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Sealife Micro 3.0 - Diving Squad Report:

Diving Squad Rating:

9.2/10

9.2 / 10

Of all the dive cameras out there, the Sealife Micro 3.0 is the best  underwater camera or beginners.

It’s ergonomic design, simple user interface, auto underwater colour correction and image stabilisation tech make it straight forward to use and easy to get awesome underwater videos and photos with. 

There’s several great accessories for it including a table mounting system for the variety of underwater photography lights that Sealife produce as well as various lenses such as macro and wide angle. 

In this report, we’ll take a look at what makes the Sealife Micro 3.0 the unique camera designed especially for scuba divers that it is; with breakdowns of it’s features, pros, cons and more. Let’s dive in! 

KEY SPECS:

  • 3 Underwater Colour Correction Settings (shallow, deep & green water)
  • 100 degree fixed focus lens
  • Video: 4K-30fps / 1080p-120fps / 1080p-60fps in Mpeg4
  • Photo: 16mp in RAW & Jpeg with auto & manual ISO modes
  • Various capture modes: single, burst, time-lapse, continuous
  • Depth Rating: 200ft / 60m
  • High resolution 2.4″ TFT color LCD display
  • Shockproof, rubber grip casing
  • 3 large piano key buttons
  • Adaptor cable to download straight from camera to PC
  • 3 hour battery life
  • Connectivity: USB cable with adaptor, Bluetooth and app 
  • Weight & Size: 11.6 oz  and  4.2″ X 2.1″ X 2.9″

FEATURES:

1. Ergonomic Design

The Sealife Micro 3.0 is fully sealed which means it doesn’t need to be placed in any waterproof housing unlike most other underwater cameras. This is useful because some waterproof housings can fog up without proper maintenance.

It’s also the only underwater camera that as well as not needing waterproof housing doesn’t rely on O-rings either. O-rings also require some maintenance, without which a camera can flood…but this is avoided by the leakproof Sealife Micro 3.0.

Straight out of the box, it is waterproof to 200ft / 60m which is deeper than recreational scuba diving goes by 66ft / 20m.

It’s rubber armoured waterproof casing is sturdy and shockproof, being able to survive some considerable wear and tear, plus the rubber grooves on the front help you to easily grip the Micro 3.0 camera between finger and thumb. 

With a size of 4.2″ X 2.1″ X 2.9″ and a weight of 11.6 oz, it’s highly compact and light, yet still a little larger than underwater action cameras, which makes it easier to hold stable. It’s operated via three large piano keys located on the back which are easy to push even with dive gloves.

The 2.4″ TFT color LCD display is a very decent size with bright colours, which makes it extremely easy to see the shot the you’re framing. Data on the display includes your video (res and frame rate) and photo (ISO and mp) settings, light colour correction mode, battery life and that’s it. Nice and simple!

2. Simple User Interface

The settings menu is easy to navigate, plus easy to see thanks to the large, bright display. There’s a very simple and intuitive layout to switch on and off modes and settings such as underwater colour correction, video and photo parameters etc, even whilst underwater. 

Built in Wi-Fi compatibility allows you to wirelessly preview, download and share videos and photos using a phone or tablet with the free Micro 3+ app for Iphone and android. It’s a really straight forward and intuitive app which you can get through easily without any hassle.

You can also upload photos and videos to your computer or mac straight from the camera using the included USB adaptor cable – this cable is also used to charge the Micro 3.0.  Battery life is extremely decent at up to 3hours. 

3. Videos & Stabilisation Tech

The Sealife Micro 3.0 can record video all the way from 480p for ultra fast sharing, up to 4K at 30fps for extremely sharp, high quality videos. You can also record 1080 at 120fps for a slow motion effect. There is the option for manual white balance set up as well as DNG Raw images. 

These are very good video shooting capabilities and they are only beaten by one other type of underwater camera; the Paralenz Vaquita which can record video at 4K up to 60fps or 1080p at up to 240fps. However, as we cover in the next section, the Sealife Micro 3.0 has higher photo shooting specs than the Paralenz Vaquita. 

The Micro 3.0 also has built in electronic video stabilisation which reduces the effect of shaky hands and vibrations using pre-installed programming. A lot of underwater cameras these days claim to have video stabilisation tech but it is certainly not equal in all models – however I found the Sealife Micro 3.0’s video stabilisation tech to be better than most.

Let’s take a look at the video below for an example of video shot by the Sealife Micro 3.0 at 4K 30fps with the deep underwater colour correction setting (which we cover further below) applied:

4. Photos

When it comes to image sensor capabilities the Sealife Micro 3.0 beats both the Paralenz Vaquita and the Olympus Tough TG6 by having a 16mp image sensor vs their 12mp image sensors. 

