Nikon F and F2 Copy Stands and Miscellaneous Macro

Model PF Copy Stand

This may be further subdivided into two different models, depending on what sort of base is used for the material to be copied. The PFC uses the wooden storage case as the base, while the PFB uses a baseboard (and does not include the case). For both, a long metal tube serves as a rail for a camera mount. The mount may be slid along the tube for gross adjustments, and then the camera may be moved with a rack-and-pinion mechanism relative to the mount for fine focussing.

PF-2 Repro-Copy Outfit

This is essentially the same as the PFC mentioned above. Actually, both the PFC-2 and PFB-2 exist and are different as described above. Otherwise, the outfit is essentially the same.

PA-2 Baseboard

This is the baseboard included in the PFB-2 outfit mentioned above.

PA-3 Table Clamp

This accessory, as you might think, clamps the repro-copy outfit to a handy table.

PG-1 Focussing Stage

This accessory provides a geared platform for the camera and lens. When working with a specific magnification ratio, you need to move the camera back and forth to achieve focus, which the PG-1 achieves with precision and without the inconvenience of manually picking up the tripod (or other support) and shuffling back and forth. Note that the PB-4 and PB-6 both incorporate focussing stages on their lower rail(s).

PG-2 Focussing Stage

This is the same as the PG-1, but slightly modified to accomodate motorised cameras. It is still in production.

200f/5.6 Medical-Nikkor

Aperture Range:
f/5.6 to f/45
Diaphragm Control:
automatic, compensating for flash
4 elements in 3 groups (plus up to two additional 2-element supplementary lenses)
Angle of View:
12.3 degrees
Attachment Size:
Dimensions and Weight:
80mm dia. x 176mm long; 670g
3.2 in. dia. x 6.9 in. long; 23.6 oz.
Nikon Description:
Supplied with six auxillary lenses, the Medical-Nikkor offers a choice of 11 magnifications from 1/15 actual size to 3x to meet virtually any medical, industrial or scientific photographic requirement. The lens has its own built-in electronic flash for shadowless lighting or for use in confined spaces and a focusing lamp to illuminate the subject during focusing. The correct lens aperture is set automatically in accordance with the magnification and the speed of film in use, and the long focal length allows close-up shooting from a distance. Even inexperienced photographers can count on quality results with this lens.

The first Medical-Nikkor was a marvel, combining lens, flash, and data imprinting system in a relatively compact package. Note that the Medical-Nikkor came in two distinct versions. The original model has knurling on the film speed, reproduction ratio/aperture, and data imprinting rings; it also lacks the diamond studding at the front of the barrel, and has a round four-pin power connector socket. The later model has satin-finished aperture/repro, film speed, and data imprinting rings; the aperture/repro and film speed rings have large silver locking screws, there is only one data ring (with a knurled chrome finish), and the power connector is a three-pin, half-moon socket. The earlier model has "Medical Nikkor" engraved towards the front of the lens, while the later model has it towards the back. Recycling times range from 5-8 sec. on mains and 4-14 sec. on battery power, depending on type of battery and power ratio in use. The early lens (later lens is probably similar) weighs 665g (1.5 lb.), less than the later 200f/4 IF Micro, and is 78mm diam by 170mm long. Flash output is appox. 60 W-s, duration appox. 1/500 sec.

In all incarnations, the outfit includes:

  • 1 Medical-Nikkor 200f/5.6
  • 6 auxillary lenses (1/8x, 1/6x, 1/4x, 1/2x, 1x, 2x)
  • 1 power supply (AC or DC, later LA-1 or LD-1)
  • 1 power-source cord (1.5m)
  • 1 synchro cord
  • 1 front lens cap
  • 1 rear lens cap
  • 1 power-socket cover
  • 4 spare focussing-lamp bulbs
  • 1 safety cover for F/F2-type hotshoe
  • 1 leather compartment case

The AC Unit is included as standard equipment. The DC Unit was an extra-cost option, as was an extra-long power-source cord. The safety cover is probably a particularly annoying accessory to collect -- I saw one for sale (separately) at $75 US: not bad for a little bit of plastic. I say if you're using a 200f/5.6, make do with some electrical tape ($0.80/roll US).

