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  1. #21
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    I started with a Nikonos 1, very strong camera, I dropped off a pier and it fell about 15ft to the rocks. A ding on one side( only small) and the counter no longer functioned.
    I now have a 111 but rarely dive these days so it gets little use, stillnice to have when going to the beach etc.
    One thing to remember is that the 28mm is only for UW use where the more commonly found 35mm will work for both above and under water.
    The 28mm obviously the go if you plan to do a lot of UW work, sharper and better contrast, mor DOF too.
    Tony

  2. #22
    Marco Gilardetti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Bellayr View Post
    A used model should be cla'd (and serviced more often than a reg. camera due to the rough treatment and seals)
    That's okay but, more specifically, did anyone ever had problems with water leaks into the body (or the lenses perhaps)? Are there series or details of construction to double check before buying?
    I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
    (Tristan Tzara, 1922)

  3. #23
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Hi Marco, never had a leak problem with my 1 or 111, just check that the rubber O rings are still pliable and that they are kept well greased with O ring grease. I actually use fishing reel grease as it is the same but much cheaper.
    The models 1 through to 111 actually seal better the deeper you go, it's a great design, very rugged. I have no experience with the 1V or V, they are a total redesign.
    Tony

  4. #24
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Marco,

    here are some tips on floods--
    http://subaquaticcamera.com/flood.html

    This is good because it includes an indication of when a camera needs a CLA--
    "Your best indicator of need for annual service is the equipment itself; does your Nikonos III or V have a slow return on the film advance?"

    If you can test the camera yourself--i.e. you aren't mail ordering--bring an ice-chest with you. Fill it with water and gently dump the camera in. Check for bubbles.

    As to the causes of floods, Dan lists "lack of CLA" first and "maintanence" as second. I would reverse Dan Blodget's list. Probably the #1 cause of floods is maintanence.

    Note that many (many) Nikonos cameras have a CLA much more rarely than they annual suggestion. I know of one pro who basically doesn't do it--or does it more like every 5 years.

    If you are using the camera in salt water, maintanence is key. You must make sure the camera is cleaned every day. If you are doing multiple dives in a day, keep the camera wet (in a bucket) or at least damp (wrap in a wet towel) between dives. You do not want salt crystals forming on sealing-surfaces.

    When you change film, be manic about keeping the O-rings clean.

    At night, soak the camera to leach out the salt. Clean the seals you can get to. Use lint-free cloths and q-tips (I use cleanroom quality stuff). If not, be sure you look for those fibers the cloth or q-tip can leave behind.

    As to doing a CLA on a recent purchase or annually--currently, an annual CLA is about $140. A used camera is about $200-250 (eBay). I have to imagine that Dan isn't getting as many Nikonos cameras in as in the past. At some point, you are better off risking the camera another year or two than doing a CLA. Of course, this doesn't take into account losing the film roll on a dive and the camera for a whole trip.

    Here is my experience with my camera--

    I purchased a used NikV a long while back. It was 5-10 years old and had never seen a CLA (I know this because I was there when Dan Blodget took it apart and it still had the factory grease). It had a bit of corrosion on the wind mechanism--there was a tiny leak in that O-ring. So, the CLA was a good thing. The wind mechanism was going to break in the next year or so.

    I later flooded a camera by using the wrong O-ring grease. This was a bad-maintanance issue on my part. This left me without a camera on a week long trip--possibly my last to Chuuk.

    As you get into more wide angle stuff, it is the lens, not the camera, that is the major risk in a flood. A 35mm lens might be $50, but a 20mm is more like $400. A 15mm is more like $1,000.

    By the way, the third cause of flooding is jumping into the water with your camera--be gentle! The shock of hitting the water can bump the seals and cause a leak.

    If you are worried about a used camera, check Backscatter in Monterey
    http://www.backscatter.com

    they have a NikV FOR $350--Ii was probably serviced by Subaquatic. Add a 35mm lens for $50 and you have a start. Or, the NikIV is even cheaper. ($300). With the IV, you lose some manual capability.

    Or, you can go eBay for $200-250 and add a CLA (and possible repairs).

    Start asking why you want the camera. If you want a camera for above water (bad weather, near ocean, etc.), there are only 2 lenses: 35mm and 80mm. I have never seen the 80mm except in a glass case in a camera shop. Underwater, add a factor of 1.5 to the focal length. The 28mm, 20mm and 15mm are only for underwater use. Because of this, they are likely better corrected.

