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wpe3.gif (238166 bytes) Nikkor 20cm-60cm Super Zoom

OK, I admit it.  I don't get it.  When introduced in 1961, the 20cm - 60cm /f 9.5-10.5 (200-600) Nikkor Zoom was a REALLY big deal.  There never had been a long telephoto like it before.  NO other lens maker had anything comparable to it, must less to equal it -- not Zeiss, not Leica, not Canon, not nobody.    It would be decades before anyone else had anything similar. It was BIG, it was EXPENSIVE,  it was OPTICAL HISTORY, it was EXCLUSIVE.   Only 1598 of this first version were made from 1961 to 1970 -- less than 200 a year when Nikon was often turning out 100,000 F's per year.  It is rarer than other F lenses much sought after by collectors, like the 50/3.5 Pre-Set Micro and the  21/4.   In fact, the 200-600 first version is about 4.5 times rarer than the F version of the 21/4.  For all of this, today this lens is usually ignored even by serious collectors -- very strange indeed.  Above it is shown with a F2Sb and a 50/2.

This lens is number 170343,  the 232wn Nikkor 200-600, as well as the 232nd 200-600 Zoom ever made in the history of 35mm Photography.  This optical hero was made with only 13 elements in 12 groups -- quite an achievement for 1961.  This compact lens weighed in at only 5 1/2 lbs. with shade, measuring a mere 21 1/8th inches long.  It was originally sold complete with a heavy duty wooden case.   In 1964 the list price was a not too modest $515, while the famous 50/1.1 Rangefinder was only $299.

 200600a.jpg (1016589 bytes)   The 200-600 is a single action zoom, with the zoom ring controlling both the zooming and the focusing.  Though a separate lens sleeve, the front element rotates with the zoom ring.  Close focus is a not too close 13 feet, which can be shortened up with the unmarked red ring close up lens, shown fitted in the top photo.   The very heavy duty chrome 101mm lens cap fits OVER the lens shade.  The rainbow depth of field scale was a famous standard for early Nikon zooms.   The lens has no lens coupling, being intended only for stop down metering.   With a variable aperture and a lot of lens elements, stop down metering was apparently the most accurate metering mode for this lens. Front filter size is 82mm.  The lock of the rotating tripod mount is shown to the left.  Notice the focusing scale has TICK marks, but the aperture ring does not. 


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Only the first version of the 200-600 had a chrome front rim.   The knob in the pic locks down the zoom / focus ring.   A 2nd version appeared in 1970 with an all black lens, with carrying strap loops on the tripod mount.   A 3rd Version came in 1976, now with a fixed maximum aperture of f/9.5.    In 1982 an AIS version appeared.




Yep, collectors are funny.   Demand often drives up prices of not so rare items.  Conversely, low demand will drive prices down below their true rarity level.  Get a 200-600 before the prices go up too much.

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Revised: November 26, 2003 Copyright �  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.