Nikonos III

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The Nikonos III underwater camera from Nikon succeeded the Nikonos II in 1975. This version added a bright-line viewfinder as well sprocket-gear frame spacing (which had been missing from prior Nikonos models). This would be the final model derived from the original French Calypso design inspired by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, although with a slight increase in body size. Its purely mechanical design gives it a reputation for robust reliability.

The standard lens is a Nikkor 35mm f/2.5 with zone focusing and a useful depth of field scale. The version available alongside the Nikonos III has its aperture knob anodized black. Water's higher refractive index affects the behavior of optics: when submerged, the 35/2.5 yields a field of view equivalent to a ~47mm lens on land. The protective planar glass front of the f/2.5 lens permits its use both above and below the surface, which is not true of some of the more specialized underwater-Nikkor lenses.

In 1980, Nikon would start from a "blank slate" and create its own original design, the Nikonos IV-A offering (battery-dependent) autoexposure.


Nikon Cameras