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Corporate History

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Years during which products launched in Japan. Some of the products mentioned below are marketed solely in Japan.

1917~

1917Three of Japan's leading optical manufacturers merge to form a comprehensive, fully integrated optical company known as Nippon Kogaku K.K. Image available

Nikon headquarters at the time was within Tokyo Keiki at 120 Haramachi, Koishikawa-ku, Tokyo (Hakusan 4 chome, Bunkyo-ku today).

1918Oi Dai-ichi Plant (now Oi Plant) is completed Image available

Oi Dai-ichi Plant in 1921. The tall building in the background is a five-story observatory.

1918Research on manufacture of optical glass is initiated
1921MIKRON 4x and 6x ultra-small-prism binoculars are marketed Image available

The first binoculars developed, designed and manufactured by Nikon. They were reproduced in 1997.

1925JOICO Microscope is marketedImage available Image available

The first microscope designed by Nikon. The trademark JOICO was from the initials of Japan Optical Industry Co., a translation of Nippon Kogaku K. K., the company's name at the time.

1931An 8-inch astronomical telescope is installed at Tokyo Science Museum (today's National Museum of Nature and Science) Image available

Nikon's first equatorial telescope had the largest diameter of any such telescope in Japan at the time. It was in use until 2005.

1932NIKKOR is adopted as brand name for camera lenses Image available

Publication of the NIKKOR trademark application. It was filed in July 1931, published in April 1932 and registered in December 1932.

1945With the end of World War II, production shifts to cameras, microscopes, binoculars, surveying instruments, measuring instruments and ophthalmic lenses
1946Pointal ophthalmic lens is marketed
1946Nikon brand name is adopted for small-sized cameras
1947Tilting Level E and Transit G surveying instruments are marketedImage available

Nikon's first products after World War II were these surveying instruments.
On the left is Tiltig Level E and on the right is Transit G2, which was an upgrade of Transit G and released in 1949.

1948Nikon I small-sized camera is marketedImage available

The first Nikon camera and the first product to bear the "Nikon" name. It was first sold as "Nikon," but "I" was added to distinguish it from subsequent cameras.

1948Model I profile projector is marketedImage available

A profile projector redesigned from a home-use model to incorporate the parallel beam illumination method and other features.

1949Listed on both Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges
1950The New York Times introduces the superior features of Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses to the world
1952nikkor club is established to promote photography cultureImage available

"nikkor club" was established with the help of Ihei Kimura, Ken Domon, Jun Miki, Yusaku Kamekura, Kenji Mizoguchi and Hideko Takamine. The photo shows copies of the newsletter that was first published in 1953. The first issue is in the middle.

1953Nikon Optical Co., Inc. (now Nippon Kogaku (U.S.A.) Inc.) is established in the U.S.
1954Model SM stereoscopic microscope is marketedImage available

The only product in Japan at the time that featured a three-step variator. The variator prevents focus drift during zooming and epi-fluorescence illumination.

1955Phase contrast microscope is marketed Image available

A microscope enabling observation of live colorless cells and bacteria.

1959Nikon F SLR camera is marketedImage available

Nikon's first lens-interchangeable SLR camera. It incorporated a number of world-first features, such as an exposure meter fully coupled with aperture and the practical application of a motor drive. It was considered a high-end SLR camera.

1961Nikon AG is established in SwitzerlandImage available

Founded in Zurich, Switzerland as a base for the development of the European market for cameras and other optical instruments.

1962Ultra-micro Nikkor high-resolution optical lenses are marketedImage available

Developed for the production of photomasks required for photolithography. The lens had the highest resolution of any lens at the time.

1963NIKONOS all-weather camera is marketedImage available

Designed to be water-/pressure-/corrosion-resistant, and positioned as an amphibious "All Weather" camera.

1963Management buy-in of Sakura Electronic Industries, Ltd. (now Tochigi Nikon Corporation)
1964Ruling Engine No. 1 is installed at Tokyo University of EducationImage available

The first ruling engine in Japan. Until the 1960s, it was known as the "fantasy machine," as the ultrahigh precision required for its manufacture was extremely difficult to achieve.

