This Super Rare Nikon I Rangefinder from 1948 is Yours for $27,445

Here’s your chance to snag a rare and historic Nikon rangefinder if you’re willing to break your fat piggy banks!

Are you a photographer with a passion for rare rangefinders or a vintage collector on the lookout for historic pieces? If so, our recent ebay find is definitely a catch for you. This super rare Nikon I rangefinder that goes all the way back to 1948 would make a great addition to your collection if you have some serious cash to burn.

Ebay seller villagegoodies listed this Nikon I rangefinder with 50mm f2 Nikkor H.C. Tokyo collapsible lens as never been serviced and has no mechanical problems. While in used condition, the camera is rated as 7/10 and in good working order. It also comes with the original leather case. However, the back leatherette is missing and there’s some number engraved on the bottom plate.

Now, you might be wondering, what warrants a price tag of $27,445. Is it because it was made way back in 1948? That’s one factor, but there’s an even more fascinating fact about the Nikon I that explains why it’s going for this much. It’s actually Nikon’s inaugural camera, so by getting this vintage beauty, you’re also adding a piece of photography history to your camera collection.

According to the Nikon history page, the Nikon I was one of the first two consumer cameras that Nippon Kogaku K.K. planned to produce in 1946. One was a TLR camera that took 120 film at 6 x 6 format, and the other a small “universal type” camera that used 35mm. The company eventually decided to push through with a 35mm camera that would have a 24 x 32 mm format and rival the famous Leica and Contax cameras at the time.

They finished the blueprint in September 1946 and began prototyping a month later. Two prototypes were completed in October 1947. It was initially named “Nikorette” based on the shortened version of Nippon Kogaku, and added “ette” to indicate the small size. However, the company went for a snappier and more formal “Nikon.” With it, the Nikon brand name was born, along with the Nikon Camera (later called Nikon I to distinguish it from the succeeding models) fitted with Nikkor 50mm f2 lens. It was officially introduced in March 1948.

According to, this is a highly collectible piece because only less than a thousand were produced. So, if you’re ready to let go of your $27,445 for this historic camera, go ahead and buy it now or make your best offer on the ebay listing.

All images from the ebay listing by villagegoodies