This torch, with its three high-powered LEDs, is no exception. It is one of a series that goes from R1 to R5 according to the number of LEDs. It’s a handy 20cm long by 6.5cm in diameter, and is made from aluminium, anodised black.

Power Source
The R3 is powered by eight alkaline or rechargeable AA batteries. This suits me well, because all my other gear that uses batteries needs the same.
Taking it apart to fit the batteries required close examination of the manual, otherwise it could be fraught with difficulty and frustration.
You need to place the lamp LED end face-down on a flat surface, and then rotate the main body away from the light-head.
If you try to do this, as I did, simply by holding it in two hands, you’ll find yourself scrabbling about on the floor looking for the little switch-lock that is free to fall out.
It even falls out when you put the lamp on a table, but at least you can then find it easily.
This would have no effect on the use of the lamp if it were to go missing and, this small defect apart, the whole thing is very precisely made.
The handle section is on a long thread. Once you come to the end of it, this allows you to pull the sleeve off the lamp-head to reveal the battery-chassis.
The chassis locates in the head by sheer gravity – another reason to follow the instructions on how to do it.
Once you have fitted the eight batteries and found the little bit of plastic that fulfils the role of switch-lock, you replace the sleeve and screw it back up.
The waterproofing O-rings that Seac calls a “radial seal” are not visible, so I assume that they are deep within the head.

Light Source
Three 3W LEDs pump out plenty of light. These are in a cluster within the head of the lamp, each with its own reflector.
A three-hour burntime from one set of batteries, at full light output, is sufficient for the amount of use I gave this lamp during a week’s diving.

The Seac R3 has a broad collar around the business end of the lamp and this operates a magnetic switch. The bit of plastic that caused so much distraction simply acts to lock this collar, to avoid firing up the lamp accidentally.
The Seac website appears to imply that the R3 has variable power settings, which I assumed to be sequential. However, I was unable to discern any difference in output, so must conclude that this was misleading.

In The Water
The R3 lit up the reef in a bright but gently diffused way. It would have been an ideal lamp to take with me inside any wrecks that enjoyed relatively good visibility.
The beam was almost even enough to be used as a light source for video shooting. During proper dives it made short work of the gloomy reef overhangs that feature in most Maldivian thilas, and I startled quite a few creatures from their daytime slumbers.
I also took the R3 for a night snorkel with non-diving guests from Atoll Explorer, and noted how broad the beam was compared to those of the torches with which they had been supplied.
I came across a large whitetip and a grey reef shark energetically hunting in the dark at only 3m deep. I expected an element of panic among those following me along the reef, but it seems that they were all concentrating too well along the narrow beams of their own torches to notice the company.

Aqua Lung Alu Trio, £219
Fa & Mi Super Ledium 50, £275
Metalsub XRE 500-R LED, £189

PRICE £249
POWER SOURCE 8 AA batteries
BURNTIME 3hr at full power
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