Choosing the right dive light
To restore their magnificent colors to corals and fish, or to orientate yourself during night dives or in caves or wrecks, you have to find a way to illuminate your surroundings. Whether day or night, a suitable dive light is always helpful.
There are many models and a wide range of prices available in the market and but every lamp has its own characteristics and may not be suitable for all environments. You must therefore clearly define your needs before you can choose the most suitable model.
Define your type of dive
The first question to ask yourself is: What type of diving will I do with this light?
For dives in clear waters and only during the day, a small lamp with a narrow beam will be more than enough to look under rocks or in holes. A lamp of this type is also easier to store in one of the pockets of your jacket when not needed.
Dives in murky waters require a different type of torch, one that will be more powerful to pass through particles with a narrow beam so there’s not too much backlighting effect and blind you more than anything else, like when driving a car on a foggy day.
During night dives, a lamp with a wider beam and allowing to lighten a larger area and therefore having a panoramic vision rather than focusing on a single point and moving the lamp constantly.
Technical dive lights are completely different from classic lights. They have a very bright and narrow beam. These lamps generally consist of two parts, the lamp itself, and a canister containing the battery. The two are connected by a cable which allows great flexibility and long battery life.
There are also lamps used to take photos or underwater films. These lamps must have a very wide beam so that there aren’t any hotspots on the picture and be powerful enough. It is recommended, if possible, to opt for a lamp with an angle of 120 degrees.
What technology adopted?
There are three different technologies used for modern lamps: LEDs, filament bulbs, and HID (High-Intensity Discharge).
For the vast majority of divers, LED lights will be the best option. Thanks to technological improvements, these lamps have very good energy efficiency. Depending on the model, the lamp can illuminate for several hours and provide more power than other technologies.
The other types of lamps are hardly produced anymore and are only used in very specific ways.
What type of batteries?
The lamps can use different types of batteries. The most common are rechargeable batteries and are very useful for people who scuba dive frequently. They are more economical in the long run and also more environmentally friendly. The downside of these batteries is that you have to have access to a power source and need time to recharge them. They also tend to discharge when not in use.
Then there are the traditional batteries which are inexpensive and can be found anywhere in the world. They are less efficient than rechargeable batteries and mostly last for a shorter amount of time.
Lately, lithium batteries may outperform conventional batteries but can be difficult to find in more remote areas.
Types of lamps
The main torch is either handheld or with a cable and canister. It has a powerful beam and is able to illuminate in murky waters or during night dives. The beam of these lamps is rather narrow but the wider beams may be suitable for night dives. LED bulbs on these lamps are the most common and some more expensive torches may have an HID bulb.
These lamps are typically handheld and are smaller and can be stored in a pocket. They are used in case of main torch failure or to look into small holes. In very clear waters, such as in tropical waters, these lamps can also be used as main lamps. It may be a good idea with this type of lamp to use non-rechargeable batteries because the power level will remain constant if you do not use the torch for a long time.
Front or wrist-mounted torch
These torches have the advantage of not having to be held and therefore give you more flexibility and freedom of movement. They are perfect for penetration dives such as caves or wrecks. Head torches are more commonly used as an emergency light and are paired with a primary light attached to the wrist.
These lamps must be extremely robust and have a long lifespan. Small size is a plus as there is an entanglement risk.
Canister lights are more oriented towards technical divers and further penetrations. They have a remote battery connected to a cable which provides a longer battery life than other types of batteries. They offer great flexibility because they can be mounted on the wrists and therefore free up the hands. They have a narrow beam and are made out of strong materials, to be resistant to their surroundings.
Photo and video lamp
A good photo light will emit a constant diffused light without a brighter spot. The torch body also includes a clip to be fixed to the housing or support of the camera. A large opening angle is an advantage but costs more.
Summary of key points
- Choose the size of the beam according to the type of dive performed, wide in clear water or at night and narrow in murky water and for technical diving.
- Choose a good secondary light, small to fit in a pocket but also resistant.
- Choose the type of batteries according to your travel and your destinations. The lifespan will also be influenced by the batteries.
- The design of the lamp. Torches are not all made from the same materials and their resistance will depend on this. Also consider the light button, a small button may not be suitable for a diver using gloves. How to hold the torch can also influence your decision. There are classic torches, pistol torches and torches with support.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the torches, we will be happy to answer you so that you get the most out of your future dives.
Happy bubbles !!
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