Photography Lighting is supported by readers. When you buy with our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more

This post was most recently updated on January 21st, 2024.

So, you’ve been out on a few dives, and you’ve been trying your hand at taking a few photos underwater.

But there’s a problem.

Your photos always come out with an annoying blueish tinge to them, and they look nothing like what you thought they’d look like, and they certainly don’t look like what you were seeing in real life.

That’s because as you get deeper under the water, the natural light from the sun gets filtered out, and the only light waves that make it through are those blue ones.

From pro-level strobes to handheld spotters, here are the best lights for underwater photography.

Best Underwater Photography Lights

Editor’s PickBrand
Best Underwater photography LightIkelite DS-161
Runner up underwater photography lightSea & Sea YS-D2J
Best Bang for the BuckSEA&SEA YS-01
Best Under $200SeaLife SL651 Sea Dragon Min
Best cheap underwater photography lightAramox Diving Flashlight
Best focus light for underwater photographyBigBlue AL1200N-II
Best underwater photography led lightKeldan Video 8X
Best underwater camera lightLight and Motion SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC
Best under $500Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S
Best cheap underwater camera lightSEALIFE Sea Dragon 2000F
Best black light for underwater photographyKeldan Video 4X
Best Cheap Black LightKraken Sports Hydra 3500S
Best Soft Light for Underwater photographyIkelite DS-161 + Ikelite Dome

Best Underwater photography Light: Ikelite DS-161

The Ikelite DS-161 is the best underwater photography light because it’s extra-large capacitors and rechargeable battery deliver twice the energy and speed of smaller strobes.

When it comes to underwater photography, strobe lights are pretty much your right-hand man. They help to combat the blue or green tinge that underwater photos are plagued with as you dive deeper, and they are excellent for reducing backscatter.

Overall, they make your underwater shoot about 5 billion times better.

The Ikelite DS-160 series of strobe lights are basically the gold standard in underwater photography strobes, and the DS-161 is the flagship of the range. It’s rated up to 100m, so you’re good for pretty much any dive, considering recreational dives max out at 40m…

The DS-161 strobe is equipped with a xenon flash tube and powder-coated internal reflector surface, which pair to create a lovely warm light (4800K).

Because of the way that light interacts with water, warmer colors are the first to be filtered out. This is what leaves you with that blue-ish tinge in saltwater shots, and is why you want to use a warm color temperature in underwater photography shoots.

The light output is stunningly bright, and the good news is you can dial it down over 10-steps, if you’re after a more subtle effect.

Suitable for portrait, macro, close-up, and wide-angle shots, the Ikelite DS-161 is one versatile underwater photography strobe light.

Key Features of the Ikelite DS-161:

  • 500-lumen light
  • Depth rating of 100m
  • Recycle time of 1.4 sec
  • Color temperature: 4800K
  • 450 full-power flashes on a single charge
  • Guide number of 38′ underwater and 76′ above the surface at ISO 100
  • TTL and manual exposure control, with ten output settings and an SOS mode

Runner up underwater photography light: Sea & Sea YS-D2J

Slightly more affordable than the DS-161, the Sea & Sea YS-D2J is a solid contender for the title of best underwater photography light.

One of the coolest things about the YS-D2J is its control section. The controls have recently been recrafted to create a more ergonomic design that’s easy to use underwater. What’s more, the control is backlight by a number of colored LEDs which make seeing the settings easily, but doesn’t disturb the lighting of your photoshoot.

Light emission is controllable via EV control, which controls the actual flash level and achieves accurate exposure compensation.

An epic feature of the Sea & Sea YS-D2J is it’s target light function. This is a switchable light (100/300 lumens) that allows you to set your lighting on target, and then it switches off automatically when the strobe activates.

Plus, you get two diffusers and a red light filter, so this a seriously flexible and versatile underwater photography light. The diffusers take the color temperature down slightly, from 5600K to 5250K, and they also disperse the beam angle from 80 degrees to 100 or 120 degrees, depending on which cap you attach.

Power comes from 4x AA batteries – we’d recommend using Ni-MH batteries over alkaline, as the YS-D2J performs a lot better with them. How much better?

