Imalent “Shark Series” DDT40 (4*18650/4*XM-L2/2*XP-L)

Imalent “Shark Series” DDT40 (4*18650/4*XM-L2/2*XP-L)

*Imalent DT40 provided for review courtesy of Imalent.

 

Grab your gear,  marines!  We have Xenomorphs to kill!!

The new “Shark Series” DDT40 from Imalent caught my eye as an big improvement on the DD4R that preceded it.  Side mounted flood lighting like the EU06 – brilliant!  5180 lumens?  Nice!  Digital compass and thermometer including humidity – another first from Imalent.  Battery voltage display, Tripod mount, sweet Sci-Fi/Military looks…count me in, this thing looks like a winner all around!!  But does it live up to the marketing?  Yes…and no.  Read on to find out why.

This review is pretty photo heavy so I will list the pros and cons first off
and you can scroll to the bottom for my final opinion and thoughts on the DDT40 if you want to skip all the photos.  Clicking on the photos will take you to the full res versions.

PROS

  • Excellent build quality and machining
  • Nice anodizing and deep, crisp etching
  • Side flood emitters are a fantastic and useful touch!  Creamy
    goodness and a 360 degrees of light is placed in head stand.
  • More rugged touch design than other Imalent lights.  Not really
    touch screen but touch “buttons”.
  • Digital compass uses same circuit design as compass in iPhones.
  • Temperature display shows temperature of the light, not ambient temp.
  • Voltage display shows voltage under load when LEDs are on and resting voltage when LEDs are off.  Accurate to 0.05V in my testing.
  • Excellent knurling
  • Extremely compact
  • Decent battery life with 4*18650 cells or 8*CR123 primaries in a pinch, especially in flood mode.
  • Will work on a single 18650 or two CR123.  Will also work with 2,
    or 3 18650 cells obviously.
  • Good throw for it’s size along with smooth beam and nice output.
  • Proper fitting holster with fully closing top flap compared to older
    Imalent models.
  • Starts on high mode when using the XM-L2 LEDs
  • Well made and very well lubricated threads.
  • Compass, Thermometer, and Voltage display can be accessed without activating any of the six main LEDs.

CONS

  • 5180 lumens?  Misleading marketing hog wash.  Only possible if
    both front and side LEDs could be lit at the same time but they cannot.
  • The compass, while functional, is not very accurate on either of my two samples.
  • No mode memory for output level.
  • Cannot light only one of the side LEDs, only both or none.
  • Labeled “MODE” buttons are not mode buttons but merely output level buttons.

Manufacturer’s Copy

“Imalent’s ‘Shark Series’ model DDT40, multi-functional touch screen
controlled and remote controlled flashlight, utilizes 6 LEDs to offer a broad range of illumination options and power display function. Output up to 5180lumens creates intense area lighting combined with long reach. Idea for group leaders needing high output and multiple beam patterns, the DDT40 is a powerful addition to a team’s onsite lighting tools with instant high, strobe and SOS.”

Features:

-Utilizes 4pcs CREE XM-L2 LED, and 2pcs XP-L LED with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours.
-Backlit touch screen panel facilitates convenient and discreet and infinite brightness adjustment.
-Remote control from 10 meters away
-Digitally regulated output – maintains constant brightness.
-Electronic reverse battery protection Thermal control.
-Battery capacity indicator.
-Working voltage: 2.8-9V
-Optimized deep metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
-Dimensions: 139mm (length) x 68mm (head diameter) x 50mm (tail diameter)
-Weight: 366g (battery excluded)
-Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy body.
-Military Specification Type III-hard anodized.
-Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts.
-Accessories: O-rings, Holster, Screen protector, Remote controller.

 

^ Imalent packages the DDT40 very nicely.  Inside the thin corrugated
cardboard box is a fitted foam nest containing the flashlight and all of it’s accessories.


