NIKON CEL­E­BRATES 100 YEARS

While the most no­table nikon his­tory has been post-WWii and, in par­tic­u­lar, since 1959; the com­pany’s ac­tiv­i­ties date back to 1917 so it’s the first Japanese cam­era maker to hit a cen­tury.

Camera - - ON TRIAL -

It’s a spe­cial mile­stone when a cam­era com­pany reaches its cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary. Le­ica has al­ready got there and a few oth­ers might have too had they re­mained in the imag­ing busi­ness or, in­deed, re­mained in busi­ness at all. Zeiss is an­other (although it hasn’t built cam­eras for a long time), so it’s still a rare oc­ca­sion and Nikon is the first Japanese cam­era brand to cel­e­brate a cen­tury of op­er­a­tions.

In July 1917 three Japanese op­ti­cal com­pa­nies merged to form a sin­gle en­tity called Nip­pon Ko­gaku K.K., which was based in Tokyo. The new com­pany be­gan mak­ing op­ti­cal glass for a wide va­ri­ety of ap­pli­ca­tions from binoc­u­lars and tele­scopes to mi­cro­scopes. In the early 1920s, the com­pany started man­u­fac­tur­ing cam­era lenses, ini­tially ver­sions of the fa­mous Ger­man Tes­sar de­sign which it called the Any­tar. In 1932, the Nikkor brand was cre­ated and the first lenses to carry the name were Aero-Nikkor mod­els de­signed for aerial pho­tog­ra­phy. In 1935 the first all-Japanese 35mm cam­era was in­tro­duced by the com­pany that would even­tu­ally be­come Canon, but it was fit­ted with a Nikkor 50mm f3.5 lens.

Nikon be­gan mak­ing its own cam­eras in 1948, in­tro­duc­ing a 35mm rangefinder model – although it ac­tu­ally recorded 24x32mm frames – which was sim­ply called the Nikon (nowa­days re­ferred to as the Model I). It suf­fered from a num­ber of prob­lems so was quickly re­vised in 1949 to be­come the Nikon M which was fol­lowed in 1951 by the first of the S se­ries mod­els. This line then com­prised the S2 (1954), SP (1957), S3 (1958) and S4 (1959). While these ca­pa­ble and durable RF cam­eras quickly found favour with pho­to­jour­nal­ists, Nikon still strug­gled to com­pete with the fa­mous Ger­man brands of Le­ica and Con­tax. Con­se­quently, to­wards the end of the 1950s, Nikon de­cided to ex­plore the po­ten­tial for a pro­fes­sional cam­era based on the still largely un­tried 35mm sin­gle­lens-re­flex cam­era de­sign. With the SLR con­fig­u­ra­tion, Nikon could see the po­ten­tial for a much more ver­sa­tile cam­era which would be more con­ve­nient to use with wideran­gle and longer tele­photo lenses.

By the start of 1959 Nikon was ready to go with a 35mm SLR body in­cor­po­rat­ing many im­prove­ments over ex­ist­ing de­signs and an ex­ten­sive sys­tem of lenses and ac­ces­sories which in­cluded the world’s first mo­tor­drive for this type of cam­era. It was ca­pa­ble of a rapid-fire 4.0 fps, al­beit with the re­flex mir­ror locked up (a new fea­ture in it­self). The Nikon F was ahead of its time in many other ar­eas too, in­clud­ing a ti­ta­nium shut­ter with a top speed of 1/1000 se­cond (although the ear­li­est pre­pro­duc­tion mod­els ac­tu­ally used cloth blinds), in­ter­change­able fo­cus­ing screens and find­ers (which would lead to later ver­sions with built-in me­ter­ing), a viewfinder which gave 100 per­cent sub­ject cov­er­age, and a diecast all-metal con­struc­tion stronger than any­thing that had been seen be­fore.

The F had its de­but in March 1959 – along­side, in­ci­den­tally, the first 35mm SLRs from both Canon and Mi­nolta – and went on sale in June. It didn’t take too long for pho­tog­ra­phers – both am­a­teurs and pro­fes­sion­als – to recog­nise the vast po­ten­tial of Nikon’s new cam­era sys­tem which was soon be­ing used around the world (and be­yond af­ter it was adopted by NASA in 1971) in ap­pli­ca­tions from sports and science to war­fare and wildlife. Es­ti­mates vary, but Nikon sub­se­quently built around 860,000 Fs in many vari­ants and the cam­era re­mained in pro­duc­tion un­til 1974 by which time its sta­tus as an iconic de­sign – and one of the most im­por­tant in pho­to­graphic his­tory – was guar­an­teed.

F Un­stopped

Of course, the F wasn’t just Nikon’s first SLR cam­era, it formed the heart of the world’s first 35mm SLR sys­tem specif­i­cally de­signed for pro­fes­sional users. As such, it was the first 35mm SLR with the op­tions of mo­toris­ing the film trans­port, adding a 250-frames bulk film back, in­ter­chang­ing fo­cus­ing screens and viewfind­ers, and at­tach­ing lenses from an ex­ten­sive line-up which spanned 21mm to 1000mm right from the start.

Be­fore the Nikon F, pro­fes­sion­als had been mainly us­ing 6x6cm Rollei­flex TLRs, Le­ica 35mm rangefinder cam­eras or large for­mat equip­ment with sheet film. The highly flex­i­ble, ca­pa­ble and ef­fi­cient F changed ev­ery­thing and pro­fes­sion­als switched to Nikon and its new 35mm SLR in their le­gions. It also sig­nif­i­cantly lifted the im­age of Japanese cam­eras over­all which pre­vi­ously had largely been con­sid­ered in­fe­rior to the Ger­man-made prod­ucts. It would be more than 13 years be­fore any­body came up with a com­pet­i­tive sys­tem, by which time Nikon was ready to counter with the even more ca­pa­ble F2 (1973).

An il­lus­tri­ous line of pro­fes­sion­al­level 35mm SLRs fol­lowed – in­clud­ing the world’s first prac­ti­cal

aut­o­fo­cus de­sign in the shape of the F3AF from 1983 – un­til Nikon pre­pared for the 21st cen­tury with its first ‘in-house’ pro-level dig­i­tal SLR, the D1 (an­nounced in June 1999).

Of course, over the decades Nikon ex­panded its SLR sys­tem into all ar­eas of the am­a­teur and en­thu­si­ast mar­kets, ini­tially un­der the Nikko­r­mat name (Niko­mat in Ja­pan) be­fore uni­fy­ing ev­ery­thing un­der the Nikon brand in 1977. Nikon’s con­sumer level SLRs not only ben­e­fited from the brand’s rep­u­ta­tion in the pro­fes­sional field, but also from the tech­nolo­gies and fea­tures de­vel­oped for this de­mand­ing mar­ket. In­deed, Nikon was first with the idea of a semi- pro­fes­sional 35mm SLR which brought higher lev­els of dura­bil­ity and use­abil­ity to a lower price point. In ad­di­tion to the F3AF – ahead of the Mi­nolta 7000 by over two years – Nikon pi­o­neered mul­ti­zone me­ter­ing (in the FA, 1983), faster shut­ters with higher flash sync speeds and colour-sen­si­tive light me­ter­ing. A main­stream aut­o­fo­cus SLR ar­rived in 1986 (the F-501) and then, in early 1989, Nikon led the way with the first pro­fes­sional 35mm SLR with a fully in­te­grated aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem and a full suite of ded­i­cated lenses, the F4. Later Nikon in­tro­duced a new sys­tem of AF-S Nikkor lenses with built-in fo­cus­ing mo­tors to en­able faster aut­o­fo­cus­ing.

It has sub­se­quently been pro­gres­sively delet­ing a body­based AF mo­tor from its en­trylevel and mid-range D-SLRs. Of course, this is the route ri­val cam­era man­u­fac­turer Canon took right from the be­gin­ning of its EOS aut­o­fo­cus SLR sys­tem, but Nikon has at least been able to re­tain its orig­i­nal F-bay­o­net mount fit­ting through­out. Over the decades it’s been re­vised, mod­i­fied and up­dated on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions, in­evitably sac­ri­fic­ing some back­wards com­pat­i­bil­ity, but a lens that was in­tro­duced in 1959 with the Nikon F could be fit­ted to to­day’s D-SLR flag­ship, the Nikon D5… and it would work.

Build­ing On The Brand

While Nikon has strongly cham­pi­oned the in­ter­change­able­lens re­flex cam­era since 1959, it’s been in­volved in nu­mer­ous other cat­e­gories at one time or an­other – 35mm com­pacts, APS cam­eras (the orig­i­nal film sys­tem, that is), the Nikonos marine mod­els (which in­cluded an SLR), 8 mm movie cam­eras, and Video8 cam­corders. The Zenza Bron­ica 6x6cm roll­film SLRs (from the S2 to the EC-TL) used ded­i­cated Nikkor lenses, and var­i­ous Plaubel Mak­ina 6x7cm rangefinder mod­els were fit­ted with fixed Nikkor lenses. There was also an ex­ten­sive range of large for­mat Nikkor lenses for use on sheet film cam­eras, rang­ing

from a 65mm ul­tra-wide to a 1200mm tele­photo.

