DC1400 Sea Dragon Pro Duo – First Impressions

You know how it is – diving with new equipment can be rewarding and frustrating. We took out the new Sea Life DC 1400 camera, complete with flash and the new Sea Life Dragon 2000 lumen video light, out for a spin on a cold, cold day in the Pacific Northwest (it started snowing at days’ end). I was encumbered with layers. Latex over-gloves on my hands to stay dry, DeepSea gloves for warmth underneath and fleecy gloves underneath those for comfort resulted in limited dexterity. Had been out of the water for weeks due to an injury. Hadn’t read the manual thoroughly – just enough to know the basics. Imagine my surprise when a couple of my pictures turned out far better than I expected.

The interface of the camera is easy to read. Large buttons used to make menu settings were manageable, even with Gumby gloves. Pressing the shutter button was a little difficult because the video light arm was in the way and, well, again I’m going to use the Gumby glove excuse – three layers on the hands just don’t yield much dexterity. I tried a couple “still life’s” of easily accessible Metridians poking from rocks, barrels and other surfaces at Edmonds Underwater Park. As the images flashed on the screen, they looked kind of dark and blurry. We continued on, handing the camera back and forth, taking pictures of Ling Cod, crabs, more Metridiums, changing settings along the way, adding video now and then. I viewed it as a learning curve adventure.

My expectations were low when we sat on the ferry, flipping through the pictures. “Not bad,” we both declared. “Hey, this one is even decent!” When we got home, I raced to my computer to view them full size and was impressed. The camera automatically corrected the color, adding reds. Pictures of my and my partner’s face were natural color. A spectrum of blue and yellow hoses, blue eyes, red color accents on the equipment was evident. The Metridians that I thought would be in the blur zone were sharp and clear. Even our faces, taken from about 3′ away, were sharp.

We’ll be further testing the Sea Life DC 1400 camera and light system over the weeks ahead and will have a full report. For now I want to leave you with – if you, like us, thought the Sea Life cameras were not worth their weight in salt, you might want to think again. We’ll keep you posted on our progress but our first impressions were far more satisfying than I imagined they’d be.