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Krzysztof

My first underwater setup RX100 IV

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Hello everyone,

 

I’m looking to buy my first underwater photography setup and need some advice to put everything together. On the first place I thought about my Nikon D7100 to take underwater but reality is brutal and whole setup would be very expensive and simply I can’t afford it. I sold camera and all lenses so now I can start from the begging.

 

I’m moving to Thailand Koh Tao for year maybe longer. I’ll do my Instructor internship up there and I would like to have equipment with me to save memories. I would like to do some photography and video. My underwater setup needs to be medium size so is easy to carry and great for everyday usage.

 

Camera:

Sony RX100 Mark IV looks really nice is small with good photo specification and awesome video mode. I think is top range compact camera now available on the market.

What you guys think about that camera is it worth investing money or something else would be a better choice?

 

Housing:

NA-RX100IV (www.camerasunderwater.co.uk) price £764

Ikelite is slightly cheaper but Nauticam looks more solid and safer.

 

Lighting:

I think the best configuration would be one flash plus video light.

 

-Flash: What would be a better choice Inon Flash Z-240 Type 4 or Sea and Sea YS-D2 Strobe? Maybe they are other options to consider? I found good deal for both strobes and they are nearly same price at http://www.scubastore.com £420 around for each.

Batteries are rechargeable or I need to buy them separately?

 

Video light:

I have no clue what to choose I may get a wide angle lens if will get enough money so something with high angle would be great, build in battery charger would be great option too. My budget is up to £450. I would like to buy them from http://www.scubastore.com as they have good price deals on equipment.

 

Arms and Lens:

I would like to get arms to hold my lighting for my Nauticam housing I have no idea what I will need so would you suggest something?

 

I read about wet wide lens for that housing would you help me chose to best one for my setup? (That would be optional if will get enough money).

 

Cost:

Camera £580, Housing £765, Flash up to £450, Video light up to £450, Arms £xxx (Don’t know)

Wide lens is optional so not included.

TOTAL: £2245

 

Should I be considering something else? I really appreciated your help.

 

Many thanks,

Kris.

Edited by Krzysztof

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I have a similar rig - Nauticam housing with RX100 II. I love the housing. Previously I'd used Canon point-n-shoots, mostly without external strobes. If you are on a tight budget, the Canon s120 and matching housing works pretty well. (It even has provisions for dual strobe fiber optic feeds).

 

I have no idea on video lights, other than to say one probably isn't enough. My rig has two YS-D1 strobes and a V24 Fishlite focus light. For video, I can say the fishlight has a range of about 12 inches...

 

I have two 5 inch and two 8 inch arms, and I mount the short arms closest to the camera. Each arm as two floatstix on it. You can see the rig here:

150103-114918-00-44-s95.jpg

 

I have two wet lens for the rig. You can see a macro lens in the shot above. Probably because I didn't get close enough, I've never had a shot in focus with it and I've hardly tried to use it. I also have a fisheye dome, but never even had it underwater yet.

 

I don't know what differences there are between the II and IV models, but on the one I have, there is an annoying 2 second lag between pushing the video record button and seeing 'REC' on the LCD. A couple of times I ruined potentially-great videos by hitting the record button, not seeing REC and hitting it again. That resulted in 2-second-long video clips...

 

Compared to the Canon's I was used to, the Sony is just harder to use underwater in terms of the user interface. Changing modes on the Canons gave me a brief, large A or P or M, etc on the LCD, so I knew where I was when changing modes. Not so on the Sony - tiny print, hard to see. It takes a while to get used to finding menu items. It's also necessary (for me) to turn the LCD brightness up to max so I can have a chance of reading the LCD underwater. Doing that (bright LCD) can make your shots all look overexposed when they are not - trust your histogram.

 

I've now had 5 Canon point-n-shoots with Canon housings. None have leaked. One got lost. Three had the cameras eventually fail above water (lots of use and abuse, lens won't retract now). Each was better than the last. All were in the $400-500 new ballpark, camera and housing.

 

You will need spare batteries. If planning on more than 3 dives per day, I'd have at least 3 batteries total.

 

The Sony is basically another point-n-shoot, and it's similar to the Canons, except less intuitive to use. Has a really nice sensor - shoot in RAW.

 

I'm now about to try a DSLR rig for the first time (in a couple of weeks). Nauticam housing for D810, dual strobes, big dome port and a macro port. The logistics of packing and moving the DSLR rig around are night and day different from a smaller setup like the Sony RX100 or the Canon point-n-shoots.

