Testing 4 different underwater video lights with Nikon AW-1

All four lights
All four lights

I managed to get 4 different video lights to my underwater testing with Nikon AW-1
Epogue EL-1000Video
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Ikelite Vega
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS(Previous version)

This is not by any means official test nor technical one. Only my thought what I think about them. Please do consider also that Sola’s 2000FS is obsolite and 2100FS have replaced it.

All four ligths side by side
All four ligths side by side

First from the left
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS
Price: 979€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Second from the left
Ikelite Vega
Price: 495€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Third from the left
Epogue EL-1000Video
Price: 195€
Max power: 1000 lumen

Fourth from the left
Underwater Kinetics UK Aqualite
Price: 270€
Max power: 600 lumen

At least Epogue and Sola lights are currently on sale so the price is actually bit less, but the price category is the same still. In this test there is actually two kind of flash lights. Higher and lower. Around 200 euros you will get pretty nice light that has replaceable battery and attachment to use either flex mount or ball mount system.

My current main system is using ball mount but I have used flex mount also. The main difference with those systems are that flex mount can handle only limited weight and ball mount much more. My main flashers Ikelite DS-161 are just way too big to flex mount. Flex mount main benefit is speed, you can very easily change the light position.

Epogue EL-1000Video
Epogue EL-1000Video

Let’s start by Epogue EL-1000Video which is the cheapest of these, but not by far the weakest. You have to remember that you can get 4-6 of these lights for the price of one Light and Motion Sola Video Light. Giving you 4000 lumens all together and multiple ways of light your subject. So the price is just amazing. There is of course downsides as well. The shaft of beam is very sharp and the switch is not so well thought as it does not have any lock positions. It is just magnetic switch that turns 360 around the lamp.

Epoque underwater
Epoque underwater

In total darkens it’s very difficult to change the light into correct power output, there is no led lights telling what is the power and you easily turn of or turn off it just by accident. UK Aqualite has much better power switch, you can easily set the correct output power even with your eyes closed.

Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite

So in short for the cheaper dive ligts the main difference is power output and power switch implementation. I would say that you can live with either one, just have to know about them and prepare. These cheaper lights had still actually one advantange over the Vega and Sola, replaceable battery, 18650 battery that the use are coming as standard and you can by them for a cheap price and have several with you on your dive trip.

Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater
Ikelite Vega underwater
Sola Controls
Sola Controls
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater
Sola underwater

Lets then go to the more expensive lights Vega and Sola. Both of these lights has integrated battery so when the battery is out, it’s finish and you can’t do anything with the light until you have charged again. The battery life is good but if you do several dives in a day, it might be a problem. Ikelite Vega is pretty strait forward, it’s easy to learn hot to use and clear light indicating the power output and battery life. Sola has more funtions, it has software keylock and spotlight funtionality. Although it’s not that difficult to learn how to use but still much more complex that Ikelite’s Vega. Ikelite’s Vega is still missing the spotlight functionality that can be handy when photographing macro. Ikelite’s shaft of light is bit more narrower than Sola’s. The only case when this would be an issue is when photographing or shooting video with very wide angle lens, but some might say that you will get more power into subject if you can get light closer the subject.

One thing Sola 2000SF have clearly over Ikelite vega is to be able to use spotlight. The benefit is that you get intense beam into one area, and something like macro photography, it really matters.

Sola using spotlight
Sola using spotlight
Maro shot from ring
Maro shot from ring using 10 times makro filter

Conclusion:
There was benefits and cons in all the lights but the price point of Ikelite and Epogue is excellent. If you consider only quality, the Sola is winner but not much as the Ikelite comes close. As the price goes up you will get more power and more features, but are those important to you, I can’t tell. I probably will get at least one Ikelite light to myself, and switchable battery on Epogue is very nice but as I have already the UK Aqualite I’m not sure will I get one.

All the pictures in this post have been taken either Nikon 1 AW-1 or Nokia Lumia 1020

Strange fish at the pool
Strange fish at the pool

Small underwater light test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.

Testing Ikelite’s underwater tray for GoPro cameras

Equipment test, I haven’t done those for a while.

2601.03 Steady Tray for GoPro
2531.3(left) and 9531.4(right) Release handles

Last weekend, I bought hand on the newest Ikelite tray from EW Dive and decided to test it with small video.
actual_rig

I decided to add these small Ultralight mounting balls to get some extra mounting points.

Ultralight_adds

So here is the final rig configuration. Big thanks to Kuva Järvinen from getting me a old GoPro hero 3 housing fast to still attach LCD to GoPro hero 3+, as you can’t currently get the LCD into 3+ orginal housing.

Final_Rig

I was anyway going to Turku to get one harddrive for study for repairing, so I decided to go scuba diving with scuba center called Fun Dive Oy that is located in Turku, Finland.

I had to add small things to the rig, like handles, ball joints arms and lights. I already had them so it was easy.
Only problem was that the handles that I had was the original Ikelite ones that did had different connection than
in Ikelite tray manual. Mine is with bolts and the tray needs ones that you use slotted screws. Otherwise it’s pretty same.

Here is the rig that I builded first.
GoProTeline

That would have worked but I dedided to go bit smaller thus I changed arms bit shorter and here is the final test configuration.

WP_20140126_13_04_07_Raw

So of I started diving. The tray is pretty nice. It’s sturdy and you can extend it pretty much. Of course I went all the way and
added two Ikelite video lights, UK Aqualite and Light&Motion Sola™ Nightsea light. So basically all the video lights that I own 🙂

Here are some pictures from the dive.
20140126_ikelite_rig_0005

20140126_ikelite_rig_0007

20140126_ikelite_rig_0010

20140126_ikelite_rig_0015

20140126_ikelite_rig_0025

20140126_ikelite_rig_0029

20140126_ikelite_rig_0032

So, what is the final verdict. I really like the tray. It’s small, cheap, and you can extend it a lot. I can see that if used with Light and motion sola lights or the new Ikelite’s Vega light it will be almost perfect. The battery that I added under the rig was working but the cables were bit too short. Yes you can use longer cables but as the batteries are coming to lithium time. Those lights that have the lithium battery embedded and still small. You really can’t compete with it. Only small problem that I see with the rig is that when used with video it’s pretty good, but when taking pictures at least my finger is not long enough to take pictures while still holding the handle. So maybe it’s not for that, of course you could take the second handle away and use it only with one light. Ikelite vega have 2000 lumen’s and you can do a lot with that, even take nice pictures.

So for the video it’s pretty nice, you need to add handles and some ball joints to get it working but for that price point it’s all good. For the pictures I would use some other rig. There is at least Ultralight that have direct connection to the gopro and ball joint from there.

Finally the video that I filmed and edited.

Ikelite GoPro rig test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.