Nikonos V – The Ultimate Amphibious Camera


I’m proudly presenting here a review of a super-amazing camera: The Nikonos V. The Nikonos V is an amphibious non-reflex 35 mm camera. It’s ‘V’ (five) because it’s the fifth of its series, in which, by the way, you should check the four previous versions, they’re very cute.

The name Nikonos must be a play on words between Mykonos (the Greek island) and Nikon, but I’m not so sure about that. However, it’s the first camera I ever bought; I was 16 and I was looking for a good underwater camera. Yes, I started photography through underwater photography (check the Lomo Tip: “underwater Holga”).

Image from Morio from Wikimedia Commons

I always loved being in the water, every summer I go to 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 to 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 (whew, I know, 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.

This article was written by Community member stouf. Share your underwater shots taken with the Nikonos V to the Community by uploading them to your LomoHome!

written by stouf on 2008-11-07 #gear #people #macro #underwater #35mm #review #nikon #non-reflex #nikonos


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

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

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

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

  3. lucasjakobsson
    lucasjakobsson ·

    are those dolphins in picture 43? really great review!

  4. anarchy
    anarchy ·

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

  5. stouf
    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...

  6. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    greaaaaaattttttt gallery!!

  7. gimmedanegatives
    gimmedanegatives ·

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

  8. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

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

  9. chaweemek
    chaweemek ·

    amazing gallery!!

  10. bigbobbaboo1
    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??????????

  11. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

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

  12. jaalvarez
    jaalvarez ·

    Wonderful, as ussual !!


  13. hewzay
    hewzay ·

    Great nudibranch pics!

  14. matej_mjaw
    matej_mjaw ·

    Introduction and evolution of Nikonos >…

  15. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    I'm in love!

  16. mattlongstaff
    mattlongstaff ·

    Mega jealous of your underwater escapades!

  17. paulili
    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?

  18. stouf
    stouf ·

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

  19. emperornorton
    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.

  20. megzeazez
    megzeazez ·

    Beautiful shots

  21. wendyraeann
    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?)

  22. stouf
    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 : )

  23. jetnz81
    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

  24. stouf
    stouf ·

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

  25. jetnz81
    jetnz81 ·

    @stouf Thanks ^^

  26. segata
    segata ·

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

  27. kmara
    kmara ·

    nice pics!!!

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