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DC1400 Tips and Technical Updates

1. Slow shutter response time / aka “shutter lag”
2. DC1400 firmware update (version V2014) released November 2013
3. Pink-ish hot spots in underwater video
4. "Card error" or erroneous "No Image" warning
5. Lens reflection when using the Fisheye Wide Angle Lens
6. Horizontal line in picture when using Digital Pro Flash
7. Image vignette (black corners in picture) when using the SL970 Wide Angle Lens
8. Only use DC1400 spare battery provided by SeaLife
9. Using 32GB SDHC memory cards
10. Continuous recording and zooming in video mode
11. Problems connecting the DC1400 inner camera to your computer
12. Tips to prevent fogging [Inside the housing lens port]
13. Pictures are out of focus or camera not focusing
14. Dark area in picture when using camera’s internal flash
15. Tips for avoiding rust stains on stainless steel parts
16. Back buttons on UW housing not working
17. DC1400 Read / Write speed specification
18. Housing is hard to open after air travel

1. Slow shutter response time / aka “shutter lag”

Shutter lag is the time between pushing the camera’s button and image capture. The DC1400’s shutter lag can be as fast as 0.3 seconds when set to infinity focus or Quick Shot mode, or as slow as 2 seconds in Macro or Super macro focus. The primary reason for this time difference depends on the camera’s auto focus setting.

In order to find the sharpest focus point, the camera evaluates a hundred focus steps and selects the sharpest one. In Macro and Super macro focus setting the minimum-maximum focus range is wider compared to the normal auto focus setting, so there are more focus steps to evaluate, which takes a little more time.
Here are some tips on selecting the correct focus setting and minimizing the shutter lag time.

1. Select the optimal focus mode depending on the shooting distance and camera setup. There are four primary focus settings useful for underwater photography and videos:

- Auto:

Camera will automatically focus from 6in / 15cm to infinity.
At 5X zoom, the focus range increases to 2ft / 60cm to infinity.
This focus mode is ideal for most underwater applications.

- Macro:

Camera will automatically focus from 3in / 8cm to infinity.
At 5X zoom, the focus range increases to 2ft / 60cm to infinity.
This focus mode is ideal for close-up applications and necessary when shooting with SeaLife SL975 Fisheye lens.

- Super Macro:

Camera will automatically focus from 1in / 2.5cm to infinity and lock the
zoom at 3X. This focus mode is ideal for close-up pictures of tiny sea critters. It may also be used when shooting with SL975 Fisheye lens.

- Infinity:

Camera locks focus at infinity, so anything beyond 2ft / 60cm is in
focus. The shutter response (lag) time is the fastest when set to Infinity focus. Ideal for shooting larger objects that are farther away.

2. The camera will focus on the subject located in the center of the picture frame. Align the focusing square located in the center of the LCD over the subject. Subjects outside this square may not be in focus.

3. Before taking a picture or recording video, push and hold the shutter button half way to focus the camera on the subject. The focus frame in the center of the LCD display will disappear for a second and reappear as green or red. A green focus frame means the camera accurately determines the focus. A red focus frame means the camera did not accurately determine the correct focus - make sure focus setting is correct and that there is sufficient lighting.

 

   
A green focus frame indicates the auto focus is good. A red frame indicates the camera is not focused on the subject.

 

4. In order for the camera to quickly and accurately focus, there must be sufficient light to illuminate the subject. The camera cannot focus on something it does not “see”. In low light conditions, use the SeaLife Sea Dragon Photo-Video Light accessory to help the camera focus in low light conditions and produce brighter, more colorful results.

5. QUICK SHOT MODE: When Quick Shot is set to ON, the camera takes a picture without using the auto focus. This will speed up the camera’s shutter response time (i.e. shutter lag) to about 0.3 seconds. The focus locks to the shooting distance of the LAST picture taken before turning on Quick Shot. Here’s an example of how to use Quick Shot:

a. With Quick Shot turned OFF, set the camera to normal auto focus and take a picture of something at 3ft/1m shooting distance.

b. Now set the Quick Shot to ON - The camera focus will remain locked a shooting distance of 3ft until Quick Shot is turned off or camera is powered off.

c. Note: When powering off the camera, the Quick Shot focus distance is not saved and will be set to infinity focus. When Quick Shot is ON, the focus frame on the camera’s LCD display will not turn red or green.

