In just three years time, at least in the professional market, Nikon has gone from also-ran to world's best, largely on the strength of the D300 crop and D3 full frame bodies, not to mention their updates. With the stunning new cameras, professionals, serious amateurs, and even governments began to take notice.
Last year, NASA ordered 11 D3s bodies and 7 copies of the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens specifically for use on the space shuttles and International Space Station. Well, the cameras must have been a hit, as now the Russians are ordering their own Nikon gear, this time, with the focus on going long.
Yesterday it was announced that Nikon received an order from the S.P Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation, the main contractor for Russia's space program. Soon to be shipped is one D3s dSLR, 2 D3x dSLRs, 1.4x, 1.7x, 2.0x teleconverters, 400 f2.8VR, 600f4VR, a SB-900 flash, and the software needed to use the above equipment.
Nikolay Cherlenyak, director of the Korolev Corp.'s ISS department, released the following statement after the Nikon purchase was announced:
"The integration of Nikon photographic equipment in space exploration has a long history and goes back to the moment when there first arose the question of photographing research conducted in orbit. It was then when the first Nikon film cameras and NIKKOR lenses, notable for precision and reliability, were sent into space. They had been used even on the station "Mir". Since then, the range of photographic equipment has been frequently supplemented by new products and advanced developments of the Nikon Company. Now with the latest models of Nikon D3S and D3X digital cameras, photography in space will reach a new, previously unattainable level "
If the Earth-based performance of the Nikon gear is any indication, the Russians should be very happy with their new toys.
For extensive reviews of the Nikon gear, go to http://www.kenrockwell.com/, specifically the Nikon review archive.
If you found this informative (or at least entertaining), check out my Examiner page for more great stuff. By doing this, you are helping me pay the bills, which I am grateful for.
Don't forget to pass this link along, either.
For something even better, become a follower.