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My first DC2000 experience

Discussion in 'The SeaLife Station' started by Alucard, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Alucard

    Alucard Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Upstate New York, USA
    I have a really amazing partner!

    During our recent trip to Grand Cayman I got presented with a DC2000 as a birthday present.

    I got the chance to do one dive with it, before other commitments and weather got in the way, but I thought I would share.

    I had previously been doing underwater photography with an old FujiFilm and had got a bit frustrated at the results - my camera for my extended surface intervals is a Nikon D90 and I have always been pleased with what it can do, but didn't want to spend the money on an underwater housing for it. Apart from the optics, I love the idea that it shoots in RAW mode, and allows me to edit the photo in Photoshop Elements without any loss of data. My old FujiFilm only shot JPG and it was quite compressed.

    So the first thing I did with the DC2000 was changed it to "RAW+JPG" mode, then started playing with the underwater filters that are built-in.

    I didn't realise that it had essentially no storage out of the box, so had to go and spend top dollar for a memory card. Oh well.

    The housing I find difficult to get open - the benefit is probably that it won't fly open while underwater! The instructions say never to use any silica gel or O-ring lubricant on it, which feels odd to me, because I always used to clean that. It also says to replace the O-ring once a year. I guess I will have to order some spares....

    So I had a lanyard for my BCD that I could clip on - I could have it short or on a spiral line. Figured I would use that still, and it worked very well. The camera seemed slightly positively buoyant. This dive was with just the camera with no external lights or extra lenses.

    The dive site was Hepp's Pipeline - a shore dive from the Coconut Bay condo complex in West Bay, Grand Cayman. The objective was drop down fairly quickly, and just hang out on top of the mini wall where the light is good, as I didn't have my external flash with me. So much for a dive plan, as it turned out....

    Always that nervous moment when you first descend - is the camera flooding? Nope! Swimming towards the wall over the mostly barren floor. Oh there is a hole in the ground and something sticking out of it... I unclip my camera from the short lanyard and hold it on the ground in portrait mode, hoping....

    As usual, you never have a clue how these things will turn out until you get back to a computer, right?

    Next, the edge of the wall..
    another one of those shots where you really have no idea how it will look.

    Went down to the bottom of the wall (70 feet) and took a video of a Stingray. I was quite pleased with how that came out - haven't had the chance to edit it yet and have run out of space on here to post it. I really liked how the video button was just one push, and the still photo button was just one push. Less messing around with buttons and more time focusing on what I was trying to capture in my camera!

    In the sand at the bottom there was a blenny. I figured that would be a good test because the autofocus on my old camera couldn't even see it to focus. I got two or three decent shots before it dove into its hole and they were all sharp and in focus! Another win!

    Then, off in the distance a turtle! I swim to slightly beneath and to its side and start another video. At various times I hit the photo button to do the photo while taking the video..
    Then I come back up on top of the wall and take a few more videos and stills...
    (sorry I can't upload them all here - these are shrunk down by a LONG way to deal with the storage limits here).

    Transferring to my computer was easy - simple USB cable. The various underwater filter settings are only applied to the JPG version, not the RAW version (which I suppose shouldn't have surprised me).

    So, from this very limited experience, here is what I see...

    • Nice and compact - I don't feel like someone has to hand me down this massive rig and I can dive without having to hold it the whole time.
    • Very good resolution, colours, and clarity
    • Shoots RAW
    • Screen is nice and bright and clear underwater at the regular screen brightness, even through the housing
    • Buttons on the underwater housing are nice and big and easy to find
    • Separate video and still buttons means you can switch between them very easily
    • The ability to take still photos while making a video is great
    • Video quality is really nice.
    • Very good focus on more challenging subjects
    • When in RAW mode, it takes a few seconds to store each picture. Can be frustrating when you want to do more shots quickly.
    • The on-board flash is pretty weak (weaker than on my old cheap camera) - I am going to need to use my external light.
    • I turned on the stabilise option for the video and got some of the GoPro style drunk feeling to the video. In future I will try turning that off and stabilising while editing.
    I am really looking forward to trying again. Next time I will use my external flash, if it still works, and turn off the video stabilisation. I want to try more close-ups though, to see if I need to get the macro adapter for it. But I am very happy with my first impressions!
  2. elbig

    elbig Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: West Palm Beach,Florida
    Thanks for the report. I am considering this as an option. Still looking at various options.
  3. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
    Thanks for that post @Alucard - I absolutely love my DC2000. I use it with my Sealife Sea Dragon 2500 video light. It takes awesome macro in my opinion. Here are a couple of pics and these are not in RAW - only JPEG.

    Spanish Shawl nudibranch with eggs from Anacapa Island

    Spotted Eagle Ray in Cozumel

    Adam K, Daltonism, Compressor and 4 others like this.
  4. Arad1

    Arad1 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Phoenix
    Thanks for your nice summary. I am seriously considering this camera for my next dive trip. I am debating between the HERO 6 and this one... Some folks are telling me to get the HERO 6, but this Sealife seems more diver specific. Can you help advise me? I used the HERO 4 in Socorro and Fiji, and ended up using most of the videos from folks on the dive trip. I think one gal had an older version of SeaLife.
  5. digdug87

    digdug87 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Carthage, MO, USA
    You both shot and posted some AWESOME pictures. I recently returned from a trip to Cozumel and I had my DC2000 with me. I have both the video light and the strobe. I really like the camera. Like Alucard said, one of my few complaints with the camera is the few seconds of delay while saving the picture. One of the few complaints about the strobe is, it's a bit too strong even when turned down to the lowest level.

    DSCI0930-1.jpg DSCI0522-1-2.jpg DSCI0914-1.jpg DSCI0916-1-2.jpg
    Trailboss123 and Alucard like this.
  6. SeaCandy

    SeaCandy Angel Fish

    Nice detailed post, I just started diving and I was also looking between the Hero 6 and the DC2000. I thought about the GP6 I thought it maybe more beginner friendly but looks like the Sealife has lots more options. Would you recommend Getting the light and the strobe right out of the gate? What are your thoughts of the 2300 auto?
  7. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    Thanks for the report and pictures. Have been using my 1200 which I purchased new in 2011, but have been thinking of upgrading. Like the simple operation of the SeaLife.
  8. Alucard

    Alucard Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Upstate New York, USA
    Well, I have very little to compare this with, as I wrote in my initial post - only my old, old camera, where I could barely see the screen if it was bright underwater.

    I think whether or not you get the strobe/light depends on what you want to take photos of. As you can see from my photos, these were in some pretty bright conditions, and not particularly deep. I tried a couple of shots under an overhang with the flash but it really didn't do too much. If I were doing a lot of that I would want to use a strobe.
  9. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    I use a DC1200 and enjoy it. Part of the delay between shots is the autofocus. If you know you will shoot several at the same distance you can put it into a mode where it bypasses autofocus and shoot faster. (Assuming your lights are recharged).
  10. Alucard

    Alucard Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Upstate New York, USA
    With the DC 2000 the delay is after the photo has been taken and only happens when in JPG+RAW mode. I found the focus time to be quite acceptable.

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