The Secret Navy SEAL Nikon

Posted by Scott

The normal, non-secret Nikonos RS

Gizmodo has an interesting piece up about a top-secret digital version of the now discontinued Nikon Nikonos waterproof camera that was developed for use by Navy SEALs.

This Nikonos was a total mystery. A secret that not many people knew about until recently. In fact, its existence was repeatedly denied by the manufacturer, even after the US Navy published this photo, showing a member of SEAL Team One equipped with one and the following caption:
980608-N-3236B-003 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 send 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 Photographer Mate 2nd Class Ted Banks. (RELEASED)

Pretty interesting stuff and kind of odd to see the branding intact on the model used by the SEALs. The Gizmodo article makes a good point that it’s a shame the consumer version was discontinued; even if you don’t do underwater photography, it would make for an excellent no hassle all weather setup. More info and links can be found in the original article.

Apparently there’s a pretty good used market for these; all you aspiring SEALs can start planning your beach assaults with a nice rig like this. I’d like to see a digital model, but aesthetically I’m still partial to the original 35mm version:

Image via Dive Matrix

Via Gizmodo

15 Comments Leave A Comment


Tommy says:

May 10, 2010 at 10:17 am

Funny to see inside ” Kodak Digital Science Submersible Digital Camera Modified By Eastman Kodak Company”…


alex says:

May 10, 2010 at 10:29 am

YES. I am very excited about this. From age 10-16 I wanted to be nothing but a Navy Seal. I used to sneak around my neighborhood with a NERF Gun and do recon missions to the grocery store.

This camera is legit.


Philip says:

May 10, 2010 at 10:38 am

Wow, did I really write “thank” thing looks creepy? I meant “that”. Typing fail. (backs out of room slowly)


Anonymous says:

May 10, 2010 at 12:12 pm

wouldn’t the seals black out or tape over all the branding to make a completely black camera?


Philip says:

May 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

@ Cameron – Oh, DEAR LORD I didn’t even notice that. Thanks, I just shat my pants twice.


Philip says:

May 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Okay, one last thing…you people need to go read some of the comments on the Gizmodo article hahahaha. Lots of precious nuggets like this:

“”OK now move the binoculars away from your eyes…good good. Now look pensive. No not confused…mysterious….good. Like you’ve just seen the face of your enemy. Now point your camera at him. POINT IT!”


edit: the guy in the back “can I please just shoot this motherfucker now?””


Olivier says:

May 11, 2010 at 12:32 am

I still wouldn’t want it covered in sand…gets in the camera ‘seal’ and it’s over! Definitely should be covering all those logos and coloured bits up with black duct tape I reckon :P

Got me an older model IV-a – took some great underwater shots but unfortunately the winding arm is now stuck after putting a few rolls through it. Haven’t taken it in for repair as dreading how much they will want to charge for working on a camera they most likely have never seen.


Tiemen says:

May 11, 2010 at 4:53 am

I totally agree with everyone geeking out over this really cool camera. But for the commercial version: I think it’s even almost an official business model to make electronic equipment NOT watertight or shockproof. I even met an engineer who claimed making the circuit boards of mobile phones watertight was quite easy and inexpensive.