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“Once the Sea Life Sport Diver SL545 35mm camera is...”

Written on: 21/07/2006 by Trigents are pussies (2 reviews written)

Good Points
Very straightforward to use, just point and press. So long as you remember the minimum focus distance of just over 1 metre, this camera takes good pictures, which mean that you can at last prove to your non-diving friends and family that you really did see that shark!

Bad Points
The minimal focus distance is easy to forget when you are trying to get a close up shot of a moray with its mouth open, and this has ruined what could have been excellent shots. This is operator error however, and lenses are available to allow you to get closer to the subject. To make better use of this camera, you will have to buy separate accessories or a more comprehensive kit. The basic enclosure and camera set is a good and inexpensive start however.

This model of camera used to have a solid opaque yellow case, and the instructions for the camera point out that the flash will always work when in the case. Unfortunately, the newer model has a clear plastic case, and as a result, the camera will only flash when there is insufficient light. Without flash underwater, photographs tend to look very blue, and this ruined quite a few photographs until I realised what the problem was. You will need to put some tape over the flash light sensor, which is located on the front of the camera, between and just below the viewfinder and flash.

The camera is not a snug fit in the housing, and can rotate a little. This can affect how the shutter release mechanism on the case makes contact with the shutter release button on the camera.

General Comments
Once the Sea Life Sport Diver SL545 35mm camera is switched on, it will go into standby mode after about 2 minutes. A light press on the shutter release button is all that is needed to prepare the camera for use (make sure that the flash ready LED is lit). My camera had a fault and would not come out of standby. Even after pressing the shutter release fully and taking photographs, the flash would not work and the photographs were ruined. I began to realise that whatever part of the mechanism which brought the camera out of standby was faulty.

Due to the relatively low cost of the camera, it was not cost effective to repair, as it was out of warranty, so it was time to repair it myself or replace it. I was able to remove the outer case without affecting the inner camera mechanism, and I soon identified the fault. There are 2 small spring switches activated by the shutter release bar. One activates the camera, and the other the motor wind when the shutter button is released. The activation contacts were sliding along the shutter release bar and were not closing. One quick twist of the contacts with a pair of pliers and the camera is now in A1 condition.

The only reason that I can not recommend this camera is because of the problems that I have had. However, it can be purchased very cheaply if you shop around, whereas underwater digital cameras still seem to be quite costly. I don't believe that I would buy this model again, as I could do without the hassle, and I would want to go digital myself, as I have done with my land camera.

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