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A Pictorial History...
The Rangefinder || The Nikonos || Compact Cameras
SLRs -
1959/1979 | 1980/1990 | 1991/1999 | y2k/2003 | 2004 ~

Nikonos RS camera ...

<<--- Credit: Images of the Nikonos III model shown below courtesy of Mr. Dan Kestly| Contact|) . Image copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.
Nikonos RS, 1992-1996

You are probably looking at one of the BEST, if not last of the underwater camera ever designed for underwater photography. It was almost 7 years after the autofocus evolution which began in back in 1985. Nikon has stunned the entire photo community by introducing the world's first TTL autofocus reflex-type underwater camera in January, 1992. It is not just another Nikonos, but can be considered as an entirely new breed of underwater camera as it embodied with almost similar performance of a top grade land-based SLR type and made handling photography underwater easily and assuring as with any of the normal Nikon SLRs. Built with cast aluminum chassis, although bulky in dimension and heavy in weight (2.6kg), but it is a robustly built, rugged camera, A built-in motor driven film transport eliminates any need of manual film advance as with the older Nikonos versions (it handles Auto film loading, auto DX or manual film speed coding, power film rewind is also provided); the AF provides various Focusing Modes which includes Single Servo, Continuous, Freeze Focus, or you can revert back to power manual focus (match needled manual focus), an AF lock is also provided; the oversized finder is a high eye point type, permits the diver to view all the essential information (In focus indication, f stop and shutter speed, exposure compensation, and flash ready indications etc.) even with their mask on for true, direct TTL reflex viewing and compositions.

The exposure control system used in the camera is almost similar to the AF-Nikon F601 with Matrix metered to handle Program AE and other exposure control modes. The Exposure compensation is also a large easy to use knob that it conveniently placed and easy to access and make fine exposure calibration. The working range of the camera has been extended from ASA 25 to 5000 with auto DX coded film or ISO 6-6400 manually. The shutter speed range has been greatly improved from Nikonos V's so-so range of 1/30 to 1/1000 sec to a wide 1 sec. to 1/2000 sec range + a B setting for shooting long time exposure - making it the best performer among all the Nikonos. As artificial illumination is one of the essential feature required when shooting at great depth, through the lens (TTL) flash exposure control has been well taken care of in this fabulous AF-Nikonos. The flash synchronization peaks at 1/125 sec. electronic flash synch, flash exposure control offers matrix metered filled-in flash, second curtain flash sync, normal TTL flash and manual flash control with the special Nikonos RS flash unit, the SB-104 (or other applicable underwater speedlights such as SB-105 etc.). Overall, all the controls in the camera are very well thought out and are designed for easy access and operate underwater even with the gloves on (it even has a illuminated frame counter as well as remote shutter release is available via accessories).

Nikon R-UW 28mm 1:2.8 AF Nikkor for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera Nikon R-UW AF Micro Nikkor 50mm 1:2.8  for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera rear lens mount section rear lens moint sect for Nikon R-UW AF Nikkor lens
Side section view Nikon R-UW AF  Nikkor for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera Side section view Nikon R-UW AF  Nikkor for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera Side section view Nikon R-UW AF  Nikkor for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera Side section view Nikon R-UW AF  Nikkor for Nikonos RS autofocus under water camera

<<<--- Credit: Images courtesy of Mr. JOE (joeswaney| Ebay Contact|). All Images copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers. | CLICK to ENLARGE |

NIkonos R-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 Front NIkonos R-Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 Rear
Credit: Images courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Website URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Dan_KestlyRUW13mm.jpg   Due to autofocus function, Nikon has designed a new breed of underwater AF lense group to supplement the new Nikonos R-UW lens mount. The focal lengths and lens types were a careful and well thought-out scheme which resulted in equally exciting new range of underwater optics emerged along with this camera. Among the series, a 50mm f/2.8 macro that focuses from infinity to 1:1 magnification; the moderate wide 28mm has a close focusing ability for all round photography; an amazing 13mm ultrawide that can also focuses close and provides a stunning extremely wide field of view and Nikon has even produced the world's first true underwater zoom lense, 20~35mm zoom!

The Nikonos RS was widely regarded as the best tool ever designed for underwater photography but at Photokina 1996, Nikon announced the discontinuation of its production due to less than desirable sales to keep its production lines going on. Personally, I don't entirely write off any possibility of a Digital RS version in the future because it is very viable idea to do so...

