Nikon’s rugged Coolpix camera: the rebirth of the Nikonos?

In an old interview with Focus-Numerique, Mr. Tetsuro Goto (Director of Laboratory R&D at Nikon Japan) said:

“Personally I think the Nikonos reborn in the future”

The upcoming rugged Coolpix from Nikon may actually be the rebirth of the Nikonos line. The rumor is that the new camera will have a depth rating of 33 feet (10 meters), very good low light capabilities and may even resemble the design of the old Nikonos cameras. Another source told me that Nikon may be after the GoPro cameras and will release a whole line of accessories for attaching the camera to a helmet, bike, surf, etc. just like GoPro.

This entry was posted in Nikon Point and Shoot and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • I’ve been holding off on buying a GoPro, I think I will wait a while longer to see what Nikon has created.

    • stonka

      same me

      • Ren Kockwell

        I’ve been harping on Nikon’s entry into the tough cam market for about two years now. They practically invented this market. It just makes too much sense. Now I can shut up about it. Let’s hope they do it right and own it.

    • Mr Rogers

      who cares about these cameras, aren’t there enough pos p&s cameras out there yet? I wonder how many of these end up in landfills…yawn

      • Agree. 😉

      • fxed

        @ Mr Rogers, a fitting handle. When Nikon dropped the Nikonos line a huge mistake was made. I had a Nikonos IV-A which could go to more than 10 atmospheres.The internals of the camera and lenses were built like fine swiss watches housed in a rugged case. Back in the day circa 1979 my Nikonos cost $700, no lens. It was no P&S, you had to know your photography. Could Nikon have gone digital, auto and the rest? Sure they could but the Mr Rogers crowd became wimps, girly men. What about the cost, well, how much does a D3s cost and then how much to buy an UW housing. Think about all the technology that could have existed and incorporated in modern day dslr’s and lenses. Landfills? Yeah right, a diver that bought that gear more than likely still has it and uses it. That type of camera would of course not be for you. Now go back to sleep or shooting off your porch with your D whatever and 300f2.8 at a bird on your fence.

        • Geoff

          fixed, so Mr Rogers makes a comment about a CAMERA and you decide to insult him. It’s not hard to see which of you is immature.

          • Mock Kenwell

            I think he was referring to the non-progressive nature of the TV character, old & set in his ways. Because MrRogers (the poster) doesn’t see a need for a rugged camera, there must not be a need. That’s the self-absorbed, closed-minded thinking he was responding to, and I agree with Fxed.

            • Nek Mockwell

              Ditto,…tired of all the “another P&S POS” comments…

              Did everyone all of a sudden forget Thumper’s lesson in Bambi?

        • Jabs

          @fxed – LOL!

          Yeah, Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood of imaginary idealized stuff or ‘Weirdville’.
          I personally preferred Eddie Murphy’s version on Saturday Night Live, the television show (loooool).

          Maybe the person was not referring to that television personality.

          Look what really happened to the Nikonos as in it got too great or ahead of its’ time and, though it had some issues with seals, it was the one Nikon that I ‘lusted after’ and never bought – sigh! They discontinued it too soon, as maybe it was too expensive a system. The whole system (all the lenses, accessories, flashes, and stuff) was more expensive than a D3X body = eyes popped when it was released.

          However, I did see it and handle it the old Nikon House in NYC, and it was really nice, but huge lenses and an even more enormous set of flashes and optional stuff – sheer genius, but perhaps ahead of its’ time.

          NOW, if Nikon brought THIS camera back in a body the size of say a D300s/D700 or even D3s, then we can talk plus ‘cry’ about the $12,000 US dollar price and the astronomically high riced lenses. They could even use the same or a similar body but put a digital sensor in there, but I don’t know if that would work ???

          Oh well.

          ‘It’s a wonderful day in Da neighborHOOD’ = shoot that moron, will ya’ – idealism done WRONG, perhaps or how to traverse the boundaries of infantile narcissism and remain an overgrown child all your adult life = Arrested development at its’ worse, perhaps – so sad!

          Give us a cheap underwater mirrorless and be done with it maybe – lol

          • fxed

            Well said.

      • PHB

        Exactly how much fiddling with settings do you want to be doing underwater?

