Safety Warnings...........................................................3
Check What You Got ...................................................4
Product View with Call-outs ........................................5
Preparing your flash ...............................................6-12
Preparing your camera .........................................13-14
Testing your camera and flash ...................................15
Adjusting your camera exposure
and flash brightness .............................................16-19
External Flash adjustments ...................................20-22
Maintaining a waterproof seal ...................................23
Care and maintenance ..............................................24
Replacing the O-rings ...............................................25
Expanding your Flex-Connect™
Lighting System ....................................................26-27
Great pictures made easy.....................................28-30
Troubleshooting Guide ....................................31-33
Specifications .......................................................34
Parts and service...................................................35
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I. Safety Warnings
Turn OFF flash if foreign objects or water has entered the the battery
compartment or internal electronics. Continued use in this state may
cause fire or electrical shock. Contact the SeaLife service center for repairs.
The battery chamber is waterproof. If no water has entered the flash
head, the battery chamber may be cleaned without causing permanent
damage to the internal electronics. Rinse the waterproof battery
compartment with fresh water and allow the inside to dry. Replace the
o-rings and apply lube. Install new, fully-charged batteries and test fire
flash. If flash does not operate properly, please contact your local
SeaLife dealer or the SeaLife service center in your country.
Do not attempt to disassemble or access the electronic circuitry for
any reason. The internal electronics uses high-voltage components that
may result in severe electrical shock.
Do not expose flash to heat or direct sunlight for prolonged periods of
Observe all SCUBA dive safety rules and control your buoyancy at all
times. Consult your dive instructor for dive safety questions.
Visit for updates to this manual and
techniques on underwater photography. Check out the online guide
called Great Pictures Made Easy.
II. Check What You Got
Sea Dragon Flash
(with attached diffuser,
optical cable, grip and tray)
Universal Flash Link
Cable Adapter (SL992)
O-ring Lube (SL9807)
Spare O-rings
Sea Dragon Case
(Small SL941 or Large SL942)
O-ring remover (SL9808)
III. Product view with call-outs
Major parts
Flash head
Battery cap
Auto Bright light sensor
10 – Pressure safety valve
Diffuser (removable)
11– Power On/Off dial
Release buttons
Flex-Connect grip
12 – Test button (Auto Learn
button) & Flash-ready light
Mounting screw
Rubber friction pad
13 – Brightness adjustment dial
(Auto and Manual)
14 – Flex-Connect swivel
IV. Preparing your flash
1) Unscrew waterproof battery cap.
2) Insert 4 new or freshly charged AA
batteries according to the polarity
3) Align cap notch with key and screw
on waterproof battery cap. Lightly
hand-tighten - Do not overtighten
using excessive force or tools.
Make sure o-rings are perfectly clean, undamaged and lightly lubed. See
page 23 for important information on maintaining a waterproof seal.
Attach camera (housing) to the tray. Carefully hand-tighten the
mounting screw. Do not over tighten!
Only attach the flash to cameras/housings with minimum thread
depth of 0.28" (7.2 mm) and using standard 1⁄4-20 tripod type thread.
Never force or over-tighten the screw, or you may damage the
housing seal and threads.
Connecting Flash Link optical cable to the external flash
The Flash includes the Flash Link optical cable (item
#SL96208). The optical cable is used to transmit light from the
camera to the light sensor under the flash head. The external
flash will fire when the light sensor detects light coming from
the end of the cable.
The external flash should come with the optical cable already
attached to the flash head, but it is good to know how the cable
can be removed and re-attached.
1. Turn the cable locking screw counter-clockwise by about 2
rotations to loosen the clamping effect of the lock. Do not
remove the locking screws.
2. Insert the optical cable into the hole of the cable lock until the
cable stops [make sure cable is pushed up all the way].
3. Turn the cable locking screw clockwise to lock the cable into
place [finger tight only – Do not over tighten].
Connecting Flash Link optical cable to SeaLife cameras
For SeaLife cameras:
Attach the other end of the optical cable to the camera adapter
included with your SeaLife camera.
