A visual Introduction on various Leica M6 Series rangefinder camera models - Index page



The Leica M6 was introduced in 1984 under interesting circumstances. Its direct predecessor, the Leica M5, was the first Leica rangefinder to offer TTL metering. However, it was discontinued almost a decade before the M6's introduction. The gap was filled by several other models. The untimely Leica M5 was introduced in 1971 and its production was cut short in 1975. Rising manufacturing cost and poor domestic sales were major contributing factors in the untimely demise of the M5 less than 5 years after it's inception. After its abandonment, its place was replaced by the revived and revised M4-2, produced in the Midland plant in Canada. The M4-P followed the M4-2 in 1980, offering frame lines for 28mm and 75mm focal lengths. These two models re-established confidence in the Leica brand among photographers.

In the first few years of the 1980's, the photography mainstream became dominated by electronic SLRs. This was aggressively driven by the top five Japanese manufacturers: Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Minolta. Leica itself countered with their more conservative R3, R4 and R4s. This was a period during which heavy emphasis was placed on full automation and it resulted in confusing multi-mode models that actually slowed SLR sales. Furthermore, the emergence of point and shoot portable cameras also eroded SLR sales. For purists, the choices offered by the oriental manufactures had became over-complex and unappealing, and there was a tendency among serious photographers to revert back to simpler equipment. At the time, the M4-P offered a rugged and ultra-reliable body, passive, manual controlled functions, near silent operation and a fast and accurate rangefinder focusing system. Its existence was well appreciated by serious photographers and Leica found its way back into the mainstream. However, the M4-P did suffer a major handicap in its off-camera metering system.

A typical LEICA M6 anodized black finish rangefinder camera body without a LEICA M-lens attached, it shows interior features inside the lens mount as well as overall front view of this classic LEICA rangefinder camera In 1983, a breakthrough in SLR metering system was made with the introduction of the Nikon FA's innovative multi-segment meter. Regardless of how good a rangefinder's off-camera reflective meter was, it has been left behind by the mainstream TTL meters. If not rectified, this threatened to cancel the advantage gained for Leica by the M4-2 and M4-P. The M6's introduction was therefore well timed to provide the photographers with a dependable TTL metering solution for their rangefinder system.

Even then, its creators did not realize that they have given the community a modern classic. Unlike it's predecessor, the Leica M6 remained in production for over 20 years.

This site can be very different from other sites that I have previously created. I don't intend on labeling it as a review of any form. The M6 has had two decades of production behind it. I assumed that there are sufficient online resources relating to the Leica M6 system and I have no intention of replicating those. Instead, I will use a leisurely approach to present visitors with a visual library featuring the M6 together with some of its variations. I do believe this kind of reference would be unique. As far as I know, with the exception of some post 2000 models, all M6 models feature the same body, but have varying viewfinder magnifications, colours, shapes and appearances. As far as the Limited Edition M6 series are concerned, the number of special releases have increased toward the releases of the Leica MP-reissued model as well as the next generation electronic Leica M7. It was probable that both Leica AG and enthusiasts were equally sentimental, and wanted more collectable special editions to mark the end of the production run of a great rangefinder.

A visual library on Leica M6 Series bodies: - a glimpse of parts (top plate & a picture from external source) M6 Prototype, 1981;
Leica M6 Silver Chrome / Black regular production Classic models:- 1984/5, 1986/7 | 1988, 1992/4/5 & 1996 models (4 parts)
Leica M6 Classic 0.85x w/Black logo 800 units Special Edition
Leica M6 Titanium Finish (M6/T), 1992 (3 parts) | Leica M6G Titanium Finish, 1992; Leica M6 TTL 0.72x Titanium Finish, 1,000 units 2001 edition w/info on Leica Titanium finish lenses

M6 TTL regular production models: M6 TTL Chrome 0.72X, 1998 | M6 TTL Black 0.72, 1998; 1999, 2000 | M6 TTL 0.58X 2001 | M6 TTL Chrome/Black 0.85X, 1997, 2000

Variants:- Leica M6 "Electronic" Prototype Camera, 1981; Leica M6 'Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule' ETH.Z 3-Units Special Edtion, 1987; Leica M6 Silver chrome / Black w/M6 Bigger logo; Leica M6 Classic Black w/0.85x Pre-M6 TTL model
Leica M6
Cutaway Display units: 1986/88; 1992, 1995; Leica M6 Platinum Dummy Set, 1989; Leica M6 Bundeseigentum, 1985

Special Edition/Commemorative Models:-
For M6 model(s) or special edition(s) not being mentioned below herein this listing; please use the
|| Message Board || to update me
and/or mail to my web buddy, Mr. Rick Oleson <rick_oleson@yahoo.com>. Thank You.

