Text by Lawrence Alex Wu
As one of the world’s leading internationally acclaimed underwater
photographers with compact cameras, Alex Wu has gained over 18
international awards and recognition from prestigious underwater film
festivals and photo contests around the world. His work has been
broadcasted, published in magazines and exhibited in many countries.
All his underwater photography has been produced only from digital
For more info on Alex Wu and his work, visit his website.
Sealife DC1200 Elite
Simplicity and a user friendliness for the new & hobbyist
underwater (UW) photographer is how the Sealife DC1200 camera
and housing is
designed. With it's UW-purpose built functions and menus, taking photos
with or without UW strobes is setup to be just a few clicks away. In
particular, there are unique UW functions that are not commonly found
in any of the name brand cameras that will take the plunge with you on
your dive trips turning UW photography into simple snaps.
Thanks to new technology which has brought us a long way from the
film days, even phones nowadays have cameras that take pictures
comparable to some cameras...and with more then enough pixels to fill a
laptop screen which equals only about 1 megapixel versus to the 12
megapixels of the DC1200. The real challenge for many camera owners is
to figure out how to take advantage of the new technology. With
SeaLife's purpose built UW camera, the DC1200 takes out a lot of this
guess work and fuss with its uniquely simplified menu system and UW
housing designed for the diving photo hobbyist.
The Camera Underwater
most unique part of the DC1200
is its integrated menu functions
for shooting UW be it with or without strobes. Even though most cameras
have an an UW scene mode - which is essentially just a preset white
balance setting - most of them are programmed for snorkeling rather
than the deeper depths of diving, so often most UW scene modes still
yield bluish or greenish photos. Not only does the DC1200 have a
similar snorkel scene mode but also presets for 4 different diving
conditions (deep/shallow blue water & deep/shallow green water),
but it also leads the user through them with each successive button
push in its menu for even the most un-technically inclined
point-and-shooter. For the more technically inclined, you can also
choose to manually set your White Balance for all your different diving
scenarios and get even more accurate colors when diving.
On the same menu clicking path is also the setting for shooting with
the SeaLife Digital Pro (UW) Flash. Setup for close-up to macro
photography, this again takes all the fuss out making it a no-brainer
setup. Again, for those who are more inclined or progressed to use
strobes to take you UW photography to a higher level the camera still
allows you to take control of the aperture and shutter to achieve the
creative results during your scuba adventures and with a little bit of
knowledge on photography basics, this camera's full potential can be
achieved. After some of my testing with the equipment and with the
results that I achieved, this setup certainly has more potential than
just a point-and-shoot UW camera.
Next up in design are the "piano keys"...and no it'a not an UW
jukebox, it's just the type of buttons the housing uses which resembles
the keys of a piano. This new design keeps the layout simple and fully
accessible even for gloved divers. Surprisingly, the housing has only 8
buttons (Shutter, On/Off, Play, Menu, Delete, Flash/right, Focus/down,
Mode/Video) & the zoom lever which were all accessible with one
hand whilst holding onto the fully rubberized housing giving good grip
& protection against tank banging bumps. Cleverly, the designers
have made the zoom lever also function as the navigation controls once
in the camera's menu system and the shutter button as the "Enter/Set"
button. This I found, keeps the fingers & camera handling to a
minimum since the index finger is very naturally positioned next to
both the zoom lever & shutter button most of the time and my thumb
over the piano keys. With such simplicity in operation, this
configuration will let you focus your attention on the safety of the
environment, yourself & your subject whilst composing your shot too.
To see some of the results I have been getting with the Sealife
DC1200 Elite kit have a look at the Sealife DC1200
gallery on my website.
The Full Package
The nicest part of the Elite package which surprisingly is not
mentioned on their website (see below for the full list) is that the
package comes with all the bits and bobs that if you had a name brand
setup, you'd have to figure out what you needed and find yourself - and
we all know what time is worth! Money! From lens wipes, lens covers,
silica gel packets (used to dehumidify the inside of the housing to
keep it from fogging up inside) to a tray and arm for a strobe
and more. It even included various international adaptors so that I
didn't need to worry about charging issues at my next fabulous dive
location. Even the strobe adaptor had room for a second sync cord port!
All in all, a very well thought out package delivered in a fully padded
travel case ready to go at a moments notice or ready to show on your
seaside room's widescreen TV!
Elite Package Contents
- Camera pouch
- Camera lanyard
- Lens cleaning cloth
- Battery & charger
- International adaptors (x3) for charger
- Camera to TV RCA wire
- Wire ties (x2)
- Silica gel capsule
- Housing lanyard
- SeaLife Digital Pro (UW) Flash
- Optical Sync Cord
-SeaLife strobe tray + connector bolt
- -SeaLife User Manuals & software
Underwater Festival 2011 - Compact Camera Workshops Byron Bay
To meet and learn from Alex Wu himself you can now sign up to attend
Camera Workshops held in Byron Bay, Australia from the 2nd
until the 11th of September.
Alex will help you get the best shots for the Underwater Festival
shootout and increase your chance of winning one of the amazing prizes
totalling close to $150,000!!!