This exhibition within and exhibition was surrounded by water tanks with various equipment taking a dive or swim. Some were regular cameras in housings both simple and advanced. Some were compact camera that were also waterproof.
While it seemed that the choice was surrounding your camera with a housing or a compact camera that was also waterproof, the SeaLife booth offered a third option. They were showing two camera systems that were specifically built for being near, or under water.
Their ReefMaster mini is depth rated to 130 feet. While it looks like a ruggedized compact camera, it has oversized buttons like a traditional underwater housing to make operating the camera with gloves on easier.
For the more serious underwater photographer SeaLife showed the DC-800 Pro camera that comes with either one or two external flash units. (You can also get the camera without the external flash.)
As was mentioned by underwater photographers that made presentations at the underwater world stage — flash is critical for most underwater photography. The DC-800 has specific white balance modes that are up to the challenges of shooting underwater. With settings like Blue Oceans or Rivers/Lakes you’ll better color under the sea.
The external flash units have a large power control knob that is easily adjusted while wearing dive gloves. The triggering cable for the flash is an optical connection to assure consistent flash firing.