History of the Sony RX100 III
When the Sony RX100 was released in June of 2012, it had a huge impact in the underwater photography field. It packed a huge sensor it a tiny size (very pocketable), it did great video, it could do TTL in manual mode, and it worked great with all wide-angle lenses, inlcuding my favorite lens, the UWL-04 fisheye lens.
The RX-100 II came out in June/July of last year, but offered little in terms of new features. It claimed a new "back-lit" sensor, although I noticed little difference in underwater photos.
Now less than a year later, Sony has announced the RX-100 III. Although it adds a better video bit-rate and adds an electronic viewfinder, it also changes the lens from a 28-100mm lens to a 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 lens, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you want to use the camera for.
With a wet macro lens, a longer focal length will always give you more working distance and more magnification, so you will see astep back in these areas. In addition, we have generally seen 24mm lenses not work as a well with wide-angle wet lenses as 28mm lenses do. We tested this in the pool, and you can see our summary of the results below.
Also in this article series: Sony RX100 IV Review and Best Underwater Settings for Sony RX100 III.
Sony RX100 III pros and cons for underwater photography
Sony RX100 III Pros:
Increased bit rate for video
The bit rate for video increased from 28Mbps to 50Mpbs, if you use the new XAVC format. However, the Sony RX-100 and RX-100 II already took very good video, so I'm not sure if the majority of shooters will utilize the higher bit-rate offered. There is also a new 120fps mode (120fps in Europe) that can be slowed down in an editor for slow-motion video.
New electronic viewfinder included
Electronic viewfinder is now included. The EVF can be useful in very bright-light conditions. However, the underwater housings do not support the EVF, so this feature is not useful for underwater photos. On land, I've tried the EVF and it is bright and fairly sharp, and will be a welcome addition for certain shooting conditions.
Lens is brighter at the long end
New 24-70mm F1.8/2.8 lens is brighter (F2.8) at 70mm than the old lens on the RX-100 / RX-100 II. This wil be beneficial for low-light shooting indoors, but for underwater photography I actually prefer the longer lens of the RX-100 and RX-100 II. Also, I don't find myself shooting wide-open very often underwater anyways when I zoom in.
3-stop ND filter included
If this is your camera for shooting creative waterfall shots, or in extremely bright conditions, then this feature will be useful.
Great Focus Speed
The Sony RX-100 III focuses very fast, must better than most other compact cameras
Awesome photos and video
The image quality of the images and video is outstanding, professional level photos and video can be taken with this camera
Cons of the RX100 III for underwater
Slightly Larger and less pocketable
10% larger and 15% heavier than the RX-100. When holding the 2, the RX-100 III is slightly heavier. Although it is still a small camera, I would consider it "semi-pocketable", instead of slim and truly pocketable like the RX-100
The RX-100 III is more costly than the RX-100
Less macro capability
The 24-70mm lens will not give as much magnification as the 28-100mm lens will. The RX-100 can take a photo 3 inches across, the RX-100 II can take a photo 4 inches across. When using the Bluewater +7 macro lens, I am able to take a photo 1.37 inches wide at maximum magnification with the RX-100. With the RX-100 III, I can take a photo 1.78 inches across. also have a little less working distance with the RX-100 III. So while you can still get good macro shots, you get more magnificaiton with the older RX-100 versions.
Less reach for shy subjects
24-70mm lens gives less working distance for shy subjects. For gobies, mantis shrimp, jawfish, etc. I like to zoom in to at least 100mm, preferable 120 - 140mm. Of course, you can always just crop the photo.
Kelp forest with Fantasea Sony RX-100 III housing.
Sony RX100 III underwater housings
The Ikelite RX-100 III housing, the Recsea RX-100 III housing, and the Nauticam RX-100 III housing are all currently on the market.
Ikelite RX100 III / IV / V underwater housing
The Ikelite housing is acrylic and less expensive, while the other brands are made of aluminum with more highly-designed controls.
Recsea RX100 III underwater housing $900
Recsea RX-100 III CW underwater housing $530
I used the aluminum Recsea RX100 III underwater housing in the pool, and I found the housing easy to use and the controls well made. The was a diagram showing the function of the controls, which made it easy to find the menu and play buttons when I needed them.
The Recsea "CW" RX100 III housing is a less expensive, polycarbonate version of their RX100 III housing. Like the aluminum housing, it is tiny and easy to use - a great value.
Read our detailed review and specs for the the Recsea RX-100 III Housing.
Nauticam RX100 III underwater housing $995
I also briefly used the Nauticam housing in the pool. The housing is small and very well made, with a leak detector and well-labeled controls. The control dials worked well when I needed to adjust the aperture and the shutter speed. I also did some wide-angle wet lens tests that I'll be publishing this week. The Dyron super-wide angle lens worked the best, with sharp, ultra-results. The Bluewater WA-100 wide-angle lens and the Inon UWL-100 lens gave similar, less wide results (but still very sharp and much wide with no wide-angle lens).
Read our detailed review and specs for the the Nauticam RX-100 III Housing.
Fantasea RX100 III / IV / V Underwater Housing $399
The FRX100 III housing introduces high standards of function, style and durability. Fantasea has several popular compact camera housings, and the RX100 III lives up to this reputation. At $499, it is the least expensive housing.
Acquapazza RX100 III Underwater Housing $765
The Acquapazza RX100 III housing is a very stylish, small aluminum housing with a high build quality and full control over all of the camera functionality. At $799, it is one of the best values of all of the aluminum housings. You have a choice of several colors.
