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Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K K) Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm (RF Nikkor-S 85mm f/1.5)
Telephoto lens for Nikon S-Mount Rangefinder cameras - Part V

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Nippon Kogaku K.K. (Nikon) Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens for Nikon S-series rangefinder cameras Year Introduced: January, 1951*; Discontinued: probably 1961/2 * Japan site indicated year of release; supported by An Illustrated History of Nikon Rangefinder cameras (R. Rotoloni); Peter Brackzho, Author of Nikon Hand Book has suggested a different February, 1953.

Regardless of differences of opinion on issue of actual year of introduction, the Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm was the fastest lens speed telephoto lens available for the Nikon rangefinder system. Along with the
Ernst Leitz Wetzlar1:1.5 f=8.5 SUMMAREX (1948~1960 SOOCX) and Carl Zeiss Jena 75mm f1.5 Biotar (1939~196?); the Nikkor-S 85/1.5 had been ranked among the fastest telephoto available for 35mm photography during the rangefinder era. While the Contax was quite happy with both the BIOTAR and 85/2.0 Sonnar and didn't followed up with a faster lens addition at these focal length (They did with the shirt to 90mm /2 Simmicron in 1957), thus with the prevailing options during that time, Nikon courageous attempt was seemingly targeted at the Leica / Leitz 85/1.5. Personally, I don't really think Nikon was trying to create a lens with commercial success comparable to the 85/2.0 Nikkor-P but rather, it was intended to show the photo community what were they capable of. You ought to remember back in 1951 during the fragile spec Nikon M/S era, if ever it was a new creation, they were more like made to fit LEICA and/or Contax. The Nikkor-S has a suggested retail price of approx. USD300-00, it was relatively much cheaper than the comparing Leitz counterpart; one step down, for an example, Sankyo Koki KK's KOMURA 85/1.8 with less than 1/2 f-stop difference, had halved the price tag at USD160-00. It was interesting to note the Leitz Summarex had its highest sale done in 1951/2 - with combined quantity of approx. 2,000 units; made up 50% of the total production figures of approx. 4,000 units sold from 1948~1960. Author of An Illustrated History of Nikon rangefinder camera had suggested from recorded S/N 264345~266046* from 1951~1961, there were approx. 2,000 units of the Nikkor-S 85/1.5 being produced with approx. 500 units made in other mounts. So, general perception was Leitz still commanded at this exotic telephoto lens group in their own SM. Further, it was also at the time of how the 85/2 was first being exposed to the western media during the Korean peninsular crises, was it another companion to entertain demand of a faster lens speed options for war photographers or simply just aimed to impress as a companion for the 85/2 ? no one can explained the actual state of event and objectives behind the move. However, as mentioned Nikon could met a simple objective in establishing an image of their own and besides, the lens was readily available for the better made S-models that followed after the M & S. So, whatever it was the Nikkor lens family did had an fast speed option in its range of short/medium telephoto lenses category. * Nikon Hand Book indicated S/N 264000~266000; An LS M model shown in this site has a rather high S/N 303674.

Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm Telephoto lens front view with reflective lens coating

Type 1 design ring patterns
Type 2 design rings

Known versions with thinly ridged rings and version that were introduced at the end of cycle has slightly deeper ridged - similar to the 2nd version of the black barrel 8.5cm / standard 10.5cm Nikkor barrel design. However, except for this cosmetic change, there was no other significant changes internally.

Credit: Image at the left courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvin cameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.
While Nikon was still selling their chrome lenses; there were a few new releases in the Nikkor lens family that might have some significant with the decision with the introduction of the black barrel design. Although the Nikon S2 was the first Nikon S-model that had produced a small batch of black bodied model, but I think export market for other brands may also be part of the reason for such a move. Among the telephoto lens group, the first which had adopted the new black barrel design was the Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm counterpart; similarly, the ever popular Nikkor-P 1:2.5 f=10.5cm was another. Please take note: BOTH of the mentioned medium telephoto lenses were new inclusion in the Nikkor lens family and they were introduced natively with the standard look of the black barrel design that were used by other short/medium models that followed. So, it was equally interesting to note Nikon had reacted pretty late in giving Nikkor-P 1:2 f=8.5cm with similar outfit. You can call it as lens update but similarly, Nikon was also using this general lens updating program with the new design to re-brand itself. With a compatible black S-body, they match well and very eye-appealing indeed in such a combination. The black barrel in mid section on chrome design also making it acceptable when such a lens is mounted onto a chrome S-body.

