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Vintage black S3 serial numbers
Old 12-08-2010   #1
Jan Van Laethem
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Vintage black S3 serial numbers

According to Robert Rotoloni's "The complete Nikon rangefinder system", the first verified batch of black vintage S3 runs from serial number 6307453 to 6307508 (56 cameras), with a second batch from serial number 6312108 to 6312278 (171 cameras) (see page 140).

Is there a serial number thread on RFF about the vintage black S3 (non-Olympic) cameras? If not, I'd like to start one.

First batch

...

Second batch

6312116

Anyone willing to share serial numbers and help build up a register?
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Old 12-08-2010   #2
Tom A
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i assume that "Olympic S3" qualifies. Here is mine #6320079.
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Old 12-08-2010   #3
Tom A
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We should also consider that at the time - the black paint was just an option. Pro shooters wanted a discreeter camera - just as with Leica. Occasionally the factories would do small runs in a certain # sequence - but more often than not, they would just pull a handful of bodies and have them painted.
The various lists for Leica's are among the better ones - germans like paperwork. But they are not perfect as Leica would change a camera from chrome to black if you wanted too. The importers held stock of parts and would do it inhouse - re-engrave the # and either destroy the original top-plate (to prevent 2 bodies having the same number) or sometimes send them back to Wetzlar (or just keep them and use them for repairs - hence duplicate numbers has been seen - usually with a * prefix).
Nikon was obviously not that anal - and kept rather lax notes.
Even in my own small manufacturing - I rarely kept track of chrome/black/gray/green/red/blue etc rapidwinders. I can remember if I made a series of them - but why bother.
Usually the safest way to find out differences is to check shipping documents as they are usually noted with finish and special features.
That is how Leica discovered that they made 51 black paint Double stroke M3's in 1957/58 with the MP gear-train (case hardened steel). No notes in the production records - but in the shipping to Brandt Optik in Sweden (official Swedish Importer) they were marked as a special order for the Swedish Press Photographers Union. Interesting cameras to as it was truly black paint (film counter dial. baseplate lock and lens release).
I am not a collector - but I like black paint cameras (feels better in the hand) and I keep warning people to check and double check if they are offered them - usually for fantasy prices. It is actually easier to "fake" a black paint camera than a chrome one anyway.
I have a black S2/S3/S4/SP and even a black S - a couple are original - the rest are repainted. Doesn't bother me at all - and if I was selling them I would tell which is what. The problem is further down the road - who is keeping track.
Personally, i would rather buy - 5-6 S2's and and have them repainted - than an expensive original S2 Bl.P.
Oh the S4 is obviously a repaint as none was supposedly made in Black Paint. looks good and works well - though the shutter is acting up and is being replaced at the moment.
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Old 12-08-2010   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
Personally, i would rather buy - 5-6 S2's and and have them repainted - than an expensive original S2 Bl.P.
See, that's just nuts. I normally get your line of logic where you'd say buy one S2 and a few thousand feet of film, but who needs 5-6 S2s?
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Old 12-09-2010   #5
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Now the question is - who needs 4 Sp's/4 S3's/4 S2's/2 S4's and a solitary S. Dont know why they keep gravitating to me - but they do.
As for several 1000's of feet of film - the freezer is full - about 8000 ft in at the moment. Now I just need to load 60 Nikon Rf Cassettes and I will be set for a month!
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Old 12-15-2010   #6
Jan Van Laethem
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First batch

...

Second batch

6312116

S3 "Olympic"

6320079


If the Nikon factory did not do small runs in a certain # sequence, it would be very difficult to actually verify which cameras left the factory as a black paint. Is there a foolproof way to check if a camera is an authentic black camera?

Also, could it be possible that some chrome cameras were sent back to the Nikon factory to have them repainted, if a client approached a dealer and specifically wanted a black camera?

Thanks
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Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8 (2005 reissue), 3.5cm f/2.5, 5cm f/1.4, 5cm f/2, 50mm f/1.4 (2002 reissue), 10.5cm f/2.5 and 13.5cm f/3.5

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Old 12-16-2010   #7
NIKON KIU
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The Vintage S3 with cloth shutter is very very hard to find in black finish, there simply weren't that many produced. I agree with Fred, there are probably more repainted ones out there than originals!

Just to put a twist on theese two batches, NIKON KIU presents one of those odd-ball numbers for you:



I believe this one is original, although I never examined it personally.

Kiu
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An original one..
Old 12-16-2010   #8
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An original one..

My is an original one, from the first batch the 34th ( 6307487 ) black S3, directly from my collection to us:

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Old 02-07-2012   #9
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Hmmm Nikon F style thin concentric strips on the frame counter cover but short and hollow 1st style wind lever... strange.
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Old 02-07-2012   #10
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Yes but the 1st style wind lever isn't fully compatible with the 2nd type ratchett installed under the top cover and vice-versa, and AFAIK the Olympics were fitted with the 2nd type ratchett and wind lever (similar to the Nikon F and the 1962 Nikon SP reissue batch).
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Old 02-07-2012   #11
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There is a thread in this forum where "Goliathus" clearly shows that when you want to install a Nikon F style wind lever on an early Nikon SP or S3, you also have to remove the top cover and install a wind ratchett coming from a donor Nikon F, unless you cannot benefit of the 30° click-stop resting position of the wind lever.

And you cannot install a wind lever like the one pictured here on a camera fitted with a Nikon F style ratchett (that is, late SPs and Olympic S3s).
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black s3
Old 02-08-2012   #12
enasniearth
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black s3

here is the olympic one from 1964 -65





can not load photos to threads - seems to be a common problem here at rff
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Old 02-08-2012   #13
NIKON KIU
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enasniearth View Post
here is the olympic one from 1964 -65

can not load photos to threads - seems to be a common problem here at rff
Can you PM me the picture?
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Old 02-09-2012   #14
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Whats makes it really weird is that the S3 in black is the only camera that I know off that has had an original series and two re-issues ( the "moniker" Olympic" just being a sales gimmick) and then the Millennium version. Well, it is a good camera so it deserved a 2nd and 3rd chance.
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Nikon S2 black and Nikon S3 black
Old 01-17-2018   #15
pierre dubois
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Nikon S2 black and Nikon S3 black

Hi there,

Nikon S2 black very early it's the second camera of the first round list
N°6170913.


Nikon S3 black N°6307454 in the pristine condition.

I take the pictures with these two cameras.

Pierre from France
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File Type: jpg DSC05747.JPG (84.5 KB, 8 views)
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Old 01-17-2018   #16
pierre dubois
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Sorry for my mistake, is not the early S2 black but the S3 black which is the second camera on the first list (6307454).
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