Variants: Silver-black and black
Camera Type: 35mm rangefinder system
Viewfinder: Reverse Galilean (0.72×)
Lens mount: Leica M
Shutter: focal plane
Exposure meter: CdS selective
Exposure modes: manual
ASA/ISO range: 6 to 6400 ISO
X sync speed: 1/50
TTL Flash: No (Yes M6 TTL)
Motor drive: Winder
Battery: 2× silver oxide or 1× lithium
Number produced: unknown
The Leica M6 is a 35mm film rangefinder camera produced by Leitz in 1984. It is part of the Leica M-series rangefinder camera system originating with the Leica M3. It was the first progression of the M series model number since the Leica M5 of 1971.
The M6 provides TTL exposure measurement but, unlike the unsuccessful M5, does so within the 'classic' M3 body size. Although having the same dimensions as the M3, the M6 was subtly restyled. The viewfinder includes LED exposure display which, unlike the M5, uses a fixed light receptor beside the bayonet lens mount pointing at a white metering circle on the first shutter curtain. Metering is only possible when the shutter has been advanced and some early lenses with deep rear elements will not give correct readings.
The electronics necessary for metering meant that a self timer was no longer fitted.
Following on from the Canadian made M4-2, M6 production reverted to Germany.
The Leica M6J is a limited edition version released in 1994. It offers a different viewfinder magnification of 0.85× compared to the more common 0.72× on the standard M6.
Introduced in 1998, the M6 TTL also provides TTL flash exposure measurement. There are variations with 0.72×, 0.85×, and 0.58× viewfinder magnifications. Utilising more sophisticated electronics this version required a 2.5mm increase in the camera's height and 40g additional weight.
Introduced in 2003, the MP is still all mechanical with only the meter requiring power. The name harks back to the much prized 1956 MP and some features, such as the special rewind lever, have been copied from the earlier version.
Metering electronics reverted to a simpler system not providing TTL flash exposure.
- Viewfinder: 0.72× and 0.85×
- Framelines: 0.72× (28-90, 35-135, 50-75), 0.85× (35-135, 50-75, 90)
- Shutter speeds: 1 - 1/1000 second plus 'B'
- Film speed: ISO 6–6400
- Power supply to exposure meter: 2 silver oxide button cells (type SR44) or 1 lithium battery (1/3 N)
Leica M6 special editions
- Leica M6 Cutaway
- Leica M6 150 Jahre Photographie - 1989 - 75 Jahre Leica Photographie: 1250 cameras
- Leica M6 Colombo '92 (1492 - 1992: 500° Scoperta dell'America - Italia): 200 cameras
- Leica M6 Royal-Foto Austria (1968 - 1993): 101 cameras
- Leica M6J 40 Jahre Leica M (1954 - 1994): 1640 cameras
- Leica M6 Dragon (gold plated): 300 cameras
- Leica M6 Historica (1975 - 1995): 150 cameras
- Leica M6 Royal Wedding: 200 cameras
- Leica M6 Thai Jubilee (50th year of the reign of His Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej): 700 cameras
- Leica M6 Anton Bruckner (1824 - 1896): 200 cameras
- Leica M6 Brunei: 200 platinum plated cameras (125 platinum plated with diamonds) and 350 gold plated cameras
- Leica M6 Partners: 500 cameras
- Leica M6 Leica Demo Ausrüstung Benelux '96: 70 cameras
- Leica M6 Ein Stuck: 996 cameras
- Leica M6 Jaguar XK (1948 - 1998): 50 cameras
- Leica M6 Millennium: only 2000 cameras (300 with 0.85× viewfinder and green leatherette)
- Leica M6 Dragon (viewfinder 0.85x, black painted): 500 cameras
- Leica M6 ICS: 200 cameras
- Leica M6 LHSA (Leica Historical Society of America)
- Leica M6 Øresundsbron: 150 cameras
- Leica M6 Henri Cartier-Bresson (with Vuitton case): only 1 camera
- Leica M6 William Klein: only 1 camera
- Leica M6 Swiss Demo (Test the best): 40 cameras
- Leica M6 Zurich Photographic Center: 100 cameras
- Leica M6 Royal Photographic Society: 100 cameras
- Leica M6 Platinum Optics: 150 cameras
- Leica M6 Schmidt Centenary: 151 cameras
- Leica M6 Canada: 270 cameras
- Leica M6 Year of Rooster: 300 cameras
- Leica M6 999: 999 cameras
- Leica M6 Titanium: circa 6000 and 1000 in TTL-version
- Leica M6 user manual at Butkus.org
- The Leica M-System page at Leica.
- An article about the M6 at the Washington Post by Frank Van Riper.
- Article by M. Feuerbacher