    Keep in mind that the Nikonos is a viewfinder camera--not a rangefinder. You guess at distance and set the focus. Because of this, wide angle is your friend. Wide angle buys you more DOF. The number of keepers goes up dramatically when you go from a 35mm to a 20mm lens, just based on focus.

    Matt
    Last edited by MattCarey; 03-02-2007 at 12:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #25
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Gilardetti View Post
    That's okay but, more specifically, did anyone ever had problems with water leaks into the body (or the lenses perhaps)? Are there series or details of construction to double check before buying?
    Check the Subaquatic site--there is an issue with the III (and possibly the I and II as well).

    http://subaquaticcamera.com/opennikIII.html

    The way the case is opened on the III can stress the body of the camera and crack it. The IV and V have a door for film loading, so this isn't an issue there.

    In looking for a V, I would open the battery and sync port covers to look for leaks. As I recall, these are a weak point. Bring some junk rolls of film and put them through the camera--just to check the transport. Winding and rewinding will give you some idea of whether there have been leaks in those seals (which you can't easily check).

    Take the lens off and look inside for any water spots.

    Work the focus and f-stop mechanisms on the lens. Look through the lens for any evidence of water in the past. Since it is a viewfinder camera, you need to take the lens off for this, and you won't see it through the viewfinder (I know that is obvious, but it is exactly the kind of mistake I would make).

    If you can, test the strobe--plug in a strobe to the socket and see that the camera fires it.

    If you can do a water-dunk test, do this with the strobe in place. One sign of a small leak is that the strobe fires on its own. I.e. you will see the strobe flash at random times due to the water.

    Last suggestion--send an email to the guys at Subaquatic. Ask them for advice. They have been great guys to me in the past. Also, they used to do a training class at Backscatter in Monterey. If you get a chance to do that, it is worth it. If not, ask them for the maintanence instructions. It is worth it.

    Matt

  6. #26
    Marco Gilardetti's Avatar
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    Matt, thank you, your reply was extremely informative. Unfortunately, since 9/11, dealing with the States has become a postage nightmare and I will most probably have to go on eBay and cross my fingers.

    What do you think about long term's maintenance of these cameras? Are the replacement parts and seals still manufactured/supported?
    I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
    (Tristan Tzara, 1922)

  7. #27
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco Gilardetti View Post
    Matt, thank you, your reply was extremely informative. Unfortunately, since 9/11, dealing with the States has become a postage nightmare and I will most probably have to go on eBay and cross my fingers.

    What do you think about long term's maintenance of these cameras? Are the replacement parts and seals still manufactured/supported?

    Sorry for the late response--I didn't see this post.

    Most of the seals should be made for a long time--they are just O-Rings. Other parts..well, the NikV is a lot like the FE (I have both)--a basic electronic camera. This doesn't mean that the boards are interchangeable. The electronics boards are going to get scarce. Given the environment of an UW camera, I would expect the NikV stuff to get scarce sometime in the future. When? I don't know.

    Matt

  8. #28

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    Why NO D-Nikonos & the importance of lube.

    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke View Post
    Why Nikon never made a d-Nikonos is a mystery to me. Pros abandoned the series when they realized they could get 600 shots without having to surface. Putting a 1D into a proper housing is a lot of mass&bulk to be moving around underwater though
    Because all housings leak, not if, but when. In the film days, people knew this & used mechanical cameras which could be rescued after flooding.

    Now, when a digital camera floods, Nikon gets to sell a new $3,000.00 Digital.

    Like we've learned from the banks, they don't have to care, only we do.

    I used to S.C.U.B.A. dive & own 3-III's. When I rented a V for a special shoot, I found that the rental company didn't lube the o-rings, before sending the camera out. I did, I used the camera with no problems.

    When I returned the camera I inquired about the lack of lube & how many Nikoni, they had gone through. They said, they didn't rent them much, but it was funny, that each time they rented them out, they came back flooded & destroyed, so they didn't want to rent them anymore.

    I explained to them why & had them look at the Nikonos V instruction manual, about lubing the lens & film cover o-ring seals.

  9. #29
    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    As I said before, I do use a II. Still the same O-rings than when it leaved the factory back in 1971 and no leaks since then.
    Regular lube and that's fine.
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

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