Product Review:

The BigBlue VL 2x30W LED Aluminum Video Light System

Review by

Paul G. Ranky, PhD

Editor in Chief

PADI Certified Rescue Diver and Professional Underwater Videomaker

Copyright Paul G. Ranky,



First Impressions

I am delighted with the BigBlue VL 2x30W LED Aluminum Video Light System. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars! I have never tested such reliable, high quality underwater lights!

The two light heads deliver 1,000 lumens light output each, meaning that if you use two, you are getting 2000 lumens of evenly spread beautiful white light.

The LED light heads are ultra compact, though the cylindrical batteries attached on a cord are a little bit heavy.

The LED video light heads are made from T6061 (high grade, precision machined) aluminum, nevertheless the system does not come with a set of lightweight arms. These are available as extras to accomodate any underwater housings you might want to use. Overall, the design and the manufacturing quality of this system is excellent! It always turned on and off, charged fast (i.e. within 1 hr max., or less), delivered white light under water, and turned out to be very reliable even after weeks of boat rides, dives and air travel. I really like this system!

Test Results

The BigBlue VL 2x30W LED Aluminum Video Light comes with Ni-MH rechargeable battery packs. It comes with a smart charger featuring a Hi-Lo switch enabling the battery to be quick-charged in an hour or less, depending on the charge of the batteries. Please note that the system comes with only one charger, nevertheless it does an excellent job. Just start to charge the first battery before dinner and the second one after dinner and you are ready for the next 3-4 dives the following day. Actually, even after 3 dives I still had plenty of power in the batteries, although I was careful not to waste them during the dives. Truly excellent performance! Also, let me suggest to use the 'Lo' settings for charging, unless you are on a boat and must charge it very quickly between dives, like within 20 minutes each (with one charger you'll need 40 minutes to charge both), or less.

These lights offer beautiful, evenly spread white light. The manufacturer claims 6500K (I did not test this value specifically, but I believe it). I could see how white and evenly distributed the lights are during the swimming pool tests. To show this in u/w operation, I offer you test clips above. (Just click on the QuickTime movie above; originally shot in HD, rendered to smaller size, less quality cross-platform QT for easy streaming on the web.) As you watch the clips, note the huge difference in color as I turn the lights on and off for testing purposes. It really proves that for good quality underwater video one must have good lights... and trust me, LED is the way to go!

The VL 2x30W LED light heads are ultra compact, and therefore very easy to orient them as you set up a shot in the water. The cylindrical batteries attached on a cord are a little bit heavy. Obviously this is the time when battery technology is developing with electric cars driving this R&D, and therefore we can expect much lighter and more powerful batteries within a few years. Don't get me wrong, these batteries are fine, work great and with 2 of them attached to the video housing they make the entire package just a little bit negatively buoyant... actually I like it this way. The batteries have seperate hooks, and the cords are strong and long enough, so that you can attached them to your BCD too. I don't like this arrangement for myself because it gives me extra trouble as I receive my camera from the dive operators on the boat at the beginning of a dive, as well as as upon my return before getting out of the water... BUT, if your housing is very small, and therefore the system is too heavy underwater in your hands, then this is a good option.

The Slider Magnetic Switch on the battery really works well. It always did exactly what I wanted, never got jammed or sticky even under water. The connectors are solid too, slide in and out easily and are secured properly during operation.

Let me share with you one more important secret. I have noticed something with these lights that I have never seen before underwater... the fish were not frightened of my camera at all... as a matter of fact they actually came up to me to check me out... I am an engineer, not a marine biologist, nevertheless I believe this is because of the color of these lights. The bright white 6500K must be exciting to wildlife too! I took the sun to them...

Technical Specifications

The manufacturers (ref.: claim the following data, and although I did not test all of them, I have no evidence, that they are not true. Actually, I am truly delighted with the results!

1. High output 2 x 30W LED system delivers 2 x 1,000 lumens, and an 85 degree perfectly even light spot. Each light utilizes a unique single chip 1 x 30W LED; ultra compact and highly energy efficient, the manufacturers guarantees a lifetime burn time of 50,000 hours, reducing the need for frequent replacement of the bulb.
3. The 6500K white light reflects the true vibrant colors of the surrounding while diving.
4. The 12V 2.3Ah rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack comes with a smart charger, featuring a Hi-Lo switch, enabling you to quick-charge the battery pack in an hour.
5. The Hi-Lo Power Output lets you choose between two output levels, Hi at 100% or Lo at 70%, extending the burn time and reducing reflections on objects at close range.
6. The Slider Magnetic Switch provides ease when switching between the Hi-Lo power output levels, and is designed to be insulated from all internal parts, eliminating the risk of leakage.
7. The thermal protection system prevents the light from overheating by automatically cutting off its power in cases of prolonged use on land, or exposure to temperatures above 70°C. As soon as the light cools off, the power comes back on.

Pros and Cons...

Pros: Nice white light, evenly spread. Compact lightheads. High quality, robust design and manufacture; all works well! The batteries charge fast and the entire system is reliable. Can be used by casual as well as pro-videomakers. The LED lights are immediately bright and white, no need to warm up and use significantly less energy than other solutions (e.g. HID). With careful manual energy management lasts easily 3 dives without recharging.

Cons: Really none; the weight of the batteries is a little bit high, nevertheless this depends on the housing you are using. Battery technology is constantly improving, therefore we can expect huge changes in size and power within a few years.


5 of 5 star rating! Excellent! Cannot wait to review other Bossk products.


USA Office:
BosskUSA/Big Blue
Contact Person:
Tim Ratcliffe
700 Tampa Road
Palm Harbor, FL 34683

BOSSK International Company Limited
Contact Person:
Simon Leung
2/F Thomson Commercial Building,
8 Thomson Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

European Distributor:
Dive Technics
Contact Person:
Pierre Pauwels
Roman Pauwels
Pater Domstraat 45A 2520 Broechem Belgium
32 (0) 347 504 21
32 (0) 347 504 33

Copyright Paul G. Ranky,

Please email me if you have further questions or comments: Email: