By : Nikon School Blog | 2 Jan, 2018 |
While celebrating 100 years of Nikon, we must remember that it’s not just the cameras that have built brand Nikon. Like some legendary Nikon Cameras, many NIKKOR lenses also became legends and have contributed in establishing Nikon as an imaging giant.
It was in 1932 that NIKKOR was adopted as brand name for camera lenses manufactured by Nippon Kogaku K.K. (the pre-cursor of Nikon Corporation) and in 1933, the first NIKKOR lens was born. The “aero NIKKOR” was a series of lenses that was used for aerial photography, primarily for map-making. These lenses introduced the world to the brand NIKKOR.
The 1950s saw NIKKOR lenses gain huge popularity among prominent photographers of the world after being praised by photographers from LIFE magazine. Two legends born during this period are the fastest wide angle of its time - the W-NIKKOR 3.5cm f/1.8, in 1956 and the world’s first telephoto zoom for still cameras - the Auto NIKKOR Telephoto zoom 8.5-25cm f/4-4.5 in 1959.
During the 70s, three legendary NIKKORs were produced, the NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8, featuring the World's First ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, the NIKKOR 13mm f/5.6 F-mount interchangeable lens with the world's widest angle of view (as of 1976), and the Zoom-NIKKOR 28-45mm f/4.5, World's First Full-fledged wide-angle zoom lens.
The 1980s produced a legendary NIKKOR which paved the way for many successors -the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8S, the world’s first lens with built-in CPU.
The 1990s saw momentous changes in imaging technology and this caused quite a few legends to be born in this decade. A few are mentioned below.
AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 80-200mm f/2.8D IF-ED
This fast telephoto zoo became a legend by introducing photographers to the professional fast telephoto zoom category. It was the beginning of a legendary line-up.
AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED – the precursor to the wide aperture standard zoom lenses of the digital age.
AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8D IF-ED –
One of the first, and till now, the only NIKKOR super-telephoto with an f/2.8 aperture.
The change in millennium also ushered in the digital era. Lenses also went through modifications to match up to the digital revolution. A few legendary lenses born during this era (till 2005) are discussed below.
AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED – an instant favourite among wildlife photography enthusiasts, this lens continued to be in demand throughout its life.
AF Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mmf/4-5.6G –
This was a perfect budget telephoto zoom for a growing number of photography enthusiasts around the world. Though discontinued, it’s still in demand today!
AF Zoom-NIKKOR 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G –
A lens that established the "normal lens kit" method of sales, it remains one of the most used lenses around the world.
AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D –
A first normal lens for countless photographers all over the world. Still preferred by many who know about it, this lens was known for its sharpness, autofocus, and bokeh, at a very affordable price.
AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED –
This lens became a standard telephoto zoom for professional portrait and sports photographers all over the world. Its legacy continues with the upgraded versions on sale today.
AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED –
A true legend, this telephoto zoom became a must-have for many wildlife and sports photographers around the world, thanks to the flexible zoom range, light-weight design and fantastic auto-focus performance.
AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED –
One of the most popular kit lenses, many photographers started digital photography with this lens. A sharp and efficient short zoom, it has been used by millions across the world.
AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED –
The first true all-purpose lens, this legendary NIKKOR made it possible to carry just one lens for almost everything. Great for street and travel photography, its new versions are also equally popular.