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Testing 3 10k+ lumen lights: Gates GT14 vs. Scubalamp V6K vs. Jaunt G18 Plus

gates gt14 scubalamp v6k jaunt g18 g18 plus

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#1 dreifish

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 08:01 AM

Thanks to one of our guests this trip, I had the opportunity to do a comparison test between three 10000+ lumen video lights, the Gates GT14, Scubalamp V6K and Jaunt G18 Plus.

 

First, let’s take a look at the advertised specifications (I’ve included the V6K Pro  and the Jaunt G18 models and some other 10k+ lights for comparison purposes):

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 4.15.21 PM.jpg

 

A side by side size comparison (the GT14 has a home-made float attached, but is still negative):

WechatIMG152.jpeg WechatIMG150.jpeg

 

Comparison of the chargers, from left to right,  GT14, V6K and G18 Plus. The Jaunt light has the smallest charger, a nice perk for travel.

WechatIMG146.jpeg

 

Field Testing - Beam Coverage, Power, Color Temperature, Run Time

 

I did a simple underwater test in a small cavern at 35m to limit ambient light influence. I mounted 2 GT14s on either side of my camera, one paired with a Jaunt G18 Plus and the other paired with the Scubalamp V6K to compare beam angle coverage, light strength, and color temperature.

 

I used the GH5 with the Panasonic 14-42 II and Nauticam WWL-1 combination and simply took a picture in 4:3 aspect ratio at 14mm, which should produce about a 130 degree diagonal field of view. I then tried to position each light to illuminate the center of the frame to judge difference in beam spread and power. All shots were taken in aperture priority mode at F5.6 with ISO fixed at 200 and AWB. Basically, I wanted to see what the camera would chose for the shutter speed as a measurement of the light strength and for white balance as a measurement of color temperature. 

 

Here are the side by side results:

 

Gates GT14 (left) at F5.6, ISO 200, 1/30s vs Scubalamp V6K (right) at F5.6, ISO 200, 1/15s

20190104-PPAN1071.jpg 20190104-PPAN1072.jpg

The wider beam coverage of the V6K is noticeable, and one light is enough to fully cover the 130 degree diagonal image plane. However, this comes at a cost, as the V6K is a full stop less bright than the GT14. As advertised, the color temperature is also a little cooler on the V6K, registering as 4450K on the V6K vs 4200K on the GT14

 

Gates GT14 (left) at F5.6, ISO 200, 1/25s vs Jaunt G18 Plus (right) at F5.6, ISO 200, 1/25s. 

20190104-PPAN1069.jpg 20190104-PPAN1070.jpg

 

In this case, the GH5 chose identical auto exposures and very similar auto white balance for both lights. Beam coverage appears very similar, as does light strength and color temperature (GT14: 4200k, G18 Plus: 4150k). I’d say they’re more or less interchangeable. 

 

I also tested drain times at full power and found that the V6K and G18 Plus performed exactly as advertised at 30 minutes and 52 minutes respectively. My GT14 battery has gone through maybe 100 cycles already, but still managed 37 minutes (7 longer than advertised). 

 

Additional considerations

  • The V6K has a single (small) push button to operate. Holding the button for a few seconds activates the light. Then, one press gives you full power, another press 50% power, and a third press turns the light off. From full power, pressing and holding the button will reduce the light power in 10% increments. I don’t really like this button as it sometimes is unresponsive.
  • The G18 Plus also has a single push button to operate, but it is larger and more responsive. A single push will turn on the light to Mode 1, which by default is full power. A second push goes to mode 2, which by default is 50%. A third push goes to off. Holding the button in either mode will reduce (and then increase) light intensity by 10% increments, so in practice you can program each mode to retain the power setting you prefer. This is great!
  • The GT14 is operated using a 6 position locking turn-wheel that is both fast to use and reliable. However, aside from a 400 lumen scouting mode, all the other settings range between 7000 lumens and 14000 lumens, so there’s no way to turn the light to less than 50% power without factory reprogramming. 
  • Gates offers an optional accessory for the G14s with 2 52mm filter threads for adding blue filters, for example. Similarly, Scubalamp offers an optional push-on blue filter for the V6Ks for $78 retail. I don’t believe Jaunt offers any blue filter options.
  • With the GT14 and G18 Plus, you can swap batteries while leaving the light attached to your camera via the ball joint. With the V6K, the ball joint is screwed in to the battery compartment, so you have to unclamp the entire light first to swap battery packs or recharge it. 
  • The Pro/Plus version of the Scubalamp and Jaunt lights have battery packs larger than 100Wh, which creates problems for air travel. There is a technical limit of 2 batteries between 100Wh and 160Wh per person, and some airlines may refuse to allow you to bring any at all. 
  • The Gates GT14 has an optional vacuum seal check to ensure proper seal. 

