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New LED Lights from L&M


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#81 videodan

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:18 PM

The new batteries and pods are a little heavier than the older HID's, so re-adjusting buoyancy will be necessary.

Sorry, I gave the wrong information on this. The battery pods and batteries are exactly the same dimensions except the length is ~1 5/8" (41mm) shorter than the Bluefin HD pods and batteries, and therefore will be lighter. The new pods are now black anodized. The light heads themselves are almost exactly the same size and shape as the Sunray HID's, and slightly heavier, but not substantially. The HID heads are slightly buoyant in fresh water, and the LED heads are very slightly negative, but should be about neutral in salt water. Housing buoyancy adjustments should be minimal, or may not even be necessary. The LED's are very bright on high, and even medium looks brighter and whiter than the Sunray HID's. The width of the LED's beam pattern is almost exactly the same (very slightly less) as the HID's, but has more even light to the outside edges. The LED's beam is very clean and even, but being picky, it is slightly brighter near the middle, whereas the HID's are slightly darker. This is probably a good thing, as it will better highlight your subject. Now I'm dying to try them on a dive, but my favorite boat isn't doing a night dive till the 17th. I will definitely use them during a day dive on Saturday. Early conclusion, they look like keepers!

John, I got the new pods and still have my old ones, which may be for sale soon with the HID lights.

Note: On the cover of the box it has a checkbox for L&M housings, and a checkbox for Gates, Amphibico, Ikelite and Seatool housings (includes G.A.S. Adaptor Plate), so it looks like the LED's will be available to fit other housings as well.

Dan
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#82 Nick Hope

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 08:11 PM

Thanks for all the info Dan. Apart from the length is there any other visible difference in the pods from the older generation pods? Are the controls the same? Are the pod doors still asymmetrical, sealed by a single o-ring, and held with that little rotary latch? Is the cable connector the same? How many pins does it have?

#83 videodan

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 02:00 AM

Nick, they now have a 4 pin (3 conductor-1 alignment pin) connector vs. the older 3 pin (2 conductor-1 alignment pin) connector. Everything else looks identical, just different color and length. I would guess that the in-pod controller board may be different, but I wasn't about to take them apart to find out. The cable is now a three conductor vs. a two conductor and has a more robust connection on the light heads. The older chargers still work with the new batteries, as they are still 10.8 volt. I will post some pictures tonight.

Dan
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#84 videodan

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 06:06 PM

Here are some assorted pictures of the Sunray 2000 LED lights. If you want to see other views or have questions, just ask.

Dan

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#85 Nick Hope

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:21 PM

Thanks again Dan.

The IR control from the handle still works does it? Just that you have your pods mounted forward where there would be no line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver windows.

Also, how the hell did you manage to keep your housing looking that new? It almost looks like you shot it in the showroom! Mine's starting to look like I take it diving in brick acid.

Personally I'm still more interested in the 1000 where I can save some cost and get lower levels for macro at night. But the 2000s look like they would be just the job for wrecks, caves and daylight fill.

I must admit I'm a little disappointed that the basic pod design has been carried over from the old generation after my 3 leaks. But that's just me. I think I have a jinx with them.

#86 videodan

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:01 AM

The IR control from the handle still works does it? Just that you have your pods mounted forward where there would be no line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver windows.

You're correct Nick, I had to slide them back to line of sight for the IR to function correctly.

Also, how the hell did you manage to keep your housing looking that new? It almost looks like you shot it in the showroom! Mine's starting to look like I take it diving in brick acid.

A little secret, bounce flash as opposed to direct flash hides many imperfections. It also depends on the flush water PH level. My Bluefin 900 got trashed on one liveaboard trip from their water, but a light wipedown with CRC 6-56 will bring back the finish, just let it soak in and then wipe it dry.

Personally I'm still more interested in the 1000 where I can save some cost and get lower levels for macro at night. But the 2000s look like they would be just the job for wrecks, caves and daylight fill.

Low on the 2000's looks pretty good for close ups. I will shoot some on Saturday and report back.

Dan
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#87 ronscuba

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 06:56 AM

Can't wait to read your report.

