[dropcap size=big]Y[/dropcap]ou should seriously consider the new Venom C-c92 video lights from I-Torch if you want to take your underwater footage to the next level. I have been using the C-92 lights for about 15 dives now, and they really change the way my underwater scenes are lit. Continue for the full review of the Venom C-92 video lights.
Here is a list of the most important features of the lights:
- CRI Value of 92
- 4000 lumens
- 110° beam angle
- Possibility to install remote control
- Burn time (full power) of 1 hour
- Size: 54mm diameter, 117mm long (460g on land)
One of the biggest selling points is the exceptional CRI value. Color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to faithfully reveal the colors of various objects in comparison with an ideal or natural light source (Yes, straight from Wiki). In other words; you get a great colors very close to natural light. This will give you a lot of wiggle room in post processing. The skin tones are rendered really beautifully, which makes them very suitable for lighting a diver’s face as well as marine life. Check out the video further down for real life examples.
One of my favorite features! Sometimes I am using a Sigma 15mm FE with my full frame 5D mk2 camera. By using two c-92 lights I get full coverage across the whole frame and beautiful even lighting. This is way better than the SOLA lights I was previously using, and really makes the footage look professional without any hotspots.
4000 lumens gives you the ability to equalize natural light in most scenes, and really get the colors popping in front of the image. Because of the quality and wide beam of the lights, I actually would not mind to have a few extra lumens available, as I sometimes during bright light use them in full power. However this is only something I have missed a few times, and nothing that could not be fixed in post processing.
Using them on full power gives you an approximate burn time of 1 hour. I have actually found myself running out of power on several of my first dives. However, when I tweaked the remote control a bit I was able to shut the lights off easily in between shots, which made the lights last the whole dive. You should be prepared to charge them between each dive, or get an additional battery pack.
This together with the CRI value was one of the main reasons why I bought VenomC92 over the Venom38 (which comes 40% cheaper). Having the remote control makes it easy to expose and access the controls. With the remote control you can either connect two lights to one controller, and control them simultaneously, or buy two remotes and control them separately. With the remote control you have the options to control the lights “step-less” from full to off, and switch between red and white output.
I use a two lights, one control configuration. However I am going to switch to a two lights, two controller configuration after a while. I have been quite happy with my configuration which works great in most cases, but there are a few circumstances where two controllers could make a big difference.
The main circumstance is when I have obstacles or a wall/wreak on the side. Say if I am recording a diver swimming towards me with a wall on his right, I would not want to illuminate the wall with the same power as I am with the other light. I always have the lights angled 45deg away from the dome. By doing that, part of the wall will be illuminated to a greater extent than the diver, and pull focus away from the diver and towards the wall. In this scenario I might want to have the light illuminating the wall on half the power as the one lighting from the other side. It might also come in handy when I want to change the intensity of the lights to create more depth in some of the scenes. Before I buy another one I will have to make sure that it actually is room for another remote when operating the camera.
The fiber optic cables that runs from the light to the control, has caused some frustration. Especially in the beginning, I was not able to connect them to my Ikelite housing properly. I solved this by 3D-printing my own plate which I connected to the ball head in the middle of my Ikelite housing. For housings like Nauticam or Acuatica there should be no problems, but be sure to check the available connection points before buying. Making sure the cables stay put was also a bit of a hassle, especially when moving the arms around. This was solved by using some rubber bands and cable ties. After that I have not had any problems with the cables popping out of its attachment. In the future, I would love to see a more robust connection out of the box.
Unfortunately there is no way to turn the lights off other than turning the dial down to zero. I don’t want to turn the dial all the time, especially when using it on full (as it takes a few seconds), and want to conserve battery in between shots. By pressing the button once, it switches to red lights. However during daytime I never use the red lights, so by turning the red light output down to zero the lights are actually off (In standby mode). By pressing the button again you are able to switch between white light and red (off) on both lights with just the press of a button. You can see this demonstrated in the movie. It also shows the instant difference between lights on/off. In future products I would love to have a dedicated off button. For example by holding the button down 2-3 seconds.
The size and weights of the lights are phenomenal. It only weighs 460g on land, and is 54mm in diameter and 117mm long. This makes it easy to handle and travel with. It is also possible to easily screw off the top head, separating the battery from the head, which is an important increase to safety when traveling by plane.
General feel of the lights:
Diving with the lights is really great. As mentioned they output nice even lighting, with beautiful color rendering and a great way to control the power. They are easy to attach to, arms either with ball heads or special clamps. The seam really robust and easy to maintain.
They do come with an option to use red light. I have not been using this feature at all, but it’s nice to have during nighttime when you want to do macro. I would love to have a spot function instead of red lights, but this is because of my style of shooting.
The Venom C-92 lights will truly be a great addition to your underwater media device. As stated they output colorful even light with great beam angle. The remote(s) are fantastic to use, and I would never dive without them. However, the lights are quite expensive, and I will categorize them as pro equipment. If you can do without the remote control and CRI-value, I would recommend the I-torch38 which comes 40% cheaper, as they share many of the same features as the C-92.
- Very nice beam angle with even light
- Possibility to connect remote control
- Color rendering
Cons: (nitpicking, but always room for improvements)
- Buttons on the lights can be a bit hard to press with thick gloves
- Weak fiber optic cable connection on remote and lights
I have created two (three) movies when using the C-92 lights which I recommend watching. The first movie is called “battle for Narvik”, and shows underwater footage of several wrecks from world war two. Unfortunately the visibility was really bad, so I had to angle the lights towards the wall, and not as straight as I would want to. I still think they did a phenomenal job that few other lights could have done. I also had to use a fisheye lens to give the impression of better visibility. I would have loved to use my 16mm rectangular lens which I am sure would have made it even more spectacular, and made the lights reach further. I have posted the edited version, and a version the shows how the editing affect the footage. The diver in most of the scenes are using two Venom C-92 lights with a remote controller.
The lights can be bought at Fotografit.eu Expect great service and a fast reply.
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