If you’re planning an underwater adventure, you probably plan on observing the aquatic world in clear light.
A dive light is an essential piece of equipment that divers should always bring with them on every dive, regardless of whether it is daytime or nighttime. It doesn’t matter if you’re wading in murky water or clear water with the dive light, as it brings a full spectrum of colors to the view.
Diving experts know that once you’re underwater for more than 20 feet, the landscape around you becomes monotonous. If there is insufficient sunlight, aquatic life cannot be illuminated, making the view dull and indistinct.
The visible light spectrum contains an assortment of colors that absorb light at different wavelengths. The red part of the spectrum is the first to be absorbed by water.
Hence, once you’re only a few yards under the surface, your camera will stop capturing reds. And once you’re even deeper, the oranges start getting dull. As you submerge into the depths, you will only see numerous shades of blue and violet.
If you carry the appropriate dive light, you will not run into this problem. However, with so many choices available, it may seem daunting to choose the right one. To help you choose the perfect dive light, we’ve outlined a quick guide for you to navigate through. But first, you must consider a few things:
1. The Depth
How deep you plan on diving underwater certainly plays a huge factor. With greater depth, you’ll need a light with a longer power duration that is reliable enough to provide illumination.
Additionally, since greater depth means a high-pressure environment, the o ring within your dive light needs to be well-maintained. Without proper fitting and lubrication, it will unravel and flood, ultimately damaging the beam.
The deeper you go, the darker it gets. However, if you can’t see it all, the underwater adventure seems pointless. Thus, knowing how long you plan to stay submerged can be crucial when choosing a dive light.
2. Planned Activities
For every diver, the perfect light may differ. Among other things, your plan and the activities you’ll engage in contribute to picking the best light for you. For instance, consider the beam angle, lumens, controls, filters, and light batteries if you wish to do underwater photography.
In the past, LED lights provided a cold light color preventing aquatic life in pictures “pop” the way they should. New advancements have made it possible for LEDs to offer warmer light, because of which the color rendering index has improved. On a comparative scale, a CRI of 100 amounts to natural sunlight. So, for the best picture quality, look for lights with CRI greater than 80.
3. Your Budget
A more expensive dive light will come with more robust features such as brighter bulbs, better batteries, and longer-lasting quality. But if you’re truly serious about going on a diving quest, investing in expensive equipment can be noteworthy as well as lifesaving.
An appropriate budget will not only provide you with an efficient light source but will also be more durable, preventing you from spending several dollars on repairs.
Often affordable beams come with disposable batteries. And although they may seem cost-effective at first, their constant replacement and maintenance will have you spending more in the long run.
Therefore, identify your needs and areas where you can and cannot concede. You neither want to buy inexpensive equipment with low quality nor overspend buying one you’re more than likely never going to use.
Once you’ve identified all the above, you can move on towards picking the correct bulb. Several options are available, but each comes under the three main categories: Conventional, LED, and HID.
These filament bulbs may either be tungsten, xenon, or halogen. Although these are the cheapest of the three categories and emit bright light, conventional bulbs consume more batteries.
You must consider three primary parameters: color temperature, power, and durability. A whitish-colored light is more effective because a yellower one will be lost in the spectrum the deeper in the water you go.
Brighter bulbs mean more power usage, so ensure you have enough battery life to last you the entire dive. Finally, conventional bulbs tend to have low durability. Therefore, before purchasing them, make sure you know how soon you’ll have to replace them and how much the extra bulbs will cost you.
A Light Emitting Diode (LED) uses a semiconductor that directly converts electrical energy to light energy. An LED is inexpensive and highly durable with minimal battery consumption.
LED technology has rapidly developed in recent years and remains in high demand. With brighter diodes, longer lifetimes, and extended burn time, its performance continues to grow exponentially.
Video dive lights are now equipped with colored LEDs to bring vivid underwater photography results. Hence, it’s one of the most popular lights used by divers and worth the cost.
Although High-Intensity Discharge (HID) torches are more expensive than conventional bulbs and LEDs, they’re efficient for deep diving escapades. When divers go deeper into the water, more light spectrum areas get absorbed and leave everything monochromatic.
However, HID torches can produce high-intensity blue light, which projects light underwater and visualizes all aquatic life. Secondly, due to highly efficient batteries, they have outstanding durability that can last longer. So, if you have the budget and plan to go deep into the ocean, HID torches may be the best option for you.
Lastly, here is a list of the type of dive lights that exist and which diving situation they’re best suited for.
Primary Dive Lights
These are handheld light sources, most used for wading through murky or deep waters.
Secondary Dive Lights
They are usually used as a backup if your primary dive lights stop working or run out of battery.
Mounted Dive Lights
Useful for divers who need their hands free to explore underwater, spearfishing, treasure hunting, etc.
Canister Dive Light
Divers interested in exploring shipwrecks and caves use this as it contains more power and gives off a brighter beam of light.
For the best imaging results, videography lights provide consistent, wide beams that illuminate the entire scene.
Choosing from a wide variety of dive lights can be overwhelming for any diver, but especially a novice.
Remember, dive lights are crucial for any diving adventure, so you do not want to make a hasty decision! To see which one’s best for you, first consider and prioritize your needs before picking the most suitable light.