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G1X vs RX-100 (Underwater) Dilemma

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Hey guys

Long time listener, first time caller.

I have a dilemma. I need to decide, and I need to decide pretty soon. I want to buy a compact for my upcoming diving trip. I have a budget of about 1000 - 1500 USD, where 1500 really would mean "I went all out". This budget must include everything, so meaning the compact cam and the underwater housing - maybe even a flash.

So after consulting the interwebs, I narrowed down my choice to just 2 cameras… which is still 1 too many. But I have no idea, how to eliminate one or favour the other.

The cameras are:

Sony RX-100 (mark 1)
Canon G1X

Both cameras fit my budget. On the Canon I could get the Canon Housing - for the Sony, there's a affordable ikelite Housing. Both options would more or less total 1K (I live in Switzerland)

Now… feature wise, I know that some things are more important than others, when it comes to diving pictures and/or video. Unfortunately it seems that both have very strong arguments… I can't decide. Maybe some of you out there have some experience with both of them, or can put some of the features in perspective…

As far as I understand, these are the features that are the most paramount for diving fotography:

- Good battery life (with 700 shots, the G1X doubles the Sony)
- Large Sensor (light is rare. And if I don't have the money to afford a whole flash system, light is vital. So Sensor size might be the most important feature? or am I mistaken?) but then again:
- Wide aperture (RX100 f/1.8 vs f/2.8 wins… meaning more light?)
- BIGGIE: Macro Capability (this is the one that makes it a tie breaker. Macro photography is probably the most important for my diving…  and here the G1X is far behind the RX100… 20cm vs 5cm)
- RX100 with double the ISO at 25,600… does that also mean more light in my pictures, when taking pics in sub 15m dives?

as a noob, I used this here to help me weed out the other cams (
Until recently it was G15 vs G1X, but now that I've seen the RX100, I think it is just between the G1X and the Sony.

The Sony seems the first choice… but how much more awesome would pictures be with the G1X, in non-macro situation? how much more would the G1X with it's sensor excell?
Or do I overrate the sensor for my situation? I also thought G1X + Housing + Macro Lense… but that would mean the expensive G1X non-Canon Housing + Lense = very expensive. With the sony I could go for the ikelite housing plus a cheap strobe setup, with the motto: better than nothing. For example the Fantasea Nano Storbe at 100 Bucks, or the Intova ISS2000 ISTR Slave strobe around 130USD.

Would love some input from you guys! I'm stuck!

Have you looked at the RX100 II compared to the RX100? Some pretty good improvements in the V.II for not much more dinero.

I will leave the other questions to someone that dives with their camera, as that is something I have not done yet.

This could be a better alternative especially if you can get a discounted eos M.

From my (little) experience in underwater photography I think F1.8 is not of too much use in practical situation. Underwater you are constantly moving, so a fast AF is what helps you to make the picture. I would take a look at other systems with faster AF.


The RX100 gets a lot of discussion in underwater forums, and has been pretty popular.  The g1X barely got a mention, the sensor is much less of an advantage in underwater situations than you'd think - the bigger limiters are usually water depth, water quality, use of external strobe, and AF speed.

In general, for your first camera underwater go with whats popular, makes advice and troubleshooting help a lot easier to find.  Also the review above should show how high quality the shots from an Rx100 can be.

Sensor quality wise, a strobe is far more important for most underwater photography, once you go under 3m, you lost a lot of red, and you'll struggle to get anything thats not blue.


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