Nikon celebrates another milestone for the Nikkor lens brand


posted Friday, November 16, 2012 at 1:20 AM EDT

Employees at Nikon have reason to be proud today: they've just surpassed a pretty impressive milestone. Just over a half-century since the company debuted its Nikkor lens line for SLR cameras, it has announced the production of its 75 millionth Nikkor-branded lens.

What's particularly impressive is that the company only manufactured its 70 millionth lens some six months ago, and that just 14 months after crossing the 60 million mark, a sign that production rates are continuing to increase. It may not be too much longer before the watershed figure of 100 million Nikkor lenses is reached. Even if the rate from the last six months remains unchanged, the company can expect to reach 100 million units manufactured within just another two or three years. If production growth continues then the next milestone may well be passed even sooner.

The first Nikkor lens was 1933's Aero-Nikkor, a large-format aerial photography lens. This was followed by the company's first SLR camera lens, the Nikkor-S Auto 5cm f/2, released in 1959. As well as lenses for SLR cameras, Nikkor branding is now found on lenses for Nikon's mirrorless 1 camera series. The Nikkor name itself followed a common convention of the time: lens brands frequently ended with the letter R. In Nikon's case, the suffix was appended to "Nikko", a contraction of the then company name: Nippon Kogaku K.K.

The Nikkor lens lineup just hit an important milestone: 75 million lenses produced.

So far this year, Nikon has released seven new Nikkor lens models, and announced development of a further three. In all, the list of new lenses for 2012 is as follows: