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New Leica M6 Film Camera


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On 9/2/2022 at 8:54 PM, JoshuaRothman said:

Oh man. After auditioning (and liking!) an M10-P, I've pretty much settled on a plan to stay film-only and buy an M3 to go with my M2.

Now I'm wondering if I should wait for the October announcement. Probably not—I can't imagine what they'd announce that would make more sense for me than an M3—but you never know....

If they were even capable of making a camera to the same standard as an M3 it would cost $12-$15k.

My guess is the new camera will not cost less than $5k.  If they are going to deviate significantly from the traditional M camera design they should not call it an M camera.  A new iteration of something like the Hexar RF could be interesting.

Perhaps it will be a small refinement of the MP, in which case the cost is likely to be similar to the existing model.

 

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20 hours ago, IkarusJohn said:

 

Given the choice between the simple, side hinged back of the FM2 or Leica’s baseplate and top hinge, I’d take the FM2 any day of the week.  Not sure that new entrants would care about the holy-grail of the M3 for Leica traditionalists.  What would a clean sheet approach film camera look like, and how could it be made cheaper … obviously, it would still need to look like an M3!

I would be very disappointed if they put on a hinged back and still called it an M camera.  I love the simple film loading system of the M cameras and the extra body rigidity that the design brings.  It is one of the unique design features that makes  the M camera an iconic design that has lasted 60 years.

If they go for something completely different like a modern iteration of the Hexar RF, then by all means put a hinged back on, but don’t call it an M camera.

 

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Apparently (according to Steven who no longer posts but has 'knowledge') it will be a limited edition M6 variant, expensive of course.

So Leica will just make a few, that will sell out instantly as all their collector pieces do, and it will be another expensive rarity.  Supposedly.

IMO what counts is a new M film camera that brings advances.  Not a collector piece cash in.  But seeing that the M7 was cancelled - a camera way more advanced than the MP or M-A, a 'new' M is not going to happen.

An expensive M6 limited run? Leica's done so many M6's like that before so this will be another of those.

I count 22 M6 limited edition models on cameraquest!  This will be #23 if it happens...

https://cameraquest.com/classics.htm

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When film photography "died" because of digital, it became undervalued. The cameras were cheap(er). Investment in film production stopped, and film stocks were being discontinued all the time. People worried that they wouldn't be able to use film in the future. Film photography was a "disinvested" community. You know how it was.

Then zoomers aged into the consumer market. It became popular, thanks to celebrities, YouTubers, and Instagramers because it was different from what they grew up with. Prices for the hottest cameras went up drastically (thank you camera porn on IG), creating a bubble. Price hikes for film happen regularly, and producers are investing in new machinery (except Fujifilm). Nowadays, people (mostly zoomers) constantly complain that film photography is too expensive, they want to start or continue to use film but can't afford it, and looking for ways to do it cheaper is trending. People are resorting to cameras with less features and lower build quality since they can't afford sexy ones that they could have bought a few years earlier, thrifting for cameras before the Depop resellers get to it, bulk rolling cine film, and more. New camera companies are trying to make affordable, more accessible cameras, e.g., Intrepid, Dora Goodman, (akin to tiny homes and van life) and people applaud cheaper new film stocks. It's an exciting, if turbulent, time to be in film photography!

Edited by raizans
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17 minutes ago, raizans said:

Nowadays, people (mostly zoomers) constantly complain that film photography is too expensive, they want to start or continue to use film but can't afford it, and looking for ways to do it cheaper is trending.

I don't understand this at all.  I can go out right now and buy a high-quality used film camera like a Pentax KX, Nikon FM, etc. for about $150.  The lenses for these cameras are dirt cheap as well - except for some of the 'legendary' ones that fetch a 'premium' of a couple hundred bucks.  So for < $300, you can pick up a good camera and a couple of good lenses. 

Compare that to digital  Even a decent used Fujifilm digital camera like the XT3 costs about $1000, and around $1500+ with one used lens (and that's APS-C, not full frame).  So, if one goes the used SLR route, that leaves about $1200 to buy film.  At current prices, a roll of Tri-X 400 is $10.  So that's 120 rolls of film.  I don't know what the average consumption rate is for amateur film shooters, but 120 rolls of film is going to last me a long while - probably 3 years!  If it's the processing cost that's expensive, then do it yourself at home for pennies a roll.  You don't even need a darkroom, just a changing bag for $20 and an inexpensive daylight tank and reel combo.

