Additional information on
Nikon (Nippon Kogaku) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4 13.5cm; Nikkor-Q 1:3.5 f=13.5cm & Bellow Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=13.5cm telephoto lens group
for Nikon S-bayonet mount rangefinder cameras - Part I/III
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Due to the limitation of rangefinder, viewing and focusing through the finder with lenses beyond 135mm makes a RF camera rather difficult or impossible to use. It was not until introduction of the innovative Reflex Housing, lenses at longer focal length for rangefinder system were finally made possible and easier to handle. The first Nikkor that surpassed the 135mm focal length barrier was the Nikkor-Q 1:4 f= 25cm, 1951. But during the early days, 135mm focal length was the longest limit available in the Nikkor lens system and the first Nikon 135mm telephoto lens, a Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm was also formed part of the five original Nikkor lenses introduced along with debut of the 24 x 32 format Nikon I back in 1948. Although I wouldn't like to raise this comment, but in many ways, the initial effort in offering the 135mm in the Nikkor lens group seemingly was more to making up the number of available options for the Nikon as the early design of the Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm has a very strong feel in appearance as well as overall design with equivalent of a Carl Zeiss 135mm f/4 Sonnar telephoto lens. Off the record, the Contax 4E/3G 135/4 can be regarded as a very successful telephoto lens, it had been produced in a wide variety of mounts under different labels in Germany as well as in Russia for over a lengthy period of 60 years ! However, as a new comer who was trying to break into the camera manufacturing market that was mainly dominated by the German optical industry, it was still excusable in their attempt tried to imitate a successful product of the market leader in trying to create a market opening, especially it was from a relatively small optical company located during the difficult post war period from the US occupied land. The lens was announced in October, 1948, uses a 4 elements in 3 group optical design but not exactly known was it a replica of the Sonnar.
The particular Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm w/90430 shown below was one of the earliest (90438x, 90462x) that I can find from our friend, Kelvin who works on his own, specializes in trading old photographic equipment. In Robert Rotoloni's Hove book, Nikon Rangefinder Camera, he has reported a few of his personal collection with different S/N that begin with prefix "611xxx" and thinks that was batch that produced even earlier than those which started with S/N 90xxx. I am not a historian, neither I am a serious collector; so in terms of absolute accuracy, please go and buy a copy of his book and use what he wrote as the reference. What matters most at here should be treated as a light trail that relates to a few different stages that we can gather to track its development and/or forms evolved; so, just treat here as a brief version history on the web to broaden our knowledge because in this manner, I can create sites with less pressure and continuing in enjoying what I have been doing all these while, okay ?
Note: You may also take a good look at Seiki-Kogaku (Canon)'s 135mm, like Nikon, the post war model by the Japanese Company also shares some similarities too with the CZJ Sonnar.
The early series of Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm shared many basic lens features with the equally old Nikkor-P 1:2 f=8.5cm as both were almost introduced at the same period, typically chrome/brass exterior, lens hood, front and rear lens caps. Presumably all the early batches of the 13.5cm lenses produced during this time had MIOJ (on lens barrel) as well as Nippon Kogaku Tokyo engravings marked at the lens data at the front ring section. The metal lens hood, has no identification of Nikon nor any markings printed and there could be two type, with one with two sections that can be reversibly stored on lens. An interesting area of the lens is, it uses 40.5mm so we can also assume this Nikkor may also has been produced in some quantity with Leica screw mount. As this was an early attempt by Nikon which means it could also be other model with slight variation in either external modifications. If any of you has a different find of this, you can update me. This f/4 version was replaced with the f/3.5 model, probably in 1950. The version S/N 904197 shown below, with S/N still begins with 90xxxx has a six digit codlings instead of five. Possibly an update from the original series, still has no click stop but an infra-index is added which has not been provided at earlier model. The front lens cap is now metal with an old Nikon logo engraved at the front. From the lens mount, it looks like it was for LEICA.
Below:- Another with six digit S/N 90428x , MIOJ on lens barrel, please note the rear metal lens cap also has MIOJ engraving.
Below:- Two Nikkor 135/4 with six digit S/N 90466x and 90470x , possibly the very late version among the 90x-series, the MIOJ engraving has moved to focusing cam (not lens barrel). The lens mounting index is red dot/marked.
Please take note: For visitors who may be new to Nikon system, don't get confused, the Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=13.5cm actually has two types (not versions!). This page features the direct mount model (where it can be used after hook on to a Nikon RF camera); while another Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=13.5cm is a Bellow-Nikkor (but lens description does not mentioned the word "Bellow-Nikkor" but simply as Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=13.5cm where it may create confusion, the lens is to be used either with a Bellow Unit or mount via a lens tube before it can be used on a Nikon rangefinder OR with a reflex Nikon SLR; meaning the Bellow-Nikkor is only a lens head, used in conjuction with bellow/extension tube for close-up or high magnification photography. The featured page for the Bellow-Nikkor 1:4 f=13.5cm is located at HERE. Lastly, it was not known has Nikon ever produced any black finish of this Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm, even if it did, it should be the same way how the black paint was done, i.e. coated or painted black on the exterior like the Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm All-Black model only. Any good input for new found resources relates or items not being addressed in this page is welcome.
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Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=13.5cm | Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Chrome / Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Black Paint | Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Black / spec /accessories | Bellow-Nikkor 1:4 f=13.5cm
Leica/Leitz 13.5cm lens group:
Canon 13.5cm lens group:
Contax / Carl Zeiss 13.5cm lens group (various)
W-Nikkor-O 1:4 f=2.1cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:4 f=2.5cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f= 2.8cm | W-Nikkor.C 3.5cm lens Group (3.5/2.5/1.8) | Stereo-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm | 5cm (50mm) lens group | RF Micro-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=5cm | Nikkor-P.C 1:2 f=8.5cm lens group / Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm lens group | Nikkor-P.C 1:2.5 f=10.5cm lens group / Nikkor-T 1:4 f=10.5cm | 13.5cm lens group | Nikkor-H 1:2.5 f=18cm | Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=25cm | Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm | Nikkor-T.C 1:5 f=50cm | External Link:- 100cm f/6.3
System Accessories for Nikon Rangefinder cameras
Optical Finders (4 parts):- Fixed Focal length Finders (index page): 2.1cm, 2.5cm, 2.8cm, 3.5cm, 35cm Stereo, 5cm, 8.5cm, 10.5cm, 13.5cm | Variframe / Varifocal / Sport-frames | Nikon Reflex Housing
Nikon S36/S72/S250 Motor Drives (in progress) / S36 Manual | light meters | Nikon RF Flash/Speedlights | Close-up photography | Cases/Compartments | Lens & body caps, Lens Hoods/shades, Original Price Lists | packaging/boxes
RELATIVE:- Nikon Rangefinder (RF) Models | Pictorial History of Nikon
A small visual library on Nikon Ultra-Micro-Nikkor lenses
Manual Focus Nikkor lenses | Autofocus Nikkor lenses
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