The Different Leica M6 Variations - Jo Geier

The Different Leica M6 Variations - Jo Geier

Since there are so many different models of one of the most popular Leica camera, we thought we could shed some light into this and list all variations known to us until today.

May it will help you to choose the M6 you are looking for.

 

1981 – M6 Electronic - Prototype

Prototype of the later fully mechanical serial production Leica M6. Fully electronic Seiko shutter which was already used in the R4, TTL-metering and automatic exposure control (as in the later M7).

 

1983 – M6 Prototype

Early prototype with the serial number of an M4-P. Red dot with flat Leitz lettering, different window gluing. The shutter speed dial in a different design, DIN/ASA dial with different lettering, no MADE IN GERMANY embossing on the body covering.
We are aware of two M6 prototypes. One with serial number 1621532 from the former Leitz factory museum (inventory number 2308), and one with serial number 1621534.

1984 – The WETZLAR M6

The first version. Starting at serial number 1657251. Without plastic above the strap lugs to protect the body from scratches of the strap. ERNST LEITZ WETZLAR GMBH engraved on top of the topplate. Red dot on front of topplate marked „Leitz“.

Product Code: 10404 Black Body 0.72

 

Black Leica M6 'Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH' camera, body only

 

1986 – From now on with plastic inserts above the strap lugs to protect the body from scratches of a strap and finally also available in silver chrome.

Product Code: 10404 Black Body 0.72

Product Code: 10414 Chrome Body 0.72

Black Leica M6 body with front cap in original presetation box with manual and strap in makers box

Black Leica M6 10404 camera with front cap

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

1987 – M6 „BIG“ Logo

On some cameras the front of the top plate is only engraved with larger M6 lettering and without the name Leica. Technically identical to the regular production model.

 

Black Leica M6 camera with big M6 lettering/logo

 

1987 – M6 G

Around 100 cameras in black, chrome and titanium finish made for a Swiss dealer. The Leitz logo in gold. The topplate engraved with the logo – the cross-section diagram of the 50mm Elmar.

 

1988 – M6 LHSA 20th Anniversary

Only 43 cameras have been ordered by the LHSA, each with LHSA logo and 1968 1988 engraving.

 

1988 – The SOLMS M6

LEICA GMBH GERMANY engraved on the back and LEICA M6 on front of the topplate. Red dot on front of topplate marked „Leica“.

 

Backside of a chrome Leica M6 camera with 'Leica GmbH Germany' engraved on top plate

 

1989 – M6 Platin / Platinum – 150 Years of Photography – 75 Years of Leica Photography

1250 made, each with a letter of the word LEICA and a serial number from the series 1-250. With Summilux-M 1.4/50mm.

Product Code: 10450

 

1990 – M6 Siber Hegner

125 cameras made for the distributor in Japan, silver chromed cameras with a special emblem on topplate.

 

1990 – 1993 The „PANDA" M6

The silver chrome M6 is equipped with black winding lever and shutter release guard, shutter speed dial, rewind lever, rewind crank and knob and frame selector.

Product Code: Same as regular production version.

 

Leica M6 'Panda' camera with instructions, warranty card and makers box

 

1992 – M6 Colombo or M6 Columbus

Issued by the Italian agent Polyphoto to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. Engraved 1492-1992. With chrome Summicron-M 2/50mm. 200 cameras have been produced.

Regular Product Codes: 10414 Body, 11825 Lens

 

1992 – M6 Year of the Rooster

Issued by the Schmidt Group, the far east Leica agents. With chrome Summicron-M 2/50mm. 300 pieces made. Some say 267 pieces.

 

1992 – M6 Gold Sultan of Brunei

With matching gold Summilux-M 1.4/50mm in wooden presentation box. 353 cameras made with serial number HB 001 – 353.

Product Code: 10412 Set

 

1992 – 1998 M6 Titan / Titanium

The topplate is made from brass instead of the usual zinc casting.

Product Code: 10412 Titanium Body 0.72

Leica M6 Titanium camera with lens and hood

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

1993 – M6 LHSA 25th Anniversary

Silver chrome M6, Limited Edition of 151 cameras, comes in a set with chrome Summicron-M 2/35mm, 2/50mm and 2/90mm lenses in a wooden box.

Product Code: 10414 (no special product code)

 

1993 – M6 Royal Foto

Commissioned to the Austrian Royal Foto company for their 25th anniversary. Black and chrome finish with red covering. 101 pieces made. A special chrome Summicron-M 2/35mm was available and engraved as well. Other lenses with special engravings maybe as well.

Product Code: 10404 Black body (no special product code)

Product Code: 10414 Chrome body (no special product code)

 

1994 – M6 Schnittmodell / Cut-Away

Produced in very small numbers with advertising material product code 942005. Available in black and also chrome which is more rare.

 

Chrome Leica M6 cut-away model from top front perspective

Black Leica M6 cut-away model standing on the makers box

 

1994 – M6 Titan / Titanium Foto Ganz – Zürich

20 cameras for the 150th anniversary of Foto Ganz in Zürich, 1844-1994, a titanium finished Summilux-M 1.4/35mm was available as well.

Regular Product Codes: 10412 Body, 11860 Lens

 

1994 – M6 Traveller Set

With chrome Summilux-M 1.4/50mm. With calfskin attaché case and camera bag. Said to be 500 pieces produced.

 

1994 – M6 Royal Photographic Society (RPS)

„Panda" body with black Summicron-M 2/50mm commemorating their 100th anniversary, 1894 – 1994. Only 100 sets made.

 

1994 – M6J

Limited Edition of 1640 sets to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Leica M system (1954 – 1994, 40 pieces for every year). With chrome Elmar-M 2.8/50mm with matching serial number and brown leather case. First camera with viewfinder magnification of 0.85 with frame lines for 35, 50, 90 and 135mm lenses. Silver chromed brass topplate. Winding lever, rewind lever and frame selector as Leica M3.

Chrome Leica M6J camera with Elmar-M 2.8/50mm

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

1995 – M6 Leica HISTORICA

150 cameras made for the 20th anniversary of Leica HISTORICA, with chrome Summicron-M 2/50mm and light blue body covering.

Product Code: 10448 Set

Product Code: 10421 Body

Product Code: 11836 Lens

Leica M6 Historica camera with blue leatthering, all papers, strap and wooden makers box

Leica M6 Historica camera top plate with limited edition number

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

1995 – M6 POLYPHOTO DEMO UNIT

20 or 90 cameras for the Italian Leica distributor, an outline map of Italy engraved on the topplate.

 

1995 – M6 Dragon

Limited Editon of 300 sets with Summicron-M 2/50mm. Chrome cameras with a golden Dragon engraved on the topplate. Commissioned by the Malaysian dealer, Schmidt Scientific of Kuala Lumpur for their Chinese customers.

Product Code: 11834 Lens

 

1995 – M6 Danish Royal Wedding

200 sets commemorating the wedding of the Danish Crown Prince with chrome Summicron-M 2/35mm.

Product Code: 10444 Set

Product Code: 10423 Body

Product Code: 11838 Lens

 

1995 – M6 Gold Thailand

700 gold plated sets with Summicron-M 2/50mm to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the coronation of King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand.

 

1995 – M6 Platin / Platinum Sultan of Brunei

250 cameras in platinum for the Sultan of Brunei with Summilux-M 1.4/50mm with built-in lens hood. Another batch of platinum plated cameras must exist as one other camera with an earlier serial number with a diamond and Summilux-M 1.4/35mm Asph. is known to exist but engraving for the 50th Birthday of his Majesty.

 

1996 – M6 Partner Aktion Deutschland

Demonstration cameras for German dealers, also some Leica R7 bodies have been made with this engraving. Said to be 70 and 70 pieces made. A different source states 500 cameras have been produced which seems high to me.

 

Leica M6 'Partner Aktion Deutschland' camera top plate with engraving

 

1996 – M6 Benelux

70, 90 or 94 chrome cameras delivered as demo cameras to dealers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

 

1996 – M6 „Ein Stück Leica“

996 sets produced to mark its stock market flotation in this year. With Summilux-M 1.4/35mm. Body with cowhide covering with the Leica script all over it.

