Tuesday, 20 September 2011



The JMD L7 Mini Led Lantern is a beautiful little torch to look at. I was sent one to review and I decided to use it on my shore dives and shallow wreck dives in place of my usual torch. Here is how I got on:-
The first thing that struck me about this torch was its build quality. The main body is made from Aluminium 6082 and is coated with a black finish with the JMD Sports Ltd logo in silver on its side. A 316 stainless steel lantern style handle rises out of this. Six mm toughened, heat resistant glass covers the LEDs at the front of the torch. The quality of the exterior of this torch is therefore excellent and the finish is very pleasing on the eye. How long the torch will stay in this condition is up to how the diver treats it. Dings and scratches are inevitable but the test unit dealt well with the treatment I dished out to it on my test dives. At present JMD do not provide a neoprene protective cover, but if you wish to keep the torch in pristine condition, you need to get one. This neoprene may also offset the negative buoyancy of the torch underwater.
This is the baby torch of the JMD range and its dimensions are neat at only 15.5 cm long and the cylinder of the torch is 6cm in diameter, excluding the handle. Weight out of the water is 1KG but underwater this is halved to 1/2KG. This torch is therefore negatively buoyant underwater.
Rear operational switches
At the rear of the torch there is a magnetic on/off switch, which is a rotating knob with a locking screw. This was very easy to operate underwater. I found I had to pay special attention to this after use and rinse it well with fresh water to stop the switch ceasing up and getting stiff. Also found at the rear of the torch is the charging point. This is covered by a knurled knob which is removed and replaced by hand. It is sealed by a double “O” ring and is very easy to use and maintain.
The battery in this torch is a Nickel Metal Hydride 16.8 volt, 1.5 Ah rechargeable cells. This means there are no worries re the battery forming a memory. This unit can be recharged at any time without loss of performance of the battery. The stated burn time with this torch is 2hrs 18 minutes and on my dives I found this to be the case. The torch easily dealt with 2 or 3 dives in a day. Light intensity does not fade as the battery nears the end of its power as the LED’s are driven by a microprocessor which manages and draws the power from the battery ensuring constant even lighting until the battery is exhausted. The L7 Mini is supplied with a fast charger that fully recharges the battery in 3 hours from empty. The charger has a red led which turns to green when the torch is charged, so there is no guesswork wondering when the torch is charged.
The battery unit powers 7 1W LEDs providing 840 lumins of light burning at a temperature of 6000 Kelvin. The torch produces a very even, narrow beam of light, with no central hotspot or peripheral halo effect around the main beam. In use underwater I found this torch punched out a narrow beam of pale blue/white light for a considerable distance. I found this perfectly acceptable for the shore dives and shallow wreck dives. On anything more technical or dark I would personally prefer the torch to have a hotter light as I did feel like the light from the L7 mini was being absorbed into the water column (but that is why the rest of the JMD range of torches is there). The narrow beam meant that I had to manoeuvre the torch about more than normal to see into holes and view larger subjects. I found this a little strange as I was not used to the lantern style handle as my current torches are either umbilical or pistol grip styles. The narrow beam did perform well in poor visibility with no flare or backscatter being illuminated.
The JMD L7 Mini with universal fast charger retails at £235
This is a beautifully constructed torch made with high quality materials. The battery and the fast charger with the single easily accessible charging point make this torch very user friendly. Performance was very good bearing in mind that this is the baby torch in the JMD range. I would have preferred a slightly broader hotter beam where peripheral light would pick out subjects rather than the narrow beam which requires the user to move the torch to the best position to view subjects in the best light. (Although part of this was me getting used to the lantern handle.)
For general sports diving whether scenic or shallow wrecks this small torch will certainly brighten up your dives.

Mike Clark


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