Cool pix from Coolpix
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Nikon is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in photography. It all began in 1917 witth Nippon Kogaku, K.K., which translates into Japan Optical Company. With the help of German craftsmen, the new company, very much like Zeiss and Leitz, started out making a variety of optical products. By the 1930s, the company was making camera lenses (and made all of Canon's lenses up to 1947). Regrouping after the war, the company created its first actual camera and decided to call it Nikon. This started a tradition of very high quality, handmade cameras that were produced until the mid-1960s. Almost all of Nikon's storied history is documented on the Nikon Historical Society website.
Nikon gained further fame with a variety of very high quality and special cameras such as the titanium-coated and titanium-bodied Nikons. Nikon also supplied NASA with specialy developed camera that made it into space aborad Apollo 15, Skylab and then the Space Shuttle. Despite their spectacular history in optics and film products, Nikon aggressively pursued digital imaging equipment and was one of the pioneers in digital cameras. Early examples and prototypes go back as far as the mid to late 1980swith the QV-1000C still video camera. In the early 1990s Nikon released the COOLSCAN film scanners, and then ever more sophisticated actual digital cameras.
The "COOLPIX" name made its entrance in 1997 with the COOLPIX 100 PC Card camera and the COOLPIX 300 "Personal Imaging Assistant." In 1998 Nikon stunned photographers worldwide with its spectacular COOLPIX 900 "swivelbody" digital camera, a phenomenal achievement and one of the milestone products of the digital camera era. As was to be expected, Nikon also quickly established itself as a leader in digital SLRs.
In early 2006, Nikon wisely acknowledged the rapid move away from film and issues the following statement, "As the film camera market shrinks and the popularity of compact digital cameras increases, demand for products that offer advanced features and extra value is growing rapidly. Additionally, the demand for high performance digital SLR cameras is also steadily increasing as customers shift from film SLRs or upgrade from compact digital cameras." Nikon went on to say that it would from now on concentrate its resoruces on digital cameras (though some of their flagship film models will continuefor a while). All of this is good news for fans of Nikon digitaal cameras.
Like everyone else, Nikon has feverishly keeps improving and changing its digital camera model lineup. So much so that product lifecycles can often be counted in weeks and months rather than years.