Nikon Lens Patents

Introduction

This database attempts to find the best (not necessaily exact) patent match for a production Nikkor lens. Note that the match is not always perfect as the final production lens can sometimes be different from the patent that is identified as the best match. Where possible this is indicated in the table below.

Last Updated 10 October 2021

Additional Resources

It is my hope that one day we will be able to evaluate the optical designs in these patents using freely available Open Source software. As of today the best Open Source software appears to be rayopt. There is a growing collections of patents analysed using rayopt in this repository.

I also recommend following sites as great sources of information regarding Nikkor lenses.

Contributing

If you notice a mistake or have a better patent for a given lens, or want to add more lenses to this list, please send me a pull request at the github source repository for this page. You can also submit an issue.

Fish-eye Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 US 3737214 Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1970  
AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 E ED JP 2017-068114A Haruo Sato 2015 Note that this patent describes a 8-15mm fisheye lens which seems very close to but not exactly the same as the production lens.

Wide Angle Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
AI Nikkor 13mm f/5.6 US 3728011

Also see JP,48-090523,A (1973)

Ikuo Mori 1971

The patent describes a 13mm f/8 lens. An improved 5.6 version was manufactured.

Story of the 13mm f/5.6 Nikkor

AI Nikkor 15mm f/5.6 JP,48-071634,A Ikuo Mori 1971  
PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E JP 2017-161685 IMAJIMA RYOSUKE
FUKUDA YASUNARI
TAKE TOSHINORI
SENSUI TAKAYUKI
2016 Note this one is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC
NIKON CORP
Nikkor 20mm f/4 US 3549241 Ikuo Mori 1967  
Nikkor AF-D 20mm f2.8 US 4690517A Daijiro Fujie 1984  
AFS Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 JP 2016-021011A FUKUDA YASUNARI
Atsuo Masui
Kosuke Machida
2014 Note this one is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC
NIKON CORP
Z Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 WO2021117429A1 OHTAKE FUMIAKI 2020  
AI Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 JP,43-013834,B(1968) US3622227A Yoshiyuki Shimizu (Japan) 1965, (USA) 1969 First lens to feature floating elements?
AI Nikkor 24mm f/2 US 4311367A Ikuo Mori 1978 See Fig 2A in the patent.
AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G US 8416512 Harada; Hiroki
Yamamoto; Yasushi
2009 See figures 2 and 3
AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.8 JP 2017-003807 FUKUDA YASUNARI
INOUE KANA
FURUTA AKIKO
2015 Note this one is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC
NIKON CORP
NIKKOR Z 24mm f/1.8 S JP-2019-090948 YAMADA KEIKO
IMAJIMA RYOSUKE
TATSUNO WATARU
SATO HARUO
2017 See EX-3. The actual production lens seems slightly different to the patent.
Note that this patent is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC and NIKON CORP
NIKKOR-H Auto 2.8cm f/3.5 JP,38-026133,B(1963) WAKIMOTO, Zenji 1958 Little lens, Big step, the story of 28mm f3.5
AIS Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 US 4099850A Sei Matsui 1976 This is the revised version of 28mm f/3.5 introduced around 1977.
Nikkor-N Auto 28mm f/2 US 3736049 Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1970  
AI Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 US 3635546 Ikuo Mori 1970 For the AIS version apparently this lens was redesigned by Daijiro Fujie in late 1970s.
Nikon E-series 28mm f/2.8 US 4203653 Ikuo Mori 1977  
AIS Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 Patent number tbc Daijiro Fujie Year tbc The story of Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS

The design of this lens may be evident from a different patent by Kenzaburo Suzuki - US5917663A.

Marco Cavina's page on 28mm design appears to depit the design from above patent.

AF Nikkor 28mm f/1.4D US 5315441 Kenji Hori
Wataru Tatsuno
1992 AI AF Nikkor 28mm f1.4D Story
AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 US 5557473 Yoshikazu Sugiyama
Haruo Sato
1993 This design is referred to in Marco Cavina's site .
AFS Nikkor 28mm f/1.4E JP 2017-227799 FUKUDA YASUNARI
FURUTA AKIKO
TAKE TOSHINORI
SENSUI TAKAYUKI
2016 Note this one is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC
NIKON CORP
W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8 US 2896506 Azuma Hideo 1956 W-Nikkor 3.5cm F1.8 story
Japanese patent JP,31-005178,B(1956)
Nikkor-O Auto 35mm f/2 US 3507558 Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1965  
Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 US 3731989 Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1970  
AI Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 US 3576360A Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1967 AI Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 story
AFS Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 G US 7663816 Haruo Sato 2007 Please note that the patent does not exactly match the production lens, however I believe this patent is closely related to this lens.
AFS Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G JP2015118186A HARADA MASAKI
MACHIDA KOSUKE
2013  
Z Nikkor 35mm f/1.8S JP 2019-090947 Yamada Keiko
Ryosuke
Tatsuno
Haruo Sato
2017