1967Oi Plant's Ofuna site (now Yokohama Plant) is built Image available

Established as a production base for microscopes, surveying instruments and measuring instruments after production at the Oi Plant had reached its limit. It was upgraded to the Yokohama Plant in 1970.

1968Photo gallery Ginza Nikon Salon is opened (Shinjuku Nikon Salon is opened in 1971, Osaka Nikon Salon is opened in 1974)Image available

Established with the aim of boosting Nikon's corporate image and the culture of photography. The first exhibition was "The Eyes of Ihei Kimura."

1968K.K. Tachibana Seisakusho (corporate name changed to Mito Nikon Corporation in 1977, Mito Nikon Precision Corporation in 2007, dissolved in 2010) is established Image available

Established as a new subsidiary for camera production in order to fortify Nikon's competitiveness and meet ever-increasing demand for SLR cameras.

1968Rotary encoder RIE digital measuring instrument is marketed
1968Nikon Europe N.V. (now Nikon Europe B.V.) is established in the Netherlands Image available

Established in Amsterdam, the center of European industry, to further expand Nikon sales in Europe.

1969Nikon Photo Contest International (now Nikon Photo Contest)
1971Nikon Photomic FTN is mounted on APOLLO 15Image available

Based on "Nikon Photomic FTN," modifications were made to specifications and materials, such as lubricating oil, based on special requests from NASA.

1971Sendai Nikon Corporation is established Image available

Established as a third subsidiary for production, it became a mass production factory, mainly for cameras.

1971MND-2 extra-long-distance meter is marketed Image available

Developed jointly with Mitsubishi Electric, this instrument made it possible for the first time in Japan to measure distance using light waves.

1971Oi Plant's Sagamihara site (now Sagamihara Plant) is builtImage available

Established for the production of optical glass due to increased sales of NIKKOR lenses. Upgraded to the Sagamihara Plant in 1981.

1971Nikon Vertriebs GmbH (now Nikon GmbH) is established in West Germany (now Germany) Image available

Established in West Germany for sales of Nikon products such as cameras and optical equipment. The company name was changed to Nikon GmbH in 1975.

1973Nikon Optical Shop Co., Ltd. is established
1976Biophot and Metaphot microscopes are marketed Image available

The world's first successful commercialization of a microscope objective lens for the CF system. The system was referred to as "the first innovation in 100 years." The photo shows a Biophot microscope.

1978Nikko Engineering K.K. (now Nikon Engineering Co., Ltd.) is established
1978Nikon Canada Inc. is established in Canada Image available

Nikon took over a distributor in Canada to launch direct sales of cameras, microscopes and other prodcucts.

1979Nikon U.K. Ltd. is established in the U.K.Image available

Nikon acquired the photography division of a British distributor in order to be able to respond quickly to changes in the British camera market.

1980~

1980Nikon F3 SLR camera is marketedImage available

Introduced as the preeminent SLR camera with electronically controlled aperture-priority AE. The design by Italian designer Giugiaro had a major impact on subsequent cameras.

1980Kurobane Kogaku K.K. (now Kurobane Nikon Co., Ltd.) is acquired
1980NSR-1010G Step-and-Repeat System (stepper) for manufacturing VLSIs is marketedImage available

Japan's first stepper. As a next-generation ultra-LSI production device, it achieved a high level of integration, throughput and yield.

1981Nikon Americas Inc. is established in the U.S.
1981TITEX titanium ophthalmic frame is marketedImage available

The world's first titanium frames. Stronger than conventional nickel alloy frames and some 50% lighter.

1981Acquires Ehrenreich Photo-Optical Industries, Inc. and renames it Nikon Inc. Image available

Nikon's U.S. distributor EPOI was made a wholly owned subsidiary in order to fortify sales in the U.S. market.

1981Nikon Fieldscope is marketed
1981Zao Nikon Co., Ltd. (now Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd.) is established
1982OPTISTATION IC wafer inspection system is marketedImage available

Used for visual inspection in the etch and lithography process of semiconductor manufacturing. It contributed to the stabilization of the production line and improved yields.

1982Nikon Precision Inc. is established in the U.S. Image available

Established as a sales subsidiary in San Bruno, California to expand sales and services. Exports of IC steppers and scanners to the United States started the same year.

