Additional information on
Nikon (Nippon Kogaku) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4 13.5cm in Chrome/Brass & Black Paint versions
for Nikon S-bayonet mount rangefinder cameras - Part II
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The Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm, with a marginally larger aperture opening was the second Nikkor model at this focal length. It was introduced in March, 1950 to replace its predecessor, timing was barely a few months after the 24x34 NIKON M was brought to the market. The lens Nikkor update still presents a strong Contax flavor. In comparison, the 135mm f/3.5 had a few modifications from the earlier f/4 version, first to distinguish the difference between the old and new is the f/3.5 maximum aperture, and the lens now accepts 43mm filter accessories. This is useful as a quick visual reference as both the lenses have chrome finishing and could easily being misled from first impression.
Although all along Nikon has no info provided on the 135/4 but they did with more confidently with the 135/3.5, it uses 4 elements 3 group optical design as shown above. We would assume all the 135/3.5 would share the same.
Generally, the early production Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Nippon Kogaku Tokyo, MIOJ version still offered f/16 minimum aperture, chrome/brass combination , slightly enlarged lens tube with a more refined depth of field scales than the f4 predecessor. Although there are references such as Robert Rotoloni's description of which the earliest batch which carries with S/N 5006x(xx) had "Made in Occupied Japan" (MIOJ) wordings still presented on the lens barrel, but most which had surfaced today, especially the 25-xxx f/16 series were partly hidden, engraved at the outside of the lens cam at the rear end mount section.
Except for the earliest batch with S/N 5006xx series which has 135/4-type of plain scales, the depth of field scales at the focusing index provides another quick visual reference to separate the f/4 and the 2nd batch of f/3.5 model; here is a direct comparison between the two, with the f/3.5 more well defined with arrowhead lines. Further, the infra index (R) which was added at some of the later 135/4 was not presented either.
Another less noticeable and less significant change was at the tripod collar, where only 2 screws were used instead of 3 to fasten the socket firmly. Note: The socket may be different and "Made in Japan" may be engraved on the models.
Generally, use the type of depth of field scales design on lens to differentiate the versions among the mix of Nikkor chrome/brass 135mm lens group is acceptable. The period between '52 to 1953 Nikon did an improvement to their Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm, and this 3rd Nikkor 135mm telephoto / 2nd version of the Nikkor-Q 135/3.5 lens has been provided with a minimum aperture of f/32 for users be able to have more creative control over depth of field on the telephoto lens and hence, a new depth of field scales on lens for our easy visual identification. The redesigned DOF scales with four f-stops i.e. f/3.5, 8, 16, 32 with a red R for infra index, as well as the corresponding aperture scales applied on both the black/chrome as well as the last version, all black 135/3.5 that followed at later years. During the first quarter of the 1950,the photographic community had started to take notice of emergence of the Nikon as well as excellent series of optic the Company had produced, one reason was its modest price and was a good alternate to Leica and Contax. The Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm telephoto, like many other Nikkor, had been produced in other mount such as LSM and Contax bayonet (even for Exacta !). The lens hood is two-piece design, metal front cap is screw-in onto metal hood after reverse mounting.
Amidst the period during the early '50 with some of the lenses introduced were quite confusing. There were Nippon Kogaku Tokyo, Nippon Kogaku Japan, MIOJ , a mixed and so forth, even the serial numberings appeared may have different coding for markets. Shown above is a Contax mount 135/3.5, the unit with reversible stored lens hood attached (A) has a mystical ":" at the end (B) it was encoded as "S/N 255245 : "); while another Tokyo version which has no filter thread at the front ring (C) S/N 254009).
