This certainly look like an ET camera based on today's design standard...But it changes the course for some specific area of interest - under the water... (Bigger view is available here.)

Because today the name Nikonos is virtually synonymous with underwater photography, it's difficult to imagine that Nikon in fact was not the world's first maker of underwater cameras.

Before the early 1960s, there were some cameras around that enabled underwater photography, but the choice was limited, to say the least. Perhaps the most restricting factor was the awkward housing needed to protect the equipment from the briny deep. Adding insult to injury, the price of such outfits was astronomical, way out of reach of the average photo-loving diver.

A company from Japan, Nikon Kokagu, changed that.

Jacques Costeau, the famous French oceanographer, had long dreamed of the perfect underwater camera. His company, La Spiro technique, had been engaged for several years researching the means to create one. Somehow, however, the right optics kept eluding them.

Nikon got involved.

Working together in a joint venture, Nikon and Spiro technique announced success in 1961. Sold at first in France under the name of Calypso, this revolutionary camera-the world's first full-fledged underwater camera-went on sale in Japan in 1963 as Nikonos I. And what waves it created. Not only was Nikonos I the most compact underwater camera yet on the market (with no bulky housing), it also could dive as deep as 50m 1 photo) and withstand temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F) all the way.

Nikonos IV-A (Automatic Exposure) boasted the first ever underwater automatic exposure, thereby resolving one of underwater photography' s trickiest problems. You could also load and unload film through the rear cover just as with ordinary cameras, instead of removing the lens.

Divers called in their thanks as well as their suggestions. Nikon listened.

The result:

Nikonos V

More streamlined than ever, with easier operation, brighter viewfinder and more readable data display, and an advanced flash operation (with SB-102 or 103).

If you've ever marveled at the colors and clarity of details in photographs of remote coral reefs or outrageously hued denizens of the deep, chances are you're a Nikonos V fan whether you know it or not. Today, Nikonos V users include not only professional underwater cameramen, but hobbyist divers, snorkels, and sailing enthusiasts, as well as meteorologists (studying the storms that spawn in the seas), ichthyologists and other biologists, oilmen and ocean explorers, to name just a few.

What's next, they wonder. How much better can Nikonos get? Admirers of the underwater world are holding their breath in anticipation as they await the continuing evolution of Nikonos underwater cameras.

Well, enter the 1995.

Nikon surprise everybody by launching the first ever Autofocus Underwater camera with a series of innovative underwater lenses as well.

While the Nikonos V still in hot demand, the RS is a different breed of underwater camera both in design concept and targeted market .

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