I had been looking on rather longingly at Leica M6’s for quite a while now wondering if all the fuss and attention they garnered was really worth all the thousands of words that have been written about them over the years.
Having had the Leica M6 for a couple of months now and shot a few rolls of film through it, I feel as if I am starting to get to grips with it… and what a joy it is to grip it!
My initial feelings were that I wanted a TTL model, but in hindsight I’m actually very happy with the little Classic I picked up.
The TTL version maybe a little younger in years being a later model, but there’s lots of stories doing the rounds that the metering system is a bit of a bugger to get fixed when it fails as Leica have stopped making the required parts for it.
In day to day use it, like almost all Leica film cameras is an amazingly simple camera to use. Once you have your film loaded and set your ISO, it’s simply a matter of lining up focus, making sure your exposure is correct, which is easy enough with the meter showing whether your frame is under/over or perfectly exposed and away you go.
Hell, in good light you can make it even more simple and use the zone focussing method to shoot even more quickly.
The meter relies on a couple of small LR44 batteries, but in truth if these fail whilst you’re out and about, it’s easy enough to carry on shooting either by using a mobile phone app or the Sunny 16 rule to get a good grip on your exposure values. I just keep a couple of spares in my film case for if needed.
Reasons to shoot Film
The whole reason I like shooting film is the simplicity of it. Some people say it makes you slow down but for me it’s the simplicity. There’s no ‘chimping’ – meaning you can’t check you’ve got the photo right on the back of the screen and then take another… and another… and another! You simplly get it all sorted (focus, exposure) and snap and away you go on to the next frame. The whole process for me, is much less busy if that makes sense.
Being able to develop and scan my black and white film at home also completes the process for me, I don’t have to wait for a lab to process the film and can choose to develop film as & when I want.
The Leica M6 is a camera that gets out of the way and gets the job done. OK, so there’s a trade off in terms of such things as the ISO is fixed once you load your film. You shoot black and white or colour film and no real option to chop and change like with digital in post processing. But as an overall easy option it’s starting to work perfectly for me!