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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 6. Nikon F (part II)
    high quality or convenient Even in the age of TTL exposure metering auto exposure by electronically controlled shutter and autofocus the basic design of the mount which first appeared on the Nikon F endured unaltered And this same mount can also be found on the F5 Nikon s most recent high grade high performance SLR camera However some features and functions were regarded as uncomfortable and difficult to use One such feature was the procedure for attaching a lens to the mount To attach a lens to the Nikon F users were required to turn the lens counterclockwise People voiced concern saying that the camera should have been designed so the lens would be turned clockwise The same complaint was lodged regarding the direction of rotation of the focusing ring This is where Nikon stepped up and showed that they did indeed value the opinions of their customers All lenses for the Nikon F featured focusing rings that turned in the same direction as those made for the Nikon S series so as not to confuse S series users Incidentally the lens mount design and the rotating direction of the focusing ring of the Nikon S series resemble the classic rangefinder Contax and Kiev only the shape of the mount is related Back to top Nikon F body really widened version of Nikon SP Quick return type reflex mirror and fully automatic diaphragm mechanism We ve covered the viewfinder and the lens mount Now let s take a look at some other mechanisms I will talk first about the mirror mechanism The Nikon F used a unique instant return type reflex mirror which was driven upward and downward by a single spring NOTE The term Instant return type reflex mirror is also obsolete The mirror is up during shooting and is automatically returned to its original position afterward A mechanism which fixed the mirror in the up position was also featured Thanks to this mirror up mechanism Nikon F users were able to take advantage of the ultra wideangle 21mm 2 1cm lens and fisheye lenses introduced later Nippon Kogaku was active in developing retrofocus type wideangle lenses so the mirror up mechanism lost some of its value but did remain useful in minimizing camera shake caused by the movement of the mirror The mirror mechanism was not incorporated into previous Nikon camera models such as the Nikon S2 and SP During development of the Nikon F the Nippon Kogaku engineers designers realized that they needed to create room for the mirror unit They expanded the SP s body horizontally and placed the mirror unit in a compartment at the center of the expanded body When all was said and done 40 of the estimated one thousand parts used in the Nikon F were the same as those used in the SP As I mentioned in the last article the development of the Nikon F paralleled that of the SP though the F was a bit behind The shutter mechanism

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc06f-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 7. Nikon SP/S3/S3M/S4
    of the shutter brake that stops the shutter curtain had become quieter The other main area of focus was increased ease in shutter dial handling To achieve this it was necessary to design the dial so that it would not rotate after the shutter had been released Problems with the S2 caused by the lack of this innovation included disturbance of shutter movement when the user s finger inadvertently touched the dial and differences in the settings before and after shooting The redesign of the dial for the SP solved these problems Thanks to this single pivot non rotating shutter dial featuring multiples at regular intervals the exposure meter could be engaged with the peripherals of the dial see photo below and exposure setting became easier An exposure meter that plugged into an accessory shoe was not revolutionary but this was the first meter that was designed to be plugged in from the front of the shoe Back to top Achieving the proper balance Nikon meter later model engaged with SP s single pivot non rotating shutter dial This camera was considered modern and ambitious not only for the new innovations previously mentioned but also because it incorporated technologies Nikon had been hanging on to automatic restoring of the frame counter when the camera back is opened and motor drive attachment capability among others This devotion to advancement and improvement became a Nikon tradition particularly evident in upper level models from the SP to the F5 Even considering the numerous changes and innovations embodied in the SP the developers wanted to ensure that it would be compatible with existing lenses and accessories This meant that the size and layout of the mount system and the design around the system must remain the same as the previous model This did place certain limits on the development of the direct view viewfinder but Nippon Kogaku recognized the importance of maintaining interchangeability with existing products along with the original size and dimensions of the S2 while increasing performance The result was a camera absolutely packed with quality functionality operability and precision Back to top SP used S3 as springboard to success As precise and complex as the Nikon SP was the fact that it was expensive came as no surprise When the SP was released in Japan Nippon for example it was priced at 98 000 Japanese yen including a 5cm f 1 4 normal lens This made it impossible to supply as many units as with the S2 It was rumored that based on this reasoning a lowering in viewfinder specifications and thus a price decrease was planned for the S3 This however was a falsehood Actually the S3 proved to be the base for the SP sisters the lineup consisting of the SP S3 S3M and S4 The internal name for the S3 was 26F1B and the SP was known within Nippon Kogaku as 26F2B The developers definitely bore the construction of the SP in mind while designing the S3 However

