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Author Topic: Nikon History  (Read 14538 times)

John Koerner

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Nikon History
« on: March 26, 2016, 10:47:23 am »

Since switching systems, it seems like there are some real Nikon fanatics/historians about the system and its history ... particularly the lenses ... and it's hard not to get caught up in it.

For those interested, I found a site where a fellow has pretty much kept a tally of every camera + lens ever made by this company:

Roland's Nikon Pages

Some of you may have seen this, but it is pretty useful. The page dedicated to lenses, for example, shows the origin of each, serial # sequence, focus throw, magnification, length, weight, number of blades, etc.

Thought some might be interested,

Jack
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 10:50:26 am by John Koerner »
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dwswager

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2016, 12:25:59 pm »

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Theodoros

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2016, 02:00:07 pm »

One can't deny that Nikon's history is a shining one among major makers... Nikon is the maker that redefined the reporter's camera during the 60's wars, made lenses that could rival the German ones, pioneered AF (with the F3AF) and brought "pro" functioning & creativity down to consumers with the most sold camera body  in the world for film (the FE/FM/2/3) which lasted ...30 years (!!!) in production... Unfortunately, they screwed up continuously after they first joined the mass production AF systems by creating confusion when renamed the poor quality E-series lenses to Nikkors, they messed up with the designs of both their AF cameras and lenses functioning for a decade until the F100/F5 appeared (which was too late) and they where late to introduce AF-S lenses...

A major mistake is that they abandoned the aperture ring with the G-series lenses (which shouldn't have been introduced at all) and even now that they can bring the aperture back with their new E-series lenses (which should have been introduced back to the 90s), they keep not including it with their lenses other than the PC-E series... IMO, if Nikon converts all lenses they have in production to the new E-series and include the (now electronic) aperture ring (like with the PC-E lenses) with them, it will be a major step back to continue on their history path... A major advantage for their marketing too...

Nikon has done so many mistakes, that if it wasn't the company with most fanatic supporters out of all Japan makers, it would have vanished... It's about time to listen and respect all those people that have been forgiving the mistakes and where supporting the company for decades now....

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BrianVS

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2016, 05:09:18 pm »

Encrypting the white balance data on the D2x annoyed me to the point of skipping new generations of Nikon DSLR's until the Df.

All is forgiven.
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NancyP

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2016, 06:45:06 pm »

There are a wide range of databases for every manufacturer (yes, there are webpages listing SNs for obscure and not-obscure large format lenses! A site for the short-lived Mamiya 35mm film SLR cameras and lenses (my first camera), and so on), but I must say that the Nikon ones are particularly good. Here's one that addresses the rarities and industrial lenses as well:
http://homepage2.nifty.com/akiyanroom/redbook-e/
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BrianVS

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2016, 08:41:17 pm »

I sent a picture of an old Nikon auto-collimator to the person that runs that site, they had never seen one and could not tell me anything about it.

The fun of collecting.

nikkor_zeiss by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

I looked for a Nikkor-SC 5cm F1.5 for a long time. I'd like to find one in S-Mount, but it's not on the bucket list.
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 09:28:11 pm »

Nikon has done so many mistakes, that if it wasn't the company with most fanatic supporters out of all Japan makers, it would have vanished... It's about time to listen and respect all those people that have been forgiving the mistakes and where supporting the company for decades now....


We've all made mistakes, but I think one of the reasons Nikonians have such fanatic loyalty is Nikon listens and is "loyal back."

For example, one of the things that surprised me was the fact Nikon still makes "fundamentalist" lenses (fully-manual, aperture, focus, everything 100% manual). Not only are they fundamentalist lenses, but (to this day) they remain superior to 99% of the "AF/VR" equivalents of the same lens, and for just a few hundred bucks to boot.

