Nikkor O (CRT) f1.2

I’ve got a Nikkor f1.2 lens! No, of course it’s not a regular one!! There have been a couple of versions of this lens, the first one appeared in the mid-60’s. Back then, in the pre-digital years, engineers and other folk who had the need to record oscilloscope data had a challenge. This lens was developed by Nikon to help with that problem, hence it’s known as the CRT or O (oscilloscope) lens.

It’s a challenge to use this lens but rewarding when you do. First it’s a LTM, (Leica thread mount – 39mm). Luckily I have a LTM39 to Leica M adaptor. I then have a Leica M to Fuji XF adaptor. Next and rather curiously, it has no focus helicoid. The lens was designed for a specific job, and I guess it was concluded that it simply wasn’t needed. It’s for photographing phosphorus oscilloscope screens of the 60’s 70’s and no doubt into the 80’s. That’s a fixed size subject. Filling the 35mm frame, that the lens is designed to cover, means by and large a fixed working distance too. Why the need to focus? How remiss of Nikon to not contemplate that a photographer in southern England in 2023 would be trying to put one on a Fuji X-Pro2 digital to make images!

It seems that the lens makes a quite amazing macro lens. There is little to read online about these, but what there is, seems to suggest that using a bellows to focus is the best option. I don’t have one of those, but I do have an 11mm extension tube, so I added that to the ever growing tube! While that still didn’t give enough length for infinity focus, it got me a sensible working distance to try out some close work. What is great is that this later version (red markings) has 12, yes 12 aperture blades. Bokeh is silky smooth! The design schematic below shows the 8 elements.

So what about the results I hear you say…

We had one of those Orchids from a supermarket that’s spayed blue for some strange reason. It died off, so we cut it back and continued to look after it. It rewarded us by producing this wonderful bloom, and thankfully back in it’s natural colour! This shot is simply taken on the kitchen window sill. The white back ground is nothing but next doors white garage wall! It’s back in bud again now.

Yes I have a collection of plastic cartoon/film figures! I also have the odd drink.

It’s been fun having a play with this lens. What I didn’t realise is how rare and what totally mad prices they fetch on ebay! Thankfully I was un- aware of this when I purchased it!

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