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Rare Nikon Engineering 5x Ultra-Micro-Nikkor relative

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Lou Jost

Joined: 04 Sep 2015
Posts: 4266
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:40 am    Post subject: Rare Nikon Engineering 5x Ultra-Micro-Nikkor relative Reply with quote

I'm trying to sell some lenses to finance a recent camera purchase.

(The spots on the front lens are reflections of the styrofoam; the lens is perfect.)

This is a mysterious rare Nikon Engineering industrial photolithography lens, designed for the production of semiconductor chips. The only text on the lens is "5x". It seems to be a more recent relative of the famous Ultra-Micro-Nikkors. Nikon Engineering made 405nm microchip-making equipment after the time of the Ultra-Micro-Nikkors, and I think this lens was for that equipment; it works very well with despeckled 405nm laser light. Wide open it seems to have an aperture of f/1.4. It has an iris and should be stopped down about 1.5 stops for best results.

Unusual for photolithography lenses, it has a simple M42 mount. It also has more working distance (about 18mm) and a shorter extension (about 150mm at 5x) than most photolithography lenses. The front element is in a narrow housing, unlike the fat can-shaped Zeiss photolithography lenses, making lighting easier. For all these reasons it is one of the simplest photolithography lenses to adapt to monochrome macro photography.

Buyers should be aware that photolithography lenses achieve their big image circles, flat fields, high resolution, and zero distortion at the cost of giving up corrections for chromatic aberrations. They can only be used with monochromatic light, and best used with the right color of light. While 405nm light works well, the actual optimum color is not known to me.

I wrote about it here, with example shots:

In five years of looking, I have only seen two Nikon Engineering photolithography lenses on eBay, this one labeled 5x and another one labeled 1/5x, both from the same seller at the same time, for $1000 each. I bought this one, the 5x, and liked it so much that a year later I decided to buy the other one too. I don't need both. I decided to keep the other one because it has a slightly larger diameter lens, though it does not have an easy standard mount like this one.

I will sell this for $900 plus shipping.

The lens is optically pristine and mechanically perfect, but has some minor cosmetic marks, mostly in the black matte paint which I added on some reflective surfaces.

Just a reminder again, this is a monochrome lens, to be used with monochrome light, and photos from it will not be the same as black-and-white panchromatic film images, which record brightness regardless of color. In violet light, a bright yellow object might look dark relative to a violet background, whereas with panchromatic film the same object would be brighter than the background.
Lou Jost
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