Flashback from 1998: Navy SEALs training with mysterious Nikon underwater digital camera

“NAVAL AIR BASE CORONADO, California (June 8, 1998) — Navy SEALs attached to SEAL Team One, Naval Air Base Coronado, CA, conducts training using the Nikon/Kodak DCS 425 underwater digital camera which can sends real time digital images to decision makers, and an LPI LPD tracking device uses brevity codes to send both mission status and precise longitude/latitude. U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 2nd Class Ted Banks.” (source)

This is an interesting story because when I tried to research this underwater digital camera (Nikon DCS 425) I could hardly find any info online. It seems that this model was produced for the US military/intelligence organizations and initially even its existence was denied:

“The Nikonos RS was the World’s first underwater SLR camera, capable of going down to a depth of 100 meters without special underwater housing. Searching Google at the time (May 2005) produced absolutely no hits for the digital Nikonos (DCS 425 and DCS 435). Absolutely nothing. I then sent an e-mail to Kodak, asking for more information. Their reply:

“I’m sorry but those cameras never existed here at Eastman Kodak. We never made cameras for that specific use. The information you have is incorrect.”

Strange, because I was certain the camera existed. Asking another Kodak source, I was told: “I think the issue is who they were made for”.

In other words: The camera was made for some US military/intelligence organization. Kodak Professional support, which sent the above reply, probably didn’t even know that such a beast existed. (It later turned out that the camera probably never was a big secret after all. Read on for more info..)”

Read the whole story @ Nikonweb.

More info on the film version Nikonos RS available here (very expensive on eBay).

More pictures of the Nikon DCS 425 underwater digital camera after the break:

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