Evidently, fish cannot see red light, but we can, and I was using this fact to my advantage.
Once the little blighters put in an appearance, I would be able to focus my camera by the red light before capturing their images with a blast of white light from my flashguns.
We’d gone out to the chosen spot just as dusk was falling. My buddy, not a photographer, had no red light, so kept station near me while I concentrated on watching for the moment of action to arrive.
It got very dark, and the coral rubble lit up in the pool of red light from the Sola Photo 1200 was all I could see.
At one point, I thought my first stage had developed a leak because I could hear what I thought was rushing air. I checked above me, but could see nothing and went back to concentrating on the ruby-lit rubble.
Finally, the first colourful mandarinfish started hopping about within vision.
I leaned forward with my camera to get the close-up, and collided with six other underwater photographers doing the same. It seems they had come upon us in the dark, drawn to that pool of red light like moths to a candle, and they were all using it to try to spot their quarry.
I felt like protesting: “Get your own Sola Photo 1200” but, of course, I couldn’t. I just had to put up with my own uncharacteristic generosity.

The product
Light & Motion makes a number of lamps that look similar but have slightly differing applications. These are designated by the name, either Photo, or Video, or D for dive lamp.
The Photo versions are distinguished by the choice of red or white light output. The 1200 Photo pushes out 1200 lumens of white light or 220 lumens of red.
The lamps all have hard-to-match power output for their size. It’s the advanced lithium-ion rechargeable battery combined with high-output LED technology that makes this possible.
They are all factory-sealed to ensure that any leaks should not be the diver’s problem. Each lamp is charged by connecting the intelligent fast charger to the external three-pin charging connections provided at the back.

Switching
The top switch is untwisted and slid forwards or backwards according to whether you want the six white-light LEDs or the four red-light LEDs to switch on.
The switching is sequential, in that it goes from quarter-, through half-, to full-power. Holding the switch at its furthest position turns the lamp off.
A row of three top-mounted LEDs tells you which power setting has been selected. Three alight means full-power, and so on.
These LEDs double in function by indicating the battery’s state of charge. Green is full, blinking green is between half and full, yellow is between a quarter and a half, and red indicates that less than a quarter of the battery’s capacity remains.
The charger takes just over two hours to fully charge the lamp from flat.

The Beam
The beam proved remarkably even, to the extent that there seemed to be no point in reproducing here a photograph of the light that it throws. I guess it’s only really bright enough for use with a compact doing macro shots.
At 60°, it certainly isn’t wide enough for wide-angle pictures.
However, as an aiming light, whether you use the red setting for marine life or white light output within the confines of a wreck or other dark space, it’s unbeatable.
If you want more light output, I suggest you go for the Sola 200 Video light.

COMPARABLE LAMPS TO CONSIDER:
Big Blue FF 4x5 AFO, £290

SPECS
PRICE £599
WEIGHT 283g
BEAM ANGLE 60°
BURNTIME 65min at full power (260min at lowest setting)
CONTACT www.lightandmotion.com
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