With 35mm com­pact cam­eras rapidly gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in the early 1980s, Nikon could no longer af­ford to ig­nore this sec­tor and in­tro­duced its first model, the aut­o­fo­cus L35AF, in 1983. This was a sig­nif­i­cant first be­cause, un­like many of its ri­vals in the 35mm SLR mar­ket (such as Canon and Olym­pus), Nikon had never pre­vi­ously of­fered bud­get­priced, fixed-lens con­sumer-level cam­eras. Nev­er­the­less, it quickly got up to speed and, over the next two decades, there was a huge se­lec­tion of mod­els (many built un­der OEM agree­ments, of course), rang­ing from su­per-cheap snap­pers to the high-end ti­ta­ni­um­bod­ied 35Ti and 28Ti (1993 and 1994 re­spec­tively).

Nikon was an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of the Ad­vanced Photo Sys­tem (a.k.a. APS, launched in 1996), tak­ing it fur­ther than just about any­body else with an ex­ten­sive line-up of cam­eras which in­cluded a num­ber of com­pact SLRs with a small line of in­ter­change­able lenses. How­ever, by this time, it was also ex­plor­ing ‘film­less pho­tog­ra­phy’ and had al­ready dab­bled in ana­log still video with, most no­tably, a SLR called the QV 1000C which was launched in 1990 and largely based on the F4 (but with a ded­i­cated QV lens mount). It was mostly mar­keted

to press pho­tog­ra­phers and, while the pro­duc­tion run was only small, the QV 1000C was one of very few still video cam­era de­signs to ac­tu­ally ad­vance be­yond the pro­to­type stage.

By the mid­dle of the 1990s, it was clear that the fu­ture would be dig­i­tal and Nikon joined forces with Fu­ji­film to cre­ate a se­ries of dig­i­tal SLRs – again based on the 35mm F4 – which car­ried dual brand­ing. The E2 se­ries bod­ies re­tained the F mount and in­cor­po­rated a clever op­ti­cal sys­tem which en­abled a full-35mm im­age size to be de­rived from a 2/3-inch CCD sen­sor and also boosted sen­si­tiv­ity to the equiv­a­lent of ISO 800 (with high sen­si­tiv­ity set­tings of ISO 1600 and 3200… in 1995!). Vari­ants of these cam­eras also of­fered the lux­ury of con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing (at 3.0 fps) with a buf­fer mem­ory. It’s worth not­ing here that Fu­ji­film’s great ri­val Ko­dak was us­ing Nikon 35mm SLR bod­ies for its D-SLR ex­plo­rations, start­ing with the F3based DCS in 1992 and fol­lowed by the DCS 200 (1992) which was based on the F-801s, the DCS 420 (F90/F90X, 1994), DCS 460 (F90X, 1995), DCS 410 (F90X, 1996), DCS 315 (Pronea 600i, 1998), DCS 330 (Pronea 600i, 1999), DCS 620 (F5, 1999), DCS 720 and 760 (F5, 2001), DCS Pro 14n (F80, 2002) and DCS Pro SLR/n (F80, 2004).

By the end of the 20th cen­tury Nikon was ready to do its own

thing in D-SLRs and its first model – ap­pro­pri­ately called the D1 – ar­rived in late 1999. The D1 has spawned a long line of pro­level D-SLRs which ex­tends to the cur­rent D5, with the D3 (2007) mark­ing the all-im­por­tant move up to a full-35mm size sen­sor. Nikon also branched into other sec­tors with lower-priced mod­els, start­ing with the more com­pact D100 in 2002 and then the D70 in 2004.

De­mand for con­sumer-level dig­i­tal cam­eras was ini­tially met with the Coolpix se­ries of com­pacts which started out in 1996 with the un­usual Coolpix 100. It fea­tured a ver­ti­cally ori­en­tated de­sign built around the PCMIA con­nec­tor so the cam­era mod­ule plugged straight into a com­puter’s port. The Coolpix 300 (1997) was also un­usual in that it had a touch­screen colour mon­i­tor to al­low hand-writ­ten notes to be in­put via a sty­lus, and there was also a built-in mi­cro­phone for record­ing au­dio clips. It was an­other Nikon cam­era ‘way ahead of its time. Coolpixes of all shapes and sizes have fol­lowed, be­fore the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the smart­phone es­sen­tially killed off the mar­ket for low-priced dig­i­tal com­pact cam­eras. Nikon’s re­sponse has been to move into the po­ten­tially much more lu­cra­tive ac­tion­cam mar­ket with the new KeyMis­sion se­ries of rugged dig­i­tal video cam­eras.

