As the underwater imaging space is rapidly shifting towards compact systems, manufacturers are complementing by offering exceptionally sharp wide-angle options. This is evident both in entry-level segments as well as the expanding mirrorless category – now divers have access to high-end DSLR quality imaging at a fraction of the size and cost.
Depending on subject matter, current underwater lights do have limitations. Using the industry standard FWHM (Full Width Half Maximum) protocol – we have not measured any dive light capable of a beam angle greater than 90° in water when designed with a traditional flat optic! Even a dual light setup may struggle to cover the entire field of view of certain systems. The results, without cropping, can lead to dark areas of a frame where light can’t reach – a serious distraction to the viewer.
The Dome Port tackles this problem with a significant increase in angle –the optic takes Sola’s standard 90° to an astounding 110° beam helping to match a wide field of view on popular setups.
How is this possible? Due to refraction, angled light changes direction when traveling through different densities (air/water) effectively decreasing total beam angle – sometimes over 25%! This distortion does not occur at the center when light hits an optic head-on at a perfect 90°, but rather where it transitions through at an angle (think edges of a beam for reference). A dome shape minimizes this effect by giving light the most direct transition possible from air to water – essentially allowing light to enter water at angles much closer to 90° to reduce beam distortion.
In addition to a significant boost in light angle, the optic is engineered to further optimize the beam pattern for wide-angle use. Designed to integrate with Sola lights featuring COB (chip-on-board) LED array, the artifact-free beam is enhanced by acting as a diffuser as well. This softens the beam and provides gentle light fall-off at the edges – a critical feature to help blend light from multiple lights or other light sources.
Progressive design cultivated to enhance wide-angle imagery; the Dome Port Optic is an exciting addition to the Sola lineup. Compatible with the new Sola Video 3800F and its predecessors (3000F, 2500F), durability is not compromised retaining Sola’s strict drop test requirements – a full 1 meter on concrete from all sides. Furthering the Light & Motion tradition of equipping divers with the most advanced lighting solutions available, the Dome Port Optic is an essential accessory for wide-angle imagery.