Saturday, November 28, 2009

Underwater shooting and the odd French accent.

We can certainly credit Jacques-Yves Cousteau for a lot of things. A greater appreciation for our aquatic environment inhabitants, a sense of adventure in exploration of our planet earth and last but not least, some terrible but very amusing attempts at producing a French accent of which you cant deny not having tried at some point. 

In all of his travels and exploration, Jacques-Yves was a real innovator. He developed equipment out of necessity, which often lead to the creation of a entirely new design, which was quickly adopted by fellow explorers and spread to mainstream use. Jacque's team indeed invented the Scuba (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) system which is now in use world wide.

At this point you may be wondering how this all relates to cameras, because in the end we are a camera store and that’s what we talk about. In all his travels and exploration Jacques needed to take pictures. In order to share the underwater environments with the rest of the world, his design input was utilized for development of the first commercial waterproof camera, which eventually led to the Nikonos-V 35mm film camera.

The design of the original camera was sold to Nikon and then re-branded to Nikonos, which then saw its first market appearance in 1963. The Nikonos was an instant favorite with professionals and amateurs alike and was a real leader in the market for many years.

What really set the Nikonos apart from the rest was its lenses, which were designed specifically for underwater use and would not in fact work when in open air. Later Nikon produced a set of lenses that would work in both environments. There is speculation that even today there still is no rival to their underwater performance. Some would also argue there is still not a waterproof camera that has the classic styling and looks of the Nikon. Perhaps some credit should be attributed to its French origins. Nikon finally  wrapped up production and development of these popular units in 2001.

Some information sourced from Wikipedia.

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