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timeline of Nikon F camera system


the film years

  • 1881
    • Nippon Kogaku K.K., more popularly known as Nikon, formed from a merger of three small optical firms in Japan.
  • 1937
    • began marketing its own production lenses
  • 1948
    • introduced its own 35mm rangefinder camera line - Nikon Model 1
  • 1950
    • the Nikon S rangefinder series
  • 1959
    • Nikon F camera system introduced based on the legendary Nikon F 35mm film SLR
      • the world's 1st successful system camera, 1st electric motor drive accessory for SLR - sold almost a million units and made the 35 mm SLR the dominant professional miniature format camera by the early 1960's, displacing the 35mm rangefinders. The popularity of the 35mm and 6×6 SLR's quickly supplanted the TLR in the 1960's.
      • F series lenses (produced until 1977)
        • Zoom-Nikkor Auto 8.5-25.0cm f/4~4.5
  • 1961
    • Auto Nikkor Telephoto Zoom 200mm-600mm f/9.5-10.5
    • Auto Nikkor Telephoto Zoom 43-86mm f/3.5
  • 1962
    • first medical Nikkor lens, the Medical Nikkor 200mm f/5.6 auto lense with built-in ringlite
    • Nikon PC-Nikkor 35mm f/3.5 shift lens
  • 1965
    • Nikkormat FT & FS, two high-quality cameras with moderate price tags to supplement the professional Nikon F
    • 28mm f/3.5-16 Nikkor-H Auto, 35mm f/3.5-32 PC-Nikkor-H Preset, 50mm f/1.4-16 Nikkor-S Auto, 135mm f/2.8-22 Nikkor-Q Auto, 135mm f/4-22 Nikkor-Q Short Mount/Bellows Preset, 180mm f/2.5-32 Nikkor-H Preset, 250mm f/4-32 Nikkor-Q Preset, 350mm f/4.5-22 Nikkor-T Preset, 500mm f/5-45 Nikkor-T Preset, 50-300mm f/4.5-22 Zoom-Nikkor Auto
  • 1968
    • 35mm f/2.8 PC-Nikkor shift lens
  • 1970
    • Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f4.5 Auto lens was a real breakthrough for altering the entire perception towards zoom lenses
  • 1972
    • Nikon F-2 - better mirror locking method, 1/2000th shutter speed, Photomic meter prisms
    • the first Nikkor 35mm f/1.4
    • Medical-Nikkor 200mm f/5.6 auto updated
  • 1974
    • Non-Ai Nikkor 18mm f/4.0
  • 1975
    • first Nikkor wideangle zoom lens, the Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5
    • PC-Nikkor 28mm f/4.0
  • 1977
    • AI (“automatic indexing”) lenses introduced to replace the F series lenses
      • now you could mount lenses with one twist, and NOT have to twiddle the aperture ring separately each time.
      • Olympus had introduced a simple bayonet mount in the early 1970's - Canon and Nikon's mounts were much more fiddly!
    • Nikon F2A, F2AS, Nikkormat FT-3, Nikon EL-2, the original Nikon FM SLR bodies to use the new AI lenses
  • 1979
    • in response to the compact SLRs from Olympus and then Pentax and the Canon AE-1, Nikon introduced a new series of SLR cameras in the compact style starting with the Nikon EM, then Nikon FG, Nikon FG-20 but these lost compatibility with earlier non-AI lenses.
    • The new compact, lighter, Series E lenses were also the first batch of Nikkor lenses that came with a revised specification of AI-S (Standardized aperture stop down action). The Series-E lenses is also the only batch of lenses produced by Nikon that is not stamped with a “Nikkor” trade name. These new updates resolved the complexity involved with enabling an SLR to provide Shutter Priority and full Programmed Auto exposure modes, since the aperture could now be controlled via the aperture stop down action.
  • 1980
    • Nikon F3 - 1st SLR with viewfinder liquid crystal display digital data display and was the first automated F-series model entirely electronically controlled except for a sole mechanical backup shutter speed.
    • new version of PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 shift lens
  • 1981
    • Nikon FG - first Nikon SLR camera that offered Program AE mode control. However, the FG works with a minimum specification of any AI-lens. This is possible due to instant stop-down metering.
    • Medical Nikkor Lens 120mm f/4.0 IF with built-in ringlite
  • 1982
    • Nikon FM2 - shutter to 1/4000th sec. and 1/200th sec. flash X-sync with a vertical-travel FP shutter using honeycomb pattern etched titanium foil blades
      • the first among the mid-range Nikon FM & FE series models that abandoned the backward compatibility with non-AI Nikkor lenses.
    • Nikon FA, announced along with the Nikon FE2 was the first true multi-mode AE Nikon SLR camera.
      • It can provide Shutter priority AE in addition to Aperture priority AE, Program AE (normal and High Speed programed AE), and full manual control.
      • The various AE controls does not require an AI-S lens, but when a such lens is used instant stop-down metering is not required.
      • Nikon FA also introduced the innovative multi-segment evaluative metering developed by Nikon to be used for metering computation with the Nikon FA (The method is later called called 'Matrix' metering - it was also used in some of the higher-end P&S cameras such as the 35-Ti and 28 Ti).
    • Ai-Nikkor 18mm f/3.5
  • 1983
    • Nikon F3 AF - added slow AF capability
    • Nikon FE2 - flash sync boosted to 1/250th sec
    • Nikon FA - 1st camera with multi-segmented (or matrix or evaluative) light meter.
    • AI-s lens mount introduced - an incremental improvement over AI mount
  • 1986
    • 11 autofocus lenses introduced ranging from 24mm to 300mm in focal lengths
      • these early AF lenses had hard, thin MF rings which everyone hated.
      • Nikon didn't introduce an ultrawide AF lens until the 20mm f/2.8 in 1998 and their lag in AF technology allowed Canon to become the dominant pro system in the 1990's. It was not until Nikon created the AF-S D mount with SWM AF motors in the lenses themselves that they managed to catch up with Canon's AF technology.
  • 1988
    • Nikon F4 introduced and took some of the Canon market share as Canon introduced a new mount - the EF which was not compatible with previous FD system.
  • 1992
    • Nikonos RS - 1st waterproof 35 mm system SLR for 100 m maximum depth, underwater diving use
    • AF-D lenses introduced which provided the camera with focus distance information to aid flash exposure calculation and allow “3D matrix metering”
    • Nikon F90x - the 1st SLR to utilise the AF-D distance data
  • 1993
    • AF-D Nikkor 18mm f/2.8s with aspherical elements
  • 1996
    • Nikon F5 SLR
    • AF-S lenses introduced with SWM AF motors inside the lens finally start to rival Canon EOS USM technology

