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Nikon History: Timeline

Nikon is among the leading Camera manufaturer in world. Here we have some major events from Nikon Company to reach this stage.

1917: The origin of Nikon, as Noppon Kogaku K.K was estabilished on July 25 starting domestic production of optical instruments such as rangefinders and microscopes. This was the first of Nikon’s many steps that now span a century.

1932:  NIKKOR is adopted as the brand name for camera lenses.

1946: Nikon brand name was adopted for small sized cameras. When deciding what to call a compact camera developed to meet the strong demand for domestically produced cameras, the company came up with the tentative name “Nikorette” to express compactness while building on the “Nikko” abbreviation of its Nippon Kogaku name at the time. However, due to opinions that this was a weak-sounding name for a product destined to be a major future player, the company used the Nikko base and added an N to the end which creates a more masculine impression in the Japanese language, and thus the official Nikon name was born.

1948: Nikon Mode I sized camera was marketed. It is the first Nikon camera and the 1st product to bear the name “Nikon”. It was first sold as “Nikon”, but “Model I” was added to the product name to distinguish it from subsequent cameras.

1950: On December 10, 1950, the New York Times published a special article commending the excellence of Nikon cameras and NIKKOR lenses. 

1957: Nikon SP rangefinder camera was marketed: The signature and legendary Nikon SP was a flagship of rangefinder cameras made in Japan. The most important feature of this camera, a built-in universal viewfinder that supports six interchangeable lenses (focal lengths 2.8, 3.5, 5, 8.5, 10.5, 13.5cm) was highly acclaimed by professional photographers.

1959: SLR camera, Nikon F was marketed. Nikon’s first lens-interchangeable SLR camera, It incorporated a number of world-first features, such as an exposure meter fully coupled with aperture and the practical application of a motor drive. It established a strong presence as a high-end SLR camera. 

1963:  NIKONOS all-weather camera is marketed. designed to be water-/pressure-/corrosion-resistant, and positioned as an amphibious “All Weather” camera.

1969: Call for entry for 1st Nikon Photo Contest International

1971: Nikon Photonic   FTN was mounted on Apollo 15. And also Nikon F2 was marketed.  The Nikon F2 aimed for easier operation, faster shooting and more automation while maintaining “F” compatibility with interchangeable lenses and accessories.

1980: Nikon F3 SLR camera was marketed. The Nikon F3 was introduced as the preeminent SLR camera with electronically controlled aperture-priority AE.

1983: Nikon L35AF autofocus compact camera was marketed. Nikon’s 1st compact camera. Similarly Nikon F3AF SLR camera was marketed

1986: Nikon F-501 autofocus SLR camera was marketed.
The first Nikon SLR camera with autofocus operated from the camera body.

1988: Corporate name is changed to Nikon Corporation

1992: Nikon’s RS underwater AF SLR camera was marketed.

 1995: E2 and E2s digital still cameras were marketed.

1997: COOLPIX 10 and 300 digital cameras were marketed. Nikon’s first compact digital camera.

 1999: D1 Digital SLR camera was marketed

2003: New brand symbol was introduced.

2004: Nikon F6 SLR camera was marketed.

2010: D3S and D3X digital SLR cameras, and NIKKOR lenses are used in the International Space Station (ISS)

2011: Nikon 1 J1 and V1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lense were marketed. It’s Nikon’s 1st advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses.

2012: D4 digital camera was marketed.

2015: Compact Digital Camera COOLPIX P900 was marketed with 24mm wide-angle to 2000mm telephoto (35mm equivalent).

2016: Nikon’s DR DSLR camera was marketed. Nikon’s first action cameras KeyMission 360, KeyMission 170, and KeyMission 80 were announced

2017: Nikon celebrates its 100th anniversary. D850 digital camera was marketed with 45.7 effective megapixels and continuous shooting speeds of up to approx. 9 fps.

2018: FX format mirrorless camera Z7 is marketed  with Z mount system. With 45.7 effective megapixels

***There are many major events in between the given timeline but we have only incorporated major events regarding Photographic industry.

Taken from officaiial site of Nikon


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