Additional information on

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) rangefinder
W-Nikkor.
C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (RF 35mm f/3.5) ; RF W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm (RF 35mm f/2.5); RF W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (RF 35mm f/1.8);
RF Stereo-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (RF 35mm f/3.5 Stereo-Nikkor) wideangle lenses for Nikon S-Mount Rangefinder cameras

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Introduction

Probably due to its popular focal length with a slightly wider angle of view, along with the 50mm and others, the 35mm formed the basis of five core original lenses introduced with the early Nikon rangefinder cameras. We can safely regarded the
Nikkor 35mm focal length easily has the most of lens updates and varieties in terms of lens selection. But as we tracked back to the Company which started itself as an independent lens producer prior to introducing their own label, Nikon has probably already had its 35mm lenses produced either in LSM, Contax bayonet and even for Canon prior to introducing their first bayonet mount, the Nikon I.

Generally, the Nikon W.Nikkor 35mm rangefinder lens group with Nikon's own S-bayonet mount consists of a
W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (1948), W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm (1952), W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm (1956) and along with debut of a Stereo-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm, also in 1956. For a quick reference, based on year of introduction, almost all the EARLY Nikon 35mm rangefinder 35mm wideangle lenses in slightly different configurations, in particularly, the W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/3.5 were believed to be only having a chrome on brass barrel outfit. Chrome and black finishing or simply single colour design were available only at later years. While some information may be accessible via references or on published journals but most may not be so readily available, so one may has to use supplementary elements such as mount-type design, serial number(s), Mark(s) /engraving(s) and even the packaging such as cases or boxes in singularly or combine them as to offer some guide to determine with a rough guess with the year of produce of the type of lens made.

As the market during the early days were still control by Leica and Contax, the Japanese manufacturers had to produce various lenses also cater for the other German mount as alternate choice for photographers. Leica LSM (Leica screw mount) lenses at 35mm focal length may has been started to offer as early as 1930. Other than the popular Elmar 1:3.5/35mm (1930~49), Leica had alternate Elmar 1:4.5/35mm (1933~34), Summaron 1:3.5/35mm (1948~60), a faster lens speed of Summaron 1:2.8/35mm (1958~63) and Summicron 1:2/35mm classic between 1958~63. The latter two version were offered both in screw mount and bayonet. On the other hand, Contax, although had their bayonet mount design as early as in 1920, but it was not until in 1932 that with the introduction of Contax I that it deployed the lens mount into camera for commercial production. However, Carl Zeiss did produced their lenses in LSM range. The 35mm lens group offered by Contax in their own unique bayonet lens mount had no 35mm when Contax I was introduced, instead, a Biotar 40mm f/2.0 was offered. The 35mm focal length later was added with a Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8 (1:2.8/3.5cm) which came with an impressive lens speed as starting 35mm wideangle lens; however, the Contax 35mm lens group did offered an alternative and cheaper Orthometar 35mm f/4.5 (1:4.5/3.5cm) wideangle lens for photographers to choose from. Both Jena and Oberkochen factories offered Biogon in their official listings but may be in different optical designs, for an example, the Jena direct mount Biogon 35mm f/2.8 (1949) used a 6E/4G design while the Oberkochen Biogon 35mm f/2.8 in 1951 had a 7E/4G optically. Further, Jena factory also had offered a Biometar 35mm f/2.8 but Oberkochen factory had a
Carl Zeiss 35mm f3.5 Planar (1954) with both having an equivalent maximum aperture of f/2.8. Anyway, although the lens designation may remain identical, but prewar and post war period may see a same lens with identical designation carried with different optical changes internally, for an example, Zeiss Oberkochen had completely redesigned the Biogon optically. Note: Zeiss-Opton are made in Oberkochen factory, with coated lenses stamped with a red T. After 1953, it dropped the red colored T at the lens designation, and just had retained/marked with "Carl Zeiss".

