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Underwater Video Lights - Lumens and Color Temperature Tests

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Underwater Video Lights - Lumens and Color Temperature Tests

Underwater Video Lights - Lumens and Color Temperature Tests

Underwater video light review high shooting at night

With the release of their new SunRay LED 600 lighting system, Light & Motion went to extremes to accurately rate the brightness and color temperature of their entire lighting line. We took advantage of this opportunity and asked them to test a few of our other popular underwater video lights at the same time on the same test equipment. All lights were sent to the lighting gurus at Deep Sea Power & Light for a complete analysis in their one meter integrated spectrometer sphere.

Underwater video light lumens and color temperature are measured in a 1 meter integrated spectrometer sphere

Lights were tested by Deep Sea Power & Light with a one meter integrated spectrometer sphere.

Test results on our most popular underwater lights

Underwater video light review low lumen lights

Hartenberger Nano Fisheye
Light & Motion
SunRay LED 600
Lamp Type
Lumens (tested)

Color Temperature (tested)

3605 K
6562 K
6502 K
$549 ea.
$299 ea.
$1899 pair
Price does not include arm.
Price does not include arm .
Price includes arms, but non L&M housings will require GAS adapter.

Underwater video light review high lumen lights

Light & Motion
SunRay 1000 LED
Light & Motion
SunRay 2000 LED
Lamp Type
Lumens (tested)
Color Temperature (tested)
8536 K
6585 K
6201 K
$599 ea.
$2499 pair
$3799 pair
Price does not include arm.
Price includes arms, but non L&M housings will require GAS adapter.
Price includes arms, but non L&M housings will require GAS adapter.

Lumens... a better measure of brightness

Lights used to be compared by wattage, but this value doesn't quantify the actual brightness of the light. One 20w design can be significantly brighter than another 20w design. Lumens is a standardized unit of brightness and more accurately describes the true brightness of a light. Unfortunately accurate lumen readings require a fairly sophisticated device to meet testing standards.

Color temperature and why it's important

Ideally you want the viewer not to notice that you are filling in the shadows of a scene with artificial light. To do this one needs a light that matches both the brightness and color temperature of the ambient shooting conditions. It's much easier to adjust a light's brightness, but much more difficult to adjust a light's color temperature.

Color temperature graph of underwater video lights

Color temperature is typically measured in degrees Kelvin (K) and quantifies a lights warmth or coolness in color. Halogen lights are typically very warm (like a candle) at around 3300-3800 K and most LED lights on the market are much cooler (more blue) in color at 6000-9000 K. Natural daylight is typically considered to be around 5500 K, but underwater conditions very greatly with visibility and cloud cover. An ideal underwater video light would offer variable color temperature with a twist of a dial, but none such light currently exists.

Color temperatures on video lights can be adjusted by adding color filters to the light heads, but these filters greatly reduce brightness of the light and can render all but the brightest lights useless in most wide angle conditions.

We primarily shoot Light & Motion SunRay 2000 LED lights as this system features a 52mm threaded mount that allows easy use of color correction filters, and also has the brightest output. The cyan filters we use result in a 1 and 1/3 stop loss of light, which will turn the Sunray 2000 lights into about the same brightness as the Sunray 600 lights without a filter.

Which light is best for you?

We prefer to use the brightest lights available which allow us to diffuse or filter the lights as necessary, however we know that not all shooters want to fiddle with filters. Please give us a call and we'll help you select the best balance of price and performance to meet your needs and budget. From $299 to $3799, we have great solutions for your next vacation or project.

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