1983Nikon L35AF autofocus compact camera is marketed Image available

Nikon's first compact camera. It was nicknamed the "one-touch" in the United States.

1984NT-1000 35mm film direct telephoto transmitter is marketedImage available

The world's first 35mm film direct transmitter. It was co-developed with Kyodo News.

1984Kumagaya Plant is builtImage available

Technologies for optics, precision processing, electronics and materials were combined to create a core production plant for advanced technology products in order to meet growing demand for IC steppers and scanners.

1985Total Station DTM-1 surveying instrument is marketedImage available

The first Nikon Total Station and the first fully digitized Nikon surveying instruments.

1986Nikon Hong Kong Ltd. is established in Hong KongImage available

Representative offices for camera sales in Hong Kong and Singapore were combined to create a base for Nikon's photographic products sales strategy in Southeast Asia. The photo shows Admiralty Centre Tower 2, where the office is located.

1986Nikon Systems Inc. is established
1986TRISTATION 600 and 600M three-dimensional coordinate measuring machines are marketed Image available

The first three-dimensional coordinate measuring machine designed by Nikon and the first such machine in Japan to achieve spatial measurement accuracy within five micrometers.

1986Nikon F-501 autofocus SLR camera is marketedImage available

The first Nikon SLR camera with autofocus operated from the camera body.

1986Nikon France S.A. (now Nikon France S.A.S.) is established in FranceImage available

At the time, France had restrictions on foreign capital investment. The move laid the foundations for a sales organization in France.

1986NSR-L7501G large substrate exposure system is marketedImage available

Nikon's first LCD steppers and scanners. The launch was quick to meet the increasing demand for liquid crystal display products.

1987Nikon Tec Corporation is established
1988NSR-1505EX excimer stepper is marketed
1988Nikon Photo Products Inc. (now Nikon Imaging Japan Inc.) is established
1988Corporate name is changed to Nikon CorporationImage available

Both Nikon logotype and logo design format were established at the time.

1988Nikon Precision Europe GmbH is established in West Germany (now Germany) Image available

Nikon GmbH's semiconductor equipment division was established to fortify sales activities associated with semiconductor market expansion.

1990Nikon Precision Korea Ltd. is established in Korea Image available

Established in Seoul to fortify stepper customer support in Korea. The photo shows Daesan building, where the office is located.

1990Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is established in Thailand Image available

Established as Nikon's first full-scale overseas production base for camera-related products.

1991Mito Plant is builtImage available

Established as a base for production and technology development, mainly for high-precision machining businesses.

1991Nikon Kft. is established in Hungary
1992Nikon Instech Co., Ltd. is established
1992Nikon Geotecs Co., Ltd. (dissolved in 2003, business transferred to Nikon-Trimble Co., Ltd.) starts operations
1992Nikon Optical Co., Ltd. (dissolved in 2000, business transferred to Nikon Eyewear Co., Ltd. and Nikon-Essilor Co., Ltd.) starts operations
1993Nikon Life Co., Ltd., Nikon Logistics Corporation and Nikon Technologies, Inc., (merged to form Nikon Business Service Co., Ltd. in 2007) are established
1993Nikon Instruments S.p.A. is established in Italy
1993Presio FX and DX progressive addition lenses are marketed
1994Nikon s.r.o. is established in the Czech Rep.
1995NEXIV series CNC video measuring system is marketed Image available

Non-contact high-precision measurement was made possible by image processing technology. The confocal-type microscope enabled mesurement of two-dimensional field and height in the same field of view.

1995E2 and E2s digital still cameras are marketed Image available

Developed with Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (now FUJIFILM Corp.), these SLR-type digital cameras are equipped with the unique Reduction Optics System and are compatible with major F-mount lenses.

1995NSR-S201A lens-scanning KrF excimer stepper is marketed Image available

The world's first lens scanning type KrF excimer stepper (KrF scanner) corresponding to design rules of less than 0.25 micrometers.

1995Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd is established in Singapore
1995Nikon Precision Taiwan Ltd. is established in Taiwan
1995Nikon Svenska AB (now Nikon Nordic AB) is established in Sweden
1996Nikon Research Corporation of America is established in the U.S.
1996Nikon Fieldmicroscope is marketed Image available

A portable stereoscopic microscope that allows "as is" observation.

