The year is 1969. Men walk on the moon. The New York Jets win the Super Bowl. Woodstock defines a generation. Elwyn Gates changes the world of underwater imaging.
Like so many things it started as a desire: to capture small critters pictures (macro) with a Nikonos III underwater camera. At the time a Nikonos 28 or 35mm lens would close focus to only 2 1/2 feet (76cm). Being an experimenter, Elwyn first tried close up lenses — both water contact and sealed — with reasonable results. It was the third attempt — with a plastic tube inserted between camera and lens and held together with rubber bands (classic Elwyn style) that actually worked, and well.
To refine the device, he then took and old Nikonos camera and glued ground glass plate at the focal plane and a plexiglass window behind it. He could then find the precise focal point with any setup. The Nikonos Extension Tube kit was born, and the rest history. Over 100,000 Nikonos Extension Tube kits were sold before finally being phased out in 2003.