Author Topic: Nikonos IV-A  (Read 288 times)

Tom Hook

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Nikonos IV-A
« on: December 31, 2021, 21:24:00 »
A friend gifted me his Nikonos IV-A he used back in the day when he was scuba diving recreationally. It has a 35mm 2.5 lens but apparently can use other lenses as well. I have ordered new batteries for it so I hopefully it will work.

I told him I would not do any scuba diving with it but maybe I can play with it in the bathtub, or ducking my head into a babbling brook or even wading out from the beach on a calm day (I am reminded of Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate" sitting peacefully at the bottom of his swimming pool with goggles and fins).

Anybody have any experience with one of these cameras?

Thanks,

Tom

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2021, 22:30:34 »
The Nikonos IV was my underwater camera before I upgraded to a housed SLR. I partly used it with extension tubes with a frame for correct distance/framing, or with the Subawider II wide angle converter (fitted in front of the 35mm, which is too narrow by itself) for more distant captures. I used a home-made strobe housing. I later bought a used Nikonos V that I previously had salvaged from a friend, but it never came to other wet use than for kayaking here in Alaska. A weak point for water intrusion in both of these is the O-ring around the shutter speed dial. If not properly maintained, a few water droplets can seep in over time, and if salt water it will get into the shutter mechanism and ruin it it. I saved my Nikonos IV just in time the first time I serviced it myself.
A few examples.
#1



#2



#3



This last one was with Nikonos V of a submerged old cannery in Prince Williams Sound, likely with just the 35mm lens as I do not think I brought the Subawider II on this Kayak trip.
#4

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Tom Hook

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2022, 02:25:04 »
Øivind,

I appreciate your prompt and interesting response. Your photos are far better than I imagined this camera was capable of making even when skillfully used. The second shot really stands out in my mind, the color and detail are striking. Thanks for sharing.

What also stands out is your warning about the O rings leaking. I wonder if Nikon would service this camera, because any effort I might make would be ham-handed at best. Even if I never use it as it should be, I would like to have checked out and if the fixes are manageable and affordable, I might like to have it done. If that isn't possible, the camera may now at least be able to take a picture or two under certain circumstances.

Well done!

Tom

armando_m

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2022, 08:27:26 »
Amazing photos!
How on earth is anyone able to frame your subject under water? is the view finder useful in that situation?

I tried a cheap p&s with a rear screen and it only served as a mirror, all photos were done with a shoot and pray method
Armando Morales
D800, Nikon 1 V1, Fuji X-T3

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2022, 11:18:29 »
Thanks Tom and Armando. Yes, the water- glass -air interface can easily give total reflection just like the surface of the water.  A lot of the framing for underwater wide angle photography is based on feeling when one is unable to position right behind the camera (typically aiming upwards close to the bottom). It is not that difficult to expect what is caught on the film or sensor with a wide lens and some experience, although it is far from a very precise process. When using film one good keeper per dive/film was regarded as success.

Framing and obtaining correct focus for the Nikonos macros with the extension tubes were actually done with a physical frame that extends forward from the lens, just outside the viewing area, with one vertical bar on each side. Its weakness was of course that it was easy to disturb the subject of interest or stir up the bottom material. Upgrading to a housed Nikon F4 in an aluminum Subal Procase housing was a big improvement, allowing viewing with face mask though the action finder that replaced the standard finder. But it is of course more drag from the housing and more effort to move that rig underwater. With the eye glued to the viewfinder it was essential to learn how to fine adjust buoyancy with the breathing.

Lately I very much enjoy the relaxed snorkeling with the Nikon 1 AW1 with the Olympus Fisheye converter. Sometimes I get to use the screen, and other times I just frame based on the feeling and rely on autofocus.

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golunvolo

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2022, 16:57:19 »
Then you for all your explanations. The results in this page are fantastic.

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2022, 21:51:18 »

Thanks Paco.
Regarding the service of that shutter-speed/film advance o-ring set of Nikonos IVa, a quick search brought up the repair manual: http://ss-it.de/data/nikonos/Nikonos%20IV.pdf. These cameras are pretty simple. When my friend drowned his Nikonos V on his first dive in Tromsø, we quickly got the batteries out, immediately soaked it in a nearby creek, and then got on to a complete disassembly in the following days. (That is we accessed all o-rings and got the guts out of the body.) It was revived, but the flash connector was a little unreliable so he eventually got a replacement for his marine biology work. I later had to save that one for him too during scientific diving field work in Svalbard. That one drowned again shortly after, but the problem was an undetected leak in the Ikelite strobe connector, not the Nikonos V.
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Akira

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2022, 23:17:13 »
All these images are impressive!  It is amazing to know that you cover from the underwater to the universe...
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

fish_shooter

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2022, 23:38:03 »
@Tom
You should ask your donor whether he has any spare gaskets (main gasket). These are unique to the N IV and as the camera was discontinued decades ago finding a new one would need a lot of luck. The lens o-ring is the same for all of the standard Nikonos lenses (standard being the models before the RS) and are not difficult to find.

The N IV is the only Nikonos model that I have never used - I poo-poohed the automation when it came out and have since read a lot of cautions about the water integrity of the non-o-ring gasket so have avoided it. I have several N III bodies. The Nikonos 35mm and 80mm lenses are designated as W lenses (read this on the lens specification ring) which means they are amphibious. The Nikonos 15mm (two models; later model is for TTL cameras), 20mm and original 28mm lenses are designated as UW lenses, which means they are for underwater use only. To understand this I suggest opening your eyes while under water and trying to focus - you cannot. There is also a more recent LW 28mm lens that is water resistant and cannot be submerged (when mounted on a camera) like the other lenses.

Øivind Tøien

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2022, 00:27:43 »
Thanks for your enthusiatic comment Akira.

The gasket seal of the Nikonos IV-a was never a problem for me. One just needed to take care when taking it out and re-greasing it that it was not twisted when re-inserted. But I could imagine sloppy reinsertion or dirty gasket could lead to disasters, or if there could have been ill fitted bodies that did not put enough pressure on the seal. As long as the gasket is not cracked or deformed, it should be OK.
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Tom Hook

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2022, 06:00:03 »
Tom,
I may need new o-rings because the camera has been sitting on the shelf for 25 years (!). I am glad they may be available. As for the gasket, we'll see.

Øivind,
Thanks for the link for the manual. It should be a source of some good info.

I'm not optimistic I can service/fix this camera, but I'll try to figure out something that would allow me to use it some fashion. I still wonder if Nikon service can help.

Tom

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Re: Nikonos IV-A
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2022, 06:26:01 »


Just brought out my Nikonos IV-a, which has been sitting for at least 24 years, and the gasket looked fine, still held in place by the small notches on it. Be careful not to use a sharp object to get it out to clean and re-grease it and the grove it fits in, perhaps edge of an old credit card could be used. Apply just a thin layer of grease.
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