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Nippon Kogaku KK / Nikon RF-Nikkor-Q.C 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) Telephoto lens for Nikon S-Mount Rangefinder cameras


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All chrome version of the Type 1 version of the original Contax Carl Zeiss JENA 250mm f/4.0 Olympia Sonnar  for Contarex  LINK Contax version of the Carl Zeiss 250mm f/4.0 for Contarex - LINK
RELATIVE:- Other than the 18cm f/2.8 Olympia Sonnar, Zeiss had also designed other focal lengths with the same SONNAR optical configuration. One of which was the Carl Zeiss Sonnar 250mm f/4.0, The two differing versions shown at the left were all for Contarex system. Both has a very different appearance from the short mount lenses designed to be used on the Nikon Reflex Housing. On the other hand, Leica didn't jammed itself in this specific 250mm focal length but rather, they had opted for an alternate Visoflex-specific TELYT 200mm f/4.0 (1936~1960) / TELYT-V 200/4 (1959~1984). This was jointed by another long telephoto, TELYT 280mm f/4.8 model (marketed between 1961~1984). Each of these LEITZ tele-lenses may only fit different stages of Leica Visoflex Reflex Housing models.
Credit: Image at this very old version of the Contarex 250mm f/4 Olympia Sonnar courtesy of Mr. Photo_Arsenal-Worldwide; the photo above was from RITZ Camera where both specialize on many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Other web resources:- Discussion forum on Leica TELYT / Visoflex Models@Photo.net; Contarex by Zeiss Ikon; another interesting Discussion of Leitz 280mm f/4.8 at Rangefinder.com; Captain Jack's Carl Zeiss Jena Exakta Lenses.

Nippon Kogaku K.K. / Nikon Rangefinder RF- Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm(250mm f/4.0 early version) telephoto lens
for Nikon Bayonet S-Mount Rangefinder cameras
Year Introduced: 195X#; Discontinued: probably in 1954/55

If any of you are familiar with the Nikkor lens system, you will probably agree that 250mm can be considered as an odd focal length for Nikon. Other than the very old Zoom Nikkor 85~250mm which is a zoom lens-type; as for fixed focal length Nikkor lenses, this particular focal length can only be found in the rangefinder Nikkor system where it has never been replicated again in the reflex F-mount Nikkor lens group since product discontinuation The RF Nikkor-Q 1:4 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) featured here was introduced as Nikon's first telephoto lens designed for the rangefinder system.

Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 with lens attached seeijng through the tube
The Nikkor-Q 25cm telephoto lens was released along with a companion Nikon Reflex Housing (Model 1) due to adoption of a short mount design. Other than it was a S-Mount-specific Nikkor, it was also offered with an alternate Leica SM version to serve other camera labels. In relation to its exact release date many sources had presented their views on year between 1951 ~ 1954/6. I will just skip this and leave this gray area for you to resolve.

<<<---- A lovely view from rear section of a Nikkor 25cm telephoto lens

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
 
Personally, during those days, as Nikon was still largely targeting German labels as their virtual competitor(s), So I would think a comparing Contax version may provide some clues to the its rough date of release i.e. both the "Olympia" Sonnar 18cm f/2.8 / 25cm /4.0 were introduced in 1952. # Stated date of release of this version in Nikon Rangefinder Magazine as 1954. P.Braczho's Nikon Hand Book has also suggested 1954 but R. Rotoloni suggested as early as January, 1951 for the (Manual Version) along with the release of Nikon S at the same year; as well as year 1956 (Preset version) in his journal, An illustrated History of Nikon RF cameras.

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) early version  mounted with a Nikon reflex Housing Model 2
So, what all these mean is, there are actually TWO versions of the Nikkor-Q 250mm f/4.0 with the same optical design but differ on their physical appearance, dimension/weight, operational sequence as well as other lens features. The early model (shown at left) was a Manual-mount version. As this was Nikon first effort to produce a long telephoto lens for the rangefinder system; probably they were also trying to ensure their initial attempt was acceptable by the community, thus I would think much care was put to the quality aspect. For an example, despite it only has a simple 4 piece elements design, choice of quality material in combination of brass, aluminum were being used throughout This had resulted this lens weighs quite heavily at 1.35kg. Except for the Tripod mounting plate and the rear end section, the entire lens was black paint/coated resin.

