A Solid Video/Primary Light – Review of the OrcaTorch D900V
By Jill Heinerth
As a professional in the industry, I am sometimes sent sample products to evaluate. Recently, OrcaTorch sent me a video light, their D900V video dive light. I picked it up at a friend’s dive shop, EPSO in Gatineau, Quebec. As local distributors for OrcaTorch, they had a full stock of the entire line of OrcaTorch products.
The D900V is specifically designed for video shooters and answers a need that is unique. Years ago, I asked my electrical engineer brother if he could develop a light that offered different color temperature settings. He never came through, but OrcaTorch did. The resulting product provides four distinct settings. In the wide flood beam setting, the user can easily switch between three different color temperatures. There is also a spot setting when you want to use the light as a standard diving light.
Two UV LEDs in the head provide a blue UV light that illuminates the bioluminescence of some marine organisms. You can use that on a night “fluoro” dive. The second setting offers up red LEDs. I used this to sneak up on critters on a night dive. When you use a strong white light on a night dive, you tend to attract swarms of bait fish, worms and other creatures. By using red light, you revert to a stealth mode that does not bring in the swarm and helps you get closer to animals like octopus or eels that might otherwise run from the light. The next setting is a 5000K color temperature white light which provides a strong 2200 lumens. The wide beam has an adequate spread for wide-angle photography and video. The light comes with a ball mount for attaching to video arms, but I found the most useful aspect of this light to provide a handheld focus light. The company carries a “Goodman Handle” that I did not use, but I think that would offer the most versatility. When I shoot video, I like to carry a handheld light on my left hand. I use the light to fill the scene, focus in the foreground or signal to my model. The spot setting makes that easy.
Out of the water, the light has some useful features. Magnetic charging is brilliant. Every time a light is opened and batteries are exposed for charging, there is a risk of future flooding. This system does not require the user to open the housing. The magnetic contact is snapped on the back and provides a full recharge in just over 2 hours. LED indicator lights let you know the status of the remaining battery time. At 30% of the charge, the green light turns to red and at 10%, it flashes to let you know it is time to find a backup light.
When I ran full power on the broad white light setting, I got over 2.5 hours runtime. On the lower setting, I was well over four hours. The other settings provide significantly longer burn times with the cool white spot beam providing almost 18 hours before it switched off. If you are using it for a primary light for cave diving, the spot beam in high setting offers an ample 820 lumens for four hours, adequate for a long day of cave diving. I suggest cave divers use the low setting of 250 lumens to begin the dive and put in their reel before increasing to the high beam for the dive. At the end of the dive, or in lower visibility, the low setting is ample for tasks without blinding a buddy in a blaze of light.
If you are going to own one light, this one does it all with robust construction and quality specifications. But, I will send them one more item for my wish list. I don’t know if it is possible, but one day I hope to use a light that lets me dial up a varied combination of all the LEDs to deliver a unique mix of color temperatures for a creative video look!