On the issue of the pods leaking. Is it possible the pods get more strain and abuse because they are mounted on the bottom of the housing ? It looks to me like all the weight of the housing is sitting on the pods and every time you put the housing down, the pods and latches/covers get jarred.

#88 videodan

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:07 PM

Well I had a good weekend diving with the Sunray 2000's, 90' daytime dives on Saturday and a 14' under-bridge daytime dive on Sunday. I'll be doing the first night dive with the 2000's this coming Saturday. They definitely are more than twice as bright as the 950 Lumen Sunray HID's, and very white (sunlight balanced). On the deep dives they were very effective in the ledges and walls, and quite visable in direct sunlight. I should have some color conversion filters by this weekend to color balance the lights to work with the URPro color correction (CC) filter on the camera. L&M calls this CTMS - Color Temperature Managment System. You can then white balance as normal with your CC filter, and use the lights to enhance and highlight your subjects without turning the background green, or blowing out the reds, as with normal lighting. On the shallow bridge dive, I white balanced on the sun without the cc filter, and then went about shooting in and out of the sunny areas, and into the very dark areas under the bridge. It was like I brought the sunshine under the bridge with me, and the transition was near perfect. BTW, vis was only about 15-20' and greenish. Colors under the bridge were vibrant and balanced, and I had no problems going back and forth without needing to adjust settings. After the dive, some divers that I didn't know told me they had seen two super bright lights coming towards them for about 5 minutes before they could actually see me. They had thought it was a mini-sub. High performance LED's are the way of the future for underwater shooting. So far all positives, and no known negatives. Even the price is somewhat reasonable when you compare the performance and features to other systems. I'm definitely keeping them.

Dan
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#89 videodan

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:25 PM

On the issue of the pods leaking. Is it possible the pods get more strain and abuse because they are mounted on the bottom of the housing ? It looks to me like all the weight of the housing is sitting on the pods and every time you put the housing down, the pods and latches/covers get jarred.

Ron, as with all expensive equipment (especially underwater), extra care needs to be taken to ensure it will function properly for a long time. I handle my equipment with the utmost care, but still unexpected things happen. Look at the pictures of my pods, there are many unavoidable nicks and gouges, but they never (knock on wood) leaked. They can take some abuse, but I wouldn't push it too far. The pod housing is very strong, but you wouldn't want to knock either end very hard with anything, or you may get damage. I have bumped mine into many things without any problems.

Dan
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#90 wolfeeldiver

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 01:42 PM

Hey VideoDan, thanks for the real world review on the Sunray 200's.
I was wondering.. which UW Pro filter are you using on your cameara, and given that which filter do you plan to put on the lights to compensate? The best that I can figure out.. and please correct me if I'm wrong, that if I am using the UR PRo CY filter on the camera then an appropriate Cokin filter on the Sunray lights would be a blue Conversion such as an 80C Cokin #022.
Do you concur? Or did I figure this wrong?
Also.. a related question.. do you think that it would be convenient to be able to quickly and easlily affix or not affix the filer to the light heads while underwater?
The Cokin A series seems nice if I were not going to need to change this filtration during a dive.. but.. I envision situations during a dive, where I will not want any CC filter used on the camera and thus no blue filters on the lights.. Also there will be times that when the CC filter is in place on the camera, then the blue filters need to be in place on the lights.
I'm designing and manufacturing a "flip up" filter holder system for the Cokin A series filters for use on these Sunray lights for this very purpose and I am wondering if you see any value of such a system?

Edited by wolfeeldiver, 13 May 2008 - 01:52 PM.


#91 craig

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:22 PM

While I no longer shoot video, using lens and light filters is similar to what is done with wide angle and complementary strobe filters. I would say that correcting the magenta filtration of the UR Pro filter is far more important than providing color temperature correction. Because of that, I'd suspect a CC30G filter on the lights would be far more interesting than something like an 80C. Just a suggestion. The discussion on strobe color temperatures for wide angle is relevant to this technique.
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#92 videodan

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:42 PM

I was wondering.. which UW Pro filter are you using on your cameara, and given that which filter do you plan to put on the lights to compensate? The best that I can figure out.. and please correct me if I'm wrong, that if I am using the UR PRo CY filter on the camera then an appropriate Cokin filter on the Sunray lights would be a blue Conversion such as an 80C Cokin #022.
Do you concur? Or did I figure this wrong?