Credit: A lovely picture of this Nikkor-Q 25cm F/4.0 lens mounted with the Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 was scanned and retouched from Nikon RF Magazine Photographer: ®
Anyway, known production number for this early version short mount Nikkor-Q 25cm f/4.0 was being reported as around approx. 600 units. The lens has an aperture range of 7 f-stops from f/4.0~f/32. Closest focusing distance capability is 10ft. Optical construction uses a 4 elements in 3 groups design. The correct filter size for this version is a rather odd 68mm. A dedicated metal lens hood with a specific 25cm 1:4 marking can be store inversely and it also will accept 68mm front lens cap. Series IX filters are recommended. One of the delightful features is the depth of field scales found in this early version, it has f/32, f/22, f16, f11, f/8 and f/4 - it provides a generous 6 f-stops inclusion for quick visual guide on DOF checking. Although technically, the lens can also be manually stopped down to check depth of field, but such a visual provides a more quicker references esp. when using smaller apertures.

Depf of field scales in color on a rangefinder 250mm f/4 Nikkor-Q.C
This particular version is without the preset ring type of the Nikkor-Q.C 1:4 f=2.5cm was recently appeared in an auction conducted by Westlicht Photographica Auction, the description mentioned as such " .. first manual version (only approx. 250 lenses. made) ..Year: c.1953....". The focusing ring uses a broader grip style, minus the preset ring at the front, depth of field scales were color coded, no chrome front ring but tripod collar at the base was a chrome finish type.

Nikkor-Q.C 250mm f/4 , early typeoriginal maker box and front view of a Nikkor-Q.C 250mm f/4 telephoto lens for rangefinder Nikon cameras

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm(250mm f/4.0 early version side view An early version of the Nikon  (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens with chrome ring / lens barrel -  very early version
Although from all reading references which have suggest there were no known chrome version was produced by Nikon so far, but recently, I read an old Japanese literature on early Nikon RF lenses where it printed a same lens which has a chrome ring at the front / rear end.
     
Typically, for those who may has keen interest in oldie collecting, some would use the few ridged and level of recessed contour of the control rings to verify the different versions. Another common method is using the chrome tripod socket to determine this early version from the later model(s). Another popular quick way for further verification is, virtually all the earlier models produced only has the distance scales printed in FEET only. But some of this visual guides may NOT be entirely accurate. For an example, back in 2005, I noticed n Ebay seller auctioning a version that came with a chrome socket tripod plate, carries a Serial number 271879 which suggested it was a very early model. It has a different pattern used on the focusing ring and if you refer back to the old scanned picture on the literature with a chrome barrel at the top, they actually both share the older type of focusing ring which is very different from most models that you can refer today in many journals. See below for some pictures for the said version):-

This version shown below doesn't have the deeply ridged focusing ring. Take note of the Chrome Ring version above, they share the same design which is different from most other models.
Early design of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) side view 1 Early design of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) side view 2 with chrome tripod socket
Further, the lens data was printed as Nikkor-Q.C. which was not being printed in the lens data on most followed up models.
So, personally, call this an improvement or whatever, I would think the one with a broader ridged focusing ring could be the later version after this shallow ridged ring type. Guru Collector, Mr. R. Rotoloni stated this early Nikkor lens carries Serial Number from 271800~272400. As from the earlier photo with the S/N 271879, which falls within as the first 100 units produced. What this means is, within the total number of 600 units produced for the MK 1 of the RF Nikkor telephoto lens, it could separated into a few experimental version during the early stage. Come to think of it, collecting oldie camera/lenses can be quite a stressful hobby huh ? I learnt by the days.. ).



