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demonboy

Which RX100 for macro, possibly video

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

I'm new around here! I'm pretty experienced as a photographer and videographer on land (actually, mainly at sea as I live on a boat), but a noob at UW stuff. I'm looking for some advice on beginner gear. Bear with me...

I shoot RAW photography and log video (GH5, A7C), so I'm used to colour correction and colour grading.  My TG-5, which I use for snorkeling, barely cuts the mustard and requires quite a bit of post for acceptable footage.  The GoPro, which I have used for diving, is not bad for video if shot in Protune, so currently I'm looking for an UW camera mainly for photography.

If and when funds allow I'll eventually buy housing for my Sony cameras but that's a long way off, so to tide me over for an up and coming dive I bought the Seafrogs housing for the Tough, just to get some experience of handling gear under water. But knowing how average the Tough is (at least it shoots in RAW), I'm looking for a budget-friendly step-up. I figured a decent compact that shoots raw, but has video capabilities, is the way forward, and started looking at the RX100 series (funnily enough I used to own the original RX100 when it came out).

Here's my quandary: the earlier models had a longer focal length of 100mm, which makes sense for macro photography. Also, they're cheap. The later models, however, shoot in s-log for video, which could be better than the GoPro (could be, but I don't know), or maybe not advisable in low light conditions?

If macro photography is my main aim, would an RX100 ii be a good fit? Or will I get frustrated that the video capabilities are dated? If I went for an RX100 iii or above, will I get frustrated I don't have 100mm for macro?

Or maybe I should buy an A6xxx instead, since I already have E-mount lenses? The Seafrogs housing for both RXxxx and A6xxx is the same price.

Any advice or opinions welcome. TIA.








 

Edited by demonboy

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We have an RX100-V. Nice for wide angle stuff and fish portraits, really not nice in any way for macro things but maybe your idea of macro and ours is different.

Check out www.blueviews.net for some macro video, not shot with the RX

Bill

 

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How important is the video aspect and do you want to shoot with or without lights?  The Sony cameras typically have difficulty white balancing UW with a limit of 9-10,000K which is not enough to WB video without lights.  I'm not 100% up to speed of the latest cameras but I think that would apply to the older model RX-100s.

On the stills side, how small do you want to go with macro?  Adding a closeup lens is going to be necessary to get anything approaching macro performance I think with any of the models  and to make the most of the any close up lens the housing port should allow the lens to get close to the port glass.  The early RX-100 cameras will fill the frame with a subject about 75mm across without a closeup lens, but that occurs at minimum zoom at very close focus distance.  At max zoom it does not focus anywhere near as close so you can use a wet lens to allow it to focus closer.

This link shows magnification achieved with various compact cameras and the Nauticam CMC-1: https://www.uwphotographyguide.com/nauticam-compact-macro-converter1

Be aware though that the quoted magnification is between the min zoom and 40mm working distance case which is probably not usable and the CMC being used at maximum zoom.  You can compare the Sony MkII and MkIII  performance here and other compact camera options.  You see the MkIII does slightly worse due to the shorter focal length and the Canon G7X does slightly better than the RX-100II. (The Canon WB will be better for video) .  The 27mm image width is approximately just under half life size. 

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Thank you both for the replies, and for the link, Chris. I guess the macro I'm after is going to be dependent on the gear I use and perhaps I'm looking to run before I can walk. In the short term I can't imagine I'll use anything other than the basic housing, and since my budget is pointing towards Seafrogs over Nauticam, their CMC isn't on the cards for the time being. With that in mind it comes down to the performance of the camera in the basic housing only, so Bill is right to question what kind of macro I can expect. As a noob, any will do, even if it's just fish portraits or a nudi shot from further away that I can crop in post.

As for video... I only mention this because I shoot as much, if not more, video on land over photography and am covering the possibility of thinking "damn, I wish I could get decent video of this" while taking photos. The GoPro has been fine atm and so far I've not used lights, but that's on the shopping list. Normally I leave the GoPro on AWB when on land but I realise UW light is always changing and should change WB to 'native'. I use a Hero 6, although I do have a Hero 9, which has an underwater WB setting I believe. I just don't have the housing for it. Anyway, long-winded way of saying video is less of a priority atm.

This whole thread came about after a dive in which I got great video from the GoPro and terrible photos, especially short focal distances. My idea would be to mount the GoPro on an arm for video and use the compact for photography.

So... if I don't use a CMC, will the extra 25mm on the RX100 i and ii offer real-world benefits for close-ups over the iii, iv etc?

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1 hour ago, demonboy said:

Thank you both for the replies, and for the link, Chris. I guess the macro I'm after is going to be dependent on the gear I use and perhaps I'm looking to run before I can walk. In the short term I can't imagine I'll use anything other than the basic housing, and since my budget is pointing towards Seafrogs over Nauticam, their CMC isn't on the cards for the time being. With that in mind it comes down to the performance of the camera in the basic housing only, so Bill is right to question what kind of macro I can expect. As a noob, any will do, even if it's just fish portraits or a nudi shot from further away that I can crop in post.

