Nikon operation was established on 25 July 1917 when three leading optical manufactures merged to form a fully integrated optical company. During second world war the company grew to 19 factories and supplying items such as binoculars, lenses, bomb sights and periscope in Japanese military.

The first Nikon branded camera was released in 1948. Nikon lenses were popularized by the American photojournalist David Douglas Duncan. From July 1950 to January 1951, he covered the Korean War, fitting Nikon optics to his leica rangefinder cameras produced high contrast negatives with very sharp resolution at the center field. Nikon created first digital SLRs. The SLRs are used in the space shuttle. After partnership with kodak to produce digital SLR based Nikon cameras.