Probably one of the most famous film camera around. Yes, it is expensive, but I doubt you’ll regret it if you manage to buy one!
The Leica M6 TTL is an – almost – mechanical rangefinder film camera from the very famous and premium brand Leica. It is built in Germany and was manufactured during the 80’s. It features a chrome body, a built-in light meter (that requires some batteries), a shutter speed dial and a Leica M mount. I have to say, the body feels very nice and solid. It has a nice weight to it and it is very confortable to hold. However, be careful during the winter because the body itself tends to get very cold quickly!
The main difference between the regular Leica M6 and the Leica M6 TTL is that the TTL version has TTL metering when you’re using flash. Plus the shutter speed dial is a little bigger so it is easier to operate and rotate while you’re looking through the viewfinder. Moreover, this shutter speed dial rotates in the opposite direction compared to a regular Leica M6. It is actually more practical as the direction matches the informations of the light meter that you can read in the viewfinder. It means that, if the arrow is pointing left, you have to rotate your shutter speed dial to the left and vice versa. Those two differences (the bigger shutter speed dial and the opposite direction) makes the Leica M6 TTL easier to shoot than the regular Leica M6 in my opinion.
So, why do I really love this camera? First, because it is very reliable. I mean, this camera is built like a tank and it also works without a battery. The built-in light meter – which doesn’t work without battery obviously – is accurate enough to never miss a shot. But also, the Leica lenses are just exceptional! They’re all very sharp and pretty easy to manual focus. The aperture ring is very smooth so you can set your camera very quickly. All the markings on the lens make it easy to zone focus (see my post about zone focusing here). As a mainly street photographer, I feel like the camera helps me and inspires me: it is very discrete and silent – perfect qualities to shoot in the streets – and framing is very pleasant. To sum up, this camera is very easy to use and fast to operate.
Of course, a Leica M6 TTL is not a cheap camera, and Leica lenses are also very expensive. But is it overpriced or overrated? I don’t think it is. You can still mount cheaper lenses like Zeiss or Voigtländer and keep very sharp and accurate results. Moreover, the built quality of Leica lenses is just insane and I can promise your glass will last more than a lifetime. Oh, and did I mention that the prices of Leica equipments just keep on rising? It might be a good opportunity to buy one now – as it is still possible and affordable to do so – try it for some time and then resell it… And it is still one of the most affordable Leica you can get. It might be a good way to give it a try. All the lenses still work on the newer digital M bodies anyway so the value will never go down. And who knows, perhaps you will fall in love with the brand and will want to purchase one of those top of the line digital Leica M bodies!
Some people prefer the Leica M3 over the Leica M6. To be honest, I haven’t shoot the Leica M3 long enough to know if I would prefer it. However, it’s definitely a nice camera to shoot. Being able to keep both eyes open while shooting with a 50mm lens is a big plus. But as I mainly shoot a 35mm lens, the Leica M6 just seems like a better choice for me. Plus, there is no built in light meter in the Leica M3. You can still manage to get a correct exposure using the Sunny 16 technique (I talk about this technique on my blog), but when the situation is tricky, it’s always convenient to have a built-in light meter to check.