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Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (RF Nikkor 350mm f/4.5)
Super Telephoto lens for Nikon Bayonet S-Mount Rangefinder cameras - Part One

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Personal Note:- Here in this site, I will combine the two super-telephoto Nikkor lenses here under one section (2 parts) (as the 100cm f/6.3 Mirror/Reflex Nikkor is a different lens breed, it will be featured in a another separate section). This is mainly due to the fact both of the RF Nikkor Super Telephoto lenses were offered primarily as a very specialized optic to serve professional needs and/or scientific applications. Of course, I wouldn't entirely exclude they may also be possessed by individual / amateurs but overall, I am just referring to a bigger ratio of possession as these lenses are very pricey as well as finding good usage on a rangefinder system. In fact the total quantity for these two super-telephotos may only be less than 1,000 units combined. The rarity makes gathering of detailed information difficult for so long. Anyway, I had been very patience on this matter for the last few years and still be able to collect auctioning photos from Ebayers and think time is about right to take this opportunity to compile them as basic references for all Nikon enthusiasts to share. Together, I will take the opportunity to thank a few contributors such as some of my personal favorite Ebay Auctioneers, In particular Mr. Kelvin Li from, Photo Arsenal, Adorama, Pacific Rim Camera Exchange, Camron8888 etc. where each of them, other than conducting regular active businesses, they can also be regarded as Nikon oldies specialists in all aspect. Thank You.

Introduction:- In this section, we are now stepping into the Nikkor super-telephoto range lenses designed for the rangefinder system. Please take note that all the two short mount lenses featured here would require a Nikon Reflex Housing Module for proper focusing. I guess Nikon has been planning the lens development program very thoughtfully for their telephoto lens group. As you can notice each of the telephoto lenses introduced for the RF system almost has a step-up focal length of 100mm and/or interval of 1X. i.e. 180mm --> 250mm ---> 350mm ---> 500mm --->1000mm. The Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) was a step-up from the shorter Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens and if you take notice in the overall Nikon system development, the release of this RF super-telephoto lens was about the same time when the F-mount Nikon F SLR camera was presented for the first time to the world's photo community. Strictly speaking, the 35cm RF telephoto lens was the last model within the long telephoto lens series (which requires aid of the Nikon Reflex Housing) in the Nikon rangefinder system . (NOTE:- However, if it includes mid-range telephoto lens group, the Nikkor-T 1:4 f=10.5cm (1960) should be considered as the last model). Due to the timing of this transitional change, the lens bridged itself between both formats (Nikon S and F-mount). There was NOT a version of this 350mm focal length telephoto lens that designed specifically in F-mount. But rather, Nikon had designed a useful accessory called N-->F tube/adapter in 1960 which permits some of the RF Nikkor lenses to be used on any of the F-mount bodies. As for the long focal length tele-lenses, this has gone without the cumbersome setup using the reflex housing module. So, basically, all those lenses that relate during the early days may be also using them on the F bodies. Come to think of it, don't you agree the bridging device N/F tube was about the same in its basic marketing principle such as the equally innovative AF-16A/S Teleconverter that had served the manual focus Nikkor lenses to be "transformed" as an autofocus lens when used with early Nikon Autofocus bodies?

RELATIVE:- Contax early direct mount Carl Zeiss Jena Tele-Tessar 30cm f/8.0 (1935) / Leica/Leitz TELYT 400mm f/5.0

Nikon manual focus early version of the 300mm f/4.5 telephoto lens -LINK Nikon manual focus early version of the 400mm f/4.5 telephoto lens -LINK
NOTE:- Until arrival of the two F-mount reflex 300mm f/4.5 Nikkor-H Auto (06.1964); 400mm f/4.5 Nikkor-Q Auto (08.1964) the only option for a possible super telephoto at 300~400mm focal length for the Nikon F and/or early Nikkormat was making use of the N-F Tube to use the RF telephoto for the Nikon SLR camera bodies.