I was even more surprised to learn you can still buy 40-year-old Nikon lenses and place them on your new camera ... lenses that are as good as modern equivalents (in many cases better) and they remain collector's items. I had never heard of this with Canon ... and it was then that I learned why: when Canon switched to the EF-Mount, it basically rendered all its own elder lenses useless for new Canon cameras. (Can anyone imagine how pi$$ed off that would make you? To have your entire lens collection rendered obsolete by your own camera manufacturer changing mounts? >:()

The reason why Nikon has such a history, I am now learning, is because its followers have been able to accumulate Nikon lenses for decades and they still work on modern cameras. Canon folks can't enjoy that same experience because Canon essentially obliterated its own history, by changing mounts.

I am right now experimenting with some of these all-manual lenses, using them for macro (mostly), through reverse-mounting them.
The all-manual aperture is a great thing to have because I can still control the aperture when the lens is reversed, whereas AF, internally-aperture-controlled lenses lose aperture control when reversed.
Here is a focus-stacked crab spider with the 28mm reversed, which creates 2.1x lifesize magnification.

Jack
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 12:12:02 am by John Koerner »
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dwswager

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 10:08:49 pm »

I was even more surprised to learn you can still buy 40-year-old Nikon lenses and place them on your new camera ... lenses that are as good as modern equivalents (in many cases better) and they remain collector's items. I had never heard of this with Canon ... and it was then that I learned why: when Canon switched to the EF-Mount, it basically rendered all its own elder lenses useless for new Canon cameras. (Can anyone imagine how pi$$ed off that would make you? To have your entire lens collection rendered obsolete by your own camera manufacturer changing mounts? >:()

The reason why Nikon has such a history, I am now learning, is because its followers have been able to accumulate Nikon lenses for decades and they still work on modern cameras. Canon folks can't enjoy that same experience because Canon essentially obliterated its own history, by changing mounts.

I actually switched to Nikon from Canon when my lenses went obsolete by the FD to EF mount change.  I preferred Nikon already at that point and liked the lens line up and rendering of their lenses.  But it was the switch of mounts that provided the opportunity and I'm glad.  Nikon's flash system had always been better too.

Things like still making the AF-D 80-200mm f/2.8.  That is a lens I used for 17 years and it is around half the price of the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II.

I think both makers have a big core of fanatic buyers.  Let's face it, when the D500 comes out, what would attract a new user to a Canon body.  The 7DmkII is the only Canon without a Nikon better...until next month.  The lens line sure, but not the camera bodies.  Even the 5Ds 50MP is only marginally more than 36MP D810 and is unneeded by most. And most of those bailing from Canon are going to Sony and not Nikon, some for Sony capabilities, but a lot because they just can't bring themselves to buy Nikon.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 10:20:17 pm by dwswager »
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2016, 12:10:02 am »

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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 12:16:29 am »

And most of those bailing from Canon are going to Sony and not Nikon, some for Sony capabilities, but a lot because they just can't bring themselves to buy Nikon.

I wouldn't say that.

Sony has a neat thing going as they're the ones making the key sensors + they can adapt to many makers' lenses.

Yet, while that is intriguing, they don't have the fully-capable (or ergonomically-friendly) bodies that many people need.

Their own lens line is limited, and buying "adapters" for your body is as much a pain in the @$$ as it is a "convenience."

I think mostly "static shooters" are gravitating to Sony, but sports/nature photographers ... not so much.

Jack
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 12:25:36 am »

Things like still making the AF-D 80-200mm f/2.8.  That is a lens I used for 17 years and it is around half the price of the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II.

Exactly.

You can still get some very nice, capable lenses on eBay.

The 15mm f/3.5s is next on my list, as is the 600mm f/4.0s ED-IF.

These are great lenses available for dirt cheap, they fit on modern bodies, and yet are comparable to today's best lenses.

I am actually glad they're all-manual, because I believe they will stand the test of time better as such.
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 12:29:35 am »



I love the all-manual simplicity ...
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2016, 12:35:03 am »

Nikkor AI-S 600mm F4 ED IF Lens, can still be bought for ~$2K
(stole the image off of eBay)
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Theodoros

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2016, 07:58:53 am »

I think we all agree here that what caused Nikon as to shine out from competition, was the 60s, 70s & 80s decades where the company concentrated in lenses that stood out and body design that where concentrated into offering a platform so that one would take the most out of his lenses...

