SeaLife DC2000

SeaLife DC2000

20MP 1" BSI-CMOS sensor | 31mm equiv. F1.8 lens | Depth-rated to 60m/200ft with housing, 18m/60ft without

What we like:

  • Only compact with 1" sensor
  • Fast F1.8 lens
  • Raw (DNG) support

What we don't:

  • Short battery life
  • Lacks GPS and other sensors
  • "Endless burst" mode limited to 10 shots
The SeaLife DC2000 is the only waterproof compact camera on the market to use a 1"-type sensor. In addition, it has a fast 31mm equiv. F1.8 lens, which will bring in more light than the lenses on other compact waterproof cameras. The DC2000 can operate down to 18m / 60ft, but with the included housing increasing that increases to an impressive 60m / 200ft. The bare camera is also shockproof to 1.5m / 5ft, freezeproof down to -18°C / 0°F on land, and 0.5°C / 33°F underwater.
On its own, the DC2000 is about the same size and weight as other compact waterproof cameras. The controls are a little unusual compared to competitive models though, and take a while to get used to. The camera offers numerous scene modes (several for underwater shooting) as well as manual exposure controls with Raw support. Wireless connectivity purports to support remote shooting and GPS tagging among other features. The dedicated waterproof housing adds considerable bulk and triples the weight of the bare camera, but of course that's not an issue underwater.
The DC2000 is the oddball choice that also happens to deliver the best image quality in the segment
The DC2000 has a contrast-detect autofocus system that's speedy and accurate in good light, slowing down as light levels drop and beneath water (there is also an option to lock focus at infinity). At the normal focus setting the minimum subject distance is 15cm / 6in, and with macro enabled this reduces to 9cm / 3.5in. The camera has several continuous shooting modes, with the strangely named "endless burst" mode limited to 10 photos at 10 fps. Raw burst shooting isn't supported, and the camera is unusable for the roughly five seconds it takes to write a Raw file to the card. Battery life is roughly 200 shots per charge, which is poor for this class of camera, but not terrible considering the comparatively large sensor.
Image quality on the DC2000 is a notable step up from other waterproof compacts, due to the combination of a large 1" sensor and high-quality lens. Color in JPEGs is generally pleasing, though noise reduction is a little clumsy, which is particularly noticeable at higher ISO values. The larger sensor and Raw capture give greater editing latitude and access to greater dynamic range than its smaller sensor competitors. Low light image quality is also very good, but autofocus is prone to hunting in dim conditions.
The DC2000 can record 1080/60p and 30p video for up to 30 minutes, and quality is good. The stabilization looks to be a combination of digital and optical, and works fairly well. Autofocus, on the other hand, is prone to hunting; it's best to lock down your focus and disable the continuous AF setting in the menu. You also don't get any control over exposure parameters, though the metering for auto exposure is solid and exposure transitions are smooth.
For those who aren't hardcore divers but are in the market for a waterproof compact, the DC2000 is the oddball choice that also happens to deliver the best image quality in the segment. If you can get around the controls and slow Raw capture, you'll find the DC2000 to be a capable photographic companion, but if you don't need superior image quality, its operational quirks may be a turnoff to some users.

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