Picture Profile on Nikon S3 2000 & Nikon S3 Black Limited Edition 2005 - MIR image Library


First draft 07.09.2008

For the generation who had witnessed the Millennium year, short for "Y2K" i.e. year 2000 probably has brought us many memories. And for those who can still remember, at the eve of the Millennium, people set aside unresolved private or political issues around the globe; it has actually brought a brief spell of global unity through wild celebration by partying on the streets or disco, private parties, good wines/cigars, nice hugs and greetings etc. On the darker side, it was also being well remembered as one of the biggest scam in the history of IT, the influx of billions of cash income courtesy of Millennium bug-fixing programs by US companies globally had Dow Jones hit an all time high at one time. Merchants were also busy riding high on this rare occasion by releasing series of commemorative mechanized goods to spearhead sales. Some were good efforts, most were opportunistic works that bear little remembrance value today. It happens on many sectors, photographic equipment market wasn't spared.

Nikon did surprised many by releasing a remake of old rangefinder Nikon S3 chrome classic in year 2000. It was specifically mentioned as a commemorative "Year 2000 Limited Edition" model. I wasn't sure why it was not chosen to release as a Nikon SP which has more significant value as a collectible piece but it did generated a wave of hype among Nikon enthusiasts. But probably cost of remaking an old classic could be damn high and requires many sequential releases to even break even initial investment. So, we saw the second and third release of the Nikon S3 Limited Edition Black at second half of the 2000 and an eventual 2,500 units of Nikon SP Black in January 14, 2005. Shown here are the February, 2000 Nikon S3 Chrome and June release of the Nikon S3 Limited Edition Black.

Nikon S3 2000 & Nikon S3 Black Limited Edition 2005 comparison photo
Original corrugated box packing for Nikon S3 Millennium rangefinder camera model, 2000
For approx. USD4,500-00* one would expect Nikon can provide a better or more presentable packing rather than a corrugated box such as this. Well to be fair, the inner presentation box that holds the camera/lens is much better in quality.

* 480,000.00 JPY = 4,456.62 USD
USD4,500-00 x 2,500 units (original issued quantity, excluding add-on volume to satisfy additional request from overseas market) makes up to about USD 11 million for this Nikon S3 reproduction project. IF assuming some references were correct, there were 7,000-8,000 units were being produced eventually, this would make up to approx. USD33 million or more. There were sources from Japan that had claimed if the original issued quantity of 2,500 unit was strictly followed - each S3 produced would cost Nikon to subsidize each unit that rolled out from their assembly plant. I am not sure how much would it cost in a modern costing method if the entire camera was mechanically rebuilt in its entire production flow. But certainly, Nikon was not here to patch the sentimental element or treating it as part of a corporate re-branding programme and/or trying to present their faithful with a old time classic reissued.

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Detailed views of camera features Chrome Nikon S3 Millennium Edition, 2000

Page One | Page Two | Page Three | Page Four (Nomenclature)

Nikkor Rangefinder resources | Nikon Rangefinder Camera Models |

Recommended Links (external):-
Nikon S3 basic data sheet at Nikon site | Cameraquest on S3 2000 | Another article on S3 2000
Nikon S3 Black Original by Bjørn Rørslett | A very well written article by Karen Nakamura on original/new Nikon S3
HOW the S3 2000 was made in production- from Nikon Japan / Original Article in Japanese | Original Press Release of Nikon S3 Y2k (Japanese)
Some very
well taken shots of S3 2000 as wall paper | EBAY Search on Nikon S3 related stuffs |

Relative:- Leica M3 Index Page | M3 Nomenclature | Main Index Page Leica-M Series Rangefinder camera Models

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Credit: A special thanks to my buddy, Tony Leong® <work place> in sharing his private collection of various Nikon/Nikkor lenses.