SeaLife is a name that is common and well known amongst avid underwater photographers. They make some pretty mean, underwater, picture machines. Leave it to be said by, if you want to take underwater images and you’re a diver, then SeaLife probably makes a camera that you’re happy with and will be everything you dreamed it would be. They also make very high-end, expensive products just like this set up here, called the Dragon.. So, yeah, some pretty pricey stuff. But then there’s the SeaLife Micro. The Micro seems to have been made for snorkelers. I read one review on a digital photography blog, called the Dive Photo Blog, that says that the Micro “is clearly customized for someone just looking to get into the game and who wants to avoid the hassle of maintenance and the fear of a flood. The idea behind the SeaLife Micro HD, from its leak-free design to its easy-to-use controls, is that you should spend as little time and energy as possible on getting ready to take images or video—and more time actually doing it.” (Reference below) That statement resonated with me. I’m not trying to open a gallery of my underwater photography. I’m not trying to get into Nat Geo with my work. I’m only looking to save my memories of the awesome things that I see snorkeling and then sending them or showing off here on the blog or to family and friends when they visit. However, that’s not to say that the SeaLife Micro HD is not a beast when it comes to taking underwater photos. Now the price, even on this model, is a little steeper than other underwater cameras that we’ve reviewed in the past, but in a world where people are shelling out nearly $600 for a GoPro with accessories then I would make the argument that the SeaLife Micro is probably more of what many buyers are looking for. (Disclaimer: I regularly use a GoPro for my snorkeling…so don’t think I’m totally dissing the GP.)
First, though, some features and highlights:
Included in the Box:
The SeaLife Micro HD Camera USB Cable USB Adapter Charger with international attachments and the User’s Guide
Set-Up and Use
Charging the SeaLife Micro is pretty straight forward. You remove the USB cover, plug the charger into the camera and the wall. A display where you choose “PC” or “charge” will come on the camera and you select the “charge” option. There is also a battery icon on the display that has 1 to 3 bars of life for fully charged. Set up is easy, too. You simple choose from “land” or “underwater”. If you choose “underwater” then you have 3 additional options, “camera only”, “camera + external light” or “camera + 2 external lights”. Furthermore, if you choose “camera” only then you have two options, one being what we’re most concerned with here at The Snorkel Store. Those options are “dive” or “snorkel”. One of the better things about the SeaLife Micro that, say, a GoPro doesn’t include is that there is no need for a red filter for the SeaLife. If you’re unaware, when you dive at any depth than 2 feet, the light from above is less in the water and it is refracted in a way that seems to give everything a darker, greenish-gray tint. This makes taking photos underwater almost pointless as it drowns out the true beauty, color, and clarity of what you’re actually seeing. To alleviate this, he SeaLife Micro HD has built in color filtersand white balancing with the following 5 options:
- Auto: This is a land only option. The camera auto adjust to it’s best determination of white balance. Again, this is only for “land” photo taking.
- U/W Shallow: Camera adjusts white balance for anything less than 8 meters (just over 26 feet)
- U/W Deep: For use in diving/snorkeling situations where you (or the camera) will be 8 meters or more deep. (Again, just over 26 feet).
- Daylight: The option for bright, sunny days.
- Cloudy: An option for cloudy, hazy or overcast days.
This is, by far, the best underwater camera that I’ve ever used. The clarity and color of the photos was great all the way down to the 12 to 15 feet of water that I snorkeled in when testing the camera. (Images below).
Video Information about the SeaLife Micro HD
*Fully waterproof housing. There is no need to worry or test the housing prior to use.
*Easy to use and set up. Even underwater the big keys are easy to manipulate because they’re made for those who dive with gloves on.
*1080 HD video (woot) at 30fps (woot, woot!)
*No need to buy accessories like red filters as in other underwater camera options.
*Fully waterproof housing means that it is sealed. If something goes wrong, like your rechargeable battery stops holding a charge, you’ll need to replace the whole camera or hope that it’s still under warranty.
*Not a professional, underwater camera. This is not a DSLR. Sorry.
Like I’ve already said, this is by far the best underwater camera that I’ve ever used in regards to picture quality and actually feeling that I was pointing and shooting a traditional camera. My GoPro doesn’t have a viewing screen, water proof housing so when I take pictures with it then it’s a crap shoot. The Fuji, Cannon, Coolpix, and Olympus don’t measure up, either. So, my call is that if you’re in the market for a new underwater camera with HD and great land capability then the price tag and peformance of the SeaLfie Micro HD is worth the purchase. This camera would be of particular greatness to people who aren’t professional photographers and who snorkel/dive often, or are going on vacation to tropical destinations where there will be lots of beach/water time, i.e. Hawaii, the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, etc.