M leather body-cover repairs and replacements
For those whom find Leica M's a bit boring, or else need to repair the leatherette or vulcanite body covering on their cameras, check out the self-adhesive M camera body covers from the following:
Lots of choice and textures (eg vinyl, leather, snake-skin or lizard-skin). For those who want a closer match to black vulcanite, have a look at their "Seal Grain Black" or "Pebbled Black" options at:
I have installed the "Pebbled Black" cover on my M6TTL and can report that the pre-cut kit is simple to apply and the end result looks great.
A note of caution, in late 2003 Camera Leather were flooded with orders after a write-up in Shutterbug magazine. Consequently don't be surprised if there are long delays if you wish to ask a question or buy a kit.
In early 2004 a competitor in arrived in the form of Aki-Asahi. Same idea of pre-cut self-adhesive leather covers, but at a cheaper price (M2 & M3 $US 24, M6 $US 18). The trade-off is that they currently have fewer options and textures, although they do appear to have the Leica M6 & Leica M3 situation (ahem) well covered:
Which of their covers most closely approximates vulcanite? Quoting from their website:
#4034 is called as Morocco Grain Black in micro-tools.com. Very Durable and solid touch (not slippery).
#4008 has similar surface with M3 original vulcanite.
They have also put together an incredibly detailed page, with close-up photographs, of how to go about removing your old vulcanite and affixing the new self-adhesive cover:
Looking for a higher-tech vulcanite/ leatherette alternative? Why not try the Griptac covers sold by David M Stephens in the UK. According to his website (see link below):
Griptac is a specialized material offering the strongest possible grip for any camera. Available in charcoal black.
With a very bold, gravel-textured surface, Griptac gives the impression of "Vulcanite-on-steroids"
See the URL below and click on the "Leica M8 Griptac" option:
For close-up photos of what a Griptac covered Leica M8 looks like, see the following Nov 2007 discussion:
Leica original camera covers
Apparently you can still buy some of the original (self-adhesive) covers used on Leica M bodies as spare parts. In June 2004 Emanuel Lowi, sent me the following details:
[An] alternative for M6 and later cameras is to order from Leica Solms or USA the leatherette used on the Japan-only MP6 and LHSA MP cameras. This looks quite a lot like old vulcanite but is self-adhesive.
[…] The M6J material is also available from Leica -- also looks something like old vulcanite albeit finer grained -- but this is cut for the M6J top cover which has those descending tangs on the front (like M2/M3 tops).
For ordering Leica spare parts, see this topic elsewhere in the FAQ.
Not "way-out-there" enough? Check out the custom oil-based paint-work on the following Leica IIIB: