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** Read & watch our Sony RX100 commentary on this amazing tiny camera with a huge sensor
** Read the full UWPG Sony RX-100 review
Photo of Bluewater Photo owner Scott's son Ryan, taken with the Recsea Housing, UWL-04 fishyeye lens. We are very impressed with the dynamic range of this camera, and the photos with the fisheye lens were extremely sharp, with no vignetting.
I had a chance to get my hands on the new Recsea Sony RX100 and run it through the paces on 3 test dives. Max depth was 120 ft on those dives.
I previously shot with the Canon S90, UWL-04 UWA lens, 2x Inon UCL 165 macro lens, and have been shooting for the past 6 months on the Sony NEX5n mirrorless compact system.
I was eagerly awaiting the release of the RX-100, because based on the specs, it looked to be an absolute winner for UW photography.
As with all Recsea products, the housing feels rock solid in terms of construction. I prefer the feel and security of the aluminum housing vs. polycarbonate. Nice big fat o-ring securely seals the back cover with a solid latch.
All controls were clearly marked and the housing has full access to both the rear wheel on the RX-100, and the front control wheel, one of the hallmark features of this compact camera. Using the camera in the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is our of the housing. Controls were still easy to manipulate as I wanted to change shutter speed, aperture, iso, and focus points on the fly, even with 3 to 5mm gloves on. Unlike the s90 housing design, this one does not have dedicated directional buttons for top, down, left, right on the rear control wheel. Rather, they've recreated the rear wheel with a wheel design that allows the wheel scroll as well as the ability to toggle in the 4 directions. I did not have any issues with the design and it functioned fine even at 120ft.
The shutter design is a change for me, and probably most compact users. Instead of pushing down to start shooting, this housing button is designed for the photographer to pull front to back (or towards you when you are behind the camera). I was told Recsea designed it this way to make it easier to shoot when you also have your hand around a tray handle, which makes sense in theory. This did take me a little while to get used to, but it was fine after a few frames.
Wet lens usage:
I tested the UWL-04 lens and 2x Dyron macro lenses. The UWA capability was excellent; no vignetting at all with the UWL lens, even at the widest 28MM setting for the camera.
The Dyron macros were easy to add to the set up and really helps to improve the native macro capability of the camera.
The housing comes with a strobe mask to block the internal strobe from showing on the outside of the housing. It also has two mall holes to accomodate fiber optic cables with out the caps. I really liked that the housing aims the fiber optic cables directly up from the camera (vs outward as with most designs. This really helps insure the FO cables don't accidentally float in front of the camera and into your shot.
Compatibility with existing parts:
The housing and camera were so compact, I easily mounted it to my existing same tray and arm set.
I shot some photos and video on a recent blue water dive. I was very impressed with the performance of this camera in terms of fast focus, image quality, and low light capability. And with video, the continuous focus performed well, even when filming difficult subject such as transparent jellies.
Overall, if you are looking for a compact camera for UW photography, the RX-100 is in my opinion, the hands down winner in the category.
I recently lost my S100 with a Fix housing, it was a blessing in disguise. The RX100 is a far superior camera with much higher image quality. The housing itself is great, solid construction compact size, buttons are easy to use. The one problem i have (that i have more than learned to live with), is that my palm sometimes accidentally hits the buttons.
I am a UK Resident, and was keen to get a housing for my flashy new RX100, This being my first Underwater camera, i was apprehensive about the whole experience of what to buy and will it fit? All i can say is I have no regrets what so ever.
I found Bluewater via Google, whilst looking for a compnay that sells this housing in the UK. Could find any! Scott is a Great person to deal with, I bought the Recsea housing, Fisheye lense and Macro lense with adaptors. Before sending out the order, Scott and his team informed me of a mistake in my order and rectified it. Took delivery fairly promply, bar some delays in Custos in UK. Very personal and good service over all.
Camera + Housing:
The camera fits in snug, and the overall weight isnt too heavy. The aluminium feels great in my hand, feels strong! The only grip i have is that there isnt much space inside, so trying to fit in a dry silica satchet was impossible.
I bought all this kit mainly because i was heading to zanzibar for a diving trip and wanted to take pictures. Maximum dive depth 40 M, Performance of housing was impecable.
Underwater, especially in warm water, no gloves, There were no issues at all. The buttons works as expected, the scroll wheel on the top to change the Camera Mode, slipped afew times, but once pressed in properly, isnt much of an issue. The Control wheel in the front works just as it does outside the houseing. Buttons layed out in the same way the camera is built, so if you are familiar with the camera before a dive, using it underwater shouldnt be an issue. I unfortunately havent really got round to buying strobes yet so cant comment on that as yet. I am overall thouroughly impressed by the housing. It helps that its got a mini powerhouse like the RX100 inside.
I will be uploading some of what i think are my best pictures, albeit, with out a strobe so i accept they look a bit blue! ( We had Turtles Everyday!)
I just purchased this before a trip to Belize along with the Sony RX100, a Sola 800, and a Sea and Sea ys100.
