YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE when you climb back on board a dive-boat to hear what other divers made of the wreck you just visited. Sometimes you listen to what they say they saw, and wonder if you were diving a different wreck.
I put it down to having the right sort of lamp, and more than 30 years of diving experiences have armed me with endless anecdotes about going in for a dive with inadequate lighting.
It’s usually because a lamp has too broad a beam to be very penetrative, or else its beam is so narrow that I missed half the things I was meant to look at.
At least, that’s what it’s like nowadays. It’s been years since I followed my old mate Tom Burton around while he lit up the view with a lamp he constructed from a length of drainpipe, a car sealed-beam headlamp and a load of bell batteries wired in series.
I would be carrying the sort of puny offering that was all dive shops could offer at that time.
Today, thanks to advances in both batteries and high-output LEDs, we can tuck a little lamp into our BC pocket that would outshine Tom’s monstrosity, and still have room for a spare.
Of course, if you are buddied with someone using a 10,000-lumen lamp you’re going to be outshone. However, for general use the fewer lumens put out by either of these two new lamps from TovaTec will be more than adequate.

The Design
Both lamps are constructed from tough marine-grade anodised aluminium, with a milled surface to give a good grip. Both have a simple magnetic on/off switch.
There’s none of that clever sequential switching that leaves you forever wondering if you’re running a lamp at its full potential.
There’s no super-simple screw-down crown arrangement that allows the lamp to come on un-noticed in your pocket at depth, running down the battery without your knowledge so that it fails on the day you really need it.
It’s on or off and, without any through-body connection for the switch, there’s nothing to cause a leak. In each case you unscrew the end of the lamp to access the batteries, and a double O-ring ensures that the lamp is watertight.

Performance
The TovaTec Ultra 3 is the bigger and brighter of the two, with a 500-lumen Cree LED running off six AA batteries for a maximum burntime of six hours.
Its beam is quite narrow at only 14°, but that proves useful when peering though the sort of murky water we often experience on the shallower wrecks around the UK.
It’s just a little too big to stow in a pocket easily.
The less-than-snappily named TovaTec IFL WA Zoom gives out only a little more than half the amount of light of its simpler sibling, but is almost half the size.
Its front contains a simple focusing lens that can be adjusted so that the beam can be varied from 14° to a wide 45°.
Not only that, but the front can be pulled right off to turn it into a very effective and totally diffused video light for close-ups.

Conclusion
It’s not a case of which is better – these two lights actually complement each other.
You can stow the smaller one away and pull it out when the narrow beam of the Ultra 3 is not ideal. The Cree LED of both ensures good colour temperature for proper rendition of colours under water.
Both lights come with useful lanyards and the TovaTec IFL WA Zoom has a set of two lithium batteries included that promise a three-hour burntime before the lamp starts to dull.
Both are rated for as deep as you’ll be likely to want to go.
The strength of these lamps is in their simplicity, and that is also reflected in their asking price. Keep it simple!

COMPARABLE LAMPS TO CONSIDER:
Edi-T D2, £74
Hollis LED5, £75
Scubapro Nova 200, £75
Aqua-Lung Alu Solo, £99

SPECS
TOVATEC ULTRA 3
PRICE £68
LIGHT SOURCE 500-lumen Cree LED
BATTERIES 6 x AA
BURNTIME Six hours
WEIGHT 425g
LENGTH 25cm
SWITCH Magnetic
BEAM ANGLE 14°
DEPTH RATING 122m
CONTACT www.cpspartnership.com
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TOVATEC IFL WA ZOOM
PRICE £66
LIGHT SOURCE 300 lumen Cree LED
BATTERIES 2x CR123 lithium
BURNTIME Three hours
WEIGHT 240g
LENGTH 16cm
SWITCH Magnetic
BEAM ANGLE 9°- 45°- 140°
DEPTH RATING 122m
CONTACT www.cpspartnership.com
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