1996ECLIPSE E800 biological microscope for research is marketed Image available

The optical system of the infinity optics (CFI60) system was revamped to make the parfocal distance of the objective lens 60 mm.

1997Guang Dong Nikon Camera Co., Ltd. is established in China
1997COOLPIX 100 and 300 digital cameras are marketed Image available


COOLPIX 100

Nikon's first compact digital camera.
"COOLPIX 100" could be inserted into a PC card slot to transfer data directly to the computer. Pen-touch operation was possible with the "COOLPIX 300".

1999Total Station GF-212 and 215C surveying instruments are marketed Image available

Features a non-prism measuring function that enables measurement without a reflective prism by using a laser beam.

1999Nanjing Nikon Jiangnan Optical Instrument Co., Ltd. is established in China
1999D1 digital SLR camera is marketed Image available

SLR-type digital camera with interchangeable lens that combines high-speed performance and overall picture quality. Priced with general users in mind, it contributed to the popularity of digital SLR cameras.

1999Hang Zhou Nikon Camera Co., Ltd. is established in China
1999In-house company system is inaugurated
1999Surveying instruments operations are reorganized into an independent company

2000~

2000Nikon-Essilor Co., Ltd., a joint venture with Essilor International of France, is established
2000Vision Nikon 21 business strategy is formulated; corporate philosophy is defined as "Trustworthiness and Creativity"
2000Nikon Precision Singapore Pte Ltd (merged with Nikon Singapore Pte. Ltd. in 2013) is established in Singapore
2000FX-21S LCD scanner is marketed Image available

Nikon's original Multi-Lens Projection Optical System was adopted to correspond to an increase in the size of liquid crystal displays.

2000Optical-infrared Subaru Telescope employs Nikon's Faint Object Camera And Spectrograph (FOCAS) and High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS)
2000Nikon Tsubasa Inc. is established
2000Nikon Holdings Europe B.V. is established in the Netherlands
2000Nikon Instruments Inc. starts operations in the U.S.
2001Sport optics operations are reorganized into an independent company; Nikon Vision Co., Ltd. is established
2001Nikon (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. starts operations in Malaysia
2002Nikon Instruments Europe B.V. starts operations in the Netherlands
2002Nikon Imaging (China) Co., Ltd. is established in China Image available

Established to fortify the cost competitiveness and production capacity of imaging products, including digital cameras.

2002Nikon Precision Shanghai Co., Ltd. is established in China Image available

Established in Shanghai to fortify steppers and scanners customer support in China. The photo shows Xin Jin Qiao Tower, where the office is located.

2003New Brand Symbol for Nikon Group is introduced Image available

The new brand symbol displaying the light motif.

2003Nikon-Trimble Co., Ltd., a joint venture with Trimble Navigation Ltd. of the U.S., is established
2003Nikon Instruments (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is established in China
2003Nikon Polska Sp. z o.o. starts operations in Poland
2004Hikari Glass Co., Ltd. becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary
2004Yokohama Plant Yokosuka Branch (now Yokosuka Plant) is built
2004Nikon F6 SLR camera is marketed Image available

Introduced as the preeminent film SLR camera, it combined Nikon F series tradition with advanced features.

2005Nikon Instruments Korea Co., Ltd. starts operations in Korea Image available

Established to fortify sales, marketing and after-sales service for instruments products, including microscopes and measuring instruments, in Korea. The photo shows Yuk-In building, where the office is located.

2005Nikon Imaging (China) Sales Co., Ltd. starts operations in China Image available

Established to fully develop Nikon's imaging business, including digital cameras, in China. The photo shows Raffles City building, where the office is located.

2006NSR-S609B ArF immersion scanner is marketed Image available

The first IC Stepper and Scanner model incorporating Immersion Lithography Technology and the first to break the barrier of NA1.0 in air to achieve NA 1.07.

2006Nikon Imaging Korea Co., Ltd. starts operations in Korea Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, in Korea. The photo shows the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry building, where the office is located.