What a setup, compact, easy to use, sturdy, and great photos and vids.
I can't thank Scott and Kelli enough for all their great help. I will be buying all of my photographic needs from them.
I "downgraded" from a DSLR setup to go with the RX-100 in this housing. With this setup I get half the weight of my DSLR, with triple the flexibility and very solid quality. I can get in the water with dual strobes, macro lenses, and a wide angle lens, and I can carry the whole rig around with ease.
The Recsea housing is a vital component in getting the most out of my setup. It is only of the only housings on the market that doesn't vignette with the UWL-04 wide angle attachment. This was the major deciding factor for me in purchasing this housing over others. If you are going to invest in a housing for your RX-100, get this one. It is very solidly built, and is extremely easy to use. If you know how to use your RX-100, the housing feels very instinctive. In fact, I prefer (overall) the feel of the camera in the housing than outside of it, since it feels much more comfortable in the hands.
The locking latch is very secure, and all of the machining is very precise. The camera fits very snugly into the case, giving the impression that nothing is wasted or taken for granted in the design.
I love the shutter trigger. Half presses are precise, and the picture taking motion is smooth and easy to get used to.
All controls are accessible (even with gloves on and in cold water), and the layout is pretty good, with the possible exception of a couple of the buttons which are kind of crammed up near the rear control ring. It took me a bit to get used to it, but after a few dives I got the hang of it. The top dial to change mode slips sometimes, but it is not a big deal, I just keep turning it until I get where I want to go. I wouldn't say it affects my photo work at all. My other little niggle is the front control ring that is a little stiffer to turn than I would like, but some may like the stiffness, so this is a personal preference.
I agree with cdub's review on the flash cover and fiber optic connection being well designed in general. I am afraid, however, of losing or stripping the little white plastic screw that attaches it. I have felt the screw start to work loose a couple of times, and don't want to have to replace it - mostly due to the inconvenience factor.
Is the housing perfect? What is? Is it really solid and worth the money? Yeah. Good design is worth paying for. This is my fifth housing, and is the first I have ever owned that I have been truly happy with. In the past, I have bought a setup, and almost immediately started looking for my next one. This one I plan to keep around for a good long time.
Final thought, the crew over at Blue Water is extremely helpful, and their product selection is really smartly put together. In the underwater world, it can be difficult to both get the answers you need, and find the quality product you want. This was my first purchase through them, and being able to bug them with incessantly detailed questions, and getting the answers and solutions I needed to make the best choice is the main reason they will be my first stop on my way to my next purchase.
After decades of lugging around multiple Nikonos bodies, lenses, extension tubes, and strobes, I wanted to drag myself into the 21st century with a digital system that combined the flexibility I was used to with a smaller and lighter footprint. Seems simple, doesn't it?
I found that a DSLR in a housing would actually result in a larger footprint, so I played around with several compact cameras in polycarbonate housings. I loved these for easy travel and immediate viewing of my shots, but I hated the slow focus and resulting shutter lag.
When I saw the specs for the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100, I thought this would be the camera for me. Small and light, fast focus, a sensor almost three times the size of other compacts, great controls, … What's not to like? And David Pogue's review (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/technology/personaltech/a-pocket-camer...) clinched it (he calls it the best pocket camera ever made). Now, all I needed to do was wait for a housing.
And what a housing! The Recsea housing is beautifully engineered, compact, and lightweight. Machined from aluminum, it has a satisfyingly solid feel, is smaller than a polycarbonate housing, and makes the kit feel like a camera, instead of a plastic box. The camera in the housing is about the same size and weight as one of my Nikonos V cameras.
All controls are available while in the housing, including both the front lens ring and rear control wheel. A map of the button functions (assuming you haven't chosen to change any of them from the defaults) is printed on a label affixed to the top of the housing. This label is easy to read, but no substitute for being familiar with the camera layout.
The shutter mechanism is the best I've seen. After struggling with the finesse required to get a half-press with other housings, this Recsea housing is a dream - very easy to reliably set focus and exposure, then shoot when ready.
The performance with wet lenses is very good, as well. There is no vignetting at all with the UWL-04 Wide Angle lens, and with the SubSee +5 Diopter, there is just a tiny bit, and it is only necessary to zoom in very slightly to achieve a full-frame macro shot.
And while I'm thinking about macro, this setup works very well with optical TTL in Manual mode. With the Sea & Sea YS-D1 Strobe, it syncs at all speeds up to 1/2000. The the flash mask supplied with the RecSea housing supports two optical cables, and the cables are routed upward, rather than outward, which reduces drag and snagging issues.
All in all, the Sony RX100 with the Recsea housing is exactly what I've been looking for!
Very good built quality very precise. The size is great, I even use it above water with dyron 16mm ultra wide angle lens attached. It doesn't cause much of the attention than normal DSLR. All buttons are working perfectly. Especially the video button, simply the best. The shutter button was a bit awkward maybe because I don't have handle bar installed yet. Will test more later. Overall I love it, comparing to my old camera housing.
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