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Nikon Historical Society Jason Schneider is perhaps the world's most famous expert on camera collecting.  Over the course of his long career he has been a photojournalist, a commercial photographer, and a camera test lab manager.  For 18 years he wrote his incredibly influential Camera Collector monthly column at the still deeply missed MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY magazine where Jason was also Editorial Director. Modern was followed by his 16 year stint as Editor-Chief of Popular Photography, then the world's largest imaging magazine. Along the way many of his Modern Camera collecting articles were republished in the wonderful 3 volume set JASON SCHNEIDER ON CAMERA COLLECTING.

Focusing on a wide range of interests, Jason has been an avid photography enthusiast, writer, and lecturer amazingly enough since his early teens.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington Square College of New York University, where he majored in English Literature, minored in Classics, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Schneiderís poetry and critical essays on poetry have been published in the NYU college literary magazine and in various collections.  He's currently working on a book on Emily Dickinson's poetry "Understanding Emily Dickinson. A Reader's Guide To The Enlightened Master."

Jason is an expert on most things photography:  no only camera collecting and analog photography, but also digital photography, the history of camera design and technology, the business of photography, what it is to be a photographer, and as he once proved to me, the best place to buy bratworst at Photokina in Cologne. If all of that was not enough, Jason is genuinely one of the nicest, most knowledgeable and interesting human beings you will ever likely have the good fortune to meet on the net.

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Nikkor-*.C. Pre-AI vs NIC multicoating?
Old 11-16-2019   #1
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Nikkor-*.C. Pre-AI vs NIC multicoating?

Do the two letter S.C./O.C./H.C. etc. Pre-AI lenses from the 70's have the same coatings as the AI ones that came straight after?

For example are the Nikkor 50/2 AI and Nikkor-H.C. 50/2 that came 3 years before it the same lens in a different barrel?

What about the K lenses?

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Old 11-16-2019   #2
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The letters on the pre Ai lenses indicate the number of elements. The letter “C” was added when a new multi-coating came into use.
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Old 11-16-2019   #3
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Just judging by the lenses I have owned
, there were several different coatings systems used in the pre-AI days that ranged in color from deep blue (e.g. early 50mm 2.0) to reddish (e.g. 50mm 1.4 SC). I had a K 35mm 2.8 that had the same green color coating that typifies all of my succeeding AI and AIS lenses.
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Old 11-16-2019   #4
Greg Maslak
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The way I understand the SLR F mount Nikkors, the early auto-Nikkors with single letter designation for the number of lens elements (H-hex for 6) all have single or double coatings, except the 28/2 N and 35/1.4 N which have multi-coating but no C designation. The next series with C letter all have multi-coating. After 1974 the new look K series introduced NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating) as an improvement over the original multi-coatings.

Nikon has a history of their lenses on the website called "The Thousand and One Nights", it's a great reference and fun read.
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Old 11-16-2019   #5
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You will get some answers here but maybe not the ones you are looking for.


For example it lists the HC as "multicoated" and as being produced between Dec 1972 - Oct 1974. It lists the AI version as being produced between Nov 1974 - 1977 but makes no mention of its coating.

I have a sneaking suspicion though, that Nikon tweaked their multi coatings as they went along but (depending upon marketing intentions) did not always mention such changes explicitly.

The web page also states in relation to C lenses:

- Multi-layer coating on all lens surfaces - reflections colored dark green, red and purple.
- Engraving ".C" added to lens designation, except early 28/2 and 35/1.4.
- Barrel colored black, otherwise identical to late F type.

I think the "identical" reference refers to to exterior appearance not coating appearance. This supports my comment and those of rumbliegeos (below) that coatings were tweaked over time as made apparent by the differing reflection colors. In fact Nikon also adopted a system they called NIC or Nikon Integrated Coating described thus at the MIR site:

"Nikon Integrated Coating. In years past, the reflection of light off the surfaces of individual lens elements and the absorption of light into the glass itself caused a multitude of problems, including ghost images, flare, poor contrast, and unfaithful color rendition. Great strides forward were made in the early 1970's when various camera companies began applying multiple layers of microscopically thin anti-reflective materials to the lens elements.

However, unlike other manufacturers who indiscriminately apply the same number of coatings to each and every lens element regardless of its type or the glass used, Nikon's multilayer coating process is integrated into the design of the particular lens. Just the right number of coatings are applied to each lens element in a vacuum chamber to match the lens type and glass used. The result is a dramatic increase in image contrast and actual light transmission and a corresponding reduction in flare caused by internal reflections. But more importantly, uniform color balance from lens to lens is achieved throughout the entire Nikkor and Nikon Series E line-up. Yes, Nikon Integrated Coating (NIC) is not an easy process, but then optical excellence demands nothing less. "

It is not clear to me though when NIC was introduced (was it a feature of early Nikon multicoating?) and how much it changed over the years but I think it did change as newer processes became available. The color of the coating reflections are the hint.

Ken Rockwell also has a section on different Nikon coatings and their colors (about three quarters down the page) :

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