Nikon and Zeiss

Mitsubishi! > Nikon > Zeiss Ikon Contax shutter and and rangefinder, Leica shutter, Zeiss lens

Camera and Lens Design Thievery?

Seems like after the war ended, Canon and Nikon decided to borrow the optical and mechanical patents of German works, Carl Zeiss, Zeiss Ikon, and Ernst Leitz Wetzlar. Nikon used Leica shutter design for its own products. Zeiss Ikon Contax shutter and rangefinder designs too were copied. Moreover Zeiss lens inspired lens were produced by both Nikon and Canon, an article alleges.

Nikon did not produce civilian cameras before the war, but as a result of this massive 'borrowing' had become a major player in this arena by 1950. During the Korean war, the US war correspondents found that while original German lenses for their Contax and Leica cameras were generally unavailalbe and very expensive, the Japanese-clones were easily availalbe for about 10 US dollars. Not only did they buy the clones made by companies like Nikon, but also to convince their bosses they claimed that these clones were in fact better than the originals.