75 million Nikkor lenses produced

This just in:

Total Production of NIKKOR Lenses for Interchangeable Lens Cameras Reaches 75 Million

November 15, 2012 TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce that total production of NIKKOR lenses* for Nikon interchangeable lens cameras reached seventy-five million at the beginning of November 2012.

Nikon (then Nippon Kogaku K.K.) released its first NIKKOR lens for Nikon SLR cameras, the NIKKOR-S Auto 5cm f/2, in 1959 along with its first SLR camera, the Nikon F. Since releasing that first lens many years ago and establishing the NIKKOR tradition, Nikon has expanded its lineup of interchangeable lenses, recently adding a line of interchangeable lenses for Nikon 1 cameras and bringing total production to seventy-five million.

At the end of May 2012, total production of NIKKOR lenses for Nikon SLR cameras reached seventy million. Since then, Nikon has continued to actively release new NIKKOR lenses.

In June 2012, Nikon released the compact and lightweight AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR, a normal zoom lens compatible with the Nikon FX format, offering a frequently-used range of angles of view, and support for a wide variety of photographic scenes, as well as the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, an ultra high-power zoom lens compatible with the Nikon DX format and offering a 16.7x zoom ratio. In addition, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR was announced its release, the Telephoto zoom lens compatible with the Nikon FX format.

New lenses for Nikon 1, Advanced Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses, have also been released recently. In November 2011, the 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8, an extremely light fixed focal length lens with the fastest maximum aperture of f/1.8 was released, and in September 2012, the 1 NIKKOR 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 2.5x normal zoom lens was released. In the year that has passed since the October 2011 introduction of the Nikon 1 system, Nikon has released six 1 NIKKOR lenses, including a low-profile fixed focal length lens, a normal zoom lens, and a high-power zoom lens.

NIKKOR lenses are extremely popular with a wide variety of users, from beginners to professional photographers. The lineup currently consists of more than 80 types of lenses, including zoom lenses, ultra wide-angle to super telephoto lenses, and specialty fisheye, Micro, and PC-E lenses for SLR cameras, as well as 1 NIKKOR lenses for NIKON 1 cameras. Nikon will continue to actively develop and release high-performance, highly functional products that meet and exceed user expectations.

The NIKKOR brand

NIKKOR is Nikon's brand of photographic lenses. The NIKKOR name comes from adding "R"–a common practice in the naming of photographic lenses at the time the name was established–to "Nikko", the Romanized abbreviation for Nippon Kogaku K.K. In 1933, the large-format lens for aerial photography was introduced with the name Aero-Nikkor.

NIKKOR lenses incorporate optical technologies that are always ahead of the times. The OP Fisheye-Nikkor 10mm f/5.6 fisheye lens for SLR cameras, released in 1968, was the world's first lens to incorporate aspherical lens elements. The Ultra Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8, released in 1962, served as the template for projection lenses employed in Nikon IC steppers and scanners that currently boast some of the highest resolutions in the world. What's more, NIKKOR lenses for the latest SLR cameras utilize a number of cutting-edge technologies that originated with the development of IC steppers and scanners, including Nano Crystal Coat, which virtually eliminates internal lens element reflections across a broad range of wavelengths.

From initial design to final packaging, production and quality is controlled in accordance with Nikon's strict standards. The superior quality of NIKKOR lenses that fully satisfies users is ensured with the highest quality designs and manufacturing, as well as very strict final inspections.

*Interchangeable lenses for Nikon SLR cameras and Nikon 1 advanced cameras with interchangeable lenses

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  • Jamal

    Yep, and Nikon has also just produced 2 million D600’s with oil on the sensor! Congrats Nikon

    • desmo

      mine doesn’t , when it does I’ll clean it, much the same as lens or any other photo equipment, that cleaning thing, kinda seperates photographers from poser’s

      • Jamal

        I clean sensors regularly as I shoot events full time. I’ve shot for decades and used for my work all manner of pro bodies, except the d3x. looked at several d600s and there is obviously a defect… I’ve never seen a series of cameras eject oil onto sensors so quickly. So, I’m not a poser, and I have no desire to wet clean a sensor every few hundred shots and pretend that’s normal.

