Kraken Hydra 4000 & 6000 WRGBU Video Light Review

More features, lumens, and accessories added to an already feature-packed line of underwater video lights
By Nirupam Nigam

Underwater lighting just keeps getting better and better. Every year another light comes out with more lumens and features for the same price as the light it replaces. This year, the Kraken 3500 and Kraken 5000 hydra light have been replaced by the Kraken Hydra 4000 & 6000 WRGBU video lights. After diving with the Kraken Hydra 4000 and Kraken Hydra 6000 over the past couple of months, we think that these lights are going to be two of the most popular video lights on the market for some time to come. The WRGBU title is just a small indication of their extreme versatility. Not only are they equipped with your traditional white flood, red, and blue beams; they also have a green, UV, and RGB beam that allows you to choose any color of light you might want. There's no more need to carry around a cumbersome pack of color filters if you want to get into creative lighting or view underwater fluorescence. Moreover, the lights themselves have a threaded mount on the front of the light head, allowing for accessories like the Kraken Hydra optical snoot. We have found this snoot to be one of the most effective on the market for underwater video because it uses internal lenses to condense light onto a subject - resulting in extreme contrast and beautiful black background video - even in the middle of the day.  To top it off, these hydra lights showcase an improved set of control buttons, a burst mode for shooting photos, compatibility with the Kraken remote control, and much more. In this review, we'll share with you our favorite sample video footage, cover the top features and specifications, and show you our favorite accessories for the light.

 

Kraken Hydra 4000 WRGBU US MSRP: $499

Kraken Sports Hydra 4000 Key Features:

  • Great for macro & compact camera video - 4000 Lumens max output
  • Color temperature: 5000K
  • RGB LED - Red to sneak up on critters, blue for fluoro photo & video, and others for creative shots
  • Burst Mode - Kraken 4000 can be triggered via fiber optic cable to produce a 6,000 lumen burst for photography.
  • Ergonomics - Control panel has three buttons. The center button is used to move through modes; the left and right buttons are used to turn power up and down by increments of 20% 
  • 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 - 75 mins at max power
  • Depth Rating: 330 ft/100 meters
  • Dimension - 62mm X 147mm
  • Weight including battery - 1kg 

 Kraken Hydra 6000 WRGBU

Kraken Sports Hydra 6000 Key Features:

  • Great for wide angle and macro video - 6000 Lumens max output
  • Color temperature: 5000K
  • RGB LED - Red to sneak up on critters, blue for fluoro photo & video, and others for creative shots
  • Burst Mode - Kraken 6000 can be triggered via fiber optic cable to produce a 8,000 lumen burst for photography.
  • Ergonomics - Control panel has three buttons. The center button is used to move through modes; the left and right buttons are used to turn power up and down by increments of 20% 
  • 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 - 62mm X 147mm
  • Weight including battery - 1kg 

Sample Underwater Video:

 

 

Controls, Ergonomics, and Charging

The Kraken Hydra 4000 & 6000 video lights feature the same exact build, with the only difference between the lights being burn time and the brightness of the beam. The light controls have been updated from a two button control panel to a three button control panel. This might sound more complicated, but it actually streamlines the ergonomics of the light. The center button is used to cycle through the beam type. The left and right buttons are used to adjust power up and down in increments of 20%. It makes for very easy and precise operation underwater.

While these lights won't tell you the exact power level and battery life left like the Kraken 8000, they do show you roughly how much battery life is left with a colorful LED panel that outlines the buttons. 

The light themselves are very sturdy and the seal is supported by two orings, making it highly unlikely that it floods. That being said, if the light was to flood, the light head is fully sealed so you would only need to replace the battery.

The Kraken 4000 & 6000 come with a USB-C charger that can charge two batteries at once! This made it easy to power our batteries throughout the day as we dove, with multiple batteries attached to our charging station at a time. The charging time is a bit slow at 3 hours. 

The battery life of each light, however, is excellent. The Kraken 4000 has a battery life of 75 minutes, which found could last through two or three dives. The Kraken 6000 has a battery life of 60 minutes - the standard burntime for most Kraken video lights. 

 

 

Wide Angle White Beam Quality

 

The 5000K white beams that are emitted from the Kraken 4000 & 6000 are beautiful. The color temperature really accentuates underwater subject color and balances it nicely with the background. You can see this in particular in our sample video of the Kraken 4000 - in the scene where a scorpionfish is lit beautifully against a blue background. The beam of each light is very wide at 100 degrees underwater and has a soft gradation with no hotspots. With a CRI rating of 90 (abover average for video lights), the beam produces very accurate colors underwater, and we think the clips of reef scenes that we captured match very closely to what you would see in reality.

