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The importer who showed them to me sent them back because there was too much sales resistance.” Skepticism and resistance to change proved to be the constant companion for Nippon Kogaku throughout the 1950s.Despite the quality of Nikkor optics and the consistently strong press reports they received, the professional market still belonged to Leica and Zeiss.The outbreak of the Korean War brought photographers Jun Miki and David Douglas Duncan together, both on assignment to cover the war for magazine.

But the quality of Nippon Kogaku’s postwar cameras and optics did not go unnoticed for very long.

Japanese goods were almost universally perceived to be clunky, poorly finished, and years behind their Western counterparts in quality and sophistication.

In response, the country implemented a series of government initiatives to boost overall productivity in order to restore value to their currency, produce sellable products, and rebuild their international image.

No matter how good the lenses were and no matter how much better their cameras became, Nikon was still fighting Leica and Zeiss on turf those brands had held for a half-century.

In other words, they were fighting a losing battle.

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