Kraken Hydra 15000 WRGBU Video Light Review

Diving with Kraken's most powerful light in the Revillagigedo Archipelago
By Nirupam Nigam; Photos by Natasha Overbo


Kraken Hydra lights are some of the most popular underwater video lights on the market. But, until the release of the new Kraken Sports Hydra 15000 WRGBU, they didn't adequately fill the professional underwater video light niche. Kraken Hydra series lights are so jam-packed with features that it's difficult to fit all of them into one ultra-high powered light and for them all to shine (pun intended). But, every year, Kraken's engineering team does wonders in the underwater lighting category. This year is no exception; they've delivered again with the Kraken 15,000 WRGBU. The light features a whopping output of 15,000 lumens, a 100 degree underwater beam angle, an 18,000-lumen burst mode for photography, and WRGBU colored beams (i.e., any color you want).

Doug from Kraken sent us a pair of these lights just in time for our underwater photo workshop in Socorro, Mexico, with Bluewater Travel. I couldn't wait to hop on the plane. You rarely get to dive with a combined 30,000 lumens of light in their ideal environment - clear, blue, pelagic water filled with large sharks, whales, rays and more.

Before I begin this review in earnest, you may ask, "what's with all the light? Do you really need this many lumens?" The short answer is that the more light you have for underwater video, the better your underwater video footage will turn out. Now that doesn't mean you have to blast a tiny seahorse with 15,000 lumens of light. It just means that 15,000 lumens give you enough power to light wide-angle situations with nice color and detail. Generally speaking, the more ambient light you have in the water column, the more artificial video light you need to balance things out. So the clear, sunny waters of Revillagigedo were the perfect place to do some tests. 

Availability: Available Now at Bluewater Photo

US MSRP: $1099

Kraken 15,000 WRGBU



Order a Kraken 15000 Video Light at Bluewater Photo:

Kraken Hydra 15000 WRGBU Video Light


Available Accessories: 

Kraken 15,000 WRGBU Spare Battery

Kraken Remote Control


Other Kraken Hydra Lights:

Kraken 8000 WRGBU Underwater Video Light

Kraken 6000 WRGBU Underwater Video Light

Kraken 4000 WRGBU Underwater Video Light


The Kraken Solar Flare Mini 15,000 offers the same lumens with less features for a more affordable price of $799



Key Features:

  • Powerful - 15,000-lumen max output
  • Color temperature: 5600K
  • RGB LED - Red to sneak up on critters, blue for fluoro photo & video, and other RGB lights (any color you want) for creative shots
  • Burst Mode - Kraken 15,000 can be triggered via fiber optic cable to produce a 18,000-lumen burst for photography
  • Ergonomics - Easy to control knob and button. The control dial can be used to change power incrementally 
  • LCD Screen - Provides pertinent information. It also auto rotates depending on the orientation of the video light
  • Charging - Ability to charge via USB-C with up to two batteries at a time 
  • Mounts - Includes both YS and ball mount
  • Remote Control - Compatible with Kraken Remote Control
  • CRI - 90
  • Beam Angle - 120° on land, 100° underwater
  • Burn Time - 60 mins at max power
  • Depth Rating: 330 ft/100 meters
  • Dimension - 79mm (D) X 252mm (L)
  • Weight including battery - 1400g on land & 620g underwater 


Sample Underwater Video:

Build, Controls, Ergonomics, and Charging

The Kraken 15,000 WRGBU is noticeably different from all other hydra lights - it's big. Weighing in at 1.4 kg on land, this is not a light that can easily be placed on top of your camera rig as a secondary light for photographers. For that, we recommend the Kraken 6000 or Kraken 4,000. Instead, the Kraken 15,000 is a dedicated video light for video shooters, and we recommend mounting the Kraken 15000 on your housing arms and possibly using float arms for additional floatation. 