1. Push the optical cable into one of the grooves so it’s locked
firmly into position. The end of the cable must be directed at
the camera’s flash but should not stick out beyond the
adapter. The adapter has two grooves, so you can add another
cable when using two flashes.
2. Attach the Flash Link adapter around the lens and push down
until it locks firmly into place. There are two small locking
mechanisms located on the outer edge of the adapter that
should lock in to the camera housing. Make sure the adapter
is oriented so it is aligned with the recessed flash window.
3. Once the cable and adapter is firmly attached, run the cables
along the bottom of the flash base and up the flash arm. The
cables should be secured to the flash arm using the Velcro ties
provided with your flash accessory.
Connecting Flash Link optical cable to NON-Sealife cameras
The universal cable adapter included with the flash allows you to
attach the optical cable to any underwater camera housing.
Step 1: Cut two small strips of adhesive
backed hook-and-loop fastener
Step 2: Remove adhesive backing strips
and firmly attach above and below the
flash window of the underwater housing.
Make sure housing surface is clean and
Step 3: Unscrew cable adapter assembly
and insert the larger half through the hole
of the hook-n-loop fastener as shown.
Make sure the “hook” side of the fastener
is facing towards the wide end of the
adapter (towards the camera).
Connecting Flash Link optical cable to NON-SeaLife cameras
Step 4: Loosely screw on the smaller half
of the adapter.
Step 5: Insert the cable(s) so about 1mm
sticks out of the other end and tighten the
cable adapter assembly. Hand tighten –
do not use tools. .
Step 6: Attach fastener with cable to
underwater housing so the cable is
centered over the flash window.
Step 7: User scissor to cut away excess
fastener material. Important: Leave
enough fastener material so it completely
covers the flash window or else the stray
light escaping from the flash window
may cause backscatter.
Secure the Flash Link optical cable to the Grip
Fasten optical cable by pushing into groove along inside of grip.
V. Preparing your camera
Become familiar with how to operate your camera. Refer to your
camera instruction manual for information on how to adjust the
settings described in this manual. Here is the basic camera set-up for
SeaLife and most other popular digital cameras.
1. Insert blank memory card. It’s good practice to regularly
format memory card, but be careful, because this will erase
all images on the card.
2. Make sure your camera battery(ies) are new or freshly charged
before each dive.
3. Set SeaLife digital cameras to External Flash mode
4. For Non-SeaLife camera’s, do this:
a. Set ISO to 100 (or less if available) but not Auto.
b. Set White Balance to “DAYLIGHT” for better color.
c. Set camera’s flash to FORCE ON.
d. Select the highest image resolution.
e. Some cameras offer manual shutter and aperture controls,
which is recommended for advanced photographers only.
5. Inspect and clean camera housing and main O-ring in
accordance with the camera/housing instructions.
6. Insert camera and seal the housing.
7. Take a test picture to make sure the camera’s flash fires.
Synchronize flash to non-SeaLife cameras
The flash is factory set to work with your SeaLife camera. Follow
these instruction to synch the flash to other underwater camera
1. Turn OFF flash power.
2. Push and HOLD test button, and power ON flash.
3. The flash-ready light will be blinking.
4. With your camera connected to the optical cable and flash,
take a test picture. Important: Make sure your camera's flash
is set to FORCE ON so it always fires.
5. The flash-ready light will stop blinking.
synchronized to your camera.
The flash is now
VI. Test the camera and flash [above water]
Now that you have made all the correct settings to your flash and
camera, take a few test pictures to make sure the camera and
external flash fires together.
1. Power on the camera and flash.
a. Make sure the camera settings are set as described on
page 13-14.
b. Turn the flash brightness control dial on the back of the
flash to Auto.
2. Wait for the flash-ready light to turn on. A blinking flash-ready
light means the flash is recycling, which takes a few seconds.
3. Take a series of test picture while viewing the external flash
from the side (Don’t look directly into the flash).
4. The camera’s flash and the external flash should be firing
5. If the external flash is not firing at the same time as the
camera’s primary flash review the instructions on pages 6
through 14 or refer to the trouble shooting guide at the end of
this manual.
