Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

200/5.6 Nikon Medical-Nikkor

The Medical Nikkor was another of Nippon Kogaku's brilliant innovations. Only three years after the introduction of the revolutionary Nikon F, they released a lens that had no equal. It is a macro lens of 200mm, enough length that close-up photos can be shot from a reasonable distance. And it has a built-in flash, with modeling lamps to provide even illumination. I would guess that the lens drew it's inspiration form some of the dental cameras of the era, some which included a flash or two to illuminate the subject. The lens avoided the necessity of having to be focused via a helical, which can be awkward in close-up photography. Instead, you fitted a close-up diopter lens, or lenses to the front, which gave you a preset reproduction ratio,  and then just moved the whole assembly closer or further away until the subject was in focus.

Nippon Kogaku was deeply involved with the production of microscopes, and other medical, technical and scientific equipment, and it should come as no surprise that they would be the ones to design this lens, nor that they foresaw it mainly for use in the medical and dental fields, hence the name. It wasn't long before the lens was found to be of use in many other fields.

The lens was provided with one of two power sources for the flash, either a DC battery pack or an AC pack. The compartment case which holds the lens has space for either (they share the same dimensions), but not both. The lens was provided with a synch cord, which plugs into the camera's PC socket, and a power cord to connect the flash to the power source. They produced a special cable for the AC pack which reduced the power of the flash and shortened the recycle time. The lens was supplied with front and rear caps (of course), and one other odd accessory. It's a bakelite cover that slips over the rewind knob on the Nikon F where the flash coupler (or flashes designed to fit directly on the Nikon F) would fit. When the flash is fired, the flash contacts become hot, and if you are touching one of them, you will become part of the circuit and receive a nasty shock! This piece is referred to as the "Safety Cover", and is a piece often lost, especially after the Nikon F was often replaced by newer cameras.

The lens was made in two versions, the first from serial numbers 104011 to about 113011, from November 1962 until March 1972. At that point they changed the "Nippon Kogaku Japan" to just "Nikon", and changed the diagram of the supplementary lenses to a colorful chart and modernized the style of the barrel. The second version was produced from March 1972 through June 1974 with an approximate serial number range of 120011 through 120449. 

The power supplies, AC in the foreground, DC behind it.

The supplementary lenses in their tray.

The standard power cord.

The special low voltage AC cord.

The Safety Cover.

The case.

The case open, with camera, lens and one power supply inside.

The original box.