Leica M6 TTL Rangefinders

M6 TTL

Small, quiet, and discreet: The LEICA M6 TTL-models are not only the ideal cameras for photojournalism, travel-, and available-light photography, but also for care-free and successful flash operation.

User Reviews (93)

Showing 1-10 of 93  
Ray   Intermediate [Oct 19, 2010]
Strength:

-Solid as a brick
-Pecision feel
-Access to great lenses
-Quiet and vibration free

Weakness:

-Overpriced
-Dim, glare prone viewfinder
-Film loading from the 50's
-Slow to operate compared to other cameras

I lusted after an M6 for much of my young life and after using a CL and 6 M lenses (Leitz, Minolta and Voightlander), finally got a mythical M6. Beautifly made, solid like a brick, precision feel and build. A dram come true.

After one year I sold it.

I found it hard to see with glare, the images was small and frames not easy to use. I lost a few rolls to it's fool proof loading and some moments lost in reloading. It took great photos, but was not always great to use. In the end I preferred the CL and a wonderful CLE over the M6. Better viewfinder, easier loading in a smaller lighter package. After 20 years still using CL and CLE

Customer Service

Never used.

Similar Products Used: Leitz CL
Minolta CLE
Contax G2
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
kamerawork   Intermediate [Jan 30, 2009]
Strength:

1) Wide selection of highest quality lenses - both vintage and modern. And there is a huge variety of other LTM lenses you can try for nostalgia. I occasionally use a Russian Jupiter 12 with M adapter with excellent results - total investment $90.
2) No mirror slap to shake the camera or noise to attract attention. With a Leitz 50mm finder mounted on top, you have 1:1 viewing and can shoot with both eyes open - seeing what is outside the frame (but about to enter it), not just what is inside the frame.
3) Compactness - I have an Elmar f2.8 that collapses into the camera and I can then drop it into my coat pocket. Try that with an SLR! I carry 2 bodies, 3 lenses, filters, film, flash, bottom lens mount, and a small tripod in a small Tenba shoulder bag.
4) Reliability - I have a CL as backup, but have never needed it. Change batteries on your birthday and it will never let you down.
5) Service and parts - some of the best repairers in the business are the Leica fixers - Sherry Krauter is mine. Yes, it isn't cheap, but my Rolex costs more to service than my Leica. Great parts support from Leica - for example, my 50-year old Elmar was bought with a pitted front element (common), but John vanStelten ( www.focalpointlens.com ), had no trouble getting a replacement element and putting th elens in like new condition.

Weakness:

Cost.

No self timer.

Zoom with your feet. (Every time I lift the camera to ny eye I can hear my father saying "Get closer!")

Over 50 years of photographing, I worked my way up From a gift Exa to a Rollei 35, Nikonos, EM and then bought a Minolta CLE just before a month's assignment to the Exxon Valdez cleanup. The 6 rolls of Fuji slide film I shot in Alaska was the catalyst that made the remainder of my career. After the CLE the only camera I wanted was a Leica M, but did not want to give up the metering feature. One Sunday morning I caught my M6 with 50mm Summicron and grip on eBay, like new with boxes for $2K and have never been disappointed.
I can't understand the fuss about loading film - because I borrowed a Leica IIIf once during a CLE breakdown and those are HARD to load.
Once the film is in the M6 the camera is a dream to use. With in-finder metering and finger-tab focusing, I was finally able to concentrate on seeing EVERYTHING in the viewfinder, breathing and squeezing off the shot. The lenses are fantastic. The best roll of film I ever shot was one afternoon in NY with the 50mm mounted and the 90mm in my pocket and the evening sun making magic. The heft and balance of the camera give confidence. The nearly inaudible shutter and no motor drive enable stealth. The metering is so accurate there is little need for bracketing.
I was in London and had the evening off. I wanted to re-shoot a picture that I had shot with an Olympus SP and planned to enter in the state fair, but lost (the house knew better and was hiding it). I lurked in a corner opposite the Liverpool Station main stairway and waited for someone wearing red to enter the frame, meanwhile calculating whether to shoot at 1/15 or 1/30 to get the desired sense of motion. Finally a redhead walked by in a pink coat. The photo took first place in the next state fair.
That's just an example of the kind of cinfidence this camera gives you. Forget the plastics, computers, flapping mirrors and obnioxious motor drives. If you want the essence of photography you want an M6.

