ALFA ROMEO, THE ITALIAN CAR MANUFACTURER, has had a history of going its own way, and so has Fa & Mi, the Italian diving-light maker.
When everyone else was going for black anodised aluminium or Delrin, it stuck with metal lamps in a metallic blue.
It produced a lot of good products, but I sensed that it didn’t do so well in the British marketplace, where all the most popular diving kit now seems to be predominantly black.
So I was wrong-footed when I opened the case in which the latest offering from Italy arrived, to find a conventional-looking torch looking like Delrin but evidently made of aluminium and finished in matt-black anodising.
The Super Ledium 50 measures 22cm long, so it might fit into some BC pockets. It weighs about half a kilo in air, and half of that again under water, and comes in its own case.
Once you get past the distinctive Fa & Mi branding, it looks very much like a product from that factory in China that is now making lamps for several other marques. That said, it isn’t cheap.

Light Source
A 10W high-output Luxeon LED is exceptionally bright, and yet its light gets delivered at a comfortably warm 4500°K, which is akin to late-evening sunshine.
One of the gems of information in the instruction booklet reads: “Batteries are discharged when the colour of the light changes from white to weak.”

Power Source
Power is supplied by two large rechargeable lithium batteries, in series. They are accessed via the cap at the rear end of the lamp body.
The light appears to be kept watertight by a single Viton O-ring, although the instructions talk about O-rings in the plural.
An intelligent charger is supplied, and this has indicator LEDs to show when charging in complete. The instructions warn against totally discharging the batteries, recommending that they are topped up often.
The manual also advises that for air transport, you should not keep the lamp in hand luggage.
This is presumably because of the limitations regarding the transport of big lithium batteries, and reveals a curious Italian method of dealing with the problem.

A magnetic switch offers simple on/off operation. However, the lamp does unscrew
and come apart at a point directly behind the switch, and I found that this section unscrewed more easily than the rear cap.
This means that you must be careful to hold the lamp by the main (narrow) body when accessing the batteries.
If you hold it by the wider part, which you are naturally inclined to do, you will unscrew the head.
It was only after I had done this that I noticed the alert in the difficult-to-read instructions: “Warning: Never unscrew the head of the Torch.”
I guess the importer will find a few of these returning like homing pigeons, because it is so easily done. The warning should be on the lamp.

The beam produced was very even, with a broad circle of light that was exceptionally even from side to side.
There was a slight peripheral halo visible, but for all intents and purposes the light produced by the lamp was effectively pushed where it was needed.

Beuchat Four LED, £295
Metalsub XRE 500-R, £189.

PRICE £275
BATTERIES Lithium rechargeable
WEIGHT 400g with batteries
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