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Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 for Leica

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The Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 is the only lens made by Olympus in Leica screw mount. At about the same period, Olympus was also selling a Zuiko 4cm f/3.5 for Exakta.

Description Edit

The Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 has five elements in four groups (three separate elements at the front and a cemented doublet at the rear), and is said to be the same as the Super-Zuiko 4.0cm f/2.8 made for the ill-fated Olympus 35 II.[1]

The Leica mount lens has a rigid all-chrome barrel with a focusing tab and an infinity stop. It takes half a turn to focus down to 3.5ft. The aperture scale is graduated to f/16. The back of the lens mount usually has a two or three-digit number, engravd by hand for factory purpose.

Commercial life Edit

The Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 lens in Leica mount was advertised by the Olympus company in the May 1950 issue of Asahi Camera.[2] The lens was presented as a wide angle, and the motto — "With colour film and this new angle of view, the beauty of nature from spring to summer"[3] — seems to indicate that it was a new product.

It is said that the lens was also advertised by Shōwa Kōgaku, the maker of the Leotax.[4] It is still listed for ¥12,000 in a table in the June and October 1955 special issues of Photo Art, but it was surely no longer produced.[5]

Total production and variations Edit

All the lens numbers observed so far are in the 60xxx and 61xxx range, except for an isolated one (no.81303), which is most certainly an engraving mistake.[6]

The early barrel has an index on the diaphragm ring, moving along a fixed aperture scale engraved at the front. The very early lenses are engraved Olympus Zuiko Coated 1:2.8 f=4cm No.xxxxx on the front bezel. The example pictured below has no.60062, the lowest observed so far.

The front marking soon became Olympus Zuiko C. 1:2.8 f=4cm No.xxxxx with a red C., while retaining the early barrel with fixed aperture scale. This new engraving is already visible on lens no.60153.[7] The May 1950 advertisement cited above curiously shows the previous Zuiko Coated engraving with number 60234.[2] However the three last digits do not look perfectly right, and the picture was perhaps retouched.

The barrel was modified at some point between no.60419 and 60459.[8] On the new barrel, the aperture numbers are directly inscribed on the diaphragm ring, and the frontmost milled ring is slightly longer.

The front marking became all black on the late lenses — the transition occurred around lens no.61500 and perhaps indicates that a new batch was launched.[9] Among these late lenses, at least one has the word JAPAN inscribed on the rear of the lens mount.

The variations in the markings parallel those of the Zuiko 7.5cm f/3.5 mounted on the Olympus Chrome Six. On the latter camera, it seems that the marking was switched from Coated to a red C. in 1950, then to a black C. in 1950 or 1951, and became F.C. in 1951 or 1952. This certainly indicates that all the 4cm f/2.8 lenses in Leica mount were made in the 1950–51 period, or perhaps 1950–52 at the latest.

The highest serial number observed so far is 61691,[10] for a total production comprised between 1,700 and 2,000. The 62xxx range of numbers was used for the regular version of the Zuiko 4cm f/3.5 for Exakta, apparently made after 1953 (see the discussion on the corresponding page). At the time, the sequence of serial numbers for Zuiko lenses had attained much higher numbers, and it is plausible that the 62xxx range was originally allotted to the 4cm f/2.8 for Leica but left unused, and later adopted for the Exakta lens.

Accessories Edit

The lens was sold as a set with a finder, front and rear caps and a leather case.

The dedicated finder has an accessory shoe on top; the side has the OLYMPUS OIC logo and the focal length 4 cm.

The leather case has the OLYMPUS OIC logo at the top and a compartment inside for the finder. The bottom of the case is embossed "MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN", at least on some occasions.

The original front cap is all chrome and has the OLYMPUS OIC logo stamped on it. The rear cap is all chrome too and is sometimes marked MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN.

Notes Edit

  1. "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Advertisement reproduced in "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20, and in Yazawa, p.13 of Camera Collectors' News no.250.
  3. Original text: 春から夏への自然の美しさを此の新しい視角とカラーフィルムのコンビで.
  4. Yazawa, p.12 of Camera Collectors' News no.250.
  5. Tables of interchangeable lenses in special issues of Photo Art: June 1955, pp.78–9, and October 1955, pp.66–7.
  6. Example offered as lot no.288 of Westlicht auction no.13 (June 7, 2008).
  7. Example sold as lot no.216 of Christies auction no.9837 (May 7, 2004).
  8. Example no.60419 sold as lot no.371 of Westlicht auction no.11 (May 6, 2007). Example no.60459 observed in an online auction.
  9. Highest with red C.: no.61472 sold as lot no.287 of Westlicht auction no.13 (June 7, 2008). Lowest with black C.: no.61543 observed for sale by a dealer.
  10. Example pictured in Yazawa, p.11 of Camera Collectors' News no.250.

Bibliography Edit

  • Christies auction catalogue: "Cameras and Photographic Equipment — The Property of Dr. Sydney M. Sorrell" (1 April 2003), lot no.58.
  • Hagiya Takeshi (萩谷剛). "Raika to sekai no raika-yō renzu" (ライカと世界のライカ用レンズ, Leica and other Leica-mount lenses). In Sekai no Raika renzu (世界のライカレンズ, Leica lenses of the world) Part 1. Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2003. ISBN 4-87956-061-8. Pp.178–88. (Brief mention only.)
  • Itō Tsuguyoshi (伊藤二良). "Olympus Zuiko C. 40mm F2.8". In Sekai no Raika renzu (世界のライカレンズ, Leica lenses of the world) Part 1. Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2003. ISBN 4-87956-061-8. Pp.112–3.
  • "Orinpasu renzu hoi" (オリンパスレンズ補遺, "Olympus lens appendix"). Anonymous column about various Zuiko lenses. Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no. 20, 25 March 1992. No ISBN number. Orinpasu no subete (オリンパスのすべて, special issue on Olympus). P.81.
  • Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera akusesarī zensho (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラアクセサリー全書, Photo Art special issue: All the camera accessories). June 1955, no.80 of the magazine. "Naigai kōkan renzu sōran" (内外交換レンズ総覧, Table and Japanese and foreign interchangeable lenses). Pp.78–9.
  • Photo Art rinji zōkan: Kamera no chishiki (フォトアート臨時増刊・カメラの知識, Photo Art special issue: Knowledge of cameras). October 1955, no.87 of the magazine. "Naigai hyōjun renzu oyobi kōkan renzu ichiranpyō" (内外標準レンズ及び交換レンズ一覧表, Table of Japanese and foreign standard and interchangeable lenses). Pp.66–7.
  • Yazawa Seiichirō (矢沢征一郎). "Renzu no hanashi (160) Sūpā Zuikō" (レンズの話[160]スーパーズイコー, Lens story [160] Super Zuiko). In Camera Collectors' News no.250 (April 1998). Nishinomiya: Camera Collectors News-sha. Pp.11–3.

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