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc07sp-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 8. Nikon S2
    shaped reexposuring was prone to occur This is where the idea to employ a pendulum type brake was conceived When the shutter curtain is drawn a weight which has the same mass as the curtain hits and stops the curtain You might have heard of this mechanism someplace else that s right this mechanism is used in one portion of the Nikon F5 s mirror bounce protection It is referred to as a mirror balancer in a Nikon F5 catalogue as well as in articles that appeared in a technical guide This terminology however is not altogether accurate A more correct term would be mass brake used for a mirror The word balancer comes from the idea of a brake spindle which was designed with emphasis placed on weight balance so that the brake would work exactly the same no matter the direction or position of the camera This innovation of course found its way into the F5 following its success in the Nikon S2 The flick sound made when the shutter of S2 is released is made by this mechanism Getting back to the topic the improvement made in the flash was the use of X contact for the electro flash now known as the Speedlight In addition a plan was in the making for an standard sync system for various types of flash bulbs The synchro socket adopted a standard form and a direct contact for the accessory shoe was made Back to top Progress with viewfinder camera body The Reverced Galilean finder was the same except for the addition of a bright frame This made the image size frame clearer and sharper and the picture area easier to distinguish Also since the finder magnification became approx 0 9 x viewability improved compared with the Nikon S s approx 0 6 x On top of this the rangefinder s effective base length had been increased and the accuracy of distance measurement had been improved Aluminum molding passed over for use in the Nikon Camera Nikon I M and S was employed for the body This new aluminum alloy diecast was adaptable thanks to significant advances in technology The overall body was thinner and lighter than those of preceding cameras it was comparable to sand molding And the fact that very little mechanical processing was required made mass production that much easier To speed up rewinding they added a crank to the knob an advance by the way that had been demanded by users following the development of a sample Back to top Leica M3 causes a stir Compared to the Nikon S the Nikon S2 represented improvements in all areas All was going well until an historic incident occurred in the camera world The event occurred in April of 1954 at the photokina convention in Koln West Germany The new Leica camera the M3 was on display It had a bright clear viewfinder on a sharp frame The frame was compatible with large sized bayonet mount lenses and

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc08s2-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 9. Nikon S/M/I
    s easy to see that picture size has become smaller and smaller Thus Nippon Kogaku thought it would be wise to adapt a small picture size making the length width ratio as close as possible to that of printing paper The conventional picture size was 24 x 36 mm but they reduced the length to 32 mm Unlike one frame of normal film which contained 8 perforations the holes on top and bottom of the film one frame of Nippon Kogaku s film contained but 7 Ultimately though a change of plans became necessary following the release of the camera Click to see 640 x 628 pixel image They opted for the focal plane shutter over the lens shutter Instead of Contax s vertical passing metal folding curtain shutter they chose Leica s horizontal passing cloth curtain shutter as it offered more stable performance The shutter speed high low dial was located on the same shaft a very innovative design Following original Nippon Kogaku dynamics analysis a miniature ball bearing was placed at an effective position in order to prevent the rear curtain from causing the front curtain shaft to curl The adoption of Swedish piano wire in making a shutter driving spring and other material parts such as the shutter ribbon and shutter curtain was being investigated Though the body was made of aluminum Al it was quite heavy Back then there were many camera diecasts resembling woven nests so they adopted a sand molded type diecast which resulted in a slightly thicker camera body The metering device had to be redesigned from scratch Elements such as a sample shutter a system that measures the picture brightness and uses the data to adjust the shutter speed and the use of a selenium and a galvanometer were all part of the new concept To supplement their own knowledge Nippon Kogaku sought the advice of aircraft laboratories regarding lubricating oil which supports durability performance stability and temperature resistance Temperature experiments were performed repeatedly at such diverse locations as a meteorological observatory laboratory the freezer at a fish market and other industry s refrigerating facilities The achievement of smooth shutter movement as well as results from other experiments would begin to appear during the latter portion of the Korean War Back to top Nikon I release post release Nikon M The history of the first Nikon camera began with its development in 1945 The camera was designed and samples were produced during the difficult times that immediately followed W W II During the process many problems were encountered and the skill required was somewhat higher than Nippon Kogaku had forecast Once they realized this they stepped up their efforts to improve the camera and make adjustments in various areas and finally released it in March of 1948 Soon thereafter the photofinishing laboratory ran into problems due to the modified picture size the film was being cut in the middle To compensate they returned to the seven perforation design so that the picture

