When you walk over to the Nikon booth The photo show (opens in new tab) (B600) you’ll find all the latest great gadgets and maybe even the lowdown on the recently announced ones Z 17-28mm f/2.8 (opens in new tab). But once you’ve drooled over that The best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab) and had a few chats with pro photographers, make sure you check out some of the coolest and craziest Nikon cameras in Big N history.
These curious gems include a Nikon destined for space, a gold-plated FA and the world’s first underwater SLR camera. Each camera is securely housed in a Plexiglas display case, protected from prying hands but still allowing for a full 360 degree view. Here are a few of our favourites…
Nikon and NASA
NASA’s various space missions are responsible for some of the most famous photographs in human history, and Nikon’s relationship with the US Space Agency dates back to 1971 (opens in new tab), when the Nikon Photomic FTN accompanied the Apollo 15 crew. This modified Nikon F was the first in a long line of specialized space cameras, including the modified Nikon F3 “Big Camera” on display at the 2022 Photography Show. The rather hefty 1981 SLR might look like a lot to handle, but it was actually used for its relative portability compared to NASA’s larger 70mm cameras.
Nikonos RS – Underwater SLR camera
The Nikonos RS was arguably a camera ahead of its time. Launched in 1992, it is the world’s first dedicated underwater SLR camera. Its toy-like aesthetic might not look particularly fancy, but its large protruding controls have been designed to be manipulated underwater. That’s right, the Nikonos RS could operate down to 100m deep without an underwater housing.
Four lenses were developed for the camera’s unique R-UW mount and are still coveted by underwater photographers today due to their special underwater design – so much so that it is even possible to convert them.
See our article on the best fisheye lenses (opens in new tab)
Nikon wins Grand Prix gold
If you had 500,000 yen left over in 1984 (nearly $3,500/£3,050 in today’s money) you could have walked away with this rather gorgeous looking Nikon Gold FA. The 24k gold plated single lens reflex camera – complete with gold 50mm f/1.4 – was made to celebrate the camera that won the prestigious Camera Grand Prix. Only 2000 units were made, so tracking one down might be a bit like panning for gold!
Nikon cameras have come a long way since the F3 and FA. Here are the The best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab) You can get yours right now and if you already have a Nikon camera why not check it out The best Nikon lenses (opens in new tab)?