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Nikonos Underwater Cameras by Nikon

Updated on September 30, 2013

Nikon Set the Standard with the Nikonos Underwater Cameras

For years, Nikon's Nikonos underwater cameras set the standard for underwater photography. Rugged enough to go down to 160 feet and with legendary Nikon quality, Nikonos waterproof cameras were the dream for many scuba divers. Although Nikon stopped manufacturing these cameras in 2001, they remain a great camera for divers and are still popular on the secondary market, where you can buy one at quite reasonable prices. These underwater 35mm film cameras are now a great bargain for anyone wanting a deep water camera without the cost of today's high-end digital cameras.

(Image of Nikonos 5 by Rana on Wikipedia)

Nikonos underwater cameras - Nikonos ii
Nikonos underwater cameras - Nikonos ii

About Nikonos Underwater Cameras

Inspired by Jacques Cousteau's Calypso camera

Jacques Cousteau, the famed French diver and marine explorer, was the visionary behind the Nikonos. Cousteau conceived an underwater camera, the Calypso, that was designed by Jean de Wouters and manufactured by a company in France. Nikon bought the design, made some changes and enhancements, and the Nikonos was born.

The 35 mm film camera was launched by Nikon in 1963 and became extremely popular with both amateur and professional underwater photographers.

The Nikonos I was released in 1963, followed by the Nikonos II in 1968 and the Nikonos III in 1975. In 1980, Nikon completely redesigned the camera. The Nikonos IV-A, released in 1980, included a through through-the-lens (TTL) light meter with automatic exposure. The final model, the Nikonos V, was released in 1984, and Nikon continued manufacturing it through 2001.

(Nikonos II image by Craig Wilson on Wikipedia

It's Not a Nikonos, But... - Nikon's new camera is the world's first rugged ILC

Although they're no longer producing the Nikonos 35mm film cameras, Nikon is now making digital underwater cameras. The AW-100 compact underwater camera was their first foray back into the waterproof game, and now they've introduced an underwater ILC in the Nikon 1 line.

Nikon 1 AW1 14.2 MP HD Waterproof, Shockproof Digital Camera System with AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 and AW 10mm 1 NIKKOR Lenses (Black)
Nikon 1 AW1 14.2 MP HD Waterproof, Shockproof Digital Camera System with AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6 and AW 10mm 1 NIKKOR Lenses (Black)


- Water-proof, Shock-proof, Freeze-proof: ruggedly built for reliable and comfortable outdoor operation. Water-proof to a depth of 33 feet.

- Shockproof if dropped from 5 ft, operating temperature down to 14 degrees F

- 16 effective megapixel CMOS sensor ideal for low light shooting and fast operation

- GPS and e-Compass functions

- Points of Interest (locations, landmarks, etc.) and location information (latitude and longitude) can be added to your photos

- Full HD (1080p) movie with stereo sound and movie-record button that enables one-touch recording (HDMI mini connector equipped)


Nikonos underwater cameras set the standard in underwater photography for years

eBay is a great place to shop for used Nikon Nikonos underwater cameras online. You can often find the Nikonos V with a lens for about $200, and you can pick them up with flashes and other accessories for not much more. Just be sure to buy from a seller that has good ratings and you can get a great deal. Here are some of the current items on eBay listed for Nikonos. This section can only show 5 items at a time, so if you don't see what you're looking for, just click any of the items below to find more Nikonos listings on eBay.

Sealife Digital Underwater Camera Goes Deeper Than the Nikonos - If you prefer a digital camera...

Although the Nikonos set the standard for years, digital photography is rapidly replacing film cameras, and this includes underwater cameras, too. Sealife now makes a 14-megapixel digital camera that can go deeper than the Nikonos ever could, down to 200 feet. For more information, see this SeaLife DC 1400 review on

SeaLife DC1400 14MP HD Underwater Digital Camera Waterproof up to 200 ft. (60m)
SeaLife DC1400 14MP HD Underwater Digital Camera Waterproof up to 200 ft. (60m)

Product description: The SeaLife's DC1400 14-megapixel camera combines diver-friendly design and six underwater color modes for sharp, colorful photos and HD video - underwater or on land. The SeaLife DC1400 is the easiest digital camera to use underwater, EVER. The camera features five widespread "piano key" controls, a large shutter button and a fingertip-control lever that allows scrolling through menus or zooming in and out without releasing your grip from the camera.


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