Early design of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0)  from view with lens data as Nikkor-Q.C Early design of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) rear lens mount Early design of the Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) front view with exposed lens element / coating


Nippon Kogaku K.K./ Nikon RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm MK II (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens
for Nikon Bayonet S-Mount Rangefinder cameras

Year Introduced: 1954
#; Discontinued: probably in 1963~64 # Stated date (1954) was mentioned in Nikon Rangefinder Magazine, Japan. P.Braczho's Nikon Hand Book has suggested a later date of release in 1958; but Mr. R. Rotoloni has quoted 1956 for this Preset** version in his journal, An illustrated History of Nikon RF cameras.

Prior to debut of the Nikon SP in 1957, the period between 1954~1956 we had witnessed many new releases of both lenses as well as system accessories designed specifically for the Nikon rangefinder system. In particularly, one important aspect among these was, Nikon had also upgraded the early Nikon Reflex Housing model. In comparison, the new model 2 was a vast improvement in terms of built quality, features as well as features which had made using long telephoto lenses with reflex housing a much easier to operate and setup (similarly, LEICA has also improved their original Leica PLOOT to Visoflex 1). Overall, the system update has enabled Nikon to rank at par with the Leica counterpart in terms of efficiency and performance in the long telephoto lenses category. One key area among these updates was inclusion of a preset mechanism onto the many Nikkor long telephoto lenses such as the RF Nikkor 180mm f/2.5 which was introduced with such a native preset feature built in.

Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 with Nikkor 250mm f/4.0 lens attched
It had proven to be well received, hence the RF 250mm f/4.0 has been redesigned again with similar lens feature. However, Nikon didn't took a short cut, but rather, the resulting effort was a new 250mm version with an entirely feel and appearance. Although technically, Nikon seemingly was quite satisfied with the optical design they adopted earlier and had decided the second version also retaining it literally unchanged; but the new 250mm f/4 Nikkor telephoto now has a significant improvement with the preset diaphragm mechanism which improves operational ease greatly when using it with the S-series Nikon.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008.

Side detail view of an preset version of the   Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens
Notice the preset ring at the front ? This mechanism / ring is not provided on the LEICA SM units.

Credit: All images 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 © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Bottom section /  detail view of an preset version of the   Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens
 
** Lenses with Preset diaphragm: lenses with preset diaphragm mechanism basically helps to simplify photo composition and enable focusing easier. Depends on camera brands/design adopted, but typically they usually have two aperture control rings for controling the aperture diaphragm. One is to allow photographer set the desired f-stop for exposure while another ring permits the user to open up the lens maximum aperture just to make focusing easier by manipulating the various apertures (typically, maximum aperture provides a brighter image); the 2nd ring will stop to the preset aperture easily as it is couples. The advantage is, unlike manual lenses, the photographer doesn't have to divert from the viewfinder back to visually check and set the aperture on the lens. Besides, unlike stopped down AE (older RF cameras doesn't have this installed yet), using a preset lens, the viewfinder will not darken as the f-stop is set in. It is the same working principle with an Ai-Nikkor lens or semi auto Ai offered by some of the Nikon and Nikkormat but it is NOT an automatic indexing (Ai) mechanism. The preset mechanism basically works mechanically via the rings - the design used on the last of the Telephoto lens, Nikkor-T 1:4.5 f=35cm (RF Nikkor 350mm f/4.5) came close to claim it as an semi-automatic diaphragm control mechanism (on lens section) while the others have a more simpler form in the preset mechanism. Please take note that the preset diaphragm is designed more to focusing convenience but not relate anything to metering with all the older rangefinder Nikon bodies as NONE of the S-Series Nikon has a modern means of built-in TTL metering system (Example, like a modern M6 series + Leica but comparison is unfair .. ).

