1. They Use an “F-Mount”
Nikon and Pentax are the only manufacturers of single lens reflex film cameras that kept their lens mount intact when autofocus technology was introduced. This allowed Nikon users to hold on to their lenses, even as metering, aperture, and autofocus requirements changed. Nikkor lenses, the Nikon-specific lens brand, use an F-mount alongside Zeiss, Vivitar, and Tamron lenses, among others. Nikon, however, introduced the F-mount with its Nikon F camera in 1959. There are more F-mount lenses than other type, with more than 400 selections.
2. Lens Functions are Controlled by Turning Counterclockwise
F-mount lenses, unlike other types of lenses, lock and unlock when they are turned counterclockwise rather than clockwise. The same goes for the zoom, aperture, and focus controls, which can be confusing if you’re moving to Nikon from Canon—both Pentax and Sony lenses turn counterclockwise as well. In 1959, Nikon made this decision so that customers who had become accustomed to their “Nikon S” series would be able to more easily make the switch.
3. Nikkor Lenses Are Multilayered
Nikon is the only lens manufacturer to provide multilayered lenses, which help to reduce flare and lens-fog to a minimum. The multilayered process is called Nikon Super Integrated Coating, and in addition to reducing lens flare also helps to maintain color integrity by minimizing reflection. This is especially important in a zoom lens, when the image itself is photographed from such a long distance. Nikon applies a different number of these multiple layers to each of its Nikkor lenses, depending on the need of that specific model. When Nikon developed their NSR-series, they also developed an another antireflective coating for lenses known as the Nano Crystal Coat, used particularly for wide-angle lenses.
4. Nikon Lenses Have Special Focusing Capabilities
Nikon invented the Close-Range Correction (CRC) system for focusing, which allows for super close focusing range. Using CRC, lens elements are arranged in groups which move independently to focus even in very tight situations. Nikon lenses also have an internal focus function, which allows the lens to focus without changing its size. This results in lighter lenses than competitors, but also for closer-focusing as well. Internal focusing is featured most telephoto Nikkor lenses and some zoom models; CRC function is available in Micro, wide-angle, fisheye, and some medium telephoto Nikkor lenses.
5. Many Nikkor Lenses Have Special Features
Just like camera bodies, lenses oftentimes boast special features for ease of imaging and creative control. One of these is Vibration Reduction, which, in Nikon-sponsored tests, was found to reduce image blur and allow the photographer to shoot three f-stops up from where he would have been able to produce a steady image from a competitor lens. Ultimately, Vibration Reduction allows for photographers to shoot in lower-light situations than he would otherwise have been able to. Other such features are M/A mode and A/M mode. M/A mode allows the photographer to switch between automatic and manual focusing modes without lag, even if autofocus remains on. A/M mode allows for autofocus to remain the priority to help prevent unintended toggling between the two functions.