Try a massive 200 flashes per charge and a super faster recycle time of just 1.5sec. Yeah…

Key Features of the Sea & Sea YS-D2J:

  • Depth Rating: 100m
  • Color temperature: 5600K
  • Color temperature w/diffuser : 5250K
  • Batteries : 4xAA Alkaline Batterues: 6V Ni-MH: 4.8V
  • Recycle time (full) Alkaline Batteries: 3.0 sec. Ni-MH: 1.5 sec
  • Guide Number (ISO 100/m) (land) : 32, 24 (with Diffuser 100 attached), 20 (with Diffuser 120 attached)
  • Beam Angle: 80°x80° (without Diffuser), 100°x100°(Diffuser 100), 120° x 120° (Diffuser 120)

Best Bang for the Buck: SEA&SEA YS-01

Another sound offering from Sea & Sea is the YS-01. Sporting a smart black and yellow livery the YS-01 is a compact underwater light with a bunch of features packed in.

To start with, it has a wide-angle beam (100°x 100°) which can be widened using the included diffuser (110°x 110°). This makes it great for any application, from wide-angle to macro photography.

In keeping with this versatility, this light is more than happy to be your primary strobe, or a secondary light as a slave strobe.

If the Digital Slave TTL setting makes things a little too easy for you, then you can switch the light into manual mode, which gives you a ten-level manual control function to finely adjust the light output to suit.

The YS-01 runs on 4xAA batteries, and though you could use alkaline or Ni-MH rechargeable types, we’d opt for the latter is it improves the performance of the light in terms of the number of flashes and recycle time.

To make sure you’ve got your lights pointed directly where you want them, the Sea & Sea YS-01 has a 1w LED target light, which helps get your positioning sorted then switch off when the main light activates. Too easy!

Best Under $200: SeaLife SL651 Sea Dragon Mini

The SeaLife SL651 Sea Dragon Mini is the best underwater photography light under $200 because it has a huge life span – 30,000 hours!

Considering the typical dive duration is less than an hour, you can pretty much assume the Sea Dragon Mini will last your whole life unless you dive twice a day for the next 40 years…

The body itself is very sturdy and well made, with a rubber-armored polycarbonate body that gives you a decent grip underwater while protecting the light housing at the same time. The head is made of anodized aluminum, so it can take a knock or two with ease.

Life span aside, the Sea Dragon Mini is a very capable, if basic, handheld underwater light.

It’s a dual-purpose spot or floodlight, so no tricky flash stuff going on here, but it does come with a cold shoe adaptor so you can attach it to the top of your underwater camera. You get three lighting options: full (650 lumens), half, and emergency. So for underwater shoots, you basically have a fully-on or half-powered handheld spotlight.

Overall, the Sea Dragon Mini is a fairly basic and straightforward handheld light, which will do you well for your underwater photography adventures.

Key Features of the Sealife SL651 Sea Dragon Mini:

  • Brightness: 650 lumens
  • Color Temperature: 6200 ~ 7000 K
  • Depth Rating: 330 feet/100 meters
  • Beam Angle: 120° (Flood) or 15° (Spot Beam)
  • Light Modes: Full power (100%), Half power (50%) and Emergency Signal (blinks once per second)
  • Battery Options: Two (2) CR123 lithium single-use batteries (included) -OR- One (1) 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable battery (sold separately)
  • Burn Time: With CR123 batteries: 60 minutes at 100% power or 120 minutes at 50% power. With Tenergy 18650 Li-Ion battery: 100 minutes at 100% power or 200 minutes at 50% power

Best cheap underwater photography light: Aramox Diving Flashlight

description=”Nothing beats this super versatile handheld diving flashlight when you’re looking for a solid underwater photography light on the cheap.”]

The Aramox Diving Flashlight is the best cheap underwater photography light because it has a super-sturdy handle, which makes it easy to grip underwater.

To be honest, it’s surprising that Aramox can even make such a solid IPX8 rated flashlight for this price. Aside from the robust physical design, this light offers a bunch of versatility out of the 27 LED pieces that sit behind the glass.

Like what?