What’s Ahead?

So what does the next 100 years hold for Nikon? There are

un­doubt­edly some im­me­di­ate chal­lenges, in­clud­ing what to do with its not-so-suc­cess­ful 1 Nikon mir­ror­less sys­tem. Back in 2011, it looked like a good idea to adopt a very small sen­sor size (Pen­tax did the same) and lever­age the cor­re­spond­ing re­duc­tions in hard­ware size which did, in­deed, lead to some in­ter­est­ing cam­eras, no­tably the much-ma­ligned V1. But en­thu­si­asts shied away from the small sen­sor and the lower-end 1 Nikon mod­els have also been usurped by the smart­phone. The D-SLR busi­ness re­mains strong, but Nikon is fast run­ning out of time to do some­thing more sig­nif­i­cant in mir­ror­less cam­eras (i.e. us­ing big­ger sen­sors) and counter the grow­ing mo­men­tum of Fu­ji­film, Olym­pus, Pana­sonic and Sony.

For a cam­era maker that was so of­ten ahead of the curve – and which has made plenty of pi­o­neer­ing de­ci­sions over the last 100 years – the in­ac­tion on a fully-fledged ‘APS-C’ or full-35mm for­mat mir­ror­less cam­era sys­tem is mys­ti­fy­ing. Nikon’s faith in the D-SLR is un­der­stand­able; it has built its sub­stan­tial rep­u­ta­tion on the re­flex cam­era and con­tin­ues to de­liver bril­liant prod­ucts – the D500 be­ing one of the lat­est – but the times are a’changin’. The big­gest dan­ger for Nikon right now is that it could lose con­trol of its fu­ture as more pro­gres­sive-think­ing ri­vals dic­tate de­sign di­rec­tions. Let’s hope not. Let’s hope, in­stead, that many more Nikon mile­stones in pho­tog­ra­phy lie ahead.

Nikon Model I 1948 Nikon built its first cam­era in 1948. Pre­vi­ously it had been mak­ing other op­ti­cal prod­ucts such as mi­cro­scopes and binoc­u­lars. Orig­i­nally, this cam­era was sim­ply called the Nikon – the Model I (for In­dus­trial) des­ig­na­tion was used later – and it took 24x32 mm frames.

Nikon F 1959 Nikon’s first 35mm SLR and the world’s first pro­fes­sional 35mm SLR sys­tem. Lots of other ‘firsts’ too.

Nikon S2 1954 First Nikon cam­era to use the 24x36 mm for­mat and also the first Japanese-made cam­era with a rapid­wind film ad­vance lever.

Nikon SP 1957 The ‘P’ stands for ‘Pro­fes­sional’. This is the cam­era which first es­tab­lished Nikon’s cre­den­tials in this sec­tor. The first Nikon with a ti­ta­nium-bladed shut­ter.

Nikon M 1949 Up­dated ver­sion of the Model I which took 24x34 mm frames.

Nikon S 1951 First Nikon cam­era with a flash hot­shoe.

Nikon F2 Pho­tomic 1973 An­nounced in 1971, the F2 was the F’s muchawaited suc­ces­sor and pro­duc­tion started in 1973. It in­tro­duced many im­prove­ments over its pre­de­ces­sor and re­tained in­ter­change­able viewfind­ers.

Nikko­r­mat FT 1965 First of the Nikko­r­mat mod­els (named Niko­mat in Ja­pan) de­signed to com­ple­ment the F. Rugged build with built-in TTL me­ter­ing, but fixed prism viewfinder.

Nikko­r­mat EL 1972 Nikon’s first 35mm SLR with au­to­matic ex­po­sure con­trol and an elec­tro­mag­net­i­cal­ly­con­trolled shut­ter.

Con­sumer level 35mm SLR with fixed 43-86mm f3.5 zoom and non-TTL se­le­nium cell me­ter. Nikko­rex Zoom 35 1963

Nikko­rex 35 1960 Con­sumer level 35mm SLR with fixed 50mm f2.5 lens and non-TTL se­le­nium cell me­ter.

