Why didn't Nikon enter the MF marketplace?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by andyfalsetta, May 12, 2018.

  1. Just thinking about how much I love my Nikon F and F2, but how little I use them these days due to my preference for MF, I wonder why they didn't feel the urge to leverage their lens experience with Bronica and their prowess with SLRs to make the killer MF back in the day? Were they "embargoed" out of that market? Or just happy to dominate 35mm? Or...?
  2. I think all we can do is speculate, but by the time Bronica started shifting to their own Zenzanon lenses NIkon had a pretty well established dominance in 35mm(remember that we're talking about late 60s/early 70s so you basically had Nikon and a scattering of the other guys). Their strength was-and remains-in small format.

    At this point also, Bronica, Pentax, Mamiya, and Koni-Omega were going up against the Germans(Rollei) and Swedes(Hasselblad). I'm guessing that they didn't see an opportunity to really do anything better than was already being done. Bronica had experimented a lot with unconventional SLR designs and innovations, and of course was a good partner to Nikon for a while.

    Nikon did make some in-roads in large format. The only Nikkor I have is a 75mm f/4.5 SW, but it's a superb lens. LF Nikkors get a fair bit of respect.
    PapaTango and bertliang like this.
  3. Since Nikon was primarily an optics house, it was likely easier to build a lens to someone else's (Bronica) specs, than it was to build an entire new system of camera and lens, and break into an existing market.

    At the time of the late 60s/early 70s, Nikon did not have a global marketing organization. Marketing and distribution of Nikon in the US was done by EPOI (Ehrenreich Photo-Optical Industries). And I think EPOI was also the US distributor for Bronica, which would have made distribution in the US of a MF Nikon a problem. Which MF line would EPOI handle?
    After the death of Joe Ehrenreich, Nikon bought back the US distribution rights for Nikon from EPOI.
    bertliang likes this.
  4. If Canon(Kwannon) had not decided to build their own lenses, I wonder if Nikon would have ever made cameras at all...
  5. Wait; what am I missing? I thought Canon and Nikon both tracked along building and offering rangefinders until they realized the opportunity in 35mm. Are you saying Nikon was building Canon lenses all that time?
  6. Nippon Kogaku (there was no Nikon back then) was an optical company until after WW2. They built no cameras. Canon starting building 35mm camera in the mid 1930's. They didn't have facilities to produce lenses, so they bought lenses (and the rangefinder mechanism) from Nippon Kogaku. This lasted until around 1945 or so, when Canon bought an optical factory and started to make their own lenses.

    Nippon Kogaku was closely associated with the Japanese Imperial Navy and, after the war, was a shell of their former self. They had to regroup, and designed their first 35mm rangefinder, the Nikon, in 1946.

    Check out the Canon Museum website for more info on the company. Ditto for Nikon, check out their history website for more info on them.
  7. Jim, I should know this. I worked for Canon (in the Office Products Division) but I did get to visit their lens grinding facility in Utsonomiya, Japan. They make the steppers there too. Thanks.
  8. After the regroup and they decided to make cameras their plan was to make a 6x6 TLR and a 35mm Rangefinder. But the 6x6 plan was scrapped.
  9. ^ Probably the right thing to do. Nikon building a TLR at that point would be a mistake akin to Tesla building a hybrid.

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