Note this one is jointly held by KONICA MINOLTA INC
NIKON CORP

Standard Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
AI Nikkor 45mm f/2.8P pancake for FM3 JP2003005030A (B2) OSHITA KOICHI 2003 Nikkor Tale 78
Nikkor 50mm f/1.1 (rangefinder) US 2828671A Murakami Saburo 1957 NIKKOR-N 5cm F1.1 Story
Japanese patent JP,39-008149,Y(1964)
Nikkor-S Auto 50mm f/1.4 (F mount) US 3560079 Zenji Wakimoto
Yoshiyuki Shimizu
1964 Nikkor-S Auto 50mm F1.4 Story
Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 (tbc) US 3738736 Yoshiyuki Shimizu 1970 It is possible that this patent describes the 50mm f/1.2 Nikkor, which was only introduced in 1978.
A Japanese patent also applied in 1970 that might be associated is JP,54-043386,B(1979)
AIS Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 US 4234242 Soichi Nakamura 1978 Story of the 50mm f/1.8 AIS
AIS Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 US 4448497 Koichi Wakamiya 1981  
NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S WO2019220618A1 Saburo Masugi
Tomoyuki Sashima
2018  
AFS Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G JP 2013-019993
JP-5761604
Haruo Sato 2011

This patent does not appear to match the production lens exactly - in particular the second aspherical element in the production lens is different from the one one in the patent.

PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To provide a small optical system of smaller number of constituent elements, which has high performance and less coma especially sagittal coma aberration, and spherical aberration

NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct WO2019229849A1 Keisuke Tsubinoya
Hiroki Harada
Take Toshinori
2018  

Telephoto Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AIS US 4396256A Daijiro Fujie 1980  
Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 D US 5640277 Koichi Ohshita 1993 AI AF Nikkor 85mm f1.4D Story
AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4 G US 8767319B2 Yoshihito Souma
Satoru Shibata
2010 Held jointly by Nikon Corp
Konica Minolta Advanced Layers Inc
Z NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8 S JP,2020-016679,A YABUMOTO HIROSHI 2018  
AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED WO2019116563A1 WO2019229817A1 tbc tbc These patents appear to describe the 105mm f1.4 lens in addition to others. I suspect neither is the primary patent for this lens
Ai Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 AIS JP,50-062630,A(1975) tbc 1973  
Nikon Series-E 135mm f2.8 US4303314A Sei Matsui 1979 Nikkor Tale 76
Ai Nikkor 135mm f/2 AIS JP,52-055524,A(1977)
US 4062630
Sei Matsui 1975  
Ai AF DC Nikkor 135mm f/2 S US 4908639 Masaaki Yanagisawa 1988 Ai AF DC Nikkor 135mm F2S
Nikkor 180mm f/2.8s ED US 4338001 Sei Matsui 1979 AI Nikkor 180mm f2.8s ED Story
Nikkor 200mm f/2.0 ED-IF US 4176913 Soichi Nakamura
Kiyoshi Hayashi
1977  
AFS Nikkor 200mm f/2 G VR US 7411745 Mitsuaki Wada 2004 First Nikkor lens to feature Super ED glass vd=91.0, nd=1.44. ED glass is typically vd=82.6, nd=1.49 or vd=81.6, nd=1.49.
Nikkor-ED 300mm f/4.5 US3774991A Y Shimizu 1970 patent also describes 600mm f5.6, 800mm f8 and 1200mm f11. Image of the lens at https://www.destoutz.ch/lens_300mm_f4.5_173317.html
Nikkor 300mm f/2.0 ED-IF US 4732459 Kiyoshi Hayashi 1987  
AF-I Nikkor 300mm f2.8 ED-IF US 5253112A Kenzaburo Suzuki
Yoshinari Hamanishi
1991 This is actually a patent for teleconverter
AFS-Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF II US 5745306A
Also see US5323270A
Susumu Sato 1995 Tale 67 of Nikkor 1001 nights describes the work done by Susumu Sato for super telephoto lenses.
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR JP 2015-172711A, Patent JP,6387631,B Makoto Fujimoto 2014 Note that the patent appears to have a second diffractive surface which is not shown in the production lens.
AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8 E FL ED VR JP 2015-215559A JP 2019-152887A Kazumasa Tanaka
Toshinori Take
Miwa Tetsushi
2014  
AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4 E FL ED VR JP 2015-215560A Yamashita Masafumi
MIWA TETSUSHI
2014  
AFS Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 E PF VR JP 2018-017857 MIWA TETSUSHI
YABUMOTO HIROSHI
2016 Also see US20200026094A1
Nikkor 600mm f/5.6 ED-IF manual focus US 4113357 Soichi Nakamura 1974  
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR US20180031811A1 Satoshi Miwa
Masashi Yamashita
2015  
AFS Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 E VR JP 2013-250293A Masafumi Yamashita
Mitsuaki Wada
2012 First telephoto lens from Nikon to feature fluorite elements.