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc09s-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 10. History of the Nikon cameras and shutter mechanisms (Part I)
    30 sec A piano wire is used for the shutter driving spring Today the Nikon F5 also applies a shutter driving spring made of piano wire The stainless steel used in other areas of technology cannot be used for this part yet A worm gear is used for adjusting the spring enabling a delicate stepless adjustment Back to top The Nikon SP S3 S4 and S3M 1957 SP S3 S4 S3M Shutter 1957 1 Non rotating shutter dial 2 Silent brake From the Nikon I to the S2 modifications to the shutter were minimal Noticeable change came with the appearance of the SP sisters With these models the shutter speed dial did not rotate when the shutter was released although it had rotated with previous models It takes 14 5 ms for the shutter curtains to horizontally travel over the frame frame width approx 36 mm The accelerated shutter curtain traveling speed helped stabilize 1 1000 sec functions and also enabled a flash sync speed of 1 60 sec The previously employed brake system was replaced with what was called a silent brake The new system was essentially a spring coiled around a rotating cylinder The flick sound mentioned earlier was eliminated by the new brake The effect of this sudden change is said to have caused some frayed nerves on the assembly line The slow governor is very similar to that of the S2 Back to top The Nikon F 1959 F Shutter 1959 1 Titaniun Ti curtain 2 Front curtain 2nd key As I mentioned in Vol 6 camera manufacturers made considerable modifications to the shutter mechanism when they started developing SLR cameras Since Nippon Kogaku developed the Nikon F and Nikon SP at the same time the shutter mechanisms of the two cameras were almost identical The major difference was that with the Nikon F the shutter was horizontally expanded to create space for the mirror unit In order to enable the shutter curtain to start when the mirror reached the up position the front curtain second hook was added linking the shutter and mirror operations At first like the Nikon SP the Nikon F employed cloth shutter curtains Titanium Ti curtains were being developed by Nippon Kogaku and were completed following the announcement introducing the Nikon F With titanium shutter curtains there s no danger of the sun burning a hole in the curtain even if the camera is accidentally pointed directly at the sun See the caution at the end of the article The shutter of the SP which incorporated the same mechanism employed in the Nikon F was later modified to accommodate titanium curtains Shutter ribbons were also modified for later F models The new ribbons were made of a combination of chemical fiber and silk Back to top The Nikon F2 1971 F2 Shutter 1971 1 Rear curtain spring with no barrel 2 cam plate spring brake silicon rubber with damper Generally speaking the F2 gives the impression that it is an upgraded

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc10shut-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 11. History of the Nikon cameras and shutter mechanisms (Part II)
    they developed a new titanium blade technology By reducing the weight of the shutter blades by half Nippon Kogaku succeeded in extending conventional 1 125 sec flash sync speed to 1 200 sec and later to 1 250 sec This technology was applied to the shutter units of the Nikon FM2 in 1982 and Nikon FE2 in 1983 The technology became well known and was used in many models that followed However Nikon s top SLR model the F3 1980 still employed a horizontal travel shutter Vertical travel shutters were inferior to horizontal travel shutters in a number of ways The vertical travel shutter had lower bearing capacity in film advancing lower durability and it allowed more light to enter when the mirror was up To apply a vertical travel shutter to the the F3 s successors Nippon Kogaku renamed as Nikon in 1988 had to first clear those hurdles They continued studying and developing new shutter blades and related parts in order to create a higher performance vertical travel shutter for the F4 Back to top Shutter of the F4 1988 F4 Shutter 1988 1 Rear curtain hook 2 Rear blade arm 3 Front blade arm 4 Front blades 5 Rear blade driving spring 6 Rear blade stopper magnet 7 Front blade stopper magnet 8 Front blade driving spring 9 X contact 10 Front curtain hook 11 Balancer balance weight The F4 was the first of Nikon s single digit F series models to feature a vertical travel shutter Nippon Kogaku went with the vertical travel shutter for the F4 in order to duplicate the 1 250 sec sync speed of the FE2 and F 801 1988 As the performance of conventional shutters was insufficient for the high grade SLR models Nippon Kogaku employed the newly designed shutter in the F4 we can call it newly designed even though the specifications were very similar to those of conventional shutters Four 4 of the eight 8 blades two 2 front blades and two 2 rear blades employed a special epoxy material which featured carbon fiber reinforcement enabling maximum strength with no increase in weight Since the F4 contained a mirror up mechanism it was very important to find a way to prevent light from getting past the curtain blades into the film housing Nippon Kogaku opted to use dual multi bladed curtains for this purpose The anti directional movement of the balancer absorbed vibration caused by high speed shutter curtain travel Unremarkable but also featured were a series of parts which reduced the friction of the rotating shaft and the adoption of a stopper hook design used in horizontal travel shutters for smooth release The shutter s X contact did not directly send an electric current but instead turned on the control rectification element Since this element supplied current to the Speedlight the life of the shutter s X contact became semipermanent The brakes used in horizontal travel shutters have undergone a series of modifications In the F4 s shutter

