Additional information on

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) rangefinder system
C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (RF 35mm f/1.8) wideangle lens for Nikon S-Mount Rangefinder cameras

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information on the Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (35mm f/1.8) high speed wideangle rangefinder lens
Part III Basic information on Nippon Kogaku K.K. W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (35mm f/1.8) wideangle lens. Year Introduced: September, 1956; Discontinued: No info

It was obvious after first quarter of the '50, Nikon had gained confidence in picking its momentum to take on the German camera industry. Barely a year after the Nikon S2 was introduced in 1854, Nikon offered a black bodied Nikon S2. Some of the lenses beginning at this stage, also had offered alternative in black barrel. In 1956, Nikon unveiled a new wideangle lens, W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm not only to showcase their capability in delivering to notch optics as it was the fastest wideangle available at the time, but also in in many ways, delivering functional and practical usage for photographers.
The wideangle lens was only offered in black finishing. Although one may regard this as cosmetic offering but when you realize beginning from this period onwards, many of the black barrel Nikkor lenses were either, provide an alternatives and/or started from scratch being designed in black only and all these couldn't be coincidental or to change in order to supplement the black bodied Nikon S2, right ? Further, when you review Nikkor lens development with the scheduled deliveries of 2.8cm f/3.5 (1952), 3.5cm f/2.5 (1952), 8.5cm/1.5(1953), 2.5cm f/4.0 (1954), 10.5cmf/2.5 (1954), 18cm f/2.5 (1955), 50cm f/5 (1955), Micro-Nikkor 5cm f/3.5 (1956), 5cm f/1.1 (1956) and also this W-Nikkor 35mm f/1.8; one can easily conclude the Company had a road map well schemed in getting the Company into good shape both in camera as well as optical choices to take on the mighty German makers. Naturally, when the professional grade Nikon SP was eventually unveiled in 1957, Nikon had took control comfortably at driver seat from there onwards.
Optical design and illustration for Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (35mm f/1.8) wideangle rangefinder lens

Optically, the Nikon W-Nikkor
.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm uses a 7 elements 5 group design. The technical highlights includes use of rare earth Lanthanum (La) -based glass to improve spherical aberration and curvature of field, which designer claimed significantly has enhancing both sharpness and image flatness. It has a rather unusual design with the rear lens element larger than the front and it is convex shaped, which Nikon said such design helps to improve spherical aberration and coma, an optical phenomenon commonly associates with high-speed wideangle lenses.

Regardless the design and/or appearance, this Nikkor wideangle did enjoyed tremendous good reviews by Nikon photographers and some even rated it as one of the best Nikkor rangefinder optic during its era. Naturally, even today, it remains as a firm collector's favorite.
The design of the W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm was probably Nikon's initial decision in adopting a universal change in basic appearance for designing their future lenses. One of the evidence was the last version of the W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm , which bears almost similar appearance and in particular, the lens control feature. The scalloped focusing ring design, even has been extended to use on many of the Auto-Nikkor lenses used at the early Nikon F SLR era.

Nikon black finished W-Nikkor 1:1.8 f=3.5cm on a matching NIKON SP Black body
The light gathering power of the W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm, which is approx. 2X that of a comparing W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm, where it has two large piece of front and rear lens elements embodied within the rigid lens tube and protected by aluminum barrel and chrome-alloy mount. The heavier brass mounting was dropped for possibly weight reduction reason. The Nikon S-Mount screw mount (LSM) version lens weighs approx. 160g/5-1/2oz, while the LEICA threaded screw mount (LSM) version weighs slightly heavier at approx. 6-3/8oz.

<<<--- A matched black finished NIKON SP with a W-Nikkor 1:1.8 f=3.5cm wideangle lens.

