What’s the suitable color temperature of a dive light?

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XTAR

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When talking about a dive light’s color temperature, you know “warm light” has a lower color temp, and “cold light” has a higher color temp. Some people say diving with a much cold light strains their eyes, while, others told cool tine are more efficient than warm light and penetrate better. There is an argument that the color temperature of dive lights should match the tint of the water you dive in and diving purpose for best efficiency.

Some divers think a suitable dive light has a rather warm looking CCT (3500-4000K) for close searching, up to max 10 meters; Or it has a neutral to cool looking CCT (5500-6000K) for spotlight far searching, up to 100 meters. So if you take different diving activities, such as u/w photography, cave diving, spearfishing... in different water situations, what’s the suitable color temperature of your dive light?

Such as these two dive lights, XTAR WHALE D26 1100 dive light with color temp 6000K, WHALE-W D26W 1100 (warm light) dive light with color temp 3700K, they are almost same except for the different light color temp. We know many of you, especially the spearfishing lovers like the D26 1100 dive light (6000K) a lot. Comparing to D26W 1100 dive light (3700K), why did you prefer to choose the cool light D26 1100? Do you think the cool tint more efficient than warm tint? Your kind sharing is appreciated!
 

Jonn

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Vote for fairly high temp, 5500 or so, with a fairly narrow beam but with generous spill for general purpose searching and navigation. Photographers have their own special needs but that’s a whole other topic.
 

D_Fresh

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I think 5000k to 6000k is plenty fine for a general use dive torch. That range stands out well during daytime usage, and works well on low to medium power at night.

Ironically, I find that high power is over rated for true night-dive situations, but can be underappreciated during daytime dives.

Photographers will have their own preference, but that's what their Photo/Video lights are for.....
 

XTAR

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I think 5000k to 6000k is plenty fine for a general use dive torch. That range stands out well during daytime usage, and works well on low to medium power at night.

Ironically, I find that high power is over rated for true night-dive situations, but can be underappreciated during daytime dives.

Photographers will have their own preference, but that's what their Photo/Video lights are for.....

Thanks for your kind sharing! For "high power is over rated for true night-dive situations, but can be underappreciated during daytime dives", may I know if you talk about the light output, lighting modes with different lumens? :)
 

D_Fresh

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Thanks for your kind sharing! For "high power is over rated for true night-dive situations, but can be underappreciated during daytime dives", may I know if you talk about the light output, lighting modes with different lumens? :)

Apologies for the late reply. Sorry, My wording may have been a little confusing.

Just to be clear (for anyone else reading; I'm sure Xtar knows this, and I don't mean to be pedantic...)
-The follow regards general use dive lights, not photo/video lights, and is based only on my experiences.
-I am diving in Philippines, tropical waters, with generally good visibility, but often not as clear as the Caribbean.
-Lumens is a measure of Light Output (Brightness). (Power Modes)
-Color Temperature is the warmness (red end) or coolness (blue end) of the color spectrum, defined in Kelvin (k). Very Warm White, which we may find in bedroom lighting, is around 2700k to 3000k. Cool White, which you may find in kitchens or bathrooms, is around 3100k to 4500k. And "Daylight" White, as a general comparison to a bright sunny day, is generally anything above 4500k.

Anyways, on to clarifying my statement above...

I think "cooler" color temps have better penetration through most water conditions, as they're further away from Red in the spectrum. And we all know that water absorbs red light first, before moving up the spectrum...

I feel that the Daylight portion of the spectrum is easier to see on a sunny day. Say we're diving around a wall at 8 to 15 meters depth, peaking into cracks and crevasses. A torch with Daylight output will be easier to see, and more effective, than a torch in the 3000~4000k color range. It will stand out against the sunlight that is already penetrating to those depths. This is also when I like to have more Lumens available, again, to overpower the already present ambient light. I have found that Warmer color temp, on a bright day-dive, is not noticeable enough; it doesn't stand out against the ambient light well enough for me.

Night dives present a completely different set of circumstances though. First and foremost, it is my opinion that, there is little need for 1,000 lumens of output on a night dive. *Maybe to get the attention of a buddy who is off in La-La-Land, but that's about it.* Otherwise, I find the high-output modes to be much more light than needed, and actually has a detrimental affect to your own "night vision" and being able to notice things around you, outside of the light's hot-spot and spill. Extremely bright light will also scare fish, turtles, and octopus away (but may attract squid). This is why I prefer lights with multiple Power Modes (lumens) from very low, Low, Medium, and High. (Or Low, [...] Very High... same thing.) At night, I will almost always run the light on the lowest power setting, and *maybe* the next brighter setting to see something a bit farther away... And, during day dives, on a sunny day, will use the high power to stand out against the ambient light.

For general usage, IMO, I don't find color temp to be as important of a factor at night. I tend to agree with folks who have more eye-comfort with Warmer lighting at night vs Cooler lighting, but I also think Cooler light often better illuminates more of the subject it's being shined on. This is where things begin to get a little fuzzy though, every manufacturer of LED Cells has different Spectral Outputs for the same Color Temp.... Some makers have specific peaks (usually at Blue, Green, and Orange), while others include more of the spectrum, and true Full Spectrum LED Cells are quite expensive.

I've been using the Xtar D26 Whale for a few months now. I'm pretty happy with the light, and the modes it offers. There have been occasions when the highest setting is still too bright for day-time usage below 8 meters, but that's fine, as I just switch to a lower mode. Other times, I find the Lowest power mode to be almost too bright for night dives, but not enough that I would change to a different light... I simply cup the front of the light and allow the light to leak from between my fingers.

Underwater photographers and videographers were not considered in my above opinions. They often have higher demands of their strobes and video lights, needing a light-source with a more complete output of the spectrum to capture all of the wonderful colors in all of their glory. (That's also a likely contributor to the high cost of good lights for those applications.)
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

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