M6 Titanium durability?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david_craig|2, May 2, 2003.

  1. How durable/scratch resistant is the Titanium finish on the first
    series M6 bodies/lenses? I have been told that it can be removed
    with a pencil eraser? Blimey!
  2. More or less that is true. I have seen a scratched M6 titatium no more than a few days ago. It was terrific: to pay 500 Euros more on a used and scratched M6 just because titanium!
  3. My G2 is supposed to be titanium as well, but has a really nice big scratch on the back door........ go figure.
  4. Owners of the PowerBook G4 Titanium, which was advertized for its rugged, space-age Ti shell, began complaining almost immediately about how easily the titanium could be scratched. My Ti G4 has very few marks after two years but I really, really baby it. Moral don't get sold on the idea of Titanium = rugged. It's just another marketing scheme.
  5. Titanium is 1/2 the weight of steel and twice as strong; but, it will still scratch.
  6. What marketing twonk comes up with all these crazy finishes?

    Black paint, lacquer, snake, titanium, gold etc..

    I can sort of understand the logic behind a camera that is made from titanium for strength and resilience and if the camera ONLY comes in that material (Contax T3 for example) then there is no choice.

    But given a choice then why not go for the normal tried and tested 'cooking' version?

    The reason your Titanium will rub off with a pencil eraser is that it was never meant to be used. It was meant to be put in a glass case, resting elegantly in a satin lined presentation box (coffin) alongside your Lemur skin and depleted uranium M6 'Special' and your Emerald and Platignum Hassy and Urushi(?) Rollei 35SE
  7. The M6 Titanium has a plated surface--the shell is not milled from a block of Ti. I've always heard it has the best wear characteristics of any M. There are several grades of titanium available commercially. CP, or commericially pure, is the softest and most easily formed and machined, (and has the lowest fatigue life). I would suspect that the ibook case is fabricated from CP. 3/2.5, (3% Aluminum, 2.5% Vanadium was one of the first alloys available, and revolutionized the applications of titanium in the aerospace energy because of the increased fatigue life. 6/4 is the hardest of the three, has the greatest fatigue life, almost infinite if proper cleaning and welding techniques are followed. 6/4 is pretty scratch resistant, but the Ti alloys "work harden", meaning as you machine them, any area that has been touched with a cutter or bit, becomes so hard, that if a second pass is required, you might as well start over. What is wonderful about solid titanium, like stainless, is that a scratch can be buffed out using fine sandpaper or polishing compound, and there is no danger of wearing through a thin plating. The Hexar RF has top and bottom plates made of stamped Ti. As they are relatively thin in height, this application is an excellent use of the metal. The deeper top plate of the Leica M would make a Ti stamping difficult, and Leica is now machining the brass top plates for the MP.
  8. I'm confused. Here are people complaining because they spent an extra $500 on an M6 and the finish comes off, while others pay $500 extra for an M6 *because* the finish comes off.
  9. So am I - if the finish is as poor as suggested I'm surprised that Leitz didn't withdraw it - never mind issue a second series of Titanium cameras! But thanks to everyone for their comments.
  10. Although the inner workings of a titanium M6 is the same as all other
    M6's, the top plate is made of brass instead of zinc. The titanium
    finish is obtained not by plating but by the actual incorporation of
    titanium into the brass to the depth of several microns. Given that
    information, the titanium finish is vulnerable to dings and scratches
    but, in my experience, more resistant to bright marks. I have a ti M6
    which has been in service for nearly 10 years. It has minute dings
    and it has bright marks--but you really have to look closely, all the
    while, moving the surface relative to the light source, to find the
    marks. They are inapparent and difficult to see.
  11. Almost everone is way off the mark here, the M6 Titanium, has a brass top plate, that is coated with Titanium Nitrite (TiN). All of the other metal surface are also coated with TiN.
    Titanium Nitrite is probable one of the best wearing surfaces known to man, and is widely used in the aerospace industry on high wear surfaces.

    You will also see TiN at your local hardware store on various cutting tools, again because of it's exceptional wear properties.

    The fact that someone at Leica did some homework on the this finish, and convinced marketing that it was a good idea, has been negated by people who think that it is another collector's piece.

