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50/1.5 Nikon Rangefinder Lens

The 50/1.5 is one of the rarest of all Nikon lenses,  produced less than a year in 1950 for the unsynced  Nikon M.  It was Nikon's first "Super-speed Lens."  The 50/1.5  was soon replaced by the even faster 50/1.4 so Nikon could have temporary bragging rights of producing the world's fastest 50mm lens.   It was produced only in chrome, with a surprising minimum aperture of f/11.   The 50/1.5 Nikkor has sometimes been mistaken for the very similar 50/1.4 by those who just don't  bother to read the f/stops -- to the delight of buyers and dismay of sellers.    Total production in both Nikon and Leica screw mounts was about 800.  It is estimated about  300 were Leica screw mount, leaving only about 500 to satisfy Nikon rangefinder collector's quest to have Nikon's 1st super speed lens, making the 50/1.5 rarer than even the 50/1.1.   


The oddest thing about the 50/1.5 is the aperture ring.  Unlike the later 50/1.4, the outer knurled ring does NOT turn.  It is fixed.  To change apertures on the 1.5, turn the inner, or 2nd knurled ring!   Surprisingly, the 50/1.5 has the same 40.5 filter size as the slower 50/2 Nikon.   It has 7 elements in 3 groups, similar to the later 50/1.4, with no less than a dozen diaphragm blades!  Take note that although it will fit properly on any Nikon rangefinder, the 50/1.5 was originally made for the unsynced Nikon M. 

Variations on the same theme:  post war Zeiss Contax 50/1.5 Sonnar, Nikon 50/1.5, 50/1.4 chrome, Nikon 50/1.4 black.     

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Revised: November 25, 2003 Copyright  1998-2002  Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved.    This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind.  Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.