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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 2 : "NIKKOREX Zoom35"
    the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 went on sale in February of the same year Thus this book states that the Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm f 3 5 was marketed earlier than the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 was In fact it is more likely that the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 was marketed before the Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm was The April 1963 issue of Asahi Camera magazine reported on the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 in its Newface Clinic feature The end of the article states that the camera lens would be available for sale for the Nikon F in the near future This shows that the Zoom Nikkor 43 86mm f 3 5 had not been on the market by the time the magazine was published I also have the memory that the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 was marketed before the Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm f 3 5 was Mr TATENO Yokoyuki who writes The History of Nikon article in the series agrees Considering the Asahi Camera article it s likely that the NIKKOREX Zoom 35 went on sale in February 1963 Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm f 3 5 lens Then When was the Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm f 3 5 put on sale Looking for an answer I looked at old camera magazines but I could not find the accurate date There is no article about this lens among camera magazines published in 1963 In 1964 Asahi Camera magazine introduced this lens as a new product in an article about the Nihon Camera Show held in March of that year Shashin Kogyou magazine had no article introducing this lens but featured a picture of Nippon Kogaku s booth at the Japan Nippon Camera Show which shows the Zoom Nikkor Auto 43 86mm f 3 5 lens exhibited among super telephoto lenses for the Tokyo Olympics 1964 10 The 43 86mm lens became one of the best selling lenses but its debut was a quiet one Back to top The mysterious 43 86mm zooming range Auto NIKKOR WIDE ZOOM 1 2 8 f 3 5cm 1 4 f 8 5cm To fix a zoom lens to the camera body and cover the normal shooting range the lens must include 50mm the focal length of a standard 35mm 135 format camera lens It was very difficult to shorten the focal length of a zoom lens to 50mm using optical technology of those days Before producing the 43 86mm f 3 5 lens Nippon Kogaku K K planned to develop another zoom lens for the Nikon F the Auto Nikkor WIDE ZOOM 1 2 8 f 3 5cm 1 4 f 8 5cm A prototype was produced and mass production was planned before development of this lens was suddenly discontinued Judging from various accounts size was a major impediment to marketing this lens The planned 3 5 8 5cm f 2 8 f 4 lens had an optical system of 13 elements in 8 groups with two 2 compound lenses groups of three

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins02-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 3 : "NIKKOREX F"
    fit the Nikkor lens It is said that Mr Joseph EHRENREICH a major figure in popularizing Japanese cameras in the United States was also involved in this project As a major importer of the Nikon products Mr Ehrenreich had strong influence on product planning of Nippon Kogaku K K He also dealt with importing M products to the U S market So it is likely that he insisted on the need for Nippon Kogaku K K to come up with an inexpensive camera body to expand the sales of the Nikkor lenses and took a role of intermediary for Nippon Kogaku K K and M thus planting the seeds for developing the NIKKOREX F However this is only the author s conjecture assembled from hearings of participants and there is no way to make it certain Copal Square Type I shutter seen from aperture The NIKKOREX F was equipped with Copal Square Type I which is a unit type focal plane shutter with vertically traveling metal blade This epoch making shutter unit was being developed by the Copal Co Ltd around 1960 under the support of three 3 camera makers who were supposed to receive exclusive supply of this unit by contract M was one of the three while Nippon Kogaku K K was not This fact brought the NIKKOREX F unexpected honor of the first camera to use Copal Square Type I The Konica FS which also used this mechanism later evolved into FP and FM But the NIKKOREX F bore no descendant For further details refer to the Camera Review magazine 2nd Issue 1978 article Metal Shutter Progress Part 1 History by Mr Hisashi MITSUOKA Back to top Cost Reduction While developing the NIKKOREX F Nippon Kogaku K K encountered and experienced totally different culture just as in the case of NIKKOREX 35 You see a lot of traces of challenging cost reduction method on this camera which was never seen with the Nikon F As mentioned in the previous chapter the cameras with NIKKOREX brand name had not been commercially successful including the NIKKOREX F However many methods employed for producing these inexpensive and high quality cameras applied to the development of the successors such as the Nikomat Nikkormat series and so on resulting in the big success For example the lens release button of the camera with the Nikon F mount is usually positioned just on the right side of the lens mount when facing to the camera body Lens release button of NIKKOREX F The position of the lens release button of the NIKKOREX F is exceptionally at the lower right side of the lens mount See photo since a leaf spring is installed for the button s recoil spring While the one side of the leaf spring is fixed on the upper right side of the lens mount the lens release button is positioned on the other side of the plate spring and the lock pin is firmly installed in the middle Thus it

