Salted Line Sony RX1xx Series Underwater Housing Review

Salted Line's versatile housing for Sony RX100 III-VII series compact cameras with underwater test and sample photos
By Jenna Szerlag

Salted Line continues to deliver with their rugged underwater housings for Sony RX1xx and a6xxx series cameras.  Both designs feature an interchangeable dry port system, a cold shoe mount for accessories and three different handle designs to choose from including a unique two stage pistol grip for surf photography. The RX1xx housing is designed for Sony RX100 III, IV, V, VI and VII cameras and includes the standard glass flat port for an economical price that is easy on the budget.  

Maui, Hawaii. Sony RX100 VII  f/6.3, 1/250, ISO 100

 

RX100VII Key Specifications

The newly released RX100VII is Sony’s latest addition to their popular compact camera line. Key upgrades from the RX100VI include an updated sensor and processor, improved AF tracking including animal eye focus and unlimited 4k video.  It also features a 20fps burst rate without blackout. 

Sony’s RX100 IV, RX100 VII cameras

Key Features

  • Electronic shutter up to 1/32000s
  • Built in 24-200mm (equivalent) f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens
  • 20.1 MP CMOS sensor
  • Unlimited 4k video with full pixel read out
  • Native ISO 100-12800
  • Weight: 302g (0.67lb)
  • Size: 4.02” X 2.28” X 1.69”

Read more on the Sony RX100 VII here.

 

RX100 Series Salted Line Housing Features and Specifications

Salted Line Housing with 6” Acrylic Dome and Sony’s RX100 VII

 

Availibility:

Salted Line Europe

Salted Line USA & ASIA

 

 

Key Features

  • Interchangeable Ports system w/ bayonet mount
  • Built in moisture sensor alarm and light warning system
  • Dual fiber optic cable ports for strobes
  • Cold shoe mount for optional accessories 
  • Manual aperture ring included
  • Optical viewfinder (for RX100 VI and VII)
  • Optional pre-dive vacuum pump system 
  • Optional additional ports (wide 4”or 6” dry dome or macro port)
  • Optional Handles: Two stage pistol grip with shutter release, dual handle tray with built in 1” ball mounts, single handle tray with 1” ball mount

Moisture alarm inside Salted Line housings

 

 

Key Specifications

  • Polycarbonate Build
  • Positive Buoyancy
  • Width 6.5"
  • Height 5.9"
  • Length 6.5"
  • Weight 2.6 LBS
  • Waterproof to 195ft(60m)
  • Dual ORing seals
  • Two ¼”-20 threaded holes at base for mounting on dual handle tray

 

Day Octopus Sony RX100 VII f/8 1/250 ISO 100

Interchangeable Port System

The Salted Line Housing for Sony RX1xx series comes with a standard flat glass port. They also have  a flat glass macro port with 67mm threaded front and two dry dome ports for wide angle photography.  Upgrading to include the macro port or a 4” or 6” dome port still includes the standard flat glass port at a surprisingly low cost.  

 

Salted Line interchangeable dry ports for RX1xx Series Cameras

 

Standard Port

  • Multi Coated Optical GLASS 
  • Polycarbonate
  • Depth Rating 195ft (60m)

 

Flat Macro Port 

  • 67mm Threaded Front for added wet lens
  • Multi Coated Optical GLASS 
  • Polycarbonate
  • Depth Rating 130ft (40m)

 

4”Dry Dome Port

  • Optical Acrylic Lens
  • Polycarbonate
  • Depth Rating 130ft (40m)

 

6”Dry Dome Port

  • Optical Acrylic Lens
  • Polycarbonate
  • Depth Rating 130ft (40m)

Ergonomics and Multi Use Design

The all around design of this housing with the water sports enthusiast in mind, is versatile and can be comfortably operated with or without the optional handles. The comfort of a built in finger grip on the right side makes for easy handling while snorkeling. Or if you choose to go all out with the dual handle tray and strobes, this housing transforms to a respectable, fully outfitted underwater camera setup. 

Salted Line Dual handle tray system with included 1” ball mounts

Each button has an engraved label (so it won’t fade away with use) and operates smoothly with precision allowing full access to the camera controls.  The aperture control dial located on the left side of the housing is one of the best features in regards to the ease of changing your settings underwater. It connects to a control ring that slides over the lens itself prior to inserting the camera into the housing and delivers dedicated access to the aperture twist – turn operation that the camera offers topside.

Labeled buttons allow for easy access to camera controls

Interested in surf photography? The pistol grip handle puts the trigger button at your fingertips to easily operate the camera with one hand.  It makes for a fun way to capture the ultra popular scenic over under shots or even the inside barrel of a wave.

 

Salted Line Housing Underwater

I took the housing for a few dives on Maui with Sony’s RX100 VII camera with both the macro and standard ports.  It is a compact set up even with the dual handle tray and Sea & Sea strobes.  The housing itself with the camera installed is buoyant but with it mounted on the dual handle tray with strobes the system was negative.  I added two small buoyancy cubes on each strobe arm to add a slight lift and added wrist comfort while diving.

 

Salted Line Housing for Sony RX100 VII with Flat Glass Macro Port and aperture dial

Overall, maneuvering the controls and the ease of the shutter release button on the housing was flawless. Having the ability to use the aperture dial with my left hand and separate from the other buttons made for quick, easy adjustments to exposure settings.