How about three levels of brightness from the super white 6000K light? No? What about red and blue lights with the option of a red strobe? Yeah, thought so…

Don’t worry, you can access the strobe mode with the white light as well, which is what makes the Aramox Diving Flashlight such a great option on the cheap to fuel your deep-sea adventures.

The LEDs are kept protected behind a 6mm thick piece of glass, and this light is so well-built that it can survive depths of up to 500m, which is way further than you’ll ever need to go.

Now, you’ll need to run this light on four 18650 rechargeable batteries which aren’t included, so you’ll want to factor that cost into your budget if you don’t already have them!

Key Features of the Aramox Diving Flashlight:

  • Beam angle: 120 degrees
  • Up to 500 meters submergible
  • Wavelength of red light : 620nm
  • Wavelength of blue light: 455nm
  • Color temperature of white light: 6000k
  • Powered by 4×18650 rechargeable batteries (Not Included)
  • 27 LED pieces (15x 5050 white, 6x XPE red, 6x XPE blue)

Best focus light for underwater photography: BigBlue AL1200N-II

The BigBlue AL1200N-II is the best focus light for underwater photography because it has an incredibly narrow beam angle.

This isn’t your “light everything” broad angled light beam. No, the AL1200N-II exerts a super narrow beam of just 10 degrees making it an excellent focus light.

This narrow beam angle also makes the BigBlue AL1200N-II the best spotting light for underwater photography.

Being a focus light, it doesn’t really have a lot of features to talk of; it’s kind of a one-trick pony. But, that’s exactly what its made for, and it does a damn good job of that.

It does offer four levels of light output though; 120Lm, 300Lm, 600Lm, and a massive 1200Lm. This is all switchable from a single button, which lights up with different colored LEDs to let you know which mode you’re in.

The 1200 lumen light is super bright, and its narrow focus makes the light output from the Al 1200N-II even sharper.

Power comes from a single rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery, which is actually included! You also get a charger for those all-important recharges, so you can keep going and going…

Key Features of the BigBlue AL1200N-II:

  • 10° Beam Angle
  • Depth Rating: 100m
  • Max power: 1200 Lumens
  • Color Temperature: 6500K
  • Burn time: 2-20hrs depending on power level
  • 4 Power Levels: 120Lm, 300Lm, 600Lm, 1200Lm

Best underwater photography led light: Keldan Video 8X

The Keldan Video 8X is the best underwater photography LED light because it has a ridiculously high CRI (92) and an incredible 10,000 Lumen output.

CRI (color rendering index) is a measurement of an LED light source’s ability to reveal an object’s colors faithfully when compared to natural light sources. Higher is better, and 100 is the max. Considering most video lights average round 83, a CRI of 92 is crazy, and means that the Keldan Video 8X is one of the most accurate and natural LED lights around.

So, that makes the quality of light super close to sunlight, which you don’t tend to get a lot of underwater…

The light itself is super bright as well (10,000 Lumens), which plays a part in why this isn’t a cheap handheld photography light. You can dial that brightness down though, thanks to the Video 8X’s 9-step dimmer.

It’s rated up to 200m depth, which is more than enough for the majority of divers, and has a max beam angle of 110 degrees, which is pretty much as wide as you’d ever want to go to as well!

Being such a powerful light, the battery life isn’t particularly long: 40mins. It does last a massive 23hrs in the lowest power mode though, so you should be able to find a happy medium if you’re not going to be constantly cranking it.

Key Features of the Keldan Video 8X:

  • CRI: 92
  • 9 Power levels
  • Depth Rating: 200m
  • 40 minutes full power
  • 1:60 brightness range
  • Up to 10,000 Lumens
  • Charge time of 3-4 hrs
  • Color Temperature 5000K
  • 23 hours burn time at minimum power
  • Max 110º Wide Beam Angle – In Water

Best underwater camera light: Light and Motion SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC

The Light and Motion SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC is the best underwater camera light because it offers a category-topping 15,000 Lumen floodlight.

Let’s take a look at some of the epic features this underwater camera light offers.

Despite offering such a high output, the SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC ensures a consistent light output as the battery level drops off, which can last a little over half an hour in max power mode.