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins03-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 4 : "Nikon AUTO 35"
    model used a pentaprism as usual Thus there was no necessity to adopt such a flat top design The reason why this design was used is not certain but a primary source explains that the camera adopted the design of German camera company Agfa s Optima Series OPTIMA IIIS at left These Optima cameras were not SLR cameras However German lens shutter cameras of the time were designed with an emphasis on height rather than width Perhaps the designers thought this type of design would become popular in Japan Nippon as well Inside the top cover area of Nikon AUTO 35 Owing to the AUTO 35 s flat top design there is large empty space inside the top cover area See Photo It is obvious that the priority was given to the design The AUTO 35 seems to have large 144 W x 93 H x 74 D mm body However it had a reputation of being easy to hold Indeed its width and height are almost identical to that of the aforementioned Nikon FA 142 5 W x 92 H x 64 5 D mm Could there be a certain size that makes a camera fit well in hand Back to top Challenge for Quick return mirror mechanism For this camera pentaprism finder was restored rather than porro mirror finder which had been used since the NIKKOREX 35 came out Why Perhaps because porro mirror viewfinder provided lower magnification and darker views Another reason is that the eyepieces were placed uncomfortably low on the camera bodies and thus it was difficult to look into The quick return mirror posed an especially difficult challenge An SLR camera s quick return mirror has to receive a signal via mechanical movement like that provided by a lever from the shutter that exposure is complete With that signal the inclined reflex mirror goes down and returns But with a lens shutter the signal from the shutter is weak so there is not enough power to unlock the latch which releases the spring to drive the mirror down A focal plane shutter mechanism moves heavier or larger parts like the shutter curtain so there is no problem to release the mirror for falling returning operations However with the lens shutter there is only the power to move the light and small shutter blades so it cannot transfer a strong signal to the mirror mechanisms Unlocking this latch of the spring that moves the large mirror is like moving a Cadillac with a small engine of a sub compact car which is almost impossible All lens shutter SLR cameras have this problem and thus other companies were also facing this challenging In one case the German camera company Voigtländer used a quick return mirror for its Ultramatic 1963 but didn t in the Ultramatic CS 1965 model that followed apparently because of this problem Currently some medium format cameras are lens shutter SLR style but they don t employ the quick return mirror for the

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins04-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 5 : "Nikomat FT / FS"
    adept at reducing costs from the basic design stage When comparing the inner parts of Nikomat FT with those of Nikon F you will notice the big differences between the two with regard to design philosophy It is natural that winding shutter charging mechanisms are different because the shutter systems adopted are totally different In addition the size and shape of Nikomat s mirror operation mechanism parts were specifically designed for easier machining and assembling Body diecast design was a major consideration In previous SLR cameras three 3 big diecast parts comprised the body diecast Camera body where the winding mechanism and shutter mechanism are located Mirror box where mirror mechanism and optical viewfinder are located and Front panel where the lens mount mechanism is located With the Nikomat FT two 2 separate diecasts the mirror box and front panel were merged into one diecast part and made great savings of materials and costs Such an arrangement causes difficulty in fitting parts to certain places such as front side of the mirror box Several bright ideas solved this problem This structure was applied to all Nikomat type cameras including the Nikon EL2 released in 1977 until the Nikon FM in 1977 adopted the mirror box constructed of metal plates and abandoned this structure Back to top About the 10 millimeter x 10 mm flat top surface When it came to designing the Nikomat FT upper management demanded that it be made to resemble the Nikon F s An influence is visible in such as the leather pasted on the pentaprism cover and the octagonal body shape However the two cameras initially differed in their pentaprism cover shape that of the Nikon F was pointed and that of the Nikomat FT had a 10 mm x 10 mm flat surface on top This distinction resulted from the conviction of the young designer new at the time to the company that making the new camera resemble the Nikon F would detract from the distinctiveness of the Nikomat FT He might have seemed stubborn in resisting the chief designer s wish to make the Nikomat FT resemble the Nikon F but later came around to see the correctness of his superior s point of view The Nikomat FT s success greatly influenced Nippon Kogaku s future camera business as we will examine later It s interesting to speculate how things would be different had the newer camera adopted the pointed top shape rather than the 10 mm x 10 mm flat surface Back to top NIKOMAT was not born with TTL metering In early 1965 a group consisting of CEOs involved in cameras Nikomat s senior design manager and authorities from each Nippon Kogaku K K Camera Division section gathered in Tokyo to discuss the pros and cons of Nikomat adopting TTL metering The original concept was for the Nikomat to have a coupled exposure meter using external metering system However the 1963 release of the first TTL SLR camera Topcon RE Super