Nikko­rex F 1962 Con­sumer level 35mm SLR with in­ter­change­able lenses, but no built-in light me­ter.

Nikon F Pho­tomic T 1965 First me­ter­ing prism viewfinder with through-the-lens mea­sure­ments.

Nikon F Pho­tomic FTN 1968 TTL me­ter­ing prism with ‘au­to­matic’ lens speed recog­ni­tion.

Nikon F Pho­tomic 1962 First me­ter­ing prism viewfinder, but with non-TTL mea­sure­ments.

Nikon F2 Pho­tomic A 1977 Nine­teen sev­enty-seven was a big year for Nikon as it launched its new gen­er­a­tion of Ai (Au­to­matic Aper­ture In­dex­ing) bod­ies and lenses… kiss­ing good-bye to the fa­mous pin-and-prong man­ual in­dex­ing sys­tem. The Pho­tomic A head al­lowed Ai lenses to be fit­ted to the F2.

Nikon FM 1977 The first of the Ai-com­pat­i­ble 35mm SLR bod­ies, re­plac­ing the Nikko­r­mats (and adopt­ing the ‘Nikon’ brand on non-pro SLR bod­ies).

Nikon F3 1980 Third-gen­er­a­tion pro­fes­sional 35mm SLR with body­in­te­grated TTL me­ter­ing and an elec­tronic shut­ter. Viewfind­ers were in­ter­change­able.

Nikon FE 1978 The FM body, but with an elec­tronic shut­ter and aper­ture-pri­or­ity auto ex­po­sure con­trol.

Nikon F2 Pho­tomic AS 1977 Last of the F2 me­ter­ing prisms, re­plac­ing the old CdS cell with a much more re­li­able sil­i­con photo diode (SPD).

Nikon EM 1979 First truly low-cost 35mm SLR and with auto ex­po­sure con­trol only.

Nikon FE2 1983 FE re­place­ment with ti­ta­nium-bladed shut­ter for elec­tron­i­cally-con­trolled speeds up to 1/4000 se­cond.

Nikon F2 Pho­tomic S 1973 First Nikon 35mm SLR with LED ex­po­sure in­di­ca­tors.

Nikon FM2 1982 Top shut­ter speed of 1/4000 se­cond was a first.

Nikon F3AF 1983 Fully in­te­grated aut­o­fo­cus­ing years be­fore the Mi­nolta 7000. New AF lenses had built-in fo­cus­ing mo­tors… an ar­range­ment Nikon didn’t pur­sue when it fi­nally launched a full 35mm AF SLR sys­tem in 1986.

Nikon F4 1988 The world’s first pro­fes­sional aut­o­fo­cus 35mm SLR sys­tem. New AF lenses were ini­tially driven from the cam­era body, un­til Nikon in­tro­duced the first AF-S Nikkor mod­els in 1998.

Nikon QV 1000C 1990 Nikon’s first foray into ‘film­less’ pho­tog­ra­phy was with an ana­log still video SLR which cap­tured in B&W only.

Nikon L35AF 1983 Nikon’s first fixed-lens 35mm com­pact cam­era had aut­o­fo­cus­ing, a built-in flash and a mo­torised film trans­port.

Nikon F-401 1987 Nikon’s first en­try-level aut­o­fo­cus 35mm SLR and its first model with a built-in flash.

Nikon FA 1983 First 35mm SLR in the world with multi-zone me­ter­ing.

Nikon F-501 1986 First ‘main­stream’ Nikon aut­o­fo­cus 35mm SLR with a body-based fo­cus­ing mo­tor.

Nikon L35AWAF 1986 Wa­ter-proofed AF com­pact was an af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive to the Nikonos. The AWAD ver­sion added a data back.

Nikon F-301 1985 First Nikon 35mm SLR with an in­te­grated au­towinder for au­to­matic film ad­vance.

Nikon Nu­vis Mini i 1996 Nikon pro­duced quite a few APS com­pact cam­eras and the Mini I was claimed to be the world’s small­est.

Nikon 35Ti 1993 Classy ti­ta­nium-bod­ied 35mm com­pact spawned a flurry of ‘pres­tige com­pact’ ri­vals. Nee­dle in­di­ca­tors added a real touch of class.

Nikon F90 1992 Nikon’s first semi-pro aut­o­fo­cus 35mm SLR with new ‘3D’ me­ter­ing us­ing sub­ject dis­tances ob­tained from ‘D-type’ lenses.

