Product Reviews

Shooting Underwater Macro With The Sony RX100 III

The Sony RX100 III is arguably the best high-end compact in the market at the moment.

Last week I got a chance to test it out along with a complete Fantasea system, and I was very pleased with the results!

If you are during your research phase for your next underwater compact, you have probably understood by now that the RX100 III‘s biggest competitor is the Canon G7X. (Read our full comparison here) Both cameras have very similar specs, and both are excellent, underwater and above. However, one of the main concerns regarding the RX100 III, as opposed to its predecessors, is the shorter zoom lens included in this model (24-70mm instead of 24-100mm).  When shooting macro shots with a close-up lens, you usually want to zoom in all the way to get the best magnification, so the less zoom you have, less magnification you get.

While all that is true, Sony’s super sharp Zeiss lens and extremely fast focusing abilities compensate for the shorter zoom. When I took both cameras, the G7X and RX100 underwater for a macro session, I must say that I enjoyed the RX100 III shooting experience more for that type of shots and the results were excellent.

For my shots I used the Fantasea SharpEye +4, and stacked it on an Inon UCL-165. This combination was quite successful and provided an equivalent of a +10 close-up lens.

Results

On this test I took a photo of the same Blenny with the same lighting conditions and similar exposure, using both the G7X and RX100 III. WB was a bit different between the two but that’s irrelevant for this test.

The first thing I noticed during shooting, is that the RX100 III focused better, with less shutter lag, allowing me to take more shots at the right pose and nail the focus spot on. The G7X took a few miliseconds more to focus and the slightly longer shutter lag made me miss some shots. In total I would say that the RX100 III got 7/10 shots in perfect focus while with the G7X it was about 4/10. All shots where taken while balancing in mid water, and using a finger on a rock to remain steady.

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - Full zoom macro shot comparison
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – Full zoom macro shot comparison

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - RX100 III cropped to match G7X magnification
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – RX100 III cropped to match G7X magnification

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - Close up showing details
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – Close up showing details

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - RX100 III on 100% crop, G7X on 70%, showing details
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – RX100 III on 100% crop, G7X on 70%, showing details

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - Both on 100% crop, showing details
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – Both on 100% crop, showing details

More macro shots taken with the RX100 III

RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)
RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)

RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (no crop)
RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (no crop)

RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (no crop)
RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (no crop)

RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)
RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)

RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)
RX100 III Macro with +10 Closeup lens (cropped)

Bottom Line

In my opinion, the RX100 III is excellent for macro shots. The fast focusing and short shutter lag of the camera is crucial for macro photography. It’s by far more important to nail the shot easily, when you just have one chance before your subject disappears, than to get 30% more magnification.

When paired with a +10 closeup lens, you can get some amazing closeups of critters with very high magnification and unmatched sharpness among other compacts.

Read More

Full review of the RX100 III in the Fantasea housing

Full review of the G7X in the Fantasea housing


Ran Mor
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Ran Mor

Sales and Marketing at Mozaik Underwater Cameras
Ran is a professional photographer for over 14 years. His passion for scuba diving and photography has pushed him to combine his profession and hobby and become a professional underwater photographer. Teaching is one of his greatest passions and over the years he has shared his experience with many divers and aspiring photographers. Along with his wife Danielle, an experienced Scuba Instructor, they have founded Dive and More, leading dive trips and UW photo workshops all over the world. Ran is also an electrical engineer and an avid internet marketing specialist.
Visit his personal portfolio at www.ranmorphoto.com.
Ran Mor
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