So my message to zoomers is: stop complaining about the cost of film and start shooting it :) 

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7 hours ago, ianman said:

That one was rhetorical, but what do you mean about the top hinge on the M?

Good morning, Ian.

I’m not at all convinced by this talk of a new film M.  I get it that film is a growing niche, and Leica may want to capitalise on that.  So, what is the appeal?  I’d say it’s the M3 form factor, and rangefinder - it’s cool.  But the reality of the M-A/MP might be a barrier to new comers - no AF, tricky focusing to learn, manual exposure setting, no zoom and learning to load the film.

So, two questions - why do the M-A and MP not meet the demand? And what would this putative new camera do to M-A & MP sales?  I suspect Leica has a dwindling number of film camera technicians and if they’re making a new, cheaper camera, it will be significantly different, and more accessible than the existing cameras.  

This new camera will need to be cheaper to make (less hand made) and easier to use for new-comers.  First up would be to make film loading easier - fix the baseplate and hinge the rear door (and pressure plate) to the right hand side, making loading easier.  I’m sure there’s a lot more.  Keep the M mount?  Or fix the lens (I loved my Minox and used my brother’s Rollei 35T a lot). 

Whatever they do, if they do anything, it will be a different camera, and we might be looking at the end of the M-A and/or MP - they will become specialty cameras, saved for special issue.

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2 hours ago, andrew01 said:

I would be very disappointed if they put on a hinged back and still called it an M camera.  I love the simple film loading system of the M cameras and the extra body rigidity that the design brings.  It is one of the unique design features that makes  the M camera an iconic design that has lasted 60 years.

If they go for something completely different like a modern iteration of the Hexar RF, then by all means put a hinged back on, but don’t call it an M camera.

 

I’m not saying it’s a good idea.

I just can’t see how or why Leica would make a new film camera that is “cheaper”.  An MP with aperture priority added makes more sense, but it won’t be cheap.

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1 hour ago, logan2z said:

I don't understand this at all.  I can go out right now and buy a high-quality used film camera like a Pentax KX, Nikon FM, etc. for about $150.  The lenses for these cameras are dirt cheap as well - except for some of the 'legendary' ones that fetch a 'premium' of a couple hundred bucks.  So for < $300, you can pick up a good camera and a couple of good lenses. 

Compare that to digital  Even a decent used Fujifilm digital camera like the XT3 costs about $1000, and around $1500+ with one used lens (and that's APS-C, not full frame).  So, if one goes the used SLR route, that leaves about $1200 to buy film.  At current prices, a roll of Tri-X 400 is $10.  So that's 120 rolls of film.  I don't know what the average consumption rate is for amateur film shooters, but 120 rolls of film is going to last me a long while - probably 3 years!  If it's the processing cost that's expensive, then do it yourself at home for pennies a roll.  You don't even need a darkroom, just a changing bag for $20 and an inexpensive daylight tank and reel combo.

So my message to zoomers is: stop complaining about the cost of film and start shooting it :) 

One of my fave film stocks is Kentmere 400.  About $5/36 exp

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2 hours ago, IkarusJohn said:

Good morning, Ian.

I’m not at all convinced by this talk of a new film M.  I get it that film is a growing niche, and Leica may want to capitalise on that.  So, what is the appeal?  I’d say it’s the M3 form factor, and rangefinder - it’s cool.  But the reality of the M-A/MP might be a barrier to new comers - no AF, tricky focusing to learn, manual exposure setting, no zoom and learning to load the film.

So, two questions - why do the M-A and MP not meet the demand? And what would this putative new camera do to M-A & MP sales?  I suspect Leica has a dwindling number of film camera technicians and if they’re making a new, cheaper camera, it will be significantly different, and more accessible than the existing cameras.  

This new camera will need to be cheaper to make (less hand made) and easier to use for new-comers.  First up would be to make film loading easier - fix the baseplate and hinge the rear door (and pressure plate) to the right hand side, making loading easier.  I’m sure there’s a lot more.  Keep the M mount?  Or fix the lens (I loved my Minox and used my brother’s Rollei 35T a lot). 

