Focus light tests, Nocturnal and Fantasea

Focus Light Tests, Nocturnal and Fantasea


When my friend Mike Bartick was over, we had a couple of focus lights laying around so we decided to look at their beams on the wall, just for fun. The lights we had were the Fantasea 44LED focus light, and the Nocturnal SLX focus light. Focus lights are very important for macro underwater photography, to assist the camera in finding contrast and achieving auto-focus, especially when light levels are not optimal.


Both of us have extensively used the Fantasea 44LED focus light, and Mike has used the Nocturnal light many times.


Fantasea 44LED focus light

Fantasee 44LED focus light



Nocturnal SLX focus light

Nocturnal SLX Focus light


I believe the Nocturnal SLX light has been discontinued, and has been replaced by the Nocturnal SLX 800i focus light


Focus lights are very personal items, one person can love it while another hates it. It's very hard to predict. People especially dislike a brand of focus light if it floods on them. Luckily for me my Fantasea 44LED focus light has never flooded.


The Fantasea light takes 5AA batteries, the nocturnal light takes 6. Both last for several dives, and neither turn off when a strobe is fired.


Well, let me cut to the chase. Mike told me he greatly prefers the Fantasea 44LED focus light over the Nocturnal, and he gave several reasons - the whiter color, the softer light, wider beam. He says it helps his Nikon d300 autofocus faster. He also really likes that it was 80% cheaper than the Nocturnal. Your mileage may vary. I'm not sure if you can still get the Fantasea light, they can be hard to find.


Focus Light Beams


In case you are interested, here is what the beams looked like on the wall:


underwater focus light test


focus light for underwater photography

Focus light beams. Fantasea is on the left, Nocturnal is on the right. In the second photo, the Nocturnal light has the diffuser on.


Further Reading:


Focus lights

Macro underwater photography

Supermacro underwater photography

Planning and preparing for an underwater photography dive