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.