Quick Shot mode is useful when taking a series of pictures at the same shooting distance and shutter response time is an important factor. Remember to turn Quick Shot OFF if you want to resume using the camera’s auto focus. Quick Shot mode is also very useful when shooting with the SeaLife Fisheye wide angle lens accessory (SL975) because the lens has an extremely wide depth of field. Set the camera to macro focus and take a picture of something at 3ft/1m shooting distance, which represent “infinity” focus distance. Now, turn Quick Shot mode ON. The camera’s auto focus is now locked to “Infinity” focus range. All subsequent pictures taken at shooting distance of 18”/45cm to infinity will be in focus. Without the fisheye lens, the focus range would be 2ft to infinity.

2. DC1400 firmware update (version V2014) released November 2013

Click here for free download and installation instructions. The firmware improves the following:

- Faster shutter response time when camera is set to infinity focus. Pictures will be in focus and sharp from 3ft/90cm to infinity. (2ft/60cm underwater).
- Frame-rate (fps) for smoother video when recording in low light conditions.
- Ext Flash Manual mode exposure control.
- Added a visual indicator to identify when the shutter button is pushed ½ way. The white focus box disappears for a split second when the shutter button reaches the ½ way point.

3. Pink-ish hot spots in underwater video

Hot spots may occur in extreme lighting conditions where you have small bright, reflective areas among mostly dark areas of the video scene. For example:

If this occurs, set the camera’s white balance to “BluWtr<25ft” (Blue Water less than 25 feet). Using “BluWtr>25ft” (Blue Water great than 25 feet) adds too much color correction under these brighter light

4. "Card Error" or erroneous "No Image" warning

If the camera displays a “Card Error” warning or the camera is not operating properly with the memory card installed, check the following. It's not uncommon that a memory card works in one camera brand/model and not in another. You might be inclined to fault the camera, but in almost all cases comes down to the memory card.

1. For the SeaLife DC1400, it is recommended to use SDHC memory cards with a capacity of 16GB or less and read/write speed no faster than “Class 10.” Using a memory card in excess of these recommended specifications may cause compatibility problems.
Note: We have identified a batch of Delkin 16GB cards that is not compatible with the DC1400 camera. If you get a “Card Error” or erroneous “No Image” message, please contact your local authorized SeaLife dealer or the distributor/service center in your country for repair service. The erroneous “No Image” message appears after taking a picture and pushing the Playback button.

2. Format the memory card before its initial use or after the card has been used in another device. Warning: formatting the card will erase all the images and data on the card.

3. Make sure the card is not locked:

4. Make sure the contacts on the card are clean and the card is not damaged:

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5. DC1400 lens reflection shows up in picture when using the SL975 Fisheye Wide Angle Lens:

When using the SL975 fisheye lens with your DC1400 camera and aiming the camera toward the sun or other bright light source, you may see the inner camera lens ring reflection in the picture.


The above two pictures show examples of the light conditions or shooting angles which may cause lens reflection.

If you see lens reflection in your underwater pictures, SeaLife makes available (at no charge) a non-reflective sticker which attaches to the inner camera lens ring. Please contact the SeaLife Service Center in your country to obtain a free non-reflective ring sticker (item # SL18035).

 

6. Horizontal line in picture when using the Digital Pro Flash (Ext Flash mode):

If you see a horizontal line in the picture when using the Digital Pro Flash (SL961), the Flash Link Adapter or Flash Diffuser is not installed correctly. Here is what the picture looks like if the Flash Link Adapter is not installed correctly.

Flash Link Adapter is not installed correctly.
The adapter is not over the flash window.

Here the Flash Link Adapter is installed correctly.
The adapter completely covers the flash window.

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7. Image vignette (black corners in picture) when using the SL970 Wide Angle Lens

Using the SeaLife SL970 wide angle lens accessory with the DC1400 will cause it to vignette (black frame around picture). The DC1400 already has a built-in 26mm wide angle lens.

