Home Camera Articles FOR SALE Orders I Buy / Wants Repairs Books Adapters
Black Nikon S2 Chrome Dial
among the rarest Nikons
The black S2 was Nikon's first professionally designated camera. Black bodies were special order, meant to be sold only to credentialed pro photographers. While a very few black Nikon One's, M's and S's were made by special order with the factory, they were never offered on a Nikon price sheet -- as was the black Nikon S2. There are at least FOUR versions of the Black S2: Chrome Dial version with focusing scale in FEET or METERS, and the Black Dial Version with focusing scale in FEET or METERS. This Black S2 is the earlier "Chrome Dial" S2. The focusing scale is all chrome as shown here. The shutter speed dial is painted all black, without a chrome rim that the "Black Dial" versions have. Although a very limited number of very late chrome Chrome Dial S2's may have left the factory with one of the later black & chrome 50 Nikkors, practically all of the Chrome Dial S2's were produced when Nikon's standard 50 lenses were ALL chrome. This presented an esthetic problem for the black bodies. To remedy it. Nikon made a limited number of ALL black 50/1.4's just for their special order black S2 Chrome Dial bodies. Predictably, many of the original ALL black 50/1.4's were separated from their original cameras over the years. The lens pictured on this body is a later black/chrome lens, not the original ALL black 50/1.4 lens it left the factory with.
Exact production is unknown, but I do feel safe in saying any black S2 is rarer than a Black SP or S3. I personally have encountered black S2 Chrome Dials about 5 times more often than black S2 Black Dials.
Even though the camera was well taken care of and still has the patina of its original finish, some edges still show brassing. It's an almost impossible problem for today's collectors to find black Nikon rangefinders in nice shape like this one. The easily brassed black finish combined with hardworking pros who often prided themselves on working their cameras even harder, trashing the majority of these then future collectibles.
Black Nikon S2 Black Dial
The later black S2 Black Dial seems much harder to find than the Chrome Dial version, at least in this collector's experience. By the time the S2 Black Dial was produced, standard 50 Nikkors had been changed from all chrome to black and chrome. As a result, no special ALL black 50's were produced for them, as had been done for the earlier black Chrome Dials. How can you tell the difference ? Notice the focusing scale is in black and chrome instead of all chrome, and shutter speed dial has a chrome rim around the edge, instead of no rim on the Chrome Dials. Another point is the serial number: Black Dials started at about 6180000.
Revised: November 26, 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.