TIPS:

  • The best lighting quality from the strobes is from when the lens is zoomed between 24mm- 70mm 
  • Be sure to use the supplied anti-reflection ring to avoid seeing your camera’s flash reflect in the photo. This was most apparent at 40mm or wider.

 

Salted Line Housing, Standard Port, Sony RX100 VII f/11, 1/500, ISO 100

Prepping the Salted Line RX1xx Housing for Underwater

Choose the port first. After cleaning, lubricating and reinstalling the orings, line up the dot on the port with the one on the housing.  With gentle pressure, twist the port clockwise. The port will stop when it is in place. It is precisely in the correct position when the locking groove lines up with its groove on the port. Install the locking piece from within the housing and tighten the screw.  

Place the anti-reflection ring into the housing. It rests between the housing and port.  With your camera settings ready to go, slide the aperture ring over the camera lens and install the camera into the housing. I found this was a nice, secure fit, having to give it a little extra assistance.  

Once the camera is in place it’s time for the back panel. It drops directly onto the housing and secures itself with dual stainless steel hinge locks, one on each side.  The latch is secure when its red release button slides into place. I recommend checking the latches by giving them a gentle tug.

Be sure to clean, lubricate and reinstall the orings before each set up. I prefer to clean each oring as I am installing them as opposed to all at once leaving zero chance that a hair or other debris could float onto them they wait to be installed. 

Getting the Salted Line Housing Water Ready Step By Step 

  1. Clean orings and channels free of any debris. Lubricate orings with supplied silicone lubricant.
  2. Line up the dot on the port with the dot on the front of housing
  3. Gently push the two components together and twist the port clockwise until in place
  4. From within the housing, line up the port groove with the port lock groove and tighten locking piece into place. Note: *If the housing arrives with locking piece in place, you will have to remove this first to exchange ports.
  5. Install anti-reflection piece
  6. Slide aperture ring over camera lens
  7. Place the camera into housing 
  8. Secure the back panel onto housing with hinge locks on each side
  9. Test air tight seal with optional pre-dive vacuum test

Salted Line Housing fiber optic cable ports and accessory cold shoe mount

 

Mounting onto the Dual Handle Tray 

Check each connection on the tray between the ball mounts and handles ensuring they are secure. The housing attaches onto the tray with two ¼’ screws that slide back and forth to allow for the perfect positioning. I preferred to place the housing slightly to the right making it easier to reach and operate the shutter release lever. 

 

Optional Housing Accessories 

Salted Line offers additional accessories for the housing including a GoPro adapter for the cold shoe mount, fiber optic cables for use with strobes and three different handle setups. An aluminum tray with a single foam padded handle a 1” ball mount; a lightweight aluminum tray with dual handles each with 1” ball mounts; and a pistol grip with a built in two stage shutter release button for taking the housing into the surf. Salted Line also created a pre dive vacuum pump kit for added assurance that the housing is water tight prior to entering the water.

Optional Accessories
  • Fiber Optic Cables for Inon /Sea & Sea Strobes
  • Aluminum Tray w/ single handle and 1” ball mount
  • Aluminum Tray with dual handles each with 1” ball mounts
  • Two stage Pistol Grip with Shutter Release Button 
  • GoPro adapter for cold shoe mount
  • 1” ball accessory for cold shoe mount
  • Pre-Dive Vacuum pump system 

Salted Line vacuum pump system

Optional Vacuum Test 

The optional pre-dive vacuum leak test system is an added measure of confidence ensuring that the housing is properly sealed and water tight. An added bonus is that comes equipped with three interfaces (10mm, 14mm and 16mm) to fit all Salted Line housings and most Meikon and Nauticam housings. 

The vacuum test is quick and in my opinion worth the ten extra minutes. Simply replace the vacuum protection cap located on top of the housing with the vacuum alarm interface. Turn the vacuum alarm on by pressing the button until the red light flashes. Pull the air from the housing with the vacuum pump until the flashing light turns from red to green.  During the recommended wait time of 5 minutes, I like to test the buttons and dials (with the camera OFF so that your settings aren’t changed).  If the green light turns back to red during the recommended 5 minute wait then the seal is compromised and the housing is not water tight.  Return to the setup process and check each connection again. 

*Note that the vacuum pump system is not waterproof and must be removed before entering the water. Reinstall the water tight cap and clean oring once the vacuum test is complete.

Day Octopus Sony RX100 VII f/6.3 1/250 ISO 100

Conclusion

Salted Line created housings that are all encompassing when it comes to a variety of water sports. They can morph into fun surf housings from full dive setups with a quick exchange of the handle tray to the pistol grip. And with the factors one most considers when taking their camera underwater, the durability, accessibility of controls, size and cost of Salted Line housings make this the least expensive interchangeable port system available today. 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a long-time Hawaii resident, Jenna moved to Maui in 2002 to pursue her interest in diving. Discovering the beauty of the islands and the desire to show it to the world led Jenna into her passion for nature photography. She pursued her education by attending hands-on workshops and conferences with respected educators mastering the camera topside before taking her photography underwater.  

Jenna enjoys travel and adventure and has recently become a certified Hawaii Marine Naturalist. Her images have been published in Forbes Magazine, Travel and Leisure, calendars and several other publications. She has been a professional contributor for Pacific Stock since 2012, the largest worldwide stock photography agency exclusive to the Hawaii and Asia Pacific Regions. You can find her images at www.jennaszerlag.com and on Instagram @seaofphotos.

 

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