Customer Service

I have never dealt with Leica, but love the support they give the independent service experts I use.

Similar Products Used: Minolta CLE - the only thing that comes close to an M6 + it has auto exposure!
Leica CL.
Olympus SP
Leica M2
Stereo Realist (a different world)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Robert john   Casual [Dec 06, 2004]
Strength:

Brings back the joys of photography.

Weakness:

Taking the M6 as it is I see no weaknesses.

I have been reading reviews on the M6 for quite a while but I never saw one in the flesh until October when I was on holiday in London. I was wanting to look at the Digilux 2 but I spied an M6 and fell in love with it. I already have a Contax G2 kit and wasn't thinking about another film camera but I caught the bug and bought a used M6 in new condition. I then bought a 50mm f2 lens which I love. As the Leica lens are very expensive I have just bought a used 90mm Voigtlander and am thinking of buying a Voigtlander 25mm f4. The M6 is a lovely camera to use, it is not a point and shoot but a deliberate photographic instrument that takes me back to when I started photography 35 years ago. I shoot black and white film with it, develop the film in the normal way and print the photos with my Epson Color 680 printer using a single black ink at 2880 dpi. The camera gets knocked for film loading but I don't find this a problem, it's all part of the manual aspect of Leica photography like the focusing and metering. The fun is now back in my photography. The contax is an excellent camera but in a very different way.

Customer Service

Not used

Similar Products Used: Contax G2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
azipuff   Intermediate [Jun 19, 2004]
Strength:

Small, quiet & extremely portable Discreet TTL metering Minimal shutter lag No viewfinder blackout

Weakness:

Rangefinder patch flare Sluggish meter response Shutter easily damaged by the sun Parallax error (common to all viewfinder cameras) Difficult to focus moving subjects

This is a wonderful camera that allows high quality 35mm images to be taken without the intrusiveness of an SLR. It is a camera that forces you to consider the fundamental elements involved in photography with every picture taken. Unfortunately it is expensive.

Customer Service

Obsolescence is not an issue, but it costs a packet to get anything done.

Similar Products Used: Leica M2 Konica Hexar AF Olympus MjU-II
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
2
ernst   Expert [Jun 10, 2004]
Strength:

Solid, quality, flawless operation, ease of operation (after practice). The results, my chromes speak for themselves.

Weakness:

None that I am aware.

I initially approached the Leica M through a M^TTL 0.58. Wearing glasses I found that I could see the bright lines easily particluarly with my 35, 50, 75. I added a dioper and the 1.25 magnifier but have since removed both from the eyepiece. Moving from the SLR ( I the camera do everything, including your thinking), I found the M6TTL a little getting use to. Viewing, film loading and making all the adjustments. It couldn't have been too bad as I added the 0.85 for my 75 and 90. Eschewing the diopter and 1.25 magnifier I found viewing easy with time (read practice). Being my first experience with Leica, I was and am completely impressed by the design and solidity of these cameras. They are NOT designed to be obsolete after 1 or 2 years with a new wizbang model SLR, ala Japan. Designed for obsolescense is he mafrketing scheme and has been for them. Back to my lovely Leicas. Now over time they are simply an extension of my vision (Iknow sounds like copy for Leica ad),but it is true. Having started around age 10, now 61 my Leicas ( and lenses ) are all one could ask for in 35mm, given the constraints of design and purpose.

Customer Service

not needed

Similar Products Used: Leica M7, 0.58 and 0.72.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ibon Recio   Intermediate [Aug 21, 2003]
Strength:

Extrafuerte. Silenciosa y no demasiado grande. Calidad total.

Weakness:

En determinadas situaciones es algo dificil de enfocar mediante el sistema de imagen partida. No tiene autodisparador. La velocidad mas lenta es de solo 1 segundo sin contar la posicion B. No hay informacion en el visor de la velocidad ni el diafragma utilizado. Poco practica con teleobjetivos pues no posee vision reflex.

Un placer tenerla en las manos. Muy facil de usar, si lo tuyo son las camaras manuales: cargas la pelicula por la parte de abajo como hace 80 años, encuadras, enfocas manualmente, mides la luz y seleccionas el diafragma y la velocidad, disparas y pasas al siguiente fotograma manualmente y cuando acabas el carrete lo rebobinas tu mismo. Con esta camara no sacas fotografias. Haces fotografias. Una camara para toda la vida.