I'm using the URPro CY bluewater filter. I'm pretty sure the CTMS filters we need would be the exact opposite of the CY filter, and I'm not sure which that is, or if that is even 100% correct. Here is some early information from L&M on the blue/cyan filters for the lights. I will post an update as soon as it is available.

The Cokin filters are 80A, 80B, 80C, 82A, 82B and 82C.The 82C has been used, but didn’t filter enough. So you can stack 2 or 3 of this number or try the 82B and 82C.

Cokin is just a brand, so only the numbers are relevant, and any brand should do. L&M is still working out some specifics for the filters.

I'm designing and manufacturing a "flip up" filter holder system for the Cokin A series filters for use on these Sunray lights for this very purpose and I am wondering if you see any value of such a system?

Remember the KISS principal, Keep It Simple S.... We always want to keep things easy to use, protected from damage, and unobtrusive. I think L&M originally considered a flip up filter system, but decided against it. The CTMS is a 52mm threaded system which should work fine as I shoot with the CC filter 99.9% of the time anyway. The shallow bridge dive was without CC filter so the lights would blend in well. I have not shot with the CTMS yet, so I still have much to learn.

Dan
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#93 videodan

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 07:59 PM

Just got home from a night dive with the L&M Sunray 2000 LED lights, and it is almost midnight here, so I'll keep it short for now.

WOW!!!!


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#94 videodan

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 09:59 AM

OK, I have time to go into more detail now. The keyword is still WOW!!!! These lights really amazed me last night, and I have used DiveRite Halogens, L&M Halogens, and L&M HID's in the past. Many different flashlights also, as I sort of have a light fetish. The Sunray 2000's give bright a new meaning. The beams are incredibly bright on high (2000 lm./head), very bright on medium (1000 lm/head) and plenty bright on low (500 lm/head). The beam is very clean, very wide, very even, and very white. These are the whitest lights I have ever seen, and don't worry about the CRI either. The lights made everything look beautiful, with brilliant natural looking colors, and absolutely no washed out colors, and in my opinion, far better in every way than HID or Halogen lights. Remember, these are not your standard flashlight LED's, they are some serious lights unlike anything I have seen before. The burn time is much longer with the same sized batteries than with the HID's (which are better than Halogens) and with much better quality light, and more than twice the brightness as a bonus. It is really awesome having instant on/off with no warm-up or hot restrike delays, plus three (definitely needed) power settings at your fingertips. All three settings work excellent, with no major change to the color temp, unlike Halogens. I only manually white balanced one time for the entire dive, with excellent results from all three power levels. Another benefit (or just luck) was I hardly had any squiggly worms, where everyone else had lots of them. Is this due to the lights burning cooler, or maybe something else? I don't know for sure, but the difference was quite noticeable. L&M really did a fantastic job designing and building these new lights. I now have no doubts that LED technology is definitely the way to go for high performance self contained underwater video lights, and L&M did them right. My conclusion - Highly Recommended.

BTW, I have color conversion filters on the way, so next weekend I will try color balanced ambient light shooting in the daytime.

Dan
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#95 ulcs

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 04:14 PM

I just got a set of L&M 2000 lights. My pods are 10 inches long which is 1.5 inches longer than the HID pods
I have for my Bluefin housing. In order to mount the HID pods on the housing there are flanges on the pods
that slide into the housing, but the LED lights are 1.5 inches longer and so I had to have 1.5 inches of the
flanges machined off, also you have to remove the flanges at the front of the pods so they stick out the front
of the housing and the back of the pods are even with the rear door of the housing. I assume that L&M will
take care of this problem in the future.

The LED lights are brighter than the HID lights and they don't take 20 seconds to ramp up to full power.
Also they have 3 power settings and this is controlled on the pods or the light switch on the L&M housing.

I have talked to L&M about using filters on the lights and this is still up in the air as to what you will need.
Cyan filters are probably what will be needed but is the depth you are at and the color of the water going
to affect what filter you use on the lights?
Regards
Dave ULCS

#96 videodan

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:42 AM

Dave, I assume you have the Bluefin Compact, so I can't help you there other than to suggest you contact L&M for advice. How do you like the lights so far?

