If anyone has $33k burning a hole in their pocket, another Nikon 13mm f/5.6 lens has appeared on eBay


posted Monday, January 18, 2016 at 12:23 PM EDT


Despite being produced from 1976 through 1998, the Nikon Nikkor 13mm f/5.6 AIS lens is one of the rarest Nikon lenses in the world. If you have $33,000 USD to spend on a lens, you can grab one of these immensely rare lenses on eBay right now. You might need more than the $33,000 if you live outside the US, though, because you'll be on the hook for travel expenses. Fortunately, hand-delivery will be free within the US if the 'Buy it Now' price is met.

Produced only when ordered, this ultra-wide rectilinear lens sold for $8,229 USD in 1979, which is a whopping $26,901 USD in 2015 dollars when adjusted for CPI inflation (though this isn't a perfect way to estimate what it would cost if it were produced today, but it does give you some sense of how expensive it really was at the time of its introduction). Due to its rectilinear design, the 13mm lens produced very little distortion when compared to other wide-angle lenses. Further, it uses a Close Range Optical Correction (CRC) system, which reduces aberrations at close focusing distances by utilizing floating lens elements.

This lens has sixteen elements in twelve groups, which helps explain why it weighs a whopping 2.73 pounds (1240 grams). This lens is not just heavy, it's also big. The lens is nearly 4 inches (99mm) long with a diameter of just over 4.5 inches (115 mm). Surprisingly, the lens can actually use filters. Its bulbous front element and built-in lens hood means that the filters have to be used on the back of the lens via bayonet rather than be placed in front of the lens. The lens came with four filters, skylight, orange, light amber, and light blue.

Image credit: camerabroker on eBay

The Nikon 13mm f/5.6 is one of the widest non-distorting SLR lens in the world, and certainly was the widest at the time of its introduction. Unfortunately, since it was only built when ordered and had a high cost, only about 350 people can have access to this amazing lens at any given time, assuming none of the lenses have been damaged.

For a bit of history on the lens, it was designed in 1971 by Ikuo Mori. In 1973, the first prototype was made. In 1976 and 1977, roughly 40 non-AI versions of the 13mm lens were made. From 1977 to 1982, Nikon updated the lens to AI (non-AI versions could be converted to AI by Nikon). From 1982 until the end of this lens' production in 1998, about 300 AI-S versions of this lens were produced.

Image credit: camerabroker on eBay

Another one of these lenses appeared on eBay in October of 2014 and ended with a final sale price of $24,500 USD after 48 total bids. Shipping was a very reasonable $67.30 as well. It is clear that there are still collectors, and hopefully photographers, looking to buy this lens. A lens this special ought to be used to make images. It offers a 118-degree diagonal field of view on full-frame cameras with minimal distortion, which makes it a very special lens.

Image credit: camerabroker on eBay

If you're interested, head on over to eBay and place your bid on this beautifully-engineered lens. 

With that said, if you're feeling like a 13mm f/5.6 might be out of your price range, Nikon's rectilinear 14-24mm f/2.8 lens is fantastic and it costs under $2,000.

(Seen via Nikon Rumors