Customer Service

No lo he necesitado.

Similar Products Used: Canonet 28.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jeffascough   Professional [Aug 13, 2003]
Strength:

Build quality, compactness, quietness, wonderfully fast lenses, absolutey no shutter lag, the camera oozes quality.

Weakness:

None except the price - but you do get what you pay for.

This camera was always a dream of mine to own. As a pro wedding photographer I have been used to carrying tons of kit around on a wedding. I hurt my back early this year and seriously looked at someway of lightening the load. I have been using Xpan for two years and felt that I could introduce a Leica M as a lightweight alternative to one of my big Eos1v cameras. Luckily I bought my first M6 just as Leica introduced the MP so I got a good deal. I bought it with the f1 Noctilux. Needless to say that it was the best decision that I have made in my 15 year career. After the initial getting to grips with the back to basics approach of the camera, film loading, manual metering, winding on the camera!!!!! etc. I am hooked on this camera system. It is beautifully made, the lenses (I now have four) are stunning at full aperture and the Noct is just unbelievable in low light. The camera doesn't draw attention to itself like the pro Canons that I used. The lack of mirror means that I can get pictures which I couldn't get before; the camera is quiet and can easily be handheld at 1/15 and 1/8 sec. The viewfinder is wonderful and clear, I have the 0.85 version as I use the Noct and the 90mm Summicron ASPH as my main lenses. Using the 35mm summilux is a little bit of a problem as the framelines are hard to see when working at speed, but this is a very small price to pay. The focussing is extremely accurate and I generally achieve 36 sharp pictures per roll now - with the Eos 1V I used to get about 20-25 on average! Overall I can see why so many of the world's great photographers chose Leica M's. It takes the photographic process out of the camera computers hands and thrusts it into yours. It makes you think about the pictures.

Customer Service

Not had to use it but Leica's passport scheme should make sure that everything is ok.

Similar Products Used: Hasselblad Xpan
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
patrick   Intermediate [May 17, 2003]
Strength:

Build quality. Materials. Legendary durability. LENSES, LENSES, LENSES. Great controls. Handfit and substance.

Weakness:

Cost, but with a caveat. You simply cannot build a Mercedes at Chevy prices. I wish everyone could afford to experience the satisfaction of photography with this beatiful piece of equipment.

After 40+ years of amateur photography, using most 35mm brands, medium and large format cameras as well, following retirement I decided to add to the collection the M-6 TTL, 0.72. Lenses are the Summicron 35mm f2, 50mm Summicron f2, and 90mm Elmarit f2.8, all in chrome, selected for nostalgic appearance as well as additional weight, which helps me steady camera as my advanced age leads to unsteadiness. I use and truly enjoy all of my camera equipment, none of it do I consider less than excellent, but the Leica really is a cut above, and in a class of it's own. The build quality and use of materials is truly confidence inspiring, and I believe it will not only outlast me, but the ones it will be handed down to as well. I had expected it to perform especially well for B&W work, but am extremely impressed with it color replication, which I had not anticipated to that degree. For slides viewed from the Leica projector, one word best describes, gorgeous. The perceived dimension afforded by the lenses contrast is remarkable, to say the very least. At the start I was concerned that it would draw undue and unwanted attention, after hearing for years of the "Leica mystique", but only twice in my three years of ownership and considerable use has anyone commented or inquired about it. As to value and worth, that's for each individual to determine on her/his own, to me it is absolutely worth the high cost, and if anything happened to this one I would immediately replace it with an identical system. As I use it more and more, I sense we are paying not only for superior materials, but for the craftsmanship and handwork required in producing such an exemplary object. I believe Leica builds them with the goal of providing one camera, for the life of the owner, and then some. As much as I like my N80 and it's "D" lenses, compared to my M-6, in 50 years from now I have NO doubt which camera will be alive and well. (Wish I could be here to enjoy it then).

Customer Service

Never needed, but have heard that it can be very pricey, (no real problem accepting that), and SLOOOW, (don't like that at all).