Leica M6 QE, One unit Special Model (1986)
* | Leica LHSA (1968~1988) 20th Anniv. Special Edition, 1988 (assistance required) | Leica M6 Platinum '150 Jahre/Leica 75 Jahre', 1,250 Units Edition, 1989 (3+1 parts) | Leica M6 w/unclear info, 125 units, 1989 # | Leica M6G Chrome/Black/Titanium, Foto GANZ, Zurich, 1990/2 | Leica M6 Colombo (1492~1992) 500th Anniv. 200 units Edition, 1992 (4 parts) | Leica M6 25th. Golden Jubilee Year celebration in accession of Throne of Sultan of Brunei, 24ct-Gold 350 units Edition/Leica M6 Platinum Sultan of Brunei Silver Jubilee Edition, 1992 | Various Leica M6 chrome "PANDA" models, 1989/94 | Leica M6 Year of Rooster 300 units Edition, 1993 (3 parts) | Leica M6 FACHFOTO ROYAL 25th Anniv. Model 1968~1993 black/chrome 101 units Edition**, 1993 (assistance required) | Leica M6 Chrome LHSA (1968~1993) 25th Anniv. 151 units/Kit, 1993/6 (3 parts) | Leica M6J (40 Jahre Leica 1954~1994) 1,640 units Edition, 1994 | Leica M6 Traveler Kit Edition, 1994 | European Publisher Award for Photography, One-unit each year edition, 1994~ # | Leica M6 Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Royal Centenary 100 units Edition, 1994 | Leica M6 HISTORICA e.V. Deutschland (Leica Historical Society of Germany) 1975~1995 20th Anniv Special 150 units Edition, 1995 | Leica M6 Denmark Royal Wedding (Nordisk, Denmark) 200 units Edition, 1995 | Leica M6 Gold Dragon 300 units Edition**, 1995 | Leica M6 Demo for Polyphoto SpA, Italy, 1995 *** | Leica M6 Gold plated Jubilee set black leather w/diamond, 1996 (Updated) | Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei Special 50th Birthday Edition; Leica M6 Platinum w/diamond (150 units) / Platinum (200 Units) / Gold plated (350 units), 1995 | Leica M6 Gold Thai King Bhumiphol Adulyadej 50th Golden Jubilee 700 units Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Platinum "Anton Bruckner" (1824~1896) 200 units Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Platinum Schmidt Group Centenary 151 units Edition**, 1996 | Leica IPO/Stock Listing M6 'Ein Stück Leica' 996 units Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Black "Partner-Aktion" 500 units Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Demo Ausrüstung Benelux 70/90 units edition**, 1996 | Leica M6 Switzerland 'Test of the Best' 40 units edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Platinum Henri Cartier-Bresson/Louis Vuitton Special Edition, 1998 ** | Leica M6 Jaguar XK50 (1948~1998) 50th Anniv. 50 units/Kits**, 1998 | Leica M6 Platinum "150 jahre Optik" Wetzlar Optisches Institute 30 units/Kits Edition, 1999 (assistance required) | Leica M6 Black lacquer Leica Group Photo, 17 units edition, 1996 # | Leica M6 TTL S/N 2,500,000 Vaclav Havel special presentation One-Unit Edition, 2000 **** | Leica M6 'Sheikh Al-Thani' Special Photo Contest Award Model, 16 units edition per issue, 2002~ | M6 TTL Black Paint Millennium Kit (0.72x/0.85x x 300) 2,000 units edition, 2000 | Leica M6 TTL Black Paint 'Öresundsbron' 150 units Edition, 2000 (3 parts) | Leica M6 TTL ICS (Import Camera Society, Japan) 200 units Edition, 2000# | Leica M6 TTL "KANTO", Japan 150 units Edition, 2000 | Leica M6 TTL 0.85x Dragon 2000 Black Paint 500 units Edition, 2000 | Leica M6 TTL 0.72x LHSA Black logo/Paint 350 units Edition, 2000***** | Leica M6 TTL 0.85x LHSA Black Paint w/M-grip 300 units Edition (Updated) | Leica M6 TTL 0.85x LHSA 500 units Edition, 2000***** | Leica M6 TTL 0.85x Green lacquer /paint (Schmidt Group), 300 units, 2000 (Updated) | Leica M6 TTL 0.85x Black NSH Japan 400 Units Special Edition, 2001 | Leica M6TTL 0.72x Martin Luther King Jr., 2 Units Edition, 2001 (info only) *** | Leica M6 TTL HANSA, 100 units Edition, 2001# | Leica M6 TTL Switzerland 'Test of the Best' 40 units edition, 2001# | Leica M6 TTL 1984~2002 999 units End of production Series Edition, 2002/3 | Leica M6 TTL William Klein-configured, Anthracite-grey Finish One unit Special Edition**, 2001 | LEICA M6 TTL 0.72x Titanium Finish w/3-Titan lenses outfit, 2001 | LEICA M6 TTL Chrome 1984~2002 Special Edition | Leica M6A (M7 Prototype) in black or Chrome version 2002 (Updated)

