From New World Encyclopedia
Nikon Corporation
Nikon logo.png
Type Corporation TYO: 7731
Founded Tokyo, Japan (1917)
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key people Michio Kariya, President, CEO & COO
Industry Imaging
Products Precision equipment for the semiconductor industry, Digital imaging equipment and cameras, Microscopes, Optical measuring and inspection instruments, Lenses for glasses
Revenue Green up.png ¥730.9 billion (Business year ending March 31, 2006)

Employees 16,758 (Consolidated, as of March 31, 2005)

Slogan If the picture matters, the camera matters
At the Heart of the Image
Website Nikon Global Gateway

Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン; Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (TYO: 7731), also known as Nikon or Nikon Corp., is a Japanese company specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, and measurement instruments. Nikon is the world's largest manufacturer of the "steppers" used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication, and holds 44 percent share of the market.

Nikon was founded in 1917, as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō (日本光学工業株式会社 "Japan Optical Industries"). When the Japanese Navy lost its laboratory facilities in the earthquake of 1923, the Japanese government turned to Nippon Kogaku, which was then known mainly for its binoculars, for all its research and development. The first Nikon camera was released in 1948. Nikon lenses and cameras were popularized by photojournalists during the Korean War. The company was renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988, and is one of the major companies of the Mitsubishi Group. Nikon's success is attributed to its flexibility and its ability to respond quickly to the rapidly evolving needs of its customers. Nikon invests generously in research and development, in order to provide innovative technology that increases its customers' efficiency and reliability.


The name Nikon, which dates from 1946, is a blending of Nippon Kōgaku (日本光学; "Japan Optical") with an emulation of the German Zeiss Ikon. Nikon is pronounced differently around the world. The Japanese pronunciation of the name is /nikoɴ/, but in the United States people also use /ˈnaɪkɒn/ and /ˈnɪkɒn/.[1]

Nikon’s logo, the company name in black on a yellow background, with a series of white rays rising above it, symbolizes Nikon's determination "to fulfill its corporate mission and meet customers' expectations." The yellow color represents "depth" and "passion;" black represents "high quality" and "trustworthiness." The motif of sequential rays conveys "infinite possibilities within the domain of optics."[2]


Among its famous products are Nikkor camera lenses (notably those designed for the company's own F-mount Single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras), Nikonos underwater cameras, the Nikon F-series of professional 135 film SLR cameras, and the Nikon D-series digital SLRs. Nikon has helped lead the transition to digital photography with both the Coolpix line of consumer and prosumer cameras as well as Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) system cameras like the Nikon D300, D80, D60, and D40, and professional DSLRs including the D2 series and D3 cameras.

Nikon's main competitors include Canon, Kodak, Sony, Pentax, Fujifilm, and Olympus. In total sales, the Nikon camera brand has recently slipped behind rival Canon, who was quicker to market such innovations as image stabilization and piezo-electric (ultrasonic motor) focusing. Nikon is making active efforts in new fields, such as photomask substrates for liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Nikon is the world's largest manufacturer of "steppers" and holds 44 percent share of the market.


Nikon Corporation was established in 1917, when three leading optical manufacturers merged to form a comprehensive, fully integrated optical company known as “Nippon Kogaku Kokyo K.K.” When the Japanese Navy, which was in charge of all optical research in Japan, lost its laboratory facilities in the earthquake of 1923, the Japanese government turned to Nippon Kogaku, which was then known mainly for its binoculars, for all its research and development.[3]

Nippon Kogaku became a leading manufacturer of optical lenses and precision equipment used in cameras, binoculars, microscopes, and inspection equipment. During World War II, the company grew to 19 factories and 23,000 employees, supplying items such as binoculars, lenses, bomb sights, and periscopes to the Japanese military. After the war, it reverted to its civilian product range with a single factory. In 1945, development began on the first camera with the Nikon name, the Nikon I. The camera was released in 1948; the first shipment went to Hong Kong. The name of the high-quality 35mm Nikon camera became a well-known brand, and eventually the company’s new name. Film was very expensive in Japan after World War II, so the frame size of the Nikon 1 was originally 24 x 32 millimeters instead of the standard 24 x 36 millimeters, and 40 exposures could be produced on a single role. Nikon’s best customers at the time, the American soldiers in occupied Japan, complained that American photo labs had difficulty handling the smaller frame, and General Douglas MacArthur pressured Nikon to change the frame size.[3]

Nikon lenses were popularized by the American photojournalist Douglas David Duncan during the Korean War.[4] Duncan fitted Nikon optics to his Leica rangefinder cameras, to produce high contrast negatives with very sharp resolution at the center field. In 1950, the Nikon S camera was released. Hank Walker, of Life magazine, took a Nikon S to the Korean War, and published a positive review of the camera in the New York Times.

