Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

Leica Just Resurrected Its Legendary M6 Camera. Here’s Every Step It Takes to Make It.

The (very) old favorite by the German manufacturer marries the photographer’s skill with its own exquisite engineering.

Leica M6 Camera Leica

As modern digital cameras put ever more megapixels and endless features into the hands of the everyday shooter, what does Leica—one of the most revered names in photography—come out with for its latest release? 

A film camera. 

You read that right. And not even a new film camera, but a reissue of a shooter from 1984, the M6. There’s no screen to review your photos, no button to upload your selfie over Wi-Fi, and—perhaps you should sit down for this—it’s manual focus. Has the company gone verrückt

Not at all, insists Stefan Daniel, executive vice president of technology and operations at Leica. “The prices for the M6 on the secondhand market have been rising constantly,” he says, “and the majority of people who want it are younger.” A new generation is embracing analog photography, along with vinyl records, and Leica has been preparing for this moment. 

“We never stopped making film cameras,” says Andrea Pacella, director of global marketing and communication at Leica, “even when sales of film were zero and we were only selling one camera per day worldwide. Any other company would have stopped.” And now that there’s a bull market, reissuing the M6 was a natural choice. During its initial 18-year run, nearly 175,000 units sold, making it one of the company’s most popular models. 

Why is the M6 so in demand? Leica believes it’s the simplicity. “It has nothing too much and nothing too less,” says Daniel. “Just what you need to make great photographs. Nothing else. It gave rebirth to rangefinder photography.” 

So the next time you find yourself sorting through 5,000 digital photos from your vacation, consider how an M6 may have made things easier. “When you shoot film, you have to think before you press the button,” Daniel explains. “It will cost you money, and you only have 36 options. That makes it precious and authentic. Maybe we needed this digital revolution to value film again.” 

Robb Report visited Leica’s home base in Wetzlar, Germany, to watch the manufacturing team prepare this new version of the classic camera for its close-up. 

More Cameras