Nikon produced a number of bellows systems for its Rangefinder and then SLR offerings. While some lenses, such as the micro-Nikkor-P 55mm allowed to focus at 1:1 scale, the bellows allowed for even greater close-ups. In addition, Nikon offered a slide and negative copying unit that could be fitted to the filter thread of a lens mounted on the bellows.
A number of prototypes were built in 1957 (serial numbers 5601 to 5604) and formal production commenced in late 1957.
Bellows Unit 1
The first version of the bellows was fitted with a Nikon S-bayonet the Nikon Rangefinder (starting with the Nikon S). Both the front and rear standards can be moved. The bellows were Introduced in late 1957 and produced in only small numbers (~200). The Bellows I type has individual serial numbers. Bellows sn 56001 to 56099 were built in late 1957 and early 1958. Bellows sn 56100 to 56200 were built in late 1958 to early 1959.
Introduced in 1959 for the Nikon F SLR system. The twin-track extension can be moved from 51.6 to 184mm without fixed intervals. Following the introduction of Photomic finders, which protruded further twoards the lens the normal prims, a modified Bellows IIa was introduced that saw the rear standard moved by 3mm, resulting in an extension that could be moved from 54.6 to 187mm. The rails are engraved with markings corresponding to a Nikkor 2/50mm. and the Bellows-Nikkor 4-135mm. The Bellows II type has individual serial number The Bellows IIa serial numbers start with sn 106700.
Introduced in 19XX, this bellows unit is very uncommon. The single-track extension can be moved from 33 to 142mm. Unlike the other bellows units, the Bellows PB-3 are octagonally shaped.
Introduced in 1970, it came with slide attachment PS-4. It is of a 4 rail construction giving an extension range of 43mm to 185mm. Both the front and the rear standard are geared. The front standard shifts (horizontally) 10mm to either side and swings (horizontally, again) up to 25 degrees to the right or left. Dimensions: 109 x 160 x 211mm, weight: 1.25kg
Introduced in 19XX, it came with slide attachment PS-5. It is a simplified version of the PB-4. It has again a two-rail construction and the front standard is fixed. The extension range of 43mm to 185mm is the same as that of the PB-4. Dimensions: 209 x 109 x 144 mm, 950g.
Introduced in 1983, it came with slide attachment PS-6 and allows for an extension range of 48mm to 208mm. The PB-6E Extension Bellows that could be fitted to the PB-6 allowed to extend the range even further, allowing for a 23x magnification. Dimensions: 98 x 155 x 238 mm, weight: ~ 1kg
Nikon Bellows II
|PB-4 with PS-4|
image by Jerry Lee (Image rights)
|PB-5 with PS-5|
image by PictureByPatrick (Image rights)
Nikon Bellows PB-6
- Bellows Unit 1 at Pacific Rim Camera.
- The Nikon Bellows I for Nikon rangefinder cameras by Wes Loder.
- The total quantity produced is not clear at this time. Observed has been 91911 (in an on-line auction)
- Nikon macro / micro equipment Nico van Dijk.—Observed has been 113985 (in an on-line auction) (archived).
- Macro/Close-up Photography with Nikon F2 Series bodies, Bellows I to Bellows II
- Macro/Close-up Photography with Nikon F2 Series bodies, PB-3, PB4 and PB-5
- Macro/Close-up Photography with Nikon F2 Series bodies, PB-6