Due to its large diameter, another area that has affected was the usage of filters. The W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm takes standard 43mm filter accessories onto lens but due to the large front diaphragm ring, a separate 48mm lens cap is required just for this rangefinder wideangle lens (see picture at left). Similarly, the protruding rear lens tube section at the back would also require a special rear lens cap to accommodate (see first picture in this page). Some late deliveries of this lens may have been replaced with lighter plastic front/rear lens cap (see a picture at bottom of this page).

LEICA Thread Screw Mount (LSM) version

The design of the LEICA mount model is slightly different. The curving lens data at the front is flat, so does the focusing chrome ring is also flat without the scalloped-design on the Nikon S-Mount version. It also doesn't has the same protruding lens tube at rear section. However, lens accessories (Series VII) with 43mm snap-on or screw-in types are still permissible to use directly.

LOOKING for contribution on original CONTAX mount & black front diaphragm ring version for this lens, please contact

Below is a interesting direct visual compariosn between a Nikon S-Mount W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm along with a LEICA coupled screw mount version. Also take note this particular Nikkor (left) has no "C" printed, a general indicative initial that the lens is a coated lens; but regardless it is stated or not, all of these series are coated Nikkor optic. In fact, other than a selective of rangefinder Nikkor lenses, most have been produced sometimes with "C" or without. But generally, most bear this indicative red print mark on the lens data.

comparing Nikon S-mount with Leica Screw Mount of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) rangefinder W-Nikkor-C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (35mm f/1.8) wideangle lens
Basic Specification for Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) rangefinder W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (35mm f/1.8) wideangle lens:-

Lens Mount: Nikon S-Mount for RF Nikon / LEICA M39 Screw Mount / Contax Bayonet mount (no info)
Focal Length: 35mm (3.5cm); Picture Angle: 63° (37° x 53° ); Maximum / Minimum Aperture: f/1.8 ~ f/22
Optical Construction: 7elements in 5 groups;
Minimum Focusing Distance: approx. 3 ft ~
Filter Attachment Size: Series VII (43mm)
Lens Hood: see picture at left;
Front/ rear cap
: early metal chrome type, later version plastic )see picture at left); deepset, early could be black aluminium type, later model plastic.
: Manual
Weight (lens only): approx. 160g/5-1/5oz for NikonS-mount model; 6-3/8oz for Leica SM model, Contax bayonet mount model:- no info
lens hood and 48mm front lens cap for rangefinder 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens

Depth of Filed (DOF) Chart (168k gif)
for W-Nikkor 1:1.8 f=3.5cm

Standard/Optional Accessories: leather lens case; Optical Finder (3.5cm model, BL in black, Variframe finders, 3.5cm Mini Finder or Sport frame finder etc.); special 48mm snap-on front lens cap, special rear lens cap; Optional: Screw-in or snap-on front cap type filters for M39 version; Lens hood: no info; Lens accessories: 43mm / Series VII (50.8mm) for Nikon S-Mount model; 34.5mm /Series VI (41.3mm) for Leica M39 LSM model.

Other Information
: Quantity Approx. 8,000 units in standard version or possibly few hundred only with black aperture front ring. Ref: Robert Rotoloni's An Illustrated History on Nikon Rangefinder camera.

Suggestive Links: Nikon own development story on this wideangle lens

To complete the rangefinder Nikon 35mm Nikkor lens group, in 1956 Nikon had also unveiled their version of the Stereo lens, the Stereo-Nikkor f=3.5cm 1:3.5.

| previous | Next | - Part III - Stereo-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm wideangle rangefinder lens 3/4

W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm | Stereo-Nikkor f=3.5cm 1:3.5

Comparison among:-
3.5cm lens group
3.5cm rangefinder lens group
Contax's Carl Zeiss
3.5cm lens group (various)

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Accessories for Nikon Rangefinder cameras
Optical Finders (4 parts) | Fixed Focal length Finders | Variframe / Varifocal / Sport | Lens caps, Hoods/shades, Cases/Compartments | Nikon Reflex Housing
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Instruction Manuals

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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.