Thanks, Macca, for use of the lyric. It came into my mind the moment I switched on the Archon D100 lamp.
It’s the lamp of choice for anyone who asks in the dive store if they don’t have anything a bit brighter. This is a lot brighter!
In fact it is so bright that it’s inadvisable to switch it on when it’s not submerged in water.
How bright Well, where some lamps push out a useful 100 lumens, this one emits 10,000 lumens at full strength.
No, we didn’t print too many zeros by mistake! With the Archon D100 you won’t lack a little extra light.
Like its output, there is nothing petite about this lamp. At around 30cm long with a front end nearly 8cm in diameter, it’s something of a monster.
It’s lighter than it looks, however, thanks to the use of aircraft-grade aluminium hard-anodised in black to give it a tough finish that should withstand abrasion. Made in China, it looks very reminiscent of a Barbolight.

The largest Cree LED you are ever likely to see is the source of the immense light output.
This is powered by a rather large lithium-ion battery-pack containing what appear to be a dozen individual batteries.
You remove the battery-pack to charge it, and I suggest you do the same when the lamp is in transit or stored for any length of time.

The D100 is lighter than it looks at just over 1.7kg, because a lot of its metalwork is taken up with heat-exchanging fins around the head that also act as a grip when it comes to switching.
You simply twist the head to move it through three different light-output settings – high, medium and low.
Be careful not to twist it off too far, however.
I suggest that you do this just as you have left the water, in case of unintentional flooding.
I turned it on just before I went into the water. Twisting metal surfaces against O-rings, however well-cleaned and lubricated, can be asking for trouble.

The beam is broad because there is no reflector as such. The massive light-emitting Cree LED is simply mounted behind a thick polycarbonate glass. I imagine that this would soon distort if you left the lamp switched on for any length of time when not fully immersed.
The D100 has a notional beam angle of 120°. It’s obvious that this product is really intended for use by photographers or video-makers.
It’s matched pretty close to daylight when it comes to colour temperature, although it is not matched to the blue light that is ambient when you find yourself at any depth.
For still photographers, it’s still not as bright as the pulse of light you can get from something like a Sea & Sea YS-D1 or an INON Z240.

Unscrewing the front end reveals the battery- pack. It has electronic-discharge protection and protection from polarity reversing if you replace it the wrong way round. You wouldn’t want to overheat a battery-pack of this size.

The D100 has a conventional carrying handle, but there is an accessory available (at extra cost) that allows you to mount it on a standard 25mm underwater flashgun mounting ball.
I did this and intended to use it as my main light source for some wreck pictures of the interior of the Zenobia wreck. This was not to be.

In The Water
I used the Archon D100 alongside my D800 underwater camera, set at a very high sensitivity level to compete with Mediterranean sunshine in the clear waters of Cyprus.
That’s a lot to ask of any light, and although it made a difference to the pictures I took, I had to check that it was actually working from time to time by putting my hand in front of it.
Alas, although I had carefully cleaned and greased the main O-rings, I was unaware that the front glass, made watertight by its own O-ring squeezed down by a number of hexagonal bolts, was allowing water to slowly make its way past, drip by drip, into the front of the lamp.
Of course, there is no way you can look at this when the lamp is fired up. It’s dazzlingly bright.
Only when the lamp finally went out during its second dive did I examine it, and found a teaspoon of water swilling about in the front.
Still under water, I positioned the lamp, attached to my camera, with the front facing down, in an effort to keep this water where it was. However, climbing out across Cyprus’s ironstone shore, I took an unfortunate tumble, and that seawater finally got to the battery-pack in the process.
Assisted by willing friends, we hurriedly unscrewed the front part of the lamp to get the battery out but gases were already being produced that made this quite difficult, due to the pressure being built up inside.
There appeared to be no effective over-pressure valve, and seawater and lithium-ion battery-packs can be an explosive combination.
We got it apart, but not without a lot of effort. In the event the lamp was toast, so it was an expensive morning – and I never got to try it in the dark confines of the Zenobia‘s lorry decks.
As it was an item that the importer had been using for demonstration, it may well have suffered from being switched on too many times while not submerged.
This might have imperceptibly affected the plane-parallel nature of the polycarbonate front glass, and the slight distortion so caused may have meant that the front O-ring was no longer 100% effective.
If we find out, we’ll let you know.


PRICE £900
LAMP Cree 100W SWC
OUTPUT 10,000 lumens
BURNTIME Two hours approx
BATTERY 5000mAH lithium-ion
WEIGHT 1.7kg
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