VII. Adjusting your camera exposure and flash
This section will show you to make quick and easy adjustments
to your camera and flash for achieving the best picture color and
brightness. Make sure you become familiar with these basic
adjustments before you dive with your new external flash.
Overexposed picture
Contrast and Colors are
washed out
Properly exposed picture
Good contrast with vibrant colors.
You can adjust your camera setting and/or external flash settings
to achieve the best image exposure and color.
Camera adjustments:
First, let’s learn about the different types of camera adjustments
you can make.
Scene modes
Most digital cameras offer a variety of “Scene” modes which
presets the camera’s controls depending on the type of picture
you want to take.
For SeaLife digital cameras, set the scene mode to Ext Flash (or Ext
Flash Auto mode). For information on how to set your SeaLife camera’s
scene mode, please refer to your SeaLife camera instruction manual.
For non-SeaLife cameras, we recommend starting with AUTO
scene mode. If your non-SeaLife camera has an “underwater”
scene mode, don’t use it. These “underwater” modes are not
intended for cameras using an external flash. Read your camera’s
instruction manual to learn more about your camera’s scene
modes. Experiment to find the best setting for you.
ISO setting
The term ISO (International Standards Organization) relates to the
ability (or “speed”) of the camera’s sensor to accept light. The
higher the ISO value, the more sensitive the camera is to light,
resulting in a brighter but more grainy image.
For SeaLife cameras, set the camera to Ext Flash mode (or Ext
Flash Auto mode) and leave the ISO on Auto. Your SeaLife camera
is pre-programmed to automatically select the optimal ISO value
for underwater flash pictures.
For non-SeaLife cameras, select a lower ISO, like 50 or 100,
because the picture will be sharper and less grainy.
EV Compensation
Your camera’s EV (Exposure Value) Compensation setting works
very much like the ISO setting - Increase EV value to brighten
images, and decrease EV value to darken pictures. Just like ISO,
higher EV values will result in more grainy pictures.
For SeaLife cameras, set the camera to Ext Flash mode (or Ext
Flash Auto mode) and leave the EV Compensation at “0”. Your
SeaLife camera is pre-programmed to automatically select the
optimal EV value for underwater flash pictures.
For non-SeaLife cameras, start with an EV value setting of -2 and
make adjustments as necessary to achieve the best results. Avoid
using + EV values.
White Balance
The camera’s White balance setting will match your camera’s image
sensor to the color “temperature” of the primary light source.
For SeaLife cameras, set the camera to Ext Flash mode and leave
the White Balance on Auto. Your SeaLife camera is preprogrammed to match the color temperature of the flash.
For non-SeaLife cameras, it is recommended to select the
DAYLIGHT White Balance setting.
Camera’s flash setting
Almost all digital cameras allow you to select the flash setting to
Auto, Force ON, Force OFF or Red-Eye Reduction.
For SeaLife cameras, set the camera to Ext Flash mode (or Ext
Flash Auto mode). The SeaLife External Flash mode is a special
underwater program that synchronizes the camera's exposure
program, color balance and internal flash to the SeaLife external
flash. The camera's flash will always fire in Ext Flash mode.
For non-SeaLife cameras, select FORCE ON. Remember, your
external flash will only fire if your camera’s flash fires.
Manual exposure controls
Some digital cameras include manual aperture and shutter speed
controls, which requires advanced knowledge of photography
principles. These controls are too advanced for this instruction
For SeaLife cameras, set the camera to Ext Flash mode (or Ext
Flash Auto mode). The camera will automatically select the best
aperture and shutter speed setting for underwater flash
photography. Some SeaLife cameras include Ext Flash Manual
mode. Please refer to the camera instruction manual for more
For non-SeaLife cameras with manual exposure controls, you
may want to take an underwater photography course to learn
more about using manual controls.
VIII. External Flash adjustments
Now that you are familiar with camera
adjustments that effect picture color and
brightness, this section will describe how to
adjust the external flash.
Flash Brightness control
You can manually or automatically control
the external flash brightness by adjusting the
brightness control dial located on the back of the flash head. 10
is the brightest setting. Take some test pictures and experiment
with the effect of the brightness control.