Zoom Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
AFS Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 G US 7359125 Yoko Kimura
Haruo Sato
2005  
Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S JP 2019-008031A WO2018235881 UEHARA TAKESHI 2017  
Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S WO2020170590A1
WO2021117563A1
NONAKA AZUNA
OHTAKE FUMIAKI
UMEDA TAKESHI
YUASA YOSHIHARU
2019  
AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR US20100238560 Makoto Fujimoto 2009  
AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED US9256059B2 Kana Inoue, Mamoru Terada, Haruo Sato 2012 Jointly held by Nikon Corp
Konica Minolta Inc
AF Zoom-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 D IF US 5276553 Wataru Tatsuno 1991

First of the ultra wide zooms from Nikon.

Also see patents US5668668 and US5798871.

Zoom Nikkor 25-50mm f/4 US 4189212 Norio Mizutani
Soichi Nakamura
1976 Tale 46 - Story of the 25-50mm
AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G US 7508592 Hiroki Harada 2005  
AFS Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 E VR US 20180136444 Hiroki Harada 2015 This is the new VR and E version
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S WO 2019049372A1 Take Umeda 2017  
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S WO 2020136749A1 Kousuke Machida
Osamu Gomibuchi
Kenichi Kitano
Mizuki Wayu
Watanabe Tsuneo
Imaei Ichiro
Makoto Horikoshi
2018 It seems that the optical design is by Kousuke Machida as evidenced in related patents.
AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 D IF US 5734508 Haruo Sato 1994 The almighty normal zoom lens
NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR WO2020157906A1 ITO TOMOKI
MAKIDA AYUMU
MIWA SATOSHI
1994  
AFS Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 G US 20100220400 YAMAMOTO Hiroshi
Miwa Satoshi
Suzuki Takeshi
Sato Haruo
2009 See figure 1
Zoom Nikkor 28-45mm f/4.5 US 3771853 Soichi Nakamura 1970 Tale 15 - First true wide angle zoom?
Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 US 4806000A Yoshiharu Shiokama
Naoto Ohta
Hiroshi Okano
Kiyotaka Inadome
1985 Optical design seems to be close cousin of the 35-70mm f2.8 Zoom.
Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G US 5485314A Haruo Sato 1992 Tale 63 - Minimalist standard zoom
Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED US 6621643B2 Haruo Sato 2002 Tale 65 - Smallest and lightest high power zoom lens
AFS Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 G US 20100220400 YAMAMOTO Hiroshi
Miwa Satoshi
Suzuki Takeshi
Sato Haruo
2009 See figure 4
Zoom Nikkor 35-70mm f3.5 US4266860A Kiyoshi Hayashi 1978 This page has a beautiful animation of the zoom operation of this lens
AF-D Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 US 6320698B1 Kenzaburo Suzuki 1993 Described in Nkkor 1001 nights - tale 39. The patent here is not by the original inventor Kiyotaka Inadome
Nikon AI Zoom-Nikkor 35-105mm f/3.5-4.5S US 4699475A Tomowaki Takahashi
Yasuhiro Aono
1981 Tale 71 - A normal zoom lens redesigned to be more compact
Nikon AI Zoom-Nikkor 35-200mm f/3.5-4.5S US 4770511A Yasuo Yonezawa
Yasuhiro Aono
Tomowaki Takahashi
1984 Tale 47 - Nikon's first high powered zoom lens
38-105mm zoom lens in Zoom 700 VR US 5530593A Atsushi Shibayama
Susumu Sato
1992 Nikon's first VR lens appeared in a compact camera Zoom 700 VR
Nikon AI Zoom-Nikkor 50-135mm f/3.5S US 4497547A Kiyoshi Hayashi 1981 Tale 61
Nikon AI Zoom-Nikkor 50-300mm f/4.5 US 4189213A Yutaka Iizuka 1976 Nice animated diagram of the len is available at this site.
Auto Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 (first version) US 3615125 Takashi Higuchi
Soichi Nakamura
1967 First of the 80-200mm zoom lenses from Nikon; the start of the series that has evolved to the 70-200mm zooms
Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 AI (second version) US 4223981 Norio Mizutani
Yoshinari Hamanishi
1977 The 80-200mm f/4.5 lens reputedly established the Zoom lens as a viable tool. This was the second version of the lens.
Nikkor 80-200mm f/4 AIS US 4452513 Yoshinari Hamanishi 1981 Redesigned with f/4 max aperture.
Also contains design for 200-400mm f/4.
AI Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED US 4468097 Yoshinari Hamanishi 1981 First 80-200mm design with f/2.8 max aperture. 2 ED elements.
AI Zoom Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED US 5579171 Kenzaburo Suzuki
Masahiro Nakatsuji
Keiji Moriyama
1993 The design of the AF-D lens is in figure 3. 3 ED elements. It seems that the design allowed for VR function.
AI AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 D IF-ED JP 2000-019398 Susumu Sato 1998 The first lens from Nikon with AFS technology. Five ED elements.
Link to Japan Patent site
AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 G IF-ED I US 6693750B2 Susumu Sato 2001 The first version of the 70-200mm VR lens, optimized for DX format perhaps. Five ED elements.
AFS VR Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 G II US 8416506B2
US 8730584B2
US 9091841B2
Tomoki Ito 2009 See figure 1 in 8416506B2.
See figure 26 in 9091841B2.
This is the second version optimized for FX cameras. Seven ED elements.
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR US 20170315337 A1 Satoshi Yamaguchi
Issei Tanaka
2012  
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 E FL ED VR WO 2019097669A1 Tomoki Ito 2017 Final FX version, with 1 fluorite element. Example 1 seems to be it.
NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S WO2020105104A1 UEHARA TAKERU 2018 Nikkor Z version
AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR WO2018092297A1
US20190353880A1
Kosuke Machida 2016  
AF VR Zoom Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED US 6141156 Masayuki Aoki 1998 Nikon's first SLR lens with Vibration Reduction.
AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR US20200049962A1 Tomoki Ito 2013 Japanese patent JP6198098B2
AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR JP2020177057A TAKE TOSHINORI
YAMASHITA MASAFUMI
2019  
Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 AIS US 4452513 Yoshinari Hamanishi 1981 Also contains design for 80-200mm f/4.
AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 E ED VR JP2014209144A Taku Matsuo
Takeshi Suzuki
Haruo Sato
Hisayuki Yamanaka
2013 Patent appears to be for a lens with variable aperture 4.5 to 5.6. But Nikkor design looks the same as embodiment 2.
Patent held jointly by Nikon Corp and Tamron Co Ltd
AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR WO2019131993A1 WADA MITSUAKI
YAMASHITA MASAFUMI
2017  
Zoom Nikkor 180-800 f/8.0 ED
Zoom Nikkor 360-1200 f/11.0 ED
US 3743384 Soichi Nakamura 1970 Is this the first patent that refers to Nikon's ED glass?
Zoom Nikkor 1200-1700 f/5.6-8.0 US 5442486A Susumu Sato 1992  