^ In any of the previous Imalent models I’ve reviewed or tested the holsters were always a weak point with closure flaps that were too short and only just barely made Velcro to Velcro contact for closure.  It seems with the DDT40, as well as with the 2015 EU06, they took my suggestions to heart and corrected the design flaw in their holsters.  The new holsters have nice, long top flaps that make full contact with the Velcro closures.

At this time I still have a complaint with the holsters in that they use
elastic panels on the sides to grab the lights tightly.  This might appear
to be a good thing at first thought but in actual practice it makes
single-handed removal of the light nearly impossible and makes inserting the light with one hand a mandatory two-handed job.  This is not as much of an issue if you take the light out and keep it out for an extended period but for most users who need to remove and replace the light in it’s holster quite often, such as on a duty belt, it is a major negative and makes the light very inconvenient to carry.  Imalent needs to change to a fitted all nylon holster that allows a user to easily pull out and replace the flashlight with one hand.

^ Out of the holster it’s a very attractive light with a definite
military/tactical look if only a bit futuristic looking.  The DDT40 is a
departure from all previous Imalent offerings in its actual LACK of a touch screen.  The only touch sensors on the light are “MODE” buttons above and below the small display screen.  Oddly enough, they aren’t mode buttons at all and only control the output level of the LEDs, either up or down.  On either of the sides (display face being the “top”) are the real mode buttons.

^ On the left side are (front to back) a remote receiving sensor, a small
silver mode button that switches between front and side LEDS as well as the hidden modes, and finally the XP-L side LED under the translucent plastic flood lens.

^ The “bottom” of the DDT40 holds (front to back) the charging port, SS tripod mount, and the large power button.

^ The “right” side of the DDT40 has (front to back) a second IR remote
receiver, display mode button, and second XP-L side LED under the translucent plastic flood lens.

^ At the head of the DDT40 are the 4 Cree XM-L2 LEDs.  Each LED has it’s own smooth reflector and AR coated glass lens.  Each lens is capped by a black, smooth bezel that tops off the tactical look of the light.

^ All LEDs are perfectly centered.  Output results in an extremely
smooth beam.  The AR coating does give a purplish tint to the outside edge of spill.

^ The side LEDs are Cree XP-L emitters under the translucent plastic lenses.  They do give the smooth flood beam one would expect but what I didn’t expect is how well they flood past 180 degrees.  Judging by the color barely visible behind the lens they are CW emitters.  It would have been great if they would be a nice NW around 4000-4500k tint.

^ The mode buttons on either side of the light are the small silver
electronic switches.  They have a nice feel and zero rattle and little
noise when clicked.

^ The IR receivers on either side are the small round centers that look like black LEDs.  They are mounted in the center of caps to match the rest of the switch, LEDs, and ports on the sides of the flashlight.

^ The charging port in the “bottom” side fits the pin charger (included)
snugly and securely.  The internal charging circuit on my sample cuts the charging circuit once the cells reach 4.10V (4.2V indicated on display).  This is perfectly fine with me as it is close enough to 4.2V to be safe to use with my choice of unprotected cells.  The internal charging circuit makes the DDT40 very convenient to plug in after a days work and be ready to grab and go in the AM.

^ The 1/4-20 threaded tripod mount is made of stainless steel for long thread life and fits all standard tripod mounts.  Combined with the remote control and used in flood mode it’s especially convenient and a great feature.

^ The back of the light is just as handsome as the front.  The smooth,
flat base allows for solid tail standing.  The geometric designs machined into the flats break up the knurling and carry the look of the front of the light into the back end.

^ The machining on the knurling is fantastic and gives nice grip.

^ A closer look at the flat areas of the body of the light.  That is some nice machining 😉

^ Simple, round dimples machined along the perimeter of the base break up what would have been a boring looking  back end.

^ Very nicely machined narrow square threads are well anodized.  A fat
O-ring at the base of the threads fits snugly into the base of the head of the light making it water tight.  As you can see, the threads and O-ring are liberally greased from the factory.  The threads are some of the smoothest I’ve felt in any light and it’s not because of all the grease.

