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Thread: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

  1. #1

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    Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Hello All,

    Occasional lurker surfacing to ask a question.

    Im wondering if anyone might have some information about a recently acquired Nikon barrel lens. It came to me attached to a heavily modified all-aluminum view camera unbranded that looks like a sort of distant relation of the Graflex Graphic View.

    Its heavy brass with a black finish similar, generally speaking, to the wartime Hexars Ive handled. The mounting thread is ~46mm. Im hopeless at counting reflections, but if I had to guess at the lens type, Id vote Tessar. There are 18 diaphragm blades, and the aperture ring is marked in what I tend to think of as the old European scale: 4.5 / 6.3 / 9 / 12.5 (etc.). Theres no visual evidence of lens coating. The lens has obviously seen life, as Matanle might put it, but a few hastily improvised digital test shots suggest that its still quite usable.

    The beauty ring is engraved as follows:
    Nippon Kogaku Tokyo / No. 154 / Nikkor / 1:4.5 / f=15cm

    I dont own any Nikon reference books, but Im a reasonably accomplished online searcher; so far I havent been able to turn up anything useful, beyond datapoints like the year in which the Nikkor trademark was adopted.

    Id be awfully grateful for any assistance.

    Many thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nikkor #1.jpg   Nikkor #2.jpg   Nikkor #3.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    My guess is that it pre-dated the 120mm f/6.3 Macro-Nikkor lens that was part of Nikon's Multiphot system which was used for photomacrographic and photomicrographic applications. If your lens has 39mm (Leica) threads, would support this educated guess. Enlarging lenses usually had their aperture values on the sides of the lens and not on the front. Have come across other macro lenses that also had the f/stop values on the front. Again an educated guess...

  3. #3

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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Greg, that it is a high performance macro lens seems unlikely. Plain ordinary tessar type taking lens is the most likely. Re the aperture scale, I've seen CZJ Tessars, not macro lenses, like that.

  4. #4

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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Greg, that it is a high performance macro lens seems unlikely. Plain ordinary tessar type taking lens is the most likely. Re the aperture scale, I've seen CZJ Tessars, not macro lenses, like that.
    As I said an "educated guess".
    Circa around the 1960s, there were Tessar optics out there recommended and widely used for photomacrography
    32mm f/4.5 B&L Tessar
    32.5mm f/2.8 Zeiss (Jena) Tessar
    48mm f/4.5 Bausch & Lomb Tessar
    72mm f/4.5 Bausch & Lomb Tessar
    105mm f/4.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar
    among others.
    Pretty sure all the above predated Luminars, Milars, Summars, etc.
    Once had and used an early 50mm? Milar that, as I remember, looked suspiciously like a smaller version of this 15cm Nikkor, so I'll stick to my educated guess.

  5. #5
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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Consistent with Dan's view, I'd speculate that it's a garden-variety normal tessar, descendant of the "Anytar" prototype design of the late 1920s:

    http://web.archive.org/web/201001311...02_e/index.htm

  6. #6

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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Oren,
    Thanks for posting the Memo No. 2 "The Anytar Lens" article. Will have to agree that it's a garden-variety normal tessar. Wouldn't you love to get a hold of a Anytar Dagor!
    Greg

  7. #7
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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Afraid there's a mischievous part of my brain that wants to take "Anytar" out of historical linguistic context and use it as inspiration for additional proposed lens names, like "Noparticulartar", "Yetanothertar", "Whatevertar", etc.

  8. #8

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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Thanks, everyone, for your extremely helpful replies.

    Tessar type, I think, is almost certainly right (cf. original post). On the basis of this conversation, I’ll provisionally group this lens with the initial run of Nikkors, following on after the Anytar – manufactured in the early 1930s or so. I had been hesitant to draw that conclusion for a few reasons. First, the beauty ring engraving lacks the hyphen between “Nippon” and “Kogaku” – something I’ve noticed on photos of the early Nikkors. Second, the serial number doesn’t appear to fit in with the numbering of other early examples (again, based solely on photographic evidence). And finally, the apparent lack of any references to this specific focal length (as opposed to, say, the 12cm or the 18cm). That seemed noteworthy, especially for a brand whose history has been so well – sometimes obsessively – documented.

    But early production is often marked by inconsistencies, and low-volume items often fall through the historical cracks. So I’m happy to assign this lens to that early group.

    Thanks, again, for all your help!

  9. #9
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    Re: Nikkor 15cm f4.5 Any Information?

    Early Nikkor cameras/lenses are an interest of mine. I could be wrong here, but doesn't the marking of "Tokyo" indicate the manufacture to date during the time of Japan being occupied? This was common on Nikon rangefinder lenses, specifically the 5cm lenses that didn't have enough room to engrave "Occupied Japan," which is seen on other lenses of that age group. Once this occupation was over the 5cm lenses changed to saying "Nippon Kogaku Japan."

    Just a thought - I'm curious either way. I just read the article and it seems early lenses also were marked Tokyo so it seems I'm wrong but it is interesting to see.
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