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Nikonos V – The Ultimate Amphibious Camera

The Nikonos V is an amphibious non-reflex 35mm camera. I’m proudly presenting here a review of a super-amazing camera: The Nikonos V. It’s ‘V’ (five) because it’s the fifth of its series (btw you should check the four previous versions, they’re very cute…). Nikonos must be a play on words between Mykonos (the Greek island) and Nikon… But I’m not so sure about that… It’s the first camera I ever bought; I was 16, and looking for a good underwater camera. Yes, I started photography by underwater photography (check the lomotip: “underwater Holga”)…

I always loved being in the water, every summer I’m going in a Greek Island called Alonissos (check the lomolocation about it), joining the same group of friends who also love playing in the water… We use to play all together beneath the surface, and sometimes it was so beautiful that I thought: “I should have pictured this”. So, I bought a Nikonos V.

The Nikonos V has just a cell to calculate the good exposure, and the only information you get in the viewfinder is the speed that you should use to obtain a correct exposure. It has big knobs to set the correct aperture and focal distance while you’re wearing diving gloves. You have to evaluate the distance by yourself, but you’re good at this because you’re a lomographer… There’s a funny detail: when you change the aperture, you can see on the objective two little orange marks that are moving. If you close your diaphragm, the two little marks are opening (centered on your focal distance), reversely, if you open your diaphragm, the two little marks get closer… Well these marks are there to show your depth of field! So, without being a reflex, you can play with the depth of field by estimating correctly the distances…

You can add tons of gizmos on your Nikonos V. I have the usual 35mm objective, plus a wide angle (20 mm) converter, also some macro extensions, and a nice strobe (yes, this camera is TTL able, in other words, sets the good flash intensity/shutter speed for you)…
Underwater macro photography is an awesome experience. You just need a lot of light and to be able to hold your breath for a long time… And then, when you process your films (use a sweet slide film such as Velvia 50) you discover details that you couldn’t even see when you were diving…

But it’s an amphibious camera, so you can also use it outside of the water. When I was young, and before I met my dear Horizon Perfekt (that sweet LSI offered me for the 1000th lomolocation), I used to take many shots while rotating my body, that I could then attach together using photoshop (whoooo that’s not lomographic…) to make some big panoramic shots…

I really recommend this camera to any extreme traveler. It’s indestructible and water-proof… You can be shooting under a tropical rain with a big smile… It was perfectly working from the freezing Arctic (-40°C) to the hot Greek sun (+40°C)… In fact I remember seeing it around the neck of a marine soldier once…
Now. Stop thinking. Get one.

written by stouf


  1. vicuna


    Faboulous camera and amazing shots. Great work Stouf!! :))

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  2. superlighter


    stouf! what a fucking fantastic great pictures gallery!!!
    fantastic camera!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  3. lucasjakobsson


    are those dolphins in picture 43? really great review!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  4. anarchy


    Alright!!! Awesome gallery and great review... This is fantastic...!!!!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  5. stouf


    Thanks everyone !
    Yes, picture 43 are dolphins... Sadly underexposed...
    btw, if you are shooting in deep waters take a higher iso film (200 or 400)... It's not like in shallow waters, where the bottom is lighted by the sun...

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  6. mephisto19


    this gallery is so amazing!!!!!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  7. adi_totp


    greaaaaaattttttt gallery!!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  8. gimmedanegatives


    absolutely amazing! so beautiful. maybe i should learn to swim

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  9. cinzinc


    beautiful pictures dude. id really wanna try underwater photography someday.hehe

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  10. chaweemek


    amazing gallery!!

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  11. bigbobbaboo1


    hi i just found that camera in one of my mums old cupboards and have no idea if its a camera in a body or a waterproof camera, or how to open the back or change batteries, and i didn't know u could do panoramic shots??????????
    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  12. falsedigital


    Great shots! I've been wanting this camera for quite some time. Glad to see you're using it well :]

    over 5 years ago · report as spam
  13. jaalvarez


    Wonderful, as ussual !!


    about 5 years ago · report as spam
  14. hewzay


    Great nudibranch pics!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  15. matej_mjaw


    Introduction and evolution of Nikonos > http://imaging.nikon(…)s/index.htm

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. ihave2pillows


    I'm in love!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. mattlongstaff


    Mega jealous of your underwater escapades!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. paulili


    cool, i just get one! horizons and nikonos all you are all set :) where you find the o ring lubricant, or what you use instead of that?
    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. stouf


    @paulili I use a specific silicone grease. You can find it in any dive shop : )

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. emperornorton


    I like to take pictures of the waves coming in. Problem is that I am risking my equipment every time I do and I miss some good shots on the backpedal. So I put the money down to buy one of these.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  21. megzeazez


    Beautiful shots

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  22. wendyraeann


    beautiful! I have been debating if I wanted to get this camera for an upcoming trip to the Florida keys where we will be diving and snorkeling. I have never done UW photography before and was debating a cheap point and shoot, a Sea&Sea (midrange price), or a Nikonos, but I think you just sold me the Nikon! Do you have a filter on your camera for your macro shots? (can you even add filters on these?)

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  23. stouf


    @wendyraeann Thanks! And I'd definitely recommend it : ) For macro photography you have to get 'macro rings', kind of cylinders you attach between the camera body and the lens. You'll also need at least one flash. I guess you could add filters on the standard 35mm lens. But not sure though. Let me know how it went! Cheers : )

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  24. jetnz81


    Woo~ what a Cool underwater film camera ^,^ is it still available to get it from market or Internet? Cos i love diving too~ and just only LCW can i bring during my diving trip, even micro thing totally can't shoot it

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  25. stouf


    @jetnz81 Thanks! Yes, you can find them on e-bay, they're quite cheap! : )

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  26. jetnz81


    @stouf Thanks ^^

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  27. segata


    One camera to definately go on my wanted list, thanks for the article

    over 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.