 35mm, but the M7 was discontinued in 2018 and the MP, introduced in 2002 when film was still dominant on the market, is a camera that’s built for custom orders.
The new edition of the M6 is mass-produced on the other hand, making it both easier to obtain and slightly less expensive for being a new mass-market model.
Photographers also have the option of buying themselves a Leica M-A edition film camera, which the company still makes, but it too rarely costs less than $5,500.
The M6 for its part is far from cheap though. Despite being a consumer market, mass-produced re-release, it still retails for $5,296.
This still saves you several hundred dollars from the cost of the MP or the M-A, but it’s hardly a budget price for beginner photographers. Original editions are often even more expensive by the way.
If you want to restart with street or other photography through film, it’s important to remember that composition and skill count for far more than the camera you use.
You can take equally spectacular photos with a Nikon FM3 or an old Olympus as you can with the M6, but again, Leica really does put lots of effort into making its film cameras perform. This makes the M6 a camera that’s responsive and durable enough to meet the best human efforts at capturing decisive moments.