Some companies just can’t help themselves when it comes to improving on a good thing. I’ve owned a Princeton Tech Shockwave since they first hit the stores some years ago. I was at the time replacing an older 8 D-Cell light with a lantern grip that had given years of good service but felt like I was underwater with a 55 gallon drum with handle on it. Heavy, cumbersome and a battery eating monster! We won’t even discuss bulb life. It was always a good idea to carry a spare, and it soon became obvious what to expect when you discovered that internally it had a space to store the extra one!
When I first came across the shockwave I was impressed by not only it’s weight, feeling like a feather compared to my old faithful monster light, but how wonderfully balanced it was in my hands. The batteries lasted a little longer and the spare bulb was still something handy go keep around. Alas, after many great years of service it finally works no more. So I went looking into lights and I was completely expecting the same wonderful degree of improvement all around. Maybe a light the size of a cell phone that will light up the entire ocean! To my dismay I found what appeared to be my trusty old Shockwave was still state of the art. That feeling of disappointment was soon erased when I gave a closer look. The light now uses 3 LED bulbs that have a life expectancy greater than most of us will ever spend underwater, let alone doing night dives. The battery consumption on LED bulbs is so low that it offers anywhere from 12 – 20 hours of good strong burn time. The trigger is still conveniently located to be easy to use, with a very secure trigger lock to keep from using your batteries up by accident.
But it is underwater where this light really “shines” (pardon the pun). LED lights don’t compare with the Xenon or Halogen counterparts when comparing lights over the counter. But under water LED light penetrates differently and gives not only a much better reach with the beam of light, but you also get a truer color! The difference is pretty remarkable! The Sea life you come across looks bright and brilliant, and the vibrant colors of a once dull looking reef can make you think it’s the first time you’ve visited your old favorite dive spot! If all remains the same, it looks like it’s going to be some years before I am back looking for the next new improvement in dive lights.