        • desmo

          just a lookee loo nas you don’t shoot one and have no experience for what you post
          pawning fotos on parents is not pro

          • Jamal

            I shoot for a large photo firm in dc. I absolutely know what I’m talking about and have shot the d600 along with tons of other pro bodies for decades. Sorry but you are just apologizing for nikon. It’s OIL, I’ve seen it before, but with the d600 it’s definitely beyond normal amounts. Why is this so hard to accept? I’m a nikon shooter, I love nikon, not a canon troll, but the d600 is flawed.

            • MyrddinWilt

              Well it does have what seems to be an all new shutter system. And they might have bugs to iron out.

              It would be interesting to know if this is a cost cutting measure or actually intended as a performance improvement long term. I was rather surprised by the step down to 1/4000th of a second when the D7000 does 1/8000. Seems like a strange step down.

              Mind you, I can’t see why they don’t stick GPS and WiFi on every body…

            • cheesy strider

              Well it could have something to do with the fact that D600 has 50% more vertical length for shutter to pass. I don’t think the extra 50% width plays in. If I am wrong in this thinking please explain.

    • Mumumemeow

      canon troll alert

    • RMJ

      Meanwhile, Canon haven’t yet figured out how to build their first D600…

  • benjamin

    I use that Nikkor-S 5cm f/2 on a regular basis; its quite a gem =P

    • gsum

      Nikkor-H non-AI 28mm f3.5 (modified to AI with a spot of araldite putty). Sharp edge-to-edge on my D800, cost 28 GBP, also a gem.

    • you should write a guest post on this lens 🙂

      • benjamin

        i could do that; how should i get about it?

    • lorenzo

      Uhm, I am lost. I read 5 centimeters, which makes 50mm, it doesn’t sound like a special lens… What am I missing?

      • benjamin

        yea, its a 50mm, but in those days the standard was to have fl in cm instead of mm. it was the first standard lens for the nikon system, so about 50+ yrs old. where it shines is in its unique rendition especially on overcast days and in black and white. its also unique in having a 9 bladed aperture.

        • lorenzo

          Thank you so much for the clarification! So, a real collection piece, you must be proud to own it!

          My 40 years old lenses aren’t that good, a 24mm manual AF can’t even be put on focus with digital; don’t know why but I still keep them all. Except for a 1,000mm f/11 reflex their value is just zero 🙂

          Looking forward to seeing your report and photos.

          • benjamin

            its really cool to have glass twice my age, but not too much of a collectors piece. you can find them on ebay for less than $100.

            the 24mm 2.8s, all versions not-autofocus, are actually excellent lenses; goes head to head with the 24-70 2.8. the AIs version is also part of my set up. that 1000/11 must be really fun to use! i only ever see it in promo brochures

  • desmo

    Congrats Nikon on a long heritage of high quality Nikkor optics, they are what put the Japanese camera industry on the map. your competitors are indebted to you.

  • texasjoe

    Is there a way to find out how many of a certain lens were made? More specifically the 70-200 VR 1. I am looking at some on eBay and there is a wide range of serial numbers…

    • Bruno
      • texasjoe

        That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you. This will help out a lot as I need gold ring lenses but don’t have the funds for a new piece each time.

      • very good source indeed – I wonder where and how they get their data

        • texasjoe

          And how often is it updated?

  • David H.


    I have bought a fair share over the years – and have more on my wishlist too!! 🙂

  • semka

    They should have mentioned that the first ever lens for Canon was produced by … yes, Nikon…

    • ArTourter

      True but it wasn’t really the same ecosystem at the time since Canon was a camera manufacturer and was not producing any lenses, and Nikon was only a lens manufacturer with no camera in its product line.

  • name

    Why can’t they produce a decent mirrorless camera like Fuji?

    • Mike

      Because a mirrorless camera with APS-C sensor makes little sense because of the APS-C-sized lenses.

      This was clear from the start with Sony NEX. Funny that Fuji and Canon just walk into the same trap. Besides I don’t see how paying so much money for a D3200-equivalent camera that is barely smaller is a good thing.

      • Spy Black

        I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I think in 2 or 3 years DX DSLRs will be a thing of the past. All DX will be mirrorless, and probably even some FX bodies as well. I think the age of optical viewfinder cameras is just about over.

        • Mike

          I should have phrased it differently: “compact” mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors make no sense. It might make sense with a handful of standard primes, but as soon as you are looking at constant aperture zooms, wide angles and tele lenses… it becomes quite ridiculous and uncomfortable.

          This is of course completely independent from DX bodies becoming mirrorless, in which case they would retain their ergonomic shape and controls that are more suitable for APS-C sized tele and wide angle lenses.

          • MyrddinWilt

            Neither makes the slightest sense.

            The tradeoff between DX and FX on the F-mount is determined by the fact that the mount was designed around FX and that is what constrains the mirror box.

            A DX sensor and an FX sensor will perform identically with a telephoto lens of the same aperture (thats in mm, not the f ratio). Put a 200 f/2 on a DX body and you get the same result as a 300 f/2.8 on an FX sensor with the same number of pixels.

            Just think about it, the low light performance of the sensor is due to the amount of light the lens collects and the proportion of that light that falls on each sensor cell.

            The Depth of Field, low light performance, everything are the same. A DX sensor will never be as good at the wide end because the rear element has to clear the same distance from the mirror sweep. That means that the lens designer has to bend the light more tightly to get the same field of view. So a DX wide angle lens is going to end up costing a great deal more than an FX lens of the same spec and not deliver the same performance.

            A mirrorless camera does not have a mirror sweep and there is no need to use a retrofocus design for a wide lens. That is the whole point of going mirrorless, to be able to get the sort of lens performance Leica gets on its rangefinders.

            The place that the sensor size really matters is that there is a physical limit to the size of the pixels set by the wavelength of light. The iPhone camera is at that limit but the Nikon V1 and V2 are nowhere close. In fact the CX line could probably go as far as 50MP before the quantum limit kicks in.

            There is also a limit that comes from design constraints on very low focal ratio lenses. It is easy enough to make a lens with a 35 cm aperture, the 50 mm f/1.4 for example. But what if you wanted to have the equivalent lens for CX? That would be a 20mm lens and an f/0.5 aperture. Now an f/0.5 lens is certainly possible, Kubric famously used a f/0.7 to shoot Barry Lindon. But there are plenty of reasons not to go there.

            Bottom line is that there isn’t any reason that Nikon would ever make a DX mirrorless. The cost of supporting a second line of lenses and bodies just does not come close to justifying the rather minor technical advantage which would mostly be increasing the maximum number of pixels to 100MP.

            An FX mirrorless might make sense though. Nikon already have all the telephoto lenses they need and it would be easy enough to offer an adapter. The reason to go there would be to go beyond 50MP so it would be a high end professional camera. People buying a $10K body would not be thinking twice about buying a second set of wide primes at $2K each.

            Fact is that Nikon’s designers know way more about camera and lens design than anyone posting here (including me). I think they got the CX format precisely right. Making the sensor small allowed them to make the camera small and that is where the market demand is. There might be an FX mirrorless some day but there will have to be a big improvement in the autofocus performance before the people who might buy it will want it.

  • nawab

    we have got 14 nikkor lenses total in our family, thats 1.866666666666667e-5%

  • alvix

    mmh..I would produce less lenses but with better QC …..at least regarding lenses for specific jobs … :/

  • Auto Shooter

    I’ve owned a Nikon since 1968. I’ve seen this company through decades of branding their product line. Today you have to spend thousands of dollars on a pro lens made in Japan to get the same quality they gave back in the late 80s and early 90s on almost every lens. Imagine if they just eliminated the plastic filter ring and went back to metal.

    • catinhat

      Very true, but the good news is you can still get those great lenses from the late 80s and early 90s without paying a fortune, because many assume that the latest means the greatest and are willing to pay a large premium for it.

