Leica M6 "Ein Stuck" 996 units of these were made in 1996 to celebrate Leica entering the public stock exchange. The body is covered with tiny repetitive small embossed LEICA logos. This was the first M-model that started to offer with a non-natural leatherette. Another more prominent feature is an engraving of a LEICA share certificate in denomination of DM500 with indicative S/N. 0000 at the top plate.
50 years of M evolution has concentrated on development, rather than change for its own sake.So M's are not burdened with over-complication. There are no gadgets. No unnecessary electronic trickery. Nothing to confound the act of photography. Just the most evolved optical performance. And utter mechanical reliability.
The freedom to capture a decisive moment
Leica M cameras are legendary: the M stands for Messsucher, German for rangefinder, and it was Leica that pioneered this unmistakable, individual kind of photography. A Leica M gives the photographer the freedom to create pictures that transform moments into a living story.
We discovered one such story on Cuba, and we captured it with the newest member of the M family: the digital M9.
Our pictures show of the passion of a young up-and-coming Cuban boxer and his love of a sport that is loved by an entire nation. The images also bear witness to the passion for ambitious, creative photography which the entire Leica M System stands for.
Closer to the key moment.
The rangefinder system captures the natural vitality of a situation. The photographer is part of the action and frames his subject - a scene, a mood, a moment - through the rangefinder without losing view of what's happening outside the viewfinder frame. He can therefore anticipate the decisive moment and release the shutter at exactly the right time - typical of the M. Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt said: "With an SLR you compose the picture in the camera. With the Leica rangefinder you have to see the picture, recognize it and then frame it." Leica M images convey an effortless, authentic impression, because they are composed with foresight and captured in a fraction of a second. The photographer even sees his subject during the exposure, and even in the most difficult available light situations, the bright, high-contrast viewfinder allows extremely fast and exact focusing. Together with the short shutter delay, the rangefinder principle makes Leica M cameras the fastest in the world.
Compact, discreet, concentrated.
No other professional camera is as compact as a Leica M. As a mirror housing is not required, the M8, for example, is less than 37 mm front-to-back. The M lenses also benefit from the short distance to the image plane, delivering an excellent performance with amazingly small weights and dimensions. Being so exceptionally compact, M cameras and lenses are ideal for travel and reportage photography. Mirror vibrations and the resulting blurred images are not an issue for M photographers. The inconspicuous, clear-cut design and barely audible shutter release are another reason for the unique charisma of M photography. Again and again, photographers working with the M in the world's conflict zones report that they do not stick out as journalists and are therefore able to take pictures that would not be possible with other cameras. Portraits look more relaxed, as the camera does not cover the photographer's face, and he can therefore maintain eye contact with his model. This discretion is achieved by concentrating on photographically relevant aspects. The new Leica M9 follows in this tradition in order to transport the core values of M photography into the digital world.
The best lenses for the best pictures.
The designers of the ultra compact Leica M lenses pursued one single aim - to enable top-quality analog or digital photos. Their unsurpassed performance stems from Leica engineers' principle of focusing their efforts and innovation power on finding a clear, straightforward optical solution. A solution that often requires few optical elements and therefore puts as few obstacles in the way of the light as possible. This natural design, realized with high-quality glass types and perfect craftsmanship, produces exposures of an unmistakable character. These photographs not only communicate the quality of criteria such as contrast and resolution, but always also structure, a rich tonal range and natural expression, even in difficult light conditions.
But that's not all. The owner of a Leica lens has the pleasure of play-free, beautifully smooth focusing, a quality which is checked on every single lens by the experienced hands of optical and precision mechanic master craftsmen. Unlike industrially mass produced optics, every single Leica lens is a top quality product the photographer really can rely on.
Over 50 years of compatibility.
In the fifties, Leica engineers demonstrated far-sightedness by creating a timeless standard - the Leica M bayonet mount. This has ensured system compatibility right up to today's digital M9. Thanks to the adherence to this standard, nearly all M-lenses can be used with the digital Leica. However, system compatibility does not mean just preserving the status quo, but moving forward. With the new 6-bit coding, the Leica M9 recognizes which lens is mounted and uses this information for further processing. Compatibility is not confined to the bayonet mount either - it equally applies to the wide range of accessories. Image quality, future compatibility and safe archiving of the digital data were further primary concerns in the choice of the digital image formats JPEG and DNG (raw data format) for the M9. More than ever, the decision in favor of the M system is a decision in favor of lasting values.
Few things last a lifetime. A Leica M lasts longer.
Heat or cold, rain or dust - which photographer is put off by adverse conditions when in search of the perfect picture? The M needs to be hard-wearing, reliable and robust enough to survive the toughest situations. The designers of an M camera always give durability top priority. That's why only the best materials are used for the camera housing: brass for the cap and base and a highly stable metal alloy for the body. The digital components are carefully selected, too, to make sure they stand the test of practical wear and tear. Meticulous manufacture and careful assembly guarantee decades of reliable functioning to give the photographer as many years of enjoyment with his Leica M as possible. And that means a lifetime. And often longer.