        How about lens changes?

        Seems to me that a point and shoot is exactly what you would want for underwater. Albeit one that is adapted for the environment.

        • dave

          I still have and use a Nikonos V. How much fiddling with settings do you want to be doing underwater? Well actually, it doesn’t need to be much, but more than you get with a P&S. You need to be able to adjust shutter speed, aperture (and more than just the f/1.8 to f/4 you see on most P&S), focus distance (or have a darn good AF system), and since we are digital, ISO, and you NEED a dedicated cable to your strobes, something that would trigger existing SB-105s and SB-104s (or anything else that uses a Nikonos strobe port) at least in manual mode. 33 feet? That’s fine for snorkelers, but it better go to at least at least 130 feet for a diver to even look in it’s direction.

          You also need a method for manually setting white balance while underwater.

          Anything else you can fiddle with at the surface before you dive.

        • Jabs


          NO P&S could ever do what this camera does and STILL can do today – one lens from this system cost more than a ‘fleet’ of P&S, hence different camera class indeed. EVER seen or held this fantastic camera = one of Nikon’s or photography finest achievements and probably hoarded and loved by many divers, EVEN today. Ever seen pictures from this using Fujichrome 64T slide film?

          Look here at this amazing camera

          This newest Nikonos was so far ahead then that people needed to be taught how to use it properly (like being sent to driving school) and like the Porsche saga, people loved the old traditional air cooled 911 (old Nikonos) better than the newer stuff like 930, 939, 959 (this Nikonos RS), hence the break with ‘tradition’ was too much for some, as in needing to LEARN photography all over again.

          They basically wanted a manual body like how people rejected the F3 series and the FA because they were electronic but chose to hold on to the older FM, FM2, FM2n even though the electronics of the F3 and FA series made these cameras way better and more consistent, as I used them all.

          Progress is really difficult often = the moral.

        • fxed


          What are you thinking, fiddling with settings underwater, did I say that? How many nano seconds do you think a fish will pose for you. Changing lenses underwater, you so funny. As Dave said a diver wants a camera that can go deep, like 150+ feet. You and other responders who answered so uninformed is why Nikon dropped the R&D. Oh well, its Kate plus 8 instead of Mike Nelson and Sea Hunt.

  • stonka

    very interesting…

  • The invisible man

    Only 7 days left !
    The first day God created the sun, the second day he created earth……the 7th day Nikon created the mirrorless camera.
    The end of the world is getting closer !

  • Banned

    I love how your image shows a device called “Cheapo” on the right.

    Nikon + Nikonos + Cheapo = New Nikon camera.

    • Ke

      It says Hero, not Cheapo.

  • Ishouldbeshooting

    33-foot depth rating ain’t a Nikonos…

    • yes, this is a point and shoot camera after all, the title was symbolic

      • iamlucky13

        Some speculation here, but…

        “The rumor is that the new camera will have a depth rating of 33 feet (10 meters), very good low light capabilities…”

        Gee, that sounds like a good application for a large sensor with a wide-angle lens. I think about a 2.6x crop factor would be a good compromise between camera size and low-light abilities, don’t you?

        I’m increasingly wondering if part of the reason Nikon is going with a small sensor EVIL, is to share technology with a large sensor P&S line.

        • PHB

          That makes sense to me.

          There is a case for a large sensor EVIL, but it would be really hard for a first generation EVIL to compete with the D4 and even harder against the D800.

          Now wind forward 4 years when it will be economic to make 48MP FX sized sensors (I expect a D4x much sooner but for silly money). At that point the F-mount will have real problems keeping up with the sensor capabilities. The teles are probably up to it (in center fame) but probably not the wides.

          A large sensor EVIL would make it much easier to make studio quality lenses to compete against the ‘blad and so on. An FX EVIL should be able to outperform a medium fram DSLR. 48MP should be quite practical, possibly up to 100MP. After that, diffraction will take over.

          • Jabs


            Quite the opposite – the sensor to lens back distance makes for smaller lenses because of less inherent magnification needed due to the lens being closer to the sensor.

            The bigger the sensor and lens, the worse it probably gets, as there is no room to magnify the light, as it is too close to this sensor. Remember light is bent and then UPSIDE down, so now you need room to get it upright again = the advantage of both Nikon and Hasselblad or SLR’s in general.

