Mike Bartick's Review of Nocturnal Lights' M700i
Nocturnal recently released the new M700I- Ultra Compact LED video light to the Underwater Photography and video lighting community. I’ve had the opportunity to use two of these compact lights extensively over the last 6 months logging over 200+ dives on them so far. We used the lights in a variety of conditions including intense ambient light to night dives and found them to be very effective from one end of that spectrum to the other. In addition I have also assigned them to my guides for use with guests for locating critters on night dives.
The lights are smaller in size but provide excellent output. They are lightweight for travel come with spare O-rings, 2 proprietary CR123 batteries (can be purchased world-wide) and a 110-240 charger which allows charging in almost any country.
The torch head employs a twist on/off mechanism to power up and with a quick twist can also change the output from full to half power. The design is also a heat sink that absorbs heat for working topside or for helping on the boat at night etc. My style of macro shooting demands quick focus and the brilliant white LED output helps my AF to lock on quickly, ultimately allowing me to capture photos as they unfold.
I normally use 1 light on night dives as my modeling /night diving light mounted on the top of my housing. The single battery consistently provided more than 1 hour of solid burn time on full power then slowly began to fade over a 15 minute period.
I decided to try using two lights for a continuous lighting series and worked on several different ideas. The yawning frogfish was shot at 5 frames per second and I was able to capture the sequence nicely with excellent contrast and sharp edges.
With an explosion of modeling lights for the UW Camera market these days choices can get very confusing and very expensive, very quickly. The qualities that I admired the most about this light are
- The size and weight
- Output and quality of light
- Ease of use and charging
I will continue to use the lights to see how much more abuse they can withstand over the next several months, So far I’m impressed..