 

[EDIT: Updated the table to include two Big Blue lights (which I believe aren't great options ultimately) and the projected specs for a Scubalamp V6K with a flat front element]


Edited by dreifish, 07 January 2019 - 11:20 PM.


#2 thetrickster

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 08:32 AM

That is mega test - Thank you for spending your time doing it.

 

Very easy to understand the power difference in stops, more than lumens / lux etc... your results speak for themselves.

 

Impressed with them all from this!


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#3 Pajjpen

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 01:29 PM

Lovely dreifish!
If u get a hold of a set of keldans with similar lumen output I’d love to see the results from them as well!

#4 Interceptor121

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 02:16 PM

The test confirms the specs :-)

 

14000 lumens @ 90 degrees = 7607 candela

 

12000 lumens @120 degrees = 3819 candela

 

Ratio = 1.99 or 2 which is one stop

 

Use this calculator https://www.rapidtab...calculator.html

 

Lumens is a measure of the light volume Lux or candela of the light density per surface illuminated 

 

An operation theather has to have 1000 lux if you consider your 120 degrees beam you need more than 3141 lumens a $699 video light like the Sola Video Pro LE gives your required 1000 lux at one meter anything more is brighter than an surgical table...


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#5 adamhanlon

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 02:20 PM

This is great information. Thank you!

 

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#6 dreifish

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:44 PM

Lovely dreifish!
If u get a hold of a set of keldans with similar lumen output I’d love to see the results from them as well!

 

I have used the Keldan 8X CRI's before side by side with the Gates GT14s and found them to be slightly less bright, though not a full stop less bright like the V6Ks. Unfortunately, I didn't do a formal test. I'll keep an eye out if future guests bring some onboard and do a comparison, but I have no reason to believe that Keldan inflates their advertised specs. Based on the advertised lumen output and beam angle, using the calculator Interceptor linked:

 

Jaunt G18 Plus: 18000 lumens at 95* = 8830 candela (16% brighter than GT14, less than 1/3 of a stop)

Gates GT14: 14000 lumens at 90* = 7607 candela (60% brighter than Keldan 8X CRI, or 2/3 of a stop)

Keldan 8X CRI: 13000 lumens at 110* = 4852 candela (27% brighter than Scubalamp V6K, or just about 1/3 of a stop) 

Scubalamp V6Ks: 12000 lumens at 120* = 3819 candela

 

The Scubalamp V6Ks with a front element and 90* beam angle would output 6520 candela (16% or less than 1/3 of a stop dimmer than the Gates GT14s).

 

Basically, what this emphasizes in my mind is that you lose a lot of light power by going beyond 90* beams, so you'd better really need the coverage. I find that you can light the 130* field of view of the WWL-1 in 16:9 crop for video just fine with 2 90* lights, so the only reason I'd consider anything wider is if you're taking stills or filming video with a fisheye lens. 

 

 

The test confirms the specs :-)

 

14000 lumens @ 90 degrees = 7607 candela

 

12000 lumens @120 degrees = 3819 candela

 

Ratio = 1.99 or 2 which is one stop

 

Use this calculator https://www.rapidtab...calculator.html

 

Lumens is a measure of the light volume Lux or candela of the light density per surface illuminated 

 

An operation theather has to have 1000 lux if you consider your 120 degrees beam you need more than 3141 lumens a $699 video light like the Sola Video Pro LE gives your required 1000 lux at one meter anything more is brighter than an surgical table...

