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Leica M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint TTL
The special retro edition M6 Black Paint TTL is based on the .72 M6 TTL body. 2000 were made for the new Millennium, released in January 2000. Note the regular serial number on the top plate, and the special serial number 0422/2000 on the accessory shoe in the top pic. Quite simply, is it a beautiful camera which is sure to quickly sell out. Noteworthy features include:
The return of a black paint M finish. This is a really big deal to many long term Leica owners like myself, who have always disliked the black chrome finish. The top plate is brass, instead of zinc like the standard M6.
The return of the Leica Script top plate engraving. Again, this is a very big thing to many long term Leica lovers who loathe the non-engraved top plates of the standard M6.
Retro M3 style features: rewind knob complete with red index marks, all metal advance lever, black paint strap lugs, no rubber strap inserts, engraved open/close marking on baseplate
Thankfully M6 type film loading was retained, not M3 style film loading.
The retro style current production 50/2.8 Collapsible Elmar looks right at home here, but is not special issue. Baseplate is shown with adhesive protective covering.
One of the biggest questions before the camera arrived was "How Good is the Finish?" After all, it has been decades since Leica produced a black paint camera. The new black finish is bit shinier than the old, but this probably makes little difference one way or the other. To my eyes it's an excellent and well done finish, but not quite up to the standards of the old M. Toughness and durability may well be a different matter. I have no info about the paint used, but hopefully modern improvements have made it much tougher than the older finishes, which were not tough at all. Back to the paint's surface shine, or patina. If you look very closely as light is reflected off the paint surface, from some angles you can occasionally see faint marks below the paint. The question is whether this is from a thin paint job, or machining marks on the brass top, or both. If anyone cares to lend me their M6 Black Paint and their black paint M4, I will scratch both of them in the name of curiosity to measure the paint thickness, and get to the bottom of it.
The classic M3 style closing lock reborn. The extra 2 mm height of the TTL bodies to accommodate flash circuitry results in noticeably squarer lines on the top plate compared to previous M's. Shutter dials of all TTL M6's are much larger and easier to turn than the non-TTL, and rotate in the opposite direction of earlier M's. This allows the TTL shutter dial movement to correspond to direction of the plus or minus finder LEDs, which in turn correspond to the direction of the lens f/stops.
The M6 TTL Millennium comes in a special red velvet lined box, with a special "M6 TTL Black Paint" brochure, and a certificate of authenticity signed by Hanns-Peter Cohn and Burkard Kiesel. It is often referred to as the M6 Millennium, though the official title is "M6 TTL Black Paint" judging from the brochure.
Unlike many Leica commemoratives of questionable heritage, this camera is about something worth commemorating -- looking forward to the new Millennium while revering Leica heritage. In my opinion, the M6 Millennium is sure to be one of the important Leica collectibles in the years to come.
Revised: November 06, 2004 . Copyright © 2000 Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved. This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.