In 1965, Nikon introduced the first TTL metering finder, Photomic T, for Nikon F system. Although it was a significiant improvement to its predecessor Photomic, it did have a slightly larger base that required the mirror housing to be modified. A red dot in front of the serial numbers was added to designate those body modified to accept Photomic T and later finders. The red dot can only be found between the body serial numbers 657xxxx to 66xxxxx. It should be noted that all the bodies from 67xxxxx number block onwards were modified but without the red dot. Within the range of 658000-659999, I would say only about 3/4 of them are modified and red-dotted. As the serial numbers get closer to 659999, the more likely you will see a red dot. 65 block Red Dot F is not as rare as some dealers would like you to believe. However, 66 block Red Dot is a different story. There are only around 3000 bodies made in this block and ALL of them are chrome and red-dotted (watch out for the fake black 66 bodies. They do exist!). Why Nikon suddenly jumped the serial numbers from 6602xxx to 67 block is still an unsolved mistery. I think they probably realized all the new bodies were going to be made to accept the new finders anyway, they might as well stop stamping the red dot at some stage. It would be less confusing to start off with a new block of serial nos rather than half way through 66 block. Make sense?

Unmodified mirror house A Red Dot version with modified miror house that can accept Photomic T finder.
       

Three different versions of Red Dot F

             

Even rarer than 66 block Red Dots are black bodies with a red dot. According to Uli Koch's fabulous reference book for Nikon F, they only exist in the 6597xxx number block. i.e. much less than 1000 black bodies can be found with a red dot! (I have seen chrome Red dot body repainted in black though) The only red dot bodies that can beat this, in terms of rarity, are those "Nikkor" marked bodies with a red dot. Nikkor bodies were only made for German market for a short period of time.

             

 

How many Red Dot Fs are there?

Of all the Nikon Fs between 6580000 and 6599999 I have come across, 90 out of 121 bodies (around 75%) are Red-dotted. Assuming all those 121 samples were randomly picked, we can then base our estimate of the total number of Red Dots on the 75% figure. Since there are 20,000 Fs between 658000 and 6599999, we should expect to see rougly 15,000 of them with a Red Dot. On top of that, there are around 3,000 Red Dots on the 66 block. That gives a total number of 18,000! Of course, this is only a ballpark figure. More "random" samples will be needed to improve the statistics.

There is an extremely extensive Red Dot list publised in issue No.82 of the Nikon Historical Society Journal. The list is a combined effort of many NHS members, especially Mr Richard de Stoutz and Mr Harry Verschuren. With kind permission from the NHS President Mr Robert Rotoloni, I have reproduced the list here, combined with some of my own Red Dot numbers, for your reference. This list will be amended from time to time as more Red Dots are discovered in the future. Since the original NHS list consists of only Red Dot bodies, it was not used in my earlier estimation of the total number of Red Dots.

Update on 23 jun 2011

The main list consists of numbers from 657xxxx to 66xxxxx. Even the Photomic T project was probably known within the company months before it was announced in Aug 1965, the authenticity of some early 657xxxx red dot (manufactured in 1964) is still questionable. It is possible Nikon might have modified some of the unsold old stock after the Photomic T was introduced before shipping them to the dealers.

 

THE RED DOT NIKON F LIST (updated on 8 Dec 2016)

Bold numbers with a letter B after the serial numbers --- Black bodies

Numbers with FB after the serial numbers --- Original chrome bodies repainted in black

Numbers with NP after the serial numbers --- Serial number plate removed from original body

Numbers with NK after the serial numbers --- Nikkor bodies for German market

Numbers with GD after the serial numbers --- Gold plated bodies

(Red numbers are new additions since last update on 26 Dec 14)

 
                           