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8. Only use DC1400 spare battery provided by SeaLife

Using an aftermarket battery may cause damage to the DC1400 camera and void your warranty. Don’t be fooled by false claims of higher mAh ratings. The SeaLife lithium battery is sourced from a reputable and reliable battery manufacturer that meets our strict quality standards. Only use the 3.7V battery provided with your DC1400 camera or item # SL7014 Spare Battery for the DC1200/DC1400 sold in the SeaLife packaging (pictured below). Note: Some of the SL7014 packaging may be marked “Spare Battery for DC1200”, which is also okay to use for the DC1400.

   

SeaLife DC1400 Spare Battery (SL7014)

3.7V, 700mAh battery provided with camera

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9. Using 32GB SDHC memory cards

For optimal performance, we recommend using a 16GB SDHC memory card, which will store 4396 14MP size fine-quality pictures or at least 90 minutes of video. A 32GB card can also be used for more storage capacity. Cards with more than 32GB memory may cause compatibility problems.

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10. Continuous recording and zooming in video mode

The video mode will record continuously up to a maximum of 25 minutes per video clip, or until the memory card is full or the shutter button is pushed. You can zoom in or out before recording video, but once the video starts recording the zoom cannot be adjusted unless you stop recording. Refer to page 37 of the DC1400 instruction manual for more information about video mode.

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11. Problems connecting the DC1400 inner camera to your computer

The DC1400 camera is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7.0 or MAC OS 10.3.9 or higher. NO DRIVER IS NEEDED. The DC1400 camera will automatically connect to your computer when following the connection instructions outlined on page 58 of the instruction manual. Here are some tips if you are still having problems connecting the camera to your computer.

1) Make sure the camera battery is fully charged or connect the power cable to the camera.

2) Reboot your computer and try again. Most connectivity problems are fixed when you restart your computer.

3) For Windows operating system users, visit the Microsoft support site at http://support.microsoft.com/. Search on “Digital Camera” for a list of helpful tips from Microsoft.

4) For Mac operating system users, visit the Apple support site at http://www.apple.com/support/. Search on “Digital Camera” for a list of helpful tips from Apple.

5) Consider purchasing a SD memory card reader which connects to the USB port of your computer. You can quickly transfer pictures from your camera to your computer.

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12. Tips to prevent fogging [Inside the housing lens port]

Humid air or water drops trapped inside the housing may condense on the cooler glass lens port and cause fogging. Here is the best way to prevent fogging:

1. Keep the inside of the housing perfectly dry. Even one water drop can evaporate inside the housing and condense (fog) on the lens port.

2. Load the camera into the housing in a dry environment, like an air-conditioned room. This will help to avoid trapping humid air inside the housing.

3. Avoid letting the camera get hot or sit in direct sunlight.

4. Avoid opening the housing in a humid environment. If you do change the battery between 2-tank dives, make sure you and the camera are dry before opening the housing.

5. Use a fresh Moisture Muncher desiccant capsule (item # SL911) inside the housing.

If you followed the above advice and the camera still fogs, contact your local authorized SeaLife dealer or the distributor/service center in your country for repair service.

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13. Pictures are out of focus or camera not focusing

The DC1400 auto focus system has a focus range of 1” (2.5cm) to infinity. Here is some important information on how to avoid taking out-of-focus pictures:

1. Make sure the focus mode is set correctly. There are 6 options – Normal AUTO, AF Tracking, Face Detect, Macro, Super macro and Infinity. Refer to page 24 of the DC1400 instruction for information on each focus mode

2. The camera will focus on the subject located in the center of the picture frame. Align the focusing square located in the center of the LCD over the subject. Subjects outside this square may not be in focus.

3. Before taking a picture or recording video, push and hold the shutter button half way to focus the camera on the subject. The focus square in the center of the LCD display will turn green if the camera accurately determines the focus. If the focus square is red, the camera did not accurately determine the correct focus - make sure focus setting is correct and that there is sufficient lighting.

 

   
A green focus frame indicates the auto focus is good. A red frame indicates the camera is not focused on the subject.

 

4. In order for the camera to automatically focus on the subject there must be sufficient ambient light to illuminate the subject. The camera may not “see” the subject in low light. The subject must also have some contrast. For example, it is difficult for the camera to focus on a white wall with no contrast. Use the SeaLife Photo-Video Light (item SL980 – sold separately) to help the camera focus in low light conditions.

