Are you looking for the best Leica M film cameras? It’s really a testament to how good Leicas are that they are still sought after even decades after they were released.

Hi my name is Sven the Leicaphile and this is the list of the best Leica M film cameras. Leica has a long history with film Ms and while it might seem like the newer ones are better, it is not exactly the case.

If you are looking for digital, check out the best Leica M cameras, for more info on the M line in general, click here.

5 Best Leica M film cameras

NameMeter?Get it here:
1. Leica MPYES Check Price
2. Leica M6YES Check Price
3. Leica M4NO Check Price
4. Leica M7YES Check Price
5. Leica M3NO Check Price

Now that we’ve seen the list of the best Leica M film cameras, let’s look at each and see what makes them great and what makes them fail.

1. Leica MP

The best Leica M film camera with a pricetag

Leica mp camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Nothing short of perfect
+ Light meter
+ Most frame lines covered
– Price

If you are looking for the best Leica M film camera, this one is, by far the best. Back about 50 years ago Leica came out with the MP, short for M Professional. But this one, also named MP is Mechanical Perfection.

Let’s give whomever came out with the naming a break. This camera is indeed mechanical perfection. It’s all mechanical except for the light meter, but it can shoot without any battery. So this could very well be a camera that will last a lifetime.

There’s plenty of framelines, 28/90mm & 35/135mm & 50/75 so every main focal lengths are covered in pairs. The only downside is, this is quite expensive for a film camera, considering you could get a digital M for that price. Sample images:

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2. Leica M6

The best Leica M film camera overall

leica m6 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ The classic
+ Readily available
+ Not too expensive
– None

If the MP is out of reach then the best Leica M film camera is the Leica M6. What’s there not to love? This is probably the most popular M film camera ever and for good reason. First there’s all of the framelines you could want in pairs: 28/90mm & 35/135mm & 50/75mm.

There’s quite a few available magnifications available too, the 0.85x is pretty nice to focus with. It does have a light meter so it takes a battery and doesn’t need it to shoot in case it dies. Since this is fully manual and mechanical, this will last pretty much a lifetime.

The price isn’t too expensive and since this is a pretty popular camera it is not too hard to find at all.

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3. Leica M4

The best Leica M film camera on a budget

Leica m4 p camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Even cheaper than M6
+ Only 28mm on M4-P
– No meters

If you want an M6 and want something even cheaper, consider the Leica M4, which many love and think is the best Leica M film camera, even above the M6. First things first this is only a fraction of the price of the M6 so if you are looking for something cheaper this might fit the bill.

This has no meters as this was the last one before metering came to the Leica M cameras. The original M4 has 35/135mm pair framelines & 50, 90mm single framelines. If you shoot a 28mm, the M4P might be the one you want and has pairs only 28/90mm & 35/135mm & 50/75mm.

All feature 0.72x magnification and are readily available. Image samples below:

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4. Leica M7

The black sheep is still wonderful

leica m7 camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ Beautiful
+ Auto mode
– Somewhat battery dependent
– More expensive than M6

Next up the best Leica M film cameras list: the M7. No this is is not a mistake while the Leica M7 came after the M6, the M6 is preferred as one of the best Leica M film cameras. There’s mostly one reason why: The battery. While all of the Leica Ms can work without any battery, this one is dependent on one.

If the battery dies the camera won’t work, you will be stuck choosing between 1/60 & 1/125 shutter speed. This makes it less durable in the grand scheme of things, if electronics fail the camera won’t work fully, making it less desirable in the eyes of many.

One of the reasons why this is kind of swept under the rug, is the price, it’s more expensive than the M6. On the flip side, this is more beginner friendly as there is an automatic mode. Simply put your shutter speed dial on A and let the camera do the rest.

It also features the main freelines you might want: 28/90mm & 35/135mm & 50/75. Image samples:

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5. Leica M3

The one that started it all

Leica M3 Camera
Reasons to buyCons
+ One of the cheapest
+ Most powerful magnification
+ Classic look
– No 28, 35 framelines
– No meter
– No quickload
– Chrome only

This is really what I like about Leica cameras: Their enduring power. Consider that this is the very first Leica M and it is on a list of the best Leica M film cameras more than half a century later. This is one of the cheapest film Ms you can find and it’s still a powerhouse.

Since this is the first, there’s a few things you should know as a lot of the improvements that newer Leicas have simply aren’t there. First, you probably guessed, no metering. Second and more importantly there’s a lack of 28 and 35mm framelines so if you shoot these wider angles you will need an external finder.

Lastly the loading is a bit slow as you will need to remove the spool first, load the film and then put it back. But the good thing about this is, it’s one of the cheapest film Ms you can get and has one of the most powerful magnification of Ms even to this day. This baby is the only one with 0.91x magnification! Image samples:

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Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this article about the best Leica M film cameras. The best one if the Leica MP if budget is not a problem, or the Leica M6 for a better price. The Leica M4 is a force to be reckoned with and the M7, while dependent on the battery has an automatic mode. If you simply want the cheapest one then the M3, it might lack wider angle framelines and metering but has one of most powerful magnifications you can get.

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