TTL Manual Light Metering . Portable and Precise . Leica M6

When one has reached the peak and gained a lot of appreciation, he/she may experience unexpected failure one day that give him/her chance for self-examination and make another breakthrough. Leica M5 produced in 1971 received many criticisms on its camera appearance and size. Leica therefore had a large fall at its selling performance. Leica made great efforts to examine the problem and launched M6 in 1984. M6’s portable size and precise focus, together with its through-the-lens manual light metering, regained appreciation in photography industry. M6 even had a long production period of 20 years, making it the longest among Leica M series cameras.

As same as before, M6 is a mechanical rangefinder camera without electronic operation, and it still works properly nowadays. Its through-the-lens manual light metering, which is more precise than external light metering, is the only thing that uses electronic operation. Once you half press the shutter, the light metering is ready. Then two luminous arrows of opposite direction appear to indicate over exposure and under exposure respectively. With these indications, photographers can adjust the amount of light easily.

The viewfinder of M6 includes three groups six types of frame lines and they are changed automatically according to different lenses. There is a button beside the lens to preview all frame lines even without changing to corresponding lenses. Moreover, the viewfinder is especially bright that photographers can clearly capture image and confirm the image area no matter under strong sunlight or dark environment. It also makes coupling rangefinder focusing more precise and fast. Besides, the mechanical shutter is extremely quiet, so it does not disturb photographers and people being captured to enjoy relaxing photo shooting.




Unlike M3 whose top and bottom plates were made of machined brass, M6’s top and bottom plates were made of magnesium alloy. Magnesium alloy is lighter than machined brass, allowing M6 to be portable. Many Leica cameras were made in Canada, but M6 was again made in Germany. The earliest M6 was painted symbol “Leitz” and the top plate was engraved “ERNST LEITZ WETZLER GMBH”. After “Leitz” was renamed “Leica”, the later M6 was painted symbol “Leica” and engraved “LEICA CAMERA MADE IN GERMANY”.


In the long period of 20 years, M6 was produced with lots of different versions. Apart from the same mechanical structure, they have some differences in appearance and apparatus. The most representing one is M6 TTL produced in 1998. Its height was increased by 2mm, the weight was increased by 40g and the area of shutter dial was increased. In addition, the shutter dial includes “OFF” mode to lower the chance of switching on the light metering accidentally. A circular dot can be found in the viewfinder to indicate correct exposure.

The biggest change of M6 TTL is to include through-the-lens flash, allowing light metering and flash to work synchronously. It enables photographers to adjust the exposure and control the brightness of flash more precisely.



Experiencing the failure of M5, Leica M6 successfully made another breakthrough and again satisfied the expectation of Leica lovers.


Leica M6
Production Period 1984-1998
Focus Manual coupling rangefinder focusing
Magnification factor of viewfinder 0.58X, 0.72X, 0.85X
Frame lines 0.58X (28-90, 35, 50-75), 0.72X (28-90, 35-135, 50-75),
0.85X (35-135, 50-75, 90)
Shutter speed 1s - 1/1000s, 1/50s (flash sync)
Available lens Leica M-mount
Special feature Through-the-lens manual light metering
especially bright viewfinder
portable and precise
M6 TTL - 1st through-the-lens flash
(light metering and flash work synchronously)
Leica M6
  • 2014.09.04
Category Tags: LEICA
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