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  • Writer's pictureAlly Landes

BIGBLUE | Little Lights with Bright Results

The BigBlue Test

Diving conditions as of late have thrown low visibility and high turbidity on both trips I’ve managed to schedule out on the East Coast to test my new dive lights by BigBlue. These would otherwise be good conditions to test lighting in – apart from the swaying currents making a photoshoot more than difficult to get steady shots – but these lights have made a significant difference to the quality of my shots all done with GoPros. I haul heavy weight equipment around enough as it is without having to add to my underwater photo and video setup. I only had a few prerequisites. I needed to keep my equipment minimalist, at small scale mainly for travel, but which would give me big enough results for publications.

GoPro Setup with Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights

I had been using two Light and Motion GoBe 700 Wide lights for years and had so often struggled with their performance and functioning reliability. The only thing I appreciated about them was how compact they were, including their charging cables.

After a lot of lighting research, I became even more undecided and had to ask filmmaker David Diley for some help, whether he could suggest a brand that would work for me. He pointed me straight to BigBlue. After a short look through all their video and photo lights, I settled on two Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights. I had finally found an affordable upgrade with optimal wide angle lighting which would keep my system compact and light for travel – with quality being my top priority.

GoPro Shot without Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights
GoPro Shot without Light
GoPro Shot with Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights
GoPro Shot with Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights

With an extra wide beam angle of 120-degrees, I get perfect all around lighting which is great for both video and photography, and with the power of 2600 lumens I’ve doubled my illumination. The Black Molly V has built-in red LEDs for enhanced focusing and night video work, they come with a yellow removable filter, and a standard one-inch ball for easy video system mounting.

The ball mounting does not however work with my system and the only qualm I’ve got are the accessories available for my existing rig. I use ½ inch Loc-line flexiarms (I like these for the flexibility they give to moving lights around quickly) on both my existing trays which are still in good working condition so I wasn’t prepared to spend more money replacing them and lose use of something I already have. The only solution was to order separate ½ inch loc-line mount adapters (2 sets of 2 which alone increased the costs by an extra $128) to fix the lights to my segments. I ordered two YS Adapters, and two DA-006 Light Adapters to connect the lights to find the DA-006 adapters are well and truly awful!

They don’t hold the lights steady threaded through the YS adapters (the threads continuously turn without locking the placement that is exactly what needs to happen here) which makes the lights rattle under any movement and continuously in current. On my last test dive with them, the lights wouldn’t hold up at all and rendered useless without tape to hold them in place. It could have just been the one adapter that was faulty, but as you have to purchase them per piece, it turns out these are of poor quality which I will have to report back. Duct tape may for the time being be my only backup until I can solve this problem long term. If you are good to use the standard one-inch ball mounts, you’re good to go and won’t be disappointed!

GoPro Shot without Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights
GoPro Shot without Light
GoPro Shot with Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights
GoPro Shot with Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights

The separate rechargeable batteries are a fantastic perk to what I used to have! The battery chargers take up slightly more space than the GoBe charging cables did, but I’m now able to order spare batteries to have fully charged extras at the ready which is a game changer. There are four power settings to reduce the lighting intensity and the rechargeable Li-ion 26650 batteries give you two hours on the highest setting so they can last a really long time depending on how you use them.

The Verdict

These lights blow my Light and Motion GoBe’s right out of the water. Size, weight, and burn time are perfect, and the light output has surpassed my expectations. There is a lot more diving to be done to test these little beauties’ full performance, but I can safely say, I’ve made a solid investment thus far.

Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Lights

The Black Molly V: 2600 Lumen Video Light is priced at $339.99 and is available in black or orange/silver. BigBlue sponsored my second.

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