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins05-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 6 : "Nikomat FTN"
    the lens aperture ring every time he changes the lens the meter coupling mechanism might memorize the degree of lens aperture ring rotation at a point from f 5 6 up to maximum aperture Nippon Kogaku designers introduced a double ring that sends lens aperture data to the exposure meter by changing the resistance value of the variable resister in the exposure meter circuit and coupled this special ring system with saw toothed ratchet and shoe The shoe fell into the ratchet and the shoe position sent information about degree of aperture ring rotation to the meter coupling mechanism This information was mechanically memorized in the meter system A photographer should reset the previously set value before performing maximum aperture indexing Nippon Kogaku designers intended to design the mechanism in such a way that rotating the lens aperture ring to minimum then maximum setting released the shoe from the ratchet set the maximum aperture of the newly attached lens and then the shoe releasing mechanism would lock until the lens was detached A user could thereby perform maximum aperture indexing by rotating the lens aperture ring to one end then back to the other end after mounting the lens In considering the optimal location for the lock mechanism Nippon Kogaku designers devoted themselves tirelessly to examining the action of the lens aperture ring and the body s meter coupling ring Two 2 facts about the aperture coupling shoe attracted their attention it had a conical head it was located near the camera body name plate The designers found that they might lock the shoe releasing mechanism by rotating the aperture ring so that it rode over the conical head of the aperture coupling shoe and that the reset mechanism fit behind the name plate Thus semi automatic maximum aperture indexing called Click Click operation was developed for the Nikomat FT N The reset mechanism was stored inside the newly thickened name plate Photo 2 The reset mechanism was coupled to the exposed ratchet shoe of the aperture coupling ring Photo 3 see arrow Photo 2 Photo 3 In the finished products a shoe releasing mechanism was locked by a projecting part on the back of the coupling ring pin not the conical head of the aperture coupling shoe With the Photomic Finder of Nikon F and Nikon F2 which succeeded the Nikomat FT N the conical head of the aperture coupling shoe was used to reset the previous aperture value for maximum aperture indexing Nippon Kogaku achieved something great to the delight of photographers sending lens maximum aperture information easily to the camera body without modifying conventional Nikkor lenses In 1977 after 10 years however Nippon Kogaku modified the Nikkor lens system and introduced AI Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing Nikkor lenses Although I generally don t approve of considering what if in history I sometimes try to imagine how different things would be if Nippon Kogaku had introduced an AI system earlier without developing the Click Click operation Back to

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins06-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 7 : "Nikomat EL"
    just before the picture is taken should be memorized in the control system to control the shutter speed Although the installation of digital circuit into the camera has become commonplace to memorize the data with ease it was unthinkable back then to put a digital circuit used in a computer into a camera To memorize analog signal in analog circuit a capacitor was used which can maintain its terminal voltage for a while It worked but making this system accurate enough was very difficult and it required good amount of further development to achieve it Various methods were tried for signal processing and shutter speed control of this capacitor memory type circuit The success of the SLR TTL AE development relied on the issue of how this memory system and its signal processing was dealt with I won t get into all the details but suffice it to say that several manufacturers came up with many designs and patent battles behind the scenes were fierce Back to top Nikomat EL prototype and a patent problem First sample model of Nikomat EL This SLR TTL AE system took a long time to develop and it was not until 1969 that the first prototype of Nikomat EL was actually made The electronic version of the Copal Square S shutter unit used for the Nikomat FT had been already developed which was called the Copal Square SE This was adopted into the shutter mechanism of this first prototype which was called 5B as a member of the Nikomat lineup Photo Left This initial prototype was designed to look like a compact version of the Nikomat FT N 1967 See Part 6 The heart of the camera s electronic circuitry was made of several transistors situated in the control section under the shutter dial This is a hub of the camera in a sense because a galvanometer to indicate the automatically controlled shutter speed and a pointer to indicate manual set shutter speed were also installed in this section The 5B prototype was successfull but a major problem arose just before moving to mass production This camera s shutter control circuit used a system known as logarithmic compression expansion method which might have impinged upon another company s patent Countermeasure had to be urgently taken and thus several ideas were considered The problem was finally resolved by adopting the more practical bi logarithmic compression system Transparent figure of Nikomat EL The horseshoe shaped printing chip can be seen on the pentaprism area A JIS standard hotshoe is on top part of the pentaprism The finder screen is not interchangeable A microprism type screen model and split image prism type screen model were in production However the scale of circuitry had become much bigger and putting the system onto an IC integrated circuit became imperative The company needed an electronics manufacturer to make a custom monolithic IC But even if 74 transistors and 27 resistances were integrated into a 2mm squared IC circuit size would