the digital SLR years


  • Nikon D1 dSLR 2.6mp 4.5fps
  • Nikon PC-Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 D


  • Nikon AF-S G type lenses without aperture rings introduced


  • Nikon D1X 5mp 3fps
  • Nikon D1H 2.6mp 5fps


  • Nikon D100 6mp 3fps


  • Nikon D2H 4mp 8fps
  • i-TTL digital flash exposure introduced and replaced the earlier, incompatible, unreliable single flash only d-TTL in the D100 and earlier dSLRs
    • older Nikon flashes ending in DX are thus incompatible in TTL mode
    • uses the 1005-element color matrix meter in the viewfinder and has much better ability to distinguish what's happening in specific area of the frame. I-TTL pre-flash has been extended to allow communication between flashes and camera so that multiple flash (up to 10), groups of flash (up to 3 groups of 3 flashes), and wireless exposure control of flashes
  • SB-800 i-TTL flash


  • SB-600 i-TTL flash
  • Nikon D2X 12mp 5fps
  • Nikon D70 6mp
  • Nikon F6 - Nikon's last pro film SLR. 11pt AF, 5.5-8fps.


  • Nikon D200 10mp
  • Nikon D50 6mp 2.5fps
  • Nikon D70S 6mp
  • Nikon D2HS 4mp 8fps


  • Nikon D80 10mp 3fps
  • Nikon D2Xs 12mp 5fps
  • Nikon ceases film camera production
  • SB-400 flash
  • Carl Zeiss ZF manual focus lenses for Nikon F mount introduced:
    • Distagon T* 25mm f/2.8 $US824 very sharp, macro to 50mm.
    • Distagon T* 35mm f/2 $US824
    • Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ~$US650?
    • Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ~$US1300?
    • the fastest full frame macro lenses available:
      • Makro Planar T* 50mm f/2 $US1124
      • Makro Planar T* 100mm f/2 $US1749


  • Nikon D3 - 12mp full frame 9fps with Live View - Nikon's 1st digital full frame
  • Nikon D300 - 12mp 6-8fps DX
  • Nikon D40 / D40x


  • Nikon D90 12mp - 1st dSLR with 720p HD video
  • Nikon PC-E 24mm f/3.5D ED
  • Nikon PC-E Micro 85mm f/2.8D tilt-shift macro lens
  • Nikon PC-E Micro 45mm f/2.8D ED tilt-shift macro lens
  • Nikkor AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED
  • Nikon SB-900 flashlight
  • Nikon D700 12mp full frame 5fps


  • Nikon upgrades to version II of AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED VR, 70-200mmf/2.8 VR and to version III of its 2x teleconverter
  • Nikon D3s - 12mp 9fps full frame with 720p video
  • Nikon D3x - 24.5mp full frame very expensive
  • Nikon D300s - 12mp DX, HD video
  • Nikon D3000 dSLR
  • Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II lens
  • Nikkor 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED lens
  • Nikkor AF-S 35mm F1.8 DX prime
  • Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm F3.5G VR
  • Carl Zeiss launches ZF.2 lenses with CPUs for Nikon
    • 18mm/f3.5, 21mm/f2.8 , 35mm/f2, 50mm/f1.4, 50mm/f2, 85mm/f1.4, 28mm/f2 and macro Planar T* 100mm/f2.


  • Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED
  • Nikon 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR stabilized ultra-wide zoom
  • AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G lens
  • Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 G
  • Nikkor 24-120mm F4 G ED VR lens
  • Nikkor 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens
  • Nikkor 28-300mm F3.5-5.36 G ED VR lens
  • Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR
  • Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 ED VR II
  • AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II lens
  • Nikon D7000 dSLR
  • Nikon D3100 dSLR
  • SB-700 flash
  • Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/1.4
  • Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 radio controllers finally provide Nikon i-TTL flash support




  • AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR super-telephoto lens $US17,899
  • AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED wide-angle zoom lens $US749
  • AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G $US1699
  • Nikon D7100 - 24mp mid-range DX, no low pass filter, new 51pt AF, 6fps (7fps in 1.3x crop mode ie. 2x crop), new spot WB, weather resistant, 1080/60i, compatible with new WR-1 wireless remote
  • WR-1 wireless remote
    • announced Oct 2013 at $1999 body only
    • essentially a replacement of the D600 with 4 new features:
      • new shutter mechanism presumably to correct the oil on sensor issue of the D600
      • slightly faster burst rate at 6fps
      • new quiet continuous mode shoots at 3 fps
      • refined auto white balance system


  • AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.8G (FX version) $US599
  • Nikon D3300 entry-level DSLR
    • 24mp DX sensor, no AA filter; ISO to 25,600; 5fps; 1080/60p video; 1/4000th sec shutter; x-sync 1/200th; 430g;
    • $649 with collapsible kit lens
  • Nikon D5300 dSLR:
    • essentially a D5200 with 60P HD video instead of 30p, a slightly larger LCD screen, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, and improved battery life
    • 24mp DX sensor
    • EXPEED 4 processing
    • 5fps burst
    • 39-point AF system, 9 sensors cross-type
    • 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor
    • 1080p60 video recording, built-in stereo mic
    • 1.04M dot 3.2“ vari-angle LCD monitor
  • Nikon D810 dSLR:
    • 36mp FX without AA filter
    • cut down version of the D810
    • 24mp FX with AA filter
    • optional MB-D16 battery grip $485
    • improvements over the D810:
      • tilting LCD
      • improved version of the D810's 51pt AF system
      • autoISO in manual mode with exp. compensation
      • Highlight Weighted Metering for stage performances to avoid blown highlights
      • 6.5fps instead of 5fps
      • internal WiFi
      • better battery life
      • smaller and lighter (755g vs 880g)
      • cheaper $US2299
    • main features of the D810 not available in the D750:
      • no AA filter free version
      • 2SD slots on the D750 instead of 1 SD and 1CF
      • 1/8000th sec shutter rated at 200K releases (D750 is only 1/4000th sec rated at 150K releases)
      • no Split Screen Display Zoom feature
  • AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED
    • adds internal focus motor for use with those dSLRs that need it
    • Nano coating; close focus 0.2m
    • $US799
  • SB-500 Speedlight
    • compact low power bounce flash, GN24m (ISO100), LED video light, 2xAA batteries
    • $US249


  • D7200
    • as for D7100 but buffer higher, AF to -3EV, no AA filter, EXPEED 4, WiFi, NFC, improved video, wireless mic
  • D5500
  • Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR
    • $US2399
  • Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED
    • $US750
  • Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR
    • $US1400


    • 12fps 20.8mp full frame pro sports; 153 points, 99 of which are cross-type; 4K video
    • touch screen LCD, radio TTL flash
    • 20.9mp, 10fps, 153 pt AF, 4K video but very limited WiFi functionality - requires Bluetooth LE and Snapbridge app (only available with some Android phones - not usable with current iPhones)
    • Improvements over its predecessor include a complete optical redesign (22 elements, including six ED, one fluorite and one high refractive index element) and fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements
    • 100g lighter than the VR II and easier to hold as with the shift in the center of gravity, with more weight moved towards the mount
    • the 'E' in '2.8E' denotes an electronic aperture actuator
    • closer focusing at ~1.1 meters
    • AF-L / Off / AF-ON switch as well as focus limiter switch and weathersealing and “4EV” VR
    • $US2800
  • PC Nikkor 19mm F4E ED
    • 97° of coverage and can shift ±12mm and tilt ±7.5°
    • unlike existing PC-E designs, the mechanism for tilt can be rotated independently from the mechanism for shift, allowing the tilt to be set either parallel to or perpendicular to the shift and aperture is electronically controlled
    • three ED and two aspherical elements
    • $US3400
    • Nano Crystal Coating, close focus to 25cm


  • Nikon D7500 DX dSLR with 4K video albeit in 2.25x crop factor from full frame
  • Nikon AF-S 8-15mm F3.5-4.5E ED circular full frame fisheye zoom
    • 485g; no weathersealing; $US1249
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
    • 3.5EV OIS; $US309
  • NIKKOR AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED
    • $US1999
  • Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E VR lens
    • Nikon's 1st full frame lens with a stepping motor (hence the new AF-P designation)
    • 4.5EV VR; stepless, smooth electronic diaphragm; close focus 1.2m giving 0.25x macro; 9 blades; weather resistant; 67mm filter; 24oz (680g); $US700;




  • Nikon D3x00 and D5x00 cameras officially discontinued
photo/nikonfhistory.txt · Last modified: 2022/06/09 21:53 by gary1

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