Nikon


Nikon
Nikon Corporation
株式会社ニコン
Type Public (TYO: 7731)
Industry Digital imaging
Photography
Founded Tokyo, Japan
(25 July 1917)
Headquarters Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Area served Worldwide
Key people Michio Kariya (Chairman)
Makoto Kimura (President)
Products Precision equipment for the semiconductor industry, Digital imaging equipment and cameras, Microscopes, Spectacle lenses, Optical measuring and inspection instruments
Revenue decrease ¥785.5 billion (FY2010)[1]
Operating income decrease ¥-13.9 billion (FY2010)[1]
Net income decrease ¥-12.6 billion (FY2010)[1]
Employees 26,125 (March 31, 2010)[1]
Parent Mitsubishi Group
Website nikon.com
West Building of Nikon in NiShiOoi,Tokyo

Nikon Corporation ( Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon?)About this sound listen (TYO: 7731), also known as just Nikon, is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and the steppers used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication, of which it is the world's second largest manufacturer.[2] The companies held by Nikon form the Nikon Group.[3] Among its products are Nikkor imaging lenses (for F-mount cameras, large format photography, photographic enlargers, and other applications), the Nikon F-series of 135 film SLR cameras, the Nikon D-series of digital SLR cameras, the Coolpix series of compact digital cameras, and the Nikonos series of underwater film cameras. Nikon's main competitors in camera and lens manufacturing include Canon, Casio, Kodak, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus.

Founded in 25 July 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (日本光学工業株式会社 "Japan Optical Industries Co., Ltd."), the company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. Nikon is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group.[4]

Contents

History

Nikon Corporation was established on 25 July 1917 when three leading optical manufacturers merged to form a comprehensive, fully integrated optical company known as Nippon Kōgaku Tōkyō K.K. Over the next sixty years, this growing company became a manufacturer of optical lenses (including those for the first Canon cameras) and equipment used in cameras, binoculars, microscopes and inspection equipment. During World War II the company grew to nineteen factories and 23,000 employees, supplying items such as binoculars, lenses, bomb sights, and periscopes to the Japanese military.

Reception outside Japan

After the war Nippon Kōgaku reverted to producing its civilian product range in a single factory. In 1948, the first Nikon-branded camera was released, the Nikon I.[5] Nikon lenses were popularised by the American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan's use at the time of the Korean War. Duncan, who was working in Tokyo when the Korean War began, met a young Japanese photographer, Jun Miki, who introduced Duncan to Nikon lenses. From July 1950 to January 1951, Duncan covered the Korean War.[6] Fitting Nikon optics to his Leica rangefinder cameras produced high contrast negatives with very sharp resolution at the centre field.[7]

Names and brands

Nikko parent company brand, from which the Nikkor brand evolved.

Founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (日本光学工業株式会社 "Japan Optical Industries Corporation"), the company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. The name Nikon, which dates from 1946, is a merging of Nippon Kōgaku (日本光学: "Japan Optical") and an imitation of Zeiss's brand Ikon. This would cause some early problems in Germany though as Zeiss complained that Nikon violated its trademarked camera, the "Ikon" and so from 1963 to 1968 Nikon F's in particular were labeled as 'Nikkor'.[8]

The Nikkor brand was introduced in 1932, a Westernized rendering of an earlier version Nikkō (日光), an abbreviation of the company's original full name[9] (Nikkō coincidentally means "sunlight" and is the name of a Japanese town.).

Another early brand, used on microscopes, was Joico,[10] an abbreviation of "Japan Optical Industries Co"[citation needed].

Nikon is pronounced differently around the world. The Japanese pronunciation is [nikoɴ]; the British pronunciation /ˈnɪkɒn/; the North American pronunciation is /ˈnaɪkɒn/.

The rise of the Nikon F series

The Nikon SP and other 1950s and 1960s rangefinder cameras competed directly with models from Leica and Zeiss. However, the company quickly ceased developing its rangefinder line to focus its efforts on the Nikon F single-lens reflex line of cameras, which was successful[citation needed] upon its introduction in 1959. For nearly 30 years, Nikon's F-series SLRs were the most widely used small-format cameras among professional photographers[citation needed], as well as by the U.S. space program.

Nikon popularized many features in professional SLR photography[citation needed], such as the modular camera system with interchangeable lenses, viewfinders, motor drives, and data backs; integrated light metering and lens indexing; electronic strobe flashguns instead of expendable flashbulbs; electronic shutter control; evaluative multi-zone "matrix" metering; and built-in motorized film advance. However, as autofocus SLRs became available from Minolta and others in the mid-1980s, Nikon's line of manual-focus cameras began to seem out of date[citation needed].

Despite introducing one of the first autofocus models, the slow and bulky F3AF, the company's determination to maintain lens compatibility with its F-mount prevented rapid advances in autofocus technology. Canon introduced a new type of lens-camera interface with its entirely electronic Canon EOS cameras and Canon EF lens mount in 1987. The much faster lens performance permitted by Canon's electronic focusing and aperture control prompted many professional photographers (especially in sports and news) to switch to the Canon system through the 1990s.[11]

Precision manufacturing equipment

Besides cameras, Nikon Corporation (Nikon) develops and manufactures photolithography equipment. In 1980 the first Nikon stepper, the NSR-1010G, was produced in Japan. Since then Nikon (through the Nikon Instruments Division) has introduced over fifty models of steppers and scanners for the production of semiconductors and liquid crystal displays. Nikon currently designs and manufactures precision equipment for use in semiconductor and liquid crystal display (LCD) fabrication, inspection, and measurement. Nikon also designs and manufactures visual imaging products including cameras; instruments such as microscopes; and other products such as chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) systems, binoculars, surveying instruments, eyewear, sport optics, and optical measuring and inspection equipment.

In 1982, Nikon Precision Inc. (NPI) was established in the United States. NPI is the North American sales and service arm specifically for Nikon Corporation's semiconductor photolithography equipment and is headquartered in Belmont, California. Fueled by a rapidly growing customer base, the company quickly expanded. In 1990, NPI opened its current headquarters and the facility now includes corporate offices, a fully equipped worldwide training centre (WWTC), service operations, applications engineering, technology engineering, quality and reliability engineering, training, technical support, sales, and marketing for Nikon equipment serving the wafer, photomask, flat panel display, and thin-film magnetic head industries. Today, NPI is an industry leader in supplying and supporting advanced photolithography equipment used in the critical stages of semiconductor manufacturing. Nikon also has research and development operations in the U.S. under Nikon Research Corporation of America (NRCA), which directly supports R&D efforts of the Precision Equipment Division in Kagohara, Japan.

Cultural activities

Inside the Nikon Salon

In Japan, Nikon runs the Nikon Salon exhibition spaces, runs the Nikkor Club for amateur photographers (to whom it distributes the series of Nikon Salon books), and arranges the Ina Nobuo Award, Miki Jun Award and Miki Jun Inspiration Awards.

Digital photography

Nikon created some of the first digital SLRs (DSLRs) as research projects for NASA in 1991.[12] After a 1990s partnership with Kodak to produce digital SLR cameras based on existing Nikon film bodies, Nikon released the Nikon D1 SLR under its own name in 1999. Although it used an APS-C-size light sensor only 2/3 the size of a 35 mm film frame (later called a "DX sensor"), the D1 was among the first digital cameras to have sufficient image quality and a low enough price for some professionals (particularly photojournalists and sports photographers) to use it as a replacement for a film SLR. The company also has a Coolpix line which grew as consumer digital photography became increasingly prevalent through the early 2000s.

Through the mid-2000s, Nikon's line of professional and enthusiast DSLRs and lenses including their back compatible AF-S lens line remained in second place behind Canon in SLR camera sales, and Canon had several years' lead in producing professional DSLRs with light sensors as large as traditional 35 mm film frames.[13] All Nikon DSLRs from 1999 to 2007, by contrast, used the smaller DX size sensor.

Then, 2005 management changes at Nikon led to new camera designs such as the full-frame Nikon D3 in late 2007, the Nikon D700 a few months later, and mid-range SLRs. Nikon regained much of its reputation among professional and amateur enthusiast photographers as a leading innovator in the field, especially because of the speed, ergonomics, and low-light performance of its latest models.[14][unreliable source?] The mid-range Nikon D90, introduced in 2008, was also the first SLR camera to record video.[15][16] Since then video mode has been introduced to many more of the Nikon DSLR cameras including the Nikon D3S, Nikon D7000 and Nikon D3100.[17][18][19]

Film camera production

Once Nikon introduced affordable consumer-level DSLRs such as the Nikon D70 in the mid-2000s, sales of its consumer and professional film cameras fell rapidly, following the general trend in the industry. In January 2006, Nikon announced it would stop making most of its film camera models and all of its large format lenses, and focus on digital models.[20] Nevertheless, Nikon is the only[citation needed] major camera manufacturer still making film SLRs. The remaining model is the professional Nikon F6 with the last amateur model, FM10, having been discontinued.

