Nikonos V – 88/99

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Japan 1984 – Submarine – 35 mm – Infrequent.

Nikonos is a series of 35 mm format cameras specifically designed for underwater photography launched by Nikon in 1963.

While Nippon Kogaku trace their underwater camera history back to 1956, when the company developed an underwater housing for the Nikon S2 rangefinder camera, the Nikonos is the first attempt to build a camera natively designed to be used underwater.

The early cameras were improvements of the Calypso camera, which was an original design by captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. All Nikonos models had rugged construction, simple controls and were waterproof to 50 m. They immediately became immensely popular with both amateur and professional underwater photographers.

Just like every control on the camera, the Nikonos Nikkor lenses use two knobs to facilitate focus and aperture operation with gloved hands. Focus distance is set with an over-sized dial mounted on the left side of the lens barrel, and the aperture is set with a dial mounted on the right.

Production stopped early 2000s to the disappointment of many fans, making Mr. Tetsuro Goto, the Director of Laboratory Research and Development at Nikon say on the future of Nikonos: “personally I think the Nikonos will be reborn in the future.”

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