Kogaku K.K.) Finder Group of Accessories
for Nikon S-Mount Nikon Rangefinder (RF) cameras - Part III
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|Part Four:- Multi-focal lengths (universal) Nikon Varifocal Finder
compare with the Nikon
Variframe Finder type
featured earlier, the alternate Varifocal Finder can be regarded as more popular
series of multi-focal length Finders. There are some references that stated it was
already being offered during the post war and/occupation period evidenced by samples
that had engraved "MIOJ" or some with "EP" markings.
While my advice
is between the new and old is just only the added convenience between them and usually
this will also interpret into price premium. So, if you can live with the basic features
they offer, that should be fine and need not have to fight your heart out to get
a variants. However, if your intention is primarily focused on antique and rare collectibles;
and if price is not an issue, you can look for better maintained and newer models.
I don't intend to go into details but just outline the difference between the earlier
ones as well as the late models.
<<<--- Shown is an alternate Nikon
Universal VARIFRAME Finder with typical
"torpedo" front end. It is an earlier version with MIOJ marking (Made in
Occupied Japan) but has a newer 24 x 36 film format inscription, a Post war era produce.
<<<--- A few pictures of
the rare, early version of the Nikon Varifocal Finder type with "MIOJ"
engraving and original leather case contributed by Mr. RICH from CLASSIC Collectibles®.
is a universal finder type. It maintains a fixed picture frame and varies the size
and area of the image within. You can simply install the Finder by slipping it toward
the rear of he camera via the accessory shoe on top. Depends on model (Early models
uses a wheel at the base, newer model(s) has a dial at the rear end location); just
set the scales according to the focal length of the lens in use. Focus the lens and
then set the parallax adjusting knob (Model 1) or the Ring (model 2) in accordance
to the focused distance shown on the camera lens. For newer model(s), you can easily
use the red indicator for distance of 5 feet and below and the black index for distances
over 5 feet. The alternate red index (earlier model may just supplied the index in
black beside the normal index) is for adjusting the slight difference in view angle
of the camera lens for nearer subjects as against that for the normal focus distances.
There are two graduations without any figures/indicators in the scaling, which indicate
the points where the visual image magnification for 1X and 0.5X respectively.
As after 1957
with the successful r release of Nikon SP, all the followed up Nikon
rangefinder cameras were expanded with more options in their built-in focusing guides
(bright-line frames) and hence, making the importance of accessory finders carried
with a less important role for photo composition aid accessory Photographers would
also choose multipurpose universal finder like Variframe and Varifocal type for photography
than on single focal length finder (or called "Individual Finder by Nikon).
The Nikon Varifocal Finder were produced in both Nikon and for use on other labels,
esp. Leica. One and off, we may be seeing some of these Varifocal finder surfacing
in the used equipment market, it is good to identify them for your Nikon.
<<<--- An early Nikon Universal
VARIFOCAL Finder type in
circular shaped construction. Omitted the accessory shoe found commonly at the top
of the comparing Variframe finder-type but it was more popular than the variframe
Credit: Image(s) courtesy
of Rokas Kundrotas ®. where he is more
well known as maintaining another popular Rokas
Photo & Video @ EBAY
with another personal site at Kundrotas.com - both kept a huge inventory for many used
collectible equipment of major camera labels. Image copyright © 2008. All rights
reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
|Credit: Image courtesy of camera$@EBAY®.
operates a popular EBAY STORE where he often lists
many used RARE pieces of Nikon, Leica and other old classic photo equipment, Images
are also well taken for visual confirmation for buyers - he is also one of my favorite
bookmark Ebay dealer. Image copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect
the visual property of the contributing photographer.
|The early Model
1 of the Varifocal Finder (see above) is more simplified in its offered features.
It has a parallax lever at its base at the rear section and can be calibrated to
approx. 3 feet. It has a rotational ring at the mid section where most common focal
length from 35~135mm are provided (3.5cm, 5cm, 8.5cm and 13.5cm). Version after 1954
with the hugely successful Nikkor-P.C 1:2.5 f=10.5cm telephoto lens, the
version had added with a 10.5cm calibrating scale/index. Earlier model may not even
has a colored index as well as the calibrating scales.
