Interesting finds on eBay; Nikon 2000mm f/11 Reflex Nikkor

Further to our NASA specced 'blad story for sale by exotic camera specialist and retailer Photo-Arsenal, I happened on this rarity while perusing their site on eBay. I've never seen one for sale before (it's on for a reasonable $20K), but I did get a chance to play with one once, courtesy of Nikon back in '79 or '80. As a visitor to the annual Olympia (or was it the Islington Design Centre?) photo event in London*, I wasn't the only one able to peer through the Nikon EM they had attached to it.

As incongruous as that sounds, Nikon had just introduced the auto-only Nikon EM (a starter model that Nikon was heavily criticised for introducing at the time - they only made "pro" cameras, the F3, FM and the FE) and were trying to promote the camera's versatility - it could be used with any of the seventy-plus Nikkor lenses available. Of course, the 2000mm f/11 was one of Nikon's most exotic Nikkors, hand assembled and available to purchase by special order only.


The picture above shows the rear filter selector (you literally dialed in the filter, which was housed in rotating holder), and focused using the dial to the right. The knurled knob in the centre allowed you to rotate the mount, for vertical compositions. Neat. It wasn't Nikon's most esoteric lens, nor was it the most expensive (though, it was pricey at around £6,200 if memory serves), I guess the two go hand-in-hand.

At the other end of the enormous stand (Nikon had centre stage then) there was the equally sublime (or ridiculous, perhaps) Ai 6mm f/2.8. A circular fisheye lens with 220-degree angle of view (that is not a typo). A lens that can see behind itself! I looked through that too, an amazingly distorted view but actually it was hard to discern detail in the centre (not to mention the edges), as anything a few feet away was rendered very small. This time, though, there was an F3 attached. But there was a spot-light placed so close too it, the metal-bodied camera (and lens) had become heated to near skin-burning temperatures!

You may be wondering who would buy these lenses? Well, the answer can be seen above in the type of mount. The 2000mm f/11 would of been bought by the military, and in particular the Navy. As for the 6mm f/2.8, a friend of mine at Nikon said the MoD bought some for installation in the turret of the Challenger tank - it was perfect for close quarter surveillance.

* The show eventually moved to Birmingham (there was limited parking in London) and became Focus on Imaging.


All images (c) copyright Photo-Arsenal.


  1. Found it at half price :

  2. Houston Camera Exchange (Houston, Texas USA) had a fellow today trying to sell his copy for USD $9,100.


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