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Product Review SubGear SP30 LED Dive Torch

written by Lee Johnson – Perth Scuba Boss

We road tested the new Sub Gear Prolight SP30…

Back a few years ago when LED torches first came out, people laughed at me when I told them the first generation LED torches would be nothing in comparison to “powered LED” torches. I had been lucky enough to have come across an article written by a company who were researching the new type of LED lights even before the first LEDs had made their mark in replacing HID and Halogen globes in torches.

The company boasted that they could produce a light 200 times brighter than a standard LED. (I laughed too).

That was in 2002. 10 years on and I look back on those days and how torches for diving and lighting for underwater videography and photography have changed because of this “new” technology.

This week we were given a new toy to play with from our friends at Sub Gear…

Subgear Prolight SP30 LED Dive TorchThe Sub Gear SP30 LED Dive Torch.

On first look, the SP30 is a good design with a neat look to it. There is a functional lanyard mount on the base and no fiddly “leakable” switches to turn it on. This one is a twist top with dual O’rings to prevent leakage into the main battery chamber. (always a good start for a dive torch). Weighing in at just 280 grams, this black anodized aluminium torch has a great feel to it. The guys at Sub Gear have thought about everything with this design. It even has a rubber bump cap to stop the torch from rolling away and off the table while you get your dive gear sorted out. The torch itself has a fantastic powerful white beam with a really nice wide spread of light. The SP30 has 500 lumens of light which is very bright for such a compact hand held torch. The torch takes 3 C sized batteries which will give you an amazing 14 – 18 hours of burn time! This is the part I love the most. With that kind of burn time, you can pretty much equate that to at least 14 dives. No need to take a bunch of extra batteries with you on that overseas trip. There is enough power to keep you going for the whole time you are diving there.

The SP30 is able to go to 100 metres (328 ft) so it makes a fantastic back up torch for the techy divers and a great primary for anyone who is looking for a tough long lasting dive torch with some serious punch in the light stakes.

The LED is a CREE XM-L LED which has an approximate life of 50,000 hours. (Not likely that you’ll ever need to replace that little guy in a hurry).

The Water Test

The ultimate test for a dive torch is the best dive site we have in Perth… The Rockingham Wreck Trail. Ok… So I don’t dive there… maybe the Swan River then. Yes I even braved the cold dark waters of our Swan River all in the name of product research… it’s what we do for you. J

The river visibility hasn’t been fantastic ever since the Fremantle Harbour dredging “that we had to have”. I think if you get 4 metres in the river these days, soak it up and enjoy it. The cool thing about the SP30 is the light penetration. Even with the bad viz in the river, the light still pierces the brackish water and the beam is quite solid. The backscatter from the silt seems to be a bit more limited than other torches I have used due to the width of the beam. It is very bright though for such a small torch. (This is another benefit of the new type of LEDs).

There is no flickering with this torch and the hot spot (focus point of the beam) is very even.

This torch will make a fantastic prawning torch as you can pick their red eyes hiding in the silt.

Be careful though, your buddy is a little less than impressed when you try to see if their eyes glow red too. This torch will leave spots in your eyes for a long time. J

The Conclusion

A great value torch with a bunch of cool specifications. For a torch this size to have 500 lumens and a 16 hour average burn time, you can’t go wrong. The price tag on this torch is $195. A little more expensive than some of the torches in the LED range around but when you consider bang for buck – the Sub Gear SP30 covers all the bases and gives you a torch that will suit all of your diving needs well into the future

My only criticism of the SP30 is that for the price tag, you’d think they would include batteries… I know the packaging wouldn’t be as pretty but it would be nice not to have to shell out more of your hard earned dollars to make the thing to work.

I have made the executive decision that anyone who purchases one of these great torches from Perth Scuba will be given free batteries with it so there is no reason to let that be an issue.

The Sub Gear SP30 will be available from next week for $179 (with batteries). Make sure you are one of the first to own one!!! I love mine… sorry Sub Gear Guys… This one is staying here at Perth Scuba J

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