Home News Nikonos of underwater fame resurfaces. But for what purposes?

Nikonos of underwater fame resurfaces. But for what purposes?

  Nikonos resurfaces. (Image Mike Evans, Panasonic GX8 and Leica DG 12-60mm)
Nikonos resurfaces. (Image Mike Evans, Panasonic GX8 and Leica DG 12-60mm)

Amid all the excitement surrounding the Zeds (as I shall continue to call them), Nikon’s resurrection of the historic Nikonos brand name has gone almost unnoticed. According to Nikon Rumors, the trademark expired ten years ago but the registration has just been re-approved for a wide variety of uses:

“Cameras; optical apparatus and instruments; photographic apparatus and instruments; digital cameras; camera lenses; digital camera lenses; lens filters; rechargeable batteries for cameras and digital cameras; battery chargers for cameras and digital cameras; straps for cameras and digital cameras; caps for camera bodies; computer software; lens caps; camera cases; USB cables; audio video cables; LCD monitor covers; instruction manuals in electronic format; electronic publications.”

The Nikonos range of underwater 35mm cameras was launched 55 years ago in 1963 based on an original design by the underwater maestro and television star, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Belgian engineer Jean de Wouters. In its day, the Nikonos was very popular among underwater photographers right until 2001 when production ceased. There is still a demand for used examples and the camera in the top image was snapped by me at the Bièvres Photo Fair a couple of years ago.

With Nikon’s new interest in mirrorless, could we soon see a new Nikonos? It seems highly likely. 




  1. Hello Mike,

    I missed this story. Very interesting I have a Nikonos V in the loft, not in great nick ( sorry for the pun) It would seem like the obvious thing to do for Nikon as the Nik V was so popular in its analogue hayday both because it was a very good camera and also because it was very small compared to housed underwater cameras. As far as I know all divers using high end cameras these days have to go for housed cameras. A small digital high end underwater camera would be really good. Any chance they would make a panoramic version. Underwater panoramic would be really interesting, I have never seen that done.

    • It’s not an area I’m very familiar with. Even my Swiss chronometers (when I wore such things) never went below 10cm instead of 100m. I Dan see the advantage of an underwater camera for really bad weather, though. I haven’t seen an X-U on the used market but I could be tempted.

  2. Nikon also produced the Nikonos RS a 35mm underwater SLR with interchangable lenses. A wondrous piece of kit I believe, a bit prone to flooding if I remember rightly and extremely expensive as well. Magnums Martin Parr used an Nikonos V for a project on people in the rain so they have been used on land. Big downside is that you have to estimate the distance between you and the subject and set the lens accordingly. They will have to make a lot of changes to the analogue concept to sell it and I suspect they will. The only similarity will be the name I suspect.


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