The weight of the Kraken 15,000 comes directly from its largest payload - the battery. Thanks to its large battery, the light has an impressive hour-long burn time at full power. At lower powers, this light can last multiple hours. But because it packs so much power, the battery does take 7 hours to charge. Most shooters will benefit from having a spare battery for the Kraken Hydra 15,000

The light is a sturdy, anodized aluminum that can withstand a beating. After ten days of intense diving, I didn't notice very many scratches, if any. The Kraken 15,000 has a double o-ring seal, but if it were to flood, the light head is sealed off from the rest of the light. That way, you would only have to replace the battery afterwards. The front of the light has a built-in dome allowing the beam to reach a fairy wide 100 degrees underwater.

Like the Kraken 8000, the ergonomics of the Kraken 15,000 have been significantly upgraded from other Kraken hydra lights. The light features a single button control with a dial. The dial provides the user with specific, incremental beam power control. It makes for very easy and precise operation underwater, and we enjoyed being able to have complete control over the light on our subjects - especially because we shot our video at static ISOs instead of auto ISO.

There is an LCD display on the back of the light. We found this very useful for seeing our exact power level when we were shooting as well as our battery life. The Kraken 15000 will tell you approximately how much time you have left at your current power level.

The Kraken 15000 comes with a USB-C charger that can charge two batteries at once! This made it easy to power my batteries throughout the day as we dove, with multiple batteries attached to our charging station at a time.



kraken 15000 back


Wide-Angle White Beam Quality

The wide-angle white beam from the Kraken 15,000 is beautiful. It's a little warmer than the similar Kraken Hydra 8000, but the difference in color temperature was not something we really noticed underwater. The colors are incredibly true to life, with a CRI rating of 90 (100 would be colors produced under sunlight). I was pretty impressed with how my subjects looked under the light. As you can see in our clips of white tip reef sharks, the beam brought out colors and textures I almost didn't know were there.

White tip reef sharks photographed by Natasha Overbo with the Kraken 15,000 and an Olympus TG-6

Underwater, the beam angle of 100 degrees makes the light sufficient for most types of video (especially with macro lenses or rectilinear wide lenses). However, we shot our video with a Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens which has a field of view of 170 degrees. In most cases, we were able to get away with shooting with one light, but in some cases, two lights can be a better option for a fisheye lens. 

The beam itself has a soft gradation and no hotspots. The built-in dome to the front of the light helps soften it up. Overall, the white beam from the Kraken 15,000 is one of the best options for wide-angle video on the market.


RGB Beam Quality


Multiple RGB (U) beams are very exciting if you are a creative video or photo shooter. They are not like RGB beams you might find on other lights. The RGB beams from the Kraken 8000 are powerful enough to be used in wide-angle video, opening up a world to creative videography and photography underwater. Some beams also serve an additional purpose. The red beam can be used for sneaking up on critters that can't see red underwater. The blue and UV beam is excellent for capturing fluorescence underwater. The green beam is powerful and can be used for creative photography or video. Finally, two dedicated RGB modes alternate between multiple colors - one that you can control with the dial and one that automatically cycles through all colors.

If you're a photographer, the Kraken 15,000 represents a powerful RGB backlight that can almost match a strobe in power, so you don't have to worry about your strobes taking over the colorful backlighting (as much as usual, at least).


Burst Modes and Remote Control via Fiber Optics


True to the Hydra line of lights, the Kraken 15000 has a fiber optic cable port that can be used to control the light through the Kraken remote control. It streamlines your dive and allows you to adjust power or settings without moving your hands from your camera. 

For photographers who need some extra light, the Kraken 15,000 can be controlled like a strobe with its fiber optic port. When the light is triggered, it outputs a quick 18,000-lumen burst. It is incredible just how powerful the bust is. One of our guests, Natasha Overbo, could no longer use her strobe during our workshop, so for the rest of the trip, she used the Kraken 15000 with her Olympus TG-6, and it worked splendidly. In fact, her photos had a unique aura of color and light. In the past, Hydra lights have not been able to replace strobes. But if you are primarily a video shooter and need a strobe for some photography, the Kraken 15,000 just might do the trick. 

