In our ongoing series S.U.P.E.R. (Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Equipment Reviews), Scubaverse.com’s underwater photography editors Nick and Caroline Robertson Brown review new underwater photography equipment, general diving equipment, and some older favourites too.
For the twelfth instalment of S.U.P.E.R., Nick and Caroline take a look at the Fantasea FRX100 MKIV housing for the Sony RX100.
The Sony RX100 is one of the leading compact cameras on the market, and so naturally it’s also a camera that underwater housing manufacturers have focused on. We are now on the Mark IV edition of this versatile camera which boasts a large sensor, high ISO abilities, 4K video and 16 frames per second continuous shooting.
I had a quick dip at Capernwray quarry with the Sony camera in the Fantasea FRX100 MKIV housing to see how the camera and housing performed together in less than ideal conditions. The first, and most important, feature of this housing is that you can access all the manual controls of the camera while it is in the housing. Most of the buttons are well thought out and easy to use, even in the cold conditions, and therefore with thick gloves like the ones I was diving in. If I had to lay one criticism on this housing however, it is that the rear dial button, in 5mm gloves, can be a little difficult to operate. I had to remove my hand from the camera to make any adjustments – but this was more than manageable to be honest, so no major drama. The camera does, however, allow you to setup which controls you would like to adjust by which dials, so you can find what works best for you and make the appropriate changes; a brilliant personalising option for underwater photographers.
The Fantasea housing is made from polycarbonate and is therefore less expensive than the aluminium models on the market. It is depth rated to 60m and, unlike many in this class, also comes with a leak alarm included as part of the package. It has a cold shoe mount for attaching a video light or other accessories. It also has dual fibre optic connections, and so for our testing we used the system with a single INON Z-240 strobe, but the option for a second strobe is a very useful facility. Another feature which really helps the underwater photographer out is that the housing has a switch that allows you to pop up the camera flash if you forgot during your setup routine. This will save many a photography dive! Another nice touch is that the housing has been designed so that it can house both the MKIII and MKIV models of the Sony RX100, so you don’t need to buy a new housing if you want to upgrade.
Given the excellent RRP of £649 for this housing, this is a system that will continue to be popular. The lightweight, but yet tough, housing with plenty of admirable features is an excellent choice for those wanting to keep costs down.
For dealers in the UK: www.blue-orb.uk/dealers
Find out more about Nick and Caroline at www.frogfishphotography.com.
Sealife Micro 3.0 Camera and Light Gift Set Popular at DEMA Show
The new Micro 3.0 Underwater Camera & Light Gift Set from Sealife was very well received during the recent DEMA Show in New Orleans. The Set is an ideal item for the 2023 Fall travel and Holiday season.
The camera is the latest and third generation of its popular permanently-sealed Micro camera series. The camera is leak-proof with no O-rings to lube or maintain, so there is never a worry about flooding the camera. Like its forerunners, the Micro 3.0 features an ergonomic, compact design with easy to-use controls and menus. The camera has a 16-megapixel Sony® CMOS image sensor and offers 4K ultra-high-definition video. The camera’s ease of use starts with the three wide Piano key type buttons that are easy to locate and control, even with dive gloves on. The intuitive camera’s Easy Setup feature quickly guides you through the correct settings based on the shooting environment, depth and lighting accessories being used.
For a limited time through SeaLife’s USA dealers, SeaLife is offering the Micro 3.0 Camera & Light Limited Edition Gift Set that will include a Sea Dragon 2000F Photo Video Light.
The complete camera and light set price will be the same price as SeaLife’s Micro 3.0 Camera regular selling price (alone). Availability will be early November through SeaLife’s dealer network and while supplies last.
The camera & light gift set will also be available in other countries; however, prices may vary depending on location.
While the Micro 3.0 takes away the fuss and fiddling with camera controls that plague most underwater cameras, the Micro 3.0 does have an easy option for fine-tuning underwater images with manual white balance adjustments and the ability to capture images in RAW format, for those that want to edit their images later. The built-in wide angle 100° lens allows the diver to get close to the subjects while still keeping everything in the picture. The Micro 3.0 offers WiFi sharing ability, so you can wirelessly preview, download, and share pictures & videos to a smart phone or tablet with the free Micro 3+ app available at Google Play or Apple App stores. The Micro 3.0 “Explorer” Gift Set includes the Micro 3.0 camera, the Sea Dragon 2000F photo/video light, Flex-Connect Micro tray and Grip, light battery & charger, wrist strap, USB adapter, 3’/90cm USB cable, camera pouch & lens cap.
Find out more at www.sealife-cameras.com/micro-3-0-sets.
Dive into Festive Fun With PADI
Marina Scuba School’s Santa Splash Discover Scuba Experience
Join the festive fun at Marina Scuba School’s Santa Splash on the 16th of December in Crosby. While the real Santa may be busy, Marina Scuba School’s staff members will be dressed up in festive attire for a 2-hour DSD with a Christmas twist.
Open to adults, families, and children over the age of 8, this festive dive is jam-packed with Christmas treats.
The festive fun begins at Marina Scuba School, where you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and some delicious Santa snacks. During the 2-hour Discover Scuba Diving session, you’ll have the chance to learn essential skills required for scuba diving, all while searching for some Christmas goodies hidden beneath the surface.
This holly jolly dive experience takes place on the 16th of December in Crosby and only costs £40 per participant.
To book this exciting dive contact the dive centre by email: email@example.com
Vobster Quay in Bristol is thrilled to announce the return of the Vobster Santas, a spectacular yuletide diving event that promises to make waves for a cause. This festive fun is open to all levels of divers and invites participants to don their Santa gear and dive into the holiday season in style.
Scheduled for the 10th of December, the gates to Vobster Quay will open at 7:30 am, with a comprehensive dive brief at 09:30 am, leading up to a mass dive at 10:00 am. The goal? To surpass the previous record of 185 Santa divers in the water simultaneously, promising a visually spectacular and undoubtedly jolly spectacle.
Vobster Santas isn’t just about the joy of diving; it’s a mission with heart. The event serves as a vital fundraising opportunity for two esteemed charities, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Help for Heroes. Both hold special significance for Vobster Quay, and participants are encouraged to secure sponsorships through JustGiving to support these worthy causes.
Since its inception, Vobster Santas has successfully raised over £40,000 for these charities. This year, the bar is set higher, and Vobster Quay is committed to leading the charge. To kick off the fundraising efforts, Vobster Quay has generously donated £1000 to each charity, igniting the holiday spirit of giving.
For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to download the event poster, visit: Vobster Quay – VOBSTER SANTAS 2023
Photos: Jason Brown
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