1. Nikon’s First Line of Amateur Cameras Was Called the Nikkorex
Nikon made history with its F-model line, one of the first premiere professional series of camera models to gain traction in the new medium. By 1960, however, nearly 50 years after the company’s inception, the public demanded a more consumer-based camera model that wasn’t reserved for professionals and serious enthusiasts. To answer this demand, Nikon introduced its Nikkorex line in the early 1960s. Manufacturing costs were kept low by exchanging a leaf shutter for Nikon’s usual focal-plane shutter. An F-mount Nikkorex version was released in 1962.
2. Nikon “M” Models Are Collector’s Items, With “Made In Occupied Japan” Stamps
There are two Nikon M model cameras that, in mint condition, fetch up to $5,000 used. To determine whether or not the Nikon in question is a legitimate M model, it would only have a seven-digit serial number, as opposed to Nikon’s standard eight-number serial. They’re all marked with a “Made In Occupied Japan” stamp because they were manufactured in the years after WWII. Most all units were made in silver-chrome casing, but a select few black models were custom-made for war photographers.
3. Nikon Is Only One of Two Brands to Keep Their Lens Mount After the Introduction of Autofocus
When autofocus was introduced in the 1960s, all other camera and lens manufacturers altered their lens mount to accommodate the new technology except for Pentax and Nikon. This made Nikon the industry leader for lens compatibility, with more than 400 models that fit Nikon’s signature F-mount. Modern Nikon digital SLR cameras continue to use the F-mount, making even otherwise obsolete film lenses usable with modern Nikon camera bodies.
4. Nikon’s Perfect Focus System is Used for Biological Research Microscopes
Nikon lenses are renowned for their focusing capabilities, but their focus (pun intended) doesn’t end with imaging. Nikon pioneered the Perfect Focus System (PFS) to provide real time focus correction to the common problem of microscope focus drift. This is especially important for scientists looking to create time lapses of cell movement, which is helpful for the development of disease cures and understanding cell mutation.
5. Nikon Manufactured the World’s First Autofocus Underwater SLR Camera
When the Nikonos RS was introduced in 1992, it changed photography forever by being the first single-lens reflex model to function underwater. Nikon began making underwater cameras as early as 1963, but without autofocus imaging capability photographers weren’t able to capture the world below the sea as they actually saw it until the Nikonos RS. It was waterproof to 100 meters and so quickly became a favorite among Scuba divers. Nikon ceased production of the Nikonos line in the early 2000s, but has continued to be an industry leader in the manufacture of waterproof cameras.