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NA-RX100VI: Komodo and Whalesharks

The Sony RX100 Mark VI features a significant departure from it's predecessors in the move to a longer 24-200mm equivalent zoom length lens.  Sony's RX series of 1" sensor compact cameras has long been popular with underwater photographers and videographers due to its portable size, high quality lens, and excellent image quality.  With the addition of a new lens. the RX100 VI offers even more creative underwater imaging potential. 

Nauticam has continuously supported the RX100 since the first iteration in 2012 with its NA-RX100 series of housings. The new NA-RX100VI continues the tradition while also highlighting our passion for innovation.

To accommodate the new, longer lens of the RX100 VI, we've added the NA-RX100VI housing to the N50 interchangeable port system.  The supplied N50 Standard Port provides full zoom-through of the lens and with the addition of the optional M67 Flip Adapter for the Standard Port (PN 25107), one of the Nauticam corrective macro optics can also be used.  With the optional N50 Short Port with Bayonet Mount the system can also be used with the WWL-1 Wet Wide Lens to give an ultra-wide and ultra-sharp130º field-of-view.  

The NA-RX100VI with Standard Port and optional M67 Flip Adapter with SMC-1 (Left) and the NA-RX100VI with optional 50mm Short Port with Bayonet Mount and WWL-1 Wet Wide Lens (Right)

Komodo and Cenderawasih Bay 

Indonesia is always a great underwater photo and video gear testing destination with its abundance of macro and wide-angle dive sites. In Komodo it's not uncommon to have both on the same dive. The incredible diversity of underwater life in turn gives a diverse profile of images whereby to judge a camera's capabilities.

Sweetlips amongst soft corals.  The close focus ability and sharp corners of the WWL-1 are evident here.  F6.3 at 28mm Equivalent.

A pair of ornate ghost pipefish shot at 70mm equivalent with the SMC-1 at F8.  A slight vignette is evident at 70mm depending on the focal distance.  Above 70mm the vignette is not generally present.

The whalesharks that frequent the baitfish fishing platforms of Cenderawasih Bay were excellent subjects for testing the continuous shooting and natural light photography capabilities of the RX100 VI.  

 Whaleshark shot at 28mm equivalent, F6.3 with natural light.  The continuous shooting speed of the RX100 MKVI is an incredible 24fps with autofocus.  When playing back the images it groups the continuous image set into a stack with a representative thumbnail making navigation simpler. 

 Wide Angle with the WWL-1

The WWL-1 is designed to work at a minimum focal length of 28mm.  The RX100 MKVI features a 24-200mm lens meaning it needs to be zoomed slightly to remove any vignette.  As detailed in the NA-RX100VI User Manual, utilizing the Memory Recall function of the camera, a Memory Recall Mode can be assigned to zoom the camera to a preset focal length, as well as set various camera settings relevant to wide angle shooting. 

With the N50 Short Port with Bayonet Mount the camera can be zoomed up to a 60mm equivalent which is fully supported by the WWL-1 allowing for a variety of different wide angle image types. 

Escorting a whaleshark, shot at 38mm equivalent at F8 with natural light.

Internal Flash and TTL

The RX100VI features a pop-up flash that can generate a manual or automatic (TTL) flash signal to trigger external strobes.  The NA-RX100VI has a built-in fiber optic bulkhead with Sea & Sea style fittings for two optical sync cords.  

Both the above images were shot using the camera's TTL internal flash to trigger a set of Inon Z240 strobes.  We found the TTL signal to be accurate but around 1/3rd of a stop too strong.  By assigning one of the custom function buttons to be Flash Compensation it was simple to adjust the exposure between shots. 

 The camera's internal flash can be quickly engaged or disengaged via a lever on the housing above the camera's LCD screen allowing seamless transitions between artificial and natural light shooting. 

A real world example of effective dynamic range.  Contrast, highlight and shadow brightness adjusted in post with no noise reduction.  Shot natural light into the sun at a depth of 7 meters.  


Macro with the Standard Port and Flip Adapter

At around 70mm equivalent and above the RX100 MKVI is compatible with the SMC-1 Super Macro Converter.  Without the SMC-1 the camera features a respectable close focus distance and a fairly easy to navigate manual focus ability.  With the SMC-1 the RX100VI is able to easily autofocus or manually focus on even the tiniest macro subject.  The ability to quickly switch between auto and manual focus means focus can be achieved quickly, even when shooting super macro.

The extra zoom length of the Mark VI is great for shooting skittish subjects such as Christmas tree worms.  This was taken at 130mm equivalent distance with the SMC-1 at F8.

Images of even fast moving super macro subjects such as this ladybug copepod were possible thanks to the extra zoom range and magnification.  130mm Equivalent at F8 with SMC-1.

Magnification Comparisons​

 The image on the left is of bubble coral containing the shrimp below.  The shrimp is visible in the upper left portion of the coral.  The image on the left is shot at 24mm equivalent (the widest setting on the standard zoom port) and the image on the right at 90mm equivalent.  The images below were shot with the addition of the SMC-1.

The image on the left was shot at 90mm equivalent, same as above right but with the SMC-1.  The image on the right at the maximum zoom range of 200mm equivalent with the SMC-1.


The RX100VI is able to record both UHD 4K and HD 1080p video.  In both formats there is a crop factor, however when recording 4K the frame rate is limited to 30p.  With HD the rate goes up to 120fps with standard recording modes. 

The video below was filmed during two dives, one at Batu Bolong in Komodo and one with the whalesharks in Cenderawasih Bay.  Both were filmed using available light with a custom white balance.  The Batu Bolong scenes, as noted in the video were shot in UHD 4K at the maximum framerate of 30fps.  The whalesharks were filmed in HD 1080 at 60fps.  The film is presented in 1080 HD 30p with the 60fps footage slowed down 50% to 30fps.  The UHD footage was stabilized in post.