Keep in mind that the Nikonos V is a discontinued product:
Originally Posted by photobum
You can purchase a new NikV body for $400, or used (from B&H) for $250. A 35mm lens should set one back about $50.
Here are some things to consider--
DOF is a big deal in UW photo. If you are in the pool, you will be moving unless you weight your self down. Even then bouyancy will mean your arms are moving. So, you need fast shutter speeds. Your subjects are moving. So, you have fast shutter speeds and you will have problems making critical focus, so you can't really shoot wide open. Also, you will be using equipment you are not familiar with (and is not fast to use anyway) So, you will likely be using fast film and shooting zone focus.
You may think that MF would allow for better quality, but under these conditions, the lower DOF will likely hurt you. UW photographers are happy with digital (crazy people) in part because the sensors are smaller, so they are using shorter focal length lenses and getting more DOF.
The advantage of a housed camera is that you can adjust focus. With MF, it will be slow, though.
Now, here is where it can get tricky. The focus distance shifts above water and below for the 35mm lens. I.e. if you set your lens to focus at 3' above the water, it may be only 2' underwater. So, if you are moving above/below the water, this will be a problem.
Keep in mind that a NikV (and a Sea and Sea, I believe) is a viewfinder camera--not a rangefinder. You set the focus on the lens and shoot. Given the focus shift for a 35mm lens underwater, this can be fun.
When I have used my NikV in the pool, I used 400 speed film and shot bascially zone focus. You could probably get by with 100 speed, but I was going for maximum number of in-focus shots.
So, here are recommendations
1) A Nikonos camera with a 35mm lens. This is a really nice lens for sharpness. Underwater it acts more like a 50mm lens.
2) A Nikonos camera with a 20mm lens. This will allow you more DOF and more good shots underwater. Keep in mind, the 20mm is *only* usable underwater. It is also a lot more money (like almost 10x used).
3) you can find a Nikonos IV for cheaper than a NikV. The reason is that you don't have manual control. This makes for a nice canoe/kayak camera as well as a pool-camera, but is limiting.
4) A Nik III is all-manual. They can be had somewhat cheaper than a NikV.
5) The Nik II is even cheaper. There are rumored to be some problems with the design, so it can be difficult to work with.
An option are the "Sea and Sea" line of cameras. These are fixed lens cameras (but you can get attachments for the lenses to make them more WA, if you like). One of the great bargains out there is the "Hanimex Amphibian". This is basically the first Sea-and-Sea under a different name. You can find these for under $50 (and often under $30). They are basically a point-and-shoot type camera built into a dedicated housing.
Hope some of this may help.
Nik II are great thingies!
The only thing to have in mind is the uneven frame spaces you will get, and a upgrade of the flash connector if you itend to use one. Apart that they are almost undestructable.
Flash is a real need underwater, even at a modest depth.
I love the Nik IV, which tends to be very affordable. So far I have not had much trouble zone focusing with it underwater. The theory I have heard is that your underestimation of distance due to maginification offsets the focus shift. If you are not used to zone focusing it can make you nervous. Got some decent pictures with it snorkeling last summer, which I would post if I hadn't had to do the color correction digitally (the water was brownish, which I had not expected). Haven't been deeper with it yet, due to a series of problems that have kept me from diving. I don't miss being able to set shutter speeds under water, as I can usually make a decent guess as to when it is getting low. At snorkeling depths - 400 ISO, f/8, and be there. Deeper, use flash.
The earlier Niks are smaller, lighter, and more able to endure damage due to the absence of electronics.
There were also some cheaper medium format underwater cameras back in the 50s, though they tend to be harder to find. They are basically just underwater Brownies, nothing fancy.
I have a Nikonos that I use just for shooting in the rain or here in Arizona dust storms and the like. With the improvements in 35mm film I am unsure about the need for MF or LF gear for underwater shooting. In the mid 60's I saw a housing for a Press Camera, I think it was Graphic with a roll film back.
Niikonos V is Far FAAAAR Cheaper and Easier to come buy for underwater film.
Aquatica made an RZ67 under water housing for 6x7 format RZ Pro II cameras with the RZ Auto Winder installed,
One is listed for sale out of the 50 ever made, see parts list below: offered by Mauricio Handler of NatGeo Fame and association.
Aquatica RZ 67 Housing w/ alarm
Flat port for use with Mamiya 110mm lenses
Dome port for use with 37mm and 50mm
4" port extension ring- add to macro port for using 140mm macro lens.
Internal focus rod and gear.
Package price $4750.00 plus shipping.
If you pockets are deep you can contact mauricio handler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I cant afford it otherwise I would buy it just to have it and use it, but then thats probably the main reason I cant afford it at this point.
best of luck.
"Often you will discover in life, that temerity yields little that quiet observation and decisive action can!"
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Hasselblad housings cost more than the camera.... get a nikonos... or better yet a dedicated digital UW shooter. Unless you have lot's of cash.
Site looks half dead from here. Suspect traffic's slowed to a trickle.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
Bear in mind that link was originally posted 5 years ago.
There's some scary-good underwater work by Chuck Davis in the most recent LensWork; apparently it was largely shot with a Contax 645. Maybe that's the sweet spot between the advantages (area) and disadvantages (DOF) of MF for this purpose. IIRC, his underwater housing is a custom job.
My one attempt at shooting underwater with a Sea & Sea camera was seriously humbling.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
I just wish they had a 150-exposure back for the Nikonos V. The 36 exposure limit is seriously limiting.