5cm f/1.1 Nikkor N (External Mount)


The item photographed may not be the actual model but is used for illustrative purposes only.

Being one of only 1,547 external mount versions made of the very impressive 5cm f/1.1 lens, this lighter version stands as one of the most stunning looking lenses made by Nikon and is certainly one of the most sought-after by collectors.

Ahead of its time, this lens was the fastest made by the big four 35mm Rangefinder camera makers until the early 1960s.

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The very impressive 5cm f/1.1 Nikkor-N lens was announced in February 1956 and was exhibited in Tokyo. The 5cm f/1.1 was a very radical lens for its time, consisting of nine pieces of glass, some of which were very thin split elements and others containing rare earth components.

This stunning f/1.1 lens would reign supreme as the fastest lens made by the big four 35mm rangefinder camera makers, until the Canon 50mm f/0.95 lens was introduced in the early 1960s.

The 5cm f/1.1 Nikkor-N weighed 12.25 ounces (355gm) and it could be stopped down to f/22 with click stops. It used a 12-blade diaphragm and had an angle of view of 46 degrees and a focusing range of 3ft (0.9m) to infinity.

The first version of this lens had an internal mount the same as that found on their normal slower range of lenses, and is known as the ‘Internal Mount f/1.1’. However, this lens was so heavy, that its weight could distort the camera mount and cause rangefinder error. This engineering problem was overcome in June 1959, when a 5cm f/1.1 lens was released with a redesigned barrel with an external mount, such as those found on the wide-angle and telephoto Nikkor lenses. The optical formula is identical to the internal mount version and both lenses used the same 62mm accessories and only the rear cap differed.

Factory records state that 1,046 internal mount lenses were made (835 in Nikon bayonet mount and 211 in Leica screw mount) and 1,547 of the external mount version. The 5cm f/1.1 stands as one of the most impressive looking lenses made by Nikon and is certainly one of the most sought-after by collectors.

This example is an external mount version.

Additional information

Second-hand grade


Serial Number


Second-hand Grading Description

  • NEWAn item that has not been removed from the box or protective wrapping.
  • UNUSEDAn item that may have been removed from the original packaging, but has never been used.
  • MINT100% as new
  • MINT-98%-99% as new
  • EXC++95%-97% as new
  • EXC+90%-94% as new
  • EXCOriginal finish may have slight scratches or rubbed. No dents or deep scratches.
  • VGMay be slightly scratched, scuffed or worn, but in good mechanical order with clean optics
  • VG-An item that falls below our regular level of gradings. Items in VG- condition will have excessive signs of use.

Please note that the following important points when you see our grading description. When applied to lenses it means that the optics are in perfect condition. What we are describing is the cosmetic condition of the lens barrel. When it applies to cameras, motor drives, speedlights etc. the understanding is that the item is in perfect working order and the description would mean the exterior appearance. In other words we are judging cosmetic appearance.

“Grays of Westminster, where mint is also a highly prized English adjective.”

– Professional Photographer magazine