Sealife have recently introduced this awesome little camera, in two models – Micro HD (16GB, no WiFi) and the Micro HD+ (32GB, with WiFi). The Micro HD includes full 1080p video and 12MP photos with a 20mm fisheye lens (140 deg above water), plenty of internal memory, but surely the most unique feature of this camera is the fact that it’s Permanently Sealed. That means you never have to open it, for charging, downloading pics or replacing batteries. It simply eliminates all risk of leakage, worrying about O-rings etc.. That’s pretty cool.
Micro HD Specifications
|Image Sensor||14 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS image sensor|
|Image Resolution||13MP (140° Super wide 4:3), 10MP (130° Wide 16:9), 7MP (Super wide 4:3), 4MP (Super wide 4:3), 2MP (Super wide 4:3)|
|Picture File Format||JPEG|
|Movie Resolution||Full 1080p HD at 30 fps or 720p HD at 60fps|
|Video File Format||MPEG4 h.264 (.mp4)|
|Focal Length||3.5 mm (film equivalent = 20mm)|
|Focus Type||Instant fixed focus lens|
|Focus Ranges||1 foot (30cm) to infinity|
|Field of View||140° Super Wide, 130° Wide, and 90° Standard|
|Shutter Speed||Land: 1/25 to 1/2000 second
Underwater: 1/45 to 1/2000 second
|Scene Modes||Land Auto, Snorkel, Dive, External Light, Dual External Lights|
|Shooting Modes||Single, Continuous (1 frame per second), Time Lapse, AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing)|
|LCD||2.4″ TFT LCD color display|
|Operating Environment||PC: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7 / 8 and up
MAC: OS 9.0 and up
|CD/Software||International instruction manuals in 5 languages|
|Language Support||On-Screen Display: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
Instruction manual: English (printed), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
|Power||Internal 2400 mAh (Li-ion)|
|Battery Life||3+ hours (Approximately 1000+ images/ 3+ hours video), 2350 mAh / 3.7V / 8.7Wh, Battery maintains 70% of its original power after 1000 cycles|
|Certification||CE, ROHS, FCC|
|Weight||9.4 oz. (266g)|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||4.2″ x 2.1″ x 2.0″
(10.7cm x 5.3cm x 7.4cm)
|Depth||Individually depth tested to 200ft (60m)|
|Operating Temp.||Underwater: 33 degrees F to 110 degrees F (5 degrees C to 44 degrees C)
Land: 0 degrees F to 120 degrees F (-18 degrees C to 50 degrees C)
|Storage Temp.||-20 degrees F to 140 degrees F (-29 degrees C to 60 degrees C)|
|Tripod Mount||Standard 1/4-20 tripod threads|
|Shockproof||3ft / 1m|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty|
The permanent seal is made possible by a waterproof USB connector at the bottom of the camera, which comes with a special dry connector for charging and plugging into your PC/laptop. Once you’re done, simply remove the dry connector and you’re good to go!
Controls and Mounts
The Micro HD is equipped with Sealife’s famous piano keys, which are incredibly easy to use, work effortlessly with small hands or large, and even easy to press with gloves on. The shutter button feels just like a regular topside camera and recording video is just on click away with your thumb. The grip is also extra comfy, unlike most action cameras (GoPro, Intova etc…) this camera is made to be hand held, but small & light enough to be mounted on anything ranging from poles, scuba masks, flex arms, cold shoe or any other mount you are using.
For mounting the camera you would use the standard 1/4″-20 tripod mount on the bottom of the camera.
A cool thing about the Micro HD is how easy it is to set up. When you choose “Easy Setup“, you have two options: Underwater or Land. Choosing Land sets it on land mode, and choosing underwater, pops up a 2nd stage where you choose Camera Only / One Light / Two Lights and then a 3rd stage to select between Dive / Snorkel. This easy setup is a no-brainer to adjust the WB and exposure correctly without over thinking it. You can also adjust it manually on the regular picture setup.
The underwater mode produces excellent colors without a need for a red filter, even at 20 meters. Although a red filter by Sealife isn’t available yet for the camera, I tried out Intova’s red filter and was surprised to see it fit perfectly. I found that for deep dives, 20-30 meters, combining the red filter with underwater mode produced the best colors by far! However, don’t try to combine underwater mode with a red filter on shallow dives since you will get red footage.
Time lapse mode is also available, with intervals ranging from 2 seconds to 30 minutes between frames which allows many creative possibilities. You can also manually adjust ISO, WB, Exposure Compensation, Sharpness and Metering Type.
After trying the Micro HD in several situations, I can definitely say it can handle itself very well! Topside images and videos are very sharp and have excellent colors. The Auto WB is usually very precise and adjusts to changes in lighting fairly quickly.
Underwater the colors are very good even without any external filters. The underwater Deep mode cancels out a fair amount of blue and produces videos and images which you are used to seeing with red filters.
Another great thing about it is battery life. It’s practically infinite. Well maybe not infinite but it surprisingly long! You can go through 3 dives with it easy. Sealife promises over 3 hours of operation, and it seems to live up to that. That’s quite impressive considering it has a large 2.4” TFT Color LCD screen.
The only thing missing compared to other action cameras is 60fps on 1080p. The Micro HD produces 60fps only at 720p, which I find a bit limiting.
This is one of the best all-around action cams I’ve tried. Thanks to the built in Underwater Mode, your photos and videos already look pretty good without filters and that might be enough for some. If you still decide you need lights, there are two special modes for that (1 light or 2 lights) as well which make the upgrade super easy.
Most important, the Micro HD is fun! Sealife’s engineers have designed it with the user in mind and you will definitely feel that once you play around with it a bit.
For those who want an easy, reliable camera, with great ergonomics and excellent quality, the Micro HD is an excellent choice.
Visit his personal portfolio at www.ranmorphoto.com.
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