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Nikon glass is made in the wholly owned subsidiary Hikari Glass

Hikari-Glass-Nikon-factory

Recently there was some discussion on NikonRumors about whether Nikon still makes its own glass, spurred on by the new Nikon lens making videos. A reader did some research and sent me the information included in this post (thanks J). It turns out that Nikon's wholly-owned glassworks, which is its own business called Hikari Glass (Mitsumatanagadan 141 Komagatacho, Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, satellite image of the factory), is quite the maker of optical materials:

Hikari Glass Nikon (2)

The "raw" glass material before it's cut out (pictures credit: freshakita.exblog.jp)

Hikari Glass Nikon (3)

This is the "glass molding" mashine

Hikari Glass Nikon (4)

The glass is cooled after is being cut

Hikari Glass Nikon

Different stages in the lens production (final polished lens in the middle)

Here are some related links:

This Nikon Optical Materials brochure contains more information on the different types of glass and technologies used (click on images for larger view):

Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(1)   Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(2)

Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(3)   Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(4)

Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(5)   Nikon-Optical-Materials-brochure-(6)

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  • fjfjjj

    But Nikon doesn’t make its own glass! ;-) Thanks for posting, Peter. Here is one thing you left out, a picture of the Hikari factory, and an aerial picture of its location among agricultural fields: http://pds.exblog.jp/pds/1/201106/17/01/d0162301_1444454.jpg http://binged.it/VY9VCA

  • fjfjjj

    Also, can someone do a better translation of the article about Hikari in Akita? http://freshakita.exblog.jp/13810591/

  • Cchi

    Nice, hikari means “light”

  • Mike Benveniste

    Take a look on this page to see the major customers of Ohara glass. Nikon certainly makes its own glass, but not all of its own glass.

    http://www.ohara-inc.co.jp/en/company/overview.html

    • Calibrator

      They sure don’t if they have any brains…

  • Nobody Special

    Leica doesn’t even make all it’s glass. Many of the rare earth minerals used in glass are not always available and often some of the glass is ‘made to spec’ by bigger glass houses.

  • alvix

    ..they should start to buy eyeglasses for QC… hehe…

  • http://500px.com/yoan_mitov/ Yoan

    (final polished lens in the middle)
    You don’t say! :D

  • Eric Calabos

    Nice, but I wish Nikon could ignore japanese culture of “we dont need foreigners” and would hire some glass makers and lens designers from Germany and US. I fear even SLRmagic beat the Big Yello in near future

    • http://kyleclements.com/ Kyle Clements

      Didn’t Nikon do that in the 50′s?
      Isn’t that how their reputation got started?
      By out Zeissing Zeiss?

    • asdf

      Nikon is doing very very well in lens development (and pricing). The new G primes are fabulous and quite affordable, the 14-24 is peerless, and the 24-70 still stacks up very well with Canon’s v2.

      Also SLR Magic is Chinese and only does fully manual lenses. This is fine for mirrorless/rangefinders, but I wouldn’t want to manual focus and stopped-down metering on my D700. The bigger player right now is Sigma, which sent a huge warning shot to Canikon with its new 35/1.4. I’m very glad they did, as now the major brands have a reason to update their older designs!

      • Robert

        Sigma — along with Tamron and Vivitar and other brands — have been competing with Nikon and Canon designs (and pushing against both) since the ’70s. Nothing new in that regard.

  • Terry

    Would be nice if they took some of that glass to make a 17mm PC and update the 80-400mm lens

  • timon_comment

    it is a good topic.

    In 2005, Nikon acquired Japanese Hikari Co., Hikari is famous optical glass maker, and is also Nikon’s supplier. Hikari is now a subsidiary company in Nikon corporation.

    In Japanese lens makers, we rarely seen them who now hold an owned optical glass manufactory, usually is glass post-process, even is also weak post-process ability, like Sigma more to buy semi-finished glass elements.

  • D800Guy

    I would guess in house glass manufacturing means better quality control and precision? All the better for us Nikonians!

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