You get extremely decent quality photos from the Sealife Micro 3.0 and there’s the option to manually adjust your ISO (which affects photo brightness) or have it as auto, which is useful for newbies. 

The Micro 3.0 has a photo snap response of 0.1 seconds after pushing the shutter button, which is very fast and means there is no detectable lag. You can also chose between photo burst and time lapse modes. 

Let’s take a look at some unedited photo I snapped with the Sealife Micro 3.0 at Isla del Cano, Costa Rica again with the deep mode colour correction setting applied:

5. Underwater Colour Correction

The Sealife Micro 3.0 features a built-in underwater colour correction (white balance) mode which is used to maintain realistic colours in photos and videos. In cheaper underwater cameras without colour correction, videos and photos turn out with a very noticeable green or blueish tint and their colours look much less like they did in real life. 

There are three different underwater colour correction settings: shallow, deep and green. If you are shooting at a depth of 40ft or less, use external light or underwater shallow to avoid images turning out too warm. Otherwise for deeper dives (which will be most!), use the underwater deep settings – this is the one I almost always go for. 

The Sealife Micro 3.0’s underwater colour correction setting definitely makes photo and video colours come out much better than that of any underwater camera without this feature.

In terms of how well it works, it’s only beaten by the Paralenz Vaquita, which is used in liaison with a depth sensor to match the optimal white balance to the exact depth you’re at and changes accordingly. 

Check out the two videos below for a comparison of underwater footage with and without DCC:

UW Footage WITH DDC:

Ultra realistic colours that are vivid and bring everything to life just as it was.

(Shot at Isla del Cano, Costa Rica with the Sealife Micro 3.0)

UW Footage WITHOUT DDC:

Notice the greenish blue hue on the footage. In real life on that dive, colours were a lot more vivid! 

6. 100 Degree Fixed Focus Lens

A fixed focus lens is one where the focus is not adjustable which is great or beginners as it pretty much guarantees everything within the focus range will be in focus. 

In the case of the Sealife Micro 3.0′ s focus lens range, it is infinity to 15″ which means that basically everything that is 15″ and further away from the lens will be in focus (although more distant objects will be less clear as you’re shooting through more water). 

What this does mean is that smaller subjects – such as seahorses, shrimp and nudibranchs will be rather small in the frame to do them any real justice, when captured through the standard Sealife Micro 3.0 frame. 

However, you can buy additional macro lenses for the Micro 3.0 that do allow you to focus much closer than 15″, so this problem is eliminated! We cover these in the next section below: “accessories”. 

7. Accessories

There’s a pretty extensive variety of accessories you can purchase to go with the Sealife Micro 3.0, which we’ll cover below. It’s also possible to buy a package bundle that includes the Sealife Micro 3.0 along with the camera tray and one photography light. You can view this deal here:

Camera Tray

On it’s underside, the Micro 3.0 features a standard 1/4″-20 tripod thread which allows you to attach it to the Sealife camera tray. 

In addition to providing you with more shooting stability, the camera tray features attachment points for Sealife’s underwater photography lights which they have dubbed Sea Dragon lights.

Sea Dragon Photography Lights

Sealife produce several variations of the Sea Dragon light, which are intended for underwater photography and can seriously bring a subject or scene to life as well as allowing night dive photography. You can atach up to two on the camera tray. 

Lenses

There’s a fairly wide variety of additional lenses for the Sealife Micro 3.0 that allow you greater versatility. Favourites include the micro wide angle dome lens which increases the lens angle from 100 to 143 degrees whilst also reducing the minimum shooting distance from 15″ to 5″  and the micro super macro lens which lets you capture images and photos from 3.5″ to 7″.

DIVING SQUAD FINAL VERDICT:

The Sealife Micro 3.0 truly is a superb underwater camera for beginners thanks to it’s ergonomic design, ease of use and all round applicability thanks to taking great photos and videos.

As you progress with your experience of using it there are plenty of cool gadgets and accessories you can purchase for it to up your underwater photography and videography skills. 

It’s a mid-price underwater camera, being within the same margins as similar scuba diving orientated cameras like the Paralenz Vaquita and Olympus Tough TG6

In my opinion, it is the best underwater camera for beginners and intermediate divers – you’ll learn a lot using it! 

However if it looks too expensive for you, feel free to check out this Diving Squad article on the Best Cheap Underwater Cameras instead!

Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba diving fanatic, nature geek and Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad