Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
woody

Spotting light

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

A lot of us, myself included, have had an problem with having enough light for the autofocus mechanisms of our "consumer" digicams to focus quickly and accurately, of course especally at night :D. I think I've found a great solution!

 

In the past I used an Ikelite PCa as a spotting light, but in certain cases this generated a "hot spot" visible in the final picture. I was on the verge of buying a really expensive purpose made spotting light, when I came across a review of a torch made by a very small Dutch outfit called Gilan. The torch is the Gilan Pocket. Here's a review http://www.divernet.com/equipment/lamps2003/lampsintro.shtml

 

So I went and bought one! When used together with their optional wide angle diffuser, you get a (not too bright, but bright enough) 100 degree beam with zero hot spot. The torch uses 8 x AA batteries, so that's an additional bonus. It looks great, is superbly made, has double O rings and rated to 80 metres. On the downside it is a bit large, especially relative to my Aquatica 5000 housing, but works fine for me.

 

I have not tried it out during a night dive yet, which is when any hot spots are likely to show up, but will let you know my experiences.

 

Total cost is MUCH LESS than a purpose made spotting light, and Steven is a real pleasure to do business with!

 

I'll post a photo of my rig as soon as I get a moment.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello John/Woody,

I am most curious to know how you made out with the Gilan pocket torch. I have a housed DLSR and was looking for a right combo re night dive light/spotting light that wasn't egregiously expensive and would scare all away, yet would help me see and my camera focus. Eventually I stumbled across the divernet review; saw just one or two others using this light, but all said they thought it was great. Now just found your comments. Finally, my question -- how do you like the light -- was it worth more than $100 for a flashlight -- was it up to your expectations - what hints might you offer for its use. Also, would love to see how you have it attached. (I think I'd go with ULCS which makes a cradle for that size.)

 

I am leaning strongly towards this solution, but would really appreciate hearing all you might want to comment about it, the good, bad, ugly. thanks

 

Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gloria,

 

Here are some shots of my housing with the Gilan torch attached. http://woody.smugmug.com/gallery/95544

 

I used the Aquatica (TLC) cradle to mount the torch. Sorry, I don't have the part number

 

All in all I am happy with the torch. Some advantages and disadvantages, IMO, are:

 

ADVANTAGES

1. Cheap next to some purpose-made spotting torches

2. Takes standard AA batteries

3. Option of diffusing nose (gives beam angle of approx 100 degrees)

4. Beautifully made

5. Steve at Gilan is an absolute pleasure to deal with

 

DISADVANTAGES

1. Heavy, bulky and negatively buoyant

2. Burn time with 8x2100 NiMH is roughly 45 mins

3. Spare bulbs only obtainable from Gilan

 

I have not tried the torch as a night light, but purely as a spotting light for my camera and as such have only used the diffusing nosecone, so I cannot really comment on this aspect.

 

I have also still not used it at night, which is when any hot spots are likely to appear. Not diving as much as I hoped, unfortunately :D

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need any further information.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did I read the pricing correctly? 200 Pounds? That is the same price as the Sunray Mod light.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's cheaper, but it a very high wattage light which I'd prefer not to use. The Sunray Modlight is 20W by default but has a 10W option. I'd sure like better burn time out of 8 AA cells and the bouyancy concerns me. I'm not getting any images from the site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks John

Sounds like you are ripe for a dive trip. Anyway, I really appreciate the feedback as well as the pictures of your setup, also for relaying it so quickly! ULCS makes a similar arrangment that would work on my subal housing.

Gilan now asks about $120 for the light, replacement bulbs for about $5. That aint' free but does put it quite a bit cheaper than the sunray-type option. (And you are right, Steven is a pleasure to work with.)

The problem is that as always lunch is never free, I really LIKE the advantages you list, such as NiMH batteries compatible with everything else, and what seems a nice beam, yet I DON'T like the disadvantages, wgt, bulk and short duration.

'Till I win the lottery and can afford a sunray, its probably either this or something like a mini-Q40, or, oh woe, what to do...

Gloria

 

Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You bet I do! Hoping for Cuba in December!

 

I was going to go for the Sunray also, which seems to be as close to the perfect solution as you can get, but the price put me off.

 

The main downside I find with the Gilan is the weight. The bulk compared to a Aquatica CP5000 is quite significant, but I guess compared to a dSLR housing will be less so. It is the weight mostly, and I will be trying to use some neoprene to get it as close to neutral as possible.

 

Since I use it as a spotting torch for macro shots only, the burn time does not really bother me, as I would tend to switch it off when not using it.

 

The price you quote is roughly what I paid - much less than the Sunray.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

I am still mulling the Gilan despite the downsides, so thats a thought, applying some sort of neoprene what, sleeve or collar around the light?

 

Also a little deterring on the Sunrays, beyond the $$, was after reading through all the posts, there did seem to be reliability issues apart from the safety issues for which it was recalled last year. Gosh at $400 I'd want to trust it to work.

 

BTW how does the switch on the Gilan work -- does it seem pretty reliable and also flood resistant? Another issue with some of the prevelant on-on arrangments is how prone the lights seems to be to flooding.

 

re Cuba well December seems pretty far away but what a neat destination that will be. Unfortunately we have issues getting to Cuba these days. I'm trying to get myself organized here for a June visit to Grand Turk.

 

Gloria

 

Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something like that. Have not given it any time yet, apart from actually obtaining a piece of thick noprene with the torch in mind.

 

The Gilan is double O-ring sealed at both ends and rated for 80 metres. So far, no floods.

 

The on-off is a collar switch - the red collar you can see on the photos I have posted rotates roughly 90 degrees, and I think it is a magnetic switch so no chance of water ingress there. However, please confirm this with Steven from Gilan!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'will do, and thanks again!

gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...