The Kraken 6000 is powerful enough to capture nice wide angle video in shallow water, or bright sunny days. You may want to consider the Kraken 4000 more as a tool for wide angle video in deeper or darker environments. Both video lights can capture beautiful macro video, especially when paired with the Kraken optical snoot

 

RGB Beam Quality

 

The most exciting feature on the Kraken 4000 & 6000 for creative shooters is the multiple RGB(U) beams. These are not like other RGB beams you might find on other lights. The RGB beams from the Kraken 4000 & 6000 are extremely powerful - powerful enough to be used in wide angle video (as you can see in our samples)! In fact, we think they eliminate the need for cumbersome color filters that come with other video lights.

They open up a new world of 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 great for capturing fluorescence underwater. The green beam is powerful and can be used for creative photography or video. Finally, there are two dedicated RGB modes that alternate between multiple colors - one that you can control with the dial and one that automatically cycles through colors.We recommend using color as a backlighting tool or on white subjects that reflect the light without mixing colors.

 

Burst Modes and Remote Control 

 

True to the Hydra line of lights, the Kraken 4000 & 6000 have a fiber optic cable port that can be used to control the light through the Kraken remote control as well as activate the burst mode built into the light. The remote control can be mounted onto your arm or tray system so that you don't need to reach up to the light to control it.

The Kraken 4000 has a burst feature that allows it to output 6,000 lumens of power when triggered by a fiber optic cable and a flash from a camera - and the Kraken 6000 can output an 8,000 lumen burst. This allows the light to sync similarly as a strobe would for underwater photography. Though the Kraken 4000 or 6000 are not as powerful as a strobe, they can be used in macro photos, a sometimes wide angle photos.

 

Kraken Hydra Optical Snoot Accessory

If you are a macro aficionado, then the Kraken hydra optical snoot that is designed for the Kraken 4000 & 6000 is a must have accessory. The snoot uses optical lenses to condense light underwater into a small radius. This puts a small, powerful beam right onto your subject, allowing you to capture video footage with a lot of contrast and black backgrounds - even in broad daylight. The snoot also comes with an aperture mask which changes the size of the opening of the snoot - allowing you to match the size of your beam with the size of the subject. And because the light is a continuous light, it's very easy to line up your beam with your subject. Overall, we found it incredibly easy to take snoot video of any subjects between the aperture mask and the continuous beam. In fact, it's easier to line up this snoot than the popular DivePro MP30 snoot. And though the DivePro MP30 has more lux then the Kraken optical snoot, they work very similarly. So if you're looking for a snoot, and already have a Kraken light, the Kraken optical snoot is the way to go. Just check out our sample video footage below:

 

 

Kraken 4000 vs 6000 vs 8000 for Underwater Video

At this point, you may be a little confused about the difference between each of the new Kraken lights and wondering which one is right for you. After diving with the lights, we think that the Kraken 4000 is an ideal light for macro, GoPro, and compact camera video shooters. It's also a great light if you do a lot of darker, cold water diving, and don't need a lot of power to fight the ambient light of the sun. The Kraken 6000 is a great middle of the range light for macro and wide angle video. It's the best light for anyone looking for a versatile video light at a great value. The Kraken 8000 is the perfect video light for wide angle shooters, and those looking for something that can fight ambient light in shallow, clear, bright water. With the dome accessories, the Kraken 8000 can be made to have a wider beam angle than the Kraken 6000. Given that the Kraken 8000 is only $100 more than the Kraken 6000, in many cases it might be a better idea to purchase the Kraken 6000. But if you need a smaller light that's great for traveling, the Kraken 6000 could be the way to go. 

Either way, all three lights produce beautiful beams for both normal and creative situations. The combined 5000K color temp and the CRI rating of 90 really make the beams some of the most aesthetic of any video light out there. But we'll let our sample footage do the talking.

 

Conclusions

 

The Kraen 4000 & Kraken 6000 video lights are two of a kind, only separated by 2,000 lumens and $200. Both are exceptional creative tools with a wide range of features that allow you to do anything from snoot video to capturing underwater fluorescence to lighting fo creative photography to capturing incredible underwater video. They are truly the swiss army knifes of underwater video lights, and those who are looking for the best value video lights on the market will not be disappointed. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. Check out more of his photography at www.photosfromthesea.com!

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