A Photo Profile on Leica M6 Titanium-finish rangefinder camera models - LEICA M6 Titan Classic -Part III/III MIR Image Library



Here is my old setup. Have not been using it for the last few years. You probably can notice the setup looks a little strange, isn't it ? Guess what, it is because Leica Summilux-M 1:2 f=50mm has NO lens data ring. The black anodized M-grip was bought separately via another independent source. It is very comfortable to hold an has improved camera handling greatly. I would strongly recommend such a hand grip device for any M6. The photo was shot in the evening, color was a little too warm.

An original Leica M6/T in Titanium plated finishing with a spilt Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 Non ASPH lens, camera with black anodized hand grip

An original Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 Non-ASPH lens w/ lens hood
The original matching lens released with the M6 Titan was a Summilux-M 1.4/35mm (11860) lens, has a matching Titanium-plated finishing. I remember it took Leica almost a few years later (around 1995/6) that they had also introduced a similar Leica Summilux-M 1:1.4 f=50mm (11869) in smae Titanium finish for the camera. One way or another, on appearance, the M6T matches very well with any of these lenses that has Titanium finishing. Well, there are mix review on the performance on both the said lenses. But these lenses was essentially a evolved form from the original Summilux-M 35mm & 50mm f/1.4 which had been serving Leica photographers for decades. The Titanium finshing lens group was eventually joined in by another limited production of 500 units of Leica Elmarit-M 1:2.8 f=90mm (11899) telephoto lens in in 19998. By then, the Leica M6/T was at its end of product cycle and a new LEICA M6 TTL which uses the same Titanium finishing was already in the pipleline as replacement.
The following years, Leica probably had noticed there was a market for such a demand and had expanded a few other Titanium-plated lenses which usually offered as option while introducing with standard version in black anodized as well as silver chrome finishing. Personally, I felt Leica M6/T has every reason to be a collectible Leica for collectors but I seriously doubting it had established a very big pool of users since its inception into the Leica M6 family.
Leica M6 Titanium w/Leica Summilux 1:1.4/35mm Titanium Finish
You may notice that each time the new releases of Titanium-plated M-lenses at later stage were supplied in specific limited production quantity. One common number used was a limited production of 500 lenses for each lens type. Why 500 ? I guess other than preserving premium as being a " limited production series Leica optic" but I tend to believe more the root of such a decision has a lot to do with the total number of M6 Titan sold over all these years. The M6/T was a good camera but it doesn't sold as many as the black & silver chrome finishing bodies combined.

Besides, what do you think about the chances of a Leica M6 Titan owner who will be living with just an original Summilux-M 1.4/35mm lens all these years ? Such possibility can be quite low, I guess. So, ether ways, assuming prior to availability of other Titanium finish lenses, a M6/T owner had probably purchased other 50mm or 90mm in his lens collection; neither any smart Leica folk would be so stupid in considering to acquire an additional 50mm or 90mm lens simply it looks "great" with a M6 /T right ? Leica certainly had done a well calculated work when came to such a decision by releasing a limited quantity Titanium-plated lenses simply because Titanium finshing Leica lenses has a limited pool of M6/T users to serve. Well, inline with progressive lens development effort, and to enhance its appeal for a broader base of Leica users in re-investment of newer products, over the last few years, Leica AG has been agressivelly introducing newer series of Leica lenses for M-users. Most noticeably, many were incorporating with aspherical lens element in their optical design.

An original Leica  Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 Non ASPH lens (11869)
An original newer version of Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens inTitanium finishing

An original newer version of Leica Summilux-M  35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens inTitanium finishing

Original Summilux-M 1.4/50mm Titanium-plated (11869)

Summilux-M 1.4/50mm ASPH Titanium Finish.

Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH Titanium Finish.

Other than these popular focal length optic, the Leica Titanium finishing lesn group was added with three new members: LEICA SUMMICRON-M 1:2/35 mm ASPH, LEICA SUMMICRON-M 1:2/50mm; LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 1:2/90mm ASPH -all in Titanium finishing. These series were supposedly meant as companion option for the Leica M6 TTL 0.72x Titanium-finish model introduced later in 2001. Further, from an online source, there was also an ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 ASPH in Titanium finishing but other than a smal picture, I have no info with this specific lens.

