Aperture range: f/1.8 –f/22
Angle of view: 62°
Focusing range: 3ft to infinity
Filter size: 43mm
As with any lens system as extensive as Nikon’s, there are some models that simply stand out above the rest, either for because of speed, features, rarity or uniqueness. One such lens is the 35mm f/1 .8 W-Nikkor C which overshadows the slower 35mm and the 28mm and is nearly as sought-after and as the 25mm and the 21mm Nikkors. It was one of the fastest wide angles available from any manufacturer during the 1950s. Its development was completed in January 1956 and was ready for market by June. A truly modern lens, both optically and mechanically. It benefits from the use of rare earth lanthanum1 glass which allowed for an unusually flat field and excellent correction despite its fast speed. All of these features considerably decreased vignetting over other wide-angle formulas of the period the 35mm f/1.8 W-Nikkor was the fastest production wide angle lens ever made for the Nikon rangefinder system.
All together only 6,901 lenses were made in Nikon Mount (Robert Rotoloni, The Complete Nikon Rangefinder System, Page 188). Introduced 1956 and discontinued mid 1964 with only some 1000 lenses being produced each year.
According to Rotoloni “…it is apparent that the f/1.8 is not a common lens, nor is it easy to locate…professionals…quickly embraced it and many saw heavy use.”
1 Lanthanum is a ductile and malleable silvery white metal that is soft enough to be cut with a knife. It is the second most reactive of the rare-earth metals after europium.