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Zuiko 4cm f/3.5 for Exakta

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The only lens made by Olympus in Exakta mount is the Zuiko 4cm f/3.5, of which three versions are known. It was probably the same as the lens of the Olympus 35. At about the same period, Olympus was also selling a Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 for Leica.

Three versions of the lens are known: the most common has manual diaphragm and a straight brass barrel, another has manual diaphragm and a brass barrel rotating with the focusing ring, and the third has preset diaphragm and a straight aluminium barrel. The chronology of these versions is not entirely clear, but the sequence retained below is the most plausible.

Straight aluminium barrel, preset diaphragm Edit

The preset version has an aluminium barrel and a preset diaphragm. The focusing ring goes down to 2ft, and the front barrel does not rotate when focusing. The knurling of the focusing ring is reminiscent of the lenses for the Kodak Ektra. The aperture ring moves along an index on the black front rim, and has a moving tab on the rear for aperture preselection (from 3.5 to 16). The marking on the lens bezel reads Olympus Zuiko F.C. 1:3,5 f=4cm in white on a black background, where F.C. stands for Full Coated, indicating that all the elements are coated. The serial number has no prefix. The word Japan is engraved at the bottom of the barrel.

Few examples of this version have been seen so far; serial numbers are known from 200125 to 200224.[1]

Rotating brass barrel, manual diaphragm Edit

The rotating version is made of chromed brass and has a manual diaphragm again. The lens barrel is slightly shorter than on the early version, and the front barrel rotates when the focusing ring is turned. The minimum focusing distance is now 3.5ft. The aperture ring only has an index moving along an aperture scale engraved on the focusing ring. The rear element is protected by a metal ring. The marking on the lens bezel again reads Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3,5 f=4cm No.xxxxxx. The lettering is similar to that found on the lenses of the Olympus Chrome Six I and II and early Chrome Six III, notably recognized by the bar on digit "1" and the closed shape of digit "4".

Only few examples have been seen so far, and the known lens numbers are in the 224xxx range.[2] These numbers are higher than no.200125 on the aluminium version, and the rotating version is supposed to come second; it was possibly released to cut down costs.

Straight brass barrel, manual diaphragm Edit

The regular version has an all-chrome brass barrel and a manual diaphragm. The focusing ring goes down to 3ft, and is engraved MADE IN JAPAN at the bottom. The front part of the lens barrel does not rotate when focusing, and the aperture ring moves along an index on the chrome front rim. The rear element is unprotected. The marking on the lens bezel is Olympus Zuiko C. 1:3,5 f=4cm No.xxxxx, in white on a black background. The lettering is similar to that found on the lenses of the Olympus Chrome Six III (late production), V and RII, and is notably characterized by the absence of a bar on digit "1" and the open shape of digit "4". The new lettering was adopted on the Chrome Six around 1953, and this version of the lens was probably contemporary to these cameras.

This third version is more common than the other two. All the serial numbers are in the 62xxx range, immediately following the 60xxx and 61xxx batch allotted to the Zuiko 4cm f/2.8 for Leica. These serial numbers are lower than those found on the other two versions, perhaps because the 62xxx batch was primarily allotted to another lens type (perhaps that in Leica mount), remained unused and was recuperated for the Exakta mount lens. From the numbers known so far (from 62059 to 62459)[3] the total production may be estimated at about 500 units.

The front and rear caps are all chrome, and the front cap is stamped with the OLYMPUS OIC logo, which was used by the company from 1949 to 1953. The leather case also has the same logo on the top cover, and MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN on the underside.

An unknown version of the lens was available in the US at $54.95 around 1953.[4] The lens still appears in a table of interchangeable lenses in the June 1955 issue of Photo Art, but no longer in a similar document dated October.[5]

Notes Edit

  1. Examples pictured in this page, in Exakta Obscurities, p.40, pictured in "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20, and observed in an online auction.
  2. Example offered for sale by a dealer (no.224006), example pictured in this page (no.224137) and example pictured in "Orinpasu renzu hoi", p.81 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.20.
  3. Examples observed in online auctions, for sale by dealers and in the links below.
  4. Advertisement by Ritz Camera Centers in an unknown US magazine dated around 1953, reproduced in Hagiya, p.180 of Sekai no Raika renzu.
  5. Tables of interchangeable lenses in the June and October 1955 special issues of Photo Art: June 1955, pp.78–9, and October 1955, pp.66–7.

Bibliography Edit

  • Cullen, Gary and Rademaker, Klaus. Exakta Obscurities. Published by Gary Cullen, 2001. ISBN 0-9689868-1-1.
  • 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. (Contains a US advertisement listing the Zuiko 4cm f/3.5 lens and no other information on it.)
  • "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. (The lens does not appear in this document.)

Links Edit

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