Dorcy Flashlight: Metal Gear XL-M (618 Lumen) Review

I recently received the Dorcy Metal Gear XL-M 618 lumen flashlight and since I've enjoyed shooting with the light over the last few weeks, I felt like it was time for a proper review.

Flashlight comes packaged with wrist strap

Features:

  • High (618 lumens) and low (173 lumens) output settings, powered by (6) alkaline AA batteries 
  • High setting run time = 5 hours, low setting run time = 25 hours
  • IPX-4 Water Resistant
  • Impact Resistance, up to 3 meters
  • Polycarbonate lens
  • Made of Aerospace Grade Anodized Aluminum
  • Comes with wrist strap

Construction:

The Metal Gear XL-M flashlight is large, but remarkably light for it's size, especially compared to some of my smaller, less bright lights. It feels good in your hand and the textured body really helps me feel like I have a good grip on the light while navigating and light painting. 

The on/off and brightness mode button is made of a neon yellow rubber material, which makes it easy to find in dimly lit or dark places since it's easy to feel around for.  

As I mentioned above, the light is large, so it won't fit in my tiny pant pockets, but recently I have been shooting with a lens pouch on my belt, and it fits perfectly inside there, or in an exterior pocket on my camera bag.

This light also has a great bezel, with an anti-roll feature, so I often place it face down or on it's side while resetting my composition. 

Polycarbonate lens

On/Off and brightness mode switch

Left to right: 4Sevens Quark AA tactical, Coast HP7, Nite Core MH25 Night Blade, Streamlight Stinger, Dorcy Metal Gear XL-M 

Left to right: 4Sevens Quark AA tactical, Coast HP7, Nite Core MH25 Night Blade, Streamlight Stinger, Dorcy Metal Gear XL-M 

Output/Beam:

Let's cut right to the chase, this flashlight is bright! It has 2 brightness modes, a high setting which is a 618 lumen output and a low setting which has a 173 lumen output. At the high setting it can throw up to 1,100 feet and run for approximately 5hrs. At the low setting, it still throws around 600 feet and can run to up to 25hrs! (In all my shooting over the last few weeks I have not had to replace the batteries yet.) 

I have used both brightness modes while navigating through dark spaces and shooting and each one has its own perk.  The low setting tends to work better for light painting because it's not too bright and the hot spot is less obvious. The high setting works better for trying to light up things in the distance or look for something to photograph.  

High output setting  (Same camera settings as the low output image)

High output setting 
(Same camera settings as the low output image)

Low output setting (Same camera setting as the high output image)

Low output setting
(Same camera setting as the high output image)

I am very fond of the color temperature of this light, because it's in between a cool LED and warm incandescent. (See image below comparing 3 lights) I tend to prefer my light painted images to be on the warmer side, but I also like the long run time and bulb sustainability of an LED, so I feel like this light accomplishes both of those things.  

Left to Right: NiteCore MH25 Night Blade, Dorcy Metal Gear XL-M, Streamlight Stinger (incandescent) 

Left to Right: NiteCore MH25 Night Blade, Dorcy Metal Gear XL-M, Streamlight Stinger (incandescent) 

 

Titan I Missile Base tunnel, pitch dark
13 seconds, f/9 @ ISO 1600 - Flashlight remained on, in a static position, for the duration of the exposure 

 

Recommended Uses:

  • Photography: This light works well for light painting, especially when using an f-stop of f/9 or f/11, which reduces the trails of the light's hot spot as you are painting. Because this light is so bright, it also works well if you cannot stand close to what you need to light. In addition, the high brightness setting also allows for cool beam effects in fog or dusty landscapes. (See sample images below)
     
  • Navigation: This light is fantastic for navigating through the dark, especially if there are no concerns of being "spotted." The high setting allows for long distance spotting of lurking wildlife, dangers ahead or for a great view of what's in front of you while you're hiking, navigating tunnels, etc.
      
  • Vehicle/Emergency: This light would be a great go-to light for an emergency (especially for your vehicle) as it has a long run time at the low setting, but it also bright enough to call attention, for example, if you had car trouble on the side of the road in a remote place. In addition, if the power goes out, bouncing this light off the ceiling will help illuminate your space until the power is restored. 
     

Sample Images:

Battery Godfrey, San Francisco
15 seconds, f/9 @ ISO 1000 - Flashlight remained on for the duration of the exposure. 

Battery Godfrey, San Francisco
118 seconds, f/9 @ ISO 200 - Flashlight was used to 'light paint' the foreground for the duration of the exposure

Battery Godfrey, San Francisco
120 second, f/10 @ ISO 250 - Flashlight was used to 'light paint' the scene for the duration of the exposure

Battery Godfrey, San Francisco
15 seconds, f/8 @ ISO 1600 - Flashlight remained on for the duration of the exposure

Sutro Bath Ruins, San Francisco
20 seconds, f/8 @ ISO 1600 - Flashlight remained on for the duration of the exposure

Titan I Missile Base tunnel, pitch dark
2 seconds, f/7.1 @ ISO 800 - Flashlight (in my hand) remained on during the exposure

 

Titan I Missile Base tunnel, pitch dark
55 seconds, f/11 @ ISO 200 - Flashlight was used to 'light paint' tunnel for approximately 45 seconds. 

 

If you're interested in purchasing this light, visit  - http://www.dorcy.com/p-438-41-0435-metal-gear-xl-m-extreme-618-lumen-led-flashlight.aspx

(Thank you to Dorcy for providing the flashlight.)