One of the greatest revolutions in diving equipment has been in lighting. LED bulb technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Combined with better battery performance, we now have amazing performance from lights barely longer than a forefinger.
I was reminded of this as I took these two Big Blue lights into the corner of Camp Bay, Gibraltar, for a night-time test. Thirty years ago
I did a lot of night-diving there. Back then, my light was 30cm long, took three expensive and bulky U2 cells and the dim beam had a yellow tint. And that was just my back-up.
The Big Blue Tail lights share most of the same features, the main difference being beam-width. The AL-450WM has a 40° wide-angle or flood beam, while the AL-450NM is much narrower at 8°. Their LED bulbs put out a fixed 450 lumens, and colour temperature is a cool 6500K.
The body is a slimline aluminium case with stippled non-slip finish towards the rear and around the bezel, where your grip naturally falls.
A large steel push-button on/off switch with a satisfying click action, easily used with 5mm gloves, is mounted at the back, protected from accidental operation by the raised lanyard ears.
Up front, the lens is recessed to prevent damage. Inside is the battery cage for three AAA cells. The torches are nicely presented with a set of recyclable batteries, lanyard and a pair of spare O-rings (there is a main and a back-up O-ring, so these light are hard to flood).
The O-rings are black – I would have preferred a hi-vis colour to make it easier to see hairs or other detritus on the seal.