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sorry, wrong number - nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx


if you are among those who like to follow variation in lens production cycles, this article might be of your interest.

let's look into the case of the following lens:
"nikkor-p.c. 1:2 f = 8.5cm nippon kogaku japan no.279xxx"


nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx - front lens

sorry wrong number


this serial number should not exist on a 8.5cm 1:2.0 lens

following robert rotoloni's book "the complete nikon rangefinder system" *1, after the 801xxx, 903xxx (904xxx) numberblocks the 8.5cm lenses have been numbered continuously from 286400 until 296xxx. after that, they would have been numbered from 396xxx until 404xxx. then again, after a gap, the numbers resume with the last version 496xxx until 497821.

in my research for this post, i could not find any information upon a batch or a lens beginning with the serial number 279xxx.


nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx - side view



specification of the 279xxx lens

where could this 279xxx lens belong, under its building specifications?

specific specs of the 279xxx lens:


these specs are found in the following batches:

f32 as smallest aperture   after 289545 *1
aperture click stops   after 289545 *1
10 rounded aperture blades    n.a.
nikon kogaku japan        after 289545 *1
no mention of "occupied japan"   till ca. 287700 *1
later back lens protection      after 289xxx(?) *2
no holes in the front ring   holes appearing after 396xxx(?) *2
smaller alignment red dot   larger red dot after 396xxx(?) *2
larger engravings on shiny base     smaller engravings after 396xxx(?) *2
long (without caps) 5.9mm *2    
wide (without caps) 5.7mm *2    
filter size 48mm *2    
weight (without caps): 465gr   435gr *1/3 / 425gr *4


all these findings - both from robert rotolonis book *1 and me *2 - indicate that this lens could have been produced around the 286xxx - 296xxx era.


how about the 8.5cm 1:2.0 production numbers?

following roland vink's website *3, around 21500 nikkor 8.5cm f2.0 have been produced in total.

different batches of serial numbers are currently known:




produced items 


productions years

801xxx:   ca. 300   ca. 1949
903xxx (inkl. 904xxx):   ca. 1100     ca. 1949-1950
279xxx   1(?)   ca. 1951(?)
286xxx - 296xxx:   ca. 10200   ca. 1951(?)
396xxx - 404xxx:   ca. 8300   ca. 1951(?)
496xxx - 497xxx:     ca. 1400   ca. 1953-1964(?)

a misnumbered lens? a prototype? a new number-batch?

most probably, it is "just" an engraving error that might have occurred. nevertheless - and i found this particularly interesting - the very same number mistake has been done on the inspection card, too.

not only, there seems to be a weight difference, too.
following rotoloni*1 and vink*3 this type of lens weights 435gr - while braczko*2 states 425gr. my own measurement indicates 465gr without caps, instead.


nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx - inspection card rear


 nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx - inspection card front

pictures of the inspection card


in conclusion, even if this nikkor lens might be different "only" because of an engraving error, it remains a wonderfully built piece of technical history and a real pleasure to use.

a 1951 impression


nikkor-p.c. 8.5cm 1:2.0 no.279xxx with Nikon MS


a nice combination of two nikon products possibly produced around 1951(?). a late nikon ms (with the red flash synchronization) and the nikkor 8.5cm 1:2.0 with caps, hood, case and inspection card.

2017.06.09 © l.i.

sources and remarks

*1 the complete nikon rangefinder system, 2007, robert j. rotoloni, hove foto books
*2 information gathered by l.i.
*3 this website collects all sorts of information about nikon lenses
*4 das nikon handbuch, 3. auflage, 2004, peter braczko, wittig fachbuch

special thanks: i could never have written this article if the two above mentioned sources would not exist! it is simply incredible how much information robert rotoloni, roland vink and peter braczko have gathered.
i would like to thank them for their passionate work!




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