If the test image is over-exposed (white or washed out colors),
turn the power adjustment 1 or 2 steps clockwise to reduce the
flash brightness and take another picture. Do this until the image
exposure is satisfactory.
If the test image is under exposed (dark), turn the power
adjustment 1 or 2 steps counter-clockwise to increase the flash
brightness and take another picture. Do this until the image
exposure is satisfactory.
Remember that the flash will only reach about 6 ft to 8ft (1.8m to
2.4m) depending on water visibility, so make sure to keep your
underwater shooting distance within that range.
If you turn the brightness control all the way clockwise, to AUTO,
the flash will automatically adjust the brightness.
The Auto brightness feature works by measuring the amount of
flash bouncing off the subject into the light sensor located on
the front face of the flash. If the flash measures a high amount
of light bouncing of the subject, it will cut-short the flash before
it deploys the full flash and over-exposes the subject. The Auto
setting works best in high-visibility water and closer shooting
Adjusting the Auto bright setting
If the Auto setting consistently over- or under-exposes the
picture, it can be adjusted to increase or decrease average
If pictures are consistently over-exposed (white, washed-out),
turn power on, set brightness dial to #1 (dot between 2 and "A")
and hold the TEST button down for 4 seconds. The flash-ready
light will blink a few times indicating the the new Auto bright
setting is saved in memory.
If pictures are consistently under-exposed (darker), repeat the
above with the brightness dial set to #10.
The Auto bright setting can be adjusted to any level between 1
and 10, with 10 being the highest average brightness. The
factory setting is 5.
Aiming the external flash
Make sure the flash head is directed at the subject before taking
a picture. If the flash is not aimed correctly the image may appear
underexposed (darker).
Remember that subjects appear closer underwater than they do
on land, so direct the flash a little over the intended target to
compensate for this underwater effect.
About the Flash Diffuser
The diffuser is used primarily for
close-up pictures to evenly
illuminate the subject resulting
in more vibrant colors.
Pull off the diffuser for
shooting distances beyond
2ft (60cm).
IX. Maintaining a waterproof seal (Before your dive)
1) The flash uses two O-rings to maintain a waterproof seal.
2) Every time you open the battery cap make sure the O-rings and
sealing surfaces are clean, undamaged and lubricated.
3) Dampen a clean cotton cloth and wipe it around the o-ring
and o-ring contact surfaces to remove any hair, sand or debris.
4) Carefully inspect the o-ring for cuts, tears or other damage.
Replace o-rings if damaged.
5) Lube O-rings regularly. Apply a small amount of silicone lube on
your finger tip and wipe it around the O-rings. Wipe off excess
lubricant. The o-ring surface should have shiny, wet appearance.
Replace O-rings every year if damaged or not. Visit your local SeaLife dealer
or for information on ordering spare o-rings.
X. Care and maintenance (After your dive)
1) After each dive, soak the sealed flash in fresh water for about
15 minutes to remove any residual salt, sand and dirt. Never
allow the saltwater to dry on the flash.
2) Push the test button about 10 times and rotate dials to clean
any saltwater or sand trapped under the button.
3) Let the water drain out of the small holes located at the bottom
of flex arm. (If using Flex Arms - see page 26 for optional
4) Dry off the flash with a towel. Make sure you and the flash are
dry before opening the waterproof battery cap.
5) Remove battery before storing the flash.
6) Allow flash to thoroughly dry before storage.
7) Never use any detergents, cleaners, solvents or chemicals to
clean the flash.
8) Insert a fresh Moisture-Muncher capsule (item #SL911) inside
the battery compartment during storage to help keep the inside
dry and free of corrosion or mildew during storage.
XI. Replacing the O-rings
Replace the two O-rings if damaged or at least once per year.
1) Use the O-ring Remover tool
provided to lift and remove
the O-ring.
2) Carefully clean O-ring grooves and O-rings before installation
3) Install O-rings by stretching
and lifting O-ring into the
groove. Do not roll the
O-ring or allow it to twist.
4) Apply a small amount of silicone lube on your finger tip and
wipe it around the O-rings. Wipe off excess lubricant. The o-ring
surface should have shiny, wet appearance.
