Leica M6 Rangefinder Camera

Leica M6
If you’re a photography purist, you can look at the whole digital thing as blasphemy or as functional evolution. Here at cheekyliving, we’ve resolved ourselves to straddle the fence. For convenience, cheeky staffers use digital when going out and for selling bottletops on eBay. When the time comes for serious shooting, our attention turns to the magic of cellulose that is lacking in digital formats, regardless of megapixel count. In particular, we rely on Lecia of Germany to get the job done.

The Leica M series has been a legend for half a century, and for good reason. Some of the most iconic images, ones that have defined moments and eras, have been shot through a Lecia. The current iteration of the mechanical M is the 6. Measuring only slightly larger in footprint than most pocket digi-cams, the M6 offers build quality that is instantly recognizable as you work the crisp lever and shutter mechanism. Like all mechanical M’s, this Leica uses a cloth-fabric shutter for whisper quiet operation. Unlike the loud click of conventional SLRs, the Leica’s stealth operation allows for the user to remain low profile around subjects, leading to more profound shots. The Leica rangefinder focusing system is so precise that even the costliest SLRs look blurry by comparison. Try focusing a subject at 10 feet in low light and the superiority of the rangefinder becomes obvious.

The real coup de gras of the Lecia system is the ability to use the Lecia M lenses. These are arguably the best 35mm optics in the world. So much so, in fact, that the images rival many medium format systems unless extremely large prints are called for. There is a soulful quality to the images captured on Leica lenses. Maybe it has something to do with the extremely subtle light and color contrasts that the lens can negotiate, but whatever the reason, these lenses bring you closer to the ‘intention’ of a shot than almost anything else out there. An M6, two or three Lecia lenses, and you’ll want to expand your eye beyond taking pics of your dog or your ugly friends… cheeky indeed!

Find a Leica M6 at B&H


  1. As a long-time Leica user (1981 through 2003) , I think I can speak to this issue. It used to be true that film had an edge on digital for many reasons. But in the past few years, film has been clearly surpassed by the best digital cameras. I use the Canon 1Ds Mark II these days, and it makes claerly superior images to my Leica M and R cameras over the years.

    And it’s true that the M lenses tend to be better than any other, but there are select R lenses that are as good or better than the M lenses of the same vintage. For example, the 19mm 2.8 Elmarit is as good or better than any M wide angle lens.

    Until recently, I had yet to use a camera that could equal the M6 for quiet, inobtrusive shooting. Or a lens/camera combination that was as easy to use in low light as the M6 and 35 Summilux ASPH.

    But recently the 1Ds Mark II and 24mm 1.4 L series lens combo has proven itself to be actually faster and more accurate to shoot in near darkness the the Leica combo I mention.

    The situation that comes to mind is in Colombia, South America in the Muzo emerald mine. I was 12 levels down from the surface (hundreds of meters down) and it was about 120 degrees and almost 100 percent humidity and the autofocus and exposure meter were getting me photos that would have been much harder to get with the M6. Maybe it doesn’t have quite the edge sharpness of the ASPH lens, or even the contrast but the image sensor at 1600 ISO will beat any film for quality in the end by a mile.

    It’s a new world. A digital Leica M with such an image sensor makes me think I wouldn’t care how much it cost!

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