Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

50/2 Nikkor for Rangefinder

The 50/2 Nikkor was in production long before Nippon Kogaku considered making cameras. It was introduced in 1939, mounted for Canon S cameras. It was also made available for Leica screwmount cameras. So when Nikon introduced the Nikon I, it was an obvious choice for the fast normal lens.

Any Nikon lens that has been in production as long as this one is bound to come in many variations. As we are manly concerned with lenses form the Nikon rangefinder era here, the first version encountered would be the collapsible version. The first batch of serial numbers are 609xxx, of which a handful were probably made in Nikon mount, the bulk of them would be in Leica screwmount, as is the case for most early Nikkors.

The second batch of 50/2 lenses was numbered 708xxx. Early 708s were mounted to Nikon I cameras, later ones are found on early M cameras. The last batch was numbered 811xxx.

During this batch of 811xxx lenses, Nippon Kogaku decided to abandon the collapsible lens design, and replace it with a rigid one. The remaining lenses that were sold in Nikon mount had a sleeve mounted between the head and the base to prevent collapsing. This was apparently only done to the Nikon mount lenses, collapsible Nikkors are found with these numbers in Leica screwmount. Probably only a few hundred to several hundred were ever produced this way.

In 1950 Nippon Kogaku introduced the 50/2 in a new rigid mount. The first batch of lenses in this barrel are numbered 5008xxx. The serial numbers then change to 617xxx, and runs uninterrupted until 662xxx. The only real noticeable change in this batch is the word "Tokyo" on the beauty ring is replaced by "Japan", although the barrel loses weight insidiously. The next serial number batch marks the change to a barrel finished in black, starting with 714xxx and running up to 768xxx. The break is not clean, however. Some lenses have earlier numbers, probably using up existing beauty rings.

Most of the black barrel lenses have a chrome filter ring in the front, but examples with a black filter ring have been found scattered in small batches throughout production.

A 50/2 Nikkor collapsible in Nikon mount, 811 series.

A 50/2 Nikkor collapsible in leica mount, with the metal can it was sold in.

The hybrid version.

The very common rigid Nikon rangefinder mount version in chrome.

The same lens in Leica thread, commonly found on Nicca and Tower cameras.

The final Nikon rangefinder mount version in black.