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Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:19 AM Reply   
[PICTURES IN MULTIPLE POSTS DUE TO PIC PER POST LIMITS!]

I posted this in the Mastercraft forum but I lurk in the other company forums too and thought this information would be useful for any brand of boat.

I decided to tackle underwater leds for my 2013 Mastercraft X-25 this year. After looking all over the forums for info on the brightest lights, I found there wasnít a lot of information to get a true comparison of all the newest lights from some of the top companies. I wanted to see these lights for myself before drilling 16 holes in my transom (plan to do 4 surface mount lights). I obtained a pair of lights from each of these companies and built a testing setup to truly compare these lights with all equal variables with my own eyes.

I wanted to film and take pictures so that everyone else can see the comparison first hand without having to rely on peopleís opinions that may not have seen all the different lights.

Iíll give my opinions and my final choice and why, but mostly I want the pictures and videos out there for people to see the differences for themselves.

I used both an iphone X and gopro hero 6 to do this comparison. I locked the exposure for each set of pictures as well as the color temperature on the gopro to give all lights completely equal variables for visual comparison purposes. Im not a photographer by any means and these pictures donít look pretty but they serve their purpose for comparing.

I AM NOT BEING PAID BY ANY OF THESE COMPANIES OR DOING THIS FOR ANYONE BUT MYSELF AND THE READERS OF THE FORUMS. I am completely unbiased and just trying to decide which lights to put on my boat permanently.
This is a visual comparison only. I am not measuring any lumen values. These lighting companies each have testing facilities to obtain those lumen numbers, and I am not concerned with them for this comparison.

I wanted an RGB setup so the lights I chose to compare are all RGB versions. The lights being tested are:

- Liquid Lumen RGBW

- Abyss Medium starfish multicolor

- Lumishore SMX153 (SMX93 is identical in performance but controlled with toggle switching instead of their lumi-link system that is required for the SMX153)

- Shadow-Caster SCR-24 Color Changing

- Lumitec SeablazeX2 spectrum


These are all the most current lights from each company. I know the Liquid Lumens light has been around for about 4 years now vs some of these others were released much more recently. The Lumitec Seablazex2 spectrum and the shadowcaster scr24cc are pretty new if I recall.

Initially I was only trying to compare brightness and not controller features. After installing and using 5 separate RGB light systems, I realized how important it is to have a good way to control the lights. I figured whatís the point of having multi color without being able to easily control it.

This was done on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, KY. KY lake has a muddy bottom. The water is very murky. Keep that in mind with these images and videos. This is more of a test to compare all the lights with equal variables than it is showing off the raw performance of these lights. I have no doubt they would look much better in clearer water but this is where I boat and I am sure many other lakes are similar to this as well.


[SIZE="4"]Comparison Video Link! (see pics below as well)

[video=youtube;XvlQG5X23DM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvlQG5X23DM[/video]



THE TESTING SETUP

I have 7 XS power XP3000 batteries on the boat for a total of an 840 aH battery bank. There is more than enough power here to keep each light operating at optimal performance. I ran knukonceptz 4 gauge OFC wire to two bus bars mounted on a board in the storage compartment as pictured. All lights and/or their controllers were wired directly to these bus bars so each light has equal electrical setup. This looks like absolute chaos but everything worked well. 5 of the batteries are pictured here and 2 more are hidden in front of the drivers helm.











All light pairs were mounted to a test board. Each light in a pair was 21 inches apart. The liquid lumens light was removed when illuminating the other lights since they are so thick and could potential hinder light spread from the adjacent lights. The board was submerged underwater under the platform of my X25 with a weight to hold it steady from floating up. The lights were all submerged in about 12 inches of water.
















BRIGHTNESS, COLOR, AND SPREAD

If I learned anything doing all this itís that nighttime photography with pitch darkness and very bright lights is very difficult. Below are the pictures that seemed to best represent what the eye saw. Some colors were better depicted with the iphone than the gopro and vice versa.


