Dive Light or Underwater Strobe, that’s the question (or is it?)

Dive Light or Underwater Strobe, that’s the question (or is it?)

OrcaTorch D700 Dive Light Review – Simplicity does it! Reading Dive Light or Underwater Strobe, that’s the question (or is it?) 4 minutes Next First impressions of the OrcaTorch ZD710 Zoomable Dive Light

What to choose if you are an underwater photographer; are you only going to use ambient light, will you invest in one or two dive lights or do you choose for one or more underwater strobes?

OrcaTorch Dive Lights and Underwater Strobes

Asking the question is simple, but answering is not. There is so much to consider. And obviously, it also relates to the camera you’re using and the type of photos you’re making. In all too much variables! But OK, let’s try to give at least some answers.

Ambient light is certainly an option and there is no reason why all your photos should come out blue – a frequent disappointment for starters. In fact, for most wide-angle photo’s ambient light is providing at least the light in the background if not all the light. But if you choose to use only ambient light for all your photos, it is essential that you can set the white balance of your camera. Some cameras provide a preset for underwater photos and that might help, but essentially that’s not enough. Much better, more realistically colored results, can be obtained with manually adjusting the white balance underwater. Mind you, that is something that needs to be done depth dependent and there is also a difference between the necessary white balance settings with the sun in you back or in front of you. Furthermore, some cameras do not provide the option for manual white balance setting or you’ll have to go through a complex menu and a large number of actions. So yes, using only ambient light is sometimes an option, but it comes with a lot of underwater manual work to get the desired results. Nevertheless, it does save you on significant costs and you can keep your camera set small and simple.

Underwater strobes are the common option for underwater photographers as they provide an unprecedented quantity of light. But there are also some downsides to flash photography. There is obviously the need for a connection between your camera and the strobe to synchronize the underwater strobe with your camera shutter. And there are limits to the shutter speed you can use. But given the quantity of light, it’s the obvious choice for most underwater photographers.

So why than choose for dive light instead of underwater strobe? The answer is simple: with a dive light you cannot only make photos, but also have the option to make videos. Certainly, as nowadays all cameras provide that dual option. Choosing for a dive light has benefits in the sense that there is no need for a connection to the camera as is needed for underwater strobe. But there are also some downsides. The quantity of dive light is less and critters might get scared by the continues bright light of a dive light and are therefore harder to photograph.
When choosing for a dive light, OrcaTorch does provide a range of dive lights that are meant for underwater photography and videography. You can keep your rig small with for example the OrcaTorch D710V underwater video light, or opt for a higher quantity of light with the OrcaTorch D910V. And at the more professional end, you can choose for the D950V2.0 with its staggering 10500 lumen.

Dive Light or Underwater Strobe, How to choose?

Dive lights alike: you’ll better have two of them to avoid dark shadows in your photos or video.

But what about a hybrid option? Obviously, you can choose for the best of both worlds, adding both dive lights and underwater strobe to your camera. But carrying the rig above water and handling it underwater might prove to be a bit too much and too complex. So, in that, there might be a challenge for OrcaTorch: why not design and produce a hybrid dive light-strobe combination that produces sufficient torch light (e.g. like the 5000 lumen for the D910V) and is able to function as a synchronized underwater flashlight? I guess that would open up a whole new market!

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