Additional Information on
Manual Focus Nikkor Zoom 85-250mm f/4.0~4.5 Auto lense

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Based on Michael Liu's earlier remarks on Nikon's first zoom lense, he stated the 8.5~25.0cm f/4~4.5-16 Zoom-Nikkor Auto that was introduced in 1960 carries with the following basic technical specifications: 15 elements in 8 groups; 28-1/2 to 10 degrees angle of view; focusses to 4m; and has a Series IX accessory size, He also has highlighted " .. the first zoom from Nikon and the second* zoom of any type for 35mm still cameras; later it was upgraded to an f/4 (constant aperture) zoom Lens...". Hood $22.50 list (1967); Lens Case $32.50 list (1967); $595 list (1960); $515 list (f/4 zoom) (1967).

* It was generally acceptable to refer the world's first zoom lense was a German Voigtländer 36-82mm f/2.8 Zoomar lense designed by Dr. Frank G.Back where he also first pioneered the name "zoom" for this lens type. You can referred to a few URLs that I compiled as a quick reference: (1) Captain Jack's Exacta Photo page, (2): A good write-up on the background of the lense and association with Bessamatc SLR; (3) A nice view of the lense cached in Google, (4) Stephen Gandy's featured item (4): Nikon's acknowledgment

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There are a couple of minor points which need to added on Michael's earlier brief summary. Firstly, as Michael has correctly stated, basically, there are TWO versions of this zoom lense. The first version carries a f/4.0~f/4.5 variable lens speed (similar to Nikon's second Zoom-Nikkor 200-600mm f/9.5~f/10.5 introduced later), and a marginally faster one that has a constant lens speed maximum aperture of f/4.0 introduced in 1969.

To be exact, the first version of this Nikkor zoom (f/4.0 ~ f/4.5 version) was first being introduced in November, 1959 which is almost 10 years ahead of the second version. As a matter of record, it was not just for Nikon but it was also the first zoom lense designed by a Japanese manufacturer (another masterly stroke by influential Japanese optical designer, HIGUCHI, Takashi who also happened to oversee design of the immensly popular 43-86mm f/3.5 Nikkor zoom). Lastly, the lense was also a first Nikkor zoom lense that uses a sliding zoom design and with a variable lens speed in its f/4.0~f/4.5 maximum aperture used in the first version.

2585cmf45hendry.jpg (19k) Loading .. <<< --- Credit: Image at far left courtesy of Miss Kristina Hauzar-Proctor® of also runs a popular Ebay Store where you can take a visit to scout for used items. Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.
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<< -- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Dave Beatty <>Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.
In "Nikon Hand Book" by Peter Braczko (Publisher: Fountain Press), Peter has presented some interesting findings. He believes there was actually two versions of the earlier Auto 8.5-25cm f/4.0~4.5 Zoom-Nikkor existed and the one show above fits all in his descriptions (similarly, Stephen Gandy's featured site was also of the same type). This lense may be rare in numbers and may appeal to some collectors. There are a few areas in its design that are quite different in terms of lens handling as well as in its appearance which you can easily distinguish it from the subsequent version.

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The focusing grip is a scalloped type and it has a flat, textured zoom ring. As you slide and zoom, there is a stretch a "hidden" focal length (in cm) displayed via a tiny window such as "25", "20", "18", "15", "13.5","10.5" and "8.5". with preprinted " "f= ___cm" at each side. The aperture are colour-code in blue (f/16), yellow (f/16), magenta (f/8), white (f/5.6) and green (/f4). The infrared index coloured in red of the depth of field scales is positioned very far from the index. In fact, the entire display of DOF and distance scales are "inverted" as compared to the second version.

The lense weighs 1.8kg. The optical composition was based on a 15 elements in 8 groups design. It focuses down to 4m (13.1 ft) with its helical mechanism but a orange-lined close-up filter was supplied as standard accessory which can help to close down its minimum focus distance further to approx. 2.2m (7.2 ft.). Lastly, both original and the followed up versions in this series provide two fixed threads (non-rotable) tripod mounts - one for vertical and another for horizontal format shooting. Peter's stated the first version may bear serial number started from 154901 which you may used it as a reference. The first series of this zoom lense may be scarce in quantity and could be a good collective item but in no way to consider it as a friendly lense to use which perhaps has led to a quick succession of another followed-up model in December, 1959.
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The main difference of the improved version of the Auto 8.5-25cm f/4.0~4.5-f/16 Zoom-Nikkor is the large single slide zoom/focusing ring design it uses.

<<< --- Credit: Image at far left courtesy of Mr. Avraham Bank® <>; website URL: Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. If you intend to use this image for other commercial purpose, a written permission from the creator is always encouraged.

The semi-concealed focal length (shown as you zoom) display window design was removed and replaced with a clearly illustrated focal length markings at the side of the lens barrel.

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Credit: Eight GREAT images coutesy of: Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Webisite URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
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The optical arrangement of this version still retained a previous 15 elements in 8 groups design. Neither it has improved its close focus capability where with helical focus it focuses to a minimum distance of 13.1ft. Similarly, the 82mm dia. orange-lined close-focus filter will enable it to focus closer at 7.2 ft. Apart from that other minor features, the extra large and long zoom/focusing ring is a delightful touch to make the lense considerably easier to handle and use for quick framing and reacting to fast pace action. There is also a knob locates at the front section of the zoom ring where you can screw/lock the desired focal length and/or any focused distance.

