View Full Version : DC1000 First Impressions (Multiple Pictures - Dialup Users Warned)

04-07-2009, 10:45
Sealife swapped out my DC800 (after 3 of them were defective... story of this available elsewhere on this site) for a DC1000.

PREFACE: I bought the DC800 Maxx kit, and basically everything fits the DC1000 except the camera case (which I returned to Sealife) and the actual camera. The DC1000 Maxx kit has the wide angle wet lens and keeper in it, and is more expensive than the DC800 (which can't use the wide angle wet lens). The Maxx kit case has a cut out for the wet lens, so I will eventually buy it seperately.

I have not had the opportunity to use the camera (which I got a week ago or so) in open water but I have had two pool sessions with it (one with dual strobes, one without) and I can give some initial observations and show you a few pictures. They are quite boring, but they will give you an idea of the quality of the camera.

I am a NOOB at underwater photography, but have shot extensively (to say the least) above water.

I plan to do a FULL review of this camera at a later date, and am thinking about starting a point&shoot underwater camera review website eventually.

Right now, here are my first impressions and a few thoughts about the DC1000.

First: It is what it is. It is a point & shoot camera, with all of the pros and cons of a point & shoot. It isn't a DSLR, nor does it pretend to be. That is neither good nor bad, nor is it unexpected.


Image Quality, land: The image quality on land is OK. Not good, not bad, simply OK.

Here are a couple of pictures to show you land image quality:

EXIF: 1/629 at f/5.3, auto exposure and white balance, ISO 64, lens zoomed out.

EXIF: 1/272 at f/6.2, EXIF: 1/629 at f/5.3, auto exposure and white balance, ISO 64, lens zoomed in to about 2X

The colors are not quite accurate (especially the sky), the whites are blown out on the white house (could have been fixed with exposure compensation), but the shots are reasonably sharp and purple fringing in the trees is not an apparent problem.

The only real problem I saw with the camera is that it is soft on the edges when fully zoomed in to 5X. Notice how the right side of the frame is rather blurred:

EXIF: 1/226 at f/8, EXIF: 1/629 at f/5.3, auto exposure and white balance, ISO 64, lens zoomed in to 5X.

The same scene taken at 3X is completely sharp along the right edge:

BTW that's not a lens defect, the peak of the roof of my favorite test house is bent.

How much of an issue of importance is this to your underwater photography? Honestly, to mine it will be a complete non-issue since I have no intention of using a 5X zoom underwater. Most of my stuff will either be wide angle or macro where I am getting as close as possible.

Every lens has its sweet spots and the areas that it struggles... the lenses on the DC1000 are not particularly good, but they aren't horrible... they are, in fact, good enough to take sharp pictures underwater when not fully extended, and that's about all one can expect in a Point & Shoot. The DC800's I had tried all had either defective lenses on the particular camers I owned or a defective design, I have never figured out which. The DC1000 is a significant upgrade in lens quality, it is a different design entirely.

There is some vignetting when the lens is wide open, I have yet to measure it but it is there. Again, not something that is a big concern underwater, but I thought I would mention it.

Underwater Image Quality:

NOTE... these images were taken with Sealife Dual External Strobes, this is not indicative of what your camera will do with the built-in flash... I did this to show how sharp I could get pictures underwater. These pictures were taken in a pool with moderately clear pool water, at 8-10 feet in depth, my first try ever using multiple strobes under water. The pool bottom was white. I started out shooting on fully auto but the camera was overexposing everything so I then switched over to manual and dialed down the flashes until it looked good. In situations where the bottom isn't either all white or metal, I expect I would dial the power back up on the strobes a bit.

The Nut: This is my test nut (a 5/8ths nut). It holds the drain at the bottom of the pool:

All are shot in macro mode, with the lens at its widest focal length with me getting "pretty close" to it. The differences in lighting are because I moved the flash head angles and was hovering.







The reason I am showing you 6 copies of the bolt, nut and washer is to show that the camera consistantly made the same exposure and puts out a consistantly decent image quality.

