On the market, off the market, it doesn’t matter—ask an underwater photographer what the best underwater camera is and there’s a good chance you’ll hear the word “Nikonos.”

Not Nikon, mind you: Nikonos. A series of underwater film cameras by Nikon that haven’t been made since 2001, and yet maintain their popularity. Cameras that can trace their lineage to Jaques freaking Cousteau. Cameras that still, to this day, sell very well on the used market.

Whether it’s the Nikonos V, or the RS, or even the very old I, II and III that were basically just modified versions of the Calypso (a camera designed by none other than Jacques-Yves Cousteau) the Nikonos cameras represent something truly special.

Portable and easy to use, these cameras represented the cutting edge of underwater photography when they were released. In fact, the RS was the world’s first Auto-Focus underwater SLR.

No true underwater camera since has been able to match it. Housings, yes. Stand-alone cameras, not even close. And so we thought it was about time we pay tribute to the old Nikons, and the golden age of underwater film photography.

Scroll through these 15 photos for inspiration. And if you happen to go troll eBay for used Nikonos cameras afterwards… well… let’s just say we won’t judge.

Click here to see more of the underwater photography on 500px.

And if you have old Nikonos negatives lying around, scan those puppies in, upload to 500px, and drop a link in the comments! We’d love to see more of them on the site. #filmisnotdead #longliveNikonos