In April I was camping at the Trails for Kids event held down in Pineville, Missouri. Dan and Carlene La Due were nice enough to allow us to use their camper to stay in so we didn’t have to sleep in the bed of the truck under the stars. Probably a good thing for the amount of rain that came down. One of the days we were down there I was sitting in their camper and there was a shelf with a lot of magazines. I first zeroed in on Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond followed by a magazine called SCUBA Diving that the top headline was “Hot New Photo Gear.”
Being the Photo enthusiast I am, I couldn’t help but pick up this magazine issue and start reading it. The first thing I read was the Editor’s Note. He was talking about the difference between writers and photographers. Basically they both are out to create the same goal, “creating and conveying images.” Obviously one does this through the written word while the other does it through careful consideration of camera placement and composition.
Buck Butler, the editor, was talking about the leaps and bounds that the digital camera industry has done both for land and underwater photographers. That immediately had me scratching my head wondering how old this issue was. Then when he started “bragging” about the digital camera that was put in his hand with underwater housing that was 5 Megapixels and the high quality photos it took, I had to close the magazine to find out how old this magazine was. Turns out I was reading a magazine from July 2005. I couldn’t help but giggle. Why you may ask? Well, this year I purchased my third underwater camera, the SeaLife DC2000 which is a 20 Megapixel camera.
One other thing that really stood out to me in the editor’s note was a quote by Stephen Frink, “The Digital revolution is definitely here.” Boy, if they only knew then what we all know now. But let’s focus on the here and now and the here and now is the SeaLife DC2000 20 Megapixel camera with underwater housing.
SeaLife DC2000 Underwater Camera with Housing
When Deb showed me the new flier for this Camera, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and play with one. I might be just a little bit of a camera junky. I used to read camera reviews like they were New York Times Best Seller Novels… guilty. I say used to because Grad School kind of changed that just a bit….
So what makes this camera so special? Especially if you happen to have a previous model… This new SeaLife Camera shoots a 20-megapixel photo. That gives you clear, crisp, sharp images if you print them out. Wait, who prints photos these days, <raises hand>.
Okay, so what is a megapixel? Well digital photos are made up of little dots referred to as pixels. There are one million pixels in one megapixel. Is your head hurting yet? I think mine might be, but basically the dots or pixels come together to form the element in each picture including image and color. The more pixels you have, the larger the photo you can print without it looking pixelated. Okay, a new definition… pixelated. So when you’re looking at an image and you see what looks like dots… those are the pixels.
Take a picture on your computer and blow it up until you can see each individual dot. Those are the pixels. When you have a smaller megapixel camera, say a 2-megapixel camera or the 5 as referred to in that magazine, there is a limit on the size you can blow it up to (blow up meaning 8×10, 16×20, etc) before you start seeing those individual pixels. A 2-megapixel camera you wouldn’t want to blow up past about a 4×6 photo. That would suck if you had that once in a lifetime photo, say of the hammerhead that no one took a picture of on a dive trip a few years ago… ha! That 5-megapixel camera that was so great in 2005, really isn’t a bad little camera. You could blow that photo up to an 8×10 and not see those individual pixels. Now these days, try finding a camera that is less than 10-megapixels unless you buy a used one off Ebay.
A lot of complaints people have about photos in general are how you try to take a picture and you get blur. One way to eliminate that “blur” is to raise your shutter speed. On a point and shoot camera (fully automatic) it chooses all the elements for you, but when you have a camera that allows you to shoot in Shutter Speed setting, Aperture Setting, or full Manual Mode, you get to choose all those elements. To eliminate that blur (although some photos look great with it) you bump up that shutter speed to 1/60 or higher shutter speed with optimal to freeze that frame sitting at about 1/125. It has shutter speed options though from 15 (meaning that shutter will be open 15 seconds) to 1/2000 which means it might blink faster than you do.
This little camera comes with an ultra-fast shutter response of 0.1 seconds. It has 25 land scene modes and 4 underwater scene modes to allow you to choose that shutter response rate, plus you can put it in shutter release mode, aperture mode, or full manual mode if you’re really interested in playing with those camera features. If not, place it into one of the other modes and it will choose all that for you. Bam! But having that feature really is a nice option.
