By : Nikon School Blog | 18 Sep, 2017 |
As an imaging brand trusted for 100 years, Nikon has been endearing more and more photography enthusiasts with every passing decade. Though Nikon started manufacturing cameras only during the 1940s, by that time it was already an established name in the world of photography. Starting a bit later than other brands, Nikon quickly made up for lost time and started producing popular cameras every decade, many of which went on to become legends in later years.
Here's a look back at some of Nikon's legendary film and digital SLR cameras and the amazing stories associated with them.
The Nikon F is the first Nikon F mount SLR system camera. Naturally, it is associated with many iconic images and amazing stories.
At the time of its development, SLR camera names included the letter R which referred to the Reflex (reflection). As R is pronounced differently in non-English speaking areas, F was selected from Re-Flex and was used for the Nikon F, and became immortalized in Nikon history.
The Nikon F (Below – left) was sensational upon its launch. In March 1960, at the first Japan Camera Show (Below – right), about 130,000 people visited the Nikon booth which displayed the Nikon F system.
In 1963, an American Everest expedition used 20 Nikon F systems. It was believed that the Nikon F was the only SLR camera that could withstand the harsh high altitude conditions. The expedition was successful and the Nikon F's performed as expected. 40 years later in 2003, Nikon sponsored an anniversary expedition trip till the Base Camp for Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit the mountain in 1963. This time he used a D1X and D100 to document his journey.
During the period between the launch of the Nikon F and the first Nikon DSLR, many Nikon SLRs achieved legendary status.
The Nikon FM 2, launched in 1982, became immortalised in the hands of the legendary photo-journalist Steve Mc Curry who shot the iconic portrait of an Afghan refugee girl with it in 1984. The image, popularly known as 'The Afghan girl' is often called the most recognizable image in the world after Mona Lisa.
The late 90s and early 2000s saw the ushering in of the digital era. However, conventional publishing industry was not yet ready to embrace the new technology. This changed when the Nikon D1X (2001) was used by the legend Joe Mcnally to shoot an entire story for National Geographic Magazine. The story, titled 'Future of flight' became very popular and made mainstream publishing embrace digital photography .
The year 2007 saw the arrival of another Nikon legend – the D3 (Below – Left), Nikon's first full frame DSLR. Since November 2007, the D3 earned a tremendous reputation among professional and serious amateur photographers as a new age, all purpose digital SLR camera.
Often called one of the best digital cameras ever, the D3 won many accolades, including the CAMERA GRAND PRIX 2008 Camera of the Year by Japan's Camera Press Club.
Also followed the CAMERA GRAND PRIX 2008 Readers Award on its 25th anniversary.
Another legend was introduced to the world in July 2008 - the Nikon D700 (above –Right). It quickly became the most widely used full frame sensor DSLR camera around the world. Adding flexibility and versatility to the full frame advantage and certainly more affordable, the D700 quickly became a legend. It received the CAMERA GRAND PRIX 2009 Readers Award.
Nikon equipment has been in use for NASA missions for many decades. In 1971, a modified Nikon F Photomic FTN (below left) was used on the Apollo 15 mission. In 1991, a modified Nikon F4 (Below Right) was used aboard the Space shuttle Discovery.
In December 2009, Nikon announced that NASA had ordered eleven D3S digital SLR cameras for photographic documentation at the International space station (ISS). The equipment were standard consumer grade models available in the market, suggesting the versatility of the D3s bodies and NIKKOR lenses. Already, Nikon D2Xs, NIKKOR lenses and Speedlights were being used at the ISS.
And very recently, the NASA has ordered 53 unmodified Nikon D5 bodies. These will be used at astronaut training facilities on Earth and also for activities at the International Space Station (ISS).
Even before its official launch, the Nikon D850 has generated unprecedented attention and craze around the world. As pre-orders pour in from all across the globe, and social media and internet go on hyperdrive about it, it can be safely assumed that a new legend is born.
The list of legendary Nikon cameras and lenses is long, and the stories associated with them many. The best part is, after a 100 years, Nikon continues to make more legends, and surely there will be more amazing stories associated with these future legends.