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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): A side by side size comparison (the GT14 has a home-made float attached, but is still negative): 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. 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 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. 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]
Lately, I've been using 2 Gates GT14 14k lumen lights + 2 ScubaLamp V6K 12000 lumens lights (and I wish I had about twice that much light, still). Needless to say, the lights are quite heavy. Given that the Nauticam GH5 housing is already negative, that means significant additional floatation is needed to get the whole rig neutral (which is how I like to keep it for wide angle video.) Here's what I've come up with: Unfortunately, it's very heavy on land, and the arms have a tendency to swing loose even with the clamps tightened down all the way, which makes transporting it a hastle. In the water, it's pretty good, but still has a lot of mass. We need some lighter LED lights!
This is a sample of AX100 footage, in a Gates Housing and GT-14 video lights with Tiffen Filters attached. This sequence was shot with a dioptre attached to the camera, behind the flat port of the housing and was shot in Botany Bay, Sydney Australia.