Movie camera production

Although few models were introduced, Nikon made superb movie cameras as well. The R10 and R8 SUPER ZOOM Super 8 models (introduced in 1973) were the top of the line and last attempt for the amateur movie field. The cameras had a special gate and claw system to improve image steadiness and overcome a major drawback of Super 8 cartridge design. The R10 model has a high speed 10X macro zoom lens. Interestingly and contrary to other brands, Nikon never attempted to offer projectors and accessories.

Thai operations

Nikon has shifted much of its manufacturing facilities to Thailand, with some production (especially of Coolpix cameras and some low-end lenses) in China and Indonesia. The company constructed a factory in Ayuthaya north of Bangkok in Thailand in 1991. By the year 2000, it had 2,000 employees. Steady growth over the next few years and an increase of floor space from the original 19,400 square meters (208,827 square feet) to 46,200 square meters (497,300 square feet) enabled the factory to produce a wider range of Nikon products. By 2004, it had more than 8,000 workers.

The range of the products produced at Nikon Thailand include plastic molding, optical parts, painting, printing, metal processing, plating, spherical lens process, aspherical lens process, prism process, electrical and electronic mounting process, silent wave motor and autofocus unit production.

As of 2009, all of Nikon's Nikon DX format DSLR cameras are produced in Thailand, while their Nikon FX format (full frame) cameras (D700, D3, D3S and D3X) are built in Japan. The Thai facility also produces most of Nikon's digital "DX" zoom lenses, as well as numerous other lenses in the Nikkor line.

Cameras

In January 2006 Nikon announced the discontinuation of all but two models of its film cameras, focusing its efforts on the digital camera market.[21] It continued to sell the low-end FM10 (manufactured by Cosina) until 2009, and still offers the high-end F6 (manufactured by Nikon itself). Nikon has also committed to service all the film cameras for a period of ten years after production ceases.[22]

Film 35 mm SLR cameras with manual focus

  • Nikon F series (1959–1972, known in Germany for legal reasons as the Nikkor F)
Nikon FTN Single-lens reflex camera

Film APS SLR cameras

  • Nikon Pronea 600i / Pronea 6i (1996)[23]
  • Nikon Pronea S (1997)[24]

Film 35 mm SLR cameras with autofocus

Nikon AC-2E Data Link System (1993)
  • Nikon F3AF (1983, modified F3 body with Autofocus Finder DX-1)
  • Nikon F-501 (1986, known in North America as the N2020)
  • Nikon F-401 (1987, known in the U.S. as the N4004)
  • Nikon F-801 (1988, known in the U.S. as the N8008)
  • Nikon F4 (1988)
  • Nikon F-401S (1989, known in the U.S. as the N4004S)
  • Nikon F-601 (1990, known in the U.S. as the N6006)
  • Nikon F-401X (1991, known in the U.S. as the N5005)
  • Nikon F-801S (1991, known in the U.S. as the N8008S)
  • Nikon F90 (1992, known in the U.S. as the N90)
  • Nikonos RS (1992) - for use underwater.
  • Nikon F50 (1994, known in the U.S. as the N50)
  • Nikon F70 (1994, known in the U.S. as the N70)
  • Nikon F90X (1994, known in the U.S. as the N90S)
  • Nikon F5 (1996)
  • Nikon F60 (1999, known in the U.S. as the N60)
  • Nikon F100 (1999)
  • Nikon F65 (2000, known in the U.S. as the N65)
  • Nikon F80 (2000, known in the U.S. as the N80)
  • Nikon F55 (2002, known in the U.S. as the N55)
  • Nikon F75 (2003, known in the U.S. as the N75)
  • Nikon F6 (2004)


Rangefinder cameras

Nikon SP rangefinder camera


Compact cameras

Between 1983 and the early 2000s[35] a broad range of compact cameras were made by Nikon. Nikon first started by naming the cameras with a series name (like the L35/L135-series, the RF/RD-series, the W35-series, the EF or the AW-series. In later production cycles, the cameras were double branded with a series-name on the one and a sales name on the other hand. Sales names were for example Zoom-Touch for cameras with a wide zoom range, Lite-Touch for ultra compact models, Fun-Touch for easy to use cameras and Sport-Touch for splash water resistance. After the late 1990s, Nikon dropped the series names and continued only with the sales name. Nikon's APS-cameras were all named Nuvis.

