Sunday, February 10, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica - Lens Selection for February - W-Nikkor-C 3.5cm f2.5 in Leica Thread Mount (LTM)

My W-Nikkor C 3.5cm f2.5 Lens for Leica Thread Mount (LTM)
To the uninitiated, please allow me to reintroduce the Whole Lotta Leica series. In this series of posts, I'll pick a different lens each month from my Leica mount collection (ranging from ca. 1938 to modern), and shoot it on my Leica M9 digital rangefinder body, reporting the results on this blog.
Well, the Whole Lotta Leica series marches on, with February's selection being the W-Nikkor C wide angle 3.5cm f2.5 lens. This lens was made between about 1952-1964. I'm having some trouble finding information on this lens. Mine is an LTM lens, which requires the standard Leica screwmount to bayonet adapter to mount on the M9.
Nikon made fine rangefinder cameras and lenses, and to a lesser extent sold some of their lenses in Leica mount. I have always had a hard time passing up Nikon rangefinder cameras - they are beautiful. I figured that having this lens would allow me to try out the legendary Nikon rangefinder optics, but on my Leica, saving me from diving into yet another lens mount and camera system.
I have my friend Dennis Gallus to thank for this lens. He introduced me to his friend Frank, who was selling some old camera gear. I picked up this lens, and my favorite Barnack-designed Leica rangefinder - a world war II era Leica IIIC, and matching Leica Summitar 50mm f2 uncoated lens. You'll be seeing the Summitar later this year in the Whole Lotta Leica series. Boy, what a great day of gear buying that was!
If you're wondering about the letters in the "W-Nikkor C" name, apparently "W" means wide, and "C" means that the lens is coated. The fact that my lens has "C" printed on it means that it was produced before about 1957, when the "C" code was dropped from Nikkor lenses.
Here's a page from a May, 1958 catalog listing the selling price for my lens ($139.50):

Nikon Price List, May 1958
Image Source:
Keep watching to see what I can do with this lovely old lens on my M9 this month!