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Questions, issues & Answer(s)

Download Instruction Manual for Nikonos RS in PDF (External Link)

Other information:

Nikon SB-104 Underwater Speedlight
: - A companion flash for Nikonos RS. It offers TTL flash control, Matrix balanced fill-in flash, and rear curtain flash sync. IT also enables remote wireless triggering; an extremely broad 100 degree dispersion with its powerful GN of 52 (m) with rapid recycling time. It weighs 2.5 kg with the SK-104A vary-angle flash arm, SK-104B flash bracket, SW-104 diffusion screen, TTL synchro cable, and O-rings.
| A Review of this Speedlight is available at the bottom of this page |


SB105XKmotorBSML.JPG SB-105 Nikonos SB-105
Nikon Nikonos SB105 SB-105 sideview SB-105 Control buttons
<<<--- Credit: Images of the SB-105 courtesy of Mrs. Fay MacMillan (XK Motor) from Cylinder Camera | Ebay Contact|) . Images copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.

Nikon SB-105 Underwater Speedlight: - It is an TTL, automatic or manual speedlight that is compatible with Nikonos III, IVa, V, as well as RS (Matrix Balanced Filled-in flash. A remote switch allows for triggering in combination with a second flash via a slave unit.


Type of camera: Integral-motor autofocus, 35mm single-lens reflex underwater camera
Construction: Body made of die-cast copper silumin oxidized aluminum alloy; all joints sealed by O-ring gaskets to ensure an absolute watertight environment; camera able to withstand pressures to a depth of 100m (328 ft.)
Picture format: 24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm film format)
Lens mount: Nikonos R-UW mount
Lens: Dedicated R-UW AF Nikkor lenses having CPU contacts
Viewfinder: Fixed eye level pentaprism High-eyepoint type; offset angle 9°; 0.39x magnification with 28mm lens at infinity; 92% frame coverage; -0.7 diopter; 60mm (2.4 in.) eye point relief
Focusing screen: Fixed Nikon advanced B-type Brite View screen with central focus brackets for autofocus operation
Viewfinder information: The following LCD indications appear: focus indicators, exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, film speed, DX mark, ISO mark, electronic analogue display, exposure compensation mark, over or underexposure alert, ready-light; illuminated while meter is ON
Film speed range: ISO 25 to 5000 for DX-coded film; ISO 6 to 6400 for manual setting
Film speed setting: At DX position, automatically set to ISO speed of DX-code film used; with non-DX-coded film, ISO speed is set manually
Film loading: Film automatically advances to first frame when shutter release button is depressed once
Film advance: Film automatically advances one frame when shutter is released
Frame counter: Additive type; counts back while film is rewinding; illuminated by LED
Film rewind: Automatic when film rewind lever is turned; approx. 25 sec. per 36-exposure roll; stops automatically when film is rewound
Focus modes: Single-Servo or Continuous-Servo autofocus, Power Focus and Freeze Focus
Autofocus detection system: TTL phase detection system using Nikon Advanced AM200 autofocus module
Autofocus detection range: Approx. EV minus 1 to EV 19 (ISO 100)
Autofocus lock: By lightly pressing shutter release button in Single -Servo autofocus
Focus tracking: Automatically activated in Single-Servo and Continuous-Servo autofocus
Electronic rangefinder: Available in Power Focus mode
Exposure metering: Matrix and Centre-Weighted Metering built-in
Exposure meter: Activated by lightly pressing shutter release button; stays on for approx. 16 sec. after finger is lifted off the button
Metering range: EV3 to EV20 (ISO 100)
Exposure modes: Aperture-priority auto (A) and manual (M)
Aperture-priority auto exposure control: Shutter speed automatically set to match manually selectable aperture
Manual exposure control: Both aperture and shutter speed are set manually
Exposure compensation: Possible using exposure compensation dial within ±2 EV range in 1/3 EV steps
Shutter: Electro magnetically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Shutter speeds: Lithium niobate oscillator-controlled speeds from 1/2000 to 1 sec.; electromagnetically controlled long exposure at B setting
Reflex mirror: Automatic, instant-return type
Camera back: Hinged type; opened and locked via camera back lock/release latch; inner camera door is also provided
Flash sync.: 1/30 to 1/125 sec. in A mode, down to one sec. shutter is available in rear-curtain sync; in M mode, shutter fires at speed set, and when set from 1/250 sec. or higher, shutter is automatically set to 1/125 sec.
Flash sync control: Front-curtain sync and rear-curtain sync provided; selected via switch inside body
Flash ready-light: Viewfinder LED lights up when dedicated Nikonos Speedlight is ready to fire; blinks to warn of insufficient light for correct exposure
Power source: One 6V lithium battery pack (CR-P2 or DL223A)
Tripod socket: Located at base plate of camera body; standard 1/4 in. (JIS)
Terminals: Accessory shoe, flash sync socket, remote socket
Dimensions ( W x H x D): 196 x 151 x 85mm
Weight (body only): 2,130g, 920g underwater

Relating the Nikon Underwater Speedlight SB-104:-

" .... First, let’s talk about power. With the exception of the now-discontinued Ikelite SubStrobe 400, the Nikonos SB-104 is the most powerful underwater strobe made. It's designed to light up those things that other weaker strobes struggle to illuminate. Nikon rated it at a guide number of 16 (32 feet UW) at full power at 100 ISO/ASA (compare that to Nikon's 22 feet UW rating for the SB-105). Ikelite’s test procedures came up with a 44 UW GN rating for the SB-104, seen in their chart click here. The only brighter UW strobe weighs over a pound more!