Sony RX100 III underwater photos
I managed to jump in the pool and take some photos with the RX-100 III, I really enjoyed using the small setup. I was very impressed by the sharpness, color and low-noise levels.
In the pool with a water gun. Sony RX-100 III, Recsea RX-100 III housing, ambient light. F8, 1/400th, ISO 400. Photo: Scott Gietler.
View more underwater photos from my Sony RX-100 III underwater pool session.
Additional Underwater Photos
Up through the kelp with the Fantasea Sony RX100 III housing.
Juvenile garibaldi shot with the Fantasea Sony RX100 III housing.
Shark in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F4, 1/250. Photo: Caryn Bing
Puffer in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F2.8, 1/30. Photo: Caryn Bing
Turtle & diver in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F4, 1/80. Photo: Caryn Bing
Wreck & open water background in St. Maarten. Sony RX100 III, Nauticam RX100 III housing, SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe on automatic, F2.8, 1/40. Photo: Caryn Bing
Sony RX-100 III Conclusions
We will be testing this underwater further to update our initial thoughts. If you are doing professional-level video, or using the camera extensively for creative indoor and outdoor photos, you may be interested in the RX-100 III. I recommend sticking with the RX-100 or RX-100 II if you are solely focusing on underwater photography. You can always speak with the experts at Bluewater Photo for detailed advice.
Britches can occasionally be problematic with our crew, not just because we argue about what kind to wear, but because some of these guys argue about wearing them at all…today, however, Brad Walker brags on his Kühl pants. Breach-Bang-Clear
Kühl Pants – Skip the Bullshit and Get the Good Shit
Brad Walker – this article originally ran Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
A few months ago I was cruising through my nearest AAFES PX (that’s Post Exchange for you hippies and MSNBC watchers) and spotted a new Kühl clothing display in the men’s department. I thought it was odd that the PX was carrying a higher-end brand like Kühl. Most U.S. Army PXs are filled with a paltry mix of Under Armor workout duds, Zoo York urban wear and the ever-horrible Affliction bullshit. By the way, if you own anything made by Affliction, please take a few minutes to quietly step away and burn it, along with any Tapout merchandise and all those old military PT shirts that your lovely wife loves sporting to “mandatory” unit functions and the local Wal-Mart.
You know who you are.
We’ll take a knee and silently judge you while you fix yourself.
Good to go? Okay. Onward.
Much to my surprise and immediate excitement, the PX had a good variety of Kühl stuff from button-up shirts and t-shirts to shorts and pants. I picked out a couple short-sleeve button-ups, a pair of khaki REVOLVR pants and a pair of dark khaki RYDR pants. My initial intent of buying these pants didn’t involve an article after the purchase, but extended lengths of wear and hours of training in them warranted a trip to the keyboard.
BLUF: They’re durable, comfortable and reliable.
I’ve made both pairs a part of my everyday carry and have worn them casually to the local grocery store and nearby eateries. I’ve also run them through a gamut of drills at the range, most recently those developed by Will Petty for the Vehicle CQB class several of us attended at 88 Tactical. Needless to say they’ve been beaten up pretty good with no effect on performance.
Brad’s got great taste in shirts too – as you may already know, if you’ve visited TacticalTyrion.com.
Dat ass doe.The REVOLVR pants are made of a lightweight technical fabric called Überkühl™; it’s composed of 74% cotton and 26% nylon. The material is really light and breathes well in hot conditions. The pants also feature articulated knee sections to give you better freedom of movement and the crotch is gusseted to help prevent the typical, not-so-pleasant overseas dismounted patrol crotch blowout like the one we all laughed about on day two when Merrill showed everyone his collection of chewed bubble gum.
The RYDR pants are a bit beefier. They consist of 98% combed cotton and a 2% spandex lightly brushed twill material. They too arrive standard with articulated knee joints and a gusseted crotch, but these seem a bit more like a winter pant that gives the wearer a more (as Kühl says) “lived-in look.” Although they are a heavier pant, they wear great in any temperature and provide ample room to move about and do not bind or pinch where some other brands do. These pants are also a great alternative to your old man’s Dockers for spiffier occasions like barracks weddings and such classier exotic dancing establishments as Nancy’s Squat & Gobble.
The Good: They’re great pants, through and through. They’ve performed well through an array of conditions without fail. The prices are fair and range from $75 for the REVOLVRs to $79 for the RYDRs with a good selection of colors to suit your desires.
The Bad (and it ain’t much): They are relaxed fit pants, which is fine, however I personally prefer a little extra material around the lower leg and cuff to allow additional movement and separation from larger boots or shoes – more of a “boot leg” if you will. That said, Kühl has over 20 different styles of pants in the men’s collection, so there may be a pair in there that will fit my preferences. These are just my observations of the two particular styles that were available to buy.
So, what now?
There are a lot of great outdoor apparel companies out there pushing out some excellent products, so choose what works for you, your mission and your life. These are just my 2 cents and hopefully this will give a bit of insight for your next gear purchase.
UPDATE: Should you decide you want a pair (or seven) of these, check ’em out at U.S. Elite Gear, and use our coupon code: breachbangkuhl. It’ll get you 25% off any Kühl products they carry, through March 4, 2018.
Remember — don’t eat the garlic bread at Nancy’s. Not if you like your teeth.
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Breach-Bang & CLEAR!
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