World’s most beautiful Leica M6 Part II {does it takes pictures?}

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M6 Dragon Y2000 Black Paint

Read Part 1 here

We have to ask ourselves whenever we try to justify our purchases. Especially one that comes from the red-dot company (cough*). The left brain begets us to explain, to sanitise our conscience through logic. The big question is “Why did you buy this camera, will you even use it?”. There is a thin line between a gear head, a collector and an actual enthusiast user that appreciates using the tool.


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Leica M6 dragon with 35mm f2 Biogon

When i bought the Dragon M6 limited edition, i was clearly stunned by its built and quality. I even blogged about this earlier . It has been weeks since i had the camera. All the early shouting and self afflicted propaganda to keep buyer’s remorse have subsided. I couldn’t allow myself to keep the camera in the box to just appreciate its aesthetic values, my views of collectors are pretty low in respect and using that same measurement on myself would make me a complete hypocrite.

A beautiful tool such as the Dragon M6 have to prove its worth and a camera is useless if it isn’t used to create images. So i took it out for a whole day shoot when my model friend and internet idol Stephy Yi Wen told me that she would be going to Korea for studies. I got myself some rolls of Fuji Superia 200 and Fuji Venus 800. I knew that i would be using the 35mm Zeiss Biogon wide open but in a room with only dimly available natural light coming in, the ISO 800 film would be handy.


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The Dragon 2000

If you happened to be travelling to South East Asia and passing by Malaysia, do get your films replenish and develop in Bang Bang Geng in Publika. With the pathetic level of Malaysian currency today, you could get a Superia 200 for USD 4 and scanning with development for USD 4.5.

Now back to shooting session. I noticed that there are indeed some improvement that M7 does have over even this Dragon M6. One of them being the iso dials you see behind the body, the M7’s iso dial is clearly easier to use and felt more robust. The other is the shutter dials. The Dragon’s shutter dial are more polished and looks great but turning the knob at each stop felt better on the M7. The M7 is after all a much newer camera.


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Immaculate finishing

The rewind knob is used slightly differently than how i imagined it would be. The Dragon’s knob needs to be lifted up while the 2 dots remains submerged to do the rewinding. I found myself winding for 5 minutes and getting nowhere initially before i realized that the knob needs to be lifted.

There are several aspect of the camera that made it a very inspiration tool for use. First, the body is slightly lighter than the M7, i would say almost nobody would buy an M7 or M6 without using it on a holster or case. The Dragon just felt perfect while the M7 felt a bit on the heavier side. This is of course a purely personal evaluation. The other advantage is that the Dragon only uses 1 battery as opposed to 2 on the M7, the mechanism of replacing the battery on the M6 is definitely built better than the M7s.  The 0.85 finder, delicious.

Enough about the camera, how did it do, i will leave some images here for you own evaluation.

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beautiful stephy. M6 dragon. venus 800


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Enlightenment. M6 Dragon, venus 800.


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Alluring. M6 Dragon, venus 800.


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Stephy @ Sekeping Jugra. M6 Dragon. Superia 200


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“There”. M6 Dragon. Superia 200.

Could i have gotten better or similar results from the Leica M7? Of course i could, don’t be silly :-). The Dragon M6 might be the most beautiful Leica M6 that warrants it as a collector item but it should by all means be used. The 0.85 works really well with the 35mm frame lines. What was you weekend shoot, did you try film? Do share some of your thoughts here.

The most beautiful Leica M6, 2000 Dragon {exhibit}

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The year was 2000. The millennium, a year that promised great changes and greeted by chaotic predictions of a technology Y2k bug.

That year Leica at the suggestion of Schmidt HK decided to celebrate this amazing lunar year 2000 with a special edition of M6, the Dragon. The Chinese have long followed a 12 month calendar based on creatures. On that year 2000, it’s the year of the Dragon.

The Dragon have unique position in the hearts of Chinese and also in both biblical representation as well as western folklore. Bruce lee, for example is known as the little dragon and his epic movie that brought the pride of Chinese to the big screen was the movie “Enter the Dragon”.

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Leica’s Limited Edition

The limited edition would be released in a small run of 500 units of Leica M6. Each camera would bear a calligraphy character of the Chinese word for Dragon and Year 2000. I am not sure if Leica is aware of how rare is the combination of a millennium year that falls exactly on the Dragon.

The sales was just average with folks complaining about the origin of the idea being founded by Schmidt instead of Leica (though Leica has always been known to accept great ideas be it marketing or innovation and more importantly, it’s all produced by Leica).

One of the reason for the lacklustre sale was because the Limited Edition was seen to be made and targeted at China . It seems that the association of a luxury item and brand like Leica and China just isn’t glamorous. That was China in year 2000, which is also ironically known as “the sleeping dragon”.

China today is an awaken Dragon and it’s very hard to find these gems around . This Leica M6 became a milestone in the millennium year that saw the Dragon awakening and the China we know today .

When I first got this unit I was sceptical it would exceed my leica M7 in craftsmanship or the inspirational feel of holding one. I could not be more wrong . Leica chose to put the 0.85 finder in this Dragon, black paint and the M3 rewind knob.

M3 styled knob

The knob itself is a surprise to me when the body is placed into a beautiful leather holster, the fact that the knob isn’t protruding diagonally makes it so much easier to dress it up. I found that I could use a Leica M 240 holster or a M9 and it would just flush in beautifully.

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Black paint

The black paint is just so beautiful and the single stroke lever is so raw and like a piece of cut out metal.

This edition totally changed my mind on the craftsmanship of Leica films’ bodies limited editons. While the titanium version was cringe worthy and I sold that off quickly, this M6 dragon is an entirely new level of beauty as a tool.

If you could get find a used or new unit of this gem, use it . Forget about making it as a collector item unless you have two. It’s total injustice not to use this beautiful M6, or my opinion the most beautiful M6 so far.

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Read Part II here, weeks after owning and using the Dragon M6.