A Photo Profile on Leica M6 Titanium-finish rangefinder camera models -MIR Image Library


Leica M6 Classic in Titanium-Finish (10412) w/matching Titanium-finish LEICA Summilux-M 1.4/35mm, 1992

Titanium specific gravity is approximately half that of brass, yet its hardness is almost the same as steel, while its corrosion resistance is greater than that of stainless steel. These unique properties with its excellent anti-corrosive metal characteristic seemingly make it an excellent choice for making camera body because theoretically it offers very durable shell that protects internal precise mechanisms against external shock and hard knocks. But due to its unique metal properties, they are also extremely difficult to shape into different forms. Further, it may also involves with extra cost in manufacturing which eventually may spike up the retail price of a camera, so, most manufacturers would rather opt for alternative such as cheaper aluminum alloy. Despite this, over the years, many camera manufacturers actually have been using Titanium metal for some of the top range camera models. The last two decades, new development and metal manufacturing techniques had enabled its cost to be lowered as well as new production methods that facilitates easier production. Today, we can even find some selective P&S as well as quiet a few midrange SLR camera models which offer Titanium body chassis. Original genuine Titanium metal has long lasting shinny properties after polishing. I guess most of the cameras that use Titanium as base metal for specific reasons such as marketing preferences usually preferred to apply a layer of coating, either original Titanium color or more commonly, black paint.

Worn off titanium finishing in a camera body Nikon F3/T logo in Titanium finishing

Some example of Titanium Bodied cameras:- Nikon F2/T, F2Hspeed; F3/T original/Black; Nikon FM2/T; OM 3Ti, OM4Ti, Pentax LX Titan etc. For P&S cameras: Contax T2 Titanium, Rollei SL35 Titan, Nikon 35Ti/28Ti etc.

After the exterior Titanium finish coating is worn off, it shows genuine Titanium in my 20 years + Nikon F3/T.

My Nikon F3/T logo in Titanium finishing
Personally, I have a strong favor over Titanium camera bodies as well as Titanium shutter models and actually had quite a few mixed models of various labels just for personal collection. So when Leica was announcing a Leica M6 Titanium back in 1997, equally I was excited and had mailed order a unit with a matching Titanium finish Summilux-M 1.4/35mm lens. Perhaps, slightly over-excited and should have studied more in detail before making such a rush decision... Later I have found out that the M6 Titan was just a Titanium coating applied to standard M6. Whatever it is, I still felt Leica AG had did quite a splendid job in enabling the M6 looks so perfect in its overall presentation.

<<<--- My 1983 Nikon F3/T w/MD4 is 25 years old now - camera is still working fine, except tha paint works on the motor drive as well as the corners of the Titanium body are started to show its age. I am still keeping it in my car for day to day needs - except I have added it with a digital compact. Probably this has boosted my confidence towards Titanium made hardwares.
For quite a long spell after realizing the fact, I had actually put it as a second body to my Nikon F3/T. Despite over a long period of 6-7 years during the initial stage where under the intense hot tropical heat under my car seat, seemingly the M6/Ti was still survived and it is still operates normally. I had not even given the camera CLA once since my purchase - until now. Actually, it wasn't not so lucky with the Titan-finish Summilux-M 1.4/35mm, the front lens data ring that supposedly holds the exposed front lens element dropped off during a seassion in the wilderness. I couldn't recovered and the local distributor was charging for USD700-00 just to replace the thin ring. I was fuming mad... as this was not my fault where indirectly it has affected my initial sentiment where I have been keeping the lens aside unsed since then. Sick, I know.

An original Leica M6 Titanium Finish rangefinder camera model in original box
Anyway, I will set aside personal issue as it may affect sentiment in preparing a site. The M6 Titanium model was sold individually and the titanium finish lenses were offered as optional. This partly explained why some of the M6 Titan was sold as simple unit and without the lens.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

These two photos of the M6 titanium has very close color replication with the original camera. One of the unusual feature of this model is the choice of the Ostrich/Emu leather skin for its exterior body leatherette. Some Leica fans were a little defensive over standard leatherette used in traditional M6. But Personally, this selection was quite unique in its own sense. Further, I can use 10+years to tell you the Ostrich skin leatherette really LASTS and the more normal course of fiction it encounters, it actually shines like a top grade Italian shoe leather. If one doesn't like it, perhaps other than a little too hardcore in traditional old values, one didn't actually take into account of its practicality aspect. In short, I have no problem with this adotion of material choice for the M6 Titanium-finish Model. Anyway, this can be a very personal preference, I don't know how it would look like if ever it has conventional leatherette covering. Come to think of it, such decision on reversal of decision might even lose a little uniqueness for this camera. The Ostrich skin leather which was first used in the M6 Ti was followed by a few other followed-up M6 variants and/or special edition bodies, some examples are the Leica M6 Year of the Rooster and Leica LHSA Special Anniversay Edition 1968~1993 Kit etc.

Rear, film back section of a Leica M6 titanium body finishing

Top plate view of a Leica M6/T with titanium finishing

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A visual profile of Leica original M6 Titanium Classic rangefinder body

Leica M6/T Classic (1992~1998): - Page One | Page Two |
LEICA M6G Titan f/Foto Ganz, Zürich, 1992 |
Page Three; Leica M6 TTL 0.72x Titanium-Finish, 2001

Main Index Page - Leica M6-series models / Main Index Page - Leica-M Series Rangefinder camera Models

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Model(s) | Leica M6 TTL Model(s)
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) by Niels H. S. Nielsen; Leica M6 TTL 3.6 Mb PDF) by Joe Chan

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.