Sony RX100 VA (RX100M5A) Announced

Sony makes updates to the original RX100 V with their new RX100 VA model
By Bryan Chu

 

See our full Sony RX100 V and RX100 VA review here!

Sony recently announced they are updating the RX100 V camera with a new version called the RX100 VA, which has some impressive upgrades including a new processor. This is not a replacement or upgrade to the RX100 VI, but rather a unique hybrid of the popular RX100 V combined with the new processor, promising the best of both worlds for underwater shooters. It replaces the RX100 V which is no longer available.

Upgrades from the RX100 V

  • Image processor updated, which will make an improvement to image quality
  • Shooting in 24 fps burst mode with full AF/AE (auto-focus/auto-exposure), the buffer size has been increased from 150 jpegs to 233 (50% improvement)
  • "My Menu" functionality allowing you to register menu items for instant recall and customize menus. You can also make button assignments for up to 30 functions to retool the camera interface for your shooting preferences.
  • "Zone" added as an option for autofocus area
  • Display lag time in EVF (electronic viewfinder) reduced
  • Proxy movie mode (captures 720p footage alongside 4K capture)
  • Custom button can now control one of 62 camera functions, instead of the previous 44
  • High precision eye autofocus feature (improvement over original)
  • A number of other functionality improvements

Implications for Underwater Photography

The updated image processor, with a potential for improvements to image quality, is of course a nice thing to have. It also means that file storage underwater could be more seamless with less lagtime. 

As far as the burst mode buffer upgrade, unless you tend to shoot fast action in ambient light conditions or with video lights, and run out of buffer with the 150-image size, this change will not affect your underwater photography. It could be useful for topside photography, although 150 images at 24 fps already gives you 6 seconds of continuous burst shooting. But there may be some situations where the extra 3 seconds of continuous burst shooting could help you get the shot you want. And although the reduction in EVF display lag time is nice to have on land, that won't affect underwater shooting as the EVF can't be used underwater.

The changes to menu functionality is another upgrade that is significant for underwater photographers. The ability to customize button assignments should help avoid having to cycle through menus when you have to change settings quickly to adjust for new shots or changing conditions. This will allow for a better shooting experience underwater.

Overall, this update looks more like a firmware update than anything else, and with the exception of the customizable button functionality is not expected to have a noticeable effect on underwater photography functionality. If you are looking to buy an RX100V, this will be the new version available, and there's no reason not to get it. But there might not be much reason to think about upgrading from an existing RX100V - if the advantage of a long lens sounds interesting, it would be better to go for the new Sony RX100 VI.

You can see our detailed review of the original RX100V for more information about this excellent compact camera!

 

RX100 VA Underwater Housings

Since the RX100 VA is the same size as the RX100 V, it will work in the same housings as the RX100 V.

There are six underwater housings available for the Sony RX100 VA. Each have different pros and cons, most importantly around pricing and ergonomics, and all offer a wide range of accessories available through Bluewater Photo.

Nauticam RX100 V/VA Underwater Housing

The Nauticam RX100 V housing is milled from a block of solid aluminum, then hard anodized. The result is a rugged and reliable piece of gear that will stand up to saltwater and the daily rigors of diving. Since the housing accesses all of the camera controls, including the front control ring, the user can take advantage of the enhanced programmability in the RX100 V. The housing also has a 67mm port and can support multiple wet wide angle lens options, including the Nauticam WWL-1.

Purchase the Nauticam RX100 V Housing

Recsea RX100 IV, V, VA Underwater Housing

As always Recsea housings are made of high quality machined aluminum with excellent controls and full camera functionality. The Recsea housings fit the camera like a glove, offering the smallest housing on the market without losing any functionality. Easy to use, adaptable with many different wet wide angle and macro lenses, and including strobe connections, the Recsea housing is the perfect tool for taking your Sony RX-100 IV or V underwater.

Purchase the Recsea RX100 IV, V Housing

Recsea RX100 IV, V, VA CW Underwater Housing

Recsea offers a high quality polycarbonate housing for the Sony RX100 IV, which is compatible with the RX100 V. Designed with the same precision engineering as the high quality aluminum RX100 IV Housing the new CW housing comes at a much lower price, great if you are on a budget. The new CW housings come with 67mm threads built in which means you can attach some lenses without an adapter.

Purchase the Recsea RX100 IV, V CW Housing

 

Fantasea RX100 V/VA Underwater Housing

The Fantasea Sony RX100 V housing is made of tough plastic, creating a lightweight and sturdy housing. Controls are easy to access and very clearly labeled. The housing is also compatible with flash accessories, plus wide-angle and macro wet lenses and other gear. A cold shoe mount makes it easy to attach a focus light, video light, a GoPro or other accessory. If you are looking for a lower priced housing, this is an excellent choice.

Purchase the Fantasea RX100 V Housing

 

Check out our full Sony RX100 V and RX100 VA review here

 


 

You can order the RX100 VA Camera at Bluewater Photo!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan is an associate editor for the Underwater Photography Guide. He loves any activity that takes him out into nature, and is especially fond of multi-day hiking trips, road trips to National Parks, and diving. Any kind of diving. He discovered the joy of underwater photography on a Bluewater trip to the Sea of Cortez, and after "trial and erroring" his way to some level of proficiency, has been hooked ever since. He has not done nearly as much diving as he would like, but has so far taken underwater photos in a diverse range of places, including BC, the Sea of Cortez, Greenland/Iceland, Northern Norway, the Galapagos and French Polynesia.

After working as a chemical engineer at a major oil & gas corporation for 9 years, Bryan finally had enough (and it didn't help that he was living in landlocked Edmonton, Canada with frigid winter temperatures and no real diving to speak of). He and his girlfriend decided to pack up their things and travel the world; they started their journey mid-2018 and will visit a number of great dive locations along the way. He is very excited to expand his underwater photography experience and skills while experiencing new cultures and exciting parts of the world. Though he is also a bit worried about the following equation that has so far defined his dive travels: Corporate job ($$) = Dive travel ($) + Underwater Photography ($). Taking away the left side of that equation seems like it might put things a bit out of balance. But as he reasons, what's the point in life if you can't take some big risks and have some fun along the way?

You can find more of his photos on Instagram at @bryandchu and check out his travel and relationship blog at www.bryanandlisa.ca

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