Nikon Coolpix 100 1996 First con­sumer dig­i­tal cam­era and, as the way ahead was still very un­cer­tain, Nikon de­cided to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. The cam­era mod­ule de­tached from the grip to plug straight into a PCMIA port.

Nikon Pronea 600i 1996 Nikon was an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port of the Ad­vanced Photo Sys­tem (APS) and the Pronea 600i was the very first SLR to use the for­mat.

Nikon F100 1998 Last of the semi-pro 35mm SLRs and un­doubt­edly the most ca­pa­ble.

Nikon E2 1995 Nikon’s first dig­i­tal SLR co-de­vel­oped with Fu­ji­film and based on the F4.

Nikon F5 1996 Ar­guably the pin­na­cle of Nikon 35mm SLR de­vel­op­ment and the first model with coloursen­si­tive ‘RGB’ me­ter­ing.

Nikon Coolpix 300 1997 More out­side-of-the-square think­ing in dig­i­tal com­pact cam­era de­sign. Fea­tures in­cluded a touch­screen and sty­lus-based user in­ter­face.

Nikon D300 Nikon D90 2007 2008 Highly-ca­pa­ble semi-pro ‘DX’ for­mat D-SLR set a new stan­dard for size-ver­sus- per­for­mance and served as the smaller for­mat al­ter­na­tive to the D3. The world’s first D-SLR to of­fer high def­i­ni­tion video record­ing.

Nikon D3 2007 Nikon’s first pro-level D-SLR with a full-35mm for­mat sen­sor (a CMOS de­vice) and the world’s first D-SLR to of­fer high-sen­si­tiv­ity shoot­ing up to ISO 25,600.

Nikon D1 1999 First D-SLR fully de­signed and en­gi­neered by Nikon. Based on the F100 and with a 2.74 megapix­els size CCD sen­sor (Nikon’s ‘DX’ for­mat).

Nikon F6 2004 The end of the line for Nikon’s pro-level 35mm SLRs and es­sen­tially an F5 shoe-horned into an F100-size body. Still avail­able on spe­cial or­der.

Nikon Coolpix 900 1998 First con­sumer dig­i­tal com­pact cam­era with a 3x zoom lens. Swiv­el­ling body de­sign al­lowed for the LCD mon­i­tor mod­ule to be tilted for low-level or over­head shoot­ing.

Nikon D100 2002 Nikon’s first semi-pro D-SLR with a more com­pact body and a 6.3 megapix­els ‘APS-C’ CCD sen­sor.

Nikon D70 2004 Nikon’s first en­thu­si­ast-level D-SLR.

Nikon D2H 2003 Ca­pa­ble of shoot­ing at 8.0 fps, the D2H was the fastest D-SLR in the world at the time.

1 Nikon V1 2011 Nikon’s mir­ror­less dig­i­tal cam­era sys­tem has had mixed suc­cess, but the V1 was a su­perb lit­tle cam­era with ad­vanced fea­tures such as 60 fps shoot­ing at full res­o­lu­tion.

Nikon D5 2016 Nikon’s cur­rent D-SLR flag­ship with su­perla­tive 153point aut­o­fo­cus­ing, 12 fps shoot­ing and ul­tra-high sen­si­tiv­ity. Nikon’s first pro D-SLR with 4K video.

Nikonos RS 1992 The world’s first un­der­wa­ter 35mm SLR… and with aut­o­fo­cus­ing.

Nikonos V 1983 Sim­i­lar to the Iva, but with the ad­di­tion of fully man­ual ex­po­sure con­trol and, per­haps more im­por­tantly for un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy, TTL auto flash me­ter­ing.

Nikonos I 1963 De­rived from the French-de­signed Calypso, and the world’s first pro­duc­tion un­der­wa­ter cam­era. Also the first with in­ter­change­able lenses.

Nikonos IVa 1980 The first Nikonos model with in­te­grated TTL me­ter­ing and aper­ture-pri­or­ity auto ex­po­sure con­trol.

Nikon D800 2012 His­tory may well prove the D800 to be Nikon’s most im­por­tant D-SLR, as it made ul­tra-high res­o­lu­tion cap­ture more ac­ces­si­ble and more af­ford­able.

Nikon D500 2016 Con­tin­u­ing in the vein of the D300, the ‘DX’ for­mat D500 packs all the power of the D5 with the con­ve­nience of a more com­pact bodyshell.

Nikon Df 2013 Clas­sic 35mm SLR styling com­bined with a ful­l35mm CMOS sen­sor and dig­i­tal-era con­ve­niences.

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