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The Black Paint, Born to be Worn Out


This is an emotional connection even dealing with mechanic things, that many Leica enthusiasts still missing the black paint beauty, which disappeared in production line with Leica M4 Black Paint (1968 - 1971).

In Jan 2000, Leica M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint was released to the market, and it was a great success. It is a retro edition of black paint M6, carrying M3 style film advance lever, and rewind knot. But, it is not the end of the story.

In 2000, the same year, Leica M6 TTL LHSA was produced, as per request of Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA).

The Beautiful Leica

Leica M6 TTL LHSA has something special as comparing to a normal M6 or M6TTL :

  • a black paint body
  • top engrave of Leica script
  • black Leica roundel
  • LHSA logo, and Special Edition engrave at the back
To many Leica enthusiasts, it maybe the most beautiful Leica M body ever produced.

To me, M6, M6 TTL, and even M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint with red Leica roundel, which is not low profile at all. Leica M6 TTL LHSA with a totally black colour theme, it is definitely low profile. This is not only a beauty factor, but a design developed with the shooters' mind. In contrast, since long ago, some reporters or photojournalists used adhersive tape to cover the red Leica roundel, to make themselves less 'visible', in order ease their job in documentary or street photography.

Under the black paint body, as times goes by, usage of the camera body will make itself worn out, and brassing effect will show up, which is kind of beauty and character in the eyes of many Leica anthusiasts since the old days. Such effect can not be achieved with a black chrome body, which turns ugly, instead of beautiful, after being worn out.

I find this design statement very interesting. Many Leica collectors collect Leica camera and lens, well untouched, and locked in showcase. It will never get that beautiful brassing effect on this Leica M6 TTL LHSA.

The Usable Leica

Function-wise, it simply carries all control like M6 does, a modern and highly usable Leica body with TTL light metering, and also the modern style film rewind knot, which is commonly used in M6. (As comparing to Leica M6 TTL Millennium Black Paint, with M3 style film rewind knot. Such M3 style film rewind knot is not as user friendly as M6 style one.)

About The Camera

The camera shown in the top of this webpage is Leica M6 TTL LHSA Black Paint, with Leica Summicron 35mm F/2 (sometimes quoted as the legendary 'King of Bokeh').

  • The shutter speed supports 1/1000 - 1 sec & Bulb setting.
  • PC-type sync socket provided for external flash connection.
  • Cold shoe for attaching external finder or flash.
  • For TTL light meter, it supports ISO film speed from 6 - 6400.
  • Viewfinder with 0.72 magnification, frameline for 28/90mm, 35/135mm, 50/75mm.
  • Shutter release cable can be used
  • Shutter release not locked even film advance lever is not in ready position.

Lens Sample Image

Leica M6 TTL LHSA is a M mount body, which provides vast extent of lens compatability. Apart from Leica manufacturing M and screw mount lens, other big brandnames we know about nowadays, also produced Leica M or screw mount lens, e.g. Nikon, Canon, Konica, Minolta, Rollei, etc. Going futher off the track, there are also adapters to allow lens from other systems to be used on Leica M body, with accurate RF coupling, e.g. Voigtalnder Prominent mount, Contax RF, Alpa SLR, etc)

  • M Mount Body + M Mount Lens
  • M Mount Body + Screw-M-adapter + Screw Mount Lens
  • M Mount Body + Other-Adapter + Lens-from-Other-Systems
The below lens sample links point to my Flickr site.

Bottom photo (1) with Canon 35mm F/2.8 LTM and Finder, and matching Leicavit Black Paint (2) with Voigtlander Nickel Plated Heliar 50mm F/2 (Limited Edition of 600, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Cosina in 2009) (3) with Leica Summaron 35mm F/3.5 LTM (4) with Carl Zeiss 50mm F1.5 Sonnar (via Contax RF-Leica M mount adapter)

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