Sea & Sea DX-6G Camera and Housing Review

The Sea & Sea DX-6G camera and housing combo is an excellent ultra-compact, point-and-shoot underwater system
By Nirupam Nigam

Whether it’s underwater strobes or housings, Sea & Sea is known for producing thoughtful, high-quality underwater systems designed for the divers using them. Sea & Sea’s DX-6G camera and housing is no exception. The DX-6G is an indestructible, ultra-compact camera made for divers who need a small, easy-to-use camera that they’re going to be bringing to extreme environments.  If you’re looking for your first underwater camera, or something simple that you can bring snorkeling and tide-pooling, the DX-6G is a great starting point. 

We took the Sea & Sea DX-6G diving in the cold, current-ridden waters of the Pacific Northwest to see just what this little camera can do. It’s safe to say we weren’t disappointed! The images we brought back were full of detail, accurate color, and good dynamic range for a sensor of this size. 

 

U.S. MSRP Sea & Sea DX-6G Camera and Housing: $699.95


Bluewater Photo Sea & Sea DX-6G Packages:

Sea & Sea DX-6G Pro Set

Sea & Sea DX-6G Camera and Housing

 



 

Sea & Sea DX-6G Camera Specifications

16 Megapixels of Resolution

1/2.3” CMOS sensor

28-140mm (equivalent) f/3.5-5.5 lens

Dedicated underwater and macro modes

Full HD Video @ 30fps

5X Optical Zoom lens

Waterproof to 14 meters (45 ft) for two hours

Shock proof to 5.2 feet

Battery Life: about 300 shots

No RAW capability

ISO range: 125 – 6400

Autofocus tracking capability!

Sea & Sea DX-6G Housing Specifications

Depth rating: 55 meters (180ft)

Dimensions: 6.5 X 3.7X 2.4 inches

Weight (housing and camera) 605 grams

Weight underwater: 30g

Polycarbonate

Equipped with two fiber-optic cable sockets for external strobes

 

Sea & Sea DX-6G Key Features

Body, Build, and Ergonomics

With the housing and camera weighing in at just over a pound, this is an ultra-compact system. We loved just how small it is. It was easy to quickly pack up in a small brief case and have it ready to bring underwater. In combination with its small size, the DX-6G’s underwater buoyancy is almost completely neutral underwater. It makes shooting underwater very streamlined and easy. This system is perfect for clipping it to your BCD and forgetting about it until you need it. Its compact size makes it an excellent option for anyone wanting a camera in an extreme environment. 

The camera itself is relatively indestructible. Because the camera body is rated to 45 ft deep, there’s an extra layer of protection in case the housing floods. Ricoh make the 6G specifically to take in environments that could jostle the camera around. Its shock proofing helps it withstand extreme surf and current. The Sea & Sea housing is also extremely durable. We took it diving in some relatively high surf conditions among a rocky shore, and it did just fine. 

The housing’s ergonomics are excellent – in line with Sea & Sea’s standards. All buttons are clearly marked so it’s easy to access controls underwater. The action on each button is perfect, and the housing feels really nice in the hands overall. We found it easy to use with one-hand. The locking mechanism is secure, but also easy to open. The screen is a nice size underwater, though the resolution of the screen on the camera itself leaves a bit to be desired. 

 

Sensor and Image Quality

Being a compact camera, the sensor on the 6G is quite small. At first, we were a little concerned that 16 megapixels could be too much resolution for a sensor of this size. However, we ended up being very pleased with the resolution! 16 megapixels yielded beautiful details in the images with minimal noise and good dynamic range. It also makes it really easy to crop your images if you are shooting macro, and still have an image large enough to print. For a camera this size, the resolution and image quality are indeed impressive. 

 

Autofocus

The most impressive aspect of this camera is its autofocus capability. Unlike most other ultra-compact cameras, the DX-6G has autofocus tracking capability! We found that it worked surprisingly well and loved using it underwater. It helped us find a focal point and recompose the image without losing it. Other autofocus modes were quick as well, and acquiring focus was not really an issue – though we do recommend using a focus light in dark environemnts. 

 

Video

The video full HD video on this camera is quite nice. It’s smooth, with crisp detail. However, it is not quite to the 4K standard of other cameras in this category. If you are looking for an ultra-compact camera specifically for video, the Olympus TG-6 might be a better option.

 

Underwater and Macro Modes

The macro mode is one of the most impressive modes on this camera. We loved it and captured some wonderful macro photos with great details. The underwater mode is a great option for snorkelers and those who are not using strobes. However, we do recommend using the Program mode if you are using a strobe or external lighting.

 

 

Limitations

As with any ultra-compact system, the DX-6G does have its limitations. It doesn’t allow for manual shooting or RAW file formats. If you want more control of your images, it might be a good idea to look at another system (for compact cameras with full manual mode and RAW shooting, we recommend the Canon G7X III or the Sony RX100VA).

However, if you are looking for a camera for its ease-of-use the DX-6G is perfect. The resolution on the camera’s screen could be better, but all this means is that your images will look even better on the computer! Finally, the video resolution isn’t quite to the modern 4K standard, but it is certainly suitable for most people’s purposes.

Sea & Sea DX-6G Pro Package

The DX-6G is sold as a pro package which includes a bayonet wide angle conversion lens and a Sea & Sea YS-03 strobe. For the best results with this camera, we do recommend this system. The wide angle conversion lens (WCL06) increases the field of the view of the camera to 94 degrees underwater. This is extremely useful for getting close to your subject to capture the best colors with your strobe. We loved being able to take the lens on and off underwater to switch between wide angle and macro on the same dive! 

The Sea & Sea YS-03 may not be the most powerful strobe on the market (check out our strobe guide for more info), but it is the right choice for this camera. We were able to capture some great colors with is in both our wide angle and macro images. It’s an especially good option for macro shooting and we found it easy to capture details and black backgrounds using this strobe. The YS-03 is a great strobe for beginners as it is very easy to operate.

The flex arm included in the package is easy to maneuver underwater, and you don’t have to worry about tightening and loosening clamps. 

 

Conclusion

The Sea & Sea Dx-6G camera and housing is shrine to Sea & Sea’s commitment to practicality and durability. Whether you’re a beginner, casual shooter, extreme sports enthusiast, or seasoned professional looking for a small camera, the DX-6G is an excellent underwater tool. If you need more control in your images or 4K video, a larger compact or mirrorless system might be a better option. But if you need a durable, simple camera, the DX-6G is the essential “point-and-shoot” system. That’s all you need to do. Point-and-shoot. The camera will do the rest. 

Any diver and ocean-lover can appreciate durable equipment. Saltwater, surf, sand, and rocks are all things that don’t mix with cameras. But the DX-6G is built for an oceanic environment and anyone using it should have peace of mind when they’re out in the field that this camera will not break.

It was only a few years ago that 16 megapixels would have been unheard of in a compact camera. The DX-6G is a testament to modern innovation, producing images with beautiful detail and color. There are better cameras out there, yes, but there are few with the DX-6G’s size and durability that can compete. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

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