The cameras came in all price ranges from entry-level fixed-lens-cameras to the top model Nikon 35Ti with titanium body and 3D-Matrix-Metering.


Movie cameras

Double 8 (8mm)
  • NIKKOREX 8 (1960)
  • NIKKOREX 8F (1963)
Super 8
  • Nikon Super Zoom 8 (1966)
  • Nikon 8X Super Zoom (1967)
  • Nikon R8 Super Zoom (1973)
  • Nikon R10 Super Zoom (1973)


Underwater (Scale-Focus) Cameras

  • Nikonos I (1963, originally known in France as the Calypso/Nikkor)
  • Nikonos II (1968)
  • Nikonos III (1975)
  • Nikonos IV-A (1980)
  • Nikonos V (1984)


Digital compact cameras

Digital single lens reflex cameras

Nikon D3 camera body
Nikon D200 camera with Nikkor lens and Nikon "speedlight" flash

High-end (Professional) - FX/Full Frame sensor

High-end (Prosumer) - FX/Full Frame sensor

High-end (Professional) - DX sensor, high resolution

  • Nikon D1, June 15, 1999
  • Nikon D1X, February 5, 2001
  • Nikon D2X, September 16, 2004
  • Nikon D2XS, June 1, 2006

High-end (Professional) - DX sensor, high speed

High-end (Prosumer) - DX sensor

Midrange - DX sensor

Upper-entry-level - DX sensor

Entry-level (Consumer) - DX sensor

Nikon's raw image format format is NEF, for Nikon Electronic File. The "DSCN" prefix for image files stands for "Digital Still Camera - Nikon."

Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras

Nikon 1 series - CX sensor, Nikon 1 mount lenses

Photo optics

Lenses for F-mount cameras

Other lenses for photography and imaging

Electronic Flash Units

Nikon uses the term Speedlight for its electronic flash guns.

Film scanners

Nikon Coolscan V film scanner

Nikon's digital capture line also includes a successful range of dedicated scanners for a variety of formats, including Advanced Photo System (IX240), 35 mm, and 60 mm film.

  • (1988) LS-3500 (4096x6144, 4000 dpi) SCSI[43]
  • (1992) Coolscan LS-10 (2700 dpi) SCSI. First to be named "Coolscan" to denote LED illumination.[44]
  • (1994) LS-3510AF (5000x5000, 3500 dpi) SCSI. Fitted with auto-focus lens.
  • (1996) Super Coolscan LS-1000 (2592x3888, 2700 dpi) SCSI. scan time cut by half[45]
  • (1996) Coolscan II LS-20 E (2700 dpi) SCSI[46]
  • (1998) Coolscan LS-2000 (2700 dpi, 12-bit) SCSI, multiple sample, "CleanImage" software[47]
  • (1998) Coolscan III LS-30 E (2700 dpi, 10-bit) SCSI[48]
  • (2001) Coolscan IV LS-40 ED (2900 dpi, 12-bit, 3.6D) USB, SilverFast, ICE, ROC, GEM[49]
  • (2001) Coolscan LS-4000 ED (4000 dpi, 14-bit, 4.2D) Firewire[50]
  • (2001) Coolscan LS-8000 ED (4000 dpi, 14-bit, 4.2D) Firewire, multiformat[51]
  • (2003) Coolscan V LS-50 ED (4000 dpi, 14-bit, 4.2D) USB
  • (2003) Super Coolscan LS-5000 ED (4000 dpi, 16bit, 4.8D) USB
  • (2004) Super Coolscan LS-9000 ED (4000 dpi, 16bit, 4.8D) Firewire, multiformat