In 1953, Joseph Ehrenreich’s Photo Optical Industries became the sole distributor of Nikon products in the United States.

In 1957, the company released the Nikon SP, now regarded as a masterpiece of the same level as the Leica M3. In 1963, an underwater camera, NIKONOS, developed in collaboration with the French company La Spirotechnique, was launched.

In 1971, Nikon manufactured the first experimental autofocus camera. After the first commercial autofocus 35mm SLR camera was released by Pentax ME-F in 1981, using focus sensors in the camera body coupled with a motorized lens, Nikon released its first autofocus camera, the Nikon F3AF, based on a similar concept, in 1983.

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.[5].

In September 2007, Nikon established a wholly owned subsidiary in India, in an attempt to curb a thriving "grey market" there for illegally-imported Nikon cameras and lenses. The new subsidiary serves India as well as the Middle East markets (comprising Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Bahrain, Israel, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE).

Today, Nikon Group Companies total nearly 17,000 employees worldwide. Nikon is actively committed to implementing specific measures in corporate ethics, environmental protection, risk management, and social contributions.[6]


Besides cameras, Nikon Corporation (Nikon) is recognized as a world leader in development and manufacturing of advanced optical and precision photolithography equipment. An essential part of the complex process of photolithography is a stepper, a device similar in operation to a slide projector or a photographic enlarger, used in the manufacture of integrated circuits (ICs), which creates millions of microscopic circuit elements on the surface of tiny chips of silicon. These chips form the heart of integrated circuits (ICs) such as computer processors, memory chips, and many other devices.

In 1980, the first stepper, the NSR-1010G, was produced in Japan. Since then, Nikon has introduced over 50 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), the North American sales and service arm for Nikon Corporation's semiconductor photolithography equipment, was established in the United States. Fueled by a rapidly growing customer base, the company quickly expanded. In 1990, NPI opened its current headquarters in Belmont, California; the facility now includes corporate offices, a fully equipped worldwide training center (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 Research Corporation of America (NRCA) also has research and development operations in the U.S. which directly support the Precision Equipment Division in Kumagaya, Japan. Leveraging its strong and long-standing customer relationships, global brand recognition, and technological expertise, Nikon has maintained market leadership through an emphasis on research and development, and its ability to adapt products to meet customers' rapidly changing needs.

In late 2007, Nikon introduced its newest product, the NSR-S610C, an immersion lithography system using a proprietary technology that eliminates the bubbles, watermarks, and particles usually generated by immersion processing.[7]

Photo gallery

See also


  1., Discussion of pronunciation. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  2., Brand Symbol. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 New York Times, CAMERA; For Nikon Aficionados, A Club of Their Own. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
  4. Douglas David Duncan, Duncan's Journal. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  5. Nikon Australia, Nikon Strengthens Digital Focus for 2006. Retrieved June 16, 2008
  6., Message from the President. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  7. Business Wire, Nikon Ships World's First 45 nm Production Immersion Scanner.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Loder, Michael Wescott. The Nikon Camera in America, 1946-1953. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2008. ISBN 9780786432219.
  • Long, Brian. Nikon, a Celebration. Ramsbury: Crowood, 2006. ISBN 9781861268310.
  • Peterson, B.. Nikon System Handbook. Rochester, NY: Silver Pixel Press, 2000. ISBN 9781883403645.
  • Pont, Patrice-Hervé. Nikon Saga. Neuilly, France: Fotosaga, 1997. ISBN 9782906840133.
  • Rotoloni, Robert. The Nikon: an Illustrated History of the Nikon Rangefinder Series. Chicago: Obol International, 1981.

External links

All links retrieved November 14, 2022.


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