The preset version of the RF Nikkor-Q 25cm f/4.0 telephoto lens was believed to be introduced in 1954. I wouldn't conclude the lens update as radical as the internal optical design was still the same formula as with the first version. Similarly, the front end filter size was still the same at 68mm (P=0.75). The optical formula used actually has a very straight forward design in a 4 elements in 3 groups. The design actually shares the same principle with another popular RF Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5 (a 1953 release) where Nikon aims to retain a high acutance with such a moderately fast lens speed in such a long focal length. However, the overall appearance and operational convenience was another. The change basically involved mainly centering around the lens barrel/tube with added controls. One of the most prominent feature was a preset diaphragm ring that located at front end. Other cosmetic changes include a dual color distance scales where metric scales has been included along with the scales in feet. A minor change was a reduction of two f-stops depth of field visual guides from the earlier model. Overall, Nikon has also "trimmed" down the overall dimension which has directly resulted in a much lighter lens package as a whole. It now weighs only 920g as compare to the 1,350g predecessor. This slimming and re-engineering has added a layer of improved portability as well as manuvierity to the lens for setting up the lens for photography with the reflex housing. Previously, when you include the extra weight of the Reflex Housing and a Nikon -S series body, the combined weight of the entire setup could easily exceed beyond 2 kg !

 Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens with matching /dedicated metal lens hood for use with Nikon Reflex Housing Unit
Credit: This very well taken picture of the 25cm lens courtesy of Photo_ Arsenal Worldwide® Germany. The Company also maintains an active EBAY Store, trading many used and new photo equipment of various labels. Photo Arsenal can be contacted at Photo Arsenal Boris Jamchtchik, Altenfurter Str.16a 90475 Nuernberg Germany Tel.: +49 (0) 911/ 4008081 E-Mail: ebayshop@ arsenal-photo.com. Image(s) copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 with Nikkor 250mm f/4.0 lens attched


With a maximum aperture of f/4.0 in a long focal length of 250mm - it falls between a reflex-based, F-mount MF Nikkor 200mm f/4.0 (510g) and a Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 (IF-ED, 990g; f/4.5 non-Ai 1,100g; AF f/4.0 IF-ED, 1,330g), but with a markup maximum lens speed at f/4.0 along with a mid-focal length of 250mm between the two (200/300mm), you still have to admit this rangefinder version of the 920g Nikkor-Q was considered as a commendable effort by Nikon in enabling it to be made so "compact".

As mentioned at the beginning of this site, the odd 250mm focal length was once of a kind for Nikkor lens group and can only be found in the RF-Nikkor family. As compare to the faster 180/2.5 option, the Nikkor-Q 25cm f/4.0 telephoto lens has a good compromise between performance, practical focal length as well as affordability. The recorded numbers reflects this state where a total of 2,300 units were sold as compare to 1,200 units for the 180/2.5.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008.
The extra long lens hood on a Nikkor Ranegfinder RF 250mm f/4 telephoto lens

Front view of the second version  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens Rear section view with lens mount  of the second version  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens <<<--- The front and rear end section of the rangefinder Nikkor-Q 250mm f/4.0 lens. The base section is the built-in tripod collar. With a Nikon Reflex Housing installed, user may choose between using one of the tripod socket for horizontal and/or vertical format shooting.

Nikon N-F tube for  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens

This RF Nikkor telephoto lens can also be used on the reflex F-mount Nikon F or Nikkormat etc. The N-->F tube bridges the lens for the 2 different lens mount.
 
Whatever it is, despite it has been re-packaged by Nikon such an appealing manner, photography with a bulky setup of reflex housing in between would never be comparable to TTL convenience offers in a typical Nikon SLR camera setup. As Nikon has offered an innovative N-->F tube to enable this rangefinder telephoto be able to use on the reflex F-Mount Nikon, it is good companion accessory for cross-system expansion to find more usage for this telephoto lens.

Nikon Reflex Housing Model 2 with Nikkor 250mm f/4.0 lens attched
I guess after the Nikon F was introduced, many Nikon photographer would also utilize the device to mount this RF 250mm telephoto onto their Nikon F/Nikkomat bodies. But then the F-mount Nikkor lens group was at a transitional change stage with its fastest pace refocused to development of newer F-mount lenses, this rangefinder Nikkor-Q was eventually beginning to diminish itself from active services as a good, solid long telephoto lens during its hey days.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008.