      The bad news is that until recently the latest camera bodies did indeed mean the greatest. I’m not sure that this holds true anymore either.
      In any event, as long as F mount is kept alive by Nikon, I’m set for life.

    • Joven

      Lenses are better now than they are in the 80s. They’re sharper, they handle flare better and they perform better with digital sensors (especially ones with high megapixel counts).

      I wish people would stop acting like today’s lenses are nothing more than overpriced kit lenses when compared to lenses of the past.

      • catinhat

        These should all be qualified statements, i.e. some are sharper at some apertures, some handle flair better, some perform better, etc. The only unqualified statement here would be “they autofocus better”, because the really old ones happen to be MF.

      • benjamin

        the zooms are markedly better, no doubts there.

        some of the AIs primes, however, are hard to out do. to me some of the new primes aren’t exactly ‘better’, but are definitely ‘different’. ‘better’ will then depend on what aspect of image rendition is important to you.

        • MyrddinWilt

          I tested my primes against the 10-24 DX zoom. The zoom beat my 20mm f/2.8 on everything but the aperture (well duh).

          Corners were much softer, center was not great. Same story on the 28mm.

          Sorry, but this is an area where the new lenses are miles ahead. I get a big kick out of people who go on about how great the low light performance of the Noctilux was and have no idea that the 85 f/1.4 actually outperforms it by a mile on sagittal coma flare.

          Computers are not just slightly better at humans for doing massive numbers of calculations, they are much better. Nikon was still designing lenses by drawing arrows on paper when the f/2.8 primes were designed.

          Glass has improved a lot as well. The aspherical lenses that were exotic on the Noctilux are now routine.

          • benjamin

            definitely not all the lenses are better. and certainly relevant comparisons should be made. also, typically once price is accounted for, the old lenses really start to look really good.

            the 24/28 AIs matches the 24-70/2.8 at 24mm and betters it in distortion.

            the 50/1.2 AIs is quite special. its not much faster than the 50/1.4 af-s, but the rendition is completely different. depending on whether you value character or technical perfection, either will be ‘better’ which is why i say ‘different’.

            again, the noctilux may not have the best coma performance, but no other lens will give you that dof at that perspective. also, f/1.4 is a stop and a half from f/0.95. its not perfect, but it doesnt need to be and its certainly unique.

            the current push is towards technically perfect lenses where the image can be manipulated to match most tastes in post. older generation lenses are different in possesing unique ‘characters’, some of which are not replicable in post. again, depending on which is important to you, either could be ‘better’. so they really are different and not better.

            that said, there will always be lenses that are just ‘meh’ in both departments (af-d 20/24/28 f/2.8 comes to mind).

            • MyrddinWilt

              I see those as representing different design choices rather than one being ‘better’ than the other.

              All zooms have a tendency to change the minimum focus distance as the focal length changes. The old 70-200 was better at one end and the new one is better at the other. Which is the better design choice? Well it depends on whether you really want a 70mm lens or a 200mm more.

              Sure the f/0.95 on the Noctilux is impressive, but examples sell at over $3000 and the original selling price would be considerably more in today’s money. I would classify that as ‘lens not made today’ rather than ‘older ones consistently better’.

              I have an all metal Vivitar 80-200 zoom. I never use it because the weight is terrible and its actually quite a slow aperture.

            • catinhat

              I would take an issue with this. While 20/2.8 is good but not great, the 28/2.8 AIs is quite excellent. I also like 35/2 Ai a lot. The 50/1.4 AIs is out of this world already at f2 with absolutely marvelous bokeh. The old 105/2.5 AIs is deservedly considered a classic, and it is easily on par with 70-200 2.8. Again, the bokeh is as good as it gets (or better :)) Even the underappreciated 135/2.8 AIs is superb at f4 on a D700, while at f5.6 you need to handle it very carefully indeed lest you slice your fingers. All these are very small by the current standards, light, unobtrusive, and really inexpensive second hand. They are also made to last forever, which of course is also helped by their very simple design without any bells and whistles such as AFS and VR.