This video is from my iphone with exposure and focus locked throughout the entire video. (I tried to embed it but could not figure it out.) I feel it gives a very accurate overall perception of the lights compared against each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvlQG5X23DM



Brightness in white

To me Liquid Lumens seemed the most intense bright white but it was a very narrowed beam and actually did not project much further than the other two brightest whites which were lumitec and lumishore. They both spread light much much better as well. The projection distance would probably be different in crystal clear water but in KY lake water Liquid Lumens did not project noticeably further than competitors. Lumitec may be slightly brighter than lumishore but to my eye it was pretty close.

Next would be Shadow Caster. They still sent light about the same distance it just didnít feel as intense. Then Abyss for the white brightness. These two lights use a combination of red green and blue to produce a ďwarmerĒ white. They do not have white LEDs whereas Liquid Lumens, Lumitec, and Lumishore do.



Colors (see pics bellow and in following posts)

Blue

Abyss and Lumishore have a very deep blue color that I thought looked absolutely awesome as well as good brightness. Liquid lumens blue seemed a small bit lighter in comparison and about the same brightness. Shadow Casterís blue was more of a light blue or baby blue than the Lumishore and Abyss.. Lumitec has a bright blue but it seems like they mixed in white ledís with it so it doesnít have near the appeal the Abyss and Lumishore blues do. Iíll touch on this in a minute but it was also hard to stop exactly on the perfect blue with the Lumitec since there is not a controller available for it yet so I got the closest I could and white ledís may partially stay on for their blue color or I didnít get stopped on blue perfectly.


Red and Green

Lumishore and Abyss had similar very deep colored green and red. Liquid Lumen was a slightly lighter hue of each. Lumitec again was hard to stop on a perfect green and red but they seemed just as bright as Lumishore and Abyss with not quite the deepness in color. Shadow Casters green and red both had a lighter hue than the others.


Light Spread

Shadow caster seemed to have the widest spread of all the lights tested. Lumitec Lumishore and Abyss had about the same spread.

Liquid Lumens has the least spread of the 5 lights compared. As mentioned earlier this is by design in this particular model (RGB only comes in one lens) to concentrate light for better projection. I did not appreciate significantly further projection but I think that has to do with murky waters.


Controllers

Lumishore takes the cake hands down here with their LumiLink control system and is a large reason why I have chosen Lumishore for my permanent installation. This requires the SMX153 light. The SMX93 would operate very similar to the seablazex2 which Iíll touch on below. The lumilink control system allows for complete control through their EOS STV 2204-i display. Which requires a 83mm x 83mm mounting location. It can also be mounted in a hidden location and controlled completely through smart devices. (iphone android etc). It puts out a wifi signal and allows for browser control of the entire system with any web-enabled device. No app required. I used an iPhone for testing and it worked very well as it mirrors exactly what the screen on the controller shows. Iíll get more into that below but here are some pictures.





Second in controls would be Shadow Casters zone controller kit. 4 separate zones can be set. They work with rgb wiring so you could potential incorporate any brand rgb lighting (speaker rings, led strips, etc) into the underwater lights all using the same controller separated by zones. The SCr24cc can be controlled through toggle switch only but the zone controller makes it quick and simple. No display readout but it illuminates the zone number with the color it is set to.


Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:19 AM Reply   



Music integration is available on the Lumishore system as well as the Shadow Caster Zone controller system and Liquid Lumens system. Lumishore and Shadow Caster connect to the audio signal with a 3.5mm aux jack. Liquid Lumens does not require this step and integrates music using a microphone.

Liquid Lumens has the music sync option on the remote and can be set to two different modes. I did not try this so I forget exactly what they are.

Lumishore music sync can be adjusted very specifically by choosing colors for specific frequencies and the background as well as the sensitivity and background intensity. Multiple “scenes” can be set with different adjustments for different genres.


