NAC Image Technology is a famous Tokyo company with a rich history in imaging. They are the ARRI Distributor in Japan, major camera rental house, high-tech manufacturer of high speed cameras and optical products, and authorized ZEISS service center for Asia.
The company was founded in 1958 in the Ginza area of Tokyo by the father of the current President, Mr. Seiji Nakajima. Today, a team of 200 people work at facilities in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. Mr. Nakijima explained that the company’s philosophy is defined by a Japanese character that means “Master Artisan and Artist.” For NAC, the product is the art.
NAC has always prided itself on listening to customers’ requests. Early on, they modified existing equipment, created anamorphic lenses, and customized cameras. They specialized in 8-perf VistaVision and high-speed film cameras. During the Tokyo Olympics, they supplied the cameras for director Kon Ichikawa. The list goes on.
I visited NAC’s Tokyo rental and repair facility. Their optical department is one of two authorized in the world authorized by ZEISS. AbelCine is the other. NAC owns a ZEISS K8 MTF tester and has the complete line of ZEISS lens tools and spare parts. Most Ultra Prime and Master Prime lenses require special gripping tools to unscrew the barrels, and NAC has an entire cabinet full of these (see photos below.)
Currently, about 30% of NAC camera rentals are shot on 35mm film. 50% of the digital feature productions are recorded as ARRIRAW and 50% ProRes. 30% of digital commercials are done in ARRIRAW.
After a tour of the Tokyo facility, we drove an hour south to NAC’s modern Yokohama R&D, design and manufacturing facility. This is where their Emmy-winning Hi-Motion II Ultra Slow Motion HD 3-chip highspeed camera is built, along with an extensive line of other high speed digital cameras for the automobile, aerospace, military, medical, sports, motion analysis, instrumentation and motion capture industries. In fact, NAC’s camera systems are used by almost every automobile manufacturer in the world for crash tests. NAC provides complete service and installation. One of their digital color cameras records up to 1.25 million fps. A black and white camera shoots 200 million fps using a special patented optical system.
There is a spirit of fine craftsmanship and attention to detail everywhere in this company. As we departed, I was impressed by the master gardener who was carefully pruning the beautifully shaped trees in front of NAC’s Technology Center.
Great article. Did you manage to discover exactly what NAC stands for? From your article I would assume Nakajima Artistic Camera.
Yas Mitsuwa from NAC replies: I like the idea “Nakajima’s Artistic Camera”. Actually “NAC” was named after an English word, “knack”. I believe the founders of NAC aimed for a company that has the knack.