Nikinos IV-a

I’ve been looking for this camera for a few years – quite often seeing various models on ebay or depop for greatly inflated prices. Finally, I found one at the right time and the right price!

This is an underwater camera, as made by Nikon between 1980 and 1983. The whole camera is metal, and thus weighs a ton. The design is incredibly robust, no hard edges, and big chunky controls so the camera can be operated underwater with ease. The camera came with a 35mm lens, but there are others available on the market. Although the camera is rated for use at depths of up to 50m, most of the time I’ve had it I’ve only shot on dry land, due to the lack of particularly clear water in my local area.

I’ve run about 3 rolls of film through the camera so far. Both colour rolls were shot on dry land whereas I finally got a chance to take it into the water at Cold Knap in Barry. The water was too dark and silty to get any images under the water, however I was able to get some shots while in the water of the beach, and my girlfriend, without fear of water damage to the camera.

The lens itself is quite unusual. It was designed with underwater use in mind. As you change the aperture value on the lens, you see the red markers moving in order to display the Hyper-focal distance that will be in focus. This is incredibly handy for anyone looking to understand this focusing technique as well as it being an easier way to focus a camera with no rangefinder facility on board.

All in all, the camera has performed perfectly in every situation I’ve put it. The lens, although wider than I usually like to shoot, has been a nice challenge for me to work with. If I had the chance I’d like to try and get the automatic shutters speed function of the camera working.

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