Video Rig Draft v2

Sony RX100 – Tips for UW Video Part 6 – Housing Choices

I have a been a bit busy lately fighting with the MTS video files that the RX100 produces, I finally have an automated tool that converts all files into MP4 ready for iMovie that works a breeze.

Anyway this post is not about that workflow but about housing choices. I have received quite a few inquiries about housing choices and although I am not associated with any manufacturer or reseller I thought it would be a good idea to share my thinking.

When I had to choose a housing for the Canon S95 I chose a Recsea, in fact my buddy uses it, the latest WHC-S95D for still pictures and it looks pretty much like this.

A few bits got me frustrated with the Recsea housing one was the rear control.

This may look great but I have been frustrated when underwater the pressing of the buttons was mistaken for rotating the dial itself.

The other thing that I thought was pretty poor was the cold shoe for the focus light, this is a small piece of metal and the screws need to be treated with thread lock if you don’t want to lose it underwater.

Not to mention the mode dial that is really stiff.

Finally the bottom of the housing where the screws go is made of steel threads, in fact you should be careful not to leave an aluminum tray in salt water as it might corrode the housing. This may seem unlikely but I have seen other Recsea housing with huge speckles that mean corrosion.

Recsea produced a housing for the Canon S100 that introduced a front ring like the one on the camera itself but the housing remains the same of the S95 for the other features.

The choice of the Recsea housing over others at the time was mainly because it was easier and more cost-effective to get adapters for the Inon AD lenses I have.

So when the new  housing for the RX100 came out, first on the market from Recsea, I studied carefully the pictures to see how specific issues had been addressed. In essence the  housing for the RX100 is the same of the Canon S100 and has the same annoyances that I did not like with the S95.

So I waited until Nauticam came out with their product, which is in fact made by the same plant that did the Fisheye-fix for the S90/95/100 we can recognize the same features in this housing.

The first is that there is no integrated rear dial,  the buttons are separated from the rotation, this means the housing is very precise and there is never confusion in button presses and response from the camera.

The second is the top of the housing itself, the mode dial is smooth and the cold shoe is top quality as it was the fix s100.

The cold shoe is robust and takes easily not only adapters for 1/2″ loc-line but also 3/4″ which is great.

Finally as it was on the fix housing the bottom of the housing has got two zinc plates to act as cathodes and avoid corrosion.

There are other two incredible plus points of the Nauticam housing:

  • the moisture alarm, I don’t recall seeing one for a compact but the Nauticam has got it and it works as well
  • The housing has an M67 thread that allows you to mount lenses without adapters

Personally I don’t like M67 wide angle options for the RX100 as those are heavy lenses in water however if you already have them than you are sorted.

What about the Ikelite housing? Ikelite had issues of sticky buttons with the Canon S100 so for the Rx100 they have gone back to a large form factor. Personally I don’t believe a polycarbonate housing of such size is very appealing however if money is lacking this is the only choice at the bottom. It does not come anywhere near the quality and features of Nauticam or Recsea.

There is also another housing from Patima that has just been released, I have just seen the pictures and  it does not look particularly attractive, the closing latch looks ancient,  the rear section has button and dials too close and the control ring control placed on top of the camera is just unpractical. It is priced at source at $699 so 27% cheaper than the Nauticam, but this comes at a price: there are plenty of design shortcuts that may create usage issues underwater.

In conclusion the Nauticam I believe offers the best quality and value for money for the RX100, with the exception of the front ring being operated in a traditional mode I don’t see any faults with this set up and I would recommend it for both video and stills, if you don’t have that amount of money and you want to use your RX100 just for video then the Ikelite is worth a try, but not if you want to use the camera also for stills. Nothing specific to Ikelite but transparent housing give too many issues with strobes to even bother.

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9 thoughts on “Sony RX100 – Tips for UW Video Part 6 – Housing Choices”

  1. Hello,

    I would like to ask what you think of Aqupazza housing. I am deciding between Nauticam and Aquapazza for Sony RX100.
    I do not have a chance to put my hands on it to see for myself which one will suit better. I really like your posts and anyone can see how detailed your comments are.
    I really appreciate your help.

  2. The Acquapazza looks really well built and it is smaller than any other RX100 housing. I have not tested it myself but people I know and trust like this housing very much. In UK it is priced same as the Nauticam, it does have similar feature and I like more the touch of the Nauticam controls for ergonomics instead of metal buttons like the Acquapazza. So if I had to choose at the same price I would still go for Nauticam that has a lot of support here. However where you live maybe you get a better price for Acquapazza and good support I would say it looks good with no apparent weaknesses and if you get it much cheaper go for it it is also available in special colours!

    1. Hello there, thank you for your reply.
      It really helped. I like Nauticam for its ergonomic feeling and Acquapazza for the color :-) range, the shutter lever looks great and one can just unscrew the port and exchange it for a different size.
      I am going to order my equipment at Blue water with Scott Gietler from CA Santa Monica. He really is a great guy that is helping me a lot. These two housings are almost the same price though. So I am a bit desperate… Which one!!!

      1. No problem. Scott is a great guy I definitely recommend him. I see he is selling the acquapazza for $100 less. However you will need to check if you have to pay import duty when it arrives. I am not sure where you live but it may be worth checking if any of the two brands have local distributors so you know exactly what is going to cost and have support in your country? Color for a woman is important I think you will go with acquapazza!!

  3. Hi interceptor121,

    first of all many compliments for your blog, you are doing an amazing job which helped me a lot in the confusing process of choosing a new camera setup which I’ll be mainly using for video.

    Now, one of my last questions is if you think that the RX100 II has significant improvements which justify investing into the new model and housing rather than the first one? Keeping in mind that I mainly wanna use it for videography.

    I was also wondering in terms of prices if the Ikelite housing wouldn’t be “enough” for me (again, I’m not too much into photography) – do you have any experience with fogging up since I had major issues with my camcorder in an Ikelite housing.

    My last question is if you have tried by any chance to fit the 67mm red filter from Ikelite onto a Nauticam housing? I know that you’re filming with strobes and light but I’ll be mainly filming wide angle and always had pretty good results in only using a color correction filter.

    Would be great if you could find the time to come back to me, this is gonna influence my final buying decision (no pressure :)),
    thank you so much!!!

    1. Hello and thanks for the words of appreciation
      Onto your questions
      1. Look into my RX100M2 review: if you don’t have any camera yet go for the mark 2
      2. If you have budget get the nauticam housing. The ikelite will work but will give you some ergonomic issues also restrict your choice of wet lenses
      3. I use ikelite push up filters I wr a wide angle lens and this is what I recommend. You can of course just put an M67 filter on the port but the field of view with the bare port is too narrow to be good for anything. I use an Inon UWL-H100 28LD without filter for the record
      Enjoy your video shooting and keep following the blog

      1. Thank you so much again! This might be a stupid question but why wouldn’t you recommend using a red filter? I am not planning to purchase any strobes and lights since I’ll be using the camera mainly for video. Will the colors be ok without a red filter and just setting automatic white balance?

      2. The filter plus auto white balance will work ok until around 18 meters
        It is always better to use the filter and still white balance
        I don’t use it anymore as it takes away light and it is just an additional piece of equipment
        However now that I have the rx100 mark I will probably try the filter again as ISO is 160 I will probably try again

      3. Ok, that makes sense, thanks. I’ve been always filming with a red filter but agree that the results with filter are worse at depths or when filming sharks for example which blend in with the background. I will try to get hold of an Ikelite red filter to fit on the wide angle lens. Have fun with the RX100 Mark II, can’t wait to see your first results!

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