Hey all.. So i've been talking about this post for months now.. So much to say and not enough words to say it.. First off, I'm no expert. What i have to say isn't guaranteed to produce a functioning camera it just might increase your odds of getting a good one the first time around.
A few general things you'll want to look for. Lens' should have two turnable knobs, and a large O-ring on the mounting end. Viewfinder should be clear, free from corrosion. Some sellers offer pressure testing. this is a big plus as you know the camera is water safe.
The Nikonos I /Calypso. (if you find a Calypso for less than 500$ stop everything and tell me) The I is a great manual camera.
If you are buying one the main points to look for / ask the seller:
a) does the shutter assembly advance & lock after depressing.
b) does the shutter speed knob turn freely?
c) does the film rewind knob lift and turn?
d) is there corrosion in the flash port? and is there a flash plug?
Nikonos II is an improved version of the Nikonos I with just a few minor but helpful changes.
You'll want to ask the seller the above listed questions. In addition have them perform a small test for you. Have them open the camera, Take off the lens and remove the camera body from the casing. Wind the shutter as if they are taking a photo, but have them open the film backing plate and look thorough it. point at a light as they depress the shutter. If they report seeing light, Buy it. If they don't keep shopping. simple enough?
Ask to see a picture of the film advance knob, sometimes the little fold out handle is missing. Not a deal breaker but we want to know what we are buying.
As everything, later models are always being improved upon. The Nikonos III is no exception. the above questions apply to this camera as well. In addition to these questions you are going to want to have the seller show you images of the camera assembled, pay close attention to the seam where the camera meets the housing. This camera has a plastic top and breaks. if it appears warped at all pass and move on.
I feel like the IV-a has gotten a bad reputation. I admit i am partially to blame for this as i don't like the camera. BUT, there are a bunch of people capturing killer images with this specific camera.
The IV-a is the first Nikonos that relies on batteries to function. often times sellers will not have batteries to test the electronics.
a) Ask them to carefully take out the battery plug and send a picture. does it look clean in there? any corrosion? Salt? Broken plastic? any of the above pass..
b) Turn the speed adjustment knob. Does it turn freely? if not move on.
c) crank the film advance and push the shutter, Does it fire? if so.. have them torn the knob to "B" and try again. Does the shutter stay open until you let go of the shutter?
d) Does the film rewind lift and turn? Does the ISO selector turn?
The V is very similar in testing as the IV-a. ask those questions if they are all good responses Grab it!
Comments and questions are appreciated. I'll change / add / revise as i feel is needed.
Lets try to keep questions here on the blog's comment section. So everyone can learn from each others questions.