            • catinhat

              The previous post was intended as a reply to MyrrdinWitt, not benjamin.

            • benjamin

              a couple more to look out for:

              Nikkor O.C. 35/2, best 35 f2 from nikon
              50/1.8 AIs, the not pancake one
              55/2.8 micro
              5.8cm/1.4 (but only for DX. its weird on FX)
              300 4.5 ed if.
              85 1.8 manual focus version.

              for the 105 2.5 and 135 2.8, they’re pretty good but i didnt find them special in anyway. i converted a konica hexanon 100 2.8 and minolta MC 135 2.8 to F mount to use instead.

            • catinhat

              The 105/2.5 is sharp enough at 2.5 for a “romantic” portrait, but the contrast is somewhat subdued, which is also fine for a portrait. The strength of the lens at this aperture is in the bokeh, which creates an amazing effect of very smooth painting-like color transitions. I imagine this is similar to what the DC lenses are capable of, though I never used those. I’ve used 85/1.4 though (the D model), and actually prefer 105/2.5 Ais for portraits, though the lack of AF is a showstopper in many situations.The 105/2.5 is significantly sharper @ 2.8, but the bokeh loses some of its smoothness, though is still very good, on the other hand the contrast improves quite a bit. At f4 and smaller it is just a very good sharp and contrasty lens.
              The 135/2.8 is a bit too soft for my taste @2.8, when the subject distance is short, but from f4 on it is excellent. The bokeh may show some irregularities because the aperture blades are not rounded, but it is rarely a major issue.
              One thing that strikes me when I use older Ai/s lenses, especially the 35, and the 50mm is the color saturation they deliver. I know that some of the newer models might be a bit sharper at some apertures, but the intensity of color from these old Nikkors and the contrast they deliver is really special, something that seems to have been lost with newer designs or newer lens coatings.

  • Neil

    75 million and still no refreshed 80-400 and 200 macro…

  • neversink

    Yikes… Maybe I just happened to have purchased lens # 75,000,000 from Nikon at B&H Photo the other day. My brand new 500mm F/4 should be arriving today…… Hey Nikon. Do I win a prize????
    My Nikon Lenses:
    Various AF lenses (FX)
    24 1.4
    70-200 2.8
    50 1.4
    105 micro
    500 f/4

    Manual lenses:
    50 1.2
    50 1.4
    50 2
    15 3.5
    24 2
    24 2.8
    28 2.8
    35 1,4
    35 2
    58 micro
    85 2

    Wow — Holy moly 25 lenses that I can think of off the top of my head –
    What is 25 into 75,000,000 — and I thought I had a lot of lenses!!!!!!!!! I rarely use the manuals, and the 17-35 and the 70-200 are my work horses along with the 24 1.4 and the 105 micro. In fifth place would be the 50 1.4 although I have been using the 24-70 for convenience. (Although yesterday I did architectural shoot exclusively with the 14-24 for the interiors. I used to use 4X5 or 8×10 for all my past architectural shoots – I rarely do architecture these days, but didn’t want to turn down a good job. Who needs to carry all the film holders and accessories and other peripheral junk required with a view camera – not to mention the assistants I used to have to hire to help with lighting and filters, etc.) This shoot required natural light, so it was a no brainer. And fun!!!!!

    Not a fan of G lenses because I can only use them on an F6 or F5 for film. Wish Nikon kept the aperture rings on their G series lenses. I wonder how much they saved over the years by getting rid of the mechanical aperture clicks.

    • Nikon Shooter

      This reads like an interview of someone interviewing himself.

      NEVERSINK: which Nikon lenses do you own?

      NEVERSINK: I own the following lenses….(etc)

      NEVERSINK: Which lenses do you use the most?

      NEVERSINK: I rarely use the manuals, and the 17-35 and the 70-200 are my work horses along with the 24 1.4 and the 105 micro.

      NEVERSINK: Do you prefer to use AF-S or AF-D lenses?

      NEVERSINK: Not a fan of G lenses because I can only use them on an F6 or F5 for film.

      NEVERSINK: Do you think you are a self-absorbed and narcissistic individual?

      NEVERSINK: What makes you say that?


      • neversink

        Nikon Shooter: Why does all this bother you… Just listing them… After all the topic is about 75,000.000 lenses being used. Not bragging. I wish I didn’t have to have purchased all those lenses. I didn’t list the one’s I’ve sold. I’ve never purchased a lens or a camera that wouldn’t help my business.

        Lots of folks list their cameras and lenses. I have owned Nikon since 1970 and lots of other equipment that I could have listed. The post is about 75 million lenses having been produced. So in the spirit of the topic, I listed my lenses.

        NIKON SHOOTER: I am jealous of Neversink

        NIKON SHOOTER: I hate neversink

        NIKON SHOOTER: I have to call people names because I am a child.

        NIKON SHOOTER: How do I hold a camera

        NIKON SHOOTER: What is film?

        NIKON SHOOTER: Mama, where is my mama….

        • steve

          Nobody gives a crap about what lenses you have.

          • MyrddinWilt

            The Dutchess of Cambridge would care a very great deal if he was pointing a long one at her sunbathing nude.

    • desmo

      If they had aperature rings
      they wouldn’t be “G” lenses

  • Mike

    Those pink lenses sure do look funny on that picture!

  • RamesesThe2nd

    Nikon is really losing its credibility with me as a company. Even though, I have no problems with my D800 and any of my Nikon lenses, but I hate the fact that they never acknowledge any issues with their products. D800 focus issue, D600 sensor issue are just two examples. We paid money for these products and they should function as promised; no exceptions. If I weren’t this invested in Nikon gear, I would consider ditching Nikon for another vendor. Between, I have 4 Nikon lenses that means I contributed a little fraction to those 75 million lenses.

    • lorenzo

      If you saw my earlier post I asked Nikon how the camera serial number is structured (if it is a progressive # or composed by more than one part). They haven’t answered me in 3 days and counting….

      • zoetmb

        Why would you think Nikon would answer such a question? Their serial number “formula” is proprietary.

        • lorenzo

          Just didn’t see any secret on that code, after that Nikon Rep’s talk… but you might be right: no answer so far; they sent me a survey on the 18-200 instead 🙂

  • AlphaTed

    In 5 months, they produced (and sold to dealers) like 5 million lenses. That’s like 1 million lenses a month.

    And how many were kit lenses that came with the camera? I guess a majority of them were.

    • zoetmb

      Of course. That’s true for the entire industry, although Nikon does sell fewer lenses per body sold than other manufacturers, but part of that is due to their long term compatibility.

      During the six months of this fiscal ending September 30th, Nikon shipped 1.38 lenses per body shipped. The industry (CIPA shipments) shipped 1.54 lenses per body shipped. For the full fiscal year, (April 2012-March 2013), the industry is expected to come in at 1.63 and Nikon has projected to come in at 1.44.

  • Darin

    Interesting that the start the article with their first SLR lens although they had been making RF lenses for quite some time before that…yet they chose to include the 1 system lenses in the image, which are not really SLR lenses.

    • MyrddinWilt

      Nikon was the first company to produce a good SLR because they were the only company with the ability to make the necessary retrofocus lenses. So it makes sense to start there.

      The Nikon 1 line is not SLR but it provides the same advantage as SLR: The photographer see thes exact shot before taking the picture.

  • Joey

    As a Nikon user who just purchased D600, I think Canon is taking the lead with more and better lenses + 5D mark 3 that kicks butt. I wish I could sell all my Nikon gear and go to Canon.

    • Spy Black

      As a photographic retoucher that has deal with images shot on Canons in an in-house studio, I can tell you that you’re going to be in for nasty surprise.

  • Cesar

    It’s only a couple of months back that we saw Nikon hit the 70 million mark! So that’s 5 million lenses in the last half year.

    Now dare to say that the crisis is hitting Nikon one more time……

  • Pat Mann

    Too bad none of these are the 24mm f/1.4 DX, 16mm f/1.4 DX, 50-135 f/2.8 DX or 200-400 f/5.6 AF-S I’ve been waiting for.

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