As an added feature, you can put it on continuous burst shooting which will allow you to take 10 frames per second continuous shooting so hopefully you get that shot you want!
Now this is an option I haven’t tried, but need to…. It apparently has WiFi to Wirelessly preview, download, and share photos/videos to smart phones or tablets with a free app. WHAT?!?! Like I said, I just found this one out and haven’t tried it… I really think I need to! Where’s my iPad? Oh right, it’s dead.
Now, this particular camera uses a Micro SD memory card compatible up to 64GB. That’ll hold a lot of photos. So this is one area I am a little iffy on… that memory card. I much prefer SD cards because my computer has an SD reader already built in. When you by the Micro SD cards they come with a converter to make it an SD (mine doesn’t work right) or you can buy an extra USB drive that will read multiple different types of cards including Micro SD and regular SD cards (I have one of those and it works great).
Just like with any memory card, sometimes you get those that are messed up. Deb had one when she used her camera the first time that didn’t work right, but never fear… it just loaded the photos to the camera storage and then she hooked it into her computer and still got the photos. Bam!
Now let’s talk about the actual photo that’s being stored. If you are like me, you prefer to shoot in RAW image storage. That allows you to use a program like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Lightroom to auto correct your photos and edit the raw image. Remember, that raw image hasn’t been compressed at all and you are responsible for making all editing choices versus the camera that only stores in jpg and makes those decisions for you. This camera allows you to save the photos in either jpg format or jpg and RAW formats.
The Camera and Housing
Now one thing you know we need to consider when it comes to underwater cameras is the camera “going under water.” That’s the whole point of having an underwater camera, am I right? I mean it’s great what it will do on land, but we bought it to go SCUBA diving with too, or maybe even just to play in a pool. Hey, it happens.
This camera comes with a housing that is rated to 200 feet/60m. That’s right, you put that camera in the housing and you can dive well past the recommended depth for recreational diving. That’s good to know heaven forbid you drop that sucker. It’s been known to happen. Remember my little point and shoot that lived at the bottom of Beaver Lake at 53 feet last summer for 3 hours. Drops happen.
But the camera itself is the real selling point. This particular camera can go to 60 feet/18m without the housing. Yes, you read that correctly. So it’s not if your housing floods but when… your camera might actually survive. Ding ding ding! Such an awesome thought! And then if you’re clumsy like I am (I think my middle name needs to be Grace most days) if you happen to drop this camera from 5 feet or less, it will still work. OK, I’m sold!
The camera housing has large buttons so even with diving gloves on you can quickly and easily change settings on the camera. Plus, by the push of one button on the top you can switch from live to still photos and while it is in live mode, you can push the shutter release and take still photos. Yes, that is while you’re videoing.
What’s in the Box:
- Underwater Housing for DC2000
- DC2000 Inner-camera
- Rechargeable 1130 mAh, 3.7V Battery
- 60cm USB cable (Micro B plug type)
- Wall Charger (5V, 1A)
- Int’l plug adapters
- Camera case
- Wrist strap for inner camera
- Wrist strap with clip for UW housing
- Lens Cap for UW Housing
- Flash Link optical cable adapter for UW housing
- Moisture Muncher 2-capsule sample pack
- Instruction Manual
Deb was the first one to order her camera. I was the first one to use her camera. Mine got ordered the minute I played with hers. It happens… remember, I am a camera junky. I’ve had my camera now for about 3 months. I’ve used it in the lake, the ocean, and the pool. The photo quality is great, the ability to use the camera in a pool without the housing is a nice option, the life on the battery is above par.
If you’re interested in this camera, and I believe you should be, come see us. Deb, Doug, and Nicole (the SCUBA blogger, that’s me) all have one and we can answer questions. We all have different levels of shoot experience both on land and underwater. We all have used multiple different land and underwater cameras. We’re a wealth of knowledge all bundled into 3 people. We like to talk cameras and photography too. So come check this beauty out like yesterday…. Or Now, whatever. Happy Wednesday!