35mm f/3.5 Zeiss Jena Planar Link

35mm f/3.5 Zeiss  Jena Biometar Link

Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/3.5 Link

Biogon 35mm f/3.5 postwar version link

Zeiss Opton 35mm f/3.5 link

Zeiss HERAR  35mm f/3.5 link

35mm f/3.5 Orthometer link

Zeiss Jena PLANAR
1:3.5/35mm (1954)

C.Zeiss Jena BIOMETAR
1:2.8/35mm (1950)

Carl Zeiss Jena BIOGON
1:2.8/35mm (1936)

CZJ BIOGON (Post War)
1:2.8/35mm (194~)

Oberkochen ZEISS-OPTON
1:2.8/35mm (1951)

Carl Zeiss Jena HERAR
1:3.5/3.5cm (1936~8)

CZJ Orthometar
1:4.5 f=3.5cm (1938)


old Leitz 35mm f/3.5  ELMAR link

35mm f/3.5  Elmar Stereo link

35mm f/3.5 Summaron link

35mm f/3.5 Summaron Link (new type)

35mm f/3.5 Summicron Link

Zeiss IKON 35mm f/3.5 StereoStar 35mm link

Leitz ELMAR 1:3.5/3.5cm
f4.5 (1934/f3.5 (1930~49)

ELMAR 3.5/3.5cm Stereo
Leitz Stemar 1:3.5/3.3cm

Leitz Summaron 1:3.5/3.5cm
(1948~1960)

Leitz Summaron 1:2.8/35mm
1948~1963 LSM

Leitz Summicron 1:2/35mm
1958~1963 MK1

Zeiss IKON Stereotar.C 1:3.5 f=35mm
1940~

           

On the other hand, another major Japanese manufacturer, Canon had quite a number of offerings at the 35mm focal length,
the early Canon SERENAR series comprised of 35mm f/3.2 (1951) and a 35mm f/3.5 (1950) wideangle lenses. Newer series introduced at later stages include moderately improved lens speed such as Canon 35mm f/2.8 (1951) and a Canon 35mm f/2.0 (1962) but the Company also had fast lens speed alternative like the Canon 35mm f/1.8 (1957) and the Canon 35mm f/1.5 (1958). Most of the early Serenar series by Canon had chrome finishing while lenses introduced later mostly were dressed mostly in black/chrome outfits or with a few exception, in chrome. Similarly, due to extensive market predominated by Leica and Contax, most of the early Canon 35mm wideangles also offered in respective mount in either LSM or Contax bayonet mount. But as a whole, if we use options offered by comparing competitions, the W-Nikkor lens group by Nikon were more or less considered to be as moderate in terms of lens choice as well as in their respective specification individually.
Canon various rangefinder 35mm lenses  links

Serenar 35mm f/3.5 (1950)
4E/3G, 34mm thread

Serenar 35mm f/3.2
6E/4G, 34mm (1951)

Serenar 35mm f/2.8 MK I
6E/4G, 34mm (1951)

Canon 35mm f/2.8 II
6E/4G, 40mm (1951)

Canon 35mm f/2.0 II
7E/4G, 40mm (1962)

Canon 35mm f/1.8
7E/4G, 40mm thread (1958)

Canon 35mm f/1.5
8E/4G, 48mm (1957)

             

Credit:- Basic references extracted from Canon Museum S-mount lenses section. Dimension of various optic by Canon shown here are not to scale.

Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Part I Basic information on Nippon Kogaku K.K. W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle lens Year Introduced: March, 1948; Discontinued: No info

The W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm was the only wideangle available debut of the original Nikkor lens group designed for the rangefinder Nikon bodies. The first version uses the popular heavy chrome finishes with brass mount and comes with a grooved ring for at the front section for aperture control. The lens is solidly built and weighs considerably heavy for a wideangle lens.
   
Most of the early series bear "TOKYO" after the Company name (short for "NKT") and at the base section of the lens, it had been stamped with :MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN", hence that was how the popular quote of classification of "MIOJ" was referred to lenses produced during the post war period. Some of these are stamping while some were printed and there are reference whether which were produced earlier. In both Peter Braczko's Nikon Handbook and Robert Rotoloni's Nikon Rangefinder Guide, approx. 20,000 units of the early series were being produced with 2,400 units bear MIOJ engraving. Possibly due to this reason, MIOJ would generally demand a higher premium than comparing version.
   
Nikon lenses with MIOJ inscription explained on W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle lens
Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens old type /  MIOJ Tokyo

Nikon S2 w/W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) MIOJ Tokyo wideangle lens

Optical design for W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle lens

Despite optically it remains the same (4 elements in 3 groups) throughout its entire product cycle, the lens had generally gone through three stages in cosmetic design and/or changes in designation used. The early batch of the W.Nikkor 1:3.5 f-3.5cm was only available in chrome finishing only, no black version was known in existence thus far. Seemingly, all batches were produced with W.Nikkor.C which suggests lens produced are coated from the beginning (if any of you have a version that doesn't bear the "C", please help to furnish and/or rectify correctness of this remark, Thanks ).

Illustration for Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) w/f22 minimum aperture
A main difference that separates the early series with the second version is simply by identifying the minimum aperture of f/16, while the second update, it retains the grooved ring (1) for aperture control, but minimum aperture scale has been extended to f/22 (3), while inscription of MIOJ is not used at all in this update; further, the "Nippon Kogaku Tokyo" has been replaced with "Nippon Kogaku Japan (2)" but optically, the update seemingly has retained identical optical formula with the earliest series. Somehow, the leather lens case for this series has a deeper tone than earlier ones which is light brownish in colour. Approx. 8,000 units of this version may had been produced.


The last version of the W-Nikkor 35mm f/3.5 had gone though some design changes in some major way, although internally, the optical formula seemingly was not being altered from previous models with its 4G/4E arrangement. First, the wide grooved ring for aperture control has been eliminated (1) and replaced with conventional ring control as used in modern manual lenses. In fact, during this period, Nikon has started to offer other alternative such as the W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm where the lens also went through similar upgrade in similar fashion was aimed to improve lens handling as well as reducing its weight (The early series model weighs approx. 190g while the late version weighs considerably lighter at 100g only due to combination in design as well as reduction is use of brass). Further, use of filter is much easier in this update as its provides a 43mm filter thread for direct mounting onto lens for creative filter usage. Naturally, this update extends the minimum aperture of f/22 from previous upgrade while on the other hand, the lens retains standard designation marked as Nippon Kogaku Japan.
 
Comparing three versions of the old W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
A good illustration of the three late versions of W-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm wideangle lenses found on a Japanese collector's brochure where I scanned for reference only. 1) first version with update (Non-MIOJ); 2 & 3, last version in chrome and black finishing.
 
Illustration on 2nd version of Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Some lenses appeared during this period may bear an "EP" sign engraved into the barrel, just like the lens shown above with an EP (2). Note: "EP" marked optical or hardware item was just to differentiate mechanize / goods that sold during the post war Japan era. EP engraved items were distributed via military "duty-free" outlets or sometimes referred as PX distribution system during the period. Technically, you can refer them as the same with "MIOJ" (Made in Occupied Japan) products except EP extends longer period for the US troops in Japan after quoted "MIOJ" on products were expired.

Nikon rangefinder 35mmf/3.5 wideangle lens in black
NIKON SP Black with W-Nikkor.C 35mm f/3.5 black
Black paint finish of the W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Probably during its introduction, the prevailing comparing labels were mostly offered products in typically chrome /brass finishes, thus Nikon first started in designing most of their early generation of original Nikkor lenses only with chrome finishing but at later stage, it began producing black version to supplement some f the black bodied Nikon cameras as alternative for photographers. The black paint W-Nikkor 1:3.5 f=3.5cm lens is very similar to the chrome version in many aspect in its construction. This model also click stops to f/22, focuses at minimum distance of 3 feet; the lens probably was introduced after the black W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm lens which estimates to be from 1954 onwards. In line with the introduction of the black finish lens, some of the accessories such as lens cap, optical finder has added with matching black finishing. According to some Guru collectors, there are approx. 9,000 units of the black finish W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm lens had been produced.

Another reason is being, some of the Nikkor lenses were also available in Leica Screw Mount and/or Contax bayonet mount and obviously Nikon was trying to extend its market appeal in order to supplement respective labels in a less distinguishable manner. It was not known if Nikon had produced any black finish W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm lens in LSM or Contax bayonet mount. If anyone of you has such a rare collection in possession, do consider please help to furnish some of the photos to patch this unanswered question. Thanks.
   
Rear section view on  a Nikon W-Nikkor-C 1:3.5 f=2.8cm wideangle lens in Leica screw mount (LSM)

A rare early MIOJ W-Nikkor.C 3.5cm f/3.5 in Leica Screw Mount.


Credit: Image courtesy of Camron8888 @ Ebay Store . Image Copyright © 2007.

