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Shadow Caster vs Lumitec vs Liquid Lumens vs Abyss vs Lumishore. PICS and VIDEO!!

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  • #16
    Fantastic write up man, so my question is for the guys (me) who don’t have thousands to spend on under water lighting... what would you suggest for my 99 sport star if I was looking to spend a couple hundred?
    99 Mastercraft Sportstar


    • #17
      Wow! What an epic write up about these lights! Thanks so much for spending the time to document all these lights.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


      • #18
        Truly impressive setup for testing and great review. I'll be back to re-read when it comes time for adding underwater LED's to my boat.
        '18 XT22 w/5500 & Upgraded Premium Stereo
        (Previous- '08 X2 w/MCX)
        '16 F150 Platinum Screw 3.5L Eco 4x4

        I can help with Klipsch Stereo modifications


        • #19
          Some thoughts from Liquid Lumens on the review

          I’ve been meaning to weigh-in and provide some feedback from the perspective of Liquid Lumens ever since Calvin did this thoughtful and thorough review. First off, I’d like to thank Calvin for reaching out and taking the time to do this comparison. We’re all here because we love boating and want to be able to make educated decisions and pick the best products for our own boats. Any time a consumer takes the time to get involved with various companies and their respective products and bring all of us together, we all learn and the community benefits. I can’t speak for my competitors, but I know that customer feedback and input is the most important factor driving innovation for Liquid Lumens. Things we learn from everyone here, helps us to move innovation forward and create better products and provide better services to the marketplace. So again, a big thank you to Calvin.

          My purpose of participating here, isn’t to be critical of the comparison or to try to convince anyone of anything. It’s simply to provide information about Liquid Lumens’ designs, thought process when creating new products, and to help everyone understand why we choose to build our lights the way we do. That being said, I’m also hoping to receive sincere feedback from the community, as it helps us get better as a company and in turn build better products.

          Lastly, before I jump into the specifics of the product review that Calvin did, I am going to point out that there are some obvious and glaring flaws with the way the tests were performed that merit mentioning. Especially because they were discussed with Calvin, in detail, prior to our participation in the comparison. I can understand that they presented logistical issues for Calvin with configuring the test and I also understand his reason for abandoning the originally discussed test method. A test like this is complex, time consuming and expensive to conduct. Calvin is a consumer just trying to pick the product he wanted to personally use on his boat and was willing to share what he learned in the process. So, I can’t fault him for that. However, I would be remiss to not share that information with the group to be fair and openly considered when digesting the information here.

          It is unfortunate for all of us that the originally intended comparison wasn’t able to be conducted as part of this test, because it’s not often one consumer has so many of the top products in the space together for a review of this magnitude. After reading the review back when he posted it, I felt that information was important for everyone’s consideration. With that said, here goes.

          The first thing I think that needs to be noted is that there is no way to quantify the light output of each light when the products weren’t photographed side by side simultaneously. Period. The types of camera used (iPhone and GoPro) share a similar flaw for this type of photography. Exposure lock, the method Calvin used to capture his images, is specifically designed to achieve optimal exposure for an image, regardless of ambient light. This means the camera would auto-adjust its settings from one shot to another or one light product to another, from frame to frame. In other words, the camera itself was deliberately attempting to level the playing field between various products that very well could have been producing two very different amounts of light.

          In a fully adjustable/professional camera, the photographer would have the ability to control settings of both f-stop (aperture) and shutter speed in order to choose a fixed value for both to use across multiple shots. This would create the ability to compare, at least to some extent, from one shot to the next holding all other things equal on the environment and camera settings. In the configuration Calvin used, it is important to note that an iPhone acts exactly like the human eye does, when exposure lock is enabled. It automatically adjusts itself to the ambient light to achieve optimal exposure/eye comfort for it to properly view its environment. In other words, the camera was literally trying to make every single light photographed appear identical in terms of exposure/brightness. As everyone knows, the human eye automatically adjusts to ambient light in the same manner. So, turning one light on and observing it visually, then turning another light on individually, and so on would also be challenging to distinguish differences with, from product to product, with the naked eye, since the products were never illuminated side-by-side. Because our lights are so intense and bright in the center, due to the way we focus them, as Calvin noted, we have always found them difficult to photograph. The “hot” center area of the light overexposes and dims out peripheral light on film. I'm sure our competitors face similar challenges when photographing their own products. But more on our design, and why that design, later.

