Loading the RS.

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Posted by Chuck Tribolet on April 06, 2007 at 04:28:45:

In Reply to: Re: Re: "Hitting the Wall" at 99 Trip Reports and Photos posted by Elaine on April 05, 2007 at 21:44:13:

Note the last item in this, which I wrote a while back for the
old UW-photo list (which, BTW, has come back to life the last
few weeks, having been rehosted at a place that actually works.
See http://www.uw-photo-list.org/

I shoot a Nikonos RS. A friend of mine recently
bought one, and I would like to impart
to him the collective wisdom of the list
on the care and feeding of it. He's a subscriber
to this list and I'm sure followed the recent
"RS is a dog" thread, so there's no need to
repeat that. Here's what I know. What do you think?

- Do not use anything but the genuine Nikonos grease on the
orange O-rings. They are made of silicone, and the
genuine grease is a mineral-oil-based formulation that is
compatible with them. Some "silicone grease" will disolve

- Each dive, check the stainless steel ring that that the
lens mounts to. This ring is sealed to the main part of
the body by a rather thin o-ring, and if the stainless
piece becomes slightly bent (say, by some bozo lifting the
system by the lens), it will leak.

- There's a new (when the RS came out)double TTL synch cord.
The old one has the wires coming out of the camera
connector in opposite directions. The new one has them
coming out parallel. They are electrically identical.
The old cord can be used with the 50 mm, 28 mm, and 13 mm
lenses, but will interfere with the 20-35 zoom.

- The back on the early bodies had vents that look a bit
like a harmonica. The idea was to let the water drain
away. It allowed sand to get to the O-ring and stick to
the grease. The later back eliminates the vents. I had
one of each and can attest to the O-ring being cleaner
without the vents.

It also trapped water that could drip in the back of the
camera when you opened it. I did have Nikon do this.

The old back can be replaced with the new one.

- Check the battery frequently with a digital volt meter. A
new battery will read about 6.35v. If it gets much below
its rated 6.00v, toss it. (I toss them at 5.95v, if not
sooner.) Or if you hear the motor start to strain towards
the end of rewind, replace the battery.

- The zoom knob on the 20-35 traps water. After you rinse
your camera, blow the water out of the narrow gap at the
base of the knob or it will sit in their for weeks, and
cause corrosion.

- There's at least one person selling black O-rings of a
more traditional material, but I haven't found a need for

- When you soak the camera, remove the black rubber piece
around the eyepiece (it snaps right out) and the black
plastic bit beneath it. Be sure to note which way the
black plastic bit goes on (thicker ridge towards the
camera, notch down).

- When you close the back on the camera, close it with your
fingers, not the latch. Close it slowly, and watch the
area under the latch to make sure the O-ring doesn't
extrude. Then latch it.

- The early cameras had an all-plastic battery cover that
could admit splashes (esp from the early harmonica backs).
The later ones have a rubber gasketed cover that is
splash-proof. Nikon seems to have routinely replaced
these during annual service at no charge.

- The red rubber caps on the aperture and exposure
compensation controls, like the black one on the rewind
knob of the Nik V, can be removed, preventing corrosion.
(Note: I have not personally done this).

- It's not uncommon with an RS to need to have the exposure
compensation set to something non-zero, and for that
setting to change after or service, or when changing film
types. I shoot all my macro in TTL mode, and at the
moment, both RSs need it set to -1/3 for good results on
E100S (I suspect on Velvia it would be 0). Before the
most recent service, one of them needed -2/3. I've seen
one RS that needed at least -3/3 (ie, -1),

Adjust the exposure compensation underwater based on
subject. If normal exposure is -1/3, a light subject will
get set to 0, a WHITE subject to +1/3, dark to -2/3, BLACK
to -3/3. Sea fans get -2/3 or -3/3 because they have so
many holes in them that on average they are pretty dark.

- When loading film, it will occasionally misload. Listen to
it as it loads: it should go "snick" exactly three times.
If it does misload, open the back, take the film out, and
put it back in. Misloads usually happen because of
dampness on the film. I've cut the number of misloads down
to almost zero by extending the leader to the correct
distance at home with dry hands. I can load without
touching film at all. I made a mark on the back of the
camera the shows how much to extend the film.


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