Whatever they do, if they do anything, it will be a different camera, and we might be looking at the end of the M-A and/or MP - they will become specialty cameras, saved for special issue.

Start from the Leica marketers saying “How can we make a low cost, entry-level manual film body that gets people hooked on buying M lenses”. The only things they need to keep are the M mount and the rangefinder. They will keep the shape for both practical and marketing reasons, but forget brass and heavy metal, forget the baseplate (unless that really is the cheapest design to load film), and say hello to whatever materials and designs will do the job cheaper. 

I could see it happening. I’m not saying it will, but it’s a credible scenario (as seen from my armchair). 

Edited by LocalHero1953
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2 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

Start from the Leica marketers saying “How can we make a low cost, entry-level manual film body that gets people hooked on buying M lenses”. The only things they need to keep are the M mount and the rangefinder. They will keep the shape for both practical and marketing reasons, but forget brass and heavy metal, forget the baseplate (unless that really is the cheapest design to load film), and say hello to whatever materials and designs will do the job cheaper. 

I could see it happening. I’m not saying it will, but it’s a credible scenario (as seen from my armchair). 

I keep posting that the next film M camera should be a composite body around a titanium frame. Like the MA/MP, there could be a meter less version and one with a M7 shutter. It would be easy to add a swing opening back and continue to have the same dimension of the current M bodies. There’s a lot of could’ve and should’ve in this guessing game but there have been some good ideas and how the members feel about the future of the film bodies.

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5 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

Start from the Leica marketers saying “How can we make a low cost, entry-level manual film body that gets people hooked on buying M lenses”

My own opinion is that Leica not longer thinks "the body is the gateway to lens sales" model works. Too many people can buy an M and load it up with more-than-adequate 7As and TTs and LLs and C/Vs. Or with used lenses by Leitz, Leica, or others.

I expect that is why the digital M prices have skyrocketed $2400/36% between 2017 (my plain M10s - $6595 each) and today's M bodies (all $8995: US prices, before local sales taxes). And that was before the current inflation spike, and the devaluation of the Euro.

The camera bodies don't actually produce as many lens sales as they did when Leica had the field to itself, so now the cameras have to pay their own way, up front.

...............

As to a film M, I think Leica (and owners) have been burned enough by electronics obsolescence (M6/M6ttl) that any new film camera will stick with basic clockwork-only operation like the M-A. No battery required, no framelines sliced and diced for a finder readout. A camera that really can function for a lifetime, regardless of which chip and CB suppliers quit making 35-year-old technology.

As to cheaper - well, what happened to the Voigtländer Bessas and Zeiss-Ikon? They were inexpensive, but they still died fairly rapidly in the marketplace.

Just a "Red Dot" effect? Maybe Leica can work out a deal with Cosina to re-open their production line for sub-assemblies, with final assembly of 4-5 modules in Wetzlar (shutter/film wind/rewind; RF/VF; main body/lens-mount; top/bottom plates; levers and buttons) to qualify for the "Made in Germany" label. Not sure Dr. K would want that; not sure Cosina would want that; not sure Portugal would want that (or that Cosina could reduce costs much below Portugal anyway). ;)

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10 hours ago, adan said:

As to a film M, I think Leica (and owners) have been burned enough by electronics obsolescence (M6/M6ttl) that any new film camera will stick with basic clockwork-only operation like the M-A. No battery required, no framelines sliced and diced for a finder readout. A camera that really can function for a lifetime, regardless of which chip and CB suppliers quit making 35-year-old technology.

Why would they need that though if they already have the M-A?  The camera that has skyrocketed on the used market is the M6 and M6 TTL.  Leica has noticed this I am sure.  

Edited by jsrockit
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53 minutes ago, Sunyforreal said:

A film Leica Q priced at about $3,699 would put it at about the same price delta as the MP compared to the M11.
 

I’d definitely be interested in a $3,699 film Leica Q

They couldn't correct the Q lens distortion on film, so there would be no cheating. That means the cost would be either 28 Lux ($7.8K USD) or Cron ($5.1K USD) cost plus the film body (6K USD). A film Q would be very expensive if they stuck with a high quality 28. 

Edited by hdmesa
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  • andybarton changed the title to New Leica [M6] Film Camera in October? [MERGED]
  • LUF Admin changed the title to New Leica M6 Film Camera

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