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Nikon - A Japanese Tradition
Nikon is a member of the Mitsubishi Group of Japan. Founded in 1917 as Japan Optical Industries Co., Ltd., and located in Tokyo, Nikon is one the largest multinational imaging companies in the world. Japan Optical Industries Corporation (JOICo) was the result of three major optics manufacturers merging into one comprehensive unit. The new entity grew into a developer of camera lenses that were used in their future competitor, Canon's, first models. Nikon later re-branded itself using the name of a camera in its 1988 catalog. Since inception the company has grown into one of the top three camera manufacturers in the world.
NASA Helps Nikon Spur Innovation
Nikon's early products included a series of rangefinder cameras that competed directly with the market leaders of the time. In 1959 they chose to abandon rangefinder technology in favor of single-lens reflex style cameras. For 30 years Nikon sat atop the list as the most widely used professional small format camera system, even being employed by NASA in space. Nikon's experience in other fields and close work with the space program enabled them develop one of the first DSLR cameras commercially available. In the early 2000s Nikon abandoned nearly all of its film based cameras to focus solely on digital technology. During this time they reclaimed much of the market share lost to Canon throughout the 90s. The company's revolutionary F-series lasted until just after the turn of the century. Currently high-end digital models like the D600 are their bread and butter.
Focused on the User's Needs
Nikon is a diverse company with very diverse product lines under its label. However, its true calling and flagship offering has always been photography equipment for amateurs and professionals alike. Beginning with compact models like the Coolpix brand that are portable and lightweight, through the mid-range amateur to beginner photographer models like the D3200 and D5300 all the way up to the professional level powerhouses like the D4 and D800, Nikon delivers a product tailored to the user's needs. In recent years Nikon has experimented with scanners and similar digital equipment for the average consumer. A few of these models still exist, though with limited popularity. They have also recently released a video editing program entitled ViewNX for viewing, editing and sharing photos and videos.
Nikon has had an up and down history with its main competitor Canon. The two have effectively cornered the market and now share the majority of their industry, with Sony and Fujifilm taking third and fourh place. The preference of one or the other remains now principally a matter of personal importance. Nikon has spent the last 50 years producing the most widely used camera systems in the world for both beginners and paid professionals. For many the name means quality and reliability. For Nikon it means continuing to innovate and produce the best possible product.