 

Yes, that calculator is useful to determine relative light intensity. But part of the reason I did the test was to see if the Chinese brands are inflating their lumen output specs. Looks like they're not. 

 

Not sure the surgical table comparison is helpful -- it may be bright enough for surgery, but it's obviously much dimmer than ambient sunlight on the reef. And the end goal here is to outshine the sun so to speak to bring back vibrant colors.


Edited by dreifish, 07 January 2019 - 07:49 PM.


#7 Interceptor121

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:00 PM

The surgical table comparison is useful. Obviously with natural light hitting the surface, clouds etc your issue is that the light is not uniform in the frame

For me external lights can never beat the sun and at best you can try to fill in to avoid shadows but not owerpower the sun unless is dark

 

Re Chinese brands I totally agree but it is not just the power also the beam angle :-) however at the end the manufacturers of the actual LED are just a few and they are always the same so if you know what is inside you can determine yourself easily

 

One thing is for sure 90 degrees is certain, 110 achievable, 120 a bit weak on the edges and more currently not possible and in my opinion will be that way for quite some time as there is no equivalent of a fisheye light and actual LED max out at 120 or are omnidirectional (but this does not help you)


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#8 dreifish

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:24 PM

I updated the chart to include a Candela column as an easy reference for the ultimate strength of the lights (assuming the beam angle is sufficient to fill your frame).  A doubling in candela means the light is one stop brighter. 

 

I added the projected specs for a Scubalamp V6K with a flat front element and added two Big Blue lights, though ultimately I don't think they look as promising as the Jaunt and Scubalamp lights. 



#9 thetrickster

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 12:02 AM

The VL33000P is only CRI75 - so not something I would consider, looking at the other offerings...

 

The Jaunt G18+ looks like the light to buy 'today' if I was looking at a set.

 

Will be a very interesting year, as I'm sure there will be other options coming as the power and quality just seems to be getting better and better (and the price is amazing on some of these) - and hopefully less beam angle. No idea why they want us to have > 90' - very odd...

 

I wonder if there is a way to modify the current V6K (with internally reflective snoots or similar - or even replace the front element) to narrow the beam, yet not loose any power.

 

I have to say for the V6K, that even the 1 stop less power isn't that overly 'worse' - I was expecting the different to be more dramatic.


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#10 dreifish

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 05:10 PM

The VL33000P is only CRI75 - so not something I would consider, looking at the other offerings...

 

The Jaunt G18+ looks like the light to buy 'today' if I was looking at a set.

 

Will be a very interesting year, as I'm sure there will be other options coming as the power and quality just seems to be getting better and better (and the price is amazing on some of these) - and hopefully less beam angle. No idea why they want us to have > 90' - very odd...

 

I wonder if there is a way to modify the current V6K (with internally reflective snoots or similar - or even replace the front element) to narrow the beam, yet not loose any power.

 

I have to say for the V6K, that even the 1 stop less power isn't that overly 'worse' - I was expecting the different to be more dramatic.

 

Agreed Richard. I'm considering replacing my GT14s with 4 Jaunt G18s. 

 

If anyone else is the market for the G18s, let me know. I can place a group order and offer a bit of a discount off the retail prices :)



#11 EvilOtter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:32 AM

Dreifish, this is super interesting and a really great piece of work. I agree with your overall conclusion that the Jaunt G18 appears to be the best overall light, factoring in output and beam angle. That said, I think that run time and price are an important factor in the purchase decision for most people. To account for these variables, I took your data and calculated the average dollar per candela per minute of run time.

 

Not surpringly, the BigBlue lights come out on top as they are clearly the "value" option within this field. They are closely followed by the Jaunts (W30 and G18) and the Scubalamp V6Ks (Flat and Pro). The next tier includes the remaining Scubalamp lights (V6K, V9K and V12K) followed by the Gates. All three Keldans cluster at the bottom of the list, largely as a function of their premium price.

 

I suspect that a V6K Pro Flat would be very competitive, based on this methodology. Assuming same candela as the V6K Flat with the run time and MSRP of the V6K, this yields a $/candela/minutes of 0.0023, which puts it in between the two BigBlue lights.