Leica 85mm f/1.5 Summarex LINK to page

Optical diaphragm / design / construction for Leica Summarex 85mm f/1.5
7 elements Leitz

85mm f/1.5 Summarex

Front lens data inscription for Canon Serenar 85mm f/1.5 telephoto lens - LINK to page

Optical diaphragm / design / construction for Canon Serenar 85mm f/1.5
7 elements 4 Groups
Canon Serenar 8.5cm f1.5

Front lens data inscription for Nikkor-S.C 50mm f/1.4 RF Nippon Kogaku TOKYO

Optical diaphragm / design / construction for Nikon Nikkor 1:1.4 f=5cm

7E/3G 5cm f/1.4 Nikkor-S (1950~1961)

Optical diaphragm / design / construction for Nikkor-S.C 85mm f/1.5
7E/3G 8.5cm f/1.5 Nikkor-S (1951~1961)

Front lens data inscription for Nikkor-S.C 85mm f/1.5

<<<--- Strictly speaking both the Leitz and Nikkor-S use a Gauss-design but they came with their respective modified form. But certainly Nikon nor Canon's Serenar version didn't took a copied path. To me, the more amazing thing is actually when comparing both the Nikkor-S f/1.4 (5cm / 8.5cm lenses) - you will find the 8.5cm f/2.0 is just like a "magnified" version of the 7 elements in 3 groups Nikkor-S 1:1.4 f=5cm except it is in elongated 8.5cm focal length. *NOTE: 5cm lens group has another f/1.5 too. Further, last series of the Nikkor-S 5cm has a 7E/4G design.

Side view of various lens data a/ features on a Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens for Nikon rangefinder cameras

Accessories for Nikkor-S.c  85mm f/1.5

Due to its larger dimension of the lens with its extraordinary lens speed, the Nikkor-S has been supplied with some dedicated accessories on its own, from lesther lens case esp. with a special lens hood.

Credit: Image at the left courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvin cameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Series number 264458 on Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm dedicated lens hood and caps for Nikkor-S 85mm f/1.5
The Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm was supplied natively as a black version only. There was no known chrome version so far. The early version which was supposedlly fell around the time towards the end of US occupation and there could be some intermix accessories but none of the lens so far has any MIOJ or Tokyo version suffaced in the used equipment market. The lens cap of this version with S/N 264458 provided by Kelvin LI has an interesting old-style "Nippon Kogaku Tokyo" lens cap. But the lens data inscription was still labelled as "Nippon Kogaku Japan".

Front section view of Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm rear section mount Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm Front lens caoting on a Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm Rear Nikon S-mount Bayonet Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm

Leica SM-mount (LSM) Nikkor-P 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens

Shown was a LEICA SM mount version of this fast speed Nikkor-S 85/1.5 lens. Typically, other than the rear mount, you will notice the rotational direction of he focusing ring is operating from left to right. Nikon also supplied a different rear lens cap for the LSM model. There was an auction for a NEWER type-2 LSM lens lately which had shown with a different kind of lens hood (Boyonet-type); wondering does Nikon had made a different lens hood for the late version for this fast speed telephoto lens. If the S/N system provided by R.Rotoloni was accurate, we can assume both the units w/S/N 264382 and 367074

LEICA SM (LSM) Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens side view LEICA SM (LSM) Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens with rear SM mount view
Credit: Image courtesy of Photo_Arsenal -Worldwide® Germany.
Newer version of LEICA SM (LSM) Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens with dedicated bayonet lens hood
Credit: Image(s) courtesy of Rokas Kundrotas®. where he is more well known as maintaining another popular Rokas Photo & Videao @ EBAY with another personal site at - both kept a huge inventry for many used collectible equipment of major camera labels. Image copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Older, original lens hood for  Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens  Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens  rear view
Compare the above of the boyonet type lens hood used on the late LSM RF 85mm f/1.5 Nikkor-S (notice the ring pattern which indictes it was a Type 2) with this original lens hood that came with the unit S/N 264458. They are different.
Credit: Images above courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvin cameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

LINK to various optical finder designed for use with  Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens
Information on Nikon Optical Finder for Nikkor-P 8.5cm f/1.5 lenses: The various Finder options have been addressed at the ealier section, both the lenses (f/2.0 / f/1.5) can be used and/or interchange between the two. CLICK HERE to access that section.

Basic Technical Specification for Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm (application to version II with slightly different design on all the rings on barrel) telephoto lens:-

Lens Mount
: Nikon Bayonet S-mount for Nikon RF camera models
Compatible Models: Nikon S-series rangefinder models; Leica SM and Contax Mount versions available
Focal Length: 85mm (8.5cm)
Angle of View: 28
° 30' (Diagonal); 16° /24° (Horizontal/Vertical)
Maximum / Minimum Aperture: f/1.5 / f/32
Optical Construction: 7 elements in 3 groups
Minimum Focusing Distance: approx. 1m (approx. 3.5 ft on scales) ~
OO; (Marked values: Feet ONLY for all models:- OO, 50, 30, 20, 15, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 , 4, 3.5'
Infra Index:
Provided in all versions. Nikon bayoent models with "R" placed at the left of focusing index. LSM model positions the (R) index at the right.

old, brown colored original leather case for  Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens
Rotational Focusing direction: RIGHT-->> LEFT (Nikon, Contax); LEFT -->> RIGHT (LSM)
Depth of Filed Scales
: f/32, f/22, f/16, f/11, f/8, f/4, f/1.5 at the left (
229k Jpeg)
Magnification ratio: 1.7X; Filter Attachment Size: 60mm (P=0.75) Snap-On, Screw-in type / Series VIII
Weight: approx. 546g (19-1/4 oz) (LSM version: 18-11/16 oz).