            Look up refraction and reflection in light transmission through a lens.

            This system is for compactness and small high quality lens – THINK Leica M and its’ limitations, as they too put their film plane closer to the lens and thus fast and light lenses plus bodies but no lens depth or variety in focla lengths = a digital rangefinder is what this is.

            It’s like an M9 but with a smaller sensor or a Nikon S, now a digital rangefinder as in Nikon going back to the past.

        • Jabs


          YUP – as in a MX (Micro X or X-terminate Micro 4/3rds -lol) system.


          Three Nikon systems and sensor sizes, plus this sensor might be used in C-mount systems = Nikon is NOT stupid.

    • Ryan

      Yeah, if this doesn’t do at least 60′ to handle depth limit of basic PADI certification it’s going to be a huge disappointment.

    • iamlucky13

      True. And wasn’t there another interview recently (maybe I saw mention of it elsewhere) where someone said the quality of housings available now has limited the potential appeal of a true Nikonos rebirth?

      I think it’s just that GoPro, Actioncam, etc demonstrated there is a market for cameras designed specifically for outdoor activities, and Nikon is trying to get a piece of that market.

      Perhaps they’re waking up to what Thom Hogan keeps saying about cell phones taking over a lot of the casual camera use and trying to find alternative markets.

      This could be good. There’s a lot of room for improvements in consumer helmet cams currently available. I haven’t paid much attention to the GoPro models, but the ActionCam is basically a webcam sensor hooked up to a battery and a memory card, with a very basic processor and almost no controls. Dynamic range and response both sucked, which is unfortunate, because brightness changes frequently and rapidly in sports like mountain biking…but when it came out there was nothing else compact, waterproof, and easily mountable.

  • Tom

    Looks pretty neat.

    • Bert

      what’s lamer than a retarded ‘1st post’ kiddie?
      said kiddie’s 1st post in position 50.

  • The invisible man

    The D700 is still out of stok in USA.

    I think we may get the D800/900 in September (Nikon would get more attention in September, August is still vaccations for many people).

  • Pekka

    Interesting speculation, but it takes much for a new Nikonos than a 10 m rated Coolpix. Nikonos was a pro tool during its time. A ‘D800’ with a 200 ft + rating would be more like the old Nikonos concept.

    If they come up with a new line, I believe Nikon will use Nikonos brand for a line of waterproof compacts though. It makes much more sense, as the real underwater photography market is small and there’s plenty of good quality housings in the market anyway, plus there’s no high-end compact for uw use at the moment.

  • Jason

    33 ft depth rating is far too restrictive for underwater photography – minimum depth rating has to be *at least* 120ft for anyone to take it even remotely seriously. Even then, Nikon would need to release a WA fisheye lens for anyone to sit up and take notice. Although the camera will be compatible with the DX 10.5mm FE, the crop factor would make it somewhat pointless.

    • Mock Kenwell

      Not meant to be taken seriously. If there was such a killer market for pro diver/photographers as you suggest, Nikonos would have never “sunk” in the first place. They’d still be making them. This is aimed at enthusiasts—a much larger and more lucrative market with shitty competition and tons of room for improvement. This is a smart market for Nikon to play in.

    • Tom Christiansen

      Interesting that one “needs” a fisheye lens to photograph fish. Hm.

  • RN

    A rugged, waterproof, P&S Nikon? I’d certainly take a look at it. More than 10m depth rating would be nice, but I realize that it would add a fair bit of weight & bulk (and $) to up it to 50m or more.

  • Nicola

    VERY interesting

  • VJ

    I personally would love a decent point and shoot with under water capabilities… I like my DSLR, but am not going to invest in a housing for those few times I go diving (expensive, bulky, risk of an expensive camera, …).
    A nice compact (have been looking at Sea&Sea or so, with some added strobes) would be perfect, but none of the major camera manufacturers seem to notice this market. And if it works well out of the water, you’d have yourself a nice compact at the same time. But this is only good enough to go snorkeling…

    • tor8472

      +1 – my thoughts / needs exactly

    • Rob Franklin

      Many don’t realize there’s a camera on the market that meets all these criteria (competent, dive-safe to 40M, not too expensive) out now.