LINK to AUTO Zoom Nikkor  AUTO Zoom Nikkor 1:4.5 f=8.5cm ~ 1:9.5 f=25cm(85~250mm) telephoto in reflex F-mount
How this dual platforms Nikkor-Q telephoto lens evolved itself after from here:- The 250mm is an unique focal length and only can be found as a fixed focal length Nikkor in the rangefinder lens group. The closest mentioned lens was the AUTO Zoom Nikkor 1:4.5 f=8.5cm ~ 1:9.5 f=25cm(85~250mm) - which incidentally was Nikon first zoom lens for the reflex F-mount system. The AUTOFOCUS version AF Zoom Nikkor 75-240mm f/4.5-5.6D came close to this focal length. But these are zoom Nikkor lenses; You may also try browsing the library in MIR's 200mm focal length | 300mm focal length Nikkor telephoto lenses.


Optical lens elements / construction / design for  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens

DOF scales for Nikkor-Q 250mm f/4.0 rangefinder version

Original leather lens case for  Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0) telephoto lens

Basic Technical Specification for Nikkor-Q(C) 1:4.0 f=25cm telephoto lens:-

Lens Mount
: Nikon Bayonet S-mount for RF models (Short Mount, Preset Mechanism)
Compatible Models: Nikon S-Series rangefinder models via
Nikon Reflex Housing; Nikon F/Nikkormat via N-F Tube
Focal Length: 250mm (25cm);
Maximum / Minimum Aperture: f/4.0 / f/32
Angle of View: 10
° (Diagonal; 6° (Horizontal); 9° (Vertical)
Optical Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
Minimum Focusing Distance: 3m (approx. 10 ft) ~
OO
Depth of Filed Scales: f/32, f/11, f/4.0; Infra Index: Provided

<<<--- An old brown leather lens case. The lens hood for the 25cm Nikkor has a printed mark that shows 25cm 1:4 version. DOF Scales reference table (192k Jpeg file)

vertical view of the front section of a  2nd model of Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0)
(Marked values: Feet only for early model:- OO 900, 300, 200, 100, 70, 50, 40, 35, 25, 21, 18, 15 ... ); Model MK II : Dual color display system; Feet (yellow scales): starts from 300, 100, 70... Metres (white scales): 200, 100, 50, 30 ...
Magnification ratio: no info;
Filter Attachment Size
**: 68mm (P=0.75) Screw-in type / Series IX
Dimension: no info (
please help to furnish exact info)
Weight (body only)
: 1st model: 1,350g (approx. 40oz); MK II version: 920g; Leica Screw mount version (SM): approx. 36-11/16oz
Standard Accessories: Requires Nikon Reflex Housing to take pictures Works on Nikon Bellow / Micro-Nikkor; Front/Rear lens cap, Lens hood (25cm) as standard accessories. Optional: Optical filters etc. N-F tube/adapters for Nikon SLR cameras

Other Information
: The Leica SM version has no Preset Diaphragm supplied; Focusing recommendation for Nikon F (via N/F Tube): A, B, E, F, J, G2, G3, H2 & H3 (C, D, G4 may be possible); ** Slip-on outer diameter: 85mm; M39 Screw Mount version was also available for Leica, Canon etc. via their respective version of Reflex Housing. Serial Numbering References:- Early version MK I starts from 271800 ~ 272400 (600 Units). Followed up MK II model could has S/N started from 272401~273769 (1,400 units); 277400~277668 (300 Units). Total Number: approx. 2,300 units combined. Ref: Mr. Robert Rotoloni, author of An Illustrated History of Nikon Rangefinder Cameras.

Credit: All images courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvincameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

A lovely view from the rear section for this Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) RF Nikkor-Q 1:4.0 f=25cm (250mm f/4.0)
Back to - Nikon RF-Nikkor lenses (Rangefinder):- Main Index Page

Credit: All images courtesy of Mr. Kelvin Li from his popular gokelvincameras @ Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

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

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