Sea Dragon Lighting System Review


SeaLife's Compact Photo/Video Rig Packs a Punch

By Brent Durand

 

 

 
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SeaLife introduced the Sea Dragon system this past fall with the release of three new lights, one strobe and the Flex-Connect grip system. This lighting system is the perfect companion to SeaLife’s popular DC-1400 and with the Flex-Connect grip and arms it’s effortless to switch configurations depending on whether you’d like to shoot photo or video. The lights boast 1200 and 2000 lumens in compact bodies, complete with battery level indicator lights, three power modes and 100 degree beam. The versatile strobe can be shot in automatic (TTL) mode or in manual power mode.

I had a chance to demo some SeaLife Sea Dragon gear while diving this past weekend and share the most important facts in the review below.

 

Key Features

Sea Dragon 2000 Video Light

  • 2000 lumens
  • 100 degree beam angle
  • Rechargeable li-ion battery
  • 60 minute burn time at full power
  • 3 power level settings
  • Depth rated to 200ft / 60m
  • Auto flash detect mode briefly turns off light if strobe is fired

 

 

Sea Dragon 1200 Video Light

  • 1200 lumens
  • 100 degree beam angle
  • Rechargeable li-ion battery
  • 75 minute burn time at full power
  • 3 power level settings
  • Depth rated to 200ft / 60m
  • Auto flash detect mode briefly turns off light if strobe is fired

 

 

Sea Dragon Strobe / Flash

  • Automatic (TTL) mode and manual power
  • Large adjustment knobs & easy-to-read decals
  • Fiber optic cable requires minimal maintenance
  • Takes 4x AA batteries
  • Depth rated to 200ft / 60m

 

 

In the Lab

The SeaLife Sea Dragon kit is compact and lightweight. The DC-1400 takes great 14-megapixel photos and HD video underwater and topside (outside of the housing). Once the housing is mounted to the Flex-Connect tray, it takes only the push of a button to swap handles or to add/remove the flex arm. This is useful for quickly breaking down the gear for transport or for switching among lights/strobes in between dives.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we need light for underwater photography? To bring back the color that’s lost at depth. Learn more in our underwater lighting fundamentals article.

I set the DC-1400 camera up with the 2000 light and strobe so that I could shoot photos and video on the same dive. As a second camera, I put a GoPro Hero 3+ on a second Flex-Connect handle with 1200 light.

Both the light & strobe battery covers twist closed and are protected by two o-rings. As with all o-rings, these should be inspected and cleaned frequently. The strobe is triggered by fiber optic cable that runs down the handle to the strobe mask (snapped onto the front of the DC-1400). The full rig fits into a small laptop-style bag for easy transport to the beach, dive boat or airplane.

 

 

 

In the Water

The DC-1400 is easy to use underwater, even when switching between photo and video modes. The Sea Dragon lighting nicely complements the housing and makes it easy to capture great images.

You can actually keep both the strobe and light on at the same time. When shooting video the strobe won’t fire. When shooting photos, the video light acts as a dive light to help you see and help the camera focus. The auto flash detect turns the video light off for a second when the strobe fires to ensure that your shot is not affected by any of its light. The benefit is that you can turn them both on at the beginning of the dive and be prepared for anything. Just switch between photo and video with the press of a button and have fun.

 

Cabezon on a bat star. SeaLife DC1400 with Sea Dragon Strobe.

 

More advanced shooters will enjoy the manual light control of the new Sea Dragon strobe. Also, both the strobe and lights have a wide range of movement on top of the Flex-Connect handle, allowing for perfect positioning to eliminate backscatter. When combined with the Flex-Connect bendable arm, the strobes/lights can be positioned at any angle for creative shooting and lighting effects.

The Flex-Connect handle with Sea Dragon light (2000 or 1200) is also a great option for GoPro cameras, producing a wide, powerful beam from a small light that’s easy to clip off on your BCD.

 

Conclusion

Divers who are interested in underwater photography but don’t have a strong photography background will enjoy the new Sea Dragon lighting system. It can be used in auto mode but can also introduce photographers into manual lighting & camera control. The price is right, and the compact nature of the rig means makes it easy to carry underwater and while traveling. 

 

 

About the Author

Brent Durand is an avid California beach diver, photographer and writer dedicated to capturing unique underwater, ocean lifestyle and adventure images. Brent is editor-in-chief of the Underwater Photography Guide. Make sure to follow UWPG on Facebook for updates on everything underwater-photography.

 

 

Further Reading

 


Where to Buy

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