Celebrating 90 Years of Nikkor Lenses

From the secrets of the solar system to precious family moments, Nikon lenses have captured some of the most important images of our time.

The legacy of Nikon is one of constant innovation. As we mark the 90th anniversary of the Nikkor brand, we’re celebrating our history, and looking ahead to the future.

A History in 18 Iconic Lenses

Discover the incredible legacy of Nikon optics. Check back for new stories over the coming weeks.

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  • NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena (2023)

    Stunning wide-aperture performance.

    The Plena takes full advantage of the unique dimensions of the mirrorless Nikon Z mount to deliver superb image quality for portraiture and low-light imaging. The Plena takes its name from the Latin word plenum, meaning full or complete. It offers excellent peripheral illumination, which ensures beautiful near-circular bokeh across the frame. The Plena also delivers excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, even wide open at f/1.8.

  • NIKKOR-P.C 8.5cm f/2 (1948)

    The lens that put Nikkor on the map.

    The P.C 8.5cm (85mm) f/2 was one of several lenses designed by famed Nikon optical engineer Saburo Murakami in the late 1940s. As well as offering excellent image quality to photographers of the time, it also played an important role in popularizing Nikkor lenses outside of Japan. On a visit to Nikon headquarters in 1950, American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan was shown photographs shot with the NIKKOR-P.C 8.5cm f/2 and was so impressed that he adopted Nikkor lenses for use on his cameras.

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  • Milestones

    Explore the history of Nikon lenses from 1933 to the present day.

  • 1933

    The first Aero-Nikkor lenses are released, marking the birth of the Nikkor brand.

  • 1950

    The Nikkor P.C 8.5cm f/2 impresses American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan, who becomes a passionate evangelist for Nikkor optics, bringing Nikon lenses to international attention.

  • 1956

    Nikon introduces the fastest wide-angle interchangeable lens in the world, the W-NIKKOR 3.5cm f/1.8.

  • 1959

    The F mount Auto-NIKKOR Telephoto-Zoom 8.5-25cm (85-250mm) f/4-4.5 becomes the world’s first telephoto zoom lens for still cameras.

  • 1970

    The Fisheye-NIKKOR 6mm f/2.8 has a viewing angle of 220 degrees, meaning that it can actually see behind itself. The 11.5 lb (5.2 kg) lens has its own built-in tripod mount.

  • 1971

    The Nikkor-H 300mm f/2.8 ED is the world’s first photographic lens to use extra-low dispersion (ED) glass to reduce chromatic aberrations and increase contrast.

  • 1977

    The iconic Noct-NIKKOR 58mm f/1.2 is designed specifically for open-aperture photography in extreme low light conditions. The optical design of the “Noct” includes an aspherical front element.

  • 1988

    The first use of rear focusing elements (RF) appears in the AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D to make autofocusing operation smoother and faster.

  • 1991

    The AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2 introduces photographers to “Defocus Control,” enabling precise control over spherical aberration for optimal background and foreground blur.

  • 2004

    Nano Crystal Coat is introduced in the AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED to reduce internal and external flare and increase contrast.

  • 2007

    Nikon releases the AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, which offers the convenience of a zoom with the optical quality of a high-end prime lens.

  • 2015

    The AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR is the first Nikkor lens to feature a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens element, making it (at the time) the world’s lightest 300mm lens of its type.

  • 2019

    Nikon unveils the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, designed to take full advantage of the Z mount’s unique dimensions. Nikon’s fastest-ever lens, the Noct is a flagship lens for a new era of imaging.

  • 2023

    Nikon releases the Nikkor Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena. The Plena offers unrivaled peripheral illumination for beautiful, circular bokeh across the frame.

A World-class Lineup

Discover the huge range of Nikkor lenses for Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.

Mirrorless Z Lenses

High-performance optics designed for a new mirrorless era.

Explore Mirrorless Z Lenses

DSLR Lenses

Lenses for every shooting situation, from ultra-wide fish-eye to extreme telephoto.

Explore DSLR Lenses