 

Obviously, this is a simplistic price-value comparison that does not take into account other elements such as CRI, reliability, usability, etc. I just think it is interesting to see how these lights position against each other when all variables in your dataset are normalized. I have enclosed the below worksheet with all the gory details. 

Attached Images

  • Lights.jpg

Edited by EvilOtter, 10 January 2019 - 10:41 AM.

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#12 dreifish

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 01:40 PM

Run time is of course important, but there's a few things to consider here:

 

(a) I don't know how exact the run time ratings on the Big Blue lights are. Based on the power capacity of their batteries and the lumen output, I'm very suspicious their ratings are only ball-park. They're just not in line with all the other lights. How can the BB VL33000P-II have twice the runtime of the Jaunt W30 with a smaller battery? Are they really the only ones using a much more efficient technology? For the most part, the LEDs on all of these all come from Cree and the lights are all current-generation. 

 

(b) Do you really need 90 minutes of runtime on lights? For me, 60 is more than enough for one dive (really, 30 is enough). One advantage of the Scubalamp and Jaunt lights is that the battery packs are reasonably priced, so you can always buy a second set to keep charging on the boat. Multiple sub-100Wh battery packs are much easier to fly with than the +100Wh battery packs the Big Blues use. On that note, I spoke with Jaunt and they are now manufacturing the G18 Plus with 97Wh batteries, so no more concerns for travel!

 

© Weight. This one is a big one for me and puts most of the >20000Wh lights out of contention. They're just too heavy, both on land and in the water. I have used the GT14s for quite a while now, and their dry and submerged weight create a number of problems you have to work around. I think anything heavier is frankly impractical. You'd need lots of big floats to compensate for the weight in water, which makes the rig hard to push around underwater. On land, the heavy weight places strains on the camera tray arms, not to mention all the ballheads and clamps. My light arms almost always flop around out of place even tightened down unless you hold the rig just right. 

 

(d) Light quality. The BB VL33000P-IIs use sub 80CRI LEDs which I don't think are sufficient for professional work and will produce muted warm colors anyway. What's the point of having all that light if you're getting crappy colors at the end of the day? Maybe if you intend to only use them with blue filters anyway.

 

I think the CB15000Ps are competitive with the V6Ks and G18 lights in terms of price and power. I don't necessarily like their 120* beam angle, but the biggest problem for me is the battery pack. You can only travel with 2 of them, and even then some airlines or security checks could give you a hard time. So if you travel, I don't think they're a good option. If you only do local diving and the 90 minute runtime is important to you, they may be the best pick out of those three though.


Edited by dreifish, 10 January 2019 - 01:55 PM.


#13 EvilOtter

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:01 PM

Dreifish, I was not advocating for the BigBlue lights. I was just spinning the available data. Also, I was not considering the more intangible but highly pertinent points that you raised re: weight, CRI, battery size, battery cost, etc.

 

I agree with your assessment about BigBlue overstating their run times. I have a pair of 2600 lumen Black Molly 3's that I use for macro. While they run for 60 minutes, their power seems to drop significantly after 15-20 minutes. There was someone on Scubaboard who did some testing to demonstrate this point (I think he was an UWLD vendor). While I am happy with the ones that I have, I would not shell out for their medium to high power offerings. You get what you pay for.

 

Conversely, I think that the data does demonstrate that Keldan and, to a lesser extent Gates, are demanding significant premium for comparable performance. I think that Jaunt and Scubalamp are hitting the sweet spot. The big takeaway for me is the point that 90-95 degree, high CRI offerings are where it's at.


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#14 dreifish

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:51 PM

Yes, Keldan and Gates are definitely charging a big premium for their brands. Some of that is justified by better ergonomics, reliability/usability factors and after-sale support and warranties. Another thing to keep in mind is that, at least with the GT14s, we're talking about 2+ year old technology. When the GT14s came out, there was nothing else out there that compared. LED lights are evolving fast, so two years on, the GT14s are starting to look a little bit old in the tooth. Or at least they can't justify such a price premium anymore.

 

At current prices, I would be hard pressed to recommend the GT14s or Keldan lights new to anybody. 



