How We Take a look at
Goal testing was performed at Wilger Testing Co., an accredited, unbiased facility in Sarasota, Florida. Lights had been examined utilizing an integrating sphere, an industry-standard testing system that measures a lightweight’s whole output, in lumens, with out regard to its beam angle; correlated colour temperature, in Kelvin; and colour rendering index (CRI). To gauge each the output and burn time, every mild was examined twice— as soon as with absolutely charged/new batteries, and once more after discharging for a steady 60 minutes. As a result of dive lights are designed to be used in water, many will electronically scale back their output after a short interval of burning out of the water to keep away from overheating. For that reason, measurements had been taken instantly after turning on every mild. After the primary check, all lights had been recharged or had batteries changed, then allowed to burn on full energy underwater for one hour, then examined once more.
Ergonomic testing was performed at Satan’s Den in Williston, Florida. Take a look at divers geared up with motion cameras used underwater slates to attain every mild within the following classes:
Ease of Use: Intuitiveness and ease of operation of controls. Ease of choosing numerous energy ranges or modes (for instance: SOS flash).
Ergonomics: Dimension and form; stability and ergonomics when mounted to a tray. Safety of mounting factors and attachments.
Beam Dimension and Form: Usefulness of the beam’s illumination underwater
LightOutput: Brightness, colour, penetration and high quality of the sunshine’s beam
Energy Ranges: The flexibility to manage the beam’s brightness in helpful increments
Energy-Stage Indicator: Usefulness of power-level indicator or warning, if geared up
General Suitability: General usefulness as a major underwater video mild
How We Rating
The graphic accompanying every evaluate reveals mild output (in lumens) with a full battery and after 60 minutes’ discharge, colour temperature (in Kelvin) and colour rendering index.
For ergonomic testing, check divers rated the lights utilizing the next scoring:
5 – wonderful
4 – superb
3 – good
2 – truthful
1 – poor
Steal The Present
Listed here are a number of options that basically stood out to check divers:
Masking All of the Angles The flexibility to swap between a wide-angle flood and a slim highlight beam. The SeaLife Sea Dragon 3000SF, for instance, gives further lighting instruments for macro pictures and permits the sunshine to double as a general-purpose dive mild in a pinch.
Cheat Sheet A number of lights, such because the Gentle & Movement Sola Video Professional, have working directions printed on the sunshine head or close to the controls.
Colours of the Wind In our check, a number of lights went above the everyday pink and blue mild modes usually provided for picture and video lights. The Backscatter Macro Huge 4300’s non-obligatory bodily colour filters permit for a wide range of daring and pastel colour overlays, whereas the Kraken Hydra 4000 and 15000 used a mixture of multicolor LEDs and digital controls to offer shooters with a complete rainbow of choices.
Correlated colour temperature doesn’t let you know how sizzling a lightweight supply is when it’s lit, however as an alternative describes the seen colour of a lightweight’s output measured in Kelvin (Ok). Lights could be considered “heat” and “cool,” which visibly interprets to extra of an orange/pink colour for lights on the decrease/hotter finish of the spectrum and extra of a blue colour for mild sources on the upper/cooler finish of the spectrum. See the graphic for a number of examples of the place some widespread mild sources stack up.
Colour temperature is usually extra of a desire on the a part of the photographer or videographer, and there’s no proper or mistaken colour temperature. Nonetheless, when taking pictures with a number of mild sources it will be important that their colour temperatures carefully match to make sure consistent-looking illumination.
Colour is produced by mild reflecting off an object. Not all lights are able to producing the total spectrum of colour. These two issues collectively imply that in case your mild doesn’t produce the precise wavelengths of sunshine that correspond to the precise colours of you topic, your photographs can be lower than correct and can lack a few of the delicate hues and shades that make the underwater world so compelling.
The colour rendering index (CRI) is a measurement that compares a lightweight’s output to the full-color spectrum produced by pure daylight, from zero to 100. The nearer to 100 the sunshine’s CRI, the extra precisely it represents the true colour of what you’re taking pictures.
LIGHT & MOTION—SOLA PHOTO 1200
This mild’s sliding push swap is easy, quick and straightforward to function when the sunshine is mounted to a digicam arm. Pushing it ahead steps via three ranges of pink mild; pulling it again does the identical for white. “Straightforward controls” and “slider may be very simple to make use of” had been typical tester feedback. Mechanical and digital locks stop unintended activation of the sunshine’s spring-loaded swap whereas touring. The sunshine outputs a 60-degree beam with out hotspots or a distracting edge. Testers cherished the LED standing indictors, which show each brightness and battery-life standing. Within the lab, output was barely above the producer’s declare and remained constant even after an hour of use on excessive energy. The sealed, flood-proof design is a plus for novices who’re nervous about leaks, however the trade-off is you’ll be able to’t simply swap batteries once you want a recharge. The compact, streamlined design is light-weight and straightforward to journey with. It additionally makes for a strong focus mild. Scoring wonderful and superb throughout the board, and a favourite amongst check divers, the Sola Picture 1200 is our Testers Selection for low-power video lights.
This mild’s rotary swap scored superb for ease of operation. Rotating the swap left or proper turns the sunshine on, and turning it ahead and backward in fast succession will cycle between modes—left for top and medium energy, proper for SOS and low energy. Testers described the swap as “easy” and “simple” to make use of, though its ahead location wasn’t as simple to entry as soon as mounted to a digicam arm. “Twist is quick and handy. Doesn’t damage fingers like some buttons do,” one tester commented. Each within the lab and within the water, output was on the decrease finish of the spectrum. Even when it was dimmer than others within the check, divers nonetheless favored its cool white beam. “Lovely colour,” one diver noticed. A particular silver-coated reflector disperses the sunshine’s output as a wide-angle 100-degree beam. The sunshine can function with both a 21700 or 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and it may be faraway from the included mounting sleeve to be used as a handheld dive torch. It’s depth-rated to 656 toes (200 meters). Extremely compact and light-weight, the S9W can also be a succesful, cheap focus mild for nonetheless pictures.
KRAKEN—HYDRA 1500+ WSR
With a single push-button swap, the Hydra 1500 provides shooters easy accessibility to a number of lighting choices. Though it might probably take some apply to get used to the assorted presses and durations wanted to activate them, it’s a small value to pay for having the ability to select from a 100-degree flood, 10-degree spot and a wide-angle pink mild—every out there in three completely different intensities. “Wow, very nice mild! Nice to have decisions with an actual distinction,” one check diver commented. Different features embody an SOS flash and user-enabled automated flash detection. Take a look at divers scored the sunshine wonderful for consolation and safety because of its compact design and durable Y/S mount. It will possibly even be handheld to be used as a general-duty dive mild. Myriad features and a light-weight design make the Hydra a simple go-to possibility for touring shooters whether or not they want major illumination for a smaller video rig or a flexible instrument for still-image seize. The built-in USB-C charger within the 21700 battery cuts down on gear even additional. Succesful and versatile, the Hydra 1500 is our Greatest Purchase for video lights.
SEALIFE—SEA DRAGON 2000F
This mild had the brightest output in its class. It measured 20 % over its said output within the lab, and it elevated ever so barely after working for an hour. The 120-degree even beam gives a “good heat colour and tons of sunshine,” as one tester described it. It gives wonderful protection for wide-angle taking pictures, particularly with motion cameras. A single giant push button on the entrance of the sunshine steps via full, half and quarter energy. Holding the button turns the sunshine on and off and prompts the emergency flash modes. “Tremendous easy operation. Very intuitive,” one tester stated. The out there intensities are wide-ranging and distinct, however testers felt a number of extra ranges in between would have made even higher use of the sunshine’s highly effective output. The sunshine has a built-in mount to be used with the included SeaLife Flex-Join Micro tray and grip, and requires an adapter to be used with different techniques. “Numerous mild, compact and easy,” is how one check diver described the sunshine. The Sea Dragon 2000F was a favourite of a number of check divers.
UNDERWATER KINETICS—AQUALITE MULTI
This compact dive mild gives a 20-degree highlight by default, however with insertion of the included wide-angle diffuser gives a 70-degree beam for video and pictures. The push-button tail swap cycles via this mild’s a number of modes: two ranges of white mild, a single-intensity pink mild, UV mild, emergency strobe and off. Testers felt the button was a bit stiff, however appreciated the rear-placement of the swap, which makes it simpler to make use of the sunshine when mounted to a digicam rig. The sunshine gives a good quantity of flexibility, however requires the consumer to step via every operate, which may turn out to be tedious if altering modes or turning the sunshine on and off often. Testers famous the 2 energy settings felt too related to one another to be of a lot use. Within the lab, we measured lower than half of the anticipated output—though the output did barely improve with extended use. It ought to be famous that our pattern was not offered straight out of the field, so the age of the rechargeable 21700 battery was unsure.