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Hi Kris,

 

I just unboxed my NA-rx100IV, its a really nice housing, I was surprised how light it is (according to specs, its just 300g lighter as my 10bar epl5, but still..). I wanted to go with aluminum housing, because of the overheating habits of the mkIV.

 

Strobes: difficult question, I am also struggling what should replace my S2000's. Since our camera has tiny pixels, we should keep the iso below 800, which in certain situations need a strong strobe. The ys-D2 is the strongest small unit you can have,

but there are some issues about S&S strobes.

 

Reliability (no answer yet related to D2)

 

Slow sync in TTL mode. (applies to bot D1 &2)

 

Since based in Europe, I consider the subtronic Pro 160 as well, however on the german uwpix forums one can read quite weird things on their customer support. I think I'll stay with a warranty covered D2...

Edited by tamas970

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Strobes: difficult question, I am also struggling what should replace my S2000's. Since our camera has tiny pixels, we should keep the iso below 800, which in certain situations need a strong strobe. The ys-D2 is the strongest small unit you can have,

but there are some issues about S&S strobes.

 

I've only had my YS-D1 strobes for a year and 32 dives, but I've had zero reliability issues with them.

 

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Hi Kris, I hope you're okay with me hijacking your thread. I didn't want to create a new thread because my questions are pretty similar.

I already have an ikelite housing for my 5D Mk III, but I'm looking to get a RX100 III with a nauticam housing because the ikelite is too bulky for traveling.

I'd like to get Inon strobes some time in the future which I can use with both housings. Are all Inon strobes compatible with both?

What about ball arms, are they standardized between different brands? If I have Inon strobes and a nauticam housing, do I use nauticam arms or Inon arms?

Because I don't have the money and I am currently exclusively shooting at the surface anyway, I was thinking some GoPro video lights might be sufficient as fill lights for now. Has anyone got any experience with those?

Thanks!

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Hi Kris, I hope you're okay with me hijacking your thread. I didn't want to create a new thread because my questions are pretty similar.

I already have an ikelite housing for my 5D Mk III, but I'm looking to get a RX100 III with a nauticam housing because the ikelite is too bulky for traveling.

I'd like to get Inon strobes some time in the future which I can use with both housings. Are all Inon strobes compatible with both?

What about ball arms, are they standardized between different brands? If I have Inon strobes and a nauticam housing, do I use nauticam arms or Inon arms?

Because I don't have the money and I am currently exclusively shooting at the surface anyway, I was thinking some GoPro video lights might be sufficient as fill lights for now. Has anyone got any experience with those?

Thanks!

I've got limited experience here, but I think this is right. The arms are pretty much standardized, so you should be able to mix and match. Why not simply contact a reputable store via email (I use Bluewater Photo) and ask them, and get a price while you are at it?

 

Firing the strobes from the housing is not so standard. You need fiber optic cables that attach correctly to the housing on one end and the strobes on the other. I've got two Nauticam housings (one seen above on my Sony RX100 II, the other for a Nikon D810), and each has a different attachment method to the housing, though I use the same strobes on either. The RX100 housing uses plug-in connections, while the D810 housing has screw-in connections.

 

I have two arm segments per strobe, a 3 inch and a 5 inch, which was recommended by Bluewater Photo. They've been great, and I have no reason to regret getting those lengths.

 

I'm a bit less happy now that I've had some experience, with the Float Stix I use on the arms to provide buoyancy for the rig. Not because they don't work, but because they have a lot of drag in the water. If I try to go a bit faster than crawling speed, or I'm fighting a current, the arms start to 'bounce'. When I stop, the arms are moving up and down enough that I can't hold the camera steady, so I have to wait a few seconds for them to settle down. I think the round carbon fiber floats may be better in that respect.

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I think the 4th gen housing supports Nauticam's vacuum system...I highly recommend adding this to yours if that is the case.

 

I used to have the 1st gen Rx100 with the NA-Rx100. Another thing I really liked having was the LCD magnifier as it made seeing the screen easier almost always. I used two Z-240 and a Sola 800 as a focus/video light, though to be fair I rarely shot (or now for that matter) video with it.

 

HTH,

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Hi Krzysiek,

 

have you collected your RX100 IV and gear already? What did you choose?

 

Regards,

Marcin

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