If you’ve spent some time out on dive boats, been down with other underwater photographers, or gone to many dive shows, you’re no doubt familiar with SeaLife cameras. They have been building underwater camera systems since 1993, and introduced their first digital camera back in 2000 (the DC100 – a 1.3mp camera with 2x digital zoom). SeaLife cameras are known for their compact size, nearly indestructible housings, selection of accessories, and great photos, of course. Instead of offering dozens of camera models, they’ve kept their camera product line focused on a few, and have done a nice job of building a quality camera perfectly mated with a durable, rugged polycarbonate housing, which is wrapped in grippy black rubber for additional impact protection. Because of it’s compact size, SeaLife cameras are ideal for traveling divers.
SeaLife’s latest generation camera is the DC1400 which was first introduced in 2011. The DC1400 is unique for the large “piano keys” control buttons, which made it much easier to operate underwater, especially with gloves on. Since then, they’ve made incremental improvements to the DC1400 system. For 2014, the DC1400 brings improved low light performance, a faster shutter response, an improved focusing aid, and new easy-setup mode for using their new Sea Dragon lights and flash. The DC1400 has a 14 megapixel CCD (image sensor) and can also shoot video at 720p/30 fps, and accepts up to a 32GB SDHC card. (For complete specifications, please see below).
What makes the 2014 year for SeaLife cameras is the addition of their new Dragon lighting system, which includes three new LED photo, video, and dive lights and a new compact flash. The Sea Dragon lights, arms, and trays all feature a new quick release system (which SeaLife calls “Flex-Connect) that allows them to be assembled or disassembled in seconds by just pressing a button, making them quick and easy to use. When disassembled the system is extraordinarily compact, making this what is likely to be the most compact camera system anywhere, and makes it easy to pack, even with carry-on luggage.
With more advances in LED light technology, SeaLife has been able to both reduce the size of their lights and make them both burn longer and brighter. The Sea Dragon 2000 light is powered by a rechargeable and user-replaceable lithium-ion battery that will burn for 60 minutes at its full 2000-lumen output – about four times the power at half the size of its predecessor. At lower levels of brightness it will naturally last longer – up to 4 hours at 25% power. The smooth, wide 100 degree beam angle provides great lighting for video without hotspots. The light can be either hand held with its Flex-Connect grip or mounted onto one or more extendable flexible arms and trays which will then mount onto the tripod mount of any camera. The camera trays are also available in a 2-light configuration, and a third light could then be mounted on the camera’s cold-shoe mount for up to 6,000 lumens of video lighting. That’s a lot of light!
The Sea Dragon is also available in a 1200 lumen model that includes a grip, Micro Tray, and adapter for GoPro cameras. Additionally, the SeaLife Sea Dragon Mini 600 is even more compact and can be mounted onto a camera’s cold shoe, onto a GoPro camera, or onto a monopod to peer into crevices. The Mini 600 has a burn time to 60 minutes with included CD123 batteries or up to 100 minutes with an optional Li-ion battery. The Mini 600 comes with a variety of adapters for cameras and other devices.
To help contain damage in the event of flooding, SeaLife has waterproofed the battery compartment of each light (in addition to the light itself, of course), so if the battery compartment was not closed properly the water intrusion will not go beyond the battery compartment and damage other components.
SeaLife’s new Sea Dragon Flash rounds out their new line and fits onto the cold shoe of any camera housing, or onto the arms and grips of the Flex-Connect system. Adjusting the flash to just the right brightness is done with the large controls, or the flash can be set to Auto Mode. The 2014 version of the SeaLife DC1400 features an easy‐setup mode for the Sea Dragon flash or lights in any combination.
The new 2014 SeaLife Dragon underwater lights and flash are now available at dive shops and photo stores. The Sea Dragon 2000 Photo/Video/Dive light retails for $499.95, the 1200 for $399.95, the Flash for $399.95, and the Mini 600 dive light at $129.95.
