NIKON S3M HALF-FRAME RANGEFINDER CAMERA + 5CM F/1.4 NIKKOR-SC LENS & S72 MOTOR DRIVE
The Nikon S3M was released in March 1960. It was the last rangefinder camera made by Nikon and it is unique in that it is also the first half-frame Nikon camera ever made. In the early literature it is described as follows: “An S3M camera, specially adapted for 18×24 single frame photography. It takes 72 pictures on a standard 36-exposure 35mm roll film. The viewfinder provides correct viewing field for 35mm, 50mm and 105mm lenses. Other features are the same as the Nikon S3. The S3M is equipped with an (S72) electric motor drive taking single, 2, 3 or burst exposures up to 72 frames at the rate of 4 per second.” The ‘M’ designation meant that is was designed for motorised use. The viewfinder of the S3M is unique to this model. Each etched frame line is keyed individually by sliding the chrome lever on the back of the camera next to the viewfinder. It is click-stopped for each frame line and the focal length is also visable below the frame. Factory records record that 195 Nikon S3M cameras were produced and apparently the ratio of black to chrome cameras is 50/50. However, not all chrome bodies were drilled to accept a motor drive. Apparently, only about 100 Nikon S3M ‘sets’ ever existed (S3M plus motor drive). Not only is the S3M the most unique of all rangefinder cameras but also the rarest, and a complete set with a proper motor is even rarer. It is the jewel in the crown of Nikon rangefinder cameras.