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Posted (edited)

Hi All,

I am looking for video lights that can operate both above and below the water for extended time (40 mins+). This is a bit hard to find as most underwater video lights need water to prevent them from overheating.

Right now the only option I am able to find is the Light and Motion Stella CL 1000/2500 UW Video Light. The light will function up to 1000 lumens above water and up to 2500 lumens below water.

Based on my experience 2 x 1000 lumen video lights is sufficient lighting above water to illuminate photography subjects up to 5 meters away.

However, underwater I am not sure if 2 x 2500 Lumen Video lights would provide enough lighting to be useful underwater. My questions are:

1. What type of underwater photography/video would 2 x 2500 lumen Video Lights allow me to do achieve decently? I know it should be enough for macro but what about medium sized subjects at about 0.5 -1 meter distance? 

2. Does anyone have experience using the Light and Motion Stella CL 1000/2500 UW Video Light? How was your experience?

3. Does anyone know of other Video Light options that are able to operate above and below water at extended periods?

Thanks,

Aaron

Edited by Pomacentridae

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A lot depends on what camera you want to use.  A TG-6 wide angle at f2.8 needs a lot less light than a DSLR with a rectilinear wide angle lens in a dome which might be at f11-16.  Each additional stop is 1/2 the light so going from f2.8 to f11 is 1/16 of the light getting to the sensor. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

A lot depends on what camera you want to use.  A TG-6 wide angle at f2.8 needs a lot less light than a DSLR with a rectilinear wide angle lens in a dome which might be at f11-16.  Each additional stop is 1/2 the light so going from f2.8 to f11 is 1/16 of the light getting to the sensor. 

Hi Chris, I understand, I am currently using a Canon G7X III, it is fairly decent in low light. But I am not sure if the video light would be strong enough to allow me to take fish portraits (0.5 - 1.0 m away) that are sharp and where you have the colors back. Would like to know your thoughts. thanks.

Edited by Pomacentridae

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Don't have direct experience. you'll probably be at f5.6 +/- with a G7X.   You need quite a lot of lumens to get reasonable exposures.  The following link is a test of a 14,000 lumen light vs a strobe and shows the exposure with the video light to be 1/250 @ f2.8 ISO200 at 1m distance.

It might not be apples and apples with the video lights you mention as the light on the subject will vary with the beam angle of the light., but assuming they are close and doing some rough calculations a 3500 lumen light (2 stops less) would need 1/60 @ f4 ISO400, but on a bright sunny day in clear water, ambient light exposure might be 1/250 @ f5.6 ISO200.  You need to match or nearly so the ambient light so it brings up the colours in comparison to the ambient light.  

That's a long-winded way of saying you need a lot of light to match the ambient sunlight exposure.  You probably could shoot raw and pull the colours up as you are adding some red - yellow light and get some significant improvement, but still won't be as good as if you put enough light in to balance with ambient as you push colour into the water as well.    It also shows why strobes are still so much better than video lights for this type of work.

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No 2500 is not sufficient underwater you are looking at 8-9K starting point for wide angle

Macro not a problem I still have my sola 1200s

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Thanks so much Chris and Interceptor for the feedback. That gives me enough information to conclude that when I am running these video lights, I'll only be able to do macro work and not be able to shoot farther distances. Based on that I'll stick to my strobes for when I do wide-angle work.

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I would advise you to consider a separate investment for above water video lights. I have a pair of 2000 lumen lights that I use for mountain biking. They are not fully waterproof but they do not suffer from overheating and have decent burn times. I purchased mine online from Chain Reaction Cycles: https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/ca/en/lifeline-pavo-2000l-front-light/rp-prod161245

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