SeaLife ReefMaster DC300 Review
Underwater Case, Flash and Lenses
The SeaLife Reefmaster housing is depth-rated to 200 feet (60m), the depth rating
is printed on the front lens port for easy reference. When not diving the camera
is easily removed for land use, all you need to do is change the exposure mode from "Sea"
The housing is fully rubber armored for
water and shock protection. The black rubber grips are slip proof. It has a glass
optical lens port that accepts optional macro and wide angle lenses. The latching
mechanism is made of stainless steel hardware and is corrosion proof. The extra-large
red shutter button is easy to operate, even when wearing gloves.
The camera's color LCD can be used as the viewfinder, however the sports finder
on top makes framing your subject much easier underwater and saves precious
battery power. There are sealed buttons for the shutter release, power and
LCD monitor control only. Without a Mode Dial you cannot switch from still to
movie while underwater, if you want this ability you need the DC310 model.
Here's the DC310 and the DC300 cases from the back - the difference is the number of
controls. The DC310 has buttons for all of the controls, the DC300 (and DC250) are
simpler, point-n-shoot designs with minimal control buttons.
The housing is made watertight by an O-ring seal. This
O-ring is Teflon coated
Use the SeaLife External Flash to enhance color and brightness. Water filters out light and red/yellow colors resulting in darker, bluer images. The only way to prevent this from occurring is by taking pictures at shallow depths (within 5' depth on a sunny day) or by using artificial light, like the SeaLife External Flash.
Another tremendous help is having
less water between you and you subject and that is accomplished using a Macro lens (see
below) or wide angle lens converter and an external flash. The Macro or wide angle get you
closer and the External flash helps eliminate backscatter from particles in the water
between the lens and subject.
The External Flash easily mounts to the bottom of the housing. The flexible arm allows you
to direct the flash at the subject. Two flashes can be mounted onto the housing for a
more evenly illuminated and shadow-free image. This system blocks the built-in flash and
prevents backscatter. The flexible flash arms allow quick adjustments of the flash. An
optional Flash Diffuser can be snapped onto the flash head. You can select 3 different
flash intensities, which is highly recommended for close-up shots of reflective subjects.
The Macro 3x Close-Up Lens improves your picture quality dramatically and should always be used for consistent quality as your best images are close. It has a convenient distance range from 2 to 4 ft (60 to 120 cm.)
The Macro 8x Lens is made for 14 to 16 inches (35 to 40 cm), and the Macro 16x for 8 to 9.5 inches/20 to 24 cm. The 8x / 16x come in a kit with the "telescoping Macro Wand" for proper focus distance measuring with either lens, extend the slider for the 8x and slide it in all the way back in for the 16x lens. The wand mounts to the standard tripod socket and can be folded to the side for transportation.
The SL970, a
20mm wide angle lens converter reduces focus distance to 12" to infinity with 50% more
field of view, so its great for getting closer to larger subjects and still getting them
all in the frame. All of the macro and wide angle lenses are removable while underwater as
they clip to the exterior lens port of the housing.