<<< --- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. RON <>; Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Image shown at bottom was contributed by Mr.Mr. Avraham Bank® <>; website URL: Image copyright © 2002 All rights reserved.
The lens data of this version was inscribed as " Auto-Nikkor Telephoto Zoom 1:4 f=8.5cm ~ 1:4.5 f=25cm Nippon Kogaku". Up to this stage, the lense may not have been treated with multi-layers lens coating process yet. The front lens elements exhibits a amber colour. Peter indicated in his book that the serial numbers for this version may have been started with "...1579041 or 157911 and ended the series with 174661.. " where you can also use them as a reference for identification purposes.

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K. K.) Zoom-Nikkor Auto
1:4 f=85mm ~ f=250mm

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By then, it was almost 10 years from the original version and Nikon eventually brought its third version in September, 1969 to replace the older design. The next improved version of this Auto Nikkor zoom lense saw the variable lens aperture design being changed with a constant aperture design where its maximum aperture of f/4.0 now remains unchanged throughout the entire 2.9X Zooming range.

The change could be minor from the surface, but it involved a revamp in its optical composition in order to maintain the new changes and it is not as simple as what Peter has described in his book " ... Nikon had added another lens element to the front section to maintain the f/4 aperture throughout the entire focal length range...". The main difference could be a hidden change of a complex 20 elements in 13 groups optical design internally where it replaces the previous simpler 15 elements in 8 groups design. Despite with this significant change, the lense still retains a 82mm (Series IX) filter attachment size but it weighs heavier at 2,000g (2kg) now. Externally, this f/4.0 version was believed to have only supplied in matte-black finish and the customary silver-coloured front ring has been eliminated while the minimum aperture of f/16 was disappointingly not being improved to f/22 in this version.

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Credit: Image courtesy of an unnamed contributor (a follow-up mail was bounced). Please mail me so as appropriate credit can be given.

Zooming and focusing may be made singularly or simultaneously with the linear travel and rotation of the lens barrel sleeve. The angle of view during zooming varies from 28° 30' (F=85mm) to a narrower 10° (F=250mm). Seven focal lengths are scaled on the lens barrel for convenience (85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 150mm, 180mm, 200mm and 250mm). The 85mm-250mm f/4 Zoom-Nikkor will provide great mobility especially when it is mounted on any motorized Nikon camera and it is well adapted to such picture taking as sports, nature, commercial and general shooting. According to Peter Braczko descriptions, this short run non-Ai Nikkor zoom may carry with a starting serial number that begin with "... 184711 at the beginning of production to 186262 at the end of it production..". Incidentally, another remarkable Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 lense which actually being introduced almost at the same time with this third revision 85-250mm Nikkor zoom has enjoyed an instant success after its debut. The change of attention eventually saw the discontinuation of the long run series of the 85-250mm focal length zoom in the Nikkor lens family. By early '70, even the lense was still available and sold selectively based on request but many Nikkor marketing leaflets has omitted featuring the lense officially.

Technical Specifications:

Focal Length: 85-250mm
Maximum aperture: 1:4; Lens construction: 20 elements in 13 groups
Picture angle: 28° 30' (F=85mm) - 10° (F=250mm)


Distance scale: Graduated in meters or feet up to 4m or 13ft. With close-up attachment, from 4m to 2.2m or from 13 ft to 7.5 ft
Aperture scale: f/4 - f/16; Aperture diaphragm: Fully automatic

<<< --- CLICK for an ENLARGED VIEW Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. Ryan Yamashiro ® <> of Honolulu, HI, USA. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer
Meter coupling prong: Integrated (fully open exposure metering)
Focusing: By turning the zooming/focusing ring
By back and forth movement of the zooming/focusing ring (with the reference markings for 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 150mm, 180mm, 200mm and 250mm)

<<< --- Download a PDF file (82k) in relation to its revised optical Construction.

Nikon marketing poster distributed to introduce the " Auto-Nikkor Telephoto Zoom 1:4 f=8.5cm ~ 1:4.5 f=25cm Nippon Kogaku" Super zoom:-
Poster for Auto-Nikkor Telephoto Zoom 1:4 f=8.5cm ~ 1:4.5 f=25cm Nippon Kogaku
Attachment size: 82mm (P=0.75)
Filter: Series 9
Dimension: 89mm dia. x 305mm length (3-1/2 in. x 12 in.)
Weight: 2 kg (4.4 lb)

Accessories: 100mm slip-on front cap (108-05-400), rear cap type F (108-00-401), 82mm screw-in lens hood (108-05-200), Leather camera lens case (108-05-300) OR
wooden case (see images above contributed by Adorama Inc.) Nikon Product Code No.for this lens: 108-05-107 (in meters) 108-05-108 (in feet)
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<<< --- A comparative view in relation to their respective size of four Nikkor zoom lenses taken side by side in a 1969's Nikkor lense Sales Manual.
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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leofoo.Gif Co-developed with my web buddy, Rick Oleson® & LARs.Gif Denmark, Creator of the Nikon Repair Group Mailing-List; A contributing effort to Michael Liu's Classic Nikon SLRs and Nikkor optic site.

Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon 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 tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.