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strobe vs a suprer bright HID diving light system

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Don't know if this has been asked before. I am just curious if I can just invest on a very good HID diving light

system ($800 US, roughly the same as

DS125). The HID light supposedly rated

to 80W, rought 2 hour burn time. I don't really feel like adding a bulky

strobe arm and strobe to my compact

olympus 4040 in pt010. The diving light

I can wear on my head or on my hand, with the battery pack attached to my BC or my tank. What's your take on this?

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You'll get much better results with a strobe.


I have used both setups and will post "Compare for yourself" shots soon - it will be at least 2 weeks though, as I am off to Hawaii tomorrow morn.


I even used a 100w video lite (about 4x more powerful than a "light cannon" and still didn't get results as good as when using a strobe - even for macro.



James Wiseman

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I had the same idea last year and tried to light up my pictures with my dive light and with a video light. I ended up buying the fisheye tray and arm and a YS90DX strobe. This is still a very compact system and IMHO the better choice.


The problem with dive lights is that they usually have a spot reflector.

If you want to go for light you'll have to order your dive light with a flood reflector or use a video light as dive light.

Using light helps the camera to focus and you have better exposure control but IMHO a lack of brilliance.

You might try to combine light and the internal flash of your Oly, this will work for macro, closeup, fish photos and reef scenes where there is something to light within one meter.

My experience with a video light that was not connected to a strobe arm and had an accu tank connected to my bc were absolutely not satifying. It was very hard to hold and focus the light in one hand and the camera in the other, trying to control exposure and focus.

If you want to have a compact setup, buy the fisheye tray and arm and try to fix your current divelight (change to a flood reflector if possible) to the arm. It really doesn't make a difference under water and it is still very compact on land or on a boat. (BTW: This is what i do for night dives now)

If you are satisfied with the results, think about buying the new dive light, otherwise buy a strobe.




Helge Suess is using two (!!!) HID video lights, have a look at his


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As Sabine pulled me into this thread I have to add a few things not yet mentioned on my homepage.


I use 2 off the shelf 12V halogen bulbs. The only difference to what you've usually got at home is that they have an angle of 60° (rather than 38°) which lights a wider area very smoothly. They also come in different color temperatures. You should have an eye on it.


One big advantage is that the light heads itself are very small and easily to adjust while the accu tanks keep the housing stable. This might be no real impact to me as I'm using a rather large housing anyway. It might have an impact on the handling of a small and compact housing like the Oly3xxx and likes.


I recommend cave lights or video lights (separate accu tank and light head) with standard 12V HID bulbs. You may easily change them and adopt to your needs. Bulbs are available in 10°, 24°, 38° and 60°. The steps may vary between manufacturers but the range of 10° to 60° is common.


Fixing the tanks to your BC may be an option. I would fix the light heads to the camera housing. You can't operate the light and the camera at the same time if you don't. I use segmented plasic tubes. They are sufficient to hold the rather lightweight heads and more easy to handle than strobe arms.


What I experienced was that the color temperature has significant effects. Light around 5000K fits great in a tropical environment but in fresh water lakes e.g. light around 3700K enhances the green and brown tones.


On the other hand, due to white balance, digicams don't rely that strict on the color temperature if the light is the main or only source (which it is, mainly with macros). I'm going to get my wide angle port (hopefully SOOON, I'll leave for the Sudan on friday) and the results of mixed light shoots will be available as soon as I'm back.



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