Acquapazza Sony RX100 Housing Review
First Impressions with the Aquapazza APSO-RX100
By: Carolyn Wang
It seems a bit ironic that while we strive to capture the deep, rich colors present in our oceans with our underwater photography, virtually all of the gear we use to do this is limited mostly to basic black or safe silver...functional, serious, and nondescript.
In contrast, the first thing you will notice about the Acquapazza RX100 housing is the dazzling array of fourteen (!!) different color options, running the gamut from violet, red, bright yellow, blue, gray, bronze, green, silver, gold, orange, pink, turquoise and champagne, to your tried and true black.
If you’re looking for an inconspicuous camera housing that no one on the boat or at the resort will ever ask you about, the Acquapazza is not it. It’s not the basic tee shirt of your closet, but rather the statement piece: Attention-grabbing but elegant, and tailored to your personality.
Acquapazza Housing Material and Build Quality:
But it’s not just about slick looks. Hands on, you can immediately tell that Acquapazza put a lot of thought into the design. Build quality is excellent with precise machining. The housing feels like a polished, finely tuned product. The body is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, the port is cut from glass, and the rear viewing window is made of polycarbonate. All the external buttons and screws are made of stainless steel, and the internal gears are a combination of rubber and hardened plastic. The housing seals with double o-rings and a secure locking mechanism.
Photo Left: Inside rear housing cover. Gears and Button that actuate all controls on the back of the camera Photo right: Front dial for "wheel" control as well as the shutter lever
Acquapazza housing controls and Ergonomics:
I tested the Acquapazza during my recent trip to the Philippines, and it gave me full and accurate access to all of the buttons and front dial "wheel" control (pictured above), as well as the mode and rear control dials on the camera.
The control dials were easy to grip and dial as needed, and there were no noticeable skips. The front and rear dials are identical, but the mode dial is designed so that a slight downward pressure on dial knob is required in order for it to engage. This helps prevent unintentional mode changes.
The rear buttons are made of stainless steel and are tiered in different heights to give you a tactile cue for which button you are pressing. I was able to quickly and accurately use them during my test dives to modify my settings. The buttons are placed relatively close together, and while I did not find this to be an issue, those who use thick gloves could find them a bit cramped without some practice to get a feel for the housing. This is a consideration for nearly all compact camera housings as the tight button layout is typically driven by the incredibly small dimensions of the cameras themselves. The buttons are labeled, though if this was done in a contrasting color I think it would help increase visibility for those new to the camera. If you are using a camera with any sort of frequency, you tend to memorize the buttons anyway so this is not a concern with regular use.
The shutter is a lever style, which is a nice feature seen most often on dSLR housings. It was amazingly accurate (one of the best I have used) and gives you the ability to half-depress the camera's shutter button effortlessly when you want to focus lock. The movie button is protected by a half-crescent shaped piece of aluminum that shields it from accidental activation (seen in photo below), but is still accessible when you want to record.
This is definitely one of the smaller housings made for the RX100, and the front contour makes it easy to grasp if you want to use the camera alone for ambient light or onboard flash shots.
Photo: Rear of housing showing the polycarbonate window and stainless buttons
Wet Lens Options:
The housing's standard port has a 67mm female thread, which allows it to accept all of the popular macro and wide-angle wet lenses. I tested it with my 67mm Dyron +7 macro wet lens and the results were great! Check out the RX100 wet lens comparison article to see how the camera performs with other lens options.
Wide-angle options include the UWL-04 fisheye (approx. 165 degrees, step-down ring required), WA-110 wide angle (approx. 110 degrees), and the Inon UWL-100 28M67. As with all housing and wet lens combos, make sure to "burp" the lens once in the water to ensure there is no air trapped between the port glass and lens. During testing, the wide-angle lenses did not vignette underwater though there was very slight vignetting topside (in air).
The Acquapazza housing also has an optional port that will accommodate 28LD mount lenses for those who prefer bayonet style mounting.
Ambon Scorpionfish, ISO 100, f11 1/640th, 1 Dyron +7 lens
For my test dives, I configured it with a tray, dual handles, and either dual YS-D1 strobes or a ring flash. The housing comes with a strobe mask that is compatible with Sea&Sea style plugs and comes with a rubber bush plug if you have Inon-style fiber optic cables.
The housing has M6 and M10 female threads on top which allowed the easy addition of a 1” ball adapter which I used to attach my focus light or GoPro. This provides great flexibility for a range of attachments and accessories, and felt more secure than the cold shoe mounts that are commonly seen on compact housings.
- Available in 14 different colors for those who prefer a more personal look (some colors only available by special order).
- Standard double o-ring seal. The o-rings feel very durable and are white, which was great when checking for dirt and debris.
- The locking mechanism feels very secure and is easy to use. Has to be pinched in order to open, preventing accidental disengagement of the latch while underwater.
- Rear window has a ridge for optional monitor hood.
- Strobe mask reflects upwards to help eliminate backscatter and reflection.
- Projection style diffuser available as an accessory.
- 67mm female threaded standard port. Optional 28LD port.
- M6 and M10 female threads on top of the housing allow for numerous style adapters for strobes or focus lights.
- Depth rated to 75 meters or approximately 160 feet.
Acquapazza has created a very strong housing option for RX100 users. Build quality and materials are excellent, and the ergonomics are very good for a compact camera, particularly the full and accurate access to controls - the standout being the dSLR style shutter lever. Its diminutive size and weight are great for travel, and it easily accommodates the popular macro and wide-angle wet lenses for maximum flexibility to shoot whatever you encounter on a dive. And, you can get all of these features in the unique color of your choice. The Acquapazza RX100 is an attractive housing that offers impressive performance at a competitive price.
Flamboyant cuttlefish ISO 100, F11, 1/500th, Dyron +7 lens
Sony rx-100, 1 x dryon macro wet lens and Athena ring flash.
About the Author
Carolyn Wang is video game marketing executive, dive mistress and underwater photographer who can often be found in California waters while plotting for her next dive trip abroad. She currently shoots with the Sony RX100 and dual YS-D1 strobes.
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