6570022 6587791 6591110 6594303 6596373 6597812B 6599906
6573678 6587811 6591113 6594306 6596377 6597816B 6599960
6575738B 6587832 6591201 6594327 6596460 6597818B 6599968
6575857B 6587863 6591237 6594347 6596481 6597886 6599985
6575859B 6588023 6591267 6594382 6596559 6597892B
6576610 6588242 6591270 6594406 6596568 6597918
6578939 6588327 6591280B 6594572 6596569 6597920
6579184 6588473 6591308 6594594 6596578 6597931
6579343 6588664 6591309 6594631 6596588 6597969
6579590 6588745 6591323 6594632 6596623 6598020
6579650 6588766 6591338 6594665 6596682 6598051
6581277 6588824 6591359 6594687 6596726 6598119
6581357 6588859 6591364 6594701 6596757 6598121
6582334 6588996 6591406 6594749 6596771 6598137
6582415 6589023 6591439 6594766 6596775 6598141
6582900 6589030 6591464 6594773 6596776 6598142
6583061 6589039 6591472 6594777 6596782 6598146
6583069 6589068 6591537 6594781 6596796 6598170
6583239 6589104 6591583 6594812 6596814 6598183
6583470 6589116 6591587 6594832 6596840 6598207
6583486 6589257 6591592 6594834 6596853 6598208
6583571 6589384 6591614 6594871 6596885 6598210
6583572 6589424 6591688 6594888 6596918 6598243
6583622 6589469 6591695 6594897 6596941 6598264
6583682 6589495 6592025B 6594937 6596949 6598364
6584000FB 6589534 6592249 6594974 6596967 6598379
6584220 6589536 6592426 6595012NK 6597042 6598392
6584584 6589559 6592444 6595024 6597100 6598397
6585000 6589560 6592448 6595054 6597102 6598414
6585030 6589597 6592481 6595074 6597148 6598431
6585349 6589614 6592527 6595118 6597159 6598445
6585392 6589647NP 6592530 6595149 6597170 6598456
6585401 6589651 6592558 6595165 6597183 6598467
6585408 6589657 6592625 6595206 6597199 6598579
6585480 6589658 6592656 6595263 6597208 6598591
6585494 6589695 6592673 6595272 6597225 6598661
6585499 6589705 6592702 6595284 6597262B 6598718
6585512 6589742 6592779 6595290 6597267B 6598730
6585566 6589752 6592879 6595317 6597295B 6598772
6585593 6589753 6592982 6595320 6597308B 6598779
6585632 6589842 6593008 6595348 6597337B 6598813
6585640 6589897 6593026 6595387 6597340B 6598837
6585717 6589915 6593070 6595403 6597392B 6598853
6585743 6589979 6593071 6595426 6597395B 6598884
6585813 6590025 6593124 6595444 6597396B 6598921
6585875 6590122 6593125 6595493 6597425B 6598953
6585943 6590127 6593158 6595565 6597448B 6599784
6585980 6590135 6593198 6595570 6597475B 6598988
6586013 6590163 6593213NP 6595574 6597503B 6598990
6586014 6590212 6593224 6595603 6597524B 6599007
6586051 6590247 6593268 6595640 6597528B 6599026
6586084 6590261 6593288 6595678 6597548B 6599082
6586163 6590319 6593306 6595755 6597558B 6599222
6586535 6590383 6593380 6595805 6597580B 6599248
6586749 6590424 6593459 6595821 6597595B 6599264
6586764 6590442 6593478 6595869 6597602B 6599292
6586948 6590557 6593499 6595886 6597612B 6599407
6587137 6590568 6593647 6595917 6597618B 6599452
6587163 6590624 6593698 6595931 6597628B 6599463
6587195 6590676 6593766 6595967 6597633B 6599489
6587335 6590677 6593777 6595970 6597653B 6599492
6587395 6590704 6593782 6596004 6597660B 6599673
6587415 6590753 6593852 6596045 6597684B 6599712
6587541 6590895 6593922 6596090 6597694B 6599759
6587590 6590937 6594045 6596147 6597696B 6599760
6587601 6590966 6594137 6596226 6597702B 6599826
6587637 6591009 6594161 6596229 6597718B 6599858
6587673 6591014 6594225 6596283 6597728B 6599914
6587681 6591025 6594226 6596301 6597733B 6599927
6587721 6591109 6594294 6596362 6597810NP 6599945
 
   
6600012 6601490
6600021 6601502
6600057 6601503
6600142 6601585
6600150 6601586
6600166 6601611
6600186 6601687
6600187 6601688
6600197 6601693
6600200 6601724
6600225FB 6601740
6600254 6601753
6600283 6601772
6600295 6601776
6600305 6601833
6600341 6601861
6600417 6601883
6600429 6601901
6600455 6601932
6600466 6602011
6600484 6602013
6600516 6602035
6600556 6602090
6600590 6602118
6600595 6602132
6600645 6602142
6600650 6602155
6600664 6602206
6600724 6602260
6600738 6602271
6600763 6602288
6600765 6602290
6600879 6602292
6600914 6602322
6600962 6602334
6600975 6602356
6600988 6602374
6601003 6602376
6601023 6602385
6601027 6602394 GD
6601030 6602397
6601057 6602417
6601062 6602428
6601071 6602472
6601094 6602486
6601100 6602497
6601150 6602520
6601152 6602550
6601181 6602576
6601199 6602580
6601201 6602609
6601233 6602620
6601234 6602675
6601241 6602680
6601246 6602729
6601256 6602736
6601284 6602757
6601289 6602768
6601301 6602786
6601339 6602819
6601351 6602847
6601355
6601362
6601395
6601406
6601424
6601425
6601450
6601487
6601489
 
   
     
                     

The red dot serial numbers listed below are either not in the normal range or simply do not look like factory made. Their authenticity are doubtful!