^ Inside the body/battery tube is where you will find machined grooves to hold the  4*18650 (4P) or 8*CR123 (2S4P) cells.  A main center pin
holds the cells in place even if you should use just a single cell. Even with a single cell @ 3.82V (resting voltage) the DDT40 will do an indicated 2000 lumens max from the front LEDs and 1180 lumens from the side LEDs.  Under load the cell voltage drops to just 3.12V.  It does put a stress on a single cell at max output but it is good to know that in a pinch you could use just a single 18650 or two CR123 Primaries.

^ Threading in the head is just as nice as it is on the body.  The back
of the driver board is built to last with thick brass negative outer ring and center positive ring.

USER INTERFACE

To describe the UI on the DDT40 I will continue to reference the surfaces with the display side as “top”.  The UI is very easy to use and fairly intuitive.  Output level is not truly infinite ramping when adjusting but made of small steps.

Front LEDs

It takes just 5 seconds to go from full high to full low when either output button (red LED) is held.  Ramping at the lower half moves much slower so you can easily find the level you want.  The higher levels ramp much more quickly but missing a level you want in the higher output levels is easy to get to with a single tap.  The lower levels have many more sub-levels that can be reached by tapping the buttons.

Tapping either red LED will increase or decrease output incrementally.
While they may be up a large number of individual steps in output there are only 15 output levels shown on the display itself:

  • 4000
  • 3600
  • 3300
  • 3000
  • 2700
    • 1 down / 2 up
  • 2400
    •  1 / 10 up
  • 2000
    • 3 down / 1 up
  • 1600
  • 1300
    • 1 down / 2 up
  • 1000
    •  5 down / 4 up
  • 700
    •  6 down / 6 up
  • 400
    •  7 down / 12 up
  • 200
    •  9 down / 54 up
  • 100
    •  53 down / 4 up
  • 5
    • 3 to lowest

Side Flood LEDs

The Side LEDs are not as limited in output levels as the front throw LEDs are.  Pressing and holding the level buttons shows a smooth almost true linear ramping.  Tapping the buttons results in much smaller incremental changes than when adjusting the front LEDs

The Side Flood LEDs also have mode memory.  Whatever output you left in it will be what it is in when the light is restarted or you return to flood mode from throw mode.

The UI Itself

  • Turn On
    • Click the main Power button on the bottom
  • Turn Off from On
    • Press and hold the main power button for 0.5 seconds
    • The DDT40 will start in Throw mode at 4000 indicated lumens unless the light was turned off in Flood mode
  • Control Lockout
    • Once output levels are set the display and output buttons will turn off after idle for 30 seconds.  This will prevent accidentally changing output levels.
    • To lockout the controls immediately after setting the output just click the main Power button on the bottom.  The display will read “LOCKOUT” for 1 second before going blank.
    • To unlock the controls and display just click the main Power button.
  • Throw Mode
    • Output level is adjusted by touching the red LEDs above or below the OLED display screen
    • From Off the Throw mode will always start at 4000 indicated lumens unless…
    • Returning to Throw Mode from Flood mode the light will be at an indicated 2000 lumens.
  • Flood Mode
    • To switch from Throw to Flood simply click the left side mode button
    • Output is displayed on the OLED screen and is raised or lowered by touching either red LED above or below the display.
    • Flood mode does have mode memory and will return to the last output level set when turned on from either OFF or from Throw mode
  • Hidden Modes
    • There are three hidden modes:  Strobe, Beacon, SOS
    • Press and hold the left side Mode button for 0.5s to enter Strobe.  A second 0.5s press will switch to Beacon mode.  A third 0.5s press will switch to SOS mode.  A fourth 0.5s press will exit auxiliary modes and return to Throw mode.
  • Compass, Thermometer, Voltage – All accessible whether
    light is Off or ON