You can dim the brightness down though, with a maximum battery life of around 15 hours if you’re on low power mode. The great thing is though, charging is quick at less than 2 hours for a full charge.

On the rear of the SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC is a handy OLED panel, which displays important information like lumen output, charge percentage, and run time. It’s clear and easy to read underwater, as it should be!

It’s not the lightest of lights, weighing in at just under a kilo, but that’s because of the SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC’s fast charge battery which is built into the light body. Plus, the body is made out of a really strong and durable plastic, which can handle bumps and drops of up to a meter.

Key Features of the Light and Motion SOLA Video Pro 15000 FC:

  • Weight: 984g
  • Beam Angle: 110°
  • Up to 15,000 lumens
  • Depth Rating328′ / 100 m
  • Charging Time: 1.75 Hours
  • Run Time 35min to 15 hours, depending on light output
  • Power Built-In Rechargeable Battery 24 V, 60 W Charger/Power Supply

Best under $500: Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S

The Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S is the best underwater photography light under $500 because it offers three modes of operation.

The first is floodlight mode 3500 Lumens and a 110-degree beam angle. The second and third modes are spot and burst (flash), giving outputs of 800 and 4500 Lumens respectively.

The flood and spot modes can be dialed down to 50% or 25% as well, so you’ve get plenty of adjustability for brightness.

The Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S has a decent burn time (68 mins), and that’s at max brightness in the flood mode, so you’ll get even more life out of a single charge if you dial down the brightness.

There’s a couple of other features that make the Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S and epic underwater photography light that cost less than 500 bucks.

First is the fact that it’s remote-controllable. You’ll need to buy their remote, but this will give you the ability to control two at once, if that’s your thing!

The second epic feature is the fact that the light head is water-resistant. That means if you have an accident while changing the battery and some whatever gets in, the light unit will be safe and sound!

Key Features of the Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S:

  • CRI: 80
  • Depth Rating: 330ft/100m
  • Colour Temperature: 5000K
  • Beam Angle: 110 Degrees Underwater
  • Weight: 500g on land, 250g underwater
  • Lumens: 3500 flood 800 spot 4500 burst
  • Up to 68 Minutes at 100% Output in Flood Mode
  • Modes of operation: flood, spot, red, UV, strobe/burst, SOS

Best cheap underwater camera light: SEALIFE Sea Dragon 2000F

The SEALIFE Sea Dragon 2000F is the best cheap underwater camera light because, for less than $300 (marginally), you get 2000 Lumen underwater light that’s rated to depths of up to 100m.

100m is a super deep dive, and most of us will never even reach 50m, so there are no worries happening there.

That 2000 Lumen output can be dialed down to 50% or 25%, if you don’t quite need the brightness that is on tap here. In any mode, the CRI is 80 and the color temperature a slightly warm 5000K.

At full power, you should be able to get about an hour of life out of the removable 25w lithium-ion battery. Thankfully, a battery is included, as well as a charger and international power adaptors.

Above water, the Sea Dragon 2000F has a 120-degree wide beam angle, which measures at 90 degrees when underwater. So, it’s not the widest of angles, which is good if you’re after a light that is a bit more focused than most underwater lights are.

With its three brightness modes, simple single-button operation, and easy expansion with SeaLife’s Flex-Connect system of trays, grips, arms and adapters, this is a seriously versatile underwater light.

Key Features of the Sea Dragon 2000F:

    • CRI: 80
    • Beam Angle: 120°
    • Depth Rating: 100m
    • Color Temperature: 5000K
    • Charge Time Approx. 170 minutes
    • Weight of Light Head Only: 13 oz / 370 g
    • Light Intensity: 2000/1000/500 lumens
      • Run Time: 60/120/240 minutes
      • Power


Best black light for underwater photography: Keldan Video 4X

The Keldan Video 4X is the best black for underwater photography because it is excellent at helping you take photos of fluorescent and bioluminescent plants and animals.

Okay, the Video 4X isn’t actually a black light, but by all accounts, it actually performs better for these tasks than most blacklights! So, that’s why it’s our winner.

