They don’t make them like they used to

I get nostalgic for old film cameras.

I get nostalgic for old film cameras.

Like this Leica M6 TTL in chrome. It sat in the second hand glass case at my dealer when I was visiting yesterday.

After being liberated, on my bike's pillion seat.

After being liberated, on my bike’s pillion seat.

Cosmetically, it shows no sign of it’s former life. Luscious chrome, unmarked leather covering, barely a sign of use.

The M6 TTL has a bigger shutter speed dial than the M6. And TTL for flash.

The M6 TTL has a bigger shutter speed dial than the M6. And TTL for flash.

That comes in handy if you’ve got a filter on your lens and forget to adjust the flashes’ auto exposure accordingly. But the distinguishing feature on this camera body is that it has a 0.85 magnification viewfinder. You can keep both eyes open while photographing and see the frame lines floating in space in front of you. That is, I can fuse both images, your mileage may vary. The higher magnification (most film Leicas have 0.72 finders) improves focus accuracy.
On the other hand, the widest frame lines this finder can display are for a 35 mm lens. The widest lens I use with the built-in finder on a rangefinder camera is 35 mm, so, no disadvantage.

I do see the film transport lever on a M6 TTL (and on the M6) as an disadvantage. It looks ugly and the two-part design feels loose and plasticy. I much prefer the M3 style single-piece lever.

Or you can just not touch it.

Or you can just not touch it.

Use a Leicavit instead to transport the film and cock the shutter! I’ll have to look into my Museum Leica coffee table book, but if I remember rightly, this mode of film transport came before the rapid wind lever on the top plate. It is a replacement bottom plate with a fold-out pin that you pull to the left with your ring and pinky fingers. Two frames a second are doable this way and you don’t have to take the camera from the eye. Genius! Of course, camera history followed through with the worse solution.

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One Response to “They don’t make them like they used to”

  1. Amateurs imitate, Pros copy | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] I think it will also work with the first Leica camera that did TTL, the eponymically named M6 TTL. I’ve yet to try that last one, but I’m confident. I read somewhere on this here […]

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