Part One Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.5 f=35cm(350mm f/4.5) telephoto lens for Nikon Bayonet S-Mount Rangefinder cameras Year Introduced: 1959#; Discontinued: probably in 1964/5 # Stated date of release of this version in Nikon Rangefinder Magazine as 1959. This was supported by R. Rotoloni's An illustrated History of Nikon RF cameras which has given a more precise date as June, 1959; Mr. P.Braczho's Nikon Hand Book has suggested 1960 where I guess he was referring to actual marketing date rather than announcement date.

side view of a Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) early version telephoto lens
Credit: Image courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department Adorama® Inc. 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 1-830-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

Please take note that the Nikkor-T 35cm telephoto was actually being introduced quite late. It was only being released almost 8 years after Nikon had their longest non-mirror telephoto lens Nikkor-T 1: 5 f=50cm (RF Nikkor 500mm f/5.0) for the rangefinder system. Considering its focal length (350mm) with a f/4.5 maximum aperture, this lens may be look quite long but not entirely as one would think it is "gigantically" Xtra-Large in its overall dimension as most people thought it was. In this area, I would think Nikon did a very good job by getting a right compromise between performance and portability. The Nikkor-T telephoto lens measures just end to end in 259.5mm with a diameter of approx. 95mm and when the N/F is added (for the F Bodies), just add another 108.8mm that makes it approx. 368.3mm in overall length only. Similarly, it weighs just approx. 1,730g (3Ibs 12 oz). So, when you compare this lens with the Nikkor-T 50cm f/5 which weighs a massive 8,460g, doesn't this lens qualify as very "portable" ?

Optical design / diaphragm for Nikon RF telephoto 35cm lens
No big deal huh ? well, besides, when you realize Nikon first designed a lens type such as the old MF Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 lens tube with a AU-1 Aperture Unit attached on a typical Nikon F - it weighs more than 7kg ! I guess Nikon did realized the weight factor issue and that was why when the MF Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 was released half a decade later in 1964 after this RF telephoto, the lens has been trimmed down and only weighs approx. 1kg. As mentioned, the unique 350mm focal length falls mid between the 300mm and 400mm and it was a Nikon short mount version designed for the rangefinder system, it is not fair to make such a direct comparison. Whatever it is, I would regard the entire lens structure can be still considered as quite compact for all its restrictions it had for the Nikon optical designers.

Lens dimension and illustration for Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) early version telephoto lens

Internal optical structure and diaphragm for RF Nikkor 350mm f/4.5
Internal and external structure and measurement for overall dimension for 35cm f/4.5 RF Nikkor.

Internally, this Nikkor-T RF telephoto lens has a very straight forward optical design in a rather simple 3 elements design. Come to think of it, it can be funny to relate such a huge and pricey lens package only contains 3 pieces of optical glass within. But as I mentioned, that was also partly one of the reason why Nikon had designed a separate two parts telephoto lens where photographer can only opt to buy a front portion (Nikon AU-1 Focusing Stage "Aperture Control Unit" is a standard module for use at the lens mount portion). Other than reaching an objective of both size/price reduction for the super-long telephoto beyond 400mm, it also improves mobility for photographers as the front section is interchangeable with other lens tubes of different focal lengths. The internal moving lens elements for the 35cm lens here is quite extensive, this is reflected by the long rotation of the helicord mechanism from its closest distance to infinity internally.

The aperture control and preset diaphragm illusatration on the ring found on the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) early version telephoto lens
Unlike the longer Nikkor-T.C 50cm f/5.0 which has a preset diaphragm mechanism installed, one of the technological highlights of this 35cm Nikkor-T was a different mechanism for focusing/shooting convenience it provides. The ring that locates sat the center of the lens tube section has a lever, a rotational ring as well as a cable release socket. In this version, Nikon has designed a different configuration for aperture control as well as for ease of focusing. In principle, it works like a modern stopped down method as used on a Bellow Unit with a modern Manual Focus Nikon SLR.

The operation uses two cable releases. One that plugs into the release socket on the Nikon Reflex Housing for Mirror-raise action while another that plugs directly onto the diaphragm control (on the lens section) via the tiny cable socket. It releases the lens diaphragm for maximum aperture for the purpose of focusing. Only when you fully engaged the cable release(s), exposure is done is one single synchronized action. the arrow-ring is for re-engages the diaphragm for maximum aperture viewing and/or focusing again. Overall, this can be considered as the primitive form of semi Automatic Indexing. The same principle was later modified and used on the early Nikon F (T/Tn) and Nikkormat FT where the Nikon SLRs offered an automatic diaphragm operation for maximum aperture viewing while the lens is preset to any f-stop. Anyway, those bodies mentioned with their maximum aperture also needs to be indexed to the film ASA for exposure reading. Thus must be reset each time a lens with different maximum aperture is attached. While the Rangefinder Nikon has no maximum aperture indexing at all, this mechanical diaphragm control can be considered as very advance system design for the rangefinder Nikon. However, please take note the design is on-lens installation but not on the body.