#15 thetrickster

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:36 AM

I had Keldan Lights (back when, if you wanted good lights it was either Gates or Keldan) - when I came to buy my current V6Kpros I did look at the newer Keldan's but the price / performance - I just couldn't justify it - I got 4 V6KPro's for the price of ONE Keldan light I was looking at...

 

In the end, as others have stated - they all use COB Arrays these days from a very few select manufactures, and also the 18650 batteries used are much of a muchness. So it comes down to build quality, heat management and electrical engineering quality. All of which it seems the Chinese brands seem to get done well enough these days - enough to make them last in seawater anyway... Perhaps the finish isn't as good or the nice padded bag they come in, but I can't see how this can incur the $1000+ premium per light on most of equivalent lights from the Chinese manufacturers vs the big brands.

 

Looking at the GT14, it seems it shares the same diameter cob array as the Jaunt? Perhaps Gates should swap out the older arrays and we could see a GT36 - then perhaps its worth the price difference :)


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#16 gearbow_36218

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 03:41 PM

Thanks so much for this i just bought the BB 15000 pro mini.  I was thinking about changing them out for the BB15000 pro mini Tri Color version as they are still in box.   

 

I'm now thinking  with your suggestion about the Jaunt G18 if they would take them back and give refund.  

 

But i do have a question about the 6500 Kelvin.  would your manual WB, balance the color out?



#17 dreifish

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 07:51 PM

Thanks so much for this i just bought the BB 15000 pro mini.  I was thinking about changing them out for the BB15000 pro mini Tri Color version as they are still in box.   

 

I'm now thinking  with your suggestion about the Jaunt G18 if they would take them back and give refund.  

 

But i do have a question about the 6500 Kelvin.  would your manual WB, balance the color out?

 

Yes, you can use CWB set to 6500K to make sure your subject itself is the correct color. But the downside of this is how it affects the background/ambient light color. Basically, you'll get a muddier-looking blue water column if you set your CWB to 6500k than if you had set it to 5500k. That's why many people prefer lights (and strobes) which produce warmer light around the 4300k-4800k range. Alex Mustard has written extensively about this topic -- here is one article that discusses it briefly, though I believe there's a more detailed one that hopefully someone else can link to: http://www.divephoto..._eid=61bc20801b



#18 echo2600

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:08 PM

Ive read Alex Mustards writings on illumination color and warmer lighting, and it made sense to me. However, that seems to be in complete contradiction to the strategy that Keldan and others employ with their ambient light filters....

What am I missing?

#19 dreifish

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 10:20 PM

The Alex Mustard approach and the Keldan ambient light filters are two different styles/techniques/aesthetic choices about white balance:

 

(a) Create a scene with both foreground and background illuminated by light of the same color temperature for a 'natural' look.  This is the approach typified by the Keldan ambient light filters. Technique: set white balance based on ambient light, use strobes or video lights with blue filters to match the ambient light temperature to fill in the shadows on foreground subjects

 

(b) Create a scene where white balance differences between the foreground and background illumination create stronger color contrast and more subject 'pop'. This is the approach most people take for wide angle stills and the school of thought Alex is expanding on. Technique: set white balance based on the color of your strobes/video lights; get nicely warm-colored foreground subjects set against a rich blue water column for maximum color contrast between subject and background. Optionally, you can use warming filters on your strobes or video lights to create even more color contrast between foreground and background and achieve richer blues in the background by setting you white balance cooler (e.g. around 4000-4500k). 

 

There's nothing that says you must use technique A for video and technique B for stills, though some people think of it that way. You can use either technique for video or stills depending on the artistic vision you have. 



#20 Interceptor121

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 11:47 AM

I actually met up with Alex today he and Peter (rowlands) tried the magic filter combinef with a strobe filter but as the two need to match at depth it was too fiddly and they abandoned it
However today we looked at his dive log in Bimini and worked out a strobe filter to combine with the magic at 7-8 meters depth
I will test it out in Bimini in early March

The warming filter approach is a totally different topic and is works without a filter on the camera tk make the blue pop however I have not had any good results ever with the 4600 diffuser

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