Reviews

Big Blue AL1000XWP dual set up for Go-Pro

With the popularity of the go-pro set-up it was inevitable that 'specialist' set ups have been developed, but how well has this one been developed?

Whilst I have been taking photo's when diving for quite some time, you can see a couple on my home-page, I have only relatively recently bought a second hand go-pro (hero 2) previously using the video function of my camera when I needed to take a video sequence.

Having made the metaphorical plunge and bought a camera it was obvious that in it's standard format it was ok for tropical or shallow water work but for deeper work in the UK the poor light really impacted on the video quality and attempting to use a hand held torch was just too bright, with the light beam too 'tight'. So after some investigation I decided to buy this set-up from Ocean Leisure in London although I am sure that other companies do the same kit.

Firstly the torches, although supplied with lanyards these are not suitable for use as a general diving torch as their very wide angle beam means that they don't 'penetrate' the water very far, that said this wide angle beam is ideal for maximising light within the range of the video. Oh the other reason for not fitting the lanyards is that they will and do dangle infront of the camera, so don't fit 'em, you don't need 'em!!!

The torches are manufactured from aluminium, splitting in the middle to allow access to the Lithium ion rechargeable battery, with a dual o ring set-up. All very simple and proven technology, providing you look after the o-rings, cleaning and greasing appropriately there should be no problem with water leaks. Splitting in the middle also means that you don't have to remove the torches from their clamps to remove and recharge the battery which is just as well because the clamps are plastic and look like they may just age and fail after repeated opening and closing.....although I could be wrong!

The torch is activated using a small push buttom which is surrounded by LED's which give some indication on the power remaining in the battery, a nice feature and maybe a USP but not something most 'organised' divers will use as they ensure that the battery is fully charged before each dive, don't they?

To stay on the subject of the torches they have a light output of 1000 lumens per torch, now if you look and compare with other 'dive torches', for example the Scubapro Nova 700, with 700 lumens,you would say that with a significantly higher output the Big Blue could be used as a dive torch, I feel that it simply cannot be as the light is diffused over 120 o rather than the tight cone that you get with real dive torches.

http://www.oceanleisurecameras.com/gopro/accessories/bigblue-al900xwp-dual-set-up-for-gopro.html

The depth rating on the torches is 100m, more than deep enough for the most common users of the Go-pro system, who tend to be rec rather than tec divers, oh and with the dive housing having a rating of about 60m there is no fear of busting the torches in normal use.

Moving on th the tray and flexible arms.....well what can I say, they are well made although with the 'lobster tail' type flexible arms you always stand the chance of bending them too far and popping the sections. the option to this style of arm are the much more expensive Ikelite options with rigid, straight sections and universal ball elbow joints and to be honest the inclusion would push the price up beyond a point where you would find buyers.

Now my only grouse, to 'nail' your camera housing onto the set-up you need a tri-pod adaptor, something which isn't supplied as standard with the camera so another cost, although only £14.99 from Ocean Leisure or £2.39 from 'Frostycow Ltd' on ebay! Just to iterate the guys at Ocean Leisure do make it obvious that you need this part, it's not like gettinga Christmas present without batteries..........

Having used the set-up a few times now with some quite nice footage taken I think that if you use a go-pro then this light set-up is a worthwhile purchase, that said with it's compact size there is an argument for nailing it to your hood so that you are videoing what you are looking at!  

Richies Rating 8.5/10, shame that a tripod adaptor isn't included as standard

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