          When I first spoke to Calvin, I pointed out how difficult it is to photograph extremely bright Underwater Lights and make them truly representative of their performance. As we discussed this, he agreed and said that he would mount two boards, similar to the one he built, and hang them back to back with lights aimed in opposing directions, where he could have two differing light brands on simultaneously aiming away from each other for a true side by side look at each brand next to the others. We were looking forward to seeing those images, as that would have been a much more accurate representation of how each product stacked up against another. But unfortunately, that configuration was abandoned in lieu of what was done.

          In the garage setting, you can see the hot spot in the center area of the wall in the Liquid Lumens images. If that brighter area of light was overexposing the camera and/or someone’s natural vision, it would naturally result in making the surrounding light seem less intense. I can’t say for certain that was the case, as I wasn’t there, but it’s food for thought when considering the review.

          The key thing I want to discuss on behalf of Liquid Lumens, however, is why we use the focused beam of light and also why the hot center instead of a flat lens flood pattern of light, like many of the other products reviewed here and elsewhere. I would answer that question with a couple of my own questions to each of you… How do you use your boat? What do you want the lights for? And, where specifically do you want the light to show up when you are using your boat?

          When we set out to create better performing lights for our own boats, we asked the question:

          (Customer submitted image of their boat using Liquid Lumens Skinny Dip Lights)

          Although this is our entry level light, I think this image does an excellent job of illustrating just how impactful the use of focusing lenses is on projecting light behind a boat. Shot from this angle, the overpowering "hot spot" of our lights doesn't overexpose the image and prohibit us from seeing just how far they can carry in certain environments.

          This image shows a similar angle from behind the boat, but a closer view, of our RGBW Light pattern. Now this next photo is where it begins to get interesting...

          Notice that when the boat is weighted down, configured for surfing and underway how the light is now angled into deeper water, no longer directly behind the boat like we see when the boat is at rest in the other images, like my previous ones as well as Calvin's. We've also introduced prop wash, bubbles and other disturbances to the water that reduce the lights performance when compared to a boat at rest in calm water. Without intensifying the light (boosting voltage) and focusing it through the center of everything going on behind the boat, it would barely be visible in the wave, if at all. At least that was our own experience as fellow boaters, which is why we developed this design. We wanted it to project so intensely that it still showed up all the way back in the wave while underway in these conditions. I think this image does a nice job of illustrating how the light penetrates the messy water and still shows up back by the surfer, including in the troughs and further out of the wave where he is riding.

          Even still, once we started using our own products, we loved how well the center of the wave lit up, but also wanted more peripheral light. Enter Top-Side Lights...

          The Top-Side Lights act as a flood of light on top of the wave and allow for more peripheral light to compliment the tighter beam angle of our Underwater Light designs. Here's a view from the boat looking back at the wave with both Underwater Lights and Top-Side Lights illuminated together. Note, this boat is equipped with Green LED Pipeline's and Green LED Top-Side Lights.

          I fully understand that the uses we designed our lights for, may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's ok. But we aren't shying away from this approach. In fact, the newest product we just announced is even brighter down the middle with the tightest beam angle we've ever produced in a high performance light. But we our designing our lights for specific performance related purposes beyond just ambiance. That doesn't mean our products are for everyone, and I fully understand that. I'm happy Calvin found a product that suited his needs and learned what he needed to for himself from the review process.

          How do you like to use your boat? What would you like to see more of or less of in future lighting technology for your own boats? Maybe I can learn from you and help guide Liquid Lumens' next generation of products towards creating something to suit your needs if we haven't done that yet.

          All of the images I used here were submitted by customers. None were shot professionally or commissioned by Liquid Lumens. I opted to avoid using professional or commercial grade images that we produced so that they would be as authentic as possible for illustrating our design features.

          I make no claims or direct comparisons between our products and my competitors mentioned here. I can say that any performance values published on our website have been laboratory tested by independent third party, certified firms and are backed up by documentation.

          Again, a big thanks to Calvin for putting all of this out there. We learned some important things from this. Hope to see more sincere reviews and feedback like this that just keep making the boating industry more fun for all of us! If I can answer any specific questions or help any of you in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out. Happy 4th of July and Happy Boating!
          Last edited by RoboSanLucas; 07-04-2019, 02:59 AM. Reason: Edited photo links to properly embed them in post and also some typos.


          • #20
            Bump this for everyone thinking about their next boat upgrade. I did the research and testing so y’all don’t have to!

            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


            • #21
              That is a heck of a write up!! Thank you for your work. I’ll be honest I haven’t read through all the info yet. Just last night I discovered one of my factory under water lights only half the LED’s are working. Looks like it has moisture in it. I would love to upgrade in the future. What brand are the factory lights on a 13’? Can I just replace the housing?