BACKSCATTER—MACRO WIDE 4300
This mild’s wide-angle beam measured the very best output in its class, and solely dimmed by about 30 % after working for an hour (said burn time is 50 minutes). Within the water, testers described the beam as having “good, even protection and pleasing colour.” The mild additionally has a devoted macro mode with a 1,400-lumen spot beam and wide-angle red-light mode. Optionally available equipment, similar to an optical snoot, colour filters and a pistol grip, additional improve the pliability of this already extremely versatile mild. A 3-button operation is intuitive for controlling depth—the vast/pink lights have three steps, whereas the macro mild has 5. Different features, such because the customizable strobe, weren’t as easy. “Difficult operation,” one diver commented about accessing all the mild’s options. The sunshine is pretty compact and consists of each a Y/S and ball mount. “Good measurement and stability. Large however feels compact,” one tester stated. For a diver that desires a strong, compact mild that may do all of it, the Macro Huge 4300 is a beautiful possibility.
BIGBLUE DIVE LIGHTS—VTL4200P
This mild might not have been the brightest in its class, however check divers actually cherished how a lot management and flexibility it provided. A push of the button cycles via 4 energy steps of the sunshine’s default 120-degree flood beam and off. “Good vary of energy and many output,” one check diver noticed of the completely different settings. Holding the swap prompts a spot beam, and a double press modifications to pink mild mode—each in a single-intensity. “Good to have choices,” one diver stated. The sunshine’s default output gives loads of protection, even for our super-wide-angle motion cameras. “Good vivid, vast mild,” one diver commented. There isn’t any SOS mode. The included ball mount is straightforward to put in and really safe. The sunshine’s lengthy grip is handy for handheld use, but in addition helps to maneuver the sunshine when mounted to a digicam. The sunshine additionally comes with a Goodman glove, detachable yellow filter and dry bag. A favourite amongst check divers, providing spectacular flexibility and efficiency, the VTL4200P is our Testers Selection for medium-power video lights.
KRAKEN—HYDRA 4000 WRGBU
This mild incorporates a three-button operation, which could seem considerably cryptic at first, however as soon as understood gives a easy, logical strategy to change modes with the middle button and regulate brightness up and down with the appropriate and left buttons, respectively. The sunshine outputs a large, even beam in a number of completely different colours: white, pink, inexperienced, blue, UV and an adjustable RGB, which gives a number of premixed colour choices for customers to select from. Every mode is offered with 5 energy settings. It additionally has features for burst mode and SOS. “Wow, so many decisions,” one check diver commented. The ahead location of the controls could be troublesome to entry when mounted to a digicam arm, however thankfully the sunshine could be managed through an non-obligatory fiber-optic distant management. With a said battery lifetime of 60 minutes, we had been shocked this highly effective mild was barely brighter after working for an hour. The Hydra 4000 was a favourite of check divers, who had been impressed with this mild’s highly effective output and wonderful colour choices for inventive taking pictures.
LIGHT & MOTION—SOLA VIDEO PRO 3800
Outfitted with a specifically designed dome port, this mild gives a 110-degree diffuse beam that bathes topics with mushy, even mild. “So mushy I can’t discover the sting,” one diver quipped concerning the beam’s tremendous gradual, virtually imperceptible fall-off. “Nice wide-angle beam with good colour and good, even protection,” one tester stated. Although it had the second highest lumen output in its class—which was a mere 3 % off the marketed declare—testers felt the tremendous diffuse mild appeared a bit dimmer than different equally powered lights. One tester described the push-lever operation as “easy and fast.” It was made even simpler by the diagram printed on the physique and by three colour LEDs that point out each depth and battery life. Testers cherished the sunshine’s compact measurement for its comfort and light-weight weight. Its dimensions make it simple to make use of with any measurement digicam rig. “Good stability and measurement,” one check diver commented. At max output, the built-in rechargeable battery lasts about an hour, and fees to full in an hour and 45 minutes.
