Exploring the Nikonos V: A Comprehensive Review of the All-Weather Camera

2024-04-20 10:39:53

Nikonos seems like a camera that would be more appropriately called an “underwater camera” rather than an “all-weather camera.” In the first place, its origin was a camera launched by a French company that handled equipment related to diving, and its use was often linked to diving, taking advantage of its water resistance of 50 meters.

Of course, it was often used for mountain photography and other photography in bad weather, but it can be said that it is a specialized 35mm camera for basic underwater photography. By the way, the name of the camera before its release by Nikon was “Calypso”. Personally, it reminds me of the beautiful South Sea. Although this may not be the reason, the foreign version of the second generation Nikonos II was sold for a while under the name “Calypso/Nikkor”.

240416_NikonosV_01“Nikonos V” equipped with the “LW Nikkor 28mm F2.8” lens for use in athletics. This combination is best when shooting in snow, rain or dusty conditions. By the way, the optical system of this lens is said to be the same as that of Nikon E series 28mm F2.8 lens.

As for Nikonos, the first model of the “Nikonos” series was released in 1963, followed by “Nikonos II” in 1968, “Nikonos III” in 1975, “Nikonos IV” in 1980 and the last model of the Nikonos series, the Nikonos V, which we will introduce here, was released in 1984. This series of Nikonos can be divided into two styles: Nikonos/Nikonos II/Nikonos III, which inherit the rounded style of the Calypso body, and Nikonos IV/Nikonos V, which have Nikon’s unique style. None of these cameras are equipped with a rangefinder or other similar device, and focus is determined by eye.

By the way, the same underwater camera “Nikonos RS” was released in 1992, but since it has a different structure and history, as if it were an AF single-lens reflex camera with a mount different objective, I will not talk about it here.

What caught the eye when the Nikonos V was released was that it allowed manual exposure shooting in addition to TTL aperture-priority AE. In the previous model, Nikonos IV, we switched from manual exposure only to TTL aperture priority (1/90 second and B can be selected), but some users still think this is not practical. It seems there aren’t many. Personally, I wasn’t very interested in Nikonos IV at the time. The maximum shutter speed for manual exposure on the Nikonos V is 1/1000 second and the minimum shutter speed is 1/30 second.

Of course, the body structure with an opening/closing rear cover (until Nikonos III required the effort of removing the main body from the outside to change films) and the 40mm eyepiece viewfinder were inherited of Nikonos IV. The viewfinder is equipped with an LED shutter speed display function and a frame for the W Nikkor 35mm F2.5. Another feature was that you could choose the exterior color and you could choose from two colors: orange and moss green. Looking at the current second hand market, there are an overwhelming majority of orange Nikonos, so it seems the same color was popular.

Another point to note about this model is that the production period was long, 17 years until 2001. This is proof that this is an easy-to-use and easy-to-use underwater camera. very complete. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price at the end of the model was 101,000 yen excluding taxes (W Nikkor 35mm F2.5 included).

240416_NikonosV_02“Nikonos V” is the fifth generation of the Nikonos series. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price including the W Nikkor 35mm F2.5 was 101,000 yen excluding tax. Also, you might think that the lens is installed in the opposite direction in the posted photo, but in actual use, it’s easier to see the aperture value and distance scale when facing that direction.

Personally, I acquired this camera at the end of 1994. The goal was to photograph the Ocean Dome, a large indoor swimming pool that had just opened in the city of Miyazaki, for an in-flight interview in a magazine. airline specializing at the time in regional flights. The color I chose was moss green. The only lens I prepared was the included W Nikkor 35mm F2.5. Looking back on it now, I bought it for just one photo shoot without thinking much about the future or depreciation, because even though it had popped, personally, I was still hanging out on the bubble a bit.

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In addition to its large size, the pool was also known for producing waves large enough for surfing, and the idea was to aim for these waves from inside the pool. In fact, the results were excellent and I still remember the client’s delight as I was able to take photos that were exactly what I wanted, which would never have been possible poolside. After that, I took it with me to fish, which was my hobby at the time, and used it for shooting in snow and rain, but gradually began to use it less often and I exchanged it because I had another camera that I needed more of. Now that I think about it, I think I did something unnecessary.

240416_NikonosV_03Shutter speed can now be set between B (bulb) and 1/90 second, as well as between 1/30 second and 1/1000 second. The shutter dial has a large diameter so that it can be easily operated even with gloves, taking into account underwater photography. The red R is for unlocking when rewinding the film.

About 10 years ago, I acquired the Nikonos V again. It was for the irrational reason that I first acquired the “LW Nikkor 28mm F2.8”, a country-specific lens for Nikonos, on an overseas auction site, and now I really wanted the camera itself. I bought one cheaply from a used camera store I know, and as I mentioned above, the color I chose was orange. The Nikonos pictured here is one such individual.

Moreover, the viewfinder of the Nikonos V does not have a frame compatible with 28 mm, but as the entire visible area is approximately equivalent to 28 mm, there is no reason to think that there is a defect fundamental in shooting.

240416_NikonosV_04The viewfinder has a 35mm frame for terrestrial use. The eye point is 40mm long, allowing you to see everything in the viewfinder without vignetting, even when wearing glasses. Shutter speed LED displayed in field of view

Speaking of layouts, I found this device extremely simple to use, with all the minimum functions needed to take photos in a simple format. Even if the focus is appreciated with the naked eye, it will not be a problem if you stop a little, and above all, since it is a film, a slight lack of focus will not will not be a problem. Another advantage of this camera is that you can clearly see every corner of the viewfinder even if you wear glasses.

Even though it’s late, I thought it would be interesting to see a digital camera come out that followed this style, and most importantly, as a Nikon fan, I’m happy to see the return of the “Nikonos” name. . What do you think ?

240416_NikonosV_05Needless to say, he uses a Nikonos mount. It has a unique mount type that makes it difficult to attach and remove the lens at first glance. The installed photometry system is TTL center-weighted aperture metering. Light passing through the lens is reflected by a reflector which also serves as a shutter curtain, and the light is measured by an SPD placed at the top of the body .

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