Micro Lenses

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED US 7656591B2 Hiroshi Yamamoto 2006  
Micro Nikkor 55mm f2.8 US 4260223A Yoshinari Hamanishi 1978  
AF-D Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8 US 5007720A Yoshinari Hamanishi 1989 Subject of Tale 74
AFS Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 G US 7898744 Mitsuaki Wada 2007  
UV Nikkor 105mm f/4.5 JP,61-090115,A(1986) Koichi Wakamiya 1984 Nice page on this lens
Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 AIS US 4392724A Yoshinari Hamanishi 1981  
AF-D Micro Nikkor 105mm f2.8 US 4986643A Keiji Moriyama 1988 Subject of Tale 72
AFS Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 G VR US 7218457 Takayuki Sensui 2004 See figure 9A
AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED US 5402268A Wataru Tatsuno 1992 Also see https://patents.google.com/patent/US5909319A.

DX Nikkors

Lens name Patent number Inventors Year Remarks
AFS DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 G US 8169718

Dayong Li
Hiroshi Yamamoto
Hiroki Harada

2009 Note this one is jointly held by
Nikon Corp
Tamron Co Ltd
AFS Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 G US 6940655 Haruo Sato 2002 The story of the first DX format lens
NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR WO2020012638A1 Yoko Komatsubara
Take Umeda
2018  
AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR US10690896B2 Kosuke MACHIDA
Takeshi Suzuki
Takeru Uehara
2015  
AFS DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G US 20100220400 YAMAMOTO Hiroshi
Miwa Satoshi
Suzuki Takeshi
Sato Haruo
2009 See figure 10
NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR WO2020105107A1 ISHIKAWA TAKAHIRO
YOKOI NORIKAZU
2018