EL-Nikkor photo-enlarging lenses


A small selection of modern EL-Nikkor enlarging lenses (courtesy ED)


In the early 1930's (probably 1936) Nippon Kogaku K.K. produced its first photo-enlarging lens (for Canon enlargers!), the - nowadays extremely rare - Hermes 3.5/5.5 cm. Only 19 lenses are known. (image courtesy CS).

Many EL-Nikkors - as they were marked later - would follow, in focal lengths from 40 - 480 mm. All of them are excellent lenses to be used on any enlarger. As you may see from the picture above most lens bodies are identical. Early lens bodies have a scalloped grip, later bodies have a straight body with larger aperture numbers for improved visibility. EL-Nikkors with a focal length up to 75 mm. can be used for enlarging images on 35 mm. film or smaller. Lenses with focal lengths of 75 - 135 mm. are used for images on 70 mm. film, while lenses with longer focal lengths are for images on wider films or plates. It is possible to use a lens with a focal length of e.g. 135 mm. for 35 mm. film, but the distance between lens and photo paper will be to large, hence exposure times will increase. As the smaller EL-Nikkors have a thread mount of 39 mm. they can be used on a any SLR camera via an appropriate adapter (Nikon BR-15 or Nikon BR-16) for macro-photography. The larger lenses have a thread mount of 50 mm.

Most lenses have an optical design based on an improved triplet (4 lenses in 3 groups) or have 6 elements in 4 groups.

Some lenses listed below are/were available in an apo-chromatic version: Apo-EL-Nikkor; all these lenses - extra corrected to avoid chromatic aberration - have an optical design of 8 elements in 4 groups. There are EL-Zoom-Nikkor lenses (see above) made in the past, mainly to be used in photo-printing machines.

There is one EL-Nikkor known, made in the Rangefinder era: EL-Nikkor 3.5/5cm. which was listed in 1948.

The following lenses are known:

EL-Nikkor 2.8/30 mm. (film format up to 24 x 36 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 4/40 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 2.8/50 mm. (idem), the first EL-Nikkor produced from 1956

EL-Nikkor 3,5/50 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 4/50 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 3.5/55 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 2.8/63 mm. (film format up to 32 x 45 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 3.5/63 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 3.5/68 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 4/75 mm. (film format up to 56 x 56 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/80 mm. (film format up to 60 x 70 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/95 mm. (idem)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/105 mm. (film format up to 65 x 90 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/135 mm. (film format up to 90 x 120 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/150 mm. (film format up to 100 x 130 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/180 mm. (film format up to 130 x 180 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/210 mm. (film format up to 150 x 210 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/240 mm. (film format up to 180 x 240 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/300 mm. (film format up to 270 x 330 mm.)

EL-Nikkor 5.6/360 mm. (film format up to 300 x 400 mm.)


Apo-EL-Nikkor 5.6/105 mm. (film format up to 65 x 90 mm.)

Apo-EL-Nikkor 5.6/170 mm. (film format up to 100 x 130 mm.)

Apo-EL-Nikkor 5.6/210 mm. (film format up to 150 x 210 mm.)

Apo-EL-Nikkor 5.6/300 mm. (film format up to 270 x 330 mm.)

Apo-EL-Nikkor 5.6/480 mm. (film format up to 300 x 400 mm.)