IKE BRIGHAM WAS AN OLD-FASHIONED SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN. I’m sad that he is no longer with us, but the company he started continues onwards, and Ikelite continues to improve on some of the basic designs Ike originally instigated.
The range of pocket-sized lamps for divers prefixed PC is a case in point. A PC Lite was one of the first diver’s lamps I ever reviewed. Since then, we’ve seen a revolution in both battery technology and light-source technology, but the latest PC2 Lite LEDs looks very much the same as that original successful design.
The only outward difference is the rubber shroud around the lamphead, but Ike would be the first to admit that the latest range of his little lamps outshines the originals, the light output of which, at the time thought to be adequate, would be puny by comparison.

The Lamps
There are three lamps in the range, and this is the second generation of such LED lamps. The biggest, the PC2 Lite LED, is powered by four C-cells; the middle one, the PCa2 Lite LED, is powered by six AA cells; and the smallest, the PCm2 Lite LED, uses four AA cells.
The burntimes are 10, seven and five hours respectively with their LED light sources, and the light output appears to be virtually the same. If there is a difference, the bigger ones are marginally brighter.
Each light is triggered by a mechanical rotating switch, with a lock to prevent accidental use. Each features a unique pull-off front to access the batteries. This is held in place by a collar, which avoids screwing down on the O-ring and screwing up the watertightness of the lamps.
All these lamps are rated to go to 90m, and each includes a heat-sink to keep things cool.

The PCm2 Lite LED
I chose to take this one with me on a diving trip because, at 5 x 11cm, it was small enough to drop discreetly into a BC pocket and leave until I needed it. I had no fear of it being switched on unnoticed to leave me with a dead battery-pack when I needed it, nor that it should flood because I had unscrewed the front, as one has to do with many other inexpensive lamps.
As such, it was the perfect back-up lamp. I also chose the PCm 2 LED because its use of a batch of four AA batteries puts it conveniently in line with much of my other photography equipment.
I used modern ni-mh batteries that can be recharged at any state, and are readily available.

It was simple to turn the lamp on and off, although I would guess that the little plastic switch lock might be hard to get to grips with if using a gloved hand. As the rotating switch is so positive in its action, I wouldn’t baulk at stowing it in a pocket with the lock disengaged.
One of the advantages of an LED light source is that it runs cool, so there is no problem switching it on in the air.

In the Water
The beam was quite uneven, in that it was hot in the middle and progressively reduced as it got wider. For general diving applications, there is nothing wrong with this. As a back-up lamp, it’s perfect. During night dives I could easily see what was going on outside the hotspot.
The unit comes with a useful lanyard and, being all-plastic, maintenance after diving other than a quick freshwater rinse is not too important, and the price is hard to beat.

A five-hour burntime turned out to be sufficient for a typical two-week trip at a location where the electricity was off as much as it was on. This meant that I used it not only in the water but for walks to and from eating places, and for finding my way to my room afterwards.
The other two lights in the range are equally useful. They are fractionally more expensive, as are the batteries for them. All three fulfill the function of pocket-sized lamps. You pay your money and you take your choice.

Comparable (but very differently priced) pocket lights to consider:
Intova Compact, £37; Lenser Frogman LED, £49; UK SL3 eLED, £49; Seac Luce LED, £66; Metalsub XRE 1000, £333; L&M Sola Dive 500, £335

CONTACT www.camerasunderwater.co.uk
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