The macrophage network (white blood cells) of the intestinal villi
Image of Distinction, 2019 Photomicrography Competition
Caleb Dawson

Nikon’s Small World

Celebrating over 45 years of images captured by the light microscope.

Nikon’s Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. The Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography. The video competition, entitled Small World In Motion encompasses any movie or digital time-lapse photography taken through the microscope.

The 2020 Competitions Are Now Closed

We will begin collecting entries for the 2021 competitions soon.

Photomicrography Competition

The Nikon Small World Competition first began in 1975 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines.

Browse the Photo Galleries

Video Competition

In 2011, Nikon announced that it would begin accepting movies taken through the microscope as a new category in the 37th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. This new category, titled Small World in Motion, encompasses any movie or digital time-lapse photography taken through the microscope and adds a new, distinct discipline to the competition.

Browse the Video Galleries

Small World News

Nikon Instruments Announces Judging Panel For The 46th Nikon Small World Competition

The expert judges will evaluate thousands of microscopy entries from around the world to choose a select group of winners.

Browse News Archives


Free Virtual Meeting Backgrounds

We’ve curated a selection of winning imagery to serve as backgrounds for your virtual meetings. Feel free to download your favorite backdrops and use on your next video conference call.

Browse Available Backgrounds

Masters of Microscopy

The scientists, artists, researchers, educators and everyday curious individuals who uncover the fascinating microscopic world around us. In our latest edition, ten-time Small World winner Dr. Nancy Kedersha discusses the art and science of sample preparation.

Learn More


Nikon's MicroscopyU website features technical support and timely information about all aspects of optical microscopy, photomicrography, and digital imaging.

Visit MicroscopyU

Nikon Instruments

Nikon Instruments is a leader in microscope-based optical and imaging technologies for the life sciences and part of the Nikon Healthcare Business Division.

Visit Nikon Instruments