Nikon Uncerwatere Speedlight SB-104.jpg
Speed is impressive, being rated at 3 seconds to recycle from a full discharge with a fully-charged battery. Needless to say, it can recycle faster when using TTL exposures where the strobe doesn't fully discharge. The included rechargeable SN-104 battery unit is rated for up to 120 full-power flashes on a charge, and should get more in normal use when not fired at full power each time.

I've personally tested this battery just before listing and received over 50 full-discharge flashes with recharge in 3 to 4 seconds, another 20 with 5 to 7 second recharges, 40 more taking up to 9 seconds, and it continued flashing long past 120 flashes, although it did take longer than 10 seconds to recycle at the end. Needless to say, this is more than enough capacity for three dives in a day using TTL strobe control without changing batteries. Please see below about the overheating monitoring circuitry that permits the 3-second recharge to work - you can't just pop off more than 30 flashes in a row with no breaks, or the circuitry may overheat. As soon as it's cooled off, you're back to shooting. The strobe has a slave sensor and flash slave mode so you have flexibility to trigger it with another strobe. The included SH-104 quick charger will work anywhere in the world, and it charges one SN-104 in about 2 hours. It will charge two SN-104s at once if your diving schedule requires multiple batteries, although charging time does increase to 4 hours.

SB104 Joe.jpg JoeSB104SMLf.jpg JoeSB104SMLe.jpg
JoeSB104asml.jpg SB-1045 front view Nikon Nikonos SB104
<<<--- Credit: Images of the SB-102 courtesy of Joe Swaney (Home page / Ebay) Images © 2005. All rights reserved.
Next, coverage. The SB-104 is designed to cover a 15mm lens underwater without a diffuser! That really helps eliminate lighting drop-off around the edges of your photographs, and also compensate for a strobe that's not perfectly aligned on your subject. Reliability was improved in all areas. Worried about flooding through the non-user-replacable o-rings on your strobe controls? Not on the SB-104. Nikon eliminated the potential by using magnetic switches for all controls!

There's only one o-ring for the battery and one for the sync cord, and the design was dramatically improved over other strobes–the SB-104 has a full 100-meter, or 328-foot, depth rating. Technical divers, take note! The inside of the SB-104 where the electronics are is inside a sealed compartment that's filled with inert nitrogen gas. The strobe automatically monitors itself for moisture, overheating and proper electronic functioning. What's more the strobe has blinking light alerts on the underside where you'll see them for moisture, overheating from rapid successive firing, and if either of the flash tubes doesn't fire! Exposure control–near perfect! When used with the Nikonos RS, the SB-104 offers matrix-balanced fill flash capability. It also offers full through-the-lens flash control with the Nikonos V and housed cameras with compatible circuitry. Do you prefer manual flash calculations? There are built-in aperture and distance scale charts on the back.

UW-AF MICRO-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 rear view UW-AF MICRO-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 front view UW-AF MICRO-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 vertical view

Credit: A very difficult to find UW AF Micro Nikkor 50mm 1:2.8 lens courtesy of CAMERABOERSE@EBAY® who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The SB-104 is part of an entire system to provide light underwater. Also included are a more robust tray that is perfect for the Nikonos RS, but can also be used with the Nikonos V or IV-A. The standard arm has a handy quick-disconnect button that makes removing your strobe to handhold for that perfect angle a snap. The joint that holds the strobe also has a disconnect pin, making it easy to remove. You can also remove the joint that is used with the SB-104 and use a standard Nikonos joint on the arm to hold an SB-102, SB-103, or SB-105 using this tray and arm! This strobe uses a standard Nikonos sync cord. If you have a Nikonos RS there's a lot more, including rear-curtain flash sync, remote camera activation initiated by another strobe, To sum it up, if you're serious about your underwater photography, you've probably already discovered that lighting is even more critical underwater than above the water. Don't you think it's time you got the best solution made to provide that light while diving? ..." Joe Swaney (You can contact Joe via his home page).

The Rangefinder || The Nikonos || Compact Cameras
SLRs -
1959/1979 | 1980/1990 | 1991/1999 | y2k/2003 | 2004 ~
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|| Index Page || or Back | to 1991-1997

Credit: Images courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Website URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

The Eyes of Nikon:-
Rangefinder RF-Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page | Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page

Nikon Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:-
Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm |
Lenses -
45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm |
Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |
Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm
MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm |
35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm |
100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E


Nikon F
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