Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nemrod Siluro

Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit with M2 bulb
I have some diving and underwater photography experience, but I had never seen or heard about this camera, until I saw one on OZBOX photostream, at Flickr.

I googled it, just to try to know more about it, and found this nice example on a local auction site, contacted the seller, went to see him and the camera.
It was a nice young man from Vila Nova de Cerveira. His father at some instance bought this camera but had no idea of what it was, the son insisted that it was a diving camera, he didn't believe it due to the flash unit, he thought it wouldn't work underwater.
They made some inquiries and found what it was and had it for sale.

After inspection of the camera, money changed hands and I came home with this beauty.

Nemrod Siluro w/o flash unit

This camera was made by Nemrod Metzeler, S.A. in Barcelona, Spain.
and it was distributed by Vilarrubís y Sagué, S. A.
Sagrera, 44 - 55, Barcelona - 13, España
The Nemrod company, named after the bible character of Nemrod the hunter, king of Babylonia, was a manufacturer of diving and spearfishing equipment, they produced this camera from 1960 to 1966
It's moulded in a kind of heavy Bakelite, known as Novodur.
It has close resemblances to the Mako-shark, by Healthways, California, with the benefit of using 120 film instead of 620 and having a dedicated flash unit, invaluable for underwater photography.
The lens is a 70 mm fix focus and aperture, 1-2,5m, f:16
The shutter is a very simple single speed type, 1/55 sec.
Built-in inside the back there is a pair of lead weights to make it's buoyancy neutral.
Made to be water tight at 40 meters.
Valve in the front to pressurize it.
It provides twelve 6 x 6 exposures on 120 film, the film advance, via scalloped knob, is controlled by the ruby window, on the back.
The power, for the exterior flash unit,is provided by a 22,5 V battery and it uses an 100 μF 25/30 V capacitor, both housed inside the body.
Dimensions and weight: 16,5(d) x 27(l) x 20(h) cm, 1.550 kg (including flash)

In a nutshell it is an underwater box camera.

Let's see how it's made:

Nemrod Siluro - Parts

Left to right: ruby window rubber cover; back cover, containing the ballast weights and film pressure plate; 

Nemrod Siluro - Back, ruby window and rubber cap Nemrod Siluro - Back inside view, ballast weights and film pressure plate

Nemrod Siluro - Detail of lead weight

the front with the camera itself and the flash electronics; 

Nemrod Siluro - Left view inside front, with film loaded Nemrod Siluro - Right view inside front, with film loaded

Nemrod Siluro - Inside front

flash unit; adapter to XM-1 bulbs. 

Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit with XM-1 bulb adapter

The controls: up the shutter release, down the film advance knob; the logos; flash connectors.

Nemrod Siluro - film controls Nemrod Siluro - Logos Nemrod Siluro - Flash connections

The flash unit may use MB2/3 bulbs

Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit with M2 bulb

Or, via the included adapter, XM-1 bulbs

Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit with XM-1 bulb adapter Nemrod Siluro - Flash unit with XM-1 bulb adapter and XM-1 bulb
For underwater use white bulbs are the best choice, blue bulbs for topside use.

It's an amazing piece, seen from any angle

Nemrod Siluro with flash unit and XM-1 bulb via adapter

Nemrod Siluro - Right view

Nemrod Siluro with flash unit and XM-1 bulb via adapter

Nemrod siluro - Left view

Nemrod Siluro - Viewfinder

Even the sports finder is great

Nemrod Siluro - Valve capped  Nemrod Siluro - Valve uncapped

This is a curious feature, the pressurizer valve, you can use a bike pump to do it, it provides positive pressure inside and, if some gasket is leaking, on the immersion the diver will see a stream of bubbles denouncing it, giving him time to take it out of the water, before any damage occur.

The only fault in the camera was a broken piece in the inside, some kind of adapter, that glued quite all right.

I'm not sure what it's function is as you can see in the following pictures: on the left one there's a kind of adapter, that gives an extra clearance between lens and film plane, of about 5 mm.
On the picture on the right I removed the adapter.

Nemrod Siluro - Film adapter (?)  Nemrod Siluro - Flash electronics
I can only guess that the adapter is for close range photography, mainly underwater, and removing it probably it will focus from 2/3 m to infinity, for topside use.
It's just a guess, as the camera doesn't have B position, I haven't yet tested my supposition.
If someone can confirm or discredit my theory I would be must obliged.

Stay tuned (o;


  1. hello there. very informative post.
    my adapter was broken too.
    have you checked its use? i thought it was mandatory for any use.

    1. No I haven't used it yet.
      As the info about it is so scarce, I figured out an explanation for it's being a removable part, maybe I'm wrong.

  2. Thanks for the info! I purchased one of these though a buy/sell listing on Craigslist, and thought I'd pass on some info that I learned. Firstly, though the camera is rated to 60psi/4 atmospheres/120ft, you should only pressurize it a very little with the valve on the front. This is because while the body will take the pressure, the clips will bend and the front of the camera will pop off with explosive force. I found this out the hard way :) This is a beauty of a camera, and I actually cleaned the 50-year-old O-ring and put a roll of TMY 400 through it while scuba diving yesterday. Had it to 60ft, and no leaks.