04-07-2009, 10:45
Part 2:

OK... now for a couple non-nut pictures :dork2:


The cone is about 8 inches tall or so. I rotated the picture. Here is another one unrotated.


The wife blowing bubble rings:

(I did lighten this one up a bit and turned it 180 degrees).

The wife's hand at the bottom of the pool:


The wife (slightly overexposed... the colors are not as good as I would like but they certainly could be fixed in post)


More to come later, check back on this post for things like ISO performance, exposure, etc.

04-07-2009, 17:42
some excellent preliminary shots!

on the cone shots, was the darkness due to manual settings you made, or something else... just curious cause with dual strobes it surprised me how fast it went dark in those pictures...

04-07-2009, 20:53
Honestly, I have no idea on the cone shots... it looks like only one strobe fired, but there is a slight shadow, I don't know if I bumped it or what.

04-17-2009, 16:10
Update: I did an unofficial battery test, I took 100 pictures with the DC1000, 75 with flash and 100 without on a freshly conditioned battery (ran it dry, recharged it beforehand as the manufacturer recommends).

It had not moved off of full, so I was curious how long it would shoot video. I put it on the highest resolution (640x480) and it croaked at 1 hour 54 minutes 38 seconds.

IMHO that's actually pretty darned impressive.

04-17-2009, 19:46
Sabbath - Thanks for the review. That is some pretty good battery life. Im glad to see SeaLife resolve the battery issues that plagued their previous cameras.

04-18-2009, 11:50

I have tried the DC1000 with both Class 6 and Class 4 8gig SDHC cards, as well as a 30X Class 6 4GB card... additionally, I tried it with a Class 2 card.

I found no significant differences between the cards of the same class, but using slower SD cards does increase the lag slightly on non-flash pictures. I can't tell a difference on flash pictures (since the lag is determined not by the card write speed but rather the flash recycle time).

I have not yet uploaded pictures to my computer from the camera, I use a high speed reader, and obviously the faster cards are much better performers at that.

I think an excellent match for this camera is the Sandisk Extreme III series of SDHD cards, as well as the Transcend Class 6 cards.

05-05-2009, 11:15
This is great information! I have been looking at getting a camera (i dont have any camera at this point) in order to take pictures on land and UW. I know absolutely NOTHING about lighting, lenses, ISO, exposure, etc. Would you recommend this as a good entry level camera? I just want to be able to take decent pictures underwater. Thanks!

05-14-2009, 17:25
I recently purchased a Sealife DC1000, and took it out to Clear Springs Scuba Park last weekend. Being a newbie at underwater photography my opinions may not carry much weight, but I was really impressed with the cammera. My biggest concern was battery life, but as sabbath999 said, the battery held up amazingly well. I spent two days at CSSP without charging the battery, took 154 photos, and the battery still showed to be fully charged (I did not have an external flash so I do not know how that would affect the battery life). As of now the limiting factor with the camera is the user (my lack of knowledge). I am still playing with the settings for water color to see which one provides the best photos, but the settings are very easy to change, even underwater while freezing my tail off. Hopefully soon I will be able to post a few of the pics, but keep in mind, right now I am the limiting factor to the cameras performance.

05-15-2009, 14:37
One thing that I forgot to mention that I did not like (trust) was that the camera came with a plastic snap to attach the camera to your BC, I decided to change this out for a locking metal carabiner.

05-15-2009, 15:28
sabbath999 (http://forum.scubatoys.com/../members/sabbath999.html),

I have really enjoyed reading your write-ups starting with the DC800. Your concise with attention to detail. I've learned a bit following your threads on this. Your troubles have shown me what to look for, I admit that it took me a min to figure out what you were on about with the first DC800. Now I know what to look at as far as sharpness and the sweetspot in all cameras.

well done

08-03-2009, 14:16
I am a newbie to this forum and have just prchased the DC1000 and I am waiting for it to arrive via post. I loved the piccys, I thought they were great. When the camera arrives I will pop down to the coast here in Cornwall UK and take some pictures of the marine life here in the UK. I am only a novice so it will be interesting to see how they turn out ha ha.