W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm in Leica M39 thread screw mount
W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm w/M39 screw mount (LSM) with an inscription MIOJ/Nippon Kogaku Tokyo were scarce in number. Some earliest models have f/16 while some of them may bear updated/extended f/22. However, in a brochure published in early '50 could suggest the lens may exist in other configurations (even the suggestive coated "C" alphabet used after the lens designation may also being eliminated at some stage). While the later Nikon W-Nikkor.C 35mm f/3.5 model was provided with has lens accessory size of 43mm (Snap-On or screw-in or Series VII (50.8mm); on the other hand, the LSM version's filter thread is 34.5mm to accommodate either Snap-On or Screw-in type and/or Series VI (41.3mm) lens accessories Further, in some comparison, the published figure states the LSM Nikkor weighs heavier at 4-1/4 oz as compare to 3-1/2 oz on the Nikon bayonet version.

<<<--- LSM version like these shown at left and below are produced in 1955.
   
Rangefinder Nikkor 35mm f/3.5 chrome in Leica screw mount and chrome finder


Nikon's Chrome finish 3.5cm Optical Finder for  W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Other than the standard lens which sold with the camera, early Nikon rangefinder camera models did not have provision for many other focal lengths lenses within the camera as picture composing aid and would require optional accessories such as sport Frame to provide photographer a rough visual guide on composition. Probably between 1949/50, Nikon started to introduce specific optical finder for specific focal length, there are three types of finders being produced so far with one additional special 35mm Stereo Finder for 17 x 24mm picture format and it was delivered as companion accessory for the Stereo-Nikkor. As these Finders were small accessories, so most are not serialized to record in production series, thus we can only use estimation or other references such as inscription to determine their rough production period. Generally, we would assume "Nippon Kogaku Japan" would be later version while those with "Nippon Kogaku Tokyo" be produce during occupation period (very similar to how we differentiate the lenses) BUT sometimes this general reference can not be established as shown by some examples below.

The chrome-finish 3.5cm optical finder uses helical adjustment wheel with parallax dial around the eyepiece. It can be mounted directly onto camera's accessory shoe. It is more solid than the Black Aluminum version introduced at later stage but the latter has some improvement over the earlier chrome finish model as it provides parallax mark with the frame line and eliminate the dial design used in the chrome model. Further, it is lighter and composition is much easier for photographers as it is a much brighter finder.
 
Nikon Black BL Finder with bright frame line for W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Although it was widely accepted the chrome-type was the early model produced during the late '40 ~early '50 period, while the bright-line BL black Finder was only made available after 1956, but here is a BL Finder in black which has inscription as "Nippon Kogaku Tokyo" which may push the time of produce of such finder much earlier than we assume it was. Incidentally, the BL Bright Frame-lines Finder has similar appearance with the Special BL Finder designed for the STEREO-Nikkor 3.5cm , except the latter has a printed "Stereo" as well as a tiny eatched lines at the front of the finder.
 
Nikon Mini Finder for 35mm rangefinder Nikkor wideangle lenses
   
Nikon Mini Finder for W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
One of the most interesting optical finder available for 3.5cm W-Nikkor is a Mini-Finder but it was produced not as a standard accessory, instead, it was supposed t be an optional companion accessory delivered along with the NIKON S2 camera. The interesting part of this finder is its design as well as compactness. The finder is actually designed as side mounting, which can be slip onto the accessory shoe on the camera and maintain overall compactness; the position of the finder after mounted is almost placed adjacent above the rangefinder window.

Nikon Optical Finders - LINK
<<<--- Other alternatives: Nikon actually had designed many types of finders as visual aid for their lenses. While the few outlined above are focal length specific, but within the optical finder group, you may also find the Universal / Variframes Finder and/or Varifocal Finder which has 3.5cm focal length covered.

The W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm
wideangle had remained in the W-Nikkor lens group for much of time Nikon rangefinder cameras were offered to photographers and despite Nikon has started providing faster lens speed version of W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm in 1952 and the W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm in 1956 for general photography. Affordability probably was the main factor, and it is a standard wideangle with moderately sufficient speed for all round purpose usage. It has a proven design and had recomputed for maximum correction and with its maximum aperture probably at its near upper limit for the simple, straight forward optical formula used.
   

Basic Specification for Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) rangefinder W-Nikkor-C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle lens:-

Lens Mount: Nikon S-mount for RF Nikon or LEICA M39 Screw Mount
Focal Length: 35mm (3.5cm); Picture Angle: 63
° (37° x 53° ); Maximum / Minimum Aperture: f/3.5 ~ f/16 (early model) ; f/22 (late models)

Fron section of aperture scales of a Nikon W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens

Optical Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups;
Minimum Focusing Distance: approx. 3 ft ~
OO
Filter Attachment Size: Series VII (43mm) screw-in / Snap-on Type (depends on period introduced)
Lens Hood: 43mm Screw-in Type; Diaphragm: Manual
Dimension:-
55.8 mm dia. x 32.4 mm long (overall)
Weight (lens only)
: approx. 190g/6.5oz for early chrome / brass model; 5.5oz for late version chrome, 100g / 3.5 oz for Black model; Screw Mount (Leica Thread):- no info but approx. 4-1/4 oz for LSM second version.