SEALIFE—SEA DRAGON 3000SF PRO DUAL BEAM
Whereas it is probably not probably the most highly effective mild in its class, this mild was nonetheless barely brighter than its marketed 3,000-lumen output, and it stored its output constant even when pushed to the boundaries of its 60-minute burn time. A big single push button gives easy accessibility to the sunshine’s features. As soon as on, pushing the button cycles between a three-intensity 120-degree flood, two-intensity 15-degree spot, and a single-intensity pink flood mild. Holding the button down whereas powered off gives entry to 2 emergency flash modes. “Very useful, with simple accessibility,” one check diver stated. “Intuitive operation,” one other commented. Divers did notice that the flat button and top-mounted battery indicator generally is a bit troublesome to entry when the sunshine is positioned away or above the diver. The built-in mount gives simple plug-and-play compatibility with the included Flex-Join tray, however requires an adapter for different techniques. The wide-angle beam is mushy and heat, with even protection all through. “Nice measurement, energy and performance,” is how one tester summed up the Professional Twin. It was a favourite amongst check divers.
BIGBLUE DIVE LIGHTS—VL10000PB-RCP
This mild packs quite a lot of energy and options right into a compact package deal, which is analogous in measurement and weight to most of the lower-power lights in our check. The responsive button cycles via white- and blue-light modes— every with three intensities—with only a push. Maintain the button to entry the SOS, or double push it for a single-intensity pink floodlight. The included distant places the swap at your fingertips and was described by check divers as “superior” and “easy and straightforward to make use of.” Within the lab, output was virtually 30 % lower than the producer’s quantity. Nonetheless, it was nonetheless vivid sufficient within the water that some check divers felt that they might have favored a further low-power setting. The vast 120-degree beam is cool white with an outlined however gradual edge. “Vivid and highly effective,” one tester noticed. The inclusion of the fiber-optic distant, which may management two lights without delay, is a wonderful worth. Additionally included are a ball mount, detachable yellow filter, Goodman glove and dry bag. Providing flexibility and comfort, it was a favourite amongst check divers.
KRAKEN—HYDRA 15000 WRGBU
This beefy mild’s rear-mounted controls couldn’t be simpler to entry whereas taking pictures. A knurled dial adjusts brightness and different settings, whereas the built-in push button cycles modes and confirms picks. “One of many best strategies of adjusting I’ve used,” one tester stated. Customers can select between white, pink, inexperienced, blue, UV and handbook RGB modes, and the rotating dimmer dial gives 11 energy ranges for every—apart from the RGB mode, which as an alternative has 60 pre-mixed colour choices. The built-in dome permits for a super-wide 120-degree angle beam with a noticeable, however gradual, fall-off. “Nice vary with actually clear, vivid mild,” one tester stated. The included Y/S and ball mounts could be hooked up to both the highest or backside of the sunshine. The LCD show, which clearly signifies mode, brightness and battery, can be rotated. Fiber-optic ports allow you to management as much as two lights through distant or fireplace the sunshine like a strobe. A favourite of testers, with a strong wide-angle beam, accessible intuitive controls and general versatility, the Hydra 15000 is our Testers Selection.
LIGHT & MOTION—SOLA VIDEO PRO 15000
This mild’s push-lever management makes use of a devoted on/off swap to stop unintended activation. As soon as on, pushing and pulling the lever shortly and intuitively steps between seven completely different energy ranges. Holding it ahead or backward permits the consumer to fine-tune output by 100-lumen increments from 15,000 to 500 lumens. “Wonderful! A lot management,” one diver stated. This mild had the very best lumen output in our check. Divers felt the beam was impressively vast and clean, with even illumination and an virtually imperceptible edge because of its gradual fall-off. “Very vivid” and “large mushy beam lights up all the pieces very effectively” had been typical tester feedback. The sunshine solely runs for a said 35 minutes at excessive energy, so its nonremovable battery will want charging between dives if maxing out output. Luckily, the rear LCD display screen shows output in lumens and an estimated burn time for the present brightness, so divers can preserve battery energy. It can be outfitted with non-obligatory GreenWater or BlueWater filters for matching pure mild in open water.