Nikon Celebrates 90 Years of Nikkor Optics: ‘A Story in Every Lens’

Nikon 90 Years

Nikon is celebrating 90 years since the launch of its first Nikkor-branded lens and “in commemoration of this milestone” it has released a new logo and plans to follow with a series of promotions.

The logo, above, is meant to honor what the company calls the enduring legacy of the Nikkor brand. Within it is the phrase “a story in every lens,” which the company says expresses the unique characteristics and thoutful dedication found in each Nikkor optic as well as their ability to “capture precious moments while preserving history and telling stories that resonate with people’s hearts.”

The History of Nikkor

Nikon provided the following synopsis of the Nikkor brand, which began in the early 20th century:

The 90 years of NIKKOR’s history began in 1932 with the registration of the NIKKOR trademark by Nikon (then Nippon Kogaku K.K.). A year later, the first shipment of Aero-Nikkor aerial photographic lenses was dispatched. Nikon is unique in that it is one of the few manufacturers in the world that begins its manufacturing process from the production of optical glass. This commitment to excellence is the foundation for the exceptional optical performance of NIKKOR lenses. Over the years, by consistently developing lenses that feature the cutting-edge optical technologies of the time, NIKKOR has grown to be a globally recognized brand known for its high-performance lenses.

NIKKOR has always been at the forefront of innovation. Photographs taken with the Nikkor P・C 8.5cm F2, released in 1948, was featured in the globally renowned LIFE magazine, significantly enhancing NIKKOR’s reputation. Subsequently, The New York Times published an article that highlighted the high quality of NIKKOR products, helping to establish the concept of “Made in Japan” quality. In 1963, the Zoom-NIKKOR Auto 43-86mm f/3.5 was the first standard zoom lens to offer practical performance. More recently, in 2019, the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, the flagship lens among NIKKOR Z lenses, achieved the milestone of being the fastest lens in Nikon history with an aperture of f/0.95. These lenses, among many others, showcase Nikon’s commitment to providing unique and high-quality options that support users in expressing their creative vision.

Another testament to the superior optical performance and reliability of NIKKOR lenses is found in its important role in NASA’s space missions. In 1971, the Nikon Photomic FTN (NASA specifications) and NIKKOR lenses were employed on the Apollo 15 mission, while in 2009, the D3S and AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses were ordered to document activities at the International Space Station (ISS). To this day, Nikon continues to play a role in NASA’s space missions by regularly supplying cameras and lenses. This relationship with NASA has also contributed to the advancement of Nikon’s optical technologies, thereby continuing to improve the quality of photography and research in space.

In 2018, Nikon utilized its extensive knowledge and expertise to launch the Z mount system. This system is comprised of mirrorless cameras that feature a new, largest-diameter mount, along with compatible NIKKOR Z lenses and accessories. The NIKKOR Z lenses are designed to continue pursuing a new dimension in optical performance, by taking advantage of the superior design flexibility realized through the combination of the larger Z mount with its inner diameter of 55 mm, and a short flange focal distance of 16 mm. This combination allows for greater design flexibility and opens up new possibilities for image creators.

Inspired by the rich 90-year history of NIKKOR and its endless technological advancements, Nikon remains committed to contributing to the development of imaging culture, with the hope of expanding possibilities for imaging expression.

As part of its 90th year celebration, Nikon plans to release a series of short videos about its optics in the coming weeks.

Image credits: Nikon