Well the folks from Light and Motion have decided to take the technology they refined developing video lighting into the smallest, lightest and powerful package yet that can cover us no matter what our application. The Sola series lights come in three different models: the Dive, Photo and Video. Within each of these groups the Sola comes in two or three versions offering all of the options you might need for the task they’re optimized for. Sound confusing? Don’t worry we’ll dive into the details.
As you can guess from their names, each of the three models is tailored to meet specific needs while retaining key features for any dive. Best of all these lights weight next to nothing when compared to traditional main or even some secondary dive lights. Each of the 500, 600 and 1200 series lights weight just over ½ pound!
Each light regardless of the specific model all share the same form factor. At 2.25” wide by 4” long these lights are a bit smaller than the average computer mouse. As mentioned previously they’re light as well. All three models come in around .6 pounds. This includes the sealed lithium batteries. When comparing this to a smaller main dive light (wide beam, 4 C cells), the Sola comes in at nearly the same weight as just one set of the batteries. Add in the rest of the light and conservatively an additional set of replacement batteries and the Sola removes 2/3rd or more of the weight of your old dive light. Given the increasingly tight luggage weight restrictions this is big! As for what drives the Sola, these lights use a set of rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries which are sealed within the unit. Light and Motion expects these batteries to support as least 500 charging cycles.
As for controls, a magnetic coupled tap switch instantly flips between modes (spot/flood or white/red) or increments power levels. Magnetic switches are a fantastic feature as they require no opening in the case of the light to work, eliminating the possibility of an o-ring failure. Three LED indicator lights behind the bezel report the power and battery charge status. With the rechargeable batteries sealed inside the unit and magnetic controls you can forget about accidentally flooding your light.
While some options will vary between each model and version of the Sola series, the number in the name of each unit reveals another exciting consistency between the units, power. This number represents the maximum number of lumens of light a particular version is capable of producing. All versions allow the user to select between three different power levels (details below) to allow you to balance how much light you’re putting out with how long you need in terms of burn time. Now that we’ve covered what makes all these lights great lets jump into what makes each one specialized for the task at hand.
The Dive Series
As its name implies this version of the Sola series is aimed as at being a diver’s primary dive light. The light comes in three different models the Sola 500D, 600D and 1200D as discussed about each progressively more powerful. The Dive series light comes with a mounting system designed to be worn on the top of the divers hand with two Velcro straps securing the light with one around the diver’s wrist and the other around the palm. This mounting system allows the diver full use of both hands as well as the light. No more lanyards and dangling lights with the Sola. The Sola 500D offers you a spot beam pattern with the 600D and 1200D models offering both a spot or flood beam pattern. Divers can switch between spot and flood beams by simply toggling modes using the magnetic selector switch.
Checkout a short video on the Sola Dive 1200
The Photo Series
The Photo series of Sola lights offers two features specific to photographers. To start both the 500P and 600P versions of the light come in a flood only pattern. Flood pattern lights are preferred by photographers as the wide beam allows the camera to focus without needing to adjust the aiming point of the light. The Sola 600P while also having the same white LED light produced by the 500P, adds the ability to toggle between white and a cluster of red LEDs. So why red? Just as humans have a more difficult time viewing light at the violet end of the spectrum, fish struggle to see red light. This allows us to better avoid scaring off the subject when getting into position for the shot. While the fish struggle to see the red light, our cameras have no problem picking up this wave length. The red light allows us and our camera’s autofocus system to see the subject. When we take the shot, the strobes produce enough white light to cancel out the red capturing a perfect picture. The Photo series come with a ball mount allowing them to connect into various camera arm systems.
The Video Series
Last but certainly not least we come to the video series. High output LED video lighting from Light and Motion isn’t anything new in fact some might call it old hat. For years Light and Motion has developed Halogen, HID and LED lighting systems. These systems relied for power on a large battery pod that locked into the bottom of their housing systems. Adding one of these dual light systems added approximately 7 pounds to the housing to get you about 40 to 60 minutes of light. Aside from a large amount of added weight these systems also created a challenge at time with the loop of wire delivering power from the battery packs. The Sola Video series have addressed these challenges. The Sola 1200V is very similar to the Sola 1200D providing the user with both spot and flood modes with a maximum light production of 1200 lumens. Where they differ is in the mounting. The Sola 1200V comes with a Loc-Line flexible arm mounting. Commonly used in pairs, 2400 lumens of light will brighten even the widest angle shot. Finally there is another Sola video light to make mention of, the Sola 4000. That’s right 4000 lumens of light in a single unit. Similar to the 500, 600, and 1200 series lights, the 4000 is larger and weights nearly 3 times as much. However if you need even more light it’s got you covered.
Stop to check out these incredible lights and lighten your load prior to you next trip!