Confusion, sometimes may tell you a lot of things. It may reflect the state of Nikon was experienced during the period, it may explained as their inability to cope with sudden surge of sales, overstock or shortages of individual parts, indirectly also had mirrored weak management in coordination among design, marketing and manufacturing departments or even may explained as struggling to establish a proper control system for inventories and/or products for respective markets in mass production way etc. Personally, I would think the Company was not entirely prepared for the sudden draw of international attention to their products in a mass demand manner. If we used the earliest 135/4 poor sales of approx. 900 units from 1948~1950, 3,000 for the first 135/3.5 between 1950~1953, it was already a three folds jump in sales. The f/32 upgrade with intermixed chrome and chrome/black model has even surged to 12,000 units between 1953~1956 , another 4 folds from the first 135/3.5 model ! Sales figures ref: Nikon Rangefinder Camera by R.Rotoloni.
Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm for CONTAX I don't have any good illustration photos for both the LSM or the Exacta mount, but curiously, Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm with the Contax bayonet version seemingly has plenty of offers at Ebay today. Generally, Nikon lenses produced for Contax rangefinder cameras, should have an engraved "C" on the lens barrel. Technically, Contax and Nikon lenses are interchangeable on both rangefinder cameras, but the focusing can be different for some lenses especially at close focus distances but not obvious at longer distance focusing, (as the pitch of focusing wheels in the Contax and Nikon rangefinder cameras are not entirely the same). On the other hand, Nikkor lenses made with a Leica Thread Mount (LTM/LSM) can be focused closer than those with the various bayonet mounts. The reason for this is the difference in the register (film plane to mount distance) of the Nikon rangefinder cameras (34.85 mm.) and that of the Leica screw mount cameras (28.8mm.). The LTM/LSM Nikkors are a bit (nearly 6 mm.) longer leaving more space for the focusing wheel - inside the film gate - to come towards the lens mount. All LTM/LSM Nikkor have a separate distance scale of that extra close focus range. Ref: our friend, Nico van Dijk, Holland.
Note: by the way, Nico & I had worked together earlier in a project to compile the Nikkor F-mount 50mm version history in an orderly manner, he is incredibly knowledgeable with the Nikon stuff ! As for other possible combinations, also read HERE.
Nikon S-mount Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Black Paint
The first radical change to the traditional all chrome/brass appearance of the Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm probably was happened between 1954/55. Popular referred as "black lens" 135/3.5, essentially it is the same lens with the chrome on brass version except a black paint is coated on surface. The weight is also close to the original chrome on brass version, except in some cases the combined weight with accessories would make the package lighter (typically chrome/brass combination weighs approx. 545g, the subsequent black version which mainly use aluminum weighs very much lighter at approx. 390g only. So, to be more appropriate, you can also call it as a Nikkor-Q.C 135/3.5 black paint version. The black paint version could had been provide matched appearance for growing number of black Nikon rangefinder cameras from there on.
Visual guide to differentiate this with the later aluminum bodied 135/3.5 in black will be discussed at next chapter. However, some of the accessories for the lens may be different. It was provided with a matching lens hood in black, still able to reversibly snap on and stores at the front but not as heavy as it is aluminum In some cases, the black metal rear lens cap was replaced with plastic type, so did the front lens cap, with or without inscriptions of the maker.
Nikkor-Q.C 1:3.5 f=13.5cm Black Paint in Contax bayonet-mount
The 135/3.5 was produced in other mounts such as Contax and Leica thread mount. Some references said probably the Exacta mount version could had been phased out during this period due to poor sales. The Contax mount version shares many similarities with the S-mount Nikkor 135/3.5, which including the accessories. The black lens hood has no other specific inscription to label it for 135mm, instead, only the country of origin, Japan was printed. None of this series in black has MIOJ or Tokyo, with the latter changed to Nippon Kogaku Japan. But some of the series may still bear the "EP' marking, so did with the LSM version.
Unlike the S-Mount Nikkor or the Contax bayonet mount versions which has a large ring; LEICA THREADED MOUNT Nikkor lenses can be easily distinguished by lack of the mounting ring at the rear section and it looks different from the others. Shown below is a picture downloaded from Ebay auction sales by Mr. Sajad of Leica-Dlux@Ebay, which shows partial section of the lens near the lens mount.
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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
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