Leica M6 TTL - brass top plate

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by kommode_lefse, May 25, 2012.

  1. Can someone please confirm whether or not the M6 TTL uses a brass top plate? From what I've understood, they switched from zink to
    brass from serial 25xxxxx and onwards... Even though most where still sold in black chrome (not painted, like the limited versions).

    Yes, I know this is very important.

  2. According to Leica's literature, the M6 ttl has a zinc top plate of 0.8mm
    and a brass baseplate of 0.8mm
    Where do you find reference to the switch in materials?
  3. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc (from 3 to 45%). Zinc as such is too brittle for many manufacturing processes, but as Prestal, (78% zinc and 22% aluminium), it is almost as strong as steel but is as malleable as plastic. Most zinc, however, is in the form of alloys of the metal, with small amounts of copper, aluminium and/or magnesium. Physical metallurgy is an involved subject and small differences in either of these alloy compositions confer different properties to the cast and/or stamped and machined part.
    Speaking of the top plates and bottom plates of cameras as zinc or even as brass (a wide range of copper-zinc alloys with sometimes other doped elements) is unimportant, unless we know what qualities are intended/desired.
    stephen_prouty likes this.
  4. ...I'm with Colin on this one - I just rifled through my Leica literature and in the 2002 edition (the very tail end of production for the M6 TTL), the M6 TTL camera body is characterised as thus:
    • "Cover 0.8mm diecast zinc, base cover 0.8mm brass."
    So, for the Leica M6 TTL, top plate zinc, bottom plate brass.
    Interestingly, the same configuration applies to the R8 and R6.2 from the same period. For some reason, I erroneously assumed the superlative R6.2's top plate was brass. All beautiful functional tools, nevertheless.
  5. From: http://nemeng.com/leica/002ba.shtml
    A few of the last M6 TTLs were made with the same brass top-plate as those used on the M7. Here's a copy of Leica's official announcement in late 2002:
    Information No.: 61/2002
    An alle Vertretungen / To all agencies

    "Die letzten 999 M6" / The last 999 M6
    Jean-Jacques Viau / Product Manager Business Unit Systems /
    Tel. # 418 / Fax # 360 /

    Dear colleagues,

    We now would like to make things official: from the end of December [2002] on, we will stop delivering the LEICA M6 TTL! From January 2003, 1st on, the products with the order number 10436, 10466, 10474 and 10475 will not be available anymore. We will than be able to concentrate the capacity that we have on the very successful M7 cameras in order to best serve the orders that we have..

    We would like to pay homage to the M6 myth by making a special series of the very last M6, which will leave Solms." Die letzten 999 M6" is a limited series of 999 M6 TTL bearing a special print "LEICA M6 1984 - 2002". The cameras will have a special serial number of the form 001/999. They will be delivered in a luxury wooden box with a black silk inlay and packaged in the new silver cardboard packaging. Each camera will come with a hand-signed certificate of both Mr. Cohn and Mr. Coenen.

