Quote Originally Posted by RichSBV
Speaking from the early days, there was a reason why professional cameras were black and consumer cameras were silver. The pro cameras were brass bodies. This didn't loook good, so they were painted. Black was the obvious choice. The consumer cameras were left silver because that's the color brushed aluminum was and it looked good. The original pro brass cameras were heavier duty and could take much more of a beating than the thinner and softer aluminum versions.

Later, when black caught on and everyone wanted a "pro" camera, they painted the aluminum bodies too and it all became meaningless...

Silver cameras will not 'brass' as there no brass underneath the silver color.... Excluding the few that were plated brass...

Not sure when the "early days" ended, but my black Nikon FM2 has slight brassing, and does in fact show brass underneath (or at least the color of brass). I wouldn't consider the FM2 "consumer grade", but it wasn't their top of the line pro camera either.

My Minolta XE7 (earlier than the FM2) also showed brass underneath.

I've no doubt that some of the pre-plastic consumer cameras are painted aluminum, but I wonder where the change is made.