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Zuiko

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Zuiko is the name of the camera lenses made by Olympus, from the first one, mounted in 1936 on the Semi Olympus, to the present day. All Olympus cameras use lenses made by the company, but the word 'Zuiko' is not mentioned on some of the cheaper point and shoot compact models.

Zuiko name Edit

Zuikō is written 瑞光 in Japanese and can be translated as "auspicious optics" or "auspicious light". The name was adopted after a contest open to the company employees,[1] being a contraction of the first characters of "Mizuho Kōgaku Kenkyūjo" (瑞穂光学研究所, meaning Mizuho Optical Research Institute), name of a branch of Takachiho Seisakusho (the later Olympus) founded to develop the camera lens.

Letter code Edit

Where a lens is denominated with a letter before the Zuiko name (e.g. D.Zuiko or F.Zuiko) it represents the number of optical elements in the lens. The letter's placing in the alphabet corresponds to the number of elements present — so a D.Zuiko lens has 4 elements, and a F.Zuiko has 6. Olympus began to phase out these letter designations when introducing new products in the early 1980s (e.g. the XA-3 and XA-4).

Numbering of early Zuiko lenses Edit

Early Zuiko lenses were numbered in a single sequence, starting at 1000 or 1001 with the 75mm f/4.5 lens of the Semi Olympus. There were a few jumps in the sequence, which was notably reset at 20000 when production was started again after 1945. The original sequence went well past 120000, and further batches were started, e.g. at 300000 (for the Olympus Chrome Six III) and 370000 (for the Elmoflex). All these numbers were engraved with a No. prefix.

In 1953, the common sequence was dropped, and each lens type received its own number sequence, distinguished by the absence of the No. prefix. The lenses mounted on Olympus products had their numbers reset at 100000, and those sold to other camera manufacturers had higher batch numbers, e.g. starting at 400000 for the Elmoflex III-F. Some lenses mounted on Olympus cameras, such as the Zuiko F.C. 7.5cm f/3.5 of the Olympus Chrome Six III, successively received the two numbering schemes. This apparently caused some confusion to customers who feared that the new lenses — without No. prefix and with a serial number reset at 100001 — were fake. The Olympus company placed an advertisement in the November 1953 issues of Asahi Camera and Shashin Kōgyō to explain the matter.[2]

Zuiko interchangeable lenses Edit

Zuiko for other companies Edit

The Zuiko lenses were also mounted on some cameras made by other Japanese companies:

List of Zuiko lenses Edit

13.5×18mm lenses Edit

A range of 'Zuiko Digital'-branded lenses developed for the Four-Thirds digital SLR system. See Four-Thirds lenses for further details.

18×24mm lenses Edit

A range of interchangeable SLR lenses for the half-frame Pen F system — see Olympus Pen F lenses for further details.

24×36mm lenses Edit

A single lens was made in Leica screw mount; see Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 for Leica. Other Zuiko lenses may have been remounted for Leica by third-party workshops (see the high-aperture lenses below).[3]

A single lens was made in Exakta mount; see Zuiko 4cm f/3.5 for Exakta.

A small range of interchangeable lenses in 42mm screw mount was developed for the Olympus FTL; see 42mm screw lenses for further details.

A large range of interchangeable lenses for the 35mm OM system was developed over a period of thirty years; see Olympus OM lenses for further details.

4×4cm lenses Edit

  • 60/2.8 Olympus D.Zuiko, 4 elements, taking and viewing lens of the f/2.8 Eye 44
  • 60/3.5, taking and viewing lens of the f/3.5 Eye 44

4×5cm lenses Edit

Interchangeable lenses of the Olympus Standard: see Olympus Standard.

