Nikon is a Japanese company specializing in optics and imaging. Its full name is Nikon Corporation (㈱ニコン, Kabushiki Kaisha Nikon) since 1988. February 29, 2012


The company was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (日本光学工業㈱) with the merger of two Japanese optical firms with military connections. The company's first camera lenses were designed in the 1920s by Heinrich Acht, who was invited with a team of German engineers (see Nippon Kōgaku lenses before 1945). After the departure of Acht, the lens design department was taken over by Sunayama Kakuya (砂山角野). The first lens mounted on a camera for civil use was the Anytar 12cm f/4.5 made in the early 1930s, renamed Nikkor in 1932. From 1934, the company supplied lenses to Seiki Kōgaku for the early Canon cameras.

During World War II the company expanded significantly, supplying optical equipment to the Japanese military, including various aerial cameras.[1]

After the war, Nippon Kōgaku decided to produce cameras for civil use, and two projects were started: a 6×6cm TLR and a 35mm rangefinder camera. The TLR, called Nikoflex, was shelved because of problems to find an adequate leaf shutter. The rangefinder camera was inspired by the German Contax and Leica. It is said that various names were considered, including Pentax, Nicca or Nikorette.[2] It was finally released as the Nikon in 1948. The Nikon I proved very successful, and was followed by a long line of rangefinder cameras. In parallel, the company produced a range of Nikkor lenses both in Leica mount and for its own rangefinder cameras. The quality of these lenses attracted the attention of many professional photographers and photojournalists desiring better results from the small 35mm format.

In 1959, Nippon Kōgaku introduced the Nikon F, an advanced mechanical single lens reflex (SLR) camera that proved to be extraordinarily durable and reliable. With the F, Nikon introduced its philosophy of high-quality, low-friction, close-tolerance mechanisms requiring less lubricant than other cameras.source needed This workmanship had a practical side, as Nikons have accompanied more photographers to extreme environments — from the summit of Mount Everest to the depths of the Saharan Desert — than any other SLR camera. The F became an overnight success with many professional and serious amateur photographers, and spawned a succession of popular Nikon 35mm film cameras, culminating with the Nikon F6.

In 1983 Nikon launched the Nikon F3AF, a professional SLR with autofocus together with the autofocus lenses AF 80mm f2.8 and AF 200mm f3.5 ED-IF, a fast portrait lens and a fast tele lens since the camera was designed as kind of press camera. Both lenses had internal AF motors and worked on a slightly modified F-lenses bayonet, thus enabling the usage of manual focusing lenses on the autofocus camera body.

In the mid 1990s Nikon made its first DSLRs, the E-series, expensive cameras producing low image resolution. In the late 1990s, Nikon introduced its consumer line digital photography products with both the Coolpix line of consumer and "prosumer" cameras as well as the Nikon D-series (DSLRs).

In 2003 the company owned Photonics Technology Group which developed an own kind of image sensors (LBCAST-technology instead of common CCD or CMOS chip-architecture). In 2008 Nikon returned to conventional sensortypes with its FX-format CMOS sensor (FX-Format=35mm film frame-format) which it applied in its Nikon D3 DSLR.


Fixed Lens All Nikon's compact digital cameras with fixed lenses are branded with the Coolpix trademark and are listed together.

35mm film[]

Auto Focus SLR[]

Manual Focus SLR[]

Leaf shutter SLR[]


Fixed Lens / Compact[]

As with other Japanese manufacturers, Nikon's models were given different names in different territories and formed a confusing array of series, some of which lasted several years and crossed over with others. Below is a list of all the ranges along with some models that defy categorization.

  • Nikon 28Ti (Quartz Date, silver titanium body, 28mm/2.8 Nikkor lens, 1994)
  • Nikon 35Ti (Quartz Date, black titanium body, 35mm/2.8 Nikkor lens, 1993)
  • Nikon AF/Fun•Touch series (Wide angle autofocus lenses, from RF of 1987 to AF250SV of 2002)
  • Nikon AW35/Sport•Touch (QD) (Splash-proof, 35mm/3.5, 1992)
  • Nikon BF100 (QD) (Fixed focus, big finder, 34mm/4.5, 1997)
  • Nikon EF/Nice•Touch series (fixed focus wide angles, from EF100 in 1993 to EF500SV in 2002)
  • Nikon L series (from Nikon's first compact autofocus camera the L35AF in 1983 to the L35TWAF of 1986)
  • Nikon One•Touch series (Very compact autofocus, from the L35AF2 in 1985 to W35 in 1991)
  • Nikon RF10/Smiletaker (34mm/4.5, 1992)
  • Nikon TW/Tele•Touch/Zoom•Touch series (Dual lenses and zooms from the TW2 in 1987 to the TW Zoom 105 WORLDTIME of 1992)
  • Nikon Zoom/Lite•Touch Zoom/One•Touch Zoom series (All with autofocus, from Zoom 100 of 1993 to the Lite•Touch Zoom 100W of 2003, Nikon's final compact 35mm film camera.)


APS film[]



  • Nuvis A20
  • Nuvis E10
  • Nuvis mini

Other cameras[]

  • Nikoflex (TLR project or prototype, c.1946)
  • Nikon 16 (subminiature prototype, c.1959)




  1. Its address in 1943 was Tōkyō-to Ōmori-ku Iriarai-chō 5–345 (東京都大森区入新井町5–345). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras"). (The source erroneously says 八新井町 for 入新井町.)
  2. Rotoloni, Nikon Rangefinder Camera, p.7; "Nikon Rangefinder Cameras" in the Nikon official website.


  • "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7.
  • Rotoloni, Robert. Nikon Rangefinder Camera. Hove, East Sussex: Hove Foto Books, 1983 (second edition). ISBN 1-874707-07-3.
  • Hillebrand, Rudolf and Hauschild, Hans-Joachim. Nikon Compendium. Handbook of the Nikon System. Hove (UK): Hove Books, 1993. 198 pages. ISBN 1897802021.
  • Stafford, Simon, Hillebrand, Rudolf and Hauschild, Hans-Joachim. Nikon Compendium: Nikon Systems from 1917. Hove (UK): Hove Books, 2004. 388 pages. ISBN 1897802161.
  • Stafford, Simon, Hillebrand, Rudolf and Hauschild, Hans-Joachim. The New Nikon Compendium: Cameras, Lenses & Accessories since 1917. Lark Books, 2004. 416 pages. ISBN 1579905927.
  • Comon, Paul and Evans, Art. Nikon Data. 500 + cameras, lenses, and accesories. A detailed buying manual a complete pricing guide. Photo Data Research, 1990. 150 pages. ISBN 0962650803.
  • Trademark publications for the names "Nikkor" and "Aero-Nikkor". The trademarks were applied for (出現) on 24 July 1931 and granted (公告) on 7 April 1932 (no.S07-1808 and S07-1809). Available in the IPDL trademark database.
  • Trademark publication for the names "Nikon", "Nikoflex", "Sphex" and "Parax". The trademarks were applied for (出現) on 5 August 1946 and granted (公告) on 24 February 1947 (no.S22-153 to S22-156). Available in the IPDL trademark database.


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  • Manual Camera Utilizando las Nikon de enfoque manual y otras cámaras clásicas

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