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Hi Folks

 

I have been testing a ton of lights recently and used them in real dive situations with various cameras. I have selected the ones I think worthy of a second look. I am more bias towards video so most here are for video cameras although some are so handy and small it could be used for digital still at least as a focus light if not close up photos under the right conditions.

 

 

 

Since well known brands that have been reviewed in so many places I keep this finding to lights made in China.

Three lights tested really hit the spot for me. They are of course LEDs. All aluminium body with depth rating of 100m. All three has this nifty lit button switch with status indicator. Blue for full, green half charge and Red for low battery. There is also a safety off circuit to prevent completely draining the battery. They are all similar in size in that they fit nicely as a hand light or mounted onto a UW housing. Small and light. Powerful adjustable. Beam width and spot beam. Small common batteries or small long life rechargeable batteries. White and Red LED options. Accessories and package case. Lastly price.

 

Coincidentally all three are from the same manufacturer.

 

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First of is the Hi-Max V14

A true Swiss Army of LED lights. This has over 2400 Lumen. Wide (flood) and Spot, Red LED, and all dimmable with levels. Even has two UV LEDs. I had so much fun switching this light to various features during my night dive. Seeing the coral glow in the dark under the UV is fun.

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Second is the V11 ( or the company updated the older version which has a magnetic switch)

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Like the V14 this handy light uses a Li-Ion rechargeable battery. Like an oversize D Cell but packs in 5800 mah.

Weights only 400g - light a couple of oranges yet gives out 2300 lumens.

 

 

It has Food, Spot and Red LED and dimmable.

The front bazel with this design is thicker so more aluminium for heat dissipation. The top features a glow in the dark rings so if you drop your light in the dark you have a better chance of finding it.

Lastly the V12 is a real surprise. This is the smallest of the three. First surprise is when I open it and it takes four double A batteries. I have been waiting for such a light for a long time. Four AA not three not two. So this is much more convenient for charging four and keeping track of sets of spare batteries without mixing charged from depleted ones. Second surprise is that the light is bright. The light is 2200 lumens. It looks more than that as the beam is very bright. It is a simple light with just two power level and 110 deg. beam. Like the other two it have two o-rings and all aluminium body for good heat dissipation. The small is also good for handheld and also as a back up light.

 

Now just when I had tested all Hi-Max send me another one to look at. The X6. This is a dive light and is slim and light to be a carry everywhere light. It pack 1000 lumen and like all the LED used is CrEE with very pleasing colour and temperature. This is certainly a good candid as a Go-Pro companion light.

Well I have more to say and if you are interested in more just click on this:

 

I will post some video samples next using these light on some dive shoots.

 

If interested in more click on this BLOG

 

If you are attending ADEX this weekend drop by Scubacam Booth C19. We have all these lights to try out.

 

Cheers

David

 

 

Edited by CheungyDiver
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Looks like the page is screwing up the photos and rejecting them. Apologies for the messy post.

 

 

Here is more.

 

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and more pictures:

Edited by CheungyDiver

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Thanks David for the review. I too am using one of those Chinese affordable light from 1400 lumen to 2500 lumen (Archon, x Adventurer), so far it gets the job done for me. Just out of curiosity, any advantage to get higher lumen light or is it just over kill? I'm seeing a lot of the western brand are making high lumen like Keldan has 6000 lumen. None of the Chinese brand has high lumen light yet.

 

Moses

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hi Moses

 

 

It depends on the situation. more powerful light gives you more options of what video you want to shoot. These lights still need variable output though. Now thats difficult to make consistent. Say in still water and it is gin clear I would use as much lumen as possible with wider beam. Some UW wrecks are difficult to lit properly for a wide scene. In some waters I would use a narrow beam. With flood lights a condenser lens will work and produces a nice long throw beam. Even with these less powerful light you could do a lot with cameras with high ISO and DR. Well a year ago lights with 2000 lumen is nothing to sneeze at. I say that because now there are portable LED lights that could pump out more than 22000 lumen. But cost over 2K. It is only a matter of time when 4000 to 6000 lumen become the norm and price will drop. It all boils down to demand. Not many would spend a princely sum on a light. More power means more heat generated, bigger power demand, heftier electronic ballast especially for dimming. Color too. High CRI (color Rendering Index) and high power is quite complicated to do. Again difficult for dimming and maintain same quality of light without any flicker. I have seen some high power ones but these are not yet up to par with Keldan or the like. I am sure the Chinese companies is more than capable. R&D and prototyping is costly. Powerful battery is also the limiting factor. Battery tech. with enough juice and light weight for powerful lights is really limited to Li-ion and Li-po. Li-Ion I see at present is the only option as it is in pressurized containers. Li-Po is out of the question for powerful UW lights. Too dangerous.

 

One way to get more light is to get a few of these and bundle them together. I tried four lights in two, two configuration. Output per light is 2500 lumen. Total 10000. Total cost is still less than the cost of a single 6K or 8K light made by premium brands. Not as convenient but does the job like you say :)

 

Cheers

 

David

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Hi David,

 

Thanks for the review & blog & looking forward to seeing some footage using such lights. Honestly, I've never used video lights before & I always believed that ambient lighting should be good enough for most shooting conditions until I used the Black Magic 4K. Here I get into a situations sometimes when trying to shoot a critter in the shades of a rock/reef the camera clips the lights in the sun let area and it is very hard to correct for such a lost info.

So, for the reviewed lights, do they have hotspots or do they spread the light evenly? How about the CRI? Any rating?

Edited by thani

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Dear David
I noticed one version actually takes four AA batteries and I started to wonder, if AAs are better than LiOn batteries. For one thing I am very sure that AAs work wonderfully for my Inon strobes but for video light, I strongly have doubt because of the working voltage and other physical properties.

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