The LEICA M6 Titan was first announced during Photokina 1992. It was the first model in a planned series of a added Titanium-finish of camera & lenses in the Leica rangefinder system. The Titanium finishing was not exactly using raw titanium metal , which include the top plate/rear section as well as the base plate; it was actually a coated layer of Titanium plating. However, as most normal Leica M6 bodies are treated with chrome plated over a diecast zinc for exposed parts such as the top and base plate, the M6 Titan base material for the essential parts were using a stronger brass. It was then coated with Titanium plating. According to Leica, such combination would provide a stronger scratch resistance properties over the M6 Titan. In a way, the use of M6 Titanium model name was a little misleading. Shortly after when some of the users have found out the truth, waves of negative reviews had surfaced over this particular issue. No doubt, Leica had done an excellent job in delivering an almost equivalent Titanium metal appearance for both the camera and the companion lens, and although the Company had done its part by addressing the series which including the matching Summilux-M 1:1.4 f=35mm as "Titanium-plated" (later it was reverted as "Titanium finish" but still, they could have just addressing the issue from the beginning.
An original Leica  Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 Non ASPH lens (11869) mounted on a Leica M6 Titan body
Whatever, personally I still felt the LEICA M6/T w/ the any of the Titanium finishing lenses such as the SUMMILUX-M 1:1.4/35mm Titanium finish camera/lens combination was one of the most beautifully matched setup. With either a 1.4/35 or the 1.4/50mm Titan lens mounted, it can be regarded as one of the most aesthetically eye-appealing combination among all the standard production Leica M-series models. However, one of the point of debate that often raised was the choice of Ostrich/Emu leather body covering on the M6/T, time had proven it provides long lasting than normal course of use and when you consider the later LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Titanium finish model with an off-beat color leatherette body covering, probably you will appreciate this original choice more.
* The LEICA M6 with the Titanium finishing was the first body among the M6 series models that was started to use the new leather work for the body. Quite a few of the Special Edition M6 models which were released after the M6/T were also had adopted this new body covering. Some examples are the M6 Year of the Rooster, 1993, M6 LHSA 25th Anniversary Model , Danish Royal Wedding Edition in 1995 etc.

An original Leica M6 Titanium plated finishing rangefinder camera model  without lens showing the lens mount

The LEICA M6/T shares the basic camera operational sequence as well as offering the excellent handling properties like any of the standard Leica M6 body. If you have experience in handling a M6 before, you will never feel unease with the M6/T (even the instruction manual was using the basic M6 manual). The above illustration picture of the M6/T without the lens attached has shown other than the colour, it was every inch a Leica M6. Other than the titanium color, the only difference at top plate was the white lettering used for all the shutter speed settings. The film advance lever was also Titanium finish except with the end section which is black.

An original Leica M6/T in Titanium plated finishing  top view, showing various camera features and control

When you remove the base plate, you will find even the motor coupling for rapid winder or other film advance devices was also having a Titanium finish.

BASE plate removed, showing interior section of the camera base of an original Leica M6/T in Titanium plated finishing

Rear back section  of a Leica M6/T in Titanium plated finishing model withOstrich/Emu skinned leather covering and film ASA input disc

So, why would anyone wanted a M6/T by paying more ? Uniqueness is one. Probably a portion of the early buyers could had been mislead in thinking they have got a true Titanium M6 which presumably provides a tougher and more rugged body for years of rough usage. But as time goes by, most Leica M6/T owners seldom made any complaints because after witnessing many of the subsequent M6 bodies indifferent configurations, you simply can't find fault in its appearance, besides, it has every elements in it with a strong Leica tradition in quality and elegance. I guess after 1-1/2 decade, with its delivery of elevated level of reliability and comfort it offers, most people had seemingly forgotten the compromised Titanium issue and beginning to treasure its strength as a dependable imaging tool.

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A visual profile of Leica original M6 Titanium Classic rangefinder body

Leica M6/T Classic (1992~1998): - Page One | Page Two |
LEICA M6G Titan f/Foto Ganz, Zürich, 1992 |
Page Three; Leica M6 TTL 0.72x Titanium-Finish, 2001

Main Index Page - Leica M6-series models / Main Index Page - Leica-M Series Rangefinder camera Models

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard 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

MIR Global Main Index Page Link

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Credit: A special thanks to my buddy, Tony Leong® <work place> in sharing his private collection of various Leica/Leitz camera/lenses.