Cyan filters are probably what will be needed but is the depth you are at and the color of the water going to affect what filter you use on the lights?

I believe the filters will need to be different for various depths as well as for water color and other conditions, just as we have to manually white balance for variable conditions. I think we want to balance the color temp of the lights to the color temp of the ambient light which varies with depth, turbidity, time of day, etc. So it seems to me that an assortment of filters may be needed. I will have a better idea after this coming weekend shoot.

Dan
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#97 shep

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 04:32 PM

Dave, I assume you have the Bluefin Compact, so I can't help you there other than to suggest you contact L&M for advice. How do you like the lights so far? I believe the filters will need to be different for various depths as well as for water color and other conditions, just as we have to manually white balance for variable conditions. I think we want to balance the color temp of the lights to the color temp of the ambient light which varies with depth, turbidity, time of day, etc. So it seems to me that an assortment of filters may be needed. I will have a better idea after this coming weekend shoot.

Dan


WISH LIST...it'd probably never happen (hey L&M R&D, why not?) but it'd sure be nice to have a filter that does to "cyan" what the Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter does for neutral density...

http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html

You could just kinda dial in what would work depending on the condition.

shep

#98 wolfeeldiver

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 07:56 PM

I have talked to L&M about using filters on the lights and this is still up in the air as to what you will need.
Cyan filters are probably what will be needed but is the depth you are at and the color of the water going
to affect what filter you use on the lights?
Regards
Dave ULCS


The more I think about it, the more it twists my mind....
My plan, when I get my set of sunrays, I think is to just shoot some tests using a color chart.
But I suspect that my in water game plan may be something like:
If shooting very very shallow, and there is no CC filter in place on the camea, then no CC filters will be on the lights.
If shooting mid depth range, and with a CC filter (ie. "magenta") in place on the camera, then I will WB to the ambient light(either sun or a slate), and have a CC (ie "cyan") on the lights...
If shooting deep, will WB with the lights illuminating the slate. No CC (cyan) on the lights. Or simply set my camera WB to Daylight in my camera.
But I suspect after all this messing around, I may just say "to heck with it all"., and shoot like I do film.. keep everything set in the camera to Daylight, dont use any CC on the camera, and use the lights for "fill" to restore colors. This is whats been done when shooting film for years, and has worked for me.

Edited by wolfeeldiver, 20 May 2008 - 08:22 PM.


#99 craig

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 07:25 AM

Some things to keep in mind:

A lens filter effects all light entering the lens. The purpose of the lens filter is to help the camera get good color balance. It does nothing else with a digital camera. Film is different.

A light filter only effects the light from that source. During daylight you will have a mixed light situation and your choice of lighting filter should be based on how it mixes with ambient, not with how it matches the lens filter. Your light filter is the more important choice.

The filter complimentary with magenta is green, not cyan. Cyan filters are complimentary with red, so if you have blue water they may be the better choice. If you are trying to match a UR Pro (which you shouldn't) you must use a combination of two filters. The easiest way is with a green and a cooling filter but there are other combinations I'm sure. Match your lights to ambient, though, not to your lens filter.

The light filter ideal for a given shot will be based on current conditions. For some situations it will be strong and others weak. Some will require a lot of green and others maybe more cyan. It also depends on the effect you are after. The thing to keep in mind is that the filter on your light will be controlling the appearance of your ambient light. The camera should be white-balanced to the light source in any case.

A strategy of white balancing to ambient and then adding lights could be made to work provided the lights match ambient reasonably well. I would always white balance to the lights myself.

Filter adjustments will always be coarse. There's no need to try to get too precise with it.

Finally, LED lights are relatively cold so they should match ambient better than halogen already. The big difference will be with lack of green compared to ambient. Because LED is not a full spectrum light like halogen, there should always be some concern how well filters will work with them. Choose the weaker filter if there is a choice.
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#100 wolfeeldiver

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:34 AM

Some things to keep in mind:


A strategy of white balancing to ambient and then adding lights could be made to work provided the lights match ambient reasonably well. I would always white balance to the lights myself.


Some good points, thanks!