      Olympus’ XZ-1 is by all accounts a great P&S (Thom Hogan reports is a go-to in his kit). I just got in their PT-050 housing, which for only $250 is easy to handle and allows access to all controls. It is rated to 40M, and threaded for standard viewport lens adapters. Anyone think Nikon will meet that featureset for the same price?

  • Dormant

    I have a Nikonos that I used to use in extremely dusty and wet conditions.

    I would heartily welcome a digital replacement.

  • PAG

    I owned an old Minolta underwater point and shoot film camera. It was a wedding present and I used it on my honeymoon when we went snorkeling. It also worked great on white water rafting trips. For that type of application I think it’s a great idea.

  • MB

    I think we are expecting too much again.
    Nikon is a mainstream company and they will make mainstream product they are currently missing in a Coolpix line.
    So if you think new Nikon’s rugged Coolpix camera think Panasonic Lumix DMC-TSx or Olympus TOUGH.

    • PAG

      I get the feeling that there’s a fair sized (or at least very vocal) minority on this board who think that Nikon should be all pro gear all the time. The last time I checked, Nikon wasn’t Leica.

  • I don’t know, I think an underwater camera woudl make more sense than some of the products they have introduced lately.

    • iamlucky13

      A waterproof camera is kind of cool, but only if it includes a projector so I can show my photos of fish to all the fish!

      • Kingyo

        +1 ! 🙂

      • Jabs


        – show them BEFORE or after they eat you???


        You are dead, so it does not matter anymore as in – you won’t know the difference.

  • John K

    I bought a GoPro about two months ago with 200 dollars in accessories. I took it all back in two days because the camera was defective. I love the idea behind the camera but I no longer trust the company…. Now if Nikon takes up the challenge…

  • Manuel

    Personally, I never understood why Nikon discontinued the Nikonos product line, as diving became more and more popular over the years.

    The Nikonos RS may have been too ambitious and too expensive, but there should be a market above the ‘point&shoot-in-an-underwater-housing’ thing.

  • Tony

    So, now it is the point that anyone can say anything and it could really happen on the announcement date…..*sigh*

  • Dolo

    The old Nikonos camera accepted lenses like the $1500 Nikonos 15mm. I don’t see this camera aimed at people spending that much on accessories.

    Today there are a few people putting old Nikonos lenses on Sony NEX and Olympus MFT cameras in waterproof housings, and Nikon is completely missing out on that market.

  • A 33 foot depth rating is pretty well useless for underwater photography (fine for kayaking and other water sports on the surface though).

    If Nikon really wants to promote underwater use of their point+shoot cameras they should take a book out of Canon and Olympus’ books and provide some affordable underwater housings for their cameras, rated at least to 40M/132ft (the limit of recreational diving). It would be nice to see them do that.

    Those of you thinking about shooting underwater video with GoPro kits should also consider a Contour cam. They make fantastic underwater housings for them, which are rated to 200 feet and at $40 are a bargain!

    • randini

      I agree on the 33ft part – that’s barely better than splash proof in my book.

      Nikon used to make housings. I still have (and occasionally use) a nikon housing with a coolpix s3. I don’t know why they stopped, but I can only guess they decided there wasn’t enough $$ in it.

  • YinYangERROR

    I would be happy if this camera had PASM modes… Think it is likely? I don’t think that many (if any) under water/rugged compact cameras have PASM modes. Did I miss one?

    • randini

      I think the dials are the hardest part to seal against dust & water. Therefore having dials significantly increases the cost of these types of cameras.

      But yea, I’d love a decent water resistant camera with manual modes. Then throw it into a housing for diving and not worry about it flooding.

  • broxibear

    This made me smile today, a guy just posted a Nikon un-boxing video…not for a D3s or D7000 but a used D2x which is replacing his D90.
    Looks as if it’s in great condition, hope he gets a lot of enjoyment and use from it…it’s not always about the latest or newest.

    • The invisible man

      His D2x camera look like new, maybe he found the D90 to light ?
      I asked him how much he paid for it, he may got a good deal !

