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Thread: Which dive light??

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    Question Which dive light??

    Not sure if this is the right place for this post....anyhow....looking for suggestions on the right style, wattage, lumens for a recreational dive light. The first one that I purchased got stolen from my BC (along with my knife) while it was hanging up at the dive shop between dives.

    I haven't done any night dives yet but planning one next month. My problem is choices...LED or not, lumens, price, size, etc....So with mainly daytime dives in mind and budget I would like to hear your thoughts on what I should be looking for in a replacement light....My first one was a small pelican. It was decent but had to really be close to tell it was even on....Fire away please!
    .....just happy to be here....

  2. #2
    Grouper
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    I like the Intova Compact LED light. (The one that takes 3xAAA). Metal body, easy-to-find batteries, excellent brightness and about $50. IMO, it's a good secondary/daytime light.
    Some franchises just never make it... CSI:Wagga Wagga was one of them.

  3. #3
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    The Intova Compact or the Dorcey II (Penetrator if purchased from Piranha) are two of the best and most cost effective options. If you do a search there are many threads on these lights.

    Get a snap bolt and some cave line to to make a attachment and clip off to your BC.
    Last edited by DevilDiver; 12-30-2011 at 21:55.
    DevilDiver

  4. #4
    I'd go with LED. Xenon lights tend to fail and you'll get a longer bulb life from LED. A few years ago they weren't as good as they are today but now LED aren't as expensive, easier on the battery and can be very bright.

    A few things I consider when getting a light:

    1. What kind of batteries
    2. how many lumens
    3. what angle is the beam
    4. what is the burn time
    5. accessories?
    6. how does it turn on
    7. physical dimensions
    8. will it be used for video


    The batteries need to be easy to find. Some companies have custom batteries. If the company goes out of business, stops supporting the model or just charges too much it could be an issue. Regular store batteries, e.g. AAA or AA, are good but they can get expensive. Rechargeable batteries help with the cost but the burn time is often significantly shorter. So if you get something with regular batteries, make sure the burn time talks about with rechargeable batteries and not just alkaline batteries.

    Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are a good option. Longer burn time, rechargeable. Many models can be purchased in the same place as alkaline batteries.

    The average entry level light is going to be around 200 to 250 lumens. Canister lights get you up into the 500 to 1500 lumens. A canister light from just 5 years ago will be obsolete today. I can get a backup light (hand held) with 700 lumens for $300 to $500. Five years ago someone might have bought a 700 lumen canister light for $1000. So think twice about buying used unless they are heavily discounting it.

    The beam angle makes a huge difference. I have seen 500 lumen 10 degree lights which light up the inside of wreck with amazing brightness. Same light with a 80 degree lens and it gives the inside of the wreck a soft glow. The shop I work at has a small storage room you can go in with all the lights. You shine them on the far wall and get an idea for how bright they are comparatively. If the shop you are at doesn't have a large storage room you could go at night and see if they have a dark alley near by. In a pinch, use the bathroom in the shop and turn the lights off.

    If the burn time for full brightness is 20 minutes and you go on 60 minute dives typically, the light won't work for you. If you just want a light so you can peak inside wrecks (no actual penetration) and under rocks then you aren't going to be leaving it on all the time and burn time isn't as critical.

    If you are going for wreck penetration, even if this is going to become a backup light, you want something with a good, long burn time.

    Accessories? Some stick shaped lights have accessories for mounting. My UK Q40 has a rubber strap system which lets me strap it along my mask strap. Lets me use it hands free. Down side is if I look at my buddy I could blind him. So I have to remember to turn my eyes and not my head when looking at my buddy. A model I'm looking at right now have a glove so you can wear the light on the back of your hand.

    How does it turn on? Now a days, lights are typically designed so they won't accidentally get turned on. But there are the exceptions. You don't want to go for your light only to find it has been on for the entire dive and the batteries are dying. I have also seen one light which turns on by twisting the butt end of the light. They usually have you twist the bezel. The bad thing here is that the strap (where you'd put a clip for d-ring attachment) is on the end. It is easy to see the light spinning around, the clip holding the end in place and the light turning on. Worse would be if it twisted in the other direction and the end came off. You'd get back on the boat to find a clip, the end and nothing else. Good bye dive light.

    Where are you mounting it? How big is it? I've seen some really nice penlights. They take 3 AA or 3 AAA batteries end to end. So the light is the length of 3 batteries laid end to end, the light head and the house. Total length of the light is 8 inches. Where as another light I looked at had this cartridge you load with 3 batteries, side by side, then slide the cartridge in. So the body length is only 1 AA battery long. Around 5 inches total length but thicker diameter.