2006Nikon Australia Pty Ltd starts operations in Australia
2007BioStation CT cell culture observation system is marketed Image available

Equipped with a microscope in the incubator, it has expanded the possibilities of live cell observation.

2007Nikon Life Co., Ltd., Nikon Logistics Corporation and Nikon Technologies, Inc. are merged to form Nikon Business Service Co., Ltd.
2007Tochigi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd. is established
2007Nikon International Trading (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. starts operations in China
2007Nikon India Private Limited starts operations in India Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, and to enhance technical support and after-sales service for industrial instruments, including video measuring systems, in India.

2007D3 digital SLR camera is marketed Image available

It boasts a number of innovative features, such as a high sensitivity of ISO6400 at normal settings and a 51-point autofocus system.

2008Sendai Nikon Precision Corporation (merged with Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd. in 2009) is established
2008Nikon (Russia) LLC. starts operations in Russia
2009Nikon and Essilor International Joint Research Center Co., Ltd., a joint venture with Essilor International of France, is established
2009FX-101S LCD scanner is marketed Image available

Supporting 10th-generation mother glass (about 3 meters square), it enables effective mass-production of large panels of over 60 inches.

2009Nikon Mexico S.A. de C.V. starts operations in Mexico Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, in Mexico. The photo shows Reforma 222 building, where the office is located.

2009Mito Nikon Precision Corporation is merged with Tochigi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd.
2009Sendai Nikon Precision Corporation is merged with Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd.
2009Metris NV becomes Nikon Metrology NV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nikon Corporation in Belgium Image available

Nikon's purpose is to achieve strong technological capabilities and synergies in product lineup, as well as being well placed geographically.

2009NSR-S620 ArF immersion scanner is marketed Image available

Corresponds to a production process using double patterning.

2010~

2010Nikon Head Office is relocated to Shin-Yurakucho Bldg.
2010D3S and D3X digital SLR cameras, and NIKKOR lenses are used in the International Space Station (ISS)
2010N-SIM and N-STORM super resolution microscopes are marketed Image available

Achieved a resolution that is beyond the capabilities of conventional optical microscopes.
The photo shows the "N-SIM," which has nearly double the resolution of conventional optical microscopes.

2010Nikon Holdings Hong Kong Limited is established in Hong Kong
2010HN-6060 non-contact multi-sensor 3D metrology system is marketed Image available

An object's shape and waviness can be measured in a single operation, a difficult achievement for conventional measuring instruments.

2011Nikon Sales (Thailand) Co., Ltd. starts operations in Thailand Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, in Thailand. The photo shows Empire Tower, where the office is located.

2011Nikon do Brasil Ltda. starts operations in Brazil Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, and instruments products, including microscopes and measuring instruments, in Brazil. The photo shows Parque Cultural Paulista building, where the office is located.

2011Nikon 1 J1 and V1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses are marketedImage available

Nikon's first advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses. Video and still images are of equally high quality.
The photo shows the Nikon 1 J1.

2012D4 digital SLR camera is marketed Image available

The flagship model of Nikon digital SLR cameras, it achieves high sensitivity and high image quality as well as excellent high-speed performance. Reflecting the real needs of photographers in the field, operability and reliability have been pushed to the limits.

2012Nikon Middle East FZE starts operations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, in the Middle East, Africa, Western and Southern Asia. The photo shows Galleries Bldg 2, where the office is located.

2013PT Nikon Indonesia starts operations in Indonesia Image available

Established to fortify sales and enhance after-sales service for imaging products, including digital cameras, in Indonesia. The photo shows Wisma 46 BNI building, where the office is located.

2013Compact digital camera COOLPIX A is marketed Image available

Nikon DX format CMOS sensor is used in a COOLPIX series camera for the first time.

2013Nikon Lao Co., Ltd. is established in Laos Image available

Established to fortify production of digital SLR cameras and reduce costs.

2013Nikon Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. is established in Singapore Image available

Established as the financial headquarters in the Asia and Oceania region, where business opportunities are expanding, to effectively manage finance, accounting, legal affairs and tax. The photo shows Capital Square building, where the office is located.

2013Nikon 1 AW1 advanced camera with interchangeable lenses is marketed Image available

The world's first digital camera with interchangeable lenses that is both waterproof and shockproof.