Shadow Caster has 3 music sync modes. One changes color with frequencies and the other changes light amplitude with frequencies. The third is a combo of both with colors cycling while amplitude beats to music.

Liquid Lumens and Abyss come with similar wireless remotes. These both seemed to work well and had no problem with range inside the boat.

Lumitec ramps up to full brightness over 4 seconds when switched on. You can toggle the switch at anytime during this ramp up to stop at that brightness level. If you leave the switch on it begins to cycle through every color in its spectrum. To leave the light on a certain color you have to switch the light off and back on within 3 seconds and it will remain on that color. The lights move decently quickly so sometimes it was hard to stop on the perfect red green or blue for the comparisons. After the first few cycles it begins to cycle much slower and can be left on that mode. It cycles all colors over 3 minutes I believe and then repeats.


Final Notes on each system

Instead of saying in each lights section I’ll say up front. All these lights are at about the highest end of the underwater led surface mount quality spectrum. All the lights felt extremely solid and well built. I didn’t pick up any of them and think this feel cheap. The major differences are the wires provided with the lights. All companies provided adequate screws for mounting as well.

Abyss Medium Starfish Multicolor

-First of all I think it’s very important to note these come with a free controller and wireless remote. They can probably be had close to the cheapest. At $780 for a pair and the controller with free shipping direct from Abyss using their discount code posted at the top of the website
- They don’t have the white LEDs but their color choices for blue green and red are awesome.
-Particularly their blue. Abyss and lumishore’s blue are almost identical in their spectrum of color and they look amazing. Very deep colors.
- These use RGB wiring and were straight forward to install. The DMX controller is not waterproof. Wires were about 8-10 foot long and probably 16 guage per color and 14 guage for ground so may need to make extensions to get to a dry compartment depending on your setup.



- Each controller box powers up to 3 lights and can be linked together for more than 3
- Great price for a great performing light. I opted for a light with a white LED in the array as well as the smart phone control capability.



Lumitec Seablaze X2 Spectrum


-These are RGBW meaning they have the white LEDs as well.
-3 wire install. Positive, negative, and switch wire. Only about 6 feet of wire so definitely need to splice more and with a 5 amp draw if your batteries are a ways away you’ll need to up the gauge as well. Seems like it was 14-16 guage wire.
-Needs a controller. The light itself is very bright. The switch mechanism is simple if you want to just turn your light on and leave it in color sweeping mode. Any further actions require toggling on and off and waiting for the right color to illuminate.
- I mentioned this a couple other times but a few of the color pictures for the lumitec may not be their true color because some white LED is mixed in. This also may give it an appearance of a brighter color.
- Overall the brightness was very close to Lumishore. Maybe a tad brighter white. The colors in my opinion did not look as deep and true as lumishore or abyss or liquid lumens. The small edge in brightness was not enough of a difference to make me consider going with it over having a full control system. Even though there is extra cost involved for lumishore with the controller.
- It is not out yet but it looks like Lumitec has a controller device in the works called POCO. It is OEM only currently but expected to release to the public later this year. I was told it will not have a sound to light music sync function.
-Looks like the going price for a Seablaze X2 spectrum is about $589 per light.


Lumishore SMX153 (SMX93 identical for visual light performance just no controls)


-This is the system I decided to go with for my boat’s permanent install.