SeaLife DC1400 Specifications
|Image Sensor||14 mega pixel CCD (1/2.33”)|
|Color||24-bit color (RGB)|
|Image Resolution||4288×3216(14mp), 3264×2448(8mp), 2304×1728(4mp), 1600×1200(2mp), 640×480 (VGA)|
|Movie Resolution||HD 720p / 30fps – 1280 x 720 (HD), 640×480 (VGA) or 320×240 (QVGA)|
|File Format||AVI (Motion JPEG)|
|Lens||5X Optical Zoom
Aperture: F2.8(W) – F7.9(T)
|Focal Length||4.7mm ~ 23.5mm
Film equivalent = 26 ~ 130mm
|Focus Type||Auto Focus from 1” (2.5cm) to infinity|
|Focus Modes||Auto, AF Tracking, Face Detection, Macro, Super Macro, Infinity.|
|Focusing Ranges||Auto focus/no zoom: 6” (15cm) to ∞
Auto focus/5X zoom: 24” (60cm) to∞
Macro focus: 3” (8cm) to ∞ (with or without the Fisheye Lens)
Super Macro focus: 1” (2.5cm) to ∞ (with or without the Fisheye Lens)
Infinity focus: 3ft (90cm) to ∞
|Shooting Angle||Horizontal field of view / No zoom:
Land: 68 °
Underwater: 51 °
|Zoom||25X Total zoom
|Shutter Speed||Mechanical shutter
1 to 1/2000 second
|Recycle Time||As fast as 0.3 seconds (Ext Flash mode, flash on, landscape focus)|
|ISO||Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800,1600, 3200|
|Flash||Auto, Force ON, OFF, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync, Pre Flash|
|Scene Modes||6 Underwater Modes:
Dive mode with UW color correction
Snorkel mode with UW color correction
Ext Flash Auto mode for automatic exposure settings when using one or two external flash(es).
Ext Light Mode for automatic exposure settings when using one or two external photo-video light(s).
Ext Flash + Light mode – for automatic exposure settings when using external flash and photo-video light combination.
Ext Flash Manual mode for manual aperture and shutter speed exposure controls when using one or two external flash accessories.
27 Land modes: Program AE, Auto, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Intelligent Scene, Sports, Smile Detection, Anti-Shake, Panorama, Skin Soften, De-Blemish, Portrait Man, Portrait Lady, Landscape, Sport, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Candlelight, Fireworks, Text, Sunset, Sunrise, Splash Water, Flow water, Snow, Beach, Pets and Natural Green.
|Exposure Adjust||Auto, Manual (-2 ~ +2 EV in 1/3 steps) or Ext Flash Manual|
|White Balance||Land: Auto, Manual, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2
Underwater: Ext Flash WB, Blue water <25ft/8m, Blue Water > 25ft/8m, Green water <25ft/8m, Green Water >25ft/8m
|Self-Timer||Self Portrait, 2 second, 10 second delay, and 10+2 second (2 pictures)|
|Shooting Modes||SPY mode, Single shot, Continuous (3pics), Continuous Flash, AEB (bracketing), Album Shot, Burst, Pre-Shot, Couple Shot, Burst 30fps|
|LCD||3.0″ color LTPS TFT LCD|
External: SD/SDHC card up to 32GB (Recommend 16GB Class6 SDHC card)
|Read/Write Speed||3 MB/s|
|Video Output||Yes (NTSC and PAL support)|
|Audio Output||Yes (mono, 1x speaker)|
|EXIF Format||EXIF 2.2|
|Operating Environment||PC: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
MAC: OS 10.4 and up
|Instruction Manual||Included printed English manual.
German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch languages available on SeaLife website.
|Language Support||On-Screen Display: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese (T-C and S-C), Korean
Instruction manual: English (printed), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
|Connector||USB connector, AV connector, USB AC power adapter|
|Power||Battery: Lithium rechargeable battery (3.7v, 700 mAh)|
|Battery Life||200+ pictures, 2+ hours, 2-tank dive per charge|
|Certification||CE, ROHS, FCC|
|Weight||134 grams (4.7 ounces)
WITH battery and SD card.
|Dimensions||2.4”H x 3.8”W x 0.8”D
60mm x 97mm x 19mm
Underwater Housing Specifications
|Depth||Individually depth tested to 200′ (60 m)|
|Controls||Control buttons for Power, Shutter, Zoom, Mode (video or still image), Playback, Focus, Flash, Menu.|
|Operating Temp.||33 degrees F to 110 degrees F|
|Storage Temp.||-20 degrees F to 140 degrees F|
|Lens Port||Optical glass lens port with anti-reflective coating
With snap-on ring to adapt accessory lenses
|LCD||Optical grade polycarbonate window|
|Tripod Mount||Standard 1/4-20 tripod threads to adapt accessories|
|Lanyard||Padded lanyard with swiveled attachment clip|
|Hardware||304-316 series marine grade stainless steel metal hardware|
|Material||Rubber overmolded polycarbonate housing.|
|Weight||370 grams (13 ounces) Housing only without inner camera
504 grams (17.7 ounces) Housing and inner camera
|Size||3.7” H X ” 5.3W X 2.8” D inches
93mm X 135mm X 71mm
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty|