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Rokkor was the brand name Chiyoda Kōgaku Seikō and subsequently Minolta used for its camera lenses. The great majority of these lenses only fitted the company's own manual-focus 35mm SLR camera bodies or compatible products like those of Seagull. Others were part of fixed-lens cameras. Chiyoda also made Rokkor lenses for its Leica-thread-mount rangefinder cameras; these lenses may of course be used on Canon, Cosina Voigtländer, Leitz and other Leica Thread Mount cameras.

The name Rokkor is derived from Mount Rokkō (六甲), a mountain near Osaka that could be seen from Chiyoda's Mukogawa factory;[1] it was probably also inspired by the name Nikkor used by Nippon Kōgaku from 1932. It appeared for the first time in 1940 on the 20cm f/4.5 lens of the SK-100 handheld aerial photography camera (百式小型航空写真機SK).[2] The first civilian camera equipped with a Rokkor was the Semi Minolta III, with a 75/3.5 lens that also happens to be the first Japanese coated lens commercially available.[3] However, a Semi Minolta II has been observed with the Rokkor 75/3.5 lens, see the discussion in the corresponding page.

Rokkor lenses for 35mm cameras Edit

Until the year 1981, when Minolta introduced its new corporate design and dropped the name Rokkor, all 35mm cameras where equipped with Rokkor lenses. These can be distinguished in 6 categories:

  • Most important the interchangeable lenses in SR mount for the manual SLR system. Even the lenses built after 1981, which had no Rokkor designation (e.g "MD 50mm 1:2") are often called "Rokkors" by people. The focal length range reached from 7.5mm up to 1600mm and there were more than 40 lenses to choose from. In 1978 one of the first Rokkor zoom lenses was derived from a Leitz lens[4].
  • The Minolta Super A featured interchangeable special bayonet-mount lenses, also marked 'Super Rokkor'.
  • All rangefinder cameras and viewfinder cameras like those of the Minolta Hi-Matic series had a Rokkor lens built in.
  • The fixed lens SLR Minolta ER had a fixed Rokkor standard lens with wide angle and telephoto auxiliary lens attachments.

Rokkor lenses for medium format cameras Edit

Rokkor lens for large format cameras Edit

  • 21cm f/4.5 barrel lens, black finish, aperture from 4.5 to 64[5]

Rokkor lenses for aerial cameras Edit

Military Rokkor lenses were produced during World War II for the SK-100 aerial camera. Only the Rokkor 20cm f/4.5 and Boen Rokkor 40cm f/5.6 are confirmed to exist.[6] (The word bōen 望遠 means "tele".) Many sources mention a Rokkor 50cm f/5.6 instead of the 40cm f/5.6, but this is perhaps a confusion.[7]

An uncoated lens engraved Chiyoko E. Rokkor 3,5/75 mm has been reported on a Konishiroku GSK-99 aerial camera,[8] but this is probably an enlarging lens fitted to the camera as a repair.

Rokkor lenses for other cameras Edit

Notes Edit

  1. Francesch, p.26, Ema, p.90 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12.
  2. Francesch, p.26, and this page at Minoltan.
  3. According to this page of the Konica Minolta official website.
  4. Minolta MD 35-70mm at artaphot: derived from a Leitz design
  5. Lens sold as lot no.723 of Westlicht Photographica Auction no.6.
  6. Rokkor 20cm f/4.5 pictured in Sugiyama, item 6013; Boen Rokkor 40cm f/5.6 pictured in this article.
  7. The Rokkor 50cm f/5.6 is mentioned in Sugiyama, item 6013, in Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.12, p.18, in Francesch, p.253, and in this page by Dennis Lohmann. All these sources list two lenses only for the SK-100: the 20cm f/4.5 and the "50cm" f/5.6, and none mentions the 40cm f/5.6.
  8. Reported by Auction Team Köln on a Konishiroku GSK-99, lot #810 of the 25 November 2006 auction.

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