-First off I want to clarify the difference in the SMX153 and SMX93. The SMX153 requires the Lumilink command center to function. It CANNOT be operated without it. You can hook these into select MFDs but most wake boats do not have that so the STV2204i display is going to be required component. This can then be hidden away and use only smart devices to control the system if desired since dash space is often limited in wake boats. I plan to mount it to the drivers right in some of the free space on that panel.
- The SMX93 is the exact same visually functioning light so all the pictures and videos are accurate representation of the 93’s performance as well as the 153. The 93 is controlled by toggle switch. I cant comment on how that works because I did not have that setup.
- SMX153 Requires installation of a hub and “command center” see pics below. They made it very simple and clean to install. The wires coming out of the light were about 12 feet long and had water tight IP68 rated connectors that just plugged straight into the hub. Same connections take a DMX control wire to the Command center. From the command center an Ethernet cable runs to the STV2204-i display. Then power to the command center and display with positive and negative wires.
- Connections to the battery are from the hub. Fuses are all included and an indicator light is next to each fuse showing it is still intact through a waterproof glass.
-A downside to this system is that it has to boot up each time power is turned off and back on. This takes about 60 seconds before it is functional.
- The command center draws 0.5 amps at rest as does the display (total of 1 amp at rest) so it is not plausible to leave power hooked to these units. I plan to use a relay triggered by my stock underwater lights switch to power on these units. Extra steps required and a 60 second wait after the power is switched on but the benefits outweigh the extra work in my opinion.
- The Lumilink command center and STV2204i are very new products so accurate pricing is not readily available online. Call an authorized dealer. The prices are not always what you see online these are just the minimum advertising prices. The SMX93 is considerably cheaper with the same visual performance, but less control.
- The amount of control allowed by this system blows everything else I tested away. They don’t currently sell accent and strip lighting to the public but plan to soon and it can all be controlled through this unit using multiple zones and can sync up with underwater lighting.
-This is also the only system I tested that allows smart device control.
-The sound to light function allows for complete customization of colors by frequency. Heres a quick demo video of my trying it out.

https://youtu.be/UitRt367Aas






Liquid Lumens RGBW lights (LL)


- As I mentioned before this light design is about 4 years old and the others are much newer technology. Currently this is still LL newest tech light.
- I think this one would have performed better in clearer water or with a more wide angled lens. Their RGBW light only comes in the narrow beam lens. They have a “surfrider” lens that is a wider angle but does not come in RGBW models.
-The white from this light was the brightest as mentioned before but only in the center of the light and no further away than the other top brightness lights in white.
- LL uses a voltage upconversion to run the lights at 34 volts. This requires a separate box, which can be seen on the picture of the board with all the power supplies at the beginning of the post. Its capable of powering 2 underwater lights as well as one of their topside lights. This box has a master switch to ensure no amp draw for off-season and in season storage. The included remote is easy to use and works as expected.
-These lights are heavy duty. Built very sturdy in a large housing. The wire is sealed up very well in the house. Also it comes off the light towards the edge which can help when trying to avoid stringers during mounting.



-The wire that comes out of each light is nearly double in length of any of the other brands! I didn’t measure it but it’s close to 20 feet. The power box is not waterproof so it must be ran to a dry location. The length of these wires really helps make that simple. They have a thick protective jacket as well.
-LL included everything you need to do this install even including zip ties. The power cables came with the inline fuse holder and ring terminals already attached so install was a breeze.
Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:20 AM Reply   
-Connections are the screw down clamp type so you’ll need a screw driver.
-They even include 20 feet of jacketed wire for your accessory switch wire run.
- These lights worked great and had great central brightness, but in murky waters the lumitec and lumishore lights looked overall better in my opinion.
-These lights have a 100 led array under that glass dome and draw the equivalent of about 9.75 amps if it was at 12 volts. That’s about double what I counted on any of the other lights. The brightness is there it was just too concentrated in the middle for my tastes. The out of water white pictures below really show how intense the light is in the middle but fades quickly to the sides.
-Liquid Lumens does not use distributors so they must be bought from dealers. Like I say with Lumishore talk to dealers about pricing. What you see online is just the minimum advertised price.


