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Chrome more durable than black


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Depends on what you mean by durability. In terms of function, there is probably no difference but in terms of cosmetic appearance, chrome lenses keep their new appearance longer. Black anodised lenses wear along the edges of the focussing and aperture rings.

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Here is a pretty thorough discussion on the topic; it seems that brass bonds well to the silver finish, one of the reasons for the difference in materials; however, I found the following very interesting in that [very old] thread:

Both the black chrome and silver chrome lenses are made of the same materials. Aluminium and brass are used as they have a natural lubricating quality when used together. On the black chrome lenses, the inner smaller part is brass while the outer larger part is aluminium. On the silver chrome lenses, it is the reverse which is why the silver chrome lenses are heavier. There is no mechanical advantage to doing it one way or the other. The only significant difference is that the black chrome lenses are lighter. Everything else is a matter of personal choice and has no bearing on the optical or mechanical quality of the lens
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The outer surface of the anodised black alloy does mark easier than the silver chrome, however you can 'tidy' up marks with something like Casey 'aluminium black' which you cant do with silver chrome.


Both if looked after will stay near mint IMO, black anodising is a hard wearing surface, black paint however does wear quite quickly

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Sounds logical ... except it's wrong.


The innards—in particular, the moving parts, i. e. the helicoid, the aperture blades and the parts driving them, and, if applicable, the floating elements' mechanics—are always exactly the same. Only the outer shells are made of either silver-chromed brass or black-anodised aluminum.


But then there are a few more variants—the black-painted lenses also have their shells made of brass, and the silver Summicron-M 28 mm Asph is the only silver lens (as far as I know) which is aluminum, not brass.

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