LIGHT Bigblue TL 3100P Supreme

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LIGHT Bigblue TL 3100P Supreme

THESE PAGES HAVE BEEN FESTOONED with dive-torches recently, and for good reason; there are so many new hi-tec LED lights delivering outlandish lumens with unheard-of run-times around that buyers can easily become confused.
My role is to help readers to see the wood for the trees by evaluating contenders. This month I've picked a dive-light from the Bigblue line-up called the TL3100P Supreme, which boasts potentially impressive outputs.

The Design
This compact torch has a body built from marine-grade aluminium alloy with an anti-corrosive anodised coating. At 119 x 63mm diameter it has, like its tester, a chubby profile.
Three XML LEDs placed within precision reflectors are set behind a tempered optical-glass screen. These high-powered LEDs provide a maximum output of 3100 lumens delivered in a 10° beam at a colour temperature of 6500K.
A Batcell 18650×4 Supreme lithium-ion rechargeable battery-pack powers the light, which has four power levels between 310 and 3100 lumens, with claimed burntimes of between 30 and three hours.
A single push-button gives access to the light’s switching system and has blue, green and red LED battery-state indicators set at its base. The light weighs in at just over 500g (in air) including the battery-pack and has double O-ring seals to give it a depth-rating of 100m.
A soft Goodman glove is supplied to provide hands-free underwater use, and there is also an optional anodised aluminium handle plus a lanyard for traditional use.
A built-in thermal-protection system automatically cuts the power to prevent the light overheating from prolonged use in air, or at temperatures exceeding 70°C. Power is reinstated as the temperature drops to safe levels.

In Use
I opted to mount the light on its supplied Goodman glove to provide me with hands-free operation while simultaneously using my camera rig. It was a simple operation involving a single stainless-steel screw and a small Phillips screwdriver.
That done, I fully charged the battery. Surprisingly, this took only two hours from a totally depleted battery-pack, using the supplied smart charger. I was ready to go.
The glove felt comfortable and snug on my right hand, leaving my fingers and thumb for trivial tasks such as fiddling with the camera settings, or more important operations such as controlling buoyancy with the BC inflator.
The single push-button was easy to access with a single press to turn the light on and subsequent single presses to scroll through the four light levels.
A small clear ring around the switch base illuminates in blue, green or red to indicate the level of charge remaining in the battery.
There’s something hypnotic about having such a powerful light. I don’t know why, but I was seduced into using it at maximum level almost exclusively, and it seemed the perfect choice for illuminating coral vistas during the day to bring out their true colours.
The 3100 lumens certainly overcame the bright midday sun, and I’m sure the next setting at 1550 lumens would have had a similar outcome, but hey, why have an Aston Martin and drive it at 40mph?
On a late-night dive with a feeding whale shark this powerful little package really came into its own.
The tight 10° beam cut through the plankton-rich water like a surgeon's scalpel and penetrated far beyond any light I’d previously used, before gently falling off into a dull glow in the far distance.
The beam was crisp and evenly spread without any sign of an external halo or central hotspot, and its reach gave me the advantage of spotting a big shark approaching from the black waters long before anyone else saw it.

“Three thousand, one hundred lumens” – I had to repeat it to myself over and over as a reminder of what that actually entails. Just a few years ago light levels of this sort from such a compact package would have been regarded as unattainable, and for it to burn for three hours at that output would have been the stuff of science fiction.
It just goes to prove how far the LED and portable power revolution has progressed in a short time. I don’t think it has reached its zenith, either, and fully expect to see even more outrageous outputs and burntimes in the near future.
In the meantime, I can do no more than marvel at this state-of-the-art light – in terms of size and brilliance, it’s a staggering package.

PRICE: £399
OUTPUT LEVELS: I – 310lm. II – 775lm. III – 1550lm. IV – 3100lm
BODY: Anodised aluminium alloy
SWITCHNG: Push-button with three-level LED battery power indicator
POWER: Li-ion rechargeable battery
BURN TIMES: 3-30hr
SUPPLIED: Soft Goodman handle, metal handle, battery-pack, smart charger

Appeared in DIVER May 2017


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