Nikon SP

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Nikon SP
Nikon SP chrome with exposure meter and NIKKOR-S 1,4 f=5cm.JPG
Nikon SP chrome with matching Nikon exposure meter and NIKKOR-S 1:1,4 f=5cm lens
Type35 mm rangefinder camera
Lensinterchangeable lens, Nikon 'S' bayonet mount
Film format35 mm
Film size36 mm × 24 mm
Film advancemanual
Film rewindmanual
Focus modesSplit and superposed-image rangefinder
Exposure modesManual (M), and Bulb (B)
Exposure meteringno integrated meter
FlashPC Sync
Flash synchronization1/60 s
Shuttermechanically timed
Shutter speed range1 s to 1/1000 s with Bulb and 1/60 s flash-sync
Continuous shooting1 FPS manual wind, 3 FPS S-36 motordrive
ViewfinderDual brightline and etched frame viewfinder
Viewfinder magnification1x
Optional motor drivesS-36 motordrive
Dimensions136 mm (w) × 81 mm (h) × 43 mm (d)
Weight590 g (1.30 lb)
Made inJapan

The Nikon SP is a professional level, interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, rangefinder camera introduced in 1957. It is the culmination of Nikon's rangefinder development which started in 1948 with the Nikon I, and was "arguably the most advanced rangefinder of its time."[1] It was manufactured by the Japanese optics company Nippon Kogaku K. K. (Nikon Corporation since 1988).[2] Further development of Nikon's S series ended with the introduction and success of the Nikon F.

In 2005 2,500 models of a repro model were manufactured under the name of "Nikon SP Limited Edition". The camera was exclusively sold in Japan and came with a (modern multi-coated) W-Nikkor 3.5 cm f/1.8 lens.[3]


The Nikon SP has dual viewfinders providing frame lines for a total of six focal lengths. The main viewfinder has 1x magnification and has frame lines for 50 mm, 85 mm, 105 mm and 135 mm (selected by rotating a dial under the rewind crank). The frames are parallax-corrected and the focusing patch appears in the centre of the viewfinder. A separate, smaller viewfinder (less than life size) to the left of the main viewfinder has non-parallax corrected frame lines for 35 mm. The entire window acts as a frame for 28 mm lenses.

The camera uses Nikon's 'S' bayonet lens mount which is a modified Contax 'C' bayonet and Contax 'C' lenses are physically compatible but do not accurately focus with the built-in rangefinder. In common with Contax, a small toothed wheel in front of the shutter release is used to focus lenses that use the internal bayonet.

The camera does not have a flash sync on its hot shoe. Instead a pc sync socket is provided. The shutter on early models is a horizontally running mechanically timed rubberized silk fabric curtain. In 1959 the shutter curtain was changed to titanium similar to the Nikon F.

The camera will advance film at a rate of 3 FPS with an added S-36 motor drive. This made the SP the first rangefinder to have motorized film advance.[4]

The Nikon F SLR of 1959 has many structural similarities to the SP from which it evolved[5] with the addition of a reflex mirror and interchangeable pentaprism viewfinder.


  • Shutter: Horizontal running rubberized silk fabric curtain type focal plain shutter
  • Shutter speeds: T, B and 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000 seconds (regular interval graduation)
  • Range marker: M inscription (XXINF – 0.9)
  • Self-timer: Connect time variable system (the graduation of 3, 6 and 10 seconds it is attached)
  • Pc socket: Time lag variable system, it aligns the synchronizer socket attachment and the speed light/write in 1/60 seconds less than
  • Finder: Rangefinder type fixed 1x magnification finder (wide angle finder for 28 mm and 35 mm finder)
  • Framelines: Auxiliary window: 28 mm, 35 mm; Main window (parallax corrected): 50 mm, 85 mm, 105 mm and 135 mm
  • Film wind: Hand operated lever system, 136 degree revolution (multiple winds possible), with 15 degree extra withdrawal angles
  • Film rewind: Manual Crank system
  • Film: 135 Film (35 mm film) with 36 mm × 24 mm image size

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Nikon SP
  2. ^
  3. ^ Nikon SP Limited Edition, by Nikon
  4. ^ [2] Nikon Owner Issue 19 History of Nikon Part XVI by Gray Levett
  5. ^ [3] Nikon S2, SP, S3, S4 and Nikon F Similarities

External links[edit]