I think it's most important if one concentrates to discuss  the mistakes of the company, since this is what should prove most useful to them...

1. I still remember the awful 43-86 f3.5 lens... It was supposed to be a Nikkor lens... It damaged Nikon's reputation for for building lenses that could compete directly with the German glass at the days...

2. The F3's viewfinder info... I never understood why Nikon damped the excellent FE/FE-2 VF info (which was then used again on the FM-3/a) which allowed the user to  judge EXACTLY the exposure he was going to use with respect to the camera's (excellent) metering even in complete darkness, for an inferior minimal LCD finder that lucked the difference between set and proposed by the metering exposure...

3. The renaming of the inferior E-series lenses to ...Nikkors with the introduction of the (stupid) axle driven AF system...

4. The focusing ring of the first axle driven AF lenses...

5. The axle driven AF system itself... This is strange, since Nikon was first (with the F3AF) to have AF motors in the lenses... Clearly Nikon should have delayed the introduction of the F-501 (their first axle driven AF camera) and follow Canon into using AF motors in the lens...

6. All the stupid camera designs that lasted for a decade after the FA and until the F5/F100 introduction (the design/ergonomics of which lasts up to now...)

7. The abandon of the aperture ring in the G series... Clearly the G series should have never existed... The D-lenses where as good as the AI/AI-S  series on the older bodies (but the AF of course)...

8. The F-6.... A Nikon PRO body without interchangeable finders? ...that's heresy!

9. The 5 year delay as to present an FF sensor....

10. The luck of a D-800S with the introduction of the D8xx series... They left the (fabulous) D700 - the camera that established them back into a competitive company - without a replacement.... There was millions of users left without a replacement for their D700... The strange thing is that there was no investment needed as to develop the camera either, since the electronics processor and sensor was already used on the D4 (at the same production plant too)...

11. The luck of aperture ring with the new E-lenses... Very strange indeed... especially as the PC-E lenses have it and if one prefers the ergonomics of the non-aperture ring lenses, he can move the aperture ring in the "lock" position and control aperture from the camera... Additionally, the DF would be much more "complete" if the E-series lenses had an aperture ring...

12. The 8 year delay for the introduction of the E-series lenses... The interface is build in on all cameras after the D3...

13. The DF camera... No metal body? No second card slot? No 51 point AF system? ...why? It could have been the replacement of the D700 if it had the function mentioned... Especially so if one of the card slots was of the XF type and if the new E-series lenses where announced with it...

14. The naming of E-series for the new series of lenses... The E-series name is the same as the cheap line of lenses back to the eighties... It reminds of the "bad" days...

15. The confusing naming of the whole line of DSLRs... A new mistake of their stupid marketing decisions... Especially as they got it perfect for 18 continious models after the D90... It was four digits starting odd number for the APs-c models and three digit starting even number for the FF line... Clearly the D-500 should have been named D-9000 and the D-750 D-6xx (something)... then the replacement of the current D-610 should be named D-400 and thus keep the non confusing naming that was decided with the introduction of the D-3000 (and lasted for 18 continous models)... Instead, they tried to fool consumers that the D750 is a ...replacement for the ...D700 only by using a relative name and therefore messed up the perfect naming policy they where keeping for 8 years... The confusing naming is not to be taken lightly... New comers to photography, youngsters that know little about Nikons history, could clearly see what is APS-c and what is FF, as well as recognise how the line advances for build quality... Now they have a D-500 that is ...better build than both D-6xx and D-750, but it is ...APS-c (although three digit)... it's back to mess!