As for video... I only mention this because I shoot as much, if not more, video on land over photography and am covering the possibility of thinking "damn, I wish I could get decent video of this" while taking photos. The GoPro has been fine atm and so far I've not used lights, but that's on the shopping list. Normally I leave the GoPro on AWB when on land but I realise UW light is always changing and should change WB to 'native'. I use a Hero 6, although I do have a Hero 9, which has an underwater WB setting I believe. I just don't have the housing for it. Anyway, long-winded way of saying video is less of a priority atm.

This whole thread came about after a dive in which I got great video from the GoPro and terrible photos, especially short focal distances. My idea would be to mount the GoPro on an arm for video and use the compact for photography.

So... if I don't use a CMC, will the extra 25mm on the RX100 i and ii offer real-world benefits for close-ups over the iii, iv etc?

from my understanding - no the RX-100 only focuses close at the widest setting and then it's so close as to be unusable if you want to achieve max magnification.  As soon as you zoom min focus goes out to 300mm or so, which means the smallest you can fill the frame with is about 150mm or so and not really approaching macro at all. 

I really think you'll soon outgrow any compact setup that doesn't allow attaching wet lenses.  Spend  a bit more and buy a Fanatasea housing which has the thread to you can attach wide or macro lenses or look around for a secondhand setup, there's a second hand RX100V with Fantasea housing going for $700 in the classifieds right now for example.  The focal range of these 1"compacts is a real nowhere zone - when used bare, the wide end is not really wide due to the flat port and macro is mediocre at best, you can basically do divesnaps, fish portraits , medium size stuff.   You can shoot divers but you have to be a long way off and the photos get that murky look from too much water between you and the subject.

The RX-100 can shoot good video but un WB video looks pretty bad.  A Canon G7X would do exactly what the Sony does but also do nice video with a custom WB.  The original G7X has true one touch WB, unfortunately they elected to have a multi touch WB approach after that with the G7X II and III. 

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Thanks for the extra info, Chris. Am I to assume that the Canon suffers the same issues as the RX100 in terms of focal length, focusing etc since they share the same lens in terms of focal length? Also, is the multi-touch WB a deal-breaker for the later models? I carry a white card and am less worried about WB as it can be corrected in post.

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On WB, For stills yes, for video not so much - the video file is not a raw file so has less room to correct.  You can still WB later models it just takes some menu diving.  Canon is reported to have the nicest colour balance for UW use, but that can be somewhat subjective.

On close focusing - More or less there will be some variation in how close they focus at various focal lengths.  The G7X II is reported to get max magnification at about 42mm focal length  and achieve 0.25:1 there, which is respectable - 55 mm or so across the frame.  and achieves it at a more reasonable distance.   Here's a review of the original G7X   https://www.backscatter.com/reviews/post/Canon-Powershot-G7X-Compact-Camera-Underwater-Review             It utilises a macro mode to get close focus.    The G7X 's are 24 mm at the wide which is a nice improvement over the 28mm RX100 II, one of the later models of RX100 goes to 24mm at the wide end. 

 

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Canon's colour science is well known of course. Sony didn't really nail it until the A7iii. I don't know how that translates into the RX line though, or how they handle WB.

55mm across the frame is acceptable, and I assume this is without a diopter or macro lens. I read a similar comparison on another website that has the Canon with a closer focusing distance. With the big cost difference between the two lines of cameras, the Canon frees up funds to buy a wet lens too.

Thanks once again for your input, Chris, it's very much appreciated.

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Not much to add.  Any macro shots in this gallery were taken with the RX100III, Nauticam housing, flip diopter holder and Nauticam CMC-1.  I admit I enjoy the flexibility.

https://aquabluedreams.com/#/gallery/indonesia-ambon-alor/dsc02703

 

 

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On 3/30/2021 at 9:25 AM, NWDiver said:

Not much to add.

 

 

I think this added a lot, Thanks. May I ask what lens was used for the wide shots?

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@NWDiver
thanks for posting that. There's some great shots in there. What are you using for lights/strobe? Anything?

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Fredi Schaschl has some nice macro videos with RX100V (more you can find on his YT channel:

 

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Thanks, Marcell  Beautifully edited as well as shot. I'll sub him on YouTube. Cheers.

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Thanks, for wide angle I use the Nauticam WWL-1.  Works great.  Using a pair of Sea & Sea YSD1, have two pairs.  For the net on the wall I think I used all four.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, Fredi's Video is nicely done, Thanks for linking that Marcell, and quite a few lighting approaches there. I think some were lit below the lens, but I am not sure.

Edited by polyroly

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@demonboy If you or anyone else reading this are still looking for a Sony RX100Va I have one for sale, Ive linked the thread for your convenience.  I have upgraded to something else so we could probably work out a price that is good for both of us.

 

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