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The_Darkness

Dive Lights and Night Photography

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Happy New Year y'all! 

How do you all juggle shooting at night and using a dive light for getting around? I like to have one hand free and don't want to be cruising around holding my camera rig and a dive light. My initial thought is to just get a video light, like the L&M Sola 2500 or more likely the Backscatter 4300 and just use that as my dive light attached to my rig. I would also be carrying my Sherwood ST1000 as a backup light. 

Thoughts?

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Hi The_Darkness

Happy New Year

You could mount a dive light on to one of your strobe arms using a triple clamp? I sometimes do this with a Sola P800. Depending on what arms system you use, there may well be a fitting to hold a dive light which doesn't have, say. a 1" ball mount. ULCS for example offer all sorts of torch brackets.

Does your housing have a screw mount on the top? Again, this will take, quite possibly, a ball mount and torch bracket.

 

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Posted (edited)

I use a Solo mounted to my housing as a focus light and while it can double as a dive light, I also use a can light with a goodman handle. There are other light options  with built in battery that don't require the can and cord. The can light is very bright and has a narrow beam that cuts through more of our dark green water with poor visibility at times. The goodman handle allows me to also hold my housing and is available for communication with my dive buddy, either pointing out an interesting subject or alerting them to navigation, air check, trouble, etc..

 

There are generic options but this is an example for your existing dive light that will keep your hands free.

https://www.sherwoodscuba.com/products/fins/products/accessories/products/~70238-Neoprene-Light-Holder---STLH--

Edited by GeorgeH
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The_Darkness said:

Happy New Year y'all! 

How do you all juggle shooting at night and using a dive light for getting around? I like to have one hand free and don't want to be cruising around holding my camera rig and a dive light. My initial thought is to just get a video light, like the L&M Sola 2500 or more likely the Backscatter 4300 and just use that as my dive light attached to my rig. I would also be carrying my Sherwood ST1000 as a backup light. 

Thoughts?

I dive at night frequently and in dark Pacific Northwest waters where a dive light is necessary at all times.  I also always dive with my camera.  The best approach I have found is to mount a light on the camera housing that can double as a focus light and primary dive light.  My backup lights are the integrated spotting lights on my Inon strobes.

You will want a light than can easily switch between Flood / Spot / Red modes with multiple power levels on each mode. Don't go with a single mode flood video light such as the Sola 2500. 

I use the Low Flood setting most of the time, and switch to red for some shots with skittish creatures.  The Spot mode is great for looking holes or hunting at range.  Mostly I prefer a flood light over spot when just looking at the reef.

I'm currently using a Kraken WSRU series light. I like this one a lot over many others I've tried.  The light works great and the controls make it easy to switch mode and power levels with separate single press buttons.  Some lights require that you press and hold to switch modes or levels which is a very big hassle. 

Kraken Hydra 3500S+ WSRU Underwater Video Light (backscatter.com)

 

Edited by davehicks
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, The_Darkness said:

Happy New Year y'all! 

How do you all juggle shooting at night and using a dive light for getting around? I like to have one hand free and don't want to be cruising around holding my camera rig and a dive light. My initial thought is to just get a video light, like the L&M Sola 2500 or more likely the Backscatter 4300 and just use that as my dive light attached to my rig. I would also be carrying my Sherwood ST1000 as a backup light. 

Thoughts?

I use a more powerful focus light (Weefine 2300 (=Kraken)), mounted to the coldshoe of my housing. Very comfortable, but you need a TC with an internal light. In case you have a TC with phosphorescence, that you have to light from time to time with your dive light, it is not so comfortable any more as you have to turn the entire rig to make the display visible...

It is also good to have a light that switches off automatically, when the flashes become active. In addition a switch opportunity to red light is versatile - I always switch from white light to red light in case I see some creature I want to photograph. In most cases, the red light does not irritate the animal and you can photograph it much easier, but one has to become used to framing in red light...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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I'm a fan of using relatively low power lights for focus lights/dive lights, your eyes will adapt provided you don't have too many other divers with you who like to bring daylight UW with massive lumen output lights.  Just mount the light on your camera using either a YS mount or ball clamp system.  A moderate beam spread seems to work fine, with maybe a 60° beam.    I use this one:  http://www.inon.jp/products/le_light/lf1400s.html

 

 

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Am I alone in using a dive light as a communication/signaling device?

