Kraken Sports Hydra 8000 Underwater Video Light Review

This feature-packed underwater video light includes RGB colored beams, a 10,000 lumen burst photography mode, a built-in LCD display and more!
By Nirupam Nigam


The Kraken Sports Hydra 8000 WRGBU underwater video light is packed with as many features as its name implies. For just $100 more than the Kraken 5000s+, the Kraken 8000 outputs a wide, 100 degree, 8000 lumen light beam with a color rendering index (CRI) of 90. It is Kraken's brightest hydra light with incredible color accuracy and multiple RGB color beams including red, blue, green, UV, and automatic RGB cycling. The new control dial allows the user to shift through color settings and power levels with extreme accuracy (10% power intervals). The LED display ensures that the user knows exactly how much power is being outputted and how long the light will last. To say this light has everything an underwater video shooter needs is an understatement. The Kraken 8000 has more than enough to satisfy the most avid underwater creatives. The staff here at the Underwater Photography Guide had the honor of being among the first to bring this light underwater. In every circumstance the Kraken 8000 outperformed our expectations.


US MSRP: $799


Order a Kraken 8000 Video Light at Bluewater Photo:

Kraken Hydra 8000 WRGBU Video Light




Key Features:

  • Powerful - 8000 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 8000 can be triggered via fiber optic cable to produce a 10,000 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 - 58 mins at max power
  • Depth Rating: 330 ft/100 meters
  • Dimension - 74.1mm X 156.5mm
  • Weight including battery - 920g On Land & 425g underwater 


Sample Underwater Video:



Controls, Ergonomics, and Charging


The Kraken Hydra 8000 is an upgrade from other hydra lights when it comes to ergonomics. The light controls are simple - a single button and a dial. The dial provides the user with specific, incremental control of the beam power, and you can adjust the beam 10% at a time. It makes for very easy and precise operation underwater and we enjoyed being able to have full 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 8000 will tell you approximately how much time you have left at your current power level. 


The Kraken 8000 comes 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.


Wide Angle White Beam Quality


The 5000K white beam that is emitted from the Kraken 8000 is nothing short of impressive. In fact, we have yet to see an 8000 lumen light that is so compact. The beam is very wide at 100 degrees underwater and has a soft gradation with no hotspots. A dome from the Kraken 8000 can be purchased separately and provides an even wider beam. We found the Kraken 8000 to be powerful enough for wide angle video, even with one light! If you are shooting with a fisheye lens, then you may want to consider purchasing the dome or two lights to light the full area in front of your camera. We shot all of our sample video with just one light as we were shooting in cold, dark water, and it was plenty of power. With a CRI rating of 90, the beam produces very accurate colors underwater, and we think the clips of colorful anemones that we captured match very closely to what you would see in reality.


RGB Beam Quality


The most exciting feature on the Kraken 8000 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 8000 are extremely powerful - powerful enough to be used in wide angle video (as you can see in our samples)! This opens 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 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.


As you can see in our sample video, we were able to capture interesting creative clips with the RGB mode. 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 8000 has 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 8000 has a burst feature that allows it to output 10,000 lumens of power when triggered by a fiber optic cable and a flash from a camera. This allows the light to sync similarly as a strobe would for underwater photography. Though the Kraken 8000 is not as powerful as a strobe, it is powerful enough to use for wide angle and macro photos.


Kraken 8000 for Underwater Video


The Kraken 8000 is now our favorite Kraken light for underwater video. It is also one of the best value lights when it comes to lumen output and light features. The light is a very capable light for both wide angle and macro videography - even if you're just using one light. In fact, much of our footage was filmed with just one light. The white beam by itself is a great color temperature for underwater video, and it's not overly warm or cool. The reds and oranges in the video that we captured were very accurate to real life - particularly in our anemone clips. With a wide beam, even though much of our video was captured with a fisheye lens, the beam covered most of the foreground. The RGB lights are interesting additions to the hydra line up for creative video. We think the RGB feature will be particularly useful for backlighting and creative photography. We used the RGB cycle mode when filming a white diroda nudibranch and thought it produced a subtle, fun atmosphere. Overall, we have no doubt in our minds that the Kraken 8000 will continue to be a top light for underwater video for years to come.


Kraken 8000 for Underwater Photography


The Kraken 8000 is perhaps Kraken's most utilitarian video light for underwater photography. The light is bright enough to take wide angle photos, as we showed in out review video, even with the normal flood beam. While it is not as powerful as a strobe, it can certainly be used for photography in many situations. We thought the colors rendered beautifully, though subjects do sometimes get scared away by the powerful 8000 lumen flood beam. But the Kraken 8000 really shines as a light for creative photography. The RGB color modes are great for creative macro photography - particularly if you use the light for backlighting. The Kraken 8000 can also be fired in burst mode via fiber optic cables in different RGB colors. 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 8000.




The Kraken 8000 just might be the top video light to come out this year. Certainly it is one of the best all-around video lights with an amazing plethora of features for a very affordable price point. During our dives, we captured incredible wide angle and macro video both with and without the RGB feature. The new power control dial made it simple to adjust the power level precisely and the LCD display made it easy to keep track of the battery and power levels throughout the dive. But most importantly, the wide and accurate 5000K flood beam is of the highest quality made by Kraken resulting in incredible, colorful underwater video.




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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