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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Where the shore meets the ocean

    Default Are cannister lights still necessary?

    There was a time when burn times were limited so cannister lights were essential. Now it appears that burn times have improved and cordless lights are not as limited as they once were. If you are not doing those 5 hour cave dives, are can lights that vital? GUE and UTD insist on them but what about other agencies and instructors?

  2. #2


    Briefly. I suppose that you can attach your 3 hrs burn time capable mono-lighthead having a stainless steel bolt clip with long lanyard to waist belt. What is gives you? You won't accidentally drop it while working with other equipment such as scooters and stages, while attaching it to harness for different tasks-differently, and you can clip yourself into mainline in a weirdest case scenario.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    St Pete, Fl


    I think yes.

    While LED and battery tech is getting there, it's not there yet. Additionally dropping your fancy light and having it be gone forever would suck.

  4. #4


    It depends on how much light you need and for what duration. First, what the rest of your team is diving with? You need to be able to signal your teammates. That requires a focused beam that outshines the spill from your buddy's light. Also, how big is the cave passage? If you are solo diving in tight passage you can probably get away with a cordless either on your helmet or with a wrist mount. Duration is another factor. A 900 lumen LED light using single Cree XML led will get about an hour of full brightness out of a single 3400 mAh Lithium Ion battery. It's easy to carry more than 3 lights if you are worried about the burn time. If you are new to cave diving, you will probably want to go with what your instructor recommends.

    Although I don't use my can light on every dive, I don't see myself getting rid of it any time soon. For big caves there is nothing like turning on the "sun" to see far.

  5. #5


    While LEDs and Li-ion batteries have improved, they still don't equal a 35 Watt HID for penetration in murky water and overall illumination. As long as this remains the case, can lights are still necessary.
    I like doing 90 minute cave dives in Mexico, and don't want to swap lights during a dive or try to find a way to recharge batteries between dives. So I really want a guaranteed 4 or 5 hour burn time. Need a canister for that.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Panama City Beach, Fl.


    I have really been impressed with the Big Blue handhelds. I think for the majority of people they don't really need a can light anymore. I was in Mexico with a buddy and I thought he was crazy for diving with an 18k Big Blue handheld. He was lighting up stuff in a huge dark.cave that my UWLD 3500 wouldn't touch. Even coming out after3 or 4 hours his light blew mine away. It is a big light but suprisingly underwater it wasn't bad and it penetrated better than any light I have seen with a good bit of spill. Their 4500 lumen light works pretty good too. I think you can buy the 4500 lumen light in the 3-$400 range and the 18k for 8-$900. For the price they are hard to beat. I think the Chinese / Tiawanese lights will continue to improve and it isn't anything against the high end light manufacturers but I would really be worried about my business model if I was them.

    You didn't ask but the Big Blue 30k video light really rocks too and for well under $1,000 I couldn't see buying anything else at this time.

  7. #7


    I still have a big cannisterlight. 15 hours burntime. That is not possible with my handheld lights. And my cannister is brighter, has more output. This is important for bad viz and such a things.
    BUT: I have a good handheldlight for around 35 euro. Bought in China. Normal sellingprice in my country (rebranded same lights) is around 100 euro, for exactly the same light. If I have to pay importtaxes it is still under the 50 euro. This light needed 3 C-cells, which can be recharables (I paid last year 3.50 euro for 2 rechargables, so bought 5 packs) . Then the burntime is around 5 hours and yes it is not as much burntime and output as my cannisterlight, but it is still enough for a day cavediving on holiday in Florida. Normally this are my backuplights, but when flying I put 3 in my luggage, take the rechargable batteries in the carry on (NiMh), and take an holster for 1 light. The holsters I buy in China too.
    It works great.

  8. #8


    for me the answer is yes. The LED tech is there, so not sure where AJ was coming with that, especially since the Halcyon lights are all using very small emitters compared to other options on the market. The battery tech isn't there for reliable 4+ hour burn times in a small package, but the new Dive Rite HP50 should be interesting. $800, 2500 lumen, 2.5hrs burn *these are all plausible numbers if you run the math btw*. I think that's more than enough for probably 95% of cave divers.

    My thing against them, is I don't like something that big on my wrist. I like my nice small UWLD head and I'll deal with the cord to not have something bigger than that

    @gearhead, your comment is mostly correct. LED's are forward emitting, so it is very difficult to keep their super focused beam and still have decent spill without making the heads very large, however they can be focused to penetrate like an HID, and most certainly can provide more usable light with a bit of a sacrifice in beam angle. Halcyon actually did a really good job at mimicking the HID beam pattern on their new lights. Still only really comparable to a new 18 ish w HID bulb *remember that HID's suffer pretty significant degradation over their life*. LED's are currently able to put out close to 2x the light output for the same watt consumption as HID, so there are plenty of LED's out there that can blow a 35w HID out of the water for usable light outside of the hotspot.

    For cavern/intro/hour long cave dives, I'm a proponent of having a pair of good backup lights with a button on them with a light sock. Similar light output to a 10w HID, which is more than enough, they're $100 ish each, you'll need them for backups eventually anyway, and they're great little lights if you don't want to or need to pony up for a big canister at this point

  9. #9


    I agree with you tbone1004 about a big thing on your wrist. But as I said it works well for a travelling diver. 5 hours is possible, and that is most times enough.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Germie View Post
    I agree with you tbone1004 about a big thing on your wrist. But as I said it works well for a travelling diver. 5 hours is possible, and that is most times enough.
    What I actually want to see is something come out similar to the ISE Alien light which I'll probably be making for myself actually


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