i bought this system at the beginning of june 2011.i practiced with it in my pool to get used to the menus and controls. i recommend this, if you can, so that you really get the feel for it. first offthis camera takes great land pictures even with the housing on so dont worry about that. we went to atlantis in the bahamas last week and took this camera on all the slides and the beach, on jet skis, in and out of the pools and it performed like a champ whether taking photos or video. very rugged. i called sealife a few times before my trip to get a few things ironed out and i must say they were very helpful. for use underwater there are several things i would like to touch on. get the extra weight & long screw to keep your bouyancy neutral or you will float up. also get a good lanyard and the extra long life battery. when in capture mode (taking pics) just set it to external flash mode auto and your set. whether or not your pictures come out good is basically on you. the camera works as advertised but your photo skills and bouyancy control will make the difference. the dive and snorkel modes are for taking pictures without the pro flash. the cameras internal flash does not fire on these settings. instead the camera automatically adds the missing reds to correct the color. when you are at depth in these settings you will know which setting is correct by the screen appearing normal. if it still looks red than you are set too deep. this is where people make are making mistakes. when in video mode all you have to do is set the white balance manually so that the screen is not red. you cannot do this topside. you can only do this in the water at depth in those particular conditions. i shot 47 mins of video at stuart cove shark dive with the long life battery and had enough left to watch it on the camera afterwards. we were in 45 feet of water for the shark feeding but my camera white balance was set to blue water 0-8 meters. i set the focus to infinity, sat back and watched the show. the visibility was excellent. it came out terrific. if you use this system as designed you will be very happy. the wide angle lens is a major plus too! i used it the whole time diving and only removed it when on land running around atlantis. and for the price i was laughing at people with housings that cost three times as much and my stuff was as good as theirs. just remember the basic of photos get close then get closer!
This lanyard can do it all. Attaches to BCD, rings, snaps onto things and can go around your wrist. Also very strong. I felt confident using this with my underwater camera system.
If you have the Sealife DC1200 elite with pro flash you will definitely need the 13oz. weight but just as important is this screw. The original screw is not long enough to go through the weight and still get through the base tray and into the camera. Sealife should have thrown these in with the system or at least sold them as a set with the weight as they are both necessary if you want to maintain neutral bouyancy with less hassle from the camera floating up on you.
If you have the Sealife DC1200 Elite setup with the Pro flash then you must get this weight. If you dont your camera system will FLOAT and take you up with it. When using the weight the system becomes just slightly negative bouyant which means it will very slowly sink. Get a lanyard and your all set.
The diffuser attachment is very sturdy. It snaps onto the flash and stays put. It flips up and down with ease but stays in place whichever way you have it. It functioned perfectly and I assume it diffuses because my pictures were o.k.
I gave this Battery 4 stars because I dont know if there is a better one out there. I made sure to charge the battery then use it up and recharge before going on my shark dive 7/28/11 @ stuart coves Bahamas. I have a Sealife DC1200 Elite with Pro Flash. On the dive I began video as soon as I hit the water and only stopped it to adjust zoom a couple times, and didnt stop till I was getting back on the boat. I shot 47 mins of good usable, watchable video and was able to watch most of it play back on the camera before it ran down. Definitely lasts way longer than the original it comes with. If you do a 2 tank type of dive I recommend using the regular battery on the first dive and shoot mainly photos and some video and switch to the longer battery for the second dive and shoot mainly video. This strategy served me very well and you have no worries about ever losing power!