In the modern world, we like to capture everything. Whether it’s simply snapping a photo for your personal memories, or if you enjoy sharing photos online, you’ll need a quality camera. Of course, everybody has mobile phones these days, and many of them have impressive camera setups. But for those who take their photography a bit more seriously, action cameras are extremely popular.
Action cameras are terrific for capturing motion, making them popular for sporting events, travel photography and much more. However, they do suffer when it comes to performing in low light. This is because an action camera needs a continuous light source to perform well in low-light conditions.
So, if you want to capture great photos and more importantly, videos, in low light, you’ll need to get yourself a quality flashlight to use with your action camera.
Do you need a flashlight for all cameras?
You don’t particularly need a flashlight for every type of camera. Of course, DSLRs are popular with photography enthusiasts, and they typically have a built-in flash. For still photos, that’s fine, but for video, a constant light source is much better. This is especially true when filming indoors, or when filming outdoors at night.
Mobile phone cameras also have a flash and a range of settings to help improve picture and video quality at night, however again, a constant light source is much preferred. Many camera flashlights are compatible with mobile phones.
Finally, if you use a dedicated action camera such as a GoPro, these are designed a little differently. They’re made to capture motion better than other cameras, but their lenses are quite small. This affects how well they perform in low light, and therefore, you should always use a flashlight.
Let’s take a look at some of the best action camera flashlights available in 2023.
Suptig Underwater Dive Light
Suptig is one of the leading manufacturers of action camera flashlights, and for good reason. They make a wide range of flashlights for different purposes. This particular one is all about action, and it’s especially good for underwater use.
You’ll get waterproof capability down to 50 metres, which is further than most people will ever dive. Another aspect people love is how easy it is. The plug-and-play style makes it simple to use, and adjusting your settings isn’t much more complex.
Featuring 60 LEDs, and like most, the battery lasts longer if you use the low-lighting setting, approximately 14 hours. For mid-lighting, you’ll get around 6.5 hours and on high mode you can work for around 5 hours.
The only downside for some people is the unit’s size. It is bigger than a lot of others, and in fact, is bigger than a GoPro. With that said, you can still use it with a GoPro, as well as DSLRs, mobile phones and other camera types.
With plenty of settings to choose from and the ability to adjust the brightness of each colour in a range from 1%-100%, the Suptig 60 makes it easy to get the perfect light.
GoPro Light Mod
With GoPro being one of the most popular action cameras on the planet, it’s little wonder the brand also has its own flashlights. The GoPro Light Mod is specifically good for underwater use, and is waterproof down to 20 metres. As far as underwater functionality goes, this one ticks a lot of boxes. Of particular note are the five different light modes you can choose from. Importantly, it has a strobe function you can use if you need assistance underwater or in any dark situation.
The GoPro Light Mod is strong too, giving up to 200 lumens on the highest setting, and as low as 20 lumens. Being much smaller, however, the battery doesn’t pack as much punch as the Suptig. On the lowest setting you’ll get around 6 hours, and as little as 30 seconds in overdrive. You can charge with a USB cable.
Overall, this flashlight will work great with your GoPro, but it won’t work with other brands or camera types. So, it’s a terrific option for GoPro users, but not so great for others.
ULANZI VL81 LED Video Light
Ulanzi is another well-known brand when it comes to camera flashlights, and you’ll find several variations in their range. This particular light has 81 LEDs, 40 giving warm light and 40 giving cool light. There is plenty of customisation available, giving you the strength you need to take photos or videos in most low-light situations.
In fact, the beam strength goes up to 6 metres in high mode, and 3 metres in low mode. Changing the strength obviously affects the battery, with around 2.5 hours available in high mode and 6 hours in low mode. This is more than most camera batteries, so it should be more than sufficient.
The Ulanzi VL81 also comes with plenty of mounts, so you can attach microphones or even additional lights. But you’ll also be able to use it with most other camera types, thanks to the universal mount. Better still, it can operate as a standalone flashlight by attaching it to a tripod. Plus, at about 120 grams, it’s nice and light.
Suptig Adjustable Color Temperature LED Video Light
If you love Suptig, but you’re not keen on the 81g flashlight we listed earlier, this 54g one might be more your style. Being smaller, the battery power isn’t quite as strong, lasting around 2 hours on low mode and 1 hour on high mode. That said, you can still get plenty of use from this flashlight.
This device isn’t waterproof, but it does offer plenty of colour temperature settings, making it effective even for macro photography. While this is a little more of a budget version when compared to the Suptig underwater light, it is still plenty durable and represents good value for those who need quality lighting for action cameras.
You can even use it with other camera types, not just action cameras, so there’s plenty of versatility here.
Viltrox VL-162T CRI95 + LED Video Light
When it comes to power, you’re going to love the Viltrox. A more professional choice, this flashlight comes with 162 lumens and the ability to dim the light to 10%, 60% or 100%. You can get plenty of versatility due to this feature, and the quality of your shots should improve when using the right settings.
As far as battery life goes, you’ll get about 30 minutes of recording time on high mode, but it can run for as long as 3 hours on a lower setting. The battery can be switched out and replaced quickly too, so if you carry spares, you can keep working with little interruption.
You can even use the red, green or blue filters to obtain a different colour of lighting. So, if you love taking photos and videos in low light, the Viltrox is definitely a flashlight to check out.
Which action camera flashlight is right for me?
Often, it depends on the type of camera you use. If you’re a photographer who uses different cameras, you’ll want something versatile and compatible with various camera types. For underwater use, you naturally need one that’s water-resistant. If battery life is important to you, then something like the Suptig Underwater light is hard to beat.
Ultimately, it comes down to your needs. In the same way that you’d always compare NBN plans in Australia before choosing an ISP, it pays to research which action camera flashlights are the best fit for you.