Standard/Optional Accessories
: Optical Finder (3.5cm model, BL black, Variframe finders, 3.5cm Mini Finder or Sport frame finder etc.); rear lens cap. early model slip on type, late models snap-on; Optional: Screw-in type filters for M39 version; Lens hood: no info; Lens accessories: 43mm / Series VII (50.8mm) for Nikon S-Mount model; 34.5mm /Series VI (41.3mm) for Leica M39 LSM model.

Other Information
: Quantity Approx. 2,400 MIOJ; 8,000 for early model(s); 9,000 units late versions in chrome or black finishing. Ref: Robert Rotoloni's An Illustrated History on Nikon Rangefinder camera.

NIKON S2 w/W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Original slip-in lens cap, lens case and rear lens cap for a W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Above: An interesting note is a blue velvet covered container box marked the lens as US aperture scale standard "Nikkor Coated Lens 35mm f3.5" instead of the usual European Aperture Scale Standard.

<<<--- Bottom: original lens hood for the RF 35mm f/3.5 Nikkor. The hood is plastic, not metal and this particular unit is marked "Snap-On Lens Hood 3.5cm f/2.5 for LEICA" (see comparing Metal hood)

Nikon popular 43mm filter size for rangefinder lenses



Front view of a chrome finish Nikon's W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/3.5) wideangle rangefinder lens
Suggestive Web Resources on W-Nikkor 3.5cm lenses:-

Camera's Repair - very good technical reviews and talk points on the W-Nikkor and a good place for collectors for Nikon/Nikkor rangefinder system | Nikon old history on development by Nikon | Links and info provided by Wilkipedia | Nikon Rangefinder and Contax RF Lens Mounting by Stephan Gandy | rangefinderforum.com on Nikkor rangdinder lenses Nikon Historical Society (NHS) | Lenses For Nikon RF Mount | Photographica Pages/Nikon Rangefinder Lenses by Pacific Cameras - useful knowledge on collecting oldies lenses | Photonet discussion on focusing / lenses | A German Website that has good scanned copies of old reviews for downloads
Nikon RF Mount - Evaluations By Bjørn Rørslett

Interesting Reads and photos: Pbase pictures taken with
RF Nikkor lenses / another | a picture of a RF Nikkor 35mm f/3.5 in LTM | taken with some oldies Nikkor (you can add a link if you have interesting links to showcase, use the Message Board to relay your desire to add here.

Some of the featured Good Hunting Grounds for Nikon oldies:
Camera's Repair | Collectible cameras | Kelvincameras.com; Igorcamera.com, Broklyn Camera Exchange | Camerapedia | Photo_Arsenal-Worldwide | camera$@EBAY | Foto-Hobby | Pacific Rim Camera | Dotti Fotografia | grays of westminster


A few years after initial acceptance by photographers worldwide on the Nikon rangefinder system, it was natural trend to serve gradual growing demand for wider options available in the lens system; Nikon has expanded its wideangle in 1952 with two new wideangle lenses at both 28mm, with a W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=2.8cm as well as improve the popular moderate 35mm with a faster speed in the W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm alternative.

| previous | Next | - Part II - W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm (35mm f/2.5) wideangle rangefinder lens 1/4

W-Nikkor.C 1:3.5 f=3.5cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:2.5 f=3.5cm | W-Nikkor.C 1:1.8 f=3.5cm | Stereo-Nikkor f=3.5cm 1:3.5

Comparison among:-
Leica/Leitz
3.5cm lens group
Canon
3.5cm rangefinder group
Contax's Carl Zeiss
3.5cm lens group (various)

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Optical Finders (4 parts) | Fixed Focal length Finders | Variframe / Varifocal / Sport | Lens caps, Hoods/shades, Cases/Compartments | Nikon Reflex Housing
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S36 Manual | light meters | Nikon RF flash/Speedlights | Close-up photography
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Credit:- Special thanks to all the contributors of images and content which made up the basis of the site. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered trade name of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.