NOTE;- Optical diaphragm for this Nikkor-S.C: please refer to the top o f this page

Depth of field Tables for RF Nikkor 8.5cm f/2.0 a dn f/1.5 telephoto lenses
Standard Accessories: Front/Rear lens cap*, leather lens case; black / metal Lens hood** Optional: Optical Finder (8.5cm model); (Varifocal/variframe); optical / Series VIII filters etc. * Black metal lens hood in two separate peices and with reversible storage feature (includis the lens cap), last version using Snap-On with bayonet design which is also metal; slip-on black, metal lens cap(s) with NK logo.** Reversible storage type, lens cap can be hood on at the rear
Original version of the dedicated metal lens hood for  Nikkor-S.C 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens
Other Information: Two versions. All black finishes only. Type 1 and Type 2 differentiate via design on the focusing, aperture and lens mounting rings. NO known metric scales for distance yet. No known version that marked with MIOJ nor made in Japan etc. on cam , barrel or ring yet. (Please send me some pictures for updating). Original listed/Suggested retail price in Japan: 61,360 Yen. Also available in Leica Screw mount (M39) with slightly different operating principle; Contax bayonet mount:- no info nor pictures to show.
Serial Numbering Guide: 2644345~266046 (approx. 2,000 units); no info on the 2nd version with newer design rings. Ref: Mr. Robert Rotoloni, author of An Illustrated History of Nikon Rangefinder Cameras. Please note the LSM model with S/N 3667074 used in this site had surpassed the author's suggestion. So, there could be other units with other combination of S/N.
NOTE:- THIS SITE REQUIRES CONTAX-MOUNT version for illustration purposes, anyone can contribute some pictures ?

A large NIKKOR old style lettering on the  front cap during the Nikon rangefinder days A rear section of MIOJ (Made in Occipied Japan)  old style lettering on the  rear cap during the Nikon rangefinder days
OFF TOPIC:- This certainly looks like an old, rare version of a Nikon RF camera caps huh ? No. it is just a bubble case but it was made in rare and unique form in solid black finishes to serve an early Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm telephoto lens in Leica screw mount that was started to offer during 1951. It carries with few of the earliest series of old Nikkor lens accessory features and considered as an odd offer during such a late MIOJ stage.  

RELATIVE:- How the rangefinder Nikkor lenses evolved itself after the reflex Nikkor era? The focal length was very popular among Nikon photographers. The first non Ai reflex version started with a moderately faster lens speed version of f/1.8 from the RF f/2.0 in 1964. The Nikkor-H had also went through several rounds of updates and version in 1973 had applied the NIC. A radical change of the design was occurred in 1975 during the Pre-Ai era and had remained immensely popular telephoto lens but it was replaced with an Nikkor 85,mm f/2.0 along with the major Ai-upgrade in 1977. The Ai-S Nikkor 85/2.0S was introduced quite late in 1983. In 1988, the first Autofocus Focus AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S was introduced and the lens speed was reverted back to f/1.8 from the Ai/Ai-S f/2.0 The AF-D 85mm f/1.8D was later introduced in 1994 for 3D Matrix Metering enabled Nikon AF SLRs. Variations: Nikon had shown a prototype Autofocus 80mm f/4.5 as early as in 1971 (NOTE the 80mm focal length change here for some of the lenses mentioned); the AF 80mm f/2.8S IF was released as the companion lens for Nikon F3AF in 1983. Another surprising package was the PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D. However, none of these were comparable to the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 - where it was ranked as one of the fastest short telephoto lens for a long time. The AF Nikkor f/1.4D was introduced quite late in 1996.

previous | NEXT | 45 A 85mm telephoto lens with a fast lens speed - Nikkor-S 1:1.5 f=8.5cm

Part One - Early / Variations | Part Two - Early LSM/Contax models | Part Three - Chrome barrel f/f32 | Part Four Black barrel f/32 | Part Five (Nikkor-S 85mm f/1.5)

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

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 / S36 Manual | light meters | Nikon RF Flash/Speedlights | Close-up photography / Repro Copy Outfit / Nikon Bellow Focusing Device (in progress) | Cases/Compartments | Lens & body caps, Lens Hoods/shades, Original Price Lists | packaging/boxes

Instruction Manuals

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