Photographica Pages

An online guide to collectable cameras and related stuff

Nikon (Nippon Kogaku)

Nippon Kogaku was founded in 1917 to provide optical goods to the Japanese Imperial Navy. They were an optical manufacturer, and did not significantly manufacture cameras until after WWII. (The exceptions are a camera used by artillary units and a huge 5000/25 plate camera that was permanently mounted to a truck). They did produce the lenses and some of the rangefinder and focusing mounts for the early Canons.

After WWII, they needed to find marketable products to produce, and they naturally turned to making cameras for the lenses they had been producing. They examined the two leading 35mm rangefinder cameras of the day, the Leica and the Contax, and produced a camera with the best features of the two. It had the basic layout of the Contax, with its body mounted focus wheel and bayonet lens mounts. But it had the more reliable shutter found in the Leica. It had a format that was not standard: 24x32. The designers felt it was better proportionated to 8 x 10, and it conserved film, a precious commodity in Japan at that time. They called it simply the Nikon. It is now refered to as the Nikon I.

Nikon Rangefinder Cameras
Nikon Rangefinder Lenses
Nikon Rangefinder Accessories
Nikon SLR cameras
Nikon SLR Lenses