The Model 1 was
believed to be a very popular Varifocal finder type among the options. Most of the
units that put on sale at online trading places such as Ebay fall into this model.
All the units sold were supplied with a pocket size high quality leather case. They
are usually being priced cheaper in comparing with the model 2 that followed.
<<<--- This possible
is a updated model with colored index and calibrating scales at the thumb wheel.
There could be more tiny of these changes in other variables. But these are simply
cosmetic and not as important.
|The Nikon Varifocal
Finder Model 2
was probably introduced between 1954~1956. It went through many changes and has a
more modern feel. The most prominent features are the lack of the calibrating wheel
at the base which was replaced by an added parallax ring which forms as an integrated
part of the finder barrel. This is something like the black Variframe finder version introduced
at later stage.
The combination of chrome rings and black pained sections made this Model 2 still
carry almost same appearance with the predecessor unless close examination. Second
major visual difference is the series of clearly marked, multiple focal lengths indication
marks indicated at the front end of the finder. They have been redesigned with a
compressed manner with short rotational turn than on the model 1. The eyepiece section
has also been redesigned with a flat base at the rear where it was slightly protruding
outward on the model 1. The model 2 may has S/N that begin from 350000 onwards. The
Model 2 was very well received by Nikon photographers, it was even being sold with
Leica shoe mount (as shown with the version below):-
that designed for LEICA typically has other non-Nikon RF focal lengths printed. Shown
on this Leica-mount unit has 7.3cm, 9cm, 12.5cm printed on the dial. Most popular
Nikon rangefinder Nikkor lenses are included: 3.5cm, 5cm, 8.5cm, 10.5cm and 13.5cm.
|The Model 2.L version shown here also has
two indexes. One in the form of black dot and another in red. The red index corresponds
with the closest focusing distance of 3, 3.5, 4 and 5 feet. So far, all the units
are believed to have been supplied with scales in feet only and there still have
not seen with any known units that had scales supplied in metric system (that will
be a rare collectible for Nikon fans, I think). Overall,
I would think the model 2 provides a better operational ease during setup and shooting.
The thumb wheel parallax calibration on model 1 is less convenience because it is
so tiny and little space provides between the camera's accessory shoe. Re-allocating
it to the top/rear with a dial control is so much easier and quicker. Despite the
change(s) made to the model 2, Nikon still be able to screeze the Model 2 almost
same length with the predecessor
<<<--- As after
1:3.5 f=2.8cm wideangle
lens has been introduced in 1953; Nikon has decided the Varifocal Finder should only
still retaining available coverage from 35`135mm. An alternate solution was provided
via design of an added attachment accessory to expand the Varifocal finder for 28mm
use. It can be slip-on mounted at the front end of the Finder. It was not sold in
too many as the 28mm also has an alternate dedicated finder, makes this a very collectible
|Credit: Image at the left
courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvincameras
@ Ebay Store
which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright
© 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing
| ALSO refer to Mr. Rich's
on Early / Late Variframe Finder Models |
Comparing Nikon designed Finder Types with some of the popular Contax Carl Zeiss Jena / Zeiss Ikon Finders / Leica/Leitz Finder Versions
previous | NEXT | Part
Five:- Multi-focal lengths
Section 1 - Index Page w/Special Finders | Section
3 - Varifocal finder |
Section 4 - Sport Frame Finder / Others
| Message Board | lenses | Relative:- | Message Board | Rangefinder
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|Credit:- Co-developed with Rick_Oleson. THANKS to all the contributors in the
form of images/pictures as well as content which made up the basis of this RF Nikkor
site. Picture used at this startup page courtesy of Photo_Arsenal-Worldwide® Germany. Image(s) copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please
respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. Note: Certain content
and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets,
brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or
contributions from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational
purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that
may arise from dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon",
"Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are
registered trade names of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple