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Nikon is a Japanese company specializing in optics and imaging. Its full name is Nikon Corporation (Kabushiki Kaisha Nikon) since 1988. It was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kogaku K.K. with the merger of two Japanese optical firms with military connections. Over the next 60 years Nikon became renowed for the quality of its Nikkor optics and photographic equipment. During World War II the company expanded significantly, supplying optical equipment to the Japanese military. It was based in Tokyo, Omori at the time. After the war, the company began producing replacement lenses for the popular German rangefinder cameras of the day, and the quality of Nikkor lenses attracted the attention of many professional photographers and photojournalists desiring better results from the small 35mm format. Nikon eventually developed its own, very successful 35mm rangefinder camera.
In 1959, Nikon introduced the Nikon F, an advanced mechanical single lens reflex (SLR) camera that proved to be extraordinarily durable and reliable. With the F, Nikon introduced its philosophy of high-quality, low-friction, close-tolerance mechanisms requiring less lubricant than other cameras. This workmanship had a practical side, as Nikons have accompanied more photographers to extreme environments from the summit of Mount Everest to the depths of the Saharan Desert than any other SLR camera.... from Camerapedia.org