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Vlane
10-12-2009, 16:02
I've noticed there is a gradual shift of more lights becoming available in LED rather than bulb. I've owned a Dorcy 180 lumen LED light that was very bright but lost it :smiley5:. I did use my Dorcy alongside a bulb light at one point and it was much brighter than the bulb. I know diodes will last much longer than bulbs, but are there any downsides to LEDs? On the flip side, are there any benefits to regular bulb lights?

My main use would probably be night dives and occasional deeper dive with little ambient light.

CompuDude
10-12-2009, 16:15
LED blow "regular bulbs" in the Halogen, Xenon, etc sense right out of the water.

They fall short compared to bigger HID lights, however. LED's don't scale up quite as well. They can compete against the smaller HID's (like the 10w HID level) but they can't compete against 21w HID's, and bigger. LED's are super efficient at smaller sizes, but they lose efficiency quickly as you scale up, and they end up being too hot and requiring too much power to compete.

But for smaller dive lights, I wouldn't want anything other than LED at this point. They're far more durable, and more efficient (batteries last longer) than incandescent bulbs at this point. The color temp is better as well (more white, less yellow). (HID's also have this advantage)

LEDs are the future. Newer, better LED emitters are coming out all the time. For big lights (21w+ HID) they can't compete... YET... but it won't be long before they win that contest as well. Not today, though.

The sole advantage regular incandescent bulbs have is they are very cheap.

Tassie Diver
10-12-2009, 16:58
Just to play devil's advocate...

Is the whiter light of LED good? Topside photography uses the warmer light of sunset/rise (the magic hour) to produce photos that are 'friendlier' and generally considered asthetically pleasing. Does a whiter dive light make everything more clinical and detract from the experience?

CompuDude
10-12-2009, 17:57
Just to play devil's advocate...

Is the whiter light of LED good? Topside photography uses the warmer light of sunset/rise (the magic hour) to produce photos that are 'friendlier' and generally considered asthetically pleasing. Does a whiter dive light make everything more clinical and detract from the experience?

Considering how much blue there is in the water, and how off white balance usually is anyway, no, not really an issue. In fact, the white light (closer to daylight spectrum) of HIDs and LEDs seems to pierce the murk better than the yellowish light of incandescent bulbs did, IMO.

The idea of light is to (a) give light when there's none (duh) or (b) return the reds lost at depth. Giving everything a yellowish tinge doesn't really help matters any. They eye learns to compensate, but after diving with HIDs and LEDs for a while, when you see someone with an incandescent light (they're getting more and more rare), it's actually shocking how yellow the light is that they put out.

Tassie Diver
10-12-2009, 18:30
Sounds good. I use an Inon strobe for my U/W pics and it is known to be cooler than 'older' strobes. Considering older pics (film/slide) first showed the way, I was curious what others thought. At least with digital we can make the colour temp whatever we want!

comet24
10-12-2009, 19:00
CompuDude hit all the major points.

Unless your looking for a very bright light(over 21 watts) I would stick with LED. Over 21 watts watts your looking at HID and at that point your into a canister light. I think at the 10-12 watt level your best with LED. 21 watts it's up for grabs. HID will usually give you a tighter focused beam but LED will give you durability and life.

Personally I like LED although if I every decide to drop some change on something over 21 it will be HID with today's tech. I hope LED continue to evolve. You just can't beat their durable. I have some Surefire(non diving) lights that have taken some amazing abuse without a single hiccup.

clavicl3
10-12-2009, 19:04
I use a LED flashlight while my gf uses a bulb one. Granted, hers is a bit older, but the difference is huge. LEDs are better in every way.

DevilDiver
10-12-2009, 20:02
Sounds good. I use an Inon strobe for my U/W pics and it is known to be cooler than 'older' strobes. Considering older pics (film/slide) first showed the way, I was curious what others thought. At least with digital we can make the colour temp whatever we want!

I believe the discussion was based on regular handheld flashlights not strobes.

Most strobes run 5500k-5600k, some of the Ike's run 4800k witch is a little warm IMO. But you are correct, this all can be modified with basic exposure control to suit the photographer.

Vlane
10-12-2009, 20:15
I was thinking LED would be the obvious advantage for a non-canister light. I'm looking for a primary light and Princeton Tec had some good looking ones that were either LED or bulb. Looks like LED is the way to go though.

Tassie Diver
10-12-2009, 20:47
Sounds good. I use an Inon strobe for my U/W pics and it is known to be cooler than 'older' strobes. Considering older pics (film/slide) first showed the way, I was curious what others thought. At least with digital we can make the colour temp whatever we want!

I believe the discussion was based on regular handheld flashlights not strobes.

Most strobes run 5500k-5600k, some of the Ike's run 4800k witch is a little warm IMO. But you are correct, this all can be modified with basic exposure control to suit the photographer.
Yeah, I picked that the OP was referring to lights not strobes, but used the strobe temperature as an example of how different colour temps can change one's perception of the scene :smiley2:

I agree 4800K is getting a little warm. I find it's easier to warm a cold scene than cool a warm scene in post-processing :)

Vlane
10-12-2009, 21:59
Wow, just realized there is a similar thread on SB going on about this.

Tassie Diver
10-12-2009, 23:55
I haven't visited the 'other site' for a long time.

clavicl3
10-12-2009, 23:56
Which is the larger of the two forum communities?