XII. Expanding your Flex-Connect™ Lighting System
Get brighter, more colorful results by expanding your Sea Dragon
underwater camera system. The modular Flex-Connect arms, grips
and trays easily clicks together to create these popular configurations:
Pro Set
Pro Duo
Maxx Duo
w/ single flash
w/ light, flash and
dual tray
w/ light, flash, 2 flex
arms and dual tray
Flex Arm - “Click” on the Flex Arm for
more creative lighting and easy aiming.
Reduces backscatter by positioning the
flash or light farther away from the camera.
Add up to two arms per side. Each arm
features 100° bending motion and adds 7”
length in addition to the 5” grip (SL9901)
Grip – Rubberized grip for a comfortable
hold. Built-in channel to hide and secure
optical cable. (SL9905)
Expanding your Flex-Connect™ Lighting System (continued)
Select from three universal mounting trays:
Dual Tray - Add another
flash or light with the dual
tray to double brightness,
reduce shadowing and
stabilized aiming control.
Sold separately (SL9904)
Micro Tray – This tiny tray is
the perfect fit for compact cameras. Included with Sea Dragon
1200 Light or sold separately (SL9902)
Single Tray – The standard single tray is ideal for medium size
underwater cameras. Included with Sea Dragon 2000 Light and
Digital Flash or sold separately (SL9903).
Cold Shoe – Mount a light or flash over the camera for the most
compact lighting solution available. Or use it to add a third light
when using a dual tray. Easily slides on to cold shoe of SeaLife
and most other underwater housings. (SL991).
XIII. Great pictures made easy
There are plenty of challenges that photographers face in the
underwater world. Please take some time to review SeaLife’s
online guide called Great Pictures Made Easy by visiting The guide is located under the
Technical Support menu.
The following information summarizes the basic principles of
underwater photography.
1. Crystal clear water
Clear water is essential for good underwater pictures. Fine
particles suspended in the water, like algae and sediments,
cause low visibility and small spots to appear in your picture,
commonly referred to as “backscatter”. Your external flash
will help you reduce the backscatter effect because the flash
only illuminates the outer rim of the floating debris. As a
general rule, limit your shooting distance to 1/10 of the water
2. Limit your shooting distance to 6 ft (1.8m)
Water is 800 times denser than air and quickly absorbs light.
Your external flash has a limited reach of 6ft (1.8m) to 8ft
(2.4m) depending on water visibility. Keep your shooting
distance inside of 6 ft (1.8m). 4 ft (1.2m) is ideal. Consider the
SeaLife Fisheye Lens accessory (SL975) which allows to keep
a closer shooting distance and fit everything into the picture.
3. Move calmly and control your buoyancy
Control your buoyancy at all times and set yourself up in the
ideal position before taking a picture. This allows you to hold
the camera steady and control your shooting distance. Good
buoyancy control will help you avoid stirring up the sandy
bottom which will cloud-up the water and cause backscatter.
Controlling your buoyancy is very important for your diving
safety so don’t take a picture until your buoyancy is under
4. Practice and experiment with your camera and external flash
There is no better way to learn than from your mistakes.
Become familiar with your camera controls so you can make
quick adjustments depending on the conditions. Take the time
to practice and experiment with different settings. Review
your pictures and learn from your mistakes.
5. Learn how to compose a good picture
Once you have mastered how to control the brightness level
(exposure) of your picture, you will want to improve how to
set-up a good picture. Here are some basic tips:
a. Avoid shooting down on the subject from above.
Shooting down usually results in a poor contrast
because the subject blends into the background. If
possible, shoot upwards from below the subject so you
get a blue water background and better contrast.
b. Get the entire subject into your picture frame. Don’t cutoff the hands, fins or head of your subject. You can
always crop you image later on your computer if you
c. Learn the compositional rule of thirds. The rule states
that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by
two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equallyspaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the
intersections of these lines can be used to align features
in the photograph. Professional photographers claim
that aligning a picture with these points creates more
energy and interest in the photo than simply centering
the subject.
