OrcaTorch D620 Canister Dive Light Review
By John Adsit
Orcatorch sent me a D620 canister light so that I could test it out and write a review. This is an amazingly inexpensive canister dive light, so I was naturally a little leery about using it, especially since every canister light I have ever used before cost several times what this light typically costs.
It came at a good time, as I was thinking of changing my dive light. When I first got my previous light, I was thrilled by how much better it lit up a cave than my older light, but given the rate of changes in dive lights over the years, it had become a dinosaur with its mere 1200 Lumens. It was also plagued by a need for repairs, as is true of too many canister lights. The Orcatorch promises 2700 lumens at its highest setting. That is certainly not the highest number in the industry, but it is a major step up from what I had been using.
I like the overall design. The Goodman handle is very good. It is extremely sturdy and easy to adjust with a handwheel. Once adjusted, it stays there, unlike handles I have used in the past with the handle adjustment determined by screws that constantly work their way loose. It has a good, comfortable feel during the dive. The handle folds across the light face for storage in seconds, which helps it fit into gear bags while protecting the light face from damage. The battery canister is remarkably small and light. It affected my weighting needs on dives with lighter tanks. The canister does not protrude below the belt enough to anchor a long hose, so I had to tuck my hose into the belt. That’s a problem, as I do not currently have a better way to tuck that hose.
The light has three settings, with the highest one rated at 2700 lumens. Getting from one setting to another requires pushing a small button on the light head. The button twists to locked and unlocked positions, and the instructions emphasize turning to a locked position after each change. I found that to be a bothersome while diving. If you are using the light on the middle setting and want to go high for a while and then back to middle for longer battery life, you have to do a lot of button pushing and twisting. The button is not large, and if you are wearing gloves, particularly dry gloves, it is difficult to turn it to lock and unlock. I mentioned this to Orcatorch, and they said they would be changing the design in the future because of that. The primary benefit of the lock mechanism is preventing it from turning on accidently, which could damage the light head, as I certainly learned when it happened to my previous light.
I tested the light in 6 different environments: 1) a deep (276 feet) sinkhole, with dark and dusty water, 2) shallower in the same sinkhole, with dim light and particulates, 3) a cave (Jackson Blue), 4) inside a deep, dark wreck (Lowrance, 203 feet), 5) inside a shallower wreck with some natural light (RSB-1, 113 feet), and 6) on a reef with about 50 feet of visibility. In the deep sinkhole, I was used to my light beam disappearing quickly in the murk, and I was pleasantly surprised by the increased range this gave me. I got my first real look at a familiar rock formation by virtue of the increased lumens. My buddy could see my beam better than he was used to. On the shallower sinkhole dive, my buddy and I compared his 3,500 lumens beam with mine on the wall, and the difference was about what you would expect given their ratings.
In the cave (Jackson Blue), I was using a scooter, which makes a lot of two handed light intensity changes as described above annoying. I found the medium setting more than enough for comfortable diving, and it would be what I would use on longer dives to conserve battery power. (The medium setting advertises 8 hours; the high setting advertises 1.5 hours.)
The light got a good test in the shallower wreck because I entered a passageway that had been thoroughly silted out by two previous divers. The beam did not cut through that haze—it just lit it up like bright headlights in a fog bank. I had nothing else to compare it to there, so I don’t know if any light would have done any better.
Using the light’s highest setting on the reef was quite interesting. It illuminated openings far into the reef, showing me things I would never have seen otherwise.
The lowest setting gives practically unlimited battery life. I did not test it on any of my dives, but I imagine it would be useful for dives where extreme battery life is a plus or when very high illumination is not a virtue, as in open reef night diving. It can also be useful in situations where you are with a buddy with a less powerful light and you do not want your beam to overwhelm your buddy’s beam and interfere with light communication.
As is typical of LED lights, the beam is not highly focused, but I didn’t find that a problem. I had no trouble signaling a buddy when I wanted to during my dives. In the sinkhole, the beam was still visible in the dimmer light at shallower depths. That middle setting was comparable to my old light’s only setting, and I found it to be more than adequate for the diving I did.
For me, the biggest issues with dive lights are durability and reliability. I have seen and experienced many canister light failures, and it is very frustrating to be planning a dive while your best, expensive canister light is in for repairs. You want that light to be there when you need it. I, of course, have no way to judge the long term durability of this light, but I can note several promising points. It does not have the design flaw in the light head that caused my last light to leak and require replacing. It uses four 3400mAh lithium ion batteries that are stored and charged outside the canister and are easily replaced for a few dollars. The canister itself is a simple design with a screw-on cap that looks pretty much foolproof. It’s hard to predict where things can go wrong with it.
The biggest problem I have with it, frankly, is psychological. Over the years I have become used to the typical cost of a dive light being 5-6 times the cost of this one. I can't help but feel I am missing something. If so, I don't know what it is.