Nikon introduced its first scanner, the Nikon LS-3500 with a maximum resolution of 4096 x 6144 pixels, in 1988. Prior to the development of 'cool' LED lighting this scanner used a halogen lamp (hence the name 'Coolscan' for the following models). The resolution of the following LED based Coolscan model didn't increase but the price was significantly lower. Colour depth, scan quality, imaging and hardware functionality as well as scanning speed was gradually improved with each following model. The final 'top of the line' 35mm Coolscan LS-5000 ED was a device capable of archiving greater numbers of slides; 50 framed slides or 40 images on film roll. It could scan all these in one batch using special adapters. A single maximum resolution scan was performed in no more than 20 seconds as long as no post-processing was also performed. With the launch of the Coolscan 9000 ED Nikon introduced its most up-to-date film scanner which, like the Minolta Dimage scanners were the only film scanners that, due to a special version of Digital ICE, were able to scan Kodachrome film reliably both dust and scratch free. LaserSoft Imaging's scan software SilverFast features a similar technique (iSRD) since end of 2008, that allows every Nikon film scanner to remove dust and scratches from Kodachrome scans. In late 2007 much of the software's code had to be rewritten to make it Mac OS 10.5 compatible. Nikon announced it would discontinue supporting its Nikon Scan software for the Macintosh as well as for Windows Vista 64-bit.[52] Third-party software solutions like SilverFast or Vuescan provide alternatives to the official Nikon drivers and scanning software, and maintain updated drivers for most current operating systems. Between 1994 and 1996 Nikon developed three flatbed scanner models named Scantouch, which couldn't keep up with competitive flatbed products and were hence discontinued to allow Nikon to focus on its dedicated film scanners.

Sport optics

Binoculars

  • Sprint IV
  • Sportstar IV
  • Travelite v
  • Mikron
  • Action VII
  • Action VII Zoom
  • Sporter I
  • Venturer 8/10x32
  • Venturer 8x42
  • Roof Prism
  • Monarch
  • Action EX
  • StabilEyes
  • Superior E
  • Marine


Spotting scopes

  • Spotter XL II WP
  • Spotting Scopr R/A II
  • Spotting Scope 80
  • Field Scope III
  • Field Scope ED 82

Rifle scopes

  • Monarch
  • Laser IRT
  • Encore
  • Coyote Special
  • Slughunter
  • Buckmaster
  • ProStaff
  • team REALTREE

Other products

Nikon also manufactures ophthalmic equipment, loupes, monoculars, binocular telescopes, microscopes, laser rangefinders, cameras for microscopy, optical and video-based measurement equipment, scanners and steppers for the manufacture of integrated circuits and liquid crystal displays, and semiconductor device inspection equipment. The steppers and scanners represent about one third of the income for the company as of 2008.[53] Nikon has also manufactured eyeglasses, sunglasses, and glasses frames, under the brands Nikon, Niji, Nobili-Ti, Presio, and Velociti VTI.[54]

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal

Notes and references

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  2. ^ "Analyst: Top IC suppliers remain largely unchanged 2007". Solid State Technology. Electro IQ. 2008-05-18. http://www.electroiq.com/index/display/semiconductors-article-display/323430/articles/solid-state-technology/business-news/2008/03/analyst-top-ic-suppliers-remain-largely-unchanged-2007.html. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Nikon Group Companies". Nikon Corporation. http://www.nikon.com/about/info/group/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  4. ^ "Nikon Company Profile". mitsubishi.com committee. http://www.mitsubishi.com/php/users/category_result_info.php?lang=1&company_id=00000004. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  5. ^ "Nikon Camera History". http://www.paralumun.com/camnikon.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  6. ^ "David Douglas Duncan". Harry Ransom Center. The University of Texas at Austin. http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/online/ddd/timeline/1950.html. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  7. ^ Kouichi Ohsita (2007-09-30). "The Thousand and One Nights, Tale 36 : Nikkor P.C 8.5 cm f/2". NIKKOR Club Quarterly magazine. Nikon Corporation. http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/technology/nikkor/n36_e.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  8. ^ Amateur Photographer Magazine (UK): 61, 2009-10-17 
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  23. ^ "Nikon PRONEA 600i (PRONEA 6i)". Nikon Corporation. http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/filmcamera/slr/pronea_600i/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  24. ^ "Nikon PRONEA S". Nikon Corporation. http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/filmcamera/slr/pronea_s/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
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  42. ^ Nikon announces Nikon 1 system with V1 small sensor mirrorless camera
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