Shadow Caster SCR24 Color Changing

-Like Abyss these are an RGB only light array. No actual white LEDs it blends all the colors together for the white color. The white is a warmer white as well. In green murky waters it actually produced a color that was closest to a true white but it was not as intense as LL, Lumitec, or Lumishore.
- It is very apparent these lights have the widest angled lens. The spread is very wide.
-Blue Red and Green on this light are not a deep color. They all seem like slightly lighter hues. Some may prefer this. I preferred the deeper hues.
-The blue from Lumishore and Abyss was very deep colored and didn’t light up as much water as this light blue shadow caster did. My preference is the deep color but keep this in mind if you think you’d like the lighter blue it was bright in comparison. The video and pictures illustrate this.
- These lights came with a 5 conductor wire. Positive and negative, a momentarily switch line, and two shadow net wires. The sheath over the wires is very heavy duty. No worries there. About 10 feet of cable included. When using the zone controller. The only wires that will carry current are pos and neg and can be ran straight to your power source. The shadow net wires can be small gauge and ran longer to the mounting location of the zone controller because they don’t carry much current.
-I used this system in conjunction with their zone controller so I did not get to experience the momentary switch functions. Toggling the power gets a different color when done within 10 seconds and the momentary button allows you to get fade and strobe features without the controller.
-Using the shadow net controls with the zone controller made controlling these lights a breeze.
- The arrows cycle you through different shades of each color as well as brightness adjustment with the up and down arrows.
-I touched on music sync earlier. This can be adjusted for how quickly the lights reacted to music as well as the sensitivity of the music sync.
- These lights can be had for about $475 each. The zone controller will cost you around $400 if you want to go that route. Otherwise you’ll operate with a toggle switch.


My decision and Why

I’ve mentioned a couple times, I am deciding to go with the Lumishore SMX153 system. I will be adding two more lights as well to make it 4 total. I loved the amount of control and functionality of the STV2204 system. Their quality of light and the connections all felt top notch and so simple to hook up. Once I get two more lights I’ll just have to drill the holes and plug them into the hub and the command center will find them. I’ll assign then a specific order and this allows left to right sweeps and vice versa.
- The brightness in all the colors was near the top of the line if not equal with the lumitec and had great spread in the water. I completely love their choice of blue. Pair these things with the capability of using smartphones to control everything in the system and that had me sold.
- Everything worked perfect when I plugged it in and was so easy to operate. They even have a control to adjust the type of white you prefer. Warmer or cooler.
-To me their controller system took it to a whole new level along with having one of the best performing lights in the comparison.
-Before you google the lumishore SMX153 and see the price contact a dealer and get some real world pricing if you’re interested in this system. Also realize almost all the listings for that light are showing prices for a pair and the old controllers. No website I found has the new controller display and the command center in a package with the SMX153 lights.
-I recommend this system if you want the best total package in my opinion.
-If you are on a tighter budget I think I’d have to recommend the Abyss lights unless you are wanting to leave them on white all the time but that’s usually not the case when buying RGB lights.


This project was fun and ended up being a lot larger of an adventure than I anticipated. I’m glad I did it and got to see all this stuff first hand as well as share some back to back to back comparisons for anyone else who’s shopping for RGB underwater lights.

I’m not a professional blogger, reviewer, or photographer. I just had an idea and ran with it doing the best I could, I know it’s a litte unorganized but the info is here. I hope this information helps someone out who’s in the position I was trying to find up to date information on the best lights out there!

I want to thank Rob at Liquid Lumens, Chris at Lumishore, Johan from Abyss, and Mick from Lumitec for allowing me to perform this comparison with their products!
Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:21 AM Reply   
White in water (night 1 tests) (exposure locked throughout this group)
















White in water (night 2 tests) (exposure and color temperature locked throughout this group)









Somehow the abyss file from this night got corrupted.





White out of water (exposure locked throughout this group)














Blue in water (exposure locked throughout this group)









Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:21 AM Reply   
Blue out of water (exposure locked throughout this group)















Red in water (exposure locked throughout this group)














Green in water (exposure locked throughout this group)














Green out of water (exposure locked throughout this group)









Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-09-2019, 11:22 AM Reply   
Red in water (exposure locked throughout this group)













Red out of water (exposure locked throughout this group) Lumitec has some white mixed in because I didn’t get it stopped perfectly on red. Im not sure it even does stop on only red, it moves through the colors so quickly its hard to stop on the right one.









Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-09-2019, 12:55 PM Reply   
Holly Crap! Great Job and Write up my friend,
Old     (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       05-10-2019, 2:36 AM Reply   
It was cool to see how deep the colors are on one light Vs the next this became apparent in your garage shots. You touched on it but I think water conditions greatly change the way a light appears example is Shadow Caster might appear brighter in Clearwater Where the throes of a light is important but in murky waters the thrill of the light is somewhat negated. Great test we can all tell that you put lots of time and energy into it thanks for sharing
Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-10-2019, 3:24 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by grant_west View Post
It was cool to see how deep the colors are on one light Vs the next this became apparent in your garage shots. You touched on it but I think water conditions greatly change the way a light appears example is Shadow Caster might appear brighter in Clearwater Where the throes of a light is important but in murky waters the thrill of the light is somewhat negated. Great test we can all tell that you put lots of time and energy into it thanks for sharing


I ended up sinking way more hours into this project than I thought I would but it gave me some valuable information. I wouldnít have even thought about going with lumishore until I put hands on and saw their light in action.

Definitely a difference in the deepness of colors. Abyss and lumishore really nailed it with colors. The lumitec is super bright but I think they used slightly shallower color hues. I went back to the garage setup last night and let the lumitec cycle to the slow cycle time and tried to stop it on the true colors better and they never got as deep as abyss and lumishore. They all have a little white mixed in to the eye. I donít know if itís the actual color of the LEDs or if itís programmed to leave some white LEDs on. Shadow caster must have just used lighter colored leds because they arenít near as deep. In water or in the garage.
Old     (mlzelenik)      Join Date: Apr 2016       05-10-2019, 3:35 AM Reply   
Hats off to you! I'm in no need of this info currently but I enjoyed the heck out of it! many people will be thanking you in the future
Old     (cal2vin)      Join Date: Jun 2010       05-10-2019, 11:37 AM Reply   
If anyone is interested in the SeablazeX2 spectrum or Shadow caster gear PM me for prices. They are new and used only for this test. Still in perfect condition. Abyss and Liquid Lumens are gone.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       05-20-2019, 5:28 PM Reply   
Great Job! Nice to see somebody else doing this kind of independent research. I don't think I have seen anything else independent since the old comparison Grant and I did about 10 years ago before we drilled holes and mounted lights on our boats. I have seen general LED technology improve greatly in quality, optics, life, and packaging in the last 10 years. Unfortunately the underwater LED space has not made drastic improvements to keep up with other applications like the general purpose or automotive LEDs. Just look at cars and trucks and how almost every manufacturer now uses LEDs to do some type of signature lighting for the brand. Give boats a few years, they will catch up.

Until you have done something like this you really can't appreciate the time and effort it takes to get some decent somewhat conclusive results. Obviously you take pride in your work. Thank you for your contribution.

Last edited by mikeski; 05-20-2019 at 5:31 PM.
Old     (tre)      Join Date: Jul 2002 Location: WI       05-22-2019, 11:28 AM Reply   
Wow! I can't imagine all the work that went into this. Thank you for taking the time to do all of this and post all the detailed information, pics, and video. Absolutely awesome.
Old     (bcoppinger)      Join Date: Sep 2002       06-05-2019, 5:47 AM Reply   
Fantastic review!
Old     (RoboSanLucas)      Join Date: Jun 2017       07-03-2019, 7:45 PM Reply   
Iíve been meaning to weigh-in and provide some feedback from the perspective of Liquid Lumens ever since Calvin did this thoughtful and thorough review. First off, Iíd like to thank Calvin for reaching out and taking the time to do this comparison. Weíre all here because we love boating and want to be able to make educated decisions and pick the best products for our own boats. Any time a consumer takes the time to get involved with various companies and their respective products and bring all of us together, we all learn and the community benefits. I canít speak for my competitors, but I know that customer feedback and input is the most important factor driving innovation for Liquid Lumens. Things we learn from everyone here, helps us to move innovation forward and create better products and provide better services to the marketplace. So again, a big thank you to Calvin.

