N I G E L M A R S H P H O T O G R A P H Y
U N D E R W A T E R I M A G E S A N D A R T I C L E S
FANTASEA RADIANT PRO 2500 VIDEO LIGHT REVIEW
By Nigel Marsh and Helen Rose
It seems today that every diver is shooting videos of their underwater adventures, using compact cameras, DSLR cameras, GoPros or even one those rarely seen devices, a video camera. Some of these videos are fantastic, but many lack colour as they were filmed with natural light or with a red filter. To add more impact to your dive videos you really need a good video light.
There are many video lights on the market, which range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. But one of the best priced models loaded with extra features is the Fantasea Radiant Pro 2500 video light. Available in Australia at only $599 from Underwater Australasia, this powerful video light is perfect for anyone that wants to add colour and impact to their videos.
Straight out of the box the Radiant Pro 2500 is an impressive video light. It has a smooth blue aluminium finish to the head and the body is made of a black polycarbonate that is depth rated to 100m. Included with the light are four lithium ion rechargeable batteries, a battery recharger, a lanyard, silicone grease, two replacement orings and a Y-S connector to allow you to mount the light on an arm. This light is well built and very solid, and only weighs 375 grams without batteries.
As a video light its output is 2500 lumens, its colour temperate is between 5300 and 5600K and it has an angle of coverage of 120 degrees, more than enough to cover most wide angle lens. But that’s not all as the Radiant Pro 2500 is more than just a standard video light, for a start it has 12 LED’s, with a reported life span of 35,000 hours, more than enough for a lifetime of diving videos! Plus it has more than one setting. The basic setting is the nice wide 120 degree beam, but you can also set it on a narrow 15 degree beam, or a red light, or a UV blue light (for fluorescent photography) or on two flashing strobe settings for an emergency. But wait there’s more, as you also have a choice of three power settings, 100%, 50% or 25%. All of these settings are controlled by one button, which also turns the light on and off.
Having all these controls on the one button seemed a bit tricky at first, but we quickly got accustomed to it and found we could get to the setting we wanted very quickly. To make matters easier, the light also has a built in memory so remembers the last setting you were using when you turned it off, and returns to this setting the next time you turn it on.
Another excellent feature of the Radiant Pro 2500 is the power indicator light that wraps around the on/off button. This light is green when the batteries are fully charged, but then changes to yellow, red and finally blinking red as the power decreases. This is a great feature as it lets you know if you need to change batteries before the next dive, rather than run out of juice in the middle of your dive. Speaking of battery power, Fantasea suggest you will get about a 50 minute burn time on full power, but on my two test dives I found I got far more. On one dive I used the light continuously for 50 minutes, and on the second dive I switched it on and off for around an hour, and after these two dives there was still power left (around 15 to 30% judging by the red power indicator light). Helen also used the Radiant Pro 2500 on over twenty dives on a recent trip to the Philippines with her Canon G16, and found that she only needed to change batteries after every third or fourth dive.
Testing the Radiant Pro 2500 with the new Sony RX100IV camera, I captured some great 4K video footage. The video light produces lovely warm natural colours and it more than covered the Fantasea Bigeye lens which I had attached to the Fantasea FRX100IV housing. The video light appeared to have a working range of around 1m, which was perfect for the subjects I filmed; a green turtle having a rest, butterflyfish and rock cods darting about in a cave and wobbegong watching my every move. I also found that the video light is so good that I could take still photos using the camera’s automatic settings, so less chance of backscatter using the camera’s built-in flash. Helen also found the Radiant Pro 2500 great for shooting stills, and has since replaced her external strobe with this video light, as it gives her more flexibility to shoot video and stills on the same dive.
At night the Radiant Pro 2500 comes into its own as a torch for finding critters and a great way to film them. The light from our old torches looked very pitiful next to the Radiant Pro 2500 light, which seemed to light up the sea bed. We even had to drop the power setting as it was just too bright at times.
Overall the Fantasea Radiant Pro 2500 is an excellent video light that can also be used to shoot still images, or you could simply use it as a very powerful torch.
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