Analog is in the midst of a renaissance. From the resurgence of vinyl records — LPs outsold CDs for the first time in 30 years in 2021 — to the boom in popularity of 35mm and polaroid film cameras, analog has made a stratospheric comeback. The new Leica M6 2022 is the culmination of this renaissance.
It is the camera that transformed Leica from a known quantity into a verified icon; the photographic equivalent of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
As the original inventor of the 35mm camera, no company knows this game as well as Leica Camera AG. Throughout the 20th century, Leica revolutionized photography by developing 35mm film cameras that were beloved by photojournalists. The likes of Henry Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa used Leicas to capture life, from the bustling streets of Paris and New York to the frontline of the Second World War.
The M6 entered production in 1984, utilizing the compact form factor of the popular Leica M3, but adding new technology such as a modern off-the-shutter light meter and LED arrows in the viewfinder to aid image exposure.
This new 2022 iteration pays homage to the original Leica M6, the iconic Leica red dot reads “Leitz” — the original company name before it was renamed to Leica in 1986. You can also still find classic design features like the slanted rewind crank for the film from the original 1984 model. While remaining true to the original, the 2022 M6 brings with it modern quality-of-life improvements.
There is an improved rangefinder with a 0.72x magnification, all optical surfaces have been coated, providing resistance to stray light, and the light meter now uses a red dot to show the correct exposure in addition to the two arrows which can be found on the original model. The addition of a battery warning indicator also brings the new M6 in line with modern standards.
Famous for its unmatched build quality, Leica has taken the 2022 M6 a step further. The top cover has been redesigned and is now milled from solid brass as opposed to die-cast zinc on the original. The brass top cover is further enhanced with a coat of abrasion-resistant black lacquer which gives the M6 a minimalist but rugged edge.
Stefan Daniel, executive vice president of technology and operations at Leica says: “The Leica M6 is a milestone in the corporate history of Leica Camera AG. Since 1984, countless iconic pictures have been taken with it; it was a part of the product range for over 18 years and is still a fascinating camera with an extremely high utility value.”
Today, new cameras compete with high megapixel counts, endless features and come adorned with numerous buttons and dials needed to navigate complex menus and settings. While these cameras no doubt have their place, the Leica M6 2022 represents a different approach to photography.
Daniel adds: “Conscious analog photography as an antithesis to the flood of digital images is enjoying great popularity. Therefore, it was only logical for us to produce the Leica M6 again as one of the most popular representatives of this camera type.”
The Leica M6 2022 is the distillation of photography to its purest form. It removes all superfluous features, leaving zero distractions between the photographer and their image. Still handmade in Germany, the new M6 represents the highest level of reliability and quality that can be found in a 35mm film camera. It’s a camera for someone that doesn’t just enjoy photographs but who takes pleasure in the photographic process itself.
The 2022 Leica M6 is priced at $5,295.
Available in the US at Leica stores, boutiques and online starting November 3, 2022.