Instead, the Keldan Video 4X emits a high-efficiency BLUE radiation with a wavelength of 450nm. It’s also quite unique in that it offers variable power with 5 different settings, which will control the output of the light.

This BLUE light is stunning in fluorescent environments, and really helps to capture the pure, raw beauty that exists below the surface of the ocean.

Burn time is between 50 and 200 minutes, depending on the power setting, which is pretty decent considering the light’s output. This comes from an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

The soft, speckle free 80-degree beam is fairly focused; perfect for fluorescent and bioluminescent underwater photography.

Key Features of the Keldan Video 4X:

      • 14-55 watt LED power
      • Burntime 50-200 minutes
      • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack
      • BLUE light for fluorescence photography
      • 20 watt radiated power at 450 nm wavelength
      • Beam angle: 80 degrees in water, 110 degrees in the air

Best Cheap Black Light: Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S

The Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S is the best cheap black light because you get so much for your money!

Okay, it’s not dead cheap, it’s still about 500 bucks. But what do you expect from a pro-level underwater black light?

For that five hundy you get three modes of floodlight (100%, 50%, 25% brightness), three modes of spotlight (same specs), and strobe/burst with SOS mode. So, you’re not only ready to go for awesome fluorescent underwater shots, but you’re also safe and sound!

This light is super bright, outputting up to 3500 Lumens with a coloring rendering index value of 80 and 5000K color temperature. So, not the brightest light, and not the highest CRI on the market, but you’re also not paying two grand for this black light!

You’ve got plenty of mounting options with the Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S as well. It functions fine as a handheld light, and comes with a wrist lanyard, however you can also mount it to your tray with the included YS mount and ball mounts.

Key Features of the Kraken Sports Hydra 3500S:

      • CRI: 80
      • Depth Rating: 330ft/100m
      • Color Temperature: 5000K
      • Beam Angle: 110 Degrees Underwater
      • Weight: 500g on land, 250g underwater
      • Lumens: 3500 flood 800 spot 4500 burst
      • Up to 68 Minutes at 100% Output in Flood Mode
      • Modes of operation: flood, spot, red, UV, strobe/burst, SOS

Best Soft Light for Underwater photography: Ikelite DS-161 + Ikelite Dome

The best soft light for underwater photography is the Ikelite DS-161 with an Ikelite Dome attached.

The DS-161 strobe is our best underwater photography light, thanks to its affordable price range and wide range of features.

Features like a warm 4800K light color temperature, ten levels of brightness and an included high capacity rechargeable NiMH battery pack. You can get a good 300 full-power flashes out of that battery too, which should be enough for a day out under the water.

If you’re looking for a more diffuse and soft light, then you’ll want to grab the Ikelite Dome as well. This diffuser is specifically designed to work with the DS-161, attaching to the front of the light body and widening the light’s beam angle.

The Ikelite Dome is also excellent at reducing backscatter, glare, and hard shadows; all things you want a quality underwater light diffuser to do! It’s better than a lot of other generic light diffusers, as it has a high rate of transmission which reduces light loss and preserves the natural 4800K color temperate of the Ikelite DS-161.

And that’s why it’s the best soft light for underwater photography. Plus, it’s real easy to remove for when you need a more focused light output.

Key Features of the Ikelite DS-161 + Ikelite Dome:

      • 500-lumen light
      • Depth rating of 300 ft
      • Recycle time of 1.4 sec
      • Color temperature: 4800K
      • 450 full-power flashes on a single charge
      • Guide number of 38′ underwater and 76′ above the surface at ISO 100
      • TTL and manual exposure control, with 10 output settings and an SOS mode


So, there you have it, the 13 best lights for underwater photography that you can find on the market right now.

Now, you’re probably thinking: “There aren’t many different brands here!” And you’d be right.

You see, underwater photography is a tricky business, what with all that water and all. And when you’re trying to get all of that expensive electronics to not only stay safe at crazy depths but actually help toward taking great photos, then you see how it gets so complicated.

For that reason, there aren’t a lot of brands doing underwater lights, compared to the plethora of companies offering cheap lights for regular photography.

Our advice?

Trust the experts, and don’t cheap out on sub-par brands that probably aren’t all that prepared to survive underwater.