It is now nearly 20 years since Ken Nakatani took over whole Velbon group.
He inherited the founder’s policy and has been trying to penetrate his management philosophy into the whole Velbon group. Before he became President, he was in charge of R&D dept, he is now still in charge of R & D, although he is busy enough to take care of management. He enjoys being an engineer and is deeply involved in the designing with his staff. That is the very reason Velbon is constantly able to introduce new products into markets. Magnesium products and carbon fibre products are good examples. Velbon is capable of introducing more exciting new products because Velbon constantly strives to be innovative.
History of Velbon
Velbon was established in 1955 in Kobe City as the SANSEI PHOTO Co. LTD. The early business handled cameras as well as photo accessories. Some years later SANSEI PHOTO Co. LTD split into two companies, one as a wholesale distribution company, the other as a manufacturer of tripods. The wholesale company continues to this day, as HAKUBA PHOTO INDUSTRY Co. LTD. The tripod manufacturing company is proudly named VELBON.
Company name was changed.to Mitsuboshi Photographic Industry Co., Ltd.
Trademark was registered as Velbon. Started selling photographic tripod, patented VS-3 which collected worldwide attention.
Established a factory at suburban of Tokyo, Nogata factory
Established a new factory at Kodaira City, suburban of Tokyo
Built Velbon-building at the site of Nogata factory and started Japan domestic sales.
- Established a factory at Yamanashi Prefecture. This facility had die-cast machines, paint-booth and any other machines which were necessary for manufacturing tripods.
- Velbon exhibited at the Photokina exhibition in Germany for the first time and tried to enlarge overseas’ markets.
Company name was changed to Velbon Tripod Co., Ltd.
- Established Velbon International Corporation in Los Angeles USA, this site was used as a manufacturing facility and sales office for USA market.
- Established Velbon Trading Co., Ltd for concentrating on Japan domestic sales.
- Main office and headquarters were moved into Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Established a factory inside of Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone at Taiwan.
Established another factory inside of Nantsu Export Processing Zone at Taiwan in order to cope with increasing demand.
Koichiro (Ken) Nakatani was appointed as President of Velbon Tripod Co., Ltd. and its capital was increased as \12 millions.
Introduced the Mark-7 tripod for the professional market and started enjoying good reputation from commercial photographers. And established Taiwan third factory Shun Ma Sheng Enterprise Co., Ltd. in Pington Prefecture.
- Established Velbon Zhongshan Co., Ltd. at Zhongshan City, Guangdong, China.
- CAD system into R&D dept. in order to be efficient.
Unified two Taiwan factories into Shun Ma Sheng Enterprises Co., Ltd.
Launched Mountain Chaser with S.R.C. method which divides gear-elevator into two sections for the first time in the world and has been enjoying bursting popularity. S.R.C method is patented.
- Launched ultra-light weight Carmagne640 which combines carbon fibre and magnesium, and raised revolution into tripod industry in terms of material.
- Launched QRA-635(Quick Shoe) made from magnesium, and has been enjoying a big success.
- Introduced 3-dimension CAD system into R&D dept. in order to plan to reinforce development of products. This enables us to design in various/detailed way by expedition and intensity.
Launched magnesium-panhead, and changed the aspect of concept of conventional tripods by assembling magnesium-panhead and carbon-fibre tripod. This combination realized extremely light-weight tripods.
- Delegated sales rights of USA to HAKUBA USA INC. and liquidated Velbon International Corporation.
- Launched a number of magnesium-made accessories continuously and enjoyed good reputation in markets. Owing to these results, we reached the stage which other tripod-manufacturers have been experiencing difficulties to catch up.
Introduced Trunnion Shaft System(Patent No.6536723) at Photokina2000 and presented a MAXi343E to Mr. Herbert Keppler, Vice President and Chief Editor of Popular Photography Magazine, and collected significant attention worldwide.
- Launched MAXi343E which boasts of Trunnion Shaft System into markets.
- Launched NeoCarmagne830&840 which adopt Inner-Jut-Pipe system(Patent No.6830227) and magnesium-made PH-285 into markets. Inner-Jut-Pipe system prevents carbon legs from unwanted turning when locking or loosening. Inner-Jut-Pipe system is patented.
- Built office and moved Headquarters from Shinjuku to Nogata.
- Launched MAXi347GB which boasts of Trunnion Shaft System into markets. Its panhead(PHD-31Q) is uniquely designed as 4-way which provides photographers with optimum shooting conditions for strobe lights.
- Introduced ULTRA MAXi which adopts state-of-the-art, Direct-Contact-Pipe system, for 5-section legs at Photokina. Folded length, 35cm, realizes amazing extended height, 155cm.
- Launched ULTRA MAXi into markets. Direct Contact Pipe System(PAT. No. 6761501), Trunnion Shaft System, 4-Way Panhead(Patent No.6644871), Compact Storage (Patent No.6712322) Unbelievable Extension Ratio of 4.4:1 Only Velbon could achieve such an amazing performance!
- Launched ElCarmagne430,440,530,540,630 and 640 into Japanese market and has been enjoying good reputation because of flip-lock system.
- Launched ULTRA MAXiF and ULTRA LUXiF into markets. These new ULTRA series are capable of functioning low-angle.
Launched newly designed two-handle magnesium panheads of PHD-51Q and PHD-61Q, ball socket heads of QHD-41Q, QHD-51Q, QHD-61Q and QHD-71Q.
- Celebrated 50th anniversary of Velbon.
- NeoCarmagne640A received the award at the biggest photography show in China, Beijing P&E Show.
- Established a joint corporation(Zhongshan Baozhan Co., Ltd.) in Zhongshan City. The purpose was to advance to other type of business.
- Introduced the device of analysis for Fluorescence X ray to react to environment issues in earnest.
Received the title of famous brand from Guangdong local government.
- Started Velbon Photo Club.
- NeoCarmagne645A received the award at the biggest photography show in China, Beijing P&E Show for two successive terms.
NeoCarmagne840S received the award at the biggest photography show in China, Beijing P&E Show for three successive terms.
Introduced “CUBE” as mini tripod for traveling.
Increased the capital by US$50,000 at Velbon Zhongshan Co., Ltd.
Introduced middle size, “UT-63Q”, which has amazing, incredible ratio of expansion/contraction. This feature enables overwhelming storage capability.
Worked with Coleman and introduced collaboration-models to markets.
- Increased the capital by US$20,000 at Velbon Zhongshan Co., Ltd.
- A Joint venture company is established for the purpose of producing Magnesium Alloy parts in Zhongshan City.(Yi Guang Magnesium Tech Limited)
- Moving the location and expanding the space of factory for both Velbon Zhongshan Co., Ltd and Zhongshan Baozhan Co.,Ltd.
- Celebrated 60th anniversary of Velbon.
- Establishement of Velbon Myanmar Co., Ltd, in the city of Yangon, Myanmar.
- Nominated as an exclusive distributor of Australia's tripod maker, Miller Camera Support.