My purpose of participating here, isnít to be critical of the comparison or to try to convince anyone of anything. Itís simply to provide information about Liquid Lumensí designs, thought process when creating new products, and to help everyone understand why we choose to build our lights the way we do. That being said, Iím also hoping to receive sincere feedback from the community, as it helps us get better as a company and in turn build better products.

Lastly, before I jump into the specifics of the product review that Calvin did, I am going to point out that there are some obvious and glaring flaws with the way the tests were performed that merit mentioning. Especially because they were discussed with Calvin, in detail, prior to our participation in the comparison. I can understand that they presented logistical issues for Calvin with configuring the test and I also understand his reason for abandoning the originally discussed test method. A test like this is complex, time consuming and expensive to conduct. Calvin is a consumer just trying to pick the product he wanted to personally use on his boat and was willing to share what he learned in the process. So, I canít fault him for that. However, I would be remiss to not share that information with the group to be fair and openly considered when digesting the information here.

It is unfortunate for all of us that the originally intended comparison wasnít able to be conducted as part of this test, because itís not often one consumer has so many of the top products in the space together for a review of this magnitude. After reading the review back when he posted it, I felt that information was important for everyoneís consideration. With that said, here goes.

The first thing I think that needs to be noted is that there is no way to quantify the light output of each light when the products werenít photographed side by side simultaneously. Period. The types of camera used (iPhone and GoPro) share a similar flaw for this type of photography. Exposure lock, the method Calvin used to capture his images, is specifically designed to achieve optimal exposure for an image, regardless of ambient light. This means the camera would auto-adjust its settings from one shot to another or one light product to another, from frame to frame. In other words, the camera itself was deliberately attempting to level the playing field between various products that very well could have been producing two very different amounts of light.

In a fully adjustable/professional camera, the photographer would have the ability to control settings of both f-stop (aperture) and shutter speed in order to choose a fixed value for both to use across multiple shots. This would create the ability to compare, at least to some extent, from one shot to the next holding all other things equal on the environment and camera settings. In the configuration Calvin used, it is important to note that an iPhone acts exactly like the human eye does, when exposure lock is enabled. It automatically adjusts itself to the ambient light to achieve optimal exposure/eye comfort for it to properly view its environment. In other words, the camera was literally trying to make every single light photographed appear identical in terms of exposure/brightness. As everyone knows, the human eye automatically adjusts to ambient light in the same manner. So, turning one light on and observing it visually, then turning another light on individually, and so on would also be challenging to distinguish differences with, from product to product, with the naked eye, since the products were never illuminated side-by-side. Because our lights are so intense and bright in the center, due to the way we focus them, as Calvin noted, we have always found them difficult to photograph. The ďhotĒ center area of the light overexposes and dims out peripheral light on film. I'm sure our competitors face similar challenges when photographing their own products. But more on our design, and why that design, later.

When I first spoke to Calvin, I pointed out how difficult it is to photograph extremely bright Underwater Lights and make them truly representative of their performance. As we discussed this, he agreed and said that he would mount two boards, similar to the one he built, and hang them back to back with lights aimed in opposing directions, where he could have two differing light brands on simultaneously aiming away from each other for a true side by side look at each brand next to the others. We were looking forward to seeing those images, as that would have been a much more accurate representation of how each product stacked up against another. But unfortunately, that configuration was abandoned in lieu of what was done.

