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.