5. QUICK SHOT MODE: When Quick Shot is set to ON, the camera takes a picture without using the auto focus. This will speed up the camera’s response time (i.e. shutter lag). The focus will be locked to the shooting distance of the LAST picture taken before turning Quick Shot On. For example, with Quick Shot turned OFF, set the focus to Macro and take a picture of something at 6” shooting distance. Now set the Quick Shot to ON and the camera focus will remain locked a shooting distance of 6”. When Quick Shot is ON, the focus frame on the camera’s LCD display will remain gray and not turn red or green. When powering off the camera, the Quick Shot focus distance is not saved and will be set to infinity focus. This mode is useful when taking a series of pictures at the same shooting distance and shutter response time is an important factor. Important: Remember to turn Quick Shot OFF if you want to use the camera’s auto focus.

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14. Dark area in picture when using camera’s internal flash

A dark area in the lower left corner of your image can occur when taking close-up pictures and the camera’s internal flash fires. The dark area or shadow is caused by the underwater housing lens extension which partially blocks the camera’s internal flash.

Notice the dark shadow area in the bottom left side of the picture.

There are 3 ways to eliminate this shadow effect:

1) Turn the camera’s internal flash OFF. This is recommended because the camera’s internal flash is not very powerful and only reach about 2ft, at best. Also, the underwater color correction filter (in Dive and Snorkel modes) will only work when the flash is turned off. Turning on the flash cancels the color correction feature.

2) Use the flash diffuser included with our DC1400 camera. Only use the camera’s internal flash for macro pictures within 12” (30cm) shooting distance.


3) Use the SeaLife Digital Pro Flash (flash accessory sold separately). The SeaLife Pro Flash accessory has a flexible arm that allows you to aim the flash head in virtually any direction. It will eliminate the shadow effect and also produce brighter, more colorful underwater pictures with less backscatter.

DC1400 shown with SL961 Pro Flash

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15. Tips for avoiding rust stains on stainless steel parts

The DC1400 uses marine grade stainless steel hardware, which is ideal for use in saltwater and marine environment. If not cared for properly, rust stains may appear on surfaces. Make sure to rinse off the underwater housing with fresh water after each use. It is best to soak the housing in fresh water for at least 5 minutes. Push each of the buttons and turn the zoom lever several times while the housing is soaking to remove any salt deposits under the buttons and zoom knob. Allow the housing to dry before storage. Keep all metal surfaces clean. If rust stains appear, use a soft bristle brush (like toothbrush) or a clean moist cloth. A good source for more information on stainless steel is http://www.ssina.com/knowledgebase/.

If the rust stain does not clean off, or if you see that rust stains have entered inside the shaft of the metal buttons [which usually will result in the button sticking], contact your local authorized SeaLife dealer or the distributor/service center in your country for repair service.

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16. Back buttons on UW housing not working

If the Focus, Flash and/or Menu buttons on the back of the housing don’t work, the zoom lever did not return to the center position or the shutter button is sticking. A sticky zoom lever or shutter buttons is most likely caused by some sand particles trapped in the lever/button mechanism. Thoroughly rinse the housing in fresh water while repetitively pushing the shutter button and rotating the zoom lever. This will rinse out any trapped sand particles.
If the zoom lever or shutter button still sticks after rinsing, contact your local authorized SeaLife dealer or the distributor/service center in your country for repair service.

17. DC1400 Read / Write speed specification

The DC1400 camera can transfer data to the SD or SDHC memory card at 3 MB/s (megabytes per second) or 24Mb/s (megabits per second). To optimize the cameras recycle time, we recommend using a memory card with minimum “Class 4” speed (rated at read/write speed of 4MB/s). “Class 6” or “Class 10” cards are also okay, but avoid using a faster read/write speed may cause compatibility problems. Please contact the memory card manufacturer for specifications on the cards read / write speed.

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18. Housing is hard to open after air travel

The cabin and cargo pressure in airplanes can create a vacuum seal inside the housing, making it hard to open the housing door after landing. Do not use tools to pry open the housing! Open the latch and firmly grab and lift the door to open the housing. To prevent this vacuum lock effect, leaving the housing door open during air travel. Make sure to pack the housing in such a way as to protect the o-ring from damage and dirt.

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Sealife Service Center
c/o Pioneer Research
97 Foster Road, Suite 5
Moorestown, NJ 08057
ph. 856-866-9191