    Yes, the finish will dent (it is only brass underneath) however, anyone who thinks that it is just Titanium and it doesn't wear very well, is simply misinformed.
  12. I agree with you David. Apart from the "look" factor, Leica's M titanium is the most practical and durable finish compared with their "black paint", "black chrome" or just chrome.
  13. I own an M6 Titanium classic. I've used it regulary for two years and I'm not its first owner. To me, its finish looks brand new and shows no sign of any scratches or rub marks. The titanium is not painted on and I seriously doubt any of the finish would come off with an eraser, anymore than it does when I rub off fingerprints, rainwater, or anything else that might spill on it. I find the titanium finish to be the most durable and aesthetically pleasing of any I've seen or owned.

    If you're looking for someone to agree that the titanium finish is just an excuse to charge more, but adds nothing to the durability of the camera, don't ask someone who owns a titanium M6. I love mine.
  14. Again, many many thanks to all of you for your very helpful comments -I was beginning to think that I had be hoodwinked into buying a 'pup'!

    If anyone can point me to a more detailed description of the TiN coating process used by Leica I would be very interested to read it.
  15. I heard that its not a plating process, but rather applied on the surface like spray-painting.
  16. This I trust this will put to rest once and for all the question as to
    how Leica applies titanium to it's various metal surfaces. The
    bulk of the comments above are questionable, i.e. it can be
    rubbed off with an eraser is highly suspect, unless the eraser
    has powdered diamond filings as it's main material, which
    would sure play havoc when used to erase some writing on a
    piece of paper, which it was designed to do. Anyone who takes
    an eraser to a 2500. Camera body to begin with should probably
    seek a twelve step program to over come the urge to destroy
    expensive items...

    The titanium coating process indeed starts with brass
    components, it is then nickel-plated and bombarded with
    titanium ions using "sputtering," a high tech vacuum process.
    This results in an extremely hard, even and dull-bright
    champagne colored titanium surfaces, which should prove to be
    a far more durable finish then the black chrome or black lacquer
    surfaces which predominate the market place.

    For those of you who for whatever reason seek pleasure in
    dispensing erroneous information to make others feel they were
    cheated at the cash register for purchasing the titanium version
    of the M6, it's time to move on to claim that the new MP is being
    made from old M3 parts that Leica had laying around from the
    fifties, which should keep you busy till the next Leica appears…

    In the mean time, consider taking your plastic Japanese
    camera's and loading some film in them and actually make
    some images, just as serious Leica users have been doing for
    the last 75+ years, with a camera that has it's roots in the first
    quarter of the last century, and has been used by serious
    practitioners of the art because of it's solid construction which
    inspires confidence and a sense of pride of ownership, whether
    in your hand or under glass, Leica's prove that form follows
    function and is at home in the field or as an objet d'art.

    Why do I use M Leica's, that's simple, it's unobtrusive, fast
    handling and when you push the shutter release it records the
    image in about 9MS, not 60 to 250MS as most SLR's do. Then
    thrown in for good measure are some of the best lenses in the
    world which attach to it. Granted it's not cheap, but if you really
    want one on a budget, eBay or Photo.net offer used Leica's at
    half the new prices. Granted there of little use for photog's
    shooting sports or other fast action, but for those of us who have
    need of it's unique capabilities, nothing else will do... Then that's
    just my humble opinion...
    allancobb likes this.
  17. Well said Ron.
  18. Titanium camera is not scratch proof

    I have a silver color Contax T, it has clear scratch
  19. That's "nitride," a substance harder than carborundum. Pencil erasers contain an abrasive, such as pumice (volcanic glass), but TIN should be harder. TIN coatings are very thin, and its resistance to scratches will depend on the hardness of the substrate.
    Depending on the model, the shutter lag of a Leica M is on the order of 12 msec. A Sony A7 has a lag of about 20 msec, and a DSLR ranges from about 25 msec to 60 msec.

    Some cameras have a noticeable break point in the shutter release, but Leica M (including digital in the "soft" mode), and Nikons from the F3 onward, are very smooth. The release occurs before the button reaches the end of its travel. A digital M defaults to a two-stage release, shortened to one stage in the "soft" mode. It also defaults to instant rewind of the shutter, but that is delayed in the "quiet" mode until you actually release the button.
  20. I have red somewhere that Leica has indeed made M film-camera(s) from Titanium for some very rich client (I believe somewhere from the Gulf region of the Middle East). Titanium was harder to work with than brass and Aluminum and it required special tooling. Aside from the body, lenses were also made out of Titanium for this customer. All in all, one of a kind, kind of deal. I wonder how much it cost...

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