Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

6/5.6 Nikon Fish-Eye Nikkor

Nikon was a pioneer in the development of fish-eye lenses. Their first experience with fish-eye designs involved the Nikon Cloud Camera, a 16.3mm fish-eye on a 6x6cm camera designed for studying cloud formations, providing an angle of view of 180 degrees. The design was later scaled down for 35mm cameras, and was sold to the general public as a lens for the Nikon F.

In 1967 work began on a lens with preposterous specifications. It would have an angle of view of 220 degrees. It would see slightly behind itself. Like the earlier 180 degree fish-eyes, the lens tube protruded so far back into the camera body that the mirror had to be locked up and framing was done with an accessory finder which slipped over the rewind knob on the Nikon F. The lens was composed of nine elements in six groups, and it had a built in filter wheel with Skylight, orange, green, red and two yellow filters.

Prototypes were marked 6.25mm, but the production lenses were marked 6mm. Serial numbers run 656001 to 660102, which would suggest a production of about 4000 units, but they were built in two serial number batches of roughly 200 units total.

The 6/5.6 Fish-eye Nikkor mounted on a Nikon F.