ScubaGir1
10-13-2009, 00:02
Which is the larger of the two forum communities?
I believe SB is larger but there were a lot of members who dropped that forum and either came here, or just left altogether. There were certain people on that forum that made going there more of a drama show and well...just not as fun and informative ans ST.

CompuDude
10-13-2009, 00:36
Which is the larger of the two forum communities?

SB is larger by far.

But ST is friendlier by far... and innocent question threads are far less likely to devolve into a meaningless flame-fest.

clavicl3
10-13-2009, 00:49
ahh, ok. I dislike forum trolls with nothing better to do with their day than cause drama.

Grin
10-13-2009, 10:23
I agree, forget cheap bulb lights. I have had a bunch of them.
The better LEDs are very nice for, like said, around comparisson of a 10w HID.
The white light is much superior underwater, especially if the water is dirty. Alot less glare returning to your face with the White light. You can't really see the beam of a HID or LED, they just light up the area or object.
I used a UK Light Cannon for the last couple years and it is a great light. All the worries about the bulb being delicate have been put to rest by me dropping and throwing mine around with zero issues. The Light Cannon eats batteries though. And I am not a fan of the HID warm up time it takes for the full light emitted to be active. Basically you flip the switch on, and it takes about 20 seconds for it to warm up and be full emitting.

I just bought the new UK LED Aqua Sun about 4-5 months ago. It's supposed to be almost twice as much Lumens as the 10W UK Light Cannon. It appears to be about the same using it in the daytime, although I have not compared side by side underwater. I think the LED has a wider beam, so it's power does not show up as penetrating power. But it has no warm up time, and has a rechargeable battery, and is defiantly powerful. I do admit I thought the Aqua Suns 800+ lumens (I think that's the claim) would blow me away when comparing to the 10w Light Cannons advertised 450 lumens(I think that's the LCs claim). The differnece is not that dramatic. Maybe a little brighter is all. Night use may really show a difference though.

I also had a Princeton Tech LED (8 C batteries, whatever model that is). It is a nice light also, but nowhere near as bright as the Light Cannon. The new PT model has the same lumens claim as a LC if I read right. I gotto wonder if my Aqua suns 800+ lumens being barely brighter than the LCs advertised 450 lumens, what the comaprison of the new PT to the LC would actually be. Pretty much the same lumens claims, but HID vs LED probably have different beamwidths? Who knows?

Damselfish
10-13-2009, 11:12
a few years ago LED vs bulb was a harder question. LED got you battery life and no bulbs to burn out, but there was a tradeoff in brightness. LEDs have improved to the point that for most smaller lights it's a no brainer to go LED. The only possible issue is price, if you're very price conscious. LED lights are going to cost more up front, especially compared to closeouts you can find on halogen/xenon lights that are being discontinued. But LED will be cheaper in the long run if you use it much.

No Misses
10-13-2009, 12:10
I too like the new LED lights.

But, here is a concern that nobody has mentioned, so far.

LED lights have electronic circuitry in them. If they flood, this circuitry gets fried. With the old xenon lights, you just rinse with fresh water, fix the leak (seal), and you are back in business.

P.S. I carry an Oxycheq Raider 3w LED and a UK Sunlight Xenon. The LED goes on every dive. The Xenon only goes on penetration dives.

The Raider has a tight focus beam while the UK Sunlight has a wider beam and lights up the whole area for the "big picture".

CompuDude
10-13-2009, 12:24
I used a UK Light Cannon for the last couple years and it is a great light. All the worries about the bulb being delicate have been put to rest by me dropping and throwing mine around with zero issues. The Light Cannon eats batteries though. And I am not a fan of the HID warm up time it takes for the full light emitted to be active. Basically you flip the switch on, and it takes about 20 seconds for it to warm up and be full emitting.

To be emitting at full power, yes. But it starts putting out light right away, and within a few seconds you have lots of light to work with, it just hasn't quite warmed up to it's full glory until at 15-20 seconds have passed. That's never been a problem for me.

I used rechargeable 6000 mah NiMH batteries in my light cannon, and had great results with them. It's pretty crazy to use alkalines in one.

As an aside (nothing to do with grin's post), when I said LED lights can compare to a 10w HID I was referring to LED canister lights comparing to a 10w HID canister light. Not many (if any) standard off-the-shelf LED-base dive lights can compare to an LED-based canister light, so comparing some POS made by PrincetonTec to a true LED canister light is NOT a valid comparison.

No Misses raises a good point... probably the sole weakness with LEDs. A flood in salt water will KILL your nice new LED. Dead. Warranties can help with that, but there is some truth to the fact that, if you're on a trip, it's easier to pack a spare bulb than deal with a warranty exchange.

Arctic Mike
10-13-2009, 12:50
I dive LED for all of my backup lights. The old bulb types just can't compare. We ordered the new 1000 Lumen LED can from DR and their 15W HID can to do some side by side testing. The HID failed midway through our first dive and it is back at DR being looked at. At first glance though the LED seemed to be holding its own against the HID.

frozenwarp
10-14-2009, 09:20
i use LEDS for all my back-up light some that came with them and others i have upgraded. I am also building some nice 700lm+ LED cannister lights, ive done the electronics and has come out wicked now just got to get the thing underwater