    • Compass
      • Press the right side Mode button to enter Compass mode.
      • Circuitry is designed the same as that used in iPhones/iPads
      • The light needs to be held parallel to the ground to give the most accurate readings.
      • Can be used with light either off or on
    • Thermometer
      • A second click  of the right side Mode button takes you from Compass to Thermometer.
      • The thermometer  displays host temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit
      • Not the most practical addition to the light since by the time it’s too hot to hold it should be turned off but it is a nice bonus.
        😉
    • Voltage
      • A third click of the right side Mode button  takes you from Thermometer to Voltage.
      • With light off it displays average resting voltage of your cells.
      • With light on it displays voltage under load.  You can see the voltage drop as more amps are pulled in higher output levels.
      • From my testing it is accurate to 0.05V
    • Mechanical Lockout
      • To lockout power completely for packing or to prevent the light from being turned on accidentally just twist the battery tube 1/4 turn.

Having described the UI, let’s take a closer look at the controls and
display…


^ It appears that the touch sensor is the small bar across the top of each red LED.  Touching anywhere else around the red LEDs does nothing.  Above it is displaying it’s claimed max output of 4000 lumens.  My measured max output is 3,318 OTF @ 30 seconds.  Initial turn on output is 3,621 OTF lumens.

^ Here the display is showing it’s lowest displayed lumens.  It’s true
low mode is far lower at a very stealthy 0.2 OTF lumens.

^ Once you set the output level, clicking the main power button on the bottom will lockout the display and output level controls.  It does not lockout the side switches.  To unlock the display and output controls just click the main power button again.

^ The actual touch sensor is on the red LEDs themselves.  The DDT40 is NOT a touch screen Imalent like the marketing department would have you believe.  IMO this is a GOOD thing, not a bad one.  The DDT40 should be far more durable than any other Imalent model I’ve seen.

^ The compass on my sample is not very accurate but it will get you in the rough direction at least.  Imalent has told me that the circuitry for the compass is the same as used in the Apple iPhone/iPad.  Holding an iPhone4S next to the DDT40 they both read North together but as I rotate myself while holding the two side by side the DDT40 almost immediately reads off by 15-20 degrees give or take depending on position.  I’ve no idea how others are seeing accurate compass readings but it is better than nothing.

^ The thermometer has a traditional thermometer look with scales in
Fahrenheit and Celsius.  The “mercury bulb” at the base reads temp in
Celsius.  There is no humidity reading as claimed in the Marketing copy

^ The remote is a great feature especially when combined with a tripod or hung from a tree branch or tent ceiling when camping.  With it you can control main power, switch between throw and flood, and adjust output level in either.  The light has to be turned on in the first place in order for the remote to work.  Button feel nice and it has decent range (roughly 30m with no obstacles).

^ The DDT40 fits well in hand.  Its think as any 4*18650 compact light
is but it’s head is smaller than most.

^ A tad longer than the very compact BST but definitely smaller in head diameter.

OUTPUT

Before I go any further there is a huge elephant in the room that has already begun to harm Imalent in spite of their original intentions.  If you’ve done any research on the DDT40 in any of the flashlight forums you will hear the same question over and over, “Where the hell are the claimed 5180 lumens?”.

If you look at any of the Marketing copy from Imalent you will understand why everyone expects to be able to use both forward facing XM-L2 LEDS and the side facing XP-L LEDs at the same time.  Why the confusion?  Because all the ad copy states “5180 max lumens”!  When I spoke with my contact at Imalent before this light was released I asked if front and side LEDS could be run simultaneously and the answer was “no”.  “Why are you claiming 5180 lumens in your marketing if it can’t do more than 4000 lumens tops?”, I asked.  Their answer is that if they claimed 4000 lumens as the max output people wouldn’t realize that there are additional side LEDs.  I told them they would regret doing it and it would be a mistake on their part because people will not see it as that but would expect to be able to run all 6 LEDs at the same time.  I really think that part of their marketing dilemma comes from competing lights like the Niwalker MM15 and ThruNite TN36 with will do 5220 & 6510 lumens respectively.  Claiming 5180 lumens gives them a competitive feel for the same size and price category.  Will they correct this marketing ploy and state true claims?  Time will tell.  I honestly hope so because it really is a good light with tons of use and practicality even in competition with those other two lights.