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc11shut2-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Legendary Nikons / Vol. 12. Special titanium Nikon cameras and NASA cameras
    To add the variety of color to their F3 series cameras Nippon Kogaku manufactured the titanium F3 body painted in the color of titanium That was the F3 T released in 1982 In 1984 the black painted F3 T models were released and continued to appear on the market longer than titanium color By the way the viewfinder cover of the F3 Limited 1994 was also made of titanium Unlike the original F3 body the titanium cover of the F3 Limited enabled an accessory Speedlight to be mounted on the interchangeable finders Titanium was employed for the cover in order to strengthen the accessory shoe We have talked about the titanium bodies of the F2 and F3 Nikon s pioneer titan cameras are superior to those of other manufacturers in body design and durability as well Competitors who tried to copy Nikon sometimes used negative techniques such as adding materials to improve press treating Nikon despite the trouble with press treating continued to use pure titanium Back to top Cameras for a higher cause Nikon Photomic FTN used in Apollo 15 After W W II the U S A had been involved in a race for space with the U S S R to gain ultimate superpower status Both countries continued their work and research and were able to execute a manned space flight by the 1960 s Around this time they had started using cameras for recording At first NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration used primarily 70mm format films They found however that they needed a more portable camera for more active shooting situations Nikon whose cameras had a reputation for reliability in the U S market was selected as a special manufacturer of 35mm cameras for NASA Although the Nikon U S distributor accepted the order of the special cameras for NASA a special team at Nippon Kogaku s Ohi Plant took charge of product development Back to top Space photography Nikon Photomic FTN used in Apollo 15 A camera used in space would be subjected to a vacuum and zero gravity conditions As the spacecraft compartment is airtight it is crucial that harmful gas or fire never be generated The camera should be easy to operate for someone wearing gloves And reliability became a major issue The rays of the sun and their reflection on the camera body may be stronger than those on the earth s surface and the weight of cargo aboard the craft should be limited as much as possible for launching so there s no room for a spare camera in case the main one malfunctions In order to meet these demanding conditions Nippon Kogaku s special product development team used the Nikon F as the base body and made numerous modifications For example the leather like body cover generally used for the Nikon F had been changed to a metal plate painted in matte black Adhesive used adhered to NASA specifications For plastic parts materials generally used for F cameras had

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/rhnc12ti-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 1 : "NIKKOREX 35 and NIKKOREX 35II (35/2)"
    first 35mm 135 format camera for beginners that was made by Nippon Kogaku K K and it was loaded with a lot of adventurous specifications First the viewfinder an unreversed image eyelevel finder that adopted a porro miror system instead of pentagonal prism see Fig 1 Fig 1 Porro mirror system The purpose of this design was to make the camera lightweight and to reduce the cost However according to the designer of the camera there were more interesting reasons behind the matter In spite of rapidly spreading SLR camreras camera users were still used to the arrangements of rangefinder cameras which usually have the finder s eyepiece on the extreme left of the body when seen from the rear This new camera s porro mirror system was just good for relocating the SLR finder s eyepiece in the center part to the left of the body to get the similar feeling as rangefinder cameras Another surprise a camera with additional front objective lens and rectangular final reflecting mirror of the porro mirror system see M3 of Fig 1 was also made as another prototype A switchable double finder camera which has both SLR finder and direct view finder with common eyepiece If this model had been further developed and put on sale it must have been truly unique one Fig 2 Viewfinder area Besides its viewfinder the camera was distinguished by the first built in coupled exposure meter among Japan Nippon made lens shutter SLRs It was also one of the earliest test cases where opinions of industrial designers were adopted in appearance design of a camera Back to top Problems Contrary to big expectations for the NIKKOREX 35 many problems arose upon its release Nippon Kogaku K K was not much experienced in mass production of relatively low cost cameras Besides this was the first time that the company outsourced assembly operations for one of its cameras There was confusion caused by the difference of company culture The subcontractors had much diffculty in doing things which were easily accomplished in Nippon Kogaku K K Engineers and technicians were frequently sent to teach and train them But improvement was slow The lens shutter unit built into the camera was not a great match for this camera s mechanisms which also caused problems Back to top NIKKOREX 35II 35 2 NIKKOREX 35II Hard lessons nurture wisdom The NIKKOREX 35II 35 2 released in 1962 was significantly improved compared to its predecessor On the surface there wasn t much change in specifications Perhaps the major change was in the switch of lens shutter unit from a Citizen MVL to a Seikosha now Seiko Precision Inc SVL Even today changing shuter units means almost total change in the camera body s mechanisms and so was the case with this NIKKOREX 35II 35 2 Fig 3 compares two internal mechanisms profiled in Japanese Shashin Kogyo Photographic Industries magazine As shown in Fig 3a the NIKKOREX 35 s complicated mechanical structure includes several levers

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins01-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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