Because the Medical-Nikkor is an autoexposure, fixed-focus lens, it is remarkably easy to use.

  1. select the reproduction ratio desired (may be determined by working distance or the desired subject field, tabulated below)
  2. add the appropriate lenses
  3. set the film speed
  4. set the aperture (via the reproduction ratio in use)
  5. set the desired data imprint
  6. "foot-zoom" the picture into focus (using the modelling lights, if needed)
  7. take the picture
| Repro | Attached | Working  |     Subject     |
| Ratio |  Lenses  | Distance |      Field      |
|  1:15 |   none   | 131.89in | 14.17 x 21.26in |
|       |          |  3 350mm |   360 x 540mm   |
|  1:8  |   1/8x   |  70.08in |  7.56 x 11.34in |
|       |          |  1 780mm |   192 x 288mm   |
|  1:6  |   1/6x   |  52.64in |  5.67 x  8.50in |
|       |          |  1 336mm |   144 x 216mm   |
|  1:4  |   1/4x   |  35.04in |  3.78 x  5.67in |
|       |          |    890mm |    96 x 144mm   |
|  1:3  |   1/6x   |  25.00in |  2.72 x  4.06in |
|       |  + 1/4x  |    635mm |    69 x 103mm   |
|  1:2  |   1/2x   |  17.56in |  1.89 x  2.83in |
|       |          |    446mm |    48 x  72mm   |
|  2:3  |   1/2x   |  12.83in |  1.38 x  2.09in |
|       |  + 1/4x  |    326mm |    35 x  53mm   |
|  1:1  |    1x    |   8.70in |  0.94 x  1.42in |
|       |          |    221mm |    24 x  36mm   |
|  3:2  |    1x    |   6.06in |  0.67 x  0.98in |
|       |  + 1/2x  |    154mm |    17 x  25mm   |
|  2:1  |    2x    |   4.25in |  0.47 x  0.71in |
|       |          |    108mm |    12 x  18mm   |
|  3:1  |    2x    |   2.83in |  0.33 x  0.50in |
|       |   + 1x   |     72mm |   8.4 x  12.6mm |

The lens mounts like all other Nikkors. The diamond-studded ring which has the power and sync sockets (and a neon ready-light, as well as the microswitch for the modelling lights) probably does not rotate and so is your best grip. The camera-flash sync is set via a standard PC-to-PC cord, and the appropriate power cable is used from the mains or battery source to the lens. Note that because the earlier and later versions have different power sockets, power sources and cables are not interchangeable.

As noted above, the sequence of steps is logical, but the early and later lenses are sufficiently different to distinguish a few steps. The early lens has two index marks for the film speed; the one on the right, i.e. the one reading slower-speed film, is the full-power index, while the other one is the 1/4-power index. The later lens has a white diamond for full power and a "1/4" for 1/4 power. Both lenses may be adjusted from ASA 10 to 800. You may compensate for different tones by adjusting the ASA appropriately. The full-1/4 power switch is found on the power supply.

The data-imprinting system is also slightly different. Both models allow white numbers from 1 to 39 or yellow reproduction ratios to be imprinted. The earlier model has a series of letters (A, B, C, D) on the ring immediately in front of the data-selection ring; these correspond to the amount of light "leaked" to expose the data on the film and are:

The British Journal of Photography wrote up a fairly detailed users'-view of this lens, in which they note that the accessory lenses are of 2-element construction and are designed specifically around the 200f/5.6 prime lens. The great advantage of not using extension to create different reproduction ratios (note that the later 120f/4 Medical also did not use extension, relying on internal focussing, IF, instead) was in simplifying the design, i.e. there was no need to build in an automatically compensating diaphragm. Instead, you could use a simple slide-rule calculation (which you do with the film speed and reproduction ratio rings). However, since the supplimentaries work by (essentially) reducing the focal length (something that IF later did!), the working distance is somewhat compromised.