Can they really be back in line with their history tradition, increase sales and recover their past glory? ...easy! Here is what they should do (IMO):
1. Convert all G-series lenses to the new E-series lenses and include an (electronic) aperture ring with them... Older D-lenses still in production can wait... A renaming of the E-lenses to something else is also recommended.
2. Introduce a 16mp D-811 (or D810S) with the sensor, processor and electronics of the DF... (it will cost them nothing to do so...)
3. Rename the D-500 to D-9000... (now that it is just before introduction), It will make a clear D3xxx , D5xxx, D7xxx, D9xxx APS-c series...
4. Name the replacement of the D-610, as D-400....  Name the replacement of the D-750 as D-620... It will make a clear D4xx, D6xx, D8xx FF series...
5. Remove all colour (gold or whatever) from the lenses and just name the metal body ones to Nikkors and the plastic ones to Nikon... Nikon should keep marking on their lenses modest, just like in past...

That's all... (IMO).

« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 08:43:30 am by Theodoros »
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razrblck

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2016, 08:18:04 am »

If you want to make naming work really well, you can name cameras as DX6 or DX8000 for the crop cameras, and FX6 or FX900 for the full frame ones. This will also save them the DX/FX logo on the camera body.
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Paul2660

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2016, 08:30:24 am »

Now your 'dirt cheap' may be different from my 'dirt cheap', but that lens was recently on sale on an eBay store for $1800.

Mint and all, but still...

I decided to step back and am right now awaiting reviews/tests of the new Irix 15mm.

Agreed, a bit steep for the age of the tech, especially when the Samyang, 14mm F 2.8 is such an excellent performer, even at F 2.8.   it's not just my opinion, as the 14mm Samyang has always been one of the great deals for either platform. 

Low flare, no coma wide open, excellent DOF,  and very sharp even wide open, for a margin price of around 319.00.  The Nikon version is chipped to show aperture.  Fully manual focus. 

I also am interested in the new 15mm Irix, can't wait to see edge performance, and coma performance. 

Paul C
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2016, 09:08:37 am »

Now your 'dirt cheap' may be different from my 'dirt cheap', but that lens was recently on sale on an eBay store for $1800.

Mint and all, but still...

I decided to step back and am right now awaiting reviews/tests of the new Irix 15mm.


You must have searched hard for an inflated price.

I see about 8 copies available, right now, from $600-$900.

Jack
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2016, 09:12:37 am »

I think we all agree blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah ...

I think we don't agree on much, actually.
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stevesanacore

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2016, 09:38:05 am »

I was a diehard Nikon guy from the 70's until the advent of digital when Nikon really dropped the ball. Canon introduced the 1Ds with the full frame 11mp sensor and Nikon had no response for years. Most of us waited while using the 5MP cropped sensor D1x as long as we could and Nikon just ignored it's pro user base with no word on a full frame body for at least a year. So myself and thousands of other pros reluctantly decided to switch to Canon as the full frame 11MP sensor quickly became the standard.

 I also remember the anger when Canon switched lens mounts but looking back it was a smart thing for them to do. Their AF EOS system was excellent and it's probably when Canon took the lead from Nikon for sports photography. Just look on the sidelines at any sporting event for all the white lenses ;-).
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Nikon History
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2016, 11:04:15 am »


I was even more surprised to learn you can still buy 40-year-old Nikon lenses and place them on your new camera ... lenses that are as good as modern equivalents (in many cases better) and they remain collector's items. I had never heard of this with Canon ... and it was then that I learned why: when Canon switched to the EF-Mount, it basically rendered all its own elder lenses useless for new Canon cameras. (Can anyone imagine how pi$$ed off that would make you? To have your entire lens collection rendered obsolete by your own camera manufacturer changing mounts? >:()

Jack
I believe on the older pre-1977 lenses there is a need to convert them so they can be "safely" mounted onto DSLRs.  John White describes the situation ( http://www.aiconversions.com/compatibilitytable.htm ) and will do the necessary modification for a reasonable price.  I have three legacy lenses bought in the early 1970s that were modified and worked very well on my D300 and now D810.  You simply set them up via the lens menu; they don't auto-focus or set the aperture but that's a minor inconvenience for most of the work I do.
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