                     
6400484
6409628
6426599B
6450566
6465567 Red dot position not aligned with serial number
6470110
6499558 Red dot position not aligned with serial number (Questar modified F)
6518885 Red dot after the serial numbers
6532092B
6537431 Red dot position not aligned with serial number
6544209B
6560442
6570022
6575367B signs of non-factory modification
6589091 Red dot looks slighly too large
6609327G
 
   

The serial numbers listed below are confirmed NOT to have a red dot. If you see one with a red dot later on, you know they are not original!

Italic numbers with FK after the serial numbers --- Fake Red dot

                           
6570453 6577282 6581388NP 6583670 6586872 6592425
6570858 6577379 6581394 6583706 6587076 6592530
6570933 6577496 6581424 6583723 6587317 6592915
6571756 6577845 6581539 6583741 6587330 6593075
6571816 6578016 6581773 6583873 6587340 6593337
6572071 6578084 6581884 6583926 6587371 6593368
6572128 6578288 6582003 6584022 6587440 6593450
6572570 6578613 6582099 6584113 6587521 6593559
6572806 6578774 6582255 6584115 6587630 6593574
6573461 6578821 6582679 6584254 6587633 6593785
6573275 6579254 6582454 6584478 6588010 6593922
6573734 6579303 6582606 6584484 6588126 6594078
6574396 6579448 6582718 6584529 6588204 6707429FK
6574601 6579568 6582773 6584565 6588404
6574990 6579787 6582961 6584569 6588454
6575379B 6579923 6583002 6584588 6588480
6575435B 6580206 6583122 6584595FB 6588489
6575502B 6580169 6583191 6584623 6588493
6575559B 6580340 6583192 6584688 6588625
6575581B 6580354 6583260 6584747 6588901
6575734B 6580387 6583384 6585686 6589136
6575954B 6580510 6583436 6585964 6589205
6576006B 6580590 6583453 6585987 6591898B
6576155B 6580657 6583478 6586128 6591915B
6576378 6580658 6583486 6586156 6592136B
6576589 6580691 6583564 6586308FK 6592175B
6576871 6580826 6583592 6586313 6592193B
6576996 6580984 6583596 6586612 6592290
6577019 6581112 6583634 6586666 6592335
6577085 6581263 6583635 6586738 6592341
 
   
 
   

A few words about those Black Red Dot bodies

You may notice that there are a few black Red dots outside the 6597 series in the list. Their authenticity cannot be verified by the author, but they are included in the list for your reference anyway. It should be noted that Nikon produced black bodies in blocks of consecutive serial numbers, rather than randomly picking one here and one there. If you see a black Red dot body whose adjacent serial numbers are all chrome, then there is a good chance that this black one was also originally chrome. Apart from painting a chrome Red dot body black, one can also fake a black Red dot by modifying an authentic black (but Non-Red dot) body to Red dot version. All you have to do is to remove the raised lips behind the mirror hosuing and drill a Red dot in front of the serial numbers! (see this poorly done fake red dot !!) Although Nikon might have done the modification to some of the black bodies outside 6597 series on request, they don't seem to like adding the Red dot before the serial numebrs, otherwise you should see a lot more pre-6580 red dot bodies around. The safest way to get an authentic black Red dot body is to look for those in 6597 series!

 

Update 25 Jan 2010

If you combine the Red-dot and the non-Red-dot lists together, at least 3 black number blocks will start to emerge. They are 6575-6576, 6591-6592 and the well known 6597. According to Uli's book, black Red dots only exist in 6597 block. However, given the random nature of the Red dot bodies distribution, it seems unlikely that the entire black number block could escape Red dot modification. I therefore believe some non-6597 black Red dot bodies, at least those within 6591-6592 block, are authentic.

 

*Special thanks to Mr Christophe Sap, Mr Kiumars Kaffi, Mr Bill Pringle, Mr Tony Hurst and several other fellow NHS memebers who kindly provided many red dot numbers to me.
                           
     
         
                           
                       

Updated on 8 Dec 2016