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July 1997 Vol. 12, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Flood-Free Cameras?

from the July, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

There's a gadget out there that may, just may, remove a lot of the worry of taking a camera underwater. And, according to its inventor, it works on Nikonos cameras (both RS and V), as well as housings for both still camera and video.

Developed for the Nikonos RS in early 1994, the device, called Subalert, pretests your camera for flooding by, in effect, taking it down to a depth of 23 feet while you and your camera remain high and dry before the dive. This is no do-it-yourself installation, requiring a trip to the manufacturer for camera or housing. After fittings are installed and when you are about to dive, you create a vacuum inside your Nikonos or housing with the aid of a special pump designed for the purpose. The vacuum sucks in the o-rings, "compressing" them from the inside. LED indicators show whether o-rings are holding pressure effectively, and during the dive the LEDs keep you posted as to the camera's integrity.

Wow! If this does everything promised, there could be many fewer salty tears on deck at dive's end.

The "peace of mind" (as the manufacturer's literature says) that Subalert brings doesn't come cheap. The price of installation to owners of the now-discontinued Nikonos RS is $550, plus the pump itself, which costs an additional $165. Installation includes an annual camera service.

That price might not be too high for RS users who have already paid a bundle, but some Nikonos V and housing users might find similar bills a trifle steep.

I haven't tested the system yet, so we can only hope.

For more information, contact Pacific Camera, Inc., 2980 McClintock, #H, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714-642-7800).

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