    The following version are available:
    - 10542 M6 TTL "Die letzten 999 M6" black 0,58
    - 10543 M6 TTL "Die letzten 999 M6" chrome 0,58
    - 10544 M6 TTL "Die letzten 999 M6" black 0,85
    - 10545 M6 TTL "Die letzten 999 M6" chrome 0,85​
    A google search will reveal that they are by no means the ONLY ones made with brass top plates - but I haven't found a reference as to when the use of brass top plates started.
  6. From http://www.cameraquest.com/m62000.htm - apparently the 2000 Leica M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint bodies also have a top brass plate
  7. BTW, those Leica M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint bodies use the Serial No range 2500001 to 2502000; it is very doubtful that all the following Leica M6 TTL had brass tops since that would constitute more than half of the total M6 TTL production.
  8. Thanks for all the replies...
    The reason I ask is that I have a 275xxxx myself. And based on pictures from lavidaleica.com (attached in this message) mine looks more like the M7 top plate. It's got sharper corners than the M6 TTL press photo. Especially the area around the rewind lever.
    BTW; it came in a plastic box. What do you reckon?
    My Leica M6 TTL
    My Leica M6 TTL upper right 'sharp' corner
  9. The last batch (before the very last 999) in 2001 was 5000 cameras from 2755001 to 2760000; there are some who claim the last 3000 had a brass top; I have not been able to verify that information.
    There are several ways you can find out for sure for your camera:
    (a) take the top off and look at the inside
    (b) use the camera heavily and wait until brassing starts to show
    (c) take some sandpaper and accelerate the brassing time frame ;-(
    mark_kronquist likes this.
  10. Dieter,
    I guess the only way to find out for certain then is to take the top off. Not having the tools for that readily available, I wonder if someone knows how to confirm CNC machined brass from the outside?
    Also, it would be nice if someone could take a picture of the upper right corner of an early M6 TTL or an M6 classic for a comparison.
    Besides, I believe it would take forever for black chrome to show "brassing". Black chrome brass cameras have a nickel plating underneath the chrome.
  11. Wow, I cannot hide my amazement at this fetish for inconsequential construction details. I wonder if any of these otherwise fine cameras actually see any film and use.
  12. Arthur,
    You tell me. Seeing as you have over 6000 posts on this forum, mostly focusing on irrelevant technical details - and indeed did respond to this post with an absurd comment about the properties of different pot metals. You're in the same boat as everyone else, son.
  13. "Seeing as you have over 6000 posts on this forum, mostly focusing on irrelevant technical details."​
    Kommode, that may be the result of your rigorous analysis, but in none of those 6000 attempts to exchange useful photographic information with other members did I see even one of your comments on my contributions or receipt of information from others. Except here of course, where I hinted at the fact that it is silly for non metallurgical or non mechanical engineers to engage in a discussion that relates to the merits of brass versus zinc alloy construction. Perhaps in some future post we will have the benefits of your insight into the comparative chemistry of optical glass compositions?
    My own qualifications, apart from art and photography, are as a metallurgical engineer. I did the usual courses in physical metallurgy during my bachelor engineering degree before completing a PhD at Imperial College, London, in high temperature chemistry and metallurgy. I think that allows me to offer some information that you designate (with unknown authority) as an "absurd comment about "pot" metals".
  14. Hey, Kommode,
    as you address everybody as son, I reckon you are an elder. So, *IF* you were into using (your) cameras (for decades), you should know that the top plates are not where the biggest impacts happen. So what's your real worry?
    Fact one:
    The oh-so potty zinc tops of thousands of M6s (non-TTL) have been used by an equal number of world-travelling journalists - for a decades, usually. Leica simply did not deem it necessary to produce a stronger top plate: probably because they just did not have to supply more than a handfull of replacement top plates in all those years.
    Almost-fact two:
    I guess I have found/hit/had repaired almost all of the Ms structural weak points: front windows breaking on M2s and M4s, exposed rewind mechanism (M4/6/7), brittle alloy of the flash shoe (M7). A top plate, however, was not amongst them. I 'tried' several times and it always was something else giving away before the top plate even got dented. It always was a matter of the G-forces working the innards and never a crushing effect.
    Fact three for those who are into male jewellery (and still reading):
    My two black chrome M7s have become 'less-than-black' overall and some greyish metal is shining through at the corners/edges - after 9 years of rather intensive use. Extremely ugly. Must have missed *dozens* of great flings because of my non-brassy cameras.
    Now, ... what was your question again?
  15. Hey, PC B,

    I don't have any real worries. I just happen to know that brass top cameras have a higher resale value.
    Partly because they cost more to make, but also because they will not suffer from zinc-rot; which is a pain. Anyway, I find
    it amusing enough to ask, and thanks for your insight.

    As for actually using cameras:
    This argument always comes up in a non-photographic debate. I find it hilarious that people buying into a luxury brand
    camera feel the need to indirectly tell people they are righteous users, because they only care about the essence of
    photography, not the camera. Go get a cheap Pentax for that. Accusing others of not taking pictures is not something one
    can prove, nor is it relevant to the question at hand.
  16. Shoot! I did not realize that this was a sales business question. Photo.net is deteriorating into the photo businessman's Google!
  17. I just dig brass, the way it patinas. Not afraid to say it!

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