For both lenses, the front ring (upon which the lens combinations are imprinted) may be removed to gain access to the modelling lights. They are simple 2.5V bulbs, and can probably be replaced with similar threaded electric torch bulbs. The front lens ring (to which the supplementary lenses are attached) serves as a retaining ring for the flashtube, and may also be removed. The lens itself remains the same four-element glass of no particular optical distinction. As it was a somewhat rare item, especially as a complete outfit, it has attracted some collectors' attention. Practically speaking, even the current 120f/4 IF Medical-Nikkor is not the most useable ringlight/lens available; my vote goes to a 105f/2.8 Micro with an SB-21 (TTL metering, available autofocus) or the older 200f/4 IF Micro if you need more working distance. On the other hand, both Medical-Nikkors offer relatively painless ways of getting beyond 1:1 magnification, and their systemic integration is a delight to behold.

135f/4 Bellows-Nikkor

Aperture Range:
f/4 to f/22
Diaphragm Control:
manual, preset
4 elements in 3 groups
Angle of View:
18 degrees
Attachment Size:
43mm (46mm)
11.6 oz.

This lens was originally designed for the Rangefinder series, and was intended for use on the Bellows Model 1 and the Reflex Housing; when moved to the F Reflex system, it requires an adapter tube (the BR-1/1a) for use on the Bellows Model 2. This tube both accounts for the added extension provided by the Reflex Housing and adapts the mount from the S-bayonet to the F-bayonet. On the Bellows 2, the lens focusses continuously from infinity to a 1:1 reproduction ratio. Incidentally, this lens is fairly rare and commands a correspondingly forbidding price (not in the range of the 1000f/6.3 but still fairly high -- appox. $1 500 US in good shape).

105f/4 Bellows-Nikkor

Aperture Range:
f/4 to f/32 in 1/3 stop increments
Diaphragm Control:
manual, preset
5 elements in 3 groups
Angle of View:
23.3 degrees
Attachment Size:
Lens Hoods:
HN-8 or HS-4
Lens Case:
Dimensions and Weight:
64mm dia. x 55mm long; 230g
2.5 in. dia. x 2.2 in. long; 8.1oz.
Nikon Description:
Designed exclusively for use with bellows focusing attachments, this lens focuses continuously from infinity to 1.3x magnification when used with the PB-4 or PB-5 bellows unit. Focusing is done by adjusting the bellows extension. The lens has a preset diaphragm with two intermediate click stops between each pair of settings for more precise exposure adjustments.

What can I say about this lens that hasn't already been beaten to death? It was later offered with a dual-helicoid focussing mount as the Micro-Nikkor 105f/4 (in non-AI, AI, and AI-S versions) and proved its quality a million times over. I own the AI version; it is my most versatile lens and my only gripe is that the whole thing looks massive and ungainly when racked out to 1:1 on a PN-11 (but I can see exactly why Nikon decided to offer a tripod foot on its largest tube). It is nice that the Bellows 105 can cover the movements afforded by a PB-4, but large format lenses can be had for comparable money and presumably adapted to work with the PB-4 (or the Horseman View Camera Converter ...)

There are several reasons not to buy a Bellows 105f/4:

  1. it isn't multicoated
  2. the Micro versions are 1/3 the price
  3. it has a manual diaphragm
  4. you need to carry a bulky, heavy, fragile bellows with it
  5. you need to stop down for good performance (f/8-f/11)

However, it does offer better performance than the older 135f/4 and will focus back to infinity on the proper bellows unit. Note that the 105f/4 Preset (with single-helicoid focussing mount, shared between the rangefinders and reflex cameras) is not the same lens; the older lens has three elements in three groups and is designated appropriately, as a Nikkor-T.

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