In the garage setting, you can see the hot spot in the center area of the wall in the Liquid Lumens images. If that brighter area of light was overexposing the camera and/or someoneís natural vision, it would naturally result in making the surrounding light seem less intense. I canít say for certain that was the case, as I wasnít there, but itís food for thought when considering the review.

The key thing I want to discuss on behalf of Liquid Lumens, however, is why we use the focused beam of light and also why the hot center instead of a flat lens flood pattern of light, like many of the other products reviewed here and elsewhere. I would answer that question with a couple of my own questions to each of youÖ How do you use your boat? What do you want the lights for? And, where specifically do you want the light to show up when you are using your boat?

When we set out to create better performing lights for our own boats, we asked the question:



(Customer submitted image of their boat using Liquid Lumens Skinny Dip Lights)

Although this is our entry level light, I think this image does an excellent job of illustrating just how impactful the use of focusing lenses is on projecting light behind a boat. Shot from this angle, the overpowering "hot spot" of our lights doesn't overexpose the image and prohibit us from seeing just how far they can carry in certain environments.



This image shows a similar angle from behind the boat, but a closer view, of our RGBW Light pattern. Now this next photo is where it begins to get interesting...



Notice that when the boat is weighted down, configured for surfing and underway how the light is now angled into deeper water, no longer directly behind the boat like we see when the boat is at rest in the other images, like my previous ones as well as Calvin's. We've also introduced prop wash, bubbles and other disturbances to the water that reduce the lights performance when compared to a boat at rest in calm water. Without intensifying the light (boosting voltage) and focusing it through the center of everything going on behind the boat, it would barely be visible in the wave, if at all. At least that was our own experience as fellow boaters, which is why we developed this design. We wanted it to project so intensely that it still showed up all the way back in the wave while underway in these conditions. I think this image does a nice job of illustrating how the light penetrates the messy water and still shows up back by the surfer, including in the troughs and further out of the wave where he is riding.

Even still, once we started using our own products, we loved how well the center of the wave lit up, but also wanted more peripheral light. Enter Top-Side Lights...
Old     (RoboSanLucas)      Join Date: Jun 2017       07-03-2019, 7:46 PM Reply   


The Top-Side Lights act as a flood of light on top of the wave and allow for more peripheral light to compliment the tighter beam angle of our Underwater Light designs. Here's a view from the boat looking back at the wave with both Underwater Lights and Top-Side Lights illuminated together. Note, this boat is equipped with Green LED Pipeline's and Green LED Top-Side Lights.



I fully understand that the uses we designed our lights for, may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's ok. But we aren't shying away from this approach. In fact, the newest product we just announced is even brighter down the middle with the tightest beam angle we've ever produced in a high performance light. But we our designing our lights for specific performance related purposes beyond just ambiance. That doesn't mean our products are for everyone, and I fully understand that. I'm happy Calvin found a product that suited his needs and learned what he needed to for himself from the review process.

How do you like to use your boat? What would you like to see more of or less of in future lighting technology for your own boats? Maybe I can learn from you and help guide Liquid Lumens' next generation of products towards creating something to suit your needs if we haven't done that yet.

All of the images I used here were submitted by customers. None were shot professionally or commissioned by Liquid Lumens. I opted to avoid using professional or commercial grade images that we produced so that they would be as authentic as possible for illustrating our design features.

I make no claims or direct comparisons between our products and my competitors mentioned here. I can say that any performance values published on our website have been laboratory tested by independent third party, certified firms and are backed up by documentation.

Again, a big thanks to Calvin for putting all of this out there. We learned some important things from this. Hope to see more sincere reviews and feedback like this that just keep making the boating industry more fun for all of us! If I can answer any specific questions or help any of you in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out. Happy 4th of July and Happy Boating!
Old     (tdc_worm)      Join Date: Sep 2002       07-07-2019, 12:12 PM Reply   
can we all agree that the purpose of RGBs on a boat is to simply attract more bikinis? speaking of which, what is the degree of female participation in this thread?

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