Performance Figures

My testing numbers are achieved using my calibrated Integrated Sphere.  Lux and throw figures are measured at 8.89 meters and converted back to 1 meter.

I’ve been reading some really low results from other reviews but my sample is fairly close to claimed output numbers.  Enough to allow for variations in individual components from production sample to another.  3318 OTF lumens @ 30 seconds is still a pretty good number for a factory quad LED light.

Testing the flood LEDs was a different story and due to the nature of the design it’s almost impossible to get any accurate readings from a traditional Integrated Sphere.  I tried measuring a single side LED by holding it as close to the IS opening as possible and multiplying the result by two (2 LEDs) but it was impossible to get it set for any remotely accurate reading.  I then tried placing the entire head of the light into the IS to get a reading but the result was even lower than measuring one at a time and clearly inaccurate.  I can state that the best I was able to get from it was 450 lumens total but I guarantee that that number is far lower than the true output numbers.  Will it really do the claimed 1180 lumens?  I want to say no, but I back it up.  I will say that it is still a nice amount of wonderfully diffused light!

Some beam photos are next up.  I’m sorry to say I haven’t had a chance
to take any outdoor beam shots yet but will be doing so in the near future.  I will update this review with those shots and they will compare the DDT40 to a few other similar lights.


^ The shots above do no justice at all to what the beam really looks like but it does give an idea of the hot spot and smoothness of the spill.  There is a blue/purple tint to the edge of the spill and I believe it is due to the AR coating.  It is definitely CW in tint and has just a hint of green tinge to it when white walling (at least to my eyes).

^ The beam profile from the front LEDs is definitely made for throw.
Here you can see the fairly tight center beam spread of roughly 14 degrees and a spill angle of 55-56 degrees.  My testing from 8.89 meters reveals that the DDT40 exceeds Imalent’s claim of 450 meters.  I managed to see 462.5 meters of throw and 53,487cd.  Pretty good numbers for a light with such small reflectors and relatively small head.

^ It’s the flood mode that really amazes me.  The pic above shows the
flood in several positions.  There is definitely a dead area from the head
when tail standing but when head standing the shadow at the tail will disappear after a few meters.  The impressive spill is to the sides where the spill angle is greater than 180 degrees for a true 360 of light to the sides when the light is standing on it’s head or tail.  Even in those pics you can see the lack of a real shadow to the sides. Yes, the light is immensely brighter perpendicular to the LEDs but that really goes without saying.  I can’t believe even a little spill reaches the far side and then some.  Nice!  What would make this even better is if you could light a single side LED as an optional mode instead of only both.

^ Front to back the beam angle is a tick over 175 degrees

^ It’s to the sides where it really gets impressive.  The concentrated
spill covers about 175 degrees but the true spill edge arc out to cover about 196 degrees.  Beyond less than a foot on either side there is true 360 degrees of light.  Pretty cool.

CONCLUSION

The Imalent DDT40 is “Mac Approved” in spite of a few misgivings.  It’s the perfect outdoor ad camping light.  Plenty of throw for searching
distant objects and the perfect spill for around the campsite.  It’s the
one light that really does most things and it does them all well.  The
compass will make sure you are at least heading in the rough direction you need to go when you need a little extra help.  Beacon mode is handy as hell if you leave the light in camp so others can find their way back.

Construction and machining are of great quality.  Output is a touch shy
of claimed but still pretty good.  Forget the 5180 lumens.  It doesn’t
exist.  It definitely does the claimed 4000 lumens if measured at the
emitter and comes reasonably close in OTF lumens.  It is a unique light in a market filled with the same old same old.  It looks bad ass and it
performs well.  It’s definitely not perfect but is definitely worthy of
consideration.

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One thought on “Imalent “Shark Series” DDT40 (4*18650/4*XM-L2/2*XP-L)

  1. Pingback: Imalent “Shark Series” DDT40 | Johnny Mac Reviews

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