I agree with comments and the video that mention the advantages of a focus light. I personally prefer, in addition, a bright dedicated dive light with a narrow beam. While a focus light can double as a dive light to light your way, it doesn’t work as well as a communication device.

Most any dive light can be attached to the back of your hand and won’t hinder your ability to hold a camera. Especially on a night dive where hand signals are difficult to see but even on a day dive, the ability to get a buddy’s attention and communicate with agreed upon movements is the way I was taught. Especially in Puget Sound where a day dive can have dark, low visibility even at moderate depths.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

We add a few ideas here:

 

Thanks Adam. I just watched that today. Good stuff!

2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I'm a fan of using relatively low power lights for focus lights/dive lights, your eyes will adapt provided you don't have too many other divers with you who like to bring daylight UW with massive lumen output lights.  Just mount the light on your camera using either a YS mount or ball clamp system.  A moderate beam spread seems to work fine, with maybe a 60° beam.    I use this one:  http://www.inon.jp/products/le_light/lf1400s.html

 

 

Good point, Chris. My Isotta housing does have a cold shoe that I plan on using. I still have the UK400 and UK1200 when I started diving as a teenager. I was contemplating upgrading them to LED, but I now think I'll leave them be with a NiMH upgrade. 

41 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Am I alone in using a dive light as a communication/signaling device?

I agree with comments and the video that mention the advantages of a focus light. I personally prefer, in addition, a bright dedicated dive light with a narrow beam. While a focus light can double as a dive light to light your way, it doesn’t work as well as a communication device.

Most any dive light can be attached to the back of your hand and won’t hinder your ability to hold a camera. Especially on a night dive where hand signals are difficult to see but even on a day dive, the ability to get a buddy’s attention and communicate with agreed upon movements is the way I was taught. Especially in Puget Sound where a day dive can have dark, low visibility even at moderate depths.

Good points. I've considered the method of attaching a dive light to the hand, but I like to reach into cracks and holes and pet the wolf eels....:lol: Ah yes, the Pudget Sound. I did a few dives there when I was stationed at PSNS. 

Edited by The_Darkness

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I use to dive at night all fridays. I use one of those c-31 chinese dive torches at the minimun power mounted in my housing as a focul light. I use it as a primary, and as spare my strobes, the subtronic 160 pro fusion have a built in light with 2.000 lumen to make video. So I have light enouhgt.

Two of my dive partners  use the same light mounted on the top of the housing and at the same time they use a small dive torch with a very narrow beam attached to their left hand with a neopren made at the goodman handle style.

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I also use a video light on top of my housing to light my way and function as a focus light. The one I use is 1000 lumens and non-adjustable. I have found that most of the time, even 1000 lumens in a 70 degree beam is still too bright. I am shopping for a replacement that will give me adjustable power levels, so I can run it at a lower power level, and also let me at least switch it to a red beam. I am strongly considering one of the Xtar D30 models, at the moment. I have 4 other Xtar cordless lights and they have been my go-to lights for several years now. Rock solid in that time. And VERY reasonably priced. Well under $100 each, for the ones I have now.

I thought I would want a focus light that turns off momentarily when my strobes flash, but I have found that that feature appears to be completely unnecessary. The strobes are so much brighter that my focus light staying on has no effect on the picture.

Being able to signal is also important, so I also carry a cordless light clipped via a boltsnap to my right chest D-ring. I turn it on and let it just hang down. Pointing down like that, it doesn't have as much effect on critters I'm trying to shoot. And it never points into anyone's face and blinds them. If I want to shine it in a hole or use it to signal a buddy, I normally don't even unclip it. I just grab it and point it where I need to (while using my other hand to point my camera and focus light down), while it it still clipped to me.

I have a really nice canister light (UWLD LD-40), but I have never had an inkling of desire to take it on a night dive where I'm trying to take pictures.

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I personally keep a backup light in my BCD pocket (boltsnapped to a leash), I keep my main dive light boltsnapped to my right chest d-ring. I will keep the main light in my bcd pocket while entering and exiting the water once I'm all set up on the surface I'll then move it to my chest d-ring for use underwater and replace it in my pocket prior to exiting the water.  I like to keep my camera leashed to my left chest dring at all times (its a stretchy coil leash), I also have a short leash for my right chest dring so I can go hands free to put my fins on and get ready on the surface before diving.

 

I also have a small adapter I can put on my cold shoe to hold my main flashlight but I haven't tried using it on my new housing since getting dual backscatter MF1 strobes.

 

I hope that makes sense.

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