Using the Fix Neo 1500 SWR Underwater

Using the Fix Neo 1500 SWR Underwater

Using the Fix Neo 1500 SWR Underwater

By Kelli Dickinson

Don't want to read? Skip to our VIDEO REVIEW.

I've used the Fix Neo lights underwater a few times and been really pleased with the overall functionality and color temperature of the light. It's a great option for anyone looking for a nice focus or video light, as these lights are jam packed with cool and useful features, and also offer some great accessories to really streamline your shooting.

Today I want to take a look at the new Fix Neo 1500 SWR, a light I consider to be perfect for someone that's "caught in the middle"... meaning you need a focus light, but you'd also like to be able to shoot some video so you're not sure which way to go. Should you pay more for a nice video light, or save the money now and get a small focus light? With the Fix Neo 1500 SWR, I feel like you don't have to make that decision as it gives you the best of both options, and all without breaking the budget as this light only costs $599.

Spot beam for signaling/focusing? YES.

Wide beam for video lighting? YES.

Red beam for focusing? YES.

High quality LED's for nice color reproduction? YES.

Good amount of power? YES.

Easy to use controls? YES.

Using a Fix Neo light for focusing helped allow me to get super close to this little goby without scaring it away.

Specs:

  • 1500 Lumens Max Power
  • 100° Wide Beam (up to 1500 Lumens)
  • 100° Red Beam (up to 250 Lumens)
  • 30° Spot Beam (up to 500 Lumens)
  • Digital display for power level and battery life
  • Ability to control the power of the light from 0 to 100% in 1% or 25% increments.
  • Two Charging options - directly to the battery
  • Burn Time on high power: 120 min (Spot), 90 min (Wide)
  • Charging Time: 2 hours max
  • Charge directly to battery or through the light body
  • Depth Rating: 100 meters (330 feet)
  • Included Mounts: Ball mount, Locline mount, YS-mount
  • Ability to be remote controlled with the Fix Neo remote controller

Fix Neo 1500 SWR Underwater Video:

Juvenile Garibaldi lit with dual Fix Neo 1500 SWR (though in this situation, one would have been good!) No color corrections in post, auto white balance.

Key Features:

The nice 1500 lumens gives you more than enough light for just focusing, which allows you to primarily use it on a lower power level and thus extend the battery life significantly. It is also more than enough power for shooting macro video and even fish portraits or medium wide shots.

Three Types of Beam: Spot, Wide & Red

With three different beam types you can use this light for just about everything you need a light for underwater. Focusing - wide white and red beams are great. Signaling your buddy or pointing out a subject? Switch with ease to the spot beam for more focused light. The LCD screen on the light makes it really easy to see what power level you are at and how much battery power you have left.

True 100° Beam Angle

Beam angle often is extremely important for underwater video lights, as with a wider angle lens the shooter wants to cover the full field of view for even lighting. The Fix Neo 1500 SWR offers a 100° beam, wider than some other light options. This gives you a powerful beam that illuminates more of your image. In addition, the beam angle is not overstated, tests underwater show it really is right around 100°.

Ease of Use:

The Fix Neo 1500 SWR is laid out very simply. You have three buttons, which allow you to access all of the high tech features with a couple presses. The buttons are well spaced, so you don't accidentally push the wrong one and they are easy to manipulate. In addition it includes a physical locking switch to prevent accidental activation while in luggage or your dive bag.

Change Modes and Power Level Quickly.

Simply press and hold the round button to turn on. Press again to cycle through the four power modes in increments of 25%. Use the two arrow buttons to fine tune the power by 1% increments. To switch between the Spot and Wide beams press and hold the the round button for just over a second. Switching to the red beam is a bit more challenging, you need to hold the round button and one of the arrow keys to switch, so may require two hands. 

Color Quality:

The Fix Neo 1500 SWR offers really night quality LED's resulting in bright colors when shooting video. The lights are daylight balanced, around 6000° Kelvin which reproduces the natural looking colors underwater that are lost at depth.

Mix the white & red beams.

In addition, a feature not everyone realizes, you have the ability to mix the red and white beams to create a light with a pinkish hue. This is good when your white balance is still on the cool / blue side, to add more of the red color to your footage.

Interchangeable light heads.

You can even change out the light heads on the Fix Neo lights. Say you want to pick up a UV light. Instead of purchasing a whole new light, you can buy the Neo Blue head and swap it out. There is a program mode on the light body allowing you to tell the light which head is attached so it can calculate battery life and power correctly.

Charge or Swap Batteries:

I think in addition to the digital display, the feature that sets the Fix Neo 1500 SWR apart from other video lights is the multiple methods you can repower the light. Most underwater lights either need to be opened, exposing the o-ring, or charged from a plug. Lights that can only charge from a plug are limiting if you are doing multiple dives without a chance to charge up between dives. The Fix Neo 1500 SWR gives you the option for either. If you are concerned about o-ring security and don't want to open the light then you can just plug in the charging cable to the back of the light and charge it directly. However, if you're in a hurry and need full power back quickly, simply unscrew the light head and swap out the batteries. You can even charge the battery directly ouside of the light so you can be recharging the first battery while diving with the second.

Comes with everything you need.

I found the size of the light to be perfect, its compact, easy to travel with and works well with any sized camera system. Fix includes several different mounts with the light, so no matter how your camera rig is set up there is likely a mounting option included that will work for you.

Accessories Add to the Experience:

One of the most aggrevating parts of shooting underwater can be needing to adjust your video light power. If your lights are on arms, odds are they are upside down and a little bit away from your housing. You'll have to reach out, fumble for the controls and then switch each light individually. My favorite aspect of the Fix Neo lights, is the option FR1 Remote Controller. It gives you the ability to control multiple lights, and mounts directly to your handle. The controls are right there at your finger tips making everything quick and simple. In my opinion this accessory is a must have when shooting video underwater (even if you're only using one light).

Final Thoughts:

Fix dubs the Neo 1500 SWR as the "All In One" light and I couldn't agree more. For me, having both the spot and red options in one light really make a difference as I often prefer using the spot beam for the light at night, then switching to wide or red once I'm ready to shoot. During the day, both the red mode and wide white modes are excellent and the easy to use controls, paired with the digital display makes it a breeze to set and check your light. As a bit of a gear head, I love the small size, and the universal aspects (swapping the battery, or just plug it in and the exchangeable light heads). Lastly, the easy of controlling the light from my handles with the remote is fabulous. All in all this light really completes any underwater set up and is a great option in my opinion for just about anyone. The final clincher? This 1500 lumen light, jam packed with great features is only $599.

Purchase the Fix Neo 1500 SWR

Purchase the FR-1 Remote Control

Check out the other Fix Neo light options

Fix Neo 1500 SWR Video Review:

2015-11-10
Learn all about the Fix Neo 1500 SWR, "All in One" focus / video light.