Originally Posted by RichSBV
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.