I started to think about buying a Nikonos-V about five years ago. I am generally a bit rough with my equipment and from what I read this amphibious camera does not only work under water but seemed to be able to handle my way. It still took a while till I actually found one where price and condition matched my expectations. And then it came: red (I actually would have prefered the green version), chunky and more like the toy camera I bought for my oldest son. But much more heavy, solid and better built. Although its simplicity would almost allow children to handle it.
Photos of my Nikonos-V
The Nikonos-V is a great camera. It is ment to work underwater what means under very different circumstances than most of my other cameras. Focusing and aperture are adjusted by the silver and black screw things at the sides of the lense and can only be checked when you look directly at the lense. A perspective photographers only very rarely chose. Handling is easy and one of the realy great things is that you can see the focuse range instantly when you change the aperture. It may sound odd and I first thought I would get not a single photo in focus without a rangefinder mechanism but it is easy and works very well.
In Aperture priority you get the appropriate exposure time shown in the viewfinder. Under or over exposure show in form of arrows. Very simple. The viewfinder allows you to look through it even with a diving mask. What means, looking through it with glasses on land works well too.
The Nikonos has the size of an average rangefinder but is much heavier. More of an advantage than a disadvantage I think because she is very stable in your hands.
No camera is perfect and this one is no exception. It would be great to see the chosen distance from above and distance and apperture in the viewfinder because it would make things even easier. Loading film takes (at least me) a lot more time than with other cameras. And the electronics (which are responsible to display the aperture time in the viewfinder) don´t work untill the camera is loaded with film and ready to take the first photo. Something that took me a while to understand.
Photos taken with my Nikonos-V
I was extremely surprised when I saw the results of my first test role. It was a very sunny day and most of the shots were taken against the sun. But the look of the photos seems to be very characteristic. With its red leathering it gets hardly overlooked but in general it is a great camera for street photography and very silent.
Production Time: 1984 - 2001
Depth at which it is water pressure-resistant: 50 m
Lense mount: Nikonos mount
Viewfinder and frame lines: Inverted Galilean-type Albada finder (for use with standard 35 mm lens); Approx. 0.55x magnification; finder coverage approx. 85%
Coupled exposure meter
Film speed: ISO 25 to 1600 (set manualy)
Power supply: Two 1.55 V SR44 silver-oxide batteries, or two 1.5 V LR44 alkali-manganese batteries
Battery check: Exposure indication LED in the viewfinder lights up to indicate correct battery installation and sufficient battery power when shutter release button is pressed halfway down
Size: 146 x 99 x 58 mm (Body alone) and 146 x 99 x 74 mm (with 35 mm f/2.5 lens)
Weight: 700 g (Body alone, without the batteries)
Price I payed: EUR 130 (body, lense and some extra things in near mint condition)