A trigger fish photographed by Natasha Overbo and the Kraken 15000

Kraken 15000 for Underwater Video


If you are a seasoned underwater video shooter, the Kraken 15,000 will check all your boxes for what you need in a video light. It has a beautiful white beam with high CRI rating of 90 and a nice color temp of 5600k. As well as having extremely streamlined ergonomics, a tough build, and a long burn time for a 15,000 lumen light, it has an unprecedented level of features for a high-power underwater video light, including RGB beams; it is well worth the price point. And if all you care about is the white beam, then the Kraken solar flare mini 15,000 is a great option.

In our eyes, the biggest downside of the light is its size and weight. It's a large light because it packs a big battery with a lot of power, but you should really be a dedicated video shooter if you intend to use it (or a photographer wanting to use the burst feature). It's difficult to mount the light above your system, so it's better to have it on an arm system, just like underwater strobes. 

When it comes to our underwater experience, the Kraken 15,000 was an exceptional tool for underwater video. As I am primarily a photographer, my goal has always been to take video that looks the same as my photos; in the past, that has been difficult simply because video lights are not as powerful as strobes. But now, the level of color and detail in my video is extraordinary. At times, I did find that fish were alarmed seeing the full 15,000 output - and some divers as well! To not scare fish, it's important to turn the lights up at the last moment, which is why I recommend the Kraken remote control. Doing so also saves battery life. This is also one of the reasons I prefer not to use continuous lighting for photos - it's better to use the burst mode. Continuous lighting tends to scare things away. 

I found the RGB lighting fun for backlighting and creative photography, but I may recommend a smaller Kraken Hydra light unless you need strong backlighting. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try using the Kraken 15,000 for fluorescent video capture. With such a powerful blue beam, it's undoubtedly an ideal tool for this artform. But really, the Kraken 15,000 is an ideal tool for any artform.


Kraken 15000 for Underwater Photography


The Kraken 15000 is Kraken's most utilitarian video light for underwater photography. In fact, this is the first time that we can say that it's almost as good as a strobe! As we showed in our review video, the light is bright enough to take wide-angle photos in burst mode. Even the normal continuous flood beam can be used to take photos, but it will scare fish away if you point it at them too long. While it is not as powerful as a professional wide-angle strobe, it is pretty darn close. In fact, we think the Kraken 15,000 could actually be a decent strobe for macro photography. In the photos, the colors rendered beautifully, with an interesting soft and colorful aura. Though subjects do sometimes get scared away by the powerful 8000-lumen flood beam.

White tip reef sharks photographed by Natasha Overbo with the Kraken 15,000 and an Olympus TG-6

The Kraken 15000 really shines as a light for creative photography - especially with color RGB burst modes. This means you can fire the light in conjunction with your strobes to mix different colors of light.  Although dedicated photographers should consider using underwater strobes instead of video lights for underwater photography, video shooters that want to take photos on the side will be more than happy with the Kraken 15000.

White tip reef sharks photographed by Natasha Overbo with the Kraken 15,000 and an Olympus TG-6




If you're in the market for a wide angle underwater video light, look no further than the Kraken Sports Hydra 15,000 WRGBU. It checks all the boxes - a powerful, wide, white beam; a single button & dial control; an LCD display that tells you how much burn time you have left; RGB modes for creative video; and an extremely powerful burst for taking photos. Although it's a rather large light, it's necessary for those who need enough artificial light to match the strong ambient light found in sunny tropical water. But perhaps my favorite quality of the light is the beauty of the white beam. The colors just seem to pop. And when it comes underwater video - light is the most important thing. 


kraken 15000 package



Nirupam Nigam is the Editor-in-Chief of the Underwater Photography Guide and the President of Bluewater Photo - the world's top underwater photo & video retailer. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. After receiving degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, Nirupam worked as a fisheries observer on vessels in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. Since then, Nirupam has been a full time underwater photographer and photo gear head. Check out more of his photography at!


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