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Nikon (Nippon 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

When 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.

An old, all chrome version of the Nikon Variframe Optical Finder type
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.

Nikon Varifocal Finder MIOJ early version by Rich from Classic Collectibles Nikon Varifocal Finder MIOJ early version by Rich from Classic Collectibles - Engraved MIOJ marking on the accessory shoe Nikon Varifocal Finder MIOJ early version by Rich from Classic Collectibles - with top view and origiinal leather case.
<<<--- 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®.

Varifocal viewfinder 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.
Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varofocal Finder
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 model.

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early version side view Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early version base section with accessory shoe mount and serial numbering
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 - 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.

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early version Model 1 with original leather case

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early version Model 1 with protruding eyepiece design and side features with focal length engraving

Credit: Image courtesy of camera$@EBAY®. He also 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.

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early / Model 1 rear section eyepiece and calibrating wheel for pallarax adjustment knob Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder early version Model 1 top section view with dual indexes
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):-

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder improved version Model 2 with original leather case The engraved focal lengths at the front end of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder model 2
NOTE:- Version 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

Front lens element on a  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder model 2 Various features, focal lengths indexes and distance pallarax calibration of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder model 2 The colored close focus scales pallarax adjustment on a Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder model 2
Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder model 2 with improved eyepiece, view from the back Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K ) Varifocal Finder with 2.8cm (28mm) wideangle attachment acccessory
<<<--- As after the W.Nikkor 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 piece.
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 photographer.

| ALSO refer to Mr. Rich's Variants on Early / Late Variframe Finder Models |

NOTE:- 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 Nikon Sport Frames Finder

Section 1 - Index Page w/Special Finders | Section Two- Variframe Finder | Section 3 - Varifocal finder | Section 4 - Sport Frame Finder / Others

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Nikon RF Lens Finder Group

Nikon RF variframe / varifocal Finder Group

Nikon RF Sports Finder Group

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Nikon RF Reflex Housing for Telephoto lens Group

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Fixed fens Finders


Sports Finder

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Reflex Housing


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Fixed Focal length Finders | Variframe / Varifocal / Sports Finders | Reflex Housing | Motor Drive | Close-ups | Nikon RF Flash System
Accessories: Lens caps, Hoods/shades, Cases/Compartments, Filters, Packing/boxes, & Others | Instruction Manuals | Original Price Lists


Nikon RF lens group:-
2.1cm f/4.0 (21mm) | 2.5cm f/4.0 (25mm) | 2.8cm f/3.5 (28mm) | 3.5cm (35mm) lens group | 5cm (50mm) lens group
Micro-Nikkor 50mm f/3.5 | 8.5cm (85mm) lens group | 10.5cm (105mm) lens group | 13.5cm lens group
18cm f/2.5 (180mm) | 25cm f/4.0 (250mm) | 35cm f/4.5 (350mm) | 50cm f/5.0 (500mm) | 100cm f/6.3 (external Link)

Nikon Rangefinder (RF) Models | Pictorial History of Nikon | A small visual library on Nikon Ultra-Micro-Nikkor lenses
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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 G5 IMac.