4.5×6cm and 6×6cm lenses Edit

The first prototype lenses made by Takachiho in 1936 include the 75/4.5 mounted on the Semi Olympus, a 105/4.5 for 6.5×9cm format (listed below), and perhaps a 75/3.5.[4]

Table of Zuiko 75mm and 7.5cm medium-format lenses (the "lowest" and "highest" numbers correspond to the serial numbers actually observed):

type formula actual marking bezel prefix lowest
number
highest
number
camera
models
Zuiko
f/4.5
four elements in three groups
(prewar and wartime)
Takatiho Tôkyô Zuikô 1:4.5 f=75mm. black No. 1048 1142 Semi Olympus
Zuikô 1:4,5 f=75mm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 1221 _ Semi Olympus II
Zuikô 1:4,5 f=7.5cm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 144x 3797 Semi Olympus II
Zuiko 1:4,5 f=7.5cm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 5253 8470 Semi Olympus (isolated example)
Semi Olympus II
Olympus Six I
Zuiko-S
f/4.5
five elements in three groups
(wartime)
Zuiko–S 1:4,5 f=7,5cm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 12507 13501 Super Olympus I
Zuiko
f/3.5
four elements in three groups
(prewar and wartime)
Zuiko 1:3,5 f=7,5cm Takatiho Tokyo silver No. 7182 10727 Olympus Six II
Olympus Chrome Six (isolated prototype)
Zuiko-S
f/3.5
five elements in three groups
(wartime)
Zuiko–S 1:3,5 f=7,5cm Takatiho Tokyo silver No. 12126 _ Super Olympus II
Zuiko
f/3.5
four elements in three groups
(recomputed in 1946)
Zuiko 1:3,5 f=7,5cm Takatiho Tokyo silver No. 20016 3476x Olympus Six (postwar)
Olympus Chrome Six I
Mamiya Six (early postwar)
Zuiko 1:3,5 f=7,5cm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 50907 _ Elmoflex (early postwar)
Olympus Zuiko Coated 1:3.5 f=7.5cm silver No. 52230 58379 Olympus Chrome Six I
Olympus Zuiko Coated 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(red Zuiko)
silver No. 65018 71209 Mamiya Six
Olympus Zuiko Coated 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 717xx _ Elmoflex III-B (taking lens)
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(red C.)
black No. 83459 _ Elmoflex III-D (taking lens)
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(red C.)
silver No. 89442 944x4 Olympus Chrome Six I
Olympus Chrome Six III f/3.5 (isolated example)
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(red Zuiko C.)
silver No. 95898 _ Mamiya Six
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(red C.)
black No. 1015xx 103411 Elmoflex III-D (taking lens)
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 103997 _ Elmoflex III-D (taking and viewing lens)
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
(black C.)
silver No. 113x92 115576 Olympus Chrome Six I
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm silver No. 118701 12x309 Olympus Chrome Six III f/3.5
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 141466 1440x7 Elmoflex III-D (taking and viewing lens)
Elmoflex III-E (taking and viewing lens)
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm silver No. 330639 338812 Olympus Chrome Six III f/3.5
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 370106 382049 Elmoflex III-E (taking and viewing lens)
Elmoflex V (viewing lens on an isolated example)
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black _ 400709 422291 Elmoflex III-F (taking and viewing lens)
Elmoflex V (taking and viewing lens)
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm silver _ 100711 112305 Olympus Chrome Six III f/3.5
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black _ _ _ Olympus Flex A3.5 (viewing lens)
Wagoflex
D.Zuiko
f/3.5
four elements in three groups
(recomputed in 1954)
Olympus D.Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm silver _ 113869 139103 Olympus Chrome Six III f/3.5
Olympus Chrome Six IVa
Olympus Chrome Six RII A
Olympus D.Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black _ 140926 155652 Olympus Chrome Six VA
Olympus Chrome Six RII A
Olympus Flex A3.5 (taking lens)
Olympus Flex A3.5 II (taking and viewing lens)
Mamiya Six
Mamiyaflex
Olympus D.Zuiko F.C. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black _ 428289 431812 Elmoflex VI-M (taking and viewing lens)
Viewer
f/3.5
perhaps three elements in three groups Olympus Viewer 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 83534 _ Elmoflex III-D (viewing lens)
Olympus Viewer 1:3.5 f=7.5cm black No. 101x0x 102950 Elmoflex III-D (viewing lens)
Zuiko
f/2.8
five elements in four groups,
then perhaps four elements in three groups
Zuiko 1:2.8 f=7.5cm Takatiho Tokyo black No. 33797 _ Olympus Chrome Six II
Olympus Zuiko Coated 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black No. 52115 59706 Olympus Chrome Six II
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm
(red C.)
black No. 85998 87988 Olympus Chrome Six II
Olympus Zuiko C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm
(white C.)
black No. 120929 121724 Olympus Chrome Six II
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black No. 123949 124951 Olympus Chrome Six II
Olympus Chrome Six III f/2.8
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black No. 300026 313657 Olympus Chrome Six II (isolated example)
Olympus Chrome Six III f/2.8
Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black _ 101455 138334 Olympus Chrome Six III f/2.8
Olympus Chrome Six IVb
Olympus Chrome Six VB
Olympus Chrome Six RII B
Olympus Flex I (viewing lens)
Olympus Flex BII (viewing lens)
Olympus Flex A2.8 (taking and viewing lens)
D.Zuiko
f/2.8
four elements in three groups
(perhaps recomputed)
Olympus D.Zuiko F.C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black _ _ _ Olympus Flex A2.8 (taking lens)
F.Zuiko
f/2.8
six elements in four groups Olympus F.Zuiko F.C. 1:2.8 f=7.5cm black _ _ _ Olympus Flex I (taking lens)
Olympus Flex BI (taking lens)