Product Code: 10496 Set

Leica M6 „Ein Stück Leica“ camera with top plate engraving

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

1996 – M6 Platin / Platinum / Gold Sultan of Brunei

Another order from the Sultan of Brunei for 500 cameras, 250 in gold and 250 in platinum finish. The platinum cameras were covered in grey snakeskin. All cameras were engraved with the Sultan's crest. 125 of the platin and 125 of the gold cameras were fitted with a diamond just above the accessory shoe. With Summilux-M 1.4/35mm Asph..

Another small batch must exist as at least two other cameras with earlier serial numbers and Summilux-M 1.4/35mm Asph. are known to exist (maybe 100 pieces).

 

1996 – M6 Platin / Platinum Schmidt Group of Companies 100 Years / Centenary Edition

150 sets with Elmar-M 2.8/50mm. Altough they were up to special number 188 as Schmidt was omitting all numbers containing a 4.

 

1997 – M6 Platin / Platinum Anton Bruckner

The Austrian Leica distributor ordered 200 cameras with Elmar-M 2.8/50mm to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner.

Product Code: 10454 Set

Product Code: 10425 Body

Product Code: 11839 Lens

 

1998 – 1999 From now on available with viewfinder magnification 0.85 (engraved in the silver band in the viewfinder) with frame lines for 35, 50, 75, 90 and 135mm lenses.

Product Code: 10413 – Black Body 0.85

 

Leica M6 camera Black Body with 0.85 engraving under the finder window

 

1998 – M6 Jaguar XK

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar XK. Chrome body with British Racing Green conolly leather with Elmar-M 2.8/50mm. Only 50 sets made.

Product Code: 10469 Set

 

1999 – M6 Platin  / Platinum 150 Jahre Optik

To celebrate the one hundred fifty years of the foundation of Carl Kellner's Optical Institute in July 1849, Leica Cameras issued 150 cameras. Each camera is engraved with one of the years from 1849 – 1999 together with the name and optical diagram of the matching lens. Each 30 years group of cameras was supplied with a different lens.

Product Code: 10480 - Summilux-M 1.4/35mm (1970-1999)

Product Code: 10481 - Summicron-M 2/35mm (1940-1969)

Product Code: 10482 - Summilux-M 1.4/50mm (1910-1939)

Product Code: 10483 - Summicron-M 2/50mm (1880-1909)

Product Code: 10484 - Elmar 2.8/50mm (1849-1879)

 

1998 – 2002 Leica M6 TTL

Product Code: 10433 Black Body 0.72

Product Code: 10434 Chrome Body 0.72

Product Code: 10436 Black Body 0.85

Product Code: 10466 Chrome Body 0.85

Product Code: 10475 Black Body 0.58 (2000 - 2002)

Product Code: 10474 Chrome Body 0.58 (2000 – 2002)

 

Chrome Leica M6 TTL camera in front of the original makers box

 

1999 – M6 TTL Kanto

The Japanese repair shop ordered 100 cameras with 0.72 magnification and Summicron-M 2/50mm lenses.

 

2000 – M6 TTL Black Paint Millenium

2000 black paint M6 have been produced with matching black paint Summicron-M 2/35mm and black paint

Summilux-M 1.4/50mm. The Rewind know shaped as on the M3/M2/M1.

Product Code: 10442 Body

Product Code: 11611 Summicron-M 2/35mm Asph.

Product Code: 11623 Summilux-M 1.4/50mm

Leica M6 TTL Black Paint Millenium camera with all caps and hood

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

2000 – M6 TTL Safari Green

After Leica announced their black paint Millenium M6, a special order was placed by a Hong Kong dealer for 300 green paint cameras. The Rewind know shaped as on the M3/M2/M1.

Product Code: 10478 Body

 

2000 – M6 TTL NSH

The Japanese Leica distributor NSH (formerly Siber Hegner) commissioned 400 of their own version of the black paint M6 with 0.85 viewfinder magnification. The Rewind know shaped as on the M3/M2/M1.

Product Code: 10477 Body

 

2000 – M6 TTL Test the Best

Swiss demonstration camera with 0.72 magnification. Only 40 pieces have been made. The camera is engraved with an outline map of Switzerland.

