An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff
A Nikon S, with 50/1.4 Nikkor
When Nippon Kogaku exhausted the supply of top plates with the M engraved in front of the serial
number, they dropped it. This would be about serial number 6094000. Other than the "M" in front of
the prefix, there is no difference between an early S and a late M. Both are still 24x34 image size. In
fact, the first 200 or so Nikon S cameras were stamped MIOJ in the back leather, just like the later M
cameras were. For some reason, these cameras usually have red flash plugs, not usually found on M
cameras, nor later S cameras.
There were lots of running changes during the production of the S cameras. The way that the back attaches to the camera changed, as did the size and shape of the rewind knob. Again, cameras were not assembled in serial number order, so the changes didn't appear in serial number order.
When they reached serial number 6099999, they continued with the serial number pattern, and the next cameras was 60910000. they built 1215 cameras with eight digit cameras, then changed to 6100000. These eight digit cameras command a premium from collectors today. A few other cameras have been found with eight digit serial numbers. They have a extra digit, a "1" engraved after a normal serial number. I assume this represents a duplicate serial number.
A very small batch of Nikon S cameras were built for Life magazine. They were finished in black, and have extra large wind and rewind knobs.
Cameras were assembled into the high 6129xxx numbers. Total production was 35,127 cameras, from 1951 until 1954.
One of the rare duplicate number Nikon S cameras.
Rare factory synch in red, left, and the normal black synch.
Differences between late (left), and early (right) camera backs
Other running changes included the size of the wind knobs and the engraving on the back locks, late (left), and early (right)