As far as cameras go, the Nikonos III underwater setup is pretty much as basic and elementary as it gets – five shutter speeds (1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and B) on the body – apart from the winding mechanism, there are no more moving parts. Depending on which of the six lenses you choose, seven apertures are available (on the 35mm l use – f2.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22).
There’s nothing automatic on this camera, not exposure or focusing; there isn’t even a coupled rangefinder – that, probably the most crucial aspect of photography, is achieved through zone focusing on the lens. Exposure, another fundamental of photography, can be set by either using a separate handheld light meter (I’ve yet to see a waterproof light meter, but I’m sure they exist) or by using the ‘Sunny 16 rule’. Zone focusing and the ‘Sunny 16’ are both one notch above guesswork.
The Nikonos III is not an easy camera to use. So why did I buy one? Firstly, I need a fully waterproof camera, and this is as waterproof as they get. Secondly, I want a hot shoe to attach my GoPro to – stills and video at the same time for those funky point of view YouTube clips. Lastly, aesthetics – the Nikonos III just looks sexy. Simple.
These shots are all from the first roll of film I put through the camera, I used Kodak Ultramax 400.