Leica M6 TTL 'Test the Best' camera with black body

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

2000 – M6 TTL Black Paint LHSA

650 cameras with 0.72 and 500 cameras with 0.85 viewfinder magnification for the members of the Leica Historical Society of America. 60 pieces of the 0.85 cameras have been converted to 0.58 viewfinder magnification cameras.

Product Code: 10443 Body 0.72

Product Code: 10479 Body 0.85

Leica M6 TTL Black Paint LHSA camera with front cap

Back side detail of a Leica M6 TTL Black Paint LHSA

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

2000 – M6 TTL Black Paint Øresundsbron

An edition of 150 cameras with 0.85 viewfinder magnification was commissioned by Nordisk Foto Import A/S Denmark to commemorate the opening of the bridge between Denmark and Sweden. 50 cameras were sold as „body only“. 25 with a special Summicron-M 2/35mm Asph. in black paint and 75 with a special Summilux-M 1.4/50mm in black paint.

Product Code: 10492 Body Only

Product Code: 11622 Summilux-M 1.4/50mm

 

Leica M6 TTL Black Paint 'Øresundsbron' camera back view

 

2000 – M6 TTL Black Paint ICS

An edition of 200 cameras with 0.85 viewfinder magnification was commissioned by the Japanese Leica distributor Kanto.

 

2000 – M6 TTL Black Paint Dragon 2000

An edition of 500 cameras with 0.85 viewfinder magnification for the chinese market.

 

2001 – M6 TTL Hansa

The Japanese buying organization commissioned 100 cameras with 0.72 viewfinder magnification in chrome with Elmar-M 2.8/50mm lenses to celebrate their 80th anniversary.

 

2001 – M6 TTL Al-Thani

With orange leather covering, engraved topplate with 'Sheikh Saud Bin Mohd. Al-Thani 20xx Photography Competition Qatar' and with Summilux-M 1.4/50mm was produced in a small series of 16 chrome cameras by Leica in 2001 for presentation to the winners of the Sheikh Saud Photography Competition from 2002-2017.

 

2001 – M6 TTL Al-Thani Presentation Camera

With apple green leather covering, engraved topplate with the signature of 'Sheikh Saud Bin Mohd. Al-Thani' and with Summilux-M 1.4/50mm.

Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani commissioned six chrome M6 TTL cameras from Leica and gifted them to the following eminent photographers of the time:

Irving Penn
Helmut Newton
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Khalifa Al-Obaidly
Richard Avedon
Sebastiao Salgado

The camera presented to Richard Avedon carries the serial number 2752420 and limited edition number 04/06 and is engarved'As a gift to Richard Avedon'. With Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm No. 3902513.

 

2002 – M6 TTL Titan / Titanium

Limited Editon of 1000 titanium plated M6 TTL cameras with 0.72 viewfinder magnification with buffalo leather covering. At the same time 500 examples of titanium plated Summicron-M 2/35mm Asph. (11609), Summicron-M 2/50mm (11624) and Apo-Summicron-M 2/90mm Asph. (11632) lenses have been produced.

Product Code: 10435 Titanium Body 0.72

M6 TTL Titanium body with front cap

M6 TTL Titanium camera with 3 lenses, caps and instructions

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

2003 – M6 TTL Die letzten 999 Leica M6

In January 2003, 18 years after the first introduction, Leica announced the end of their production line of the Leica M6 by making a last series of 999 cameras.

Product Code: 10542 Black Body 0.58

Product Code: 10543 Chrome Body 0.58

Product Code: 10544 Black Body 0.85

Product Code: 10545 Chrome Body 0.85

Chrome body of the Leica M6 TTL 'Die letzten 999 Leica M6'

© Wetzlar Camera Auctions

 

2003 – Leica M6A

Prototype of the Leica M7 with exposure automatic.

 

2022 – Leica M6 (Re-issue)

After almost 20 years, Leica has re-introduced the classic Leica M6 with a brass top and base plates instead of the former zinc and copper top and base plate. Based on the Leica M-A, the re-issue now features the classic M6 rewind crank, no plastic inserts above the strap lugs, a built-in exposure meter and a "Ernst Leitz Wetzlar Germany" engraving on the top plate. The painted top and base plate are now matte black painted as the Leica M11 and are no longer black anodized as they used to be.

Product Code: 10557 Black "Paint" Body 0.72