Others w/unclear info/uncertain issued date(s): Leica M6 Zurich Photographica 101 units Edition** | Leica Partnership 500 units Edition* | Leica M6 Canada 270 units Edition ** | Leica M6 Calf-leather 0.72X Edition | Leica M6 TTL Titanium LHSA edition | Leica M6 TTL 0.58 Sculpture Japan 50 units Edition (Updated) | Leica M6 TTL 0.72x w/Black Leica logo/name Edition | Leica author, Paul Henry Van Hasbroeck's M6 Titan | LEICA M6 TTL NOMI Baumgartl personal donated kit auctioned for Charity, 2005 | mysterious snake-skinned LEICA M6 Titanium w/1.4/35mm Summilux S/N 1900000 (Updated)

* Mentioned in Dennis Laney's Leica Collectors' Guide; ** A few of the highlighted M6 references are extracted from Wilkipedia; *** Mr. Hendrink (L-camera-forum.com); **** Mr. E.Reinecke <Krugerdorp Camera club, Souther Africa); # Mr. Giuseppe Ciccarella, Italy <passione-leitz.iitalia.com>; ***** Mentioned as "LHSA Special Edition. 650 with viewfinder 0.72x 550 with viewfinder 0.85x"

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Classic Model(s) | Leica M6 TTL Model(s)
Instruction Manuals:- Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) by Niels H. S. Nielsen; Leica M6 TTL 3.6 Mb PDF) by Joe Chan

Main Index Page - Leica-M Series Rangefinder Camera Models

| Message Board | lenses | Message Board | RF cameras

Leica Old logos link   Leica M1 Series | Leica M2 Series | Leica M3 Series | Leica M4 Series | Leica M5 Series | Leica M6 Series | Leica M7/M8 Series

Leica - Other Collectibles
Leica R6.2 Gold plated editions | M-Lenses | Leica/Leitz SM resources
RELATIVE (Rangefinder System Resources):- Contax/Zeiss | Nippon Kogaku/Nikon | Seiki Kogaku/Canon; MIR Photographic Resources: | Main Index Page |
External Links: Reference Books on Leica/Leitz; Leica M-lenses coding in PDF (84k) Download by Leica, AG); Leica Camera/Leitz Lenses S/N check (requires registration) at Owners Support@LEICA camera, AG (prototypes or odd variants check not possible) Serial Number Ref. (Cameraquest): LSM lenses 1923/1965 | Leica M 1954/1999/Leica M/R-mount RF/SLRs Serial Number; a good article on Leica AG's path from privately held entiry to IPO in 1996. Online Magazine on LEICA system: Leica Photographie International ("LFI"); a very nicely worked Leica site by a Danish, Thorsten von Overgaard

A quick Survey for feedback on option for site construction process:
I am not sure if it is a good idea to use some good pictures from volunteering contributors to brighten up the pages.

Something like what I have done with these sites:

Advantage(s): offers exposure for Leica Artists, not so boring to read between the lines but (disadvantage(s)) such inclusion will slow the download time on relevant pages and I have no time to ask around for contributing (good) photos by individual artist(s). Last - don't know how to reject a less than desirable submission judging from qualitative aspect.

MIR.com.my - link to Index Page   Copyright 1998~2008, leofoo® All Rights reserved. MIR-Global web development team | about this site

Credit:- Co-developed with my web buddy Rick_Oleson. Mr. Denis Pleic <denple@gmail.com> from Croatia who often spends his time patching up my poor writing. THANKS to all the contributors, in particularly Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®; Mr. Liu Zan of DigifanCN®, Mr. Kelvin LI & camera$@Ebay, Edmond from L&H Auction, Hong Kong in the form of images/pictures acquiring as well as content for their sales which had made up the basis of this visual library. NOTE: certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by LEICA AG over the years and/or individual contributions from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from dispute except rectifying them after verification."LEICA", "Leitz", "E.Ernst Wetzlar", "Velostigmat" & other related trade names used herein are registered trademarks of Leica AG, SOLMS, Germany. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.