In this video we show you how to load film into a Leica M6. The process is the same for the Leica M4, M4-2, M4-P, M7, MP, and Leica M-A. It is also very similar for the Leica M5 but different in some small ways. You can likely figure out how to load a Leica M5 with this information as well.
The Leica M6 has an improved loading system over the earlier Leica M2 and Leica M3, and even more improved from the earlier Leica screw mount cameras. With the combination of a swing-away back plate and film take-up spool that does not need to be removed, loading the Leica M6 can easily be done in 20 seconds once you get proficient at it. Here are the official instructions on how to load a Leica M6.
1. Always start by making sure there is no film in the camera, by turning the rewind crank gently. Any resistance indicates film is in the camera. If there is film in the camera please watch the video above for rewinding and unloading instructions.
2. If there is no film in the camera begin by stroking the wind lever and pressing the release button. Now invert the camera, lift up the baseplate latch, remove the baseplate, and open the hinged / swing-away back.
3. Hold the film cartridge in the left hand and insert it partway into the empty chamber. Under ordinary conditions it does not matter if the film end extends through this three post assembly, but in extreme cold, dry weather the end might break off, and it it best to follow the illustration on the bottom of the open camera exactly.
4. Finally, push the film cartridge into the camera, press the leader making it level with the posts and replace the baseplate by hooking the end with the protruding tab over the external mounting post on the camera body. Only after replacing the baseplate, test for correct loading by gently testing the rewind crank, and slowly stroking the advance lever. Backwards turning of the rewind is proof of proper film transport. Wind on and fire twice to bring the frame counter to number 1.
Don’t worry about being to precise loading the Leica M6, and don’t waste time trying to align the leader perfectly. The inner wheel on the baseplate will fo this for you, and after a bit of practice you will find loading safe and simple.