6. Always observe dive safety rules
Do not let photography distract you from diving safely.
XIV. Troubleshooting Guide
1. External Flash does not fire when pushing TEST button.
a. Power ON flash. Wait until the flash-ready light stops
blinking (steady on). If the ready light does not turn on,
make sure the battery polarity is correct and battery
contacts are clean.
b. Check the battery power. Replace or recharge batteries,
if necessary.
c. If above does not correct the problem, contact your local
SeaLife dealer or SeaLife Service Center in your country.
For a list of dealers, please visit
2. External Flash fires when pushing TEST button, but does not
fire when triggered by camera.
a. Make sure the power switch is set to “ON” position and
the flash-ready light stops blinking (steady on).
b. Take a test pictures and make sure your camera’s inner
flash fires.
c. Check that your camera settings are correct Refer to page
13-14 for more information.
d. Make sure the external flash is correctly synched to your
camera. Refer to page 14 for more information.
e. Check that the Flash Link optical cable is attached
correctly. Refer to page 9-12 for more information.
3. Flash fires sometimes but not all the time.
a. This is normally caused by a damaged Flash Link optical
cable or if the optical cable is not set-up correctly.
Inspect the optical cable for damage and make sure the
cable is attached and secured.
b. Check that your camera settings are correct. Refer to
page 9-12 for more information.
4. The recycle time is very long.
a. This is normally the result of low battery power. The flash
recycle time should not be more than 7 to 8 seconds
when the flash is set to full power.
b. Replace or recharge batteries if the recycle time is longer
than 10 seconds.
c. Remove diffuser for shooting distances beyond 2ft (60cm).
5. Dark areas in your pictures.
a. This is mostly likely caused by not aiming the flash at the
subject or if the flash is somehow obstructed.
b. Areas further away from the camera will appear darker
than closer objects. Maximum shooting distance is
6ft/1.8m to 8ft/2.4m depending on water visibility and
the reflectivity of your subject.
c. Check the brightness control setting. Turn counterclockwise to increase flash brightness. Turn clockwise to
decrease flash brightness.
d. The reflectivity of your subject will cause some areas to
appear brighter than other areas. For example, dark coral
needs more light than would white coral. Adjust flash
intensity accordingly.
6. For updated trouble shooting information, refer to the SeaLife
website at or contact your local
SeaLife dealer or service center for help.
XV. Specifications:
Sea Dragon Digital Underwater Flash (item # SL963)
Guide Number:
Power adjustment range:
Coverage angle:
Color temperature:
Power source:
Battery life:
Recycle time:
Housing material:
O-ring material:
20 (meters on land) at full power
setting: 1.5m (meters on land) at low
8% to 100% (Auto or Manual mode)
Power (On/Off), Test(program),
Brightness (Manual/Auto)
80° horizontal x 60° vertical (100°
w/ diffuser included)
5700 degrees Kelvin
4 AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
150 flashes (+/-)
Instant recycle time when power
setting is less than 1⁄2 power.
5 seconds recycle time at full power
(fresh batteries)
Fiber-reinforced polycarbonate
marine grade stainless steel
18 ounces (509 grams)
Head w/ batteries
Head: 5" (12.7cm) x 4.5" (11.4cm)
x 2.5"(6.4cm)
Dual NBR o-rings (lube included)
Note: Specifications subject to change without notice.
XVI. Parts and Service
SeaLife warrants the original purchaser of this product, for a
period of one (1) year from the date of purchase, that the product
is free from defects in workmanship and materials. For a detailed
warranty statement, please refer to the warranty information
included with the product.
In the event the original purchaser believes there is a defect in a
product, it is recommended that the purchaser first visit for updates on troubleshooting and
technical tips and advice. The website also includes detailed
information on how to get repair service.
If it is determined that the product requires servicing, a return
authorization number will be issued. Please contact your local
SeaLife dealer or the importer in the country where the product
was purchased for return information.
Your local authorized SeaLife Dealer can also assist with product
servicing and ordering replacement parts. The SeaLife website
contains a list of authorized dealers and importers for your country.
Pioneer Research, 97 Foster Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057 USA