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins07-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 8 : "Nikomat ELW / Nikon EL2"
    to be turned ON at the time of shutter release However with the electronically controlled Nikomat EL the shutter speed is not controlled if the power is ON thus when the power switch is OFF the shutter button is designed to be locked In this connection if there is no battery the only mechanically controlled shutter speed 1 90 sec works The film advance lever switch is effective with preventing to forget to turn the power OFF It is because you can recognize either the power is ON or OFF since it is near the position of the film advance lever which is a rather big parts of the camera also when putting the camera in the hard case and covering the front cover you can prevent from forgetting to turn the switch OFF If it is a TTL SLR camera that uses CdS for the photocell you can put a cap on the lens and the eyepiece so that the light does not hit the photocell By doing this the electric consumption will be less than micro ampere so you don t need to worry about turning the switch OFF However with an electronically controlled camera like the Nikomat EL that has a complicated electronic circuit the story is different Regardless of the intensity of the light which hits the photocell there is a constant flow of electricity by the order of milli ampere mA so if with a small battery it will die out in a few days Thus with the Nikomat EL the film advance lever switch was important It s a whole new story with Nikomat ELW or Nikon EL2 which can attach the autowinder If film advance is done by the winder then there is no need of a lever It is inconvenient to pull out the film advance lever which sticks out from the camera back just to turn the power ON So with the two models that can attach the autowinder there is a small lever around the shutter button area and this lever the shutter button switch also functions as power ON OFF switch and shutter button lock See photo In order to use the autowinder the film advance lever switch is moved back flush to the camera body and this shutter button switch becomes the ON OFF switch Although this does not come in the way of film advancing a problem of forgetting to turn the power OFF has increased Shutter button switch The small lever around the shutter release button area Photo of EL2 There was a big dilemma where by making the power switch parts conspicuous it will reduce the chance of forgetting to turn the power OFF but it becomes inconvenient when shooting If it is inconspicuous then there will be more chance of forgetting to turn the power OFF This was a problem which continued until the time switch which goes off after a certain time lapse was adopted to cameras like Nikon EM 1980 and Nikon

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins08-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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  • Nikon | Imaging Products | Best of the Rest / Nikon Family Cousins, Part 9 : "Nikon FM"
    of this dial s lever However on the other hand some criticized its relatively unsophisticated lens shutter camera type looks Many people had an idée fixe that a shutter dial of a focal plane shutter should be located on top of the camera As a result the FM s shutter dial was placed at the conventional position as on the Nikomat EL ELW and Nikon EL2 This arrangement requires rotating movement from the camera top s dial to the shutter unit s front cam shaft and bending 90 degrees of the rotating direction The designers considered using gears but too many gears would be needed and the plays will not be completely eliminated One day an engineer suggested using a durable string Despite skepticism it worked just fine without shifting or loosening even after hard testing Thus we succeded to position the shutter dial conventionally in a very simple way using a string a pulley Back to top Automation and VE When the Nikon FM was being developed camera production was undergoing drastic changes Automation which was applied to automobiles and watches was also applied to efficient production of high performance cameras at low cost driven by rigorous standards of camera design Accordingly a big change in the Nikon FM was in its mirror box Shutter dial and button of the initial model As mentioned earlier See Part 5 the diecast of such Nikomat cameras as the Nikomat FT EL and Nikon EL2 featured unified front panel and mirror This reduced the fabrication time and expense of metal mold but was not suitable for automation The complicated shape made it difficult to hold or position levers gears and shafts Shutter dial and button of the later model Therefore the mirror box was changed to be constructed by assembling metal panels into a box shape All parts were placed to the metal plate with auto assembling machines and by assembling all panels together the mirror box was made Also VE Value Engineering was applied around this time All single parts were analyzed with the objective of using fewer and cheaper parts while maintaining the same high performance Even the Nikon FM embodied a few design changes after its release Rewind knob of the initial model The shutter button lock for example The initial model locked the shutter button by rotating the ring around the shutter button but the latter model locked using the edge of the winding lever and the ring around the shutter button was changed to a fixed type without knurling This applies to the Nikon FE 1978 as well and result in a reduced number of parts Rewind knob of the later model Also the initial model had the knurled ring around the rewinding knob whereas the latter version didn t Film rewinding is done by a crank so a knurled ring was not necessary for the rewinding knob Nevertheless the Nikon camera had had the knurled ring for years This change was made for reducing fablication time

    Original URL path: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/history/chronicle/cousins09-e/index.htm (2016-02-17)
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