    Not sure if they are available at a decent price in your area but I'm liking the I-Torch lights. They are a Canadian company and local to my area. Lights like the 555 are around $100 here. They just came out with the Pro Mini and Sub Mini (same light but the Pro is 85 degree beam and the Sub is 18 degree beam). The Sub Mini is priced at $350 for a 750 lumen, 18 degree beam which fits in the palm of my hand, has two rechargeable 18650 lithium ion batteries, the recharger and a glove mount. It is like having an old canister light without the canister.

    Lastly, video. You want something which will be bright but with a wider angle. Because the wider angle means the lumens are spread out over a larger area, it losses brightness a lot quicker than a spot light. So you want something very power (1000+ lumens).
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  5. #5
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    SD8 and DD, do you use your flashlights to augment camera lighting. I take a fair amount of video; but, haven't taken any courses yet so I need mentors like you guys to help.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  6. #6
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    Which model of I-Torch do you favor?
    --Zeagle Eagle

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeagle Eagle View Post
    SD8 and DD, do you use your flashlights to augment camera lighting. I take a fair amount of video; but, haven't taken any courses yet so I need mentors like you guys to help.
    I don't do video or photography yet. Some of the tech divers at my shop will use their canister lights for camera/video lighting. This is just a cost saving effort. They were tech divers before they got into photography. They had canister lights. Buying a new head for the canister was cheaper than buying lighting for the camera. So they just bought new heads. The people at the shop who are recreational divers use lighting specifically for photography or video and mount it to the camera with arms.

    There are also canister lights and tech lights which come with ys-adaptors. These let you mount the light on the camera system. Mounting the lighting on the camera is best.

    DD will probably have MUCH better advice.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeagle Eagle View Post
    Which model of I-Torch do you favor?
    I'm looking at the Sub Mini.

    It is small and mounts well on my shoulder d-ring. It is 750 lumens and an 18 degree beam. Good for tight spaces. I don't need a much wider beam for were I go (wreck penetration). Some of the wrecks are tight and long. I want to be able to see a 100 feet down a hallway to know if I'm going to get stuck down there with no way to turn around.

    It will give me 1 hour maximum brightness and I'll have a second battery for the next dive. I'm typically diving deep for 15 to 20 minutes. Even if the lithium ion loses charging capability (after time they don't charge as much and the burn time gets a little shorter) they should last me a while. After an hour, if I use it that long, it just gets dimmer. It doesn't cut out. The shop owner has the Advanced-B with year old batteries and it is really nice. I find it a little too long for me plus it is 250 lumens versus 750 lumens. So I'm probably going with the Sub Mini. We still need to get the Sub Mini in the shop (after new year). The Advanced-B would be a good alternative to something like the Underwater Kinetics SL6. It is going to be a lot better lighting, small form factor and better burn time. You can get one of those for $80 to $100. The Sub Mini is going to be something like $350 to $400.

    This will be my primary light for recreational diving and my back up light for technical diving.
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  9. #9
    Shark Zeagle Eagle's Avatar
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    I have the ikelite Pro Video 3 on my video housing and thought I might either add another ikelite lighting head or maybe just carry a Dorcy or an i-Torch.
    --Zeagle Eagle

  10. #10
    Dominus Diabolus Urinatoris ST-Forum Mod DevilDiver's Avatar
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    SD888,

    Good advice, I agree with everything you posted.

    It all comes down to what your needs and the diving you will be doing. I really like small compact lights, for basic o/w I feel a 200-300 lumen light is perfect. I prefer small lights that can be used with a light sock or goodman handle and that have a concentrated hot spot for distance. Like I posted above the Intova and Dorcey work for me and they are great for the price.

    The i-Torch lights are great but I just don't like the long skinny thing, I always have a light clipped off and restrained on my right D-ring day or night and like to keep it short and compact as possible.

    For any kind of wreck/cave I would guess 500 lumen's to be the bare minimum and 1000+ lumen's preferred, long battery life with constant power output. I really want to take a look at the new Watershot lights (mini canister), they look really great and very cost effective.

    For photography (focus light) you need a nice even beam, the wider the better. I don't use my dive lights but for photography, I prefer a dedicated focus light. For photos I would say 200-1000 lumen's with adjustable power levels as too much light can scare away many subjects. Focus lights are very important as cameras need light to detect contrast to achieve a focus lock, it's common for divers to complain about cameras having shutter lag when actually this is the camera searching for focus.

    Right now I am diving with a L&M Sola 600 for my Focus Light, a Dorcey II as my back-up dive light for day dives. For night dives I add a Intova Compact in a light sock for my primary.
    DevilDiver

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