The black painted coated tripod collar on the rangefinder Nikkor 350mm f/4.5 telephoto lens Rear view of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) early version telephoto lens
The chrome version  tripod collar on the rangefinder Nikkor 350mm f/4.5 telephoto lens
<<< --- Two different lenses here each has a black paint coated and another with a chrome Tripod Socket base plate.
Credit: Two images above as comparison courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from gokelvincameras @ Ebay Store. Image of the larger 35cm from rear view above courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" URL:, where BOTH are specialized on retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies .Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved.

Full setup view of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) telephoto lens in Nikon reflex Housing with original lens hood (second series crinkle finish) and lens cap
Credit: A lovely picture of this Nikkor-T 35cm F/4.5 lens mounted with the Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 + 2nd series metal lens hood was scanned and retouched from Nikon RF Magazine Photographer: ®

Whatever it is, despite it has been repackaged by Nikon such a more appealing appearance in few areas, but admittedly, photography with a bulky setup of reflex housing that fits between camera /lens would never be comparable to easy setup and TTL convenience offers in a typical Nikon SLR camera combination. The N-->F tube enables this rangefinder telephoto be able to use on the reflex F-Mount Nikon, overall it is good companion accessory for cross-system expansion to find more usage for this telephoto lens. I guess when the Nikon F was introduced, many Nikon photographer would also utilize the device to mount this RF 250mm telephoto onto their Nikon F/Nikkomat bodies just for the thrills of TTL during those days. But then the F-mount Nikkor lens group was at a transitional change stage with its fastest pace refocused to development of newer F-mount based lenses, this rangefinder Nikkor-Q was eventually beginning to diminish itself from active services as a good, solid long telephoto lens during its hey days.

Front lens element of Nikkor-T 35cm f/4.5

Technical Specification for Nikkor-T(C) 1:4.5 f=35cm super telephoto lens:-

Lens Mount
: Nikon Bayonet S-mount for RF models (Short Mount)
Compatible Models: Nikon S-Series rangefinder models via
Nikon Reflex Housing; Nikon F/Nikkormat via N-F Tube
Focal Length: 350mm (35cm);
Maximum / Minimum Aperture: f/4.5 / f/22
Angle of View: 7
Optical Construction: 3 elements in 3 groups
Minimum Focusing Distance: 4m (approx. 12 ft) ~
Depth of Filed Scales: f/22, f/16, f/8.0; Infra Index: Provided

<<<--- Credit: Image courtesy of "Ebay - Mathew Duren" URL: Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved.

Front lens tube section of Rear view of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (350mm f/4.5) early version telephoto lens
(Marked values: Dual color display system; Feet (yellow scales): starts from 900, 300, 150, 100, 80, 60, 50 ..... Metres (white scales): 200, 100, 50, 30, 20, 15...
Magnification ratio
: no info;
Filter Attachment Size
**: 82mm (P=0.75) Screw-in type / Series IX
Dimension: 259.5mm x 95mm ; with N/F attached:- approx. 368.3mm
Weight (body only)
: 1,730g (approx. 60oz).
Standard / Optional Accessories: Nikon Reflex Housing, Front/Rear lens cap, Metal Lens hood:- 2 types (black paint or crinkle finish); optional optical filters etc.; N-F tube/adapters for Nikon SLR cameras
Credit: All images courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvincameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Other Information: Diaphragm control via mid section ring; Tripod socket provided (early chrome version, black version for later units; No sure if Leica SM version was available; Serial Numbering References:- from 354500~355116 (less than 600 Units*). Ref: Mr. Robert Rotoloni, author of An Illustrated History of Nikon Rangefinder Cameras. * Japan Nikon S-series magazine indicated less than 500 units were being produced.

| NEXT| 1/2 information on Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-T.C 1:5 f=50cm(500mm f/5.0) telephoto lens
Part One - Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm | Part Two - Nikkor-T.C 1:5.0 f=50cm

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 | Nikkor-Q.C 13.5cm lens group: 135/4, 135/3.5 Early / Last Version, 135/4 Bellow lens | 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 | Reflex-Nikkor 100cm f/6.3

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Credit:- Special thanks to all the contributors of images and content which made up the basis of the site. 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 contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered trade name of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.