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Buying a used Leica M6 - any issues to be aware of?

anyone

Active member
Hello,
I'm thinking to enter the world of Leica M. The digital bodies are most likely too expensive (M8 is out of question, M9 has sensor issues, newer is very pricy), so I'm thinking of starting with film, the M6 seems to be a good way to enter the system. I'd combine the M6 with a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm 1.5 which I would use as walkaround lens, but also for landscapes.

Concerning the M6, are there any issues to be particularly aware of when buying it used?

Thank you!
 

B L

Member
Check to see if rangefinder is not out of alignment because most RF cameras can not take hard knocks. And battery compartment for oxidization. Its all mechanical and will work even if meter is not working.
Also consider Ricoh GXR with M module . I think it is as good as M8.
 

250swb

Member
Buy from a reputable dealer who will give a warranty on it. Yes that may make it more expensive than private sales on eBay, but it saves you getting paranoid about reliability or tales of woe that people always like to recount. An M6 is a reliable camera if you start out with a serviced and reliable camera. Unless you drop it it should remain reliable for many, many years, they don't need servicing all the time as some think. Apart from obvious areas to look out for such as rangefinder alignment and basic functions like shutter speeds check for failing LED's for the meter as this can't be repaired. But you should need none of this advice because you are going to buy from a Leica dealer and get a warranty aren't you?

There are two main types of the M6, the original version and the later TTL version which is only relevant if you use flash. The TTL will be more expensive. If you want to spend less than an M6 the M4-P is the same in every in every practical way except for not having a meter, and a clip-on meter or hand held doesn't cost too much.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
There are many more on YouTube . FYI DAG Camera repair charges $450 for a Clean,Lube and Adjust . Factor that into your price . Screen Shot 2020-09-21 at 9.10.19 AM.png
 

anyone

Active member
Thank you for the answers!

So I'll look into ...
- RF properly working
- Shutter speeds
- light meter LED's
- best: buy it from a shop with warranty. Need to look into it.

Anything missing from the list?

The price of these cameras increased a lot during the recent years. When I first looked into it, they were sold for about 700 EUR, now about 1.700 EUR seems to be regular.

Concerning the video: I found the video not too helpful for my question. His only point (besides presenting the camera, lenses etc. which I wasn't really looking for) was that some models (he couldn't specify which ones) have a battery leaking issue. That's the reason why I asked for first hand experience from Leica shooters here :)
 

250swb

Member
The battery leaking issue, if there is one, is with the battery, not the camera. The camera can't cause the battery to leak.
 

anyone

Active member
Maybe I used the wrong word. The phenomenon he described was that the light meter wouldn’t switch off at times, using all of the battery in just a few days.
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Leica M6 WARNING!

Unauthorized purchase of Leica gear will inevitably lead to the cessation of other peaceful households because of a phenomenon known as GAS. Specifically, in my case, I will have to call my friend in California to see if he is ready to trade/sell an M6, which I really don't need! (But I miss mine having sold it three years ago.)

Then, if he doesn't, I may be led to return to my Holy Grail search... a black paint MP.

However, neither of these two Leica icons will be useable to me. I don't have a single M lens anymore.:):):)

So, I guess I am immune to getting another M6 or an MP... Ha! No vaccine required.

If that is the case, you pose no threat here, so then by all means, find a great M6 (and a lens), and treat it to a CLA as Roger mentioned, and enjoy!:)
 

woodleica

Member
Leica M6's are selling at a premium - about 3 times their value some years ago. It's hard to gauge future prices but for just a little more you can get an M240 which is a great camera. I just sold my M6 earlier this week for 2100$. I paid 800$ for it in 2009. Prices seem to be cyclic for film stuff, but who knows since M6's stayed at the approx. 1000$ mark for a long time. I'm not a Leica price history expert, but I just noticed recently that they had gone up so much and sold mine on an ebay auction since I wanted an SL ( which btw can be had for about the same price as an M6 ). I might buy an M6 again if they come back down in price which they never may - Leica as a brand has regained prestige and global awareness in the last decade. I don't know why, I rarely shoot film anymore but I just like the idea of having a fully mechanical M body. I'm only saying all this because while prices for anything are hard to predict, so far digital seems to be on a more predictable depreciation timeline - which may or may not concern you. On a different note forgive me for mentioning the obvious, but I'd be careful about substituting film for digital. The workflow is a lot tougher and they are different beasts. I'm sure it's something you know already but bears mentioning since you mentioned it as a substitute way to get a cheaper digital M.

Having said all this, I already miss my M6.
 
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anyone

Active member
Leica M6's are selling at a premium - about 3 times their value some years ago. It's hard to gauge future prices but for just a little more you can get an M240 which is a great camera. I just sold my M6 earlier this week for 2100$. I paid 800$ for it in 2009. Prices seem to be cyclic for film stuff, but who knows since M6's stayed at the approx. 1000$ mark for a long time. I'm not a Leica price history expert, but I just noticed recently that they had gone up so much and sold mine on an ebay auction since I wanted an SL ( which btw can be had for about the same price as an M6 ). I might buy an M6 again if they come back down in price which they never may - Leica as a brand has regained prestige and global awareness in the last decade. I don't know why, I rarely shoot film anymore but I just like the idea of having a fully mechanical M body. I'm only saying all this because while prices for anything are hard to predict, so far digital seems to be on a more predictable depreciation timeline - which may or may not concern you. On a different note forgive me for mentioning the obvious, but I'd be careful about substituting film for digital. The workflow is a lot tougher and they are different beasts. I'm sure it's something you know already but bears mentioning since you mentioned it as a substitute way to get a cheaper digital M.

Having said all this, I already miss my M6.
You mention a phenomenon I also realised while ago, the steep increase of M6 prices. Should have bought one when I first started thinking about it :) I'm very well aware of the different kind of workflow of a digital camera vs film. Since I'm anyway a hybrid shooter in various formats, I thought it's not such an issue. On the contrary, I like the film look. Analogue equipment seems to be also keeping value a lot better than digital gear.

Since I am in no hurry, I will just wait and keep an eye on the ebay offerings. Tried the dealer route, ended up finding just extremely high prices, which I cannot justify for myself since I have already so many wonderful cameras.
 

anyone

Active member
The thing that bugs me is that a good condition Leica M6 seems to be only a few hundreds away from an X1D, which also could be used with Leica glass. With limitations of course like ES, some vignette, ... . However, the C-Sonnar I'm intending to shoot also seems to work reasonably well with this system.

Arguably when I read about the 30years, that is something the Hasselblad won't be able to accomplish in the digital age.
 
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