      • Manuel

        Oh my,

        I’m looking for a one-for-both replacement for my D2x and D90 at the same time. May be it will be called D400. But I dont’t care about that, as long it can do.

  • As a diver’s camera, 10 meters is pretty darn useless.

    • DFive

      EXACTLY !!!

      my watch is waterproof to 2000m……….. I wants a D3S to do the same… lol 😉

      • VJ

        I don’t know your watch, but the water proof rating of watches is quite iffy:

        The depth rating on most watches relate to how well it resists water, but it does not mean the watch will withstand the pressure at depth.

      • Jabs


        Waterproof = water not able to enter the body at a certain pressure UP to or really DOWN to a certain feet or meter rating.

        The Nikon rating took PRESSURE into account and not just depth alone.

        Watches are rated for dunking you in water

        The Nikonos was for diving where the pressure was greater than atmospheric pressure and the water was murky or even clear, so parallax errors were well controlled from the water itself = no comparison to a G-Shock Casio watches or such.

        At the depths the Nikonos and Nikonos RS went to without a housing, YOU and your G-shock would implode or be crushed to death from the crushing pressure – you would be fish or sea life bait or a meal for them – lol

        • VJ

          Yup… My Suunto D9 (dive watch) is rated to go down to 300m, well beyond any dive depth with normal gear, but it too is specialized equipment.

          Funny how many people tend to forget the pressure (+1 ATM for every 10m).

  • Ken Elliott

    I just realized they could offer an underwater housing for this thing to give it a better depth rating. We always dread a case leak, so an already-waterproof camera might be the ticket.

  • alvix

    now I understand why we never saw people testing these cameras on the field…they were under the field (ehm..underwater..)

  • chuck

    And who here actually thinks these cameras will be free of the flaws of all other underwater compacts?
    They all leak, lots have poor battery life, awful quality, poor controls, etc.

  • Henry

    Nikon news…??????

  • Can we say “Olympus”. They’ve been making these for at least several years. Maybe Nikon will allow changing Micro SD cards under water.

    • Mock Kenwell

      Take a look at the IQ of those Oly Tough cams. They blow and get rated quite crappily.

  • nau

    raw raw raw give me raw!

    well and price tag that is competitive

  • B2

    That would be cool! I especially liked very good low light capabilities, if it matches D7000 I take one ;P

  • My Dream:
    – 33 foot depth rating
    – GPS
    – RAW
    – 3200ISO

    sorry 😉


    i saw one on my president’s table a few days ago.
    let’s welcome new cooplix camera.

  • The invisible man
    • dave

      Really? An article from April 2009? I’d give it less than .00001%

      • Yes, but everything they said in previous interviews is turning to be correct – see my next post. They already had those cameras in development back in 2009.

  • Nikonos cameras look so cool, and any camera designed in this style today would be a hit.

    “Nikonos” as a name, is also exceptionally cool.

  • PAG

    To those of you who say that this is useless as a diver’s camera, you’re correct but then again it’s also useless as a trombone. Why? Because it’s not meant to be a diver’s camera or a trombone.

    This is a P&S camera for wet applications. It’s a snorkeler’s camera for people on vacation who are looking at pretty fish and won’t get much below the surface, as compared to my buddy who can easily free dive beyond 33′. It sounds perfect for a kayak, canoe, or rafting trip, for a hike in a rainy area, or an ocean fishing trip where you can expect salt spray. Stop bitchin’ that it isn’t a product it was never supposed to be. Remember, not every product is being personally created for you.

  • Levi

    You know this makes sense. Since they are holding the conference on that VIVA yacht restaurant, they will simply introduce the new CoolPix and then jump in the water and take some pictures with it.

  • RMT

    More than 24 hrs since last post……. no new rumors for today? My hands are starting to shake……

  • Babar

    Not dreaming, but if it could have interchangeable lens compatible with nikonos, adaptater for other nikon lens, be rated 50m , high iso performance, (and as bonus : GPS, compass, barometer). I would take it straight away.
    It would make a perfect camera for snorkeling, diving, speleo and dusty environments…but also for any other activity.

  • mtnguy

    Hope for new DSLR: surely, Joe McNally ain’t shooting his new pics with a mirrorless enthusiast Nikon, is he?

  • Back to top