Similar Products Used: Hasselblad, Rollei, Nikon, Canon, Linhof.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Vincent Lau   Intermediate [Jan 03, 2003]
Strength:

soild, basic, lenses

Weakness:

weakness fades as you use it more and more

I am lucky to have have 2 M6TTL and 35/1.4, 50/1.4 and 90/2. I sold my F100 with 3 AFS/2.8 zoom lenses and some AIS lenses recently after having use the first M6TTL and 35/1.4 for more than one yr. I use the money for an .58 version and the 50/1.4, so that the 35/1.4 can always be mounted on the cameras. All fit into a small bags. I noticed that in most of the time I use only one body/lens combination for the whole rolls of film. Limiting your self to this setting, I only concentrate on taking picutre. I moves foreward and backward, standing up on my heels or squatting down, sometimes just lay down on the floor. Having use the M6 and its lenses extentively, it becomes near 2nd nautre to me. Yes, the camera is well made, the lenses are excellent. You have full confidence in this cameras and you knonw that you own the sole responsibility for the making of the pictures. The F100 and AFS also produced superb pictures, but I always wonder whether the camera take the picture for me or I did it myself. I am also planing to get the 0.85 version for the 90mm, so that I don't need to changes lenses.

Similar Products Used: F100, FM2, FM, E3 Hasselbald 503CW Contax G2 Linhof technikardan
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James Lloyd   Professional [Dec 18, 2002]
Strength:

Unobtrusive Unbeatable focusing accuracy Great low light focusing Quiet shutter Small, body and lenses No noisy motorwinds and rewinds (sometimes a requirement of the job) Reliable and well made Works without batteries Works in extreme climates Most peopole have never heard of Leica and have no idea how expensive it is (safer!)

Weakness:

Expensive

Arguing about whether rangefinders are better than SLRs is a waste of time - both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses. If the strengths of a rangefinder suit your purposes, then buy one; if it doesn't, then don't, but do make sure you use the right tool for the job. Unfortunately, in few areas of life do we find one tool that fits every requirement and cameras are no exception. Buy whatever suits your purposes, or whatever suits as many of your purposes as possible. If that happens to be an M6, then so be it. For situations where I need to get in among people, where I need a quiet, unobtrusive, discreet, reliable camera with outstanding lowlight focusing capabilities, and lets's face it, wicked lenses, then my Leica M6 it unbeatable. When I need to use long lenses, or 'look the part', or must have autofocus, or motorwind or whatever, then I use my F100s. I couldn't care less about the Leica brand-name. I also didn't buy this camera because of any Leica 'mystique', and as far as male jewellery goes, most people have never heard of Leica and think it looks like something my grandpa gave me. This is a huge bonus, since it means that people tend to be more natural and less suspicious than if they would be if I were to stick one of my Nikon F100s in their face. Having said that, this camera is the business and lives under my jacket wherever I go. After a long time to decide whether or not it was what I needed, when I finally did buy it, I took to it like a fish to water. It has repaid my with the best images I have yet taken. This is the camera I now use most of the time - it doesn't draw attention. The first thing that struck me was how superior focusing is compared to an autofocus SLR. When using an autofocus SLR, I can never be sure of where it has focused - eye? eyebrow? nose? peak of baseball hat? ...with the M6 you can choose the individual hair with certainty! This really has to be tried to be appreciated fully. When focusing with an M6, things are either in focus, or they aren't! You can see it as clear as day as you bring the two images in line with each other. There are no shades of 'blurred' or 'less blurred': it either is or isn't in focus. The build quality is awe inspiring. Put one in your hand for the first time and you will suddenly realise how long ago it is that something inspired such confidence so immediately. The M6 is built to last. Leica lenses are wickedly excellent. But in terms of sharpness, with any lens, you aren't going to notice major differences on small lab prints. It's with enlargements that Leica lenses really leave many other lenses standing. I don't subscribe to the god-like legendary powers attributed to Leica lenses - suffice it to say that they are excellent in every way - resolving power, sharpness, edge sharpness, flare resistance... and you are unlikely to be disappointed. If you think you need an M6 but aren't sure, then look at the people who are doing the kind of photography you are doing/want to do - this is often the best place to start when not sure. This camera is one of many tools I use, and for the role it fulfils in my work, it was the best tool I could find in the world.

Customer Service

In the UK, Leica will repair any acidental (non-cosmetic) damage free of charge for the first two years. They will also provide a day of traing free of charge. I haven't taken them up on either of those two offers because I haven't needed to, but if that kind of service doesn't deserve an award, what does?

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
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