OrcaTorch D820V Dive Light Review
By Brett Vercoe
I was asked to give my thoughts on a new underwater lighting product the D820V video light from OrcaTorch. I've had a few months now to trial the light in a number of different situations varying from shallow freshwater environments to 30 metre offshore reefs. Well above the D820V's maximum depth rating of 150 meters!
My impression at first glance was that the D820V was a bit small to pack the punch required to be effective video light or still camera focus light however I soon became pleasantly surprised!
The front lens is 4mm toughened glass and the torch body is a very solidly constructed anodized aircraft grade aluminium design with a titanium alloy button to resist corrosion. The D820V is operated by this single intelligent button. A single push will cycle through high, low and off in white mode. Depressing the button for two seconds will put you in UV mode and a single push will give you red mode. Depress the button again for two seconds and you revert back to white mode.
Something to keep in mind is the safety lock function which automatically occurs if the torch has not been used for 3 minutes. In the safe back into white mode. You'll soon get used to it! There is a green battery life status LED near the titanium button which comes on whenever the torch is illuminated. This green LED will turn red when the battery reaches 30% charge and will flash red at 10% battery level which is quite handy.
Despite its diminutive size at just 153mm long, 30mm wide and a weight of just 260g the D820V packs a potent punch with 1600 lumen maximum output on high setting and 550 lumen on low power at a colour temperature of 5000K.
In addition to 4 neutral white LED the D820V features two UV LED and two red LED. The UV mode is used to reveal the spectacular fluorescence of many corals and marine creatures and is useful for observing or illuminating shy creatures that would not otherwise tolerate white light. I tend not to use the UV or red light modes much myself but they do serve a practical purpose for some people.
The D820V is powered by a single replaceable Lithium ion 3.7V 5000mAh 26650 battery which in high mode white will last an amazing two hours, more than enough to run on full power for a double dive. In low mode white the D820V will give you 4 hours of illumination which I find quite amazing for such a compact unit. In UV mode you can expect 6 hours 40 min run time and in red mode 3 hours 25 min.
This brings us to one of the D820V features that I find revolutionary and innovative. Recharging the battery requires nothing more than a Micro USB cable! No more need for a separate bulky battery charger and possibly an adapter if heading to some overseas destinations.
Anyone who has travelled with a raft of camera and lighting gear knows what a pain it is to travel around with a bag full of chargers. Using a Micro USB cable means that you have multiple charging options such as a car or boat cigarette lighter adapter, a main adapter, a laptop or even a battery bank for the 3 and a half hour battery charge. This features has proved to be very useful particularly in the field and adds to the minimalist nature of the D820V. Another neat feature of the battery is that it is a dual polarity design which means that you can not replace the battery incorrectly as it will function either way.
The charging process is a simple matter of unscrewing the double O ring sealed end cap and inserting the included micro USB cable into the charging port. A red LED indicates charging and will switch to green to indicates charging and will switch to green to indicate a full battery. Replace the end cap and you're good to go. Unlike many other underwater torches the OrcaTorch D820V features intelligent over heat protection which means you can use the torch safely out of water.
At white full power the OrcaTorch D820V produces a beautifully even and bright 120 degree wide light which will provide adequate coverage for wide angle videography or still photography. In comparison to a number of other brand name torches I have used(some of them much more expensive) I found the D820V to be among the best with regard to even lighting with no evident hot spot. The 120 degree spread of the D820V is equivalent to the field of view of a 14mm lens on a full frame SLR which makes this torch useful for covering the majority of video and still lens options including all of the action cams. The white low power has a lightly narrower beam width and is most useful as general dive torch or to illuminate very close macro subjects.The OrcaTorch D820V comes in a robust black custom protective case which also contains the included Micro USB cable, a lanyard, two extra O-ring and a very solid 1 inch ball mount. Allen keys and screws are provided to fit the 1 inch ball adapter and once fitted the torch can be readily integrated into your camera rig.
Conclusions after two months use;
Initially I thought that 1600 lumen would be inadequate for a broad range of video purposes however with the dramatic improvement in modern cameras operating in low light conditions today I found the D820V to be very successful at restoring good natural colour into what would otherwise be monochromatic blue scenes at depth. We all recognize that one of the absolute fundamentals of underwater videography or photography wherever possible is to get as close as possible to the subject and in this scenario the D820V restores colour in a natural and very subtle way which I really like, avoiding the blown out look I see in many of the more powerful lighting units. With regard to photography I would recommend the OrcaTorch D820V primarily as a focus light or close macro illuminator as few video lights can compare with the light output from a strobe.
I found the torch to be a very useful addition to an action cam setup due to its similarly compact size and the wide, powerful and even 120 degree beam which acommodates the fields of view associated with the style of camera. I was very impressed with the D820V's robust build, exceptional battery life, ease of charging and the included 1 inch ball mount. The OrcaTorch D820V is a solid performer suitable for beginners right through to the more serious camera enthusiasts and at about $300 retail represents very good value.