6.5×9cm lens Edit

  • 105/4.5, four elements in three groups, first prototype lens made by Takachiho, intended for 6.5×9cm plate cameras[5]

High-aperture lenses Edit

Three high-aperture lenses were developed from 1936–7, using Japanese optical glass, after a request from the Japanese government:[6]

  • Zuiko f/2.7, five elements in three groups
  • Falcon f/2, six elements in four groups
  • Olympar f/1.5, six elements in five groups

It seems that the projects were first designed with a focal length of 50mm, then a 65mm version of the Zuiko f/2.7 and Falcon f/2 was planned for the Olympus Standard.[7] It is unclear if any of these lenses were actually made.[8]

The Olympar f/1.5 design later evolved as the Zuiko 50/1.5, which was produced in small quantities and sold to Shimazu Seisakusho for X-ray cameras made around 1940.[9] It seems that some of these lenses appeared on the market after the war in Leica screw mount, perhaps sold by Shimazu as surplus.[10]

Aerial lenses Edit

Enlarging lenses Edit

  • 50/4.5 enlarging lens, sold ¥60 in 1941,[14]
  • 50/3.5 enlarging lens, marked Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3.5 f=5cm No.xxxxxx[15]
  • 75/4.5 enlarging lens, four elements, three groups, marked Olympus Zuiko C. 1:4,5 f=7,5cm xxxxxx[16]
  • 75/3.5 enlarging lens, four elements, three groups[13]

Notes Edit

  1. Maitani, "Kamera-zukuri he no bōken"; Sakai, p.7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20; Francesch, p.19.
  2. Advertisement in Asahi Camera November 1953, p.157.
  3. HPR, p.410, also mentions a Zuiko 90/4 and a Zuiko 135/3.5, both with a question mark. The existence of these lenses is dubious.
  4. The 75/3.5 is only mentioned in Sakai, p.7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  5. Hagiya, p.13 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  6. Sakai, p.7 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20. "Orinpasu kamera shisakuki 2-shu", p.59 of the same magazine. Japanese optical glass: Sakurai Eiichi, p.67 of the same magazine.
  7. "Orinpasu kamera shisakuki 2-shu", p.59 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20. The Zuiko 65/2.7 and Falcon 65/2 appear in an advertisement for the Olympus Standard dated August 1937, reproduced in Kokusan kamera no rekishi, p.62.
  8. Sakurai, p.67 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20, seems to imply that they were not.
  9. Sakurai Eiichi, p.67 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  10. Sakurai and Saeki, p.67 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20. HPR, p.410, mentions the Zuiko 50/1.5 in Leica screw mount, and also mentions a 50/1.1, certainly a confusion.
  11. Examples pictured in "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20, and observed for sale at a dealer and in an online auction.
  12. Example observed for sale at a dealer.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Mentioned in "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  14. Advertisement dated 1941, reproduced in Nostalgic Camera by Toshio Inamura.
  15. Example pictured in this page at Red Book Nikkor (lens no.139597).
  16. "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20. The example pictured has no.104603.

Bibliography Edit

Links Edit

In Japanese:

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