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Thread: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

  1. #1

    Popcorn New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    EDIT 11/8/07: Turns out you can still lock-out the light with a 1/4 turn at the tailcap, even though the threads are not anodized. Not sure how they've managed this, but my apologies for not realizing it earlier.

    This thread is a comparison of the new digital 3-stage Q2 D-mini compared to the previous single/resistored 2-stage P4 version

    The contenders:

    From left to right: original P4 D-mini (black type II anodized), new digital Q2 D-mini (natural HA-III)


    As you will notice, the new digital multi-stage D-mini is a little taller, thanks to the protruding GITD tailcap and forward clicky used to switch modes.

    Beamshots:

    On Hi with AW protected RCR

    Note: These beamshots are misleading, as there is no difference in initial output on RCR (although the new digital version gets slightly brighter over time on RCR). But there is a large increase in output on primaries with the new digital Q2 version (see runtimes and summary below).




    Note: all pics and throw measurements done with the original smooth reflector.

    As you can see, beam profiles are very similar. Tint bin on the new digital Q2 D-mini is a premium white bin (I'd estimate WC), while my original P4 was a warmer tint (likely WG).

    Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's FR.com method. My relative overall output numbers are typically similar to his, although generally a little lower. You can directly compare all my review graphs - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another.

    Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1m using a light meter.

    Summary Chart



    Runtimes:

    Hi mode on Energizer primaries


    Med/Lo modes on Energizer primaries


    Hi mode on AW protected RCR


    Med/Lo mode on AW protected RCR


    General observations:

    Digital control: I'm not sure how the new digital D-mini regulates its low modes, but if it uses PWM the frequency is too high for me to detect by eye or by instrument.
    Memory: The new digital D-mini lacks a dedicated memory mode that retains last setting used. Instead, the light comes on in the following initial sequence: Hi - Med - Lo, repeat (cycle accessed by soft-pressing the forward clicky until the desired mode is found). According to Ricky at LP, if you leave the light on in any mode for more than 2 secs, after turning it off it will come back on at the start of the initial sequence (i.e. Hi), and cycle from there. In my case, it seems more like ~5 secs, and I see a momentary flash at that point letting me know the memory resest has been activated. If you turn the light off before the 5 sec period, it will move along to the next mode in the sequence when you turn it back on.
    Interface: You soft-press the forward clicky repeatedly to switch between modes, and click for lock-on. You can also click on/off to change modes if you are fast enough. If you leave the light on for more 5 secs in any mode, the light will revert back to the initial sequence at the next start up (i.e. Hi). Forward clicky switch works well and is easy to access with good tactile feel.



    Build Quality
    • Build quality is generally comparable to the original D-mini, with one noticeable change - the tailcap screw threads are no longer anodized (see pic above). Nevertheless, tailcap lock-out still seems to work with a ~1/4 turn. I'm unclear how they've managed this, but it does mean that you can lock-out the tailcap while travelling (to prevent accidental activation) - despite my earlier reports to the contrary.
    • The new digital D-mini now comes in a Hard Anodized natural finish (HA-III). Finish is smooth overall, but unfortunately there is some mottling of the anodizing on the bezel of my unit.
    • The lettering is more difficult to read on the new digital D-mini, although this may be due in part to the lack of contrast against the natural finish.
    • Light no longer tailstands with the protruding forward clicky switch.
      EDIT 2/28/08: FYI, Marlite informs me LifeRNA found a solution to allow the D-mini digital to tailstand: insert a #10 o-ring between the tail button and the inside base of the tailcap retainer, as discussed in post #939 onwards here.




    Accessories
    • I purchased the new digital D-mini from batteryjunction.com, and it came with a nice collection of extra o-rings, black tail-cap cover, OP reflector, and carrying pouch.
    • The carrying pouch is somewhat disappointing, as it seems to be identical to the cheaply-made all-nylon pouches you can buy at DX/Kai. Compared to the original higher quality inscribed nylon/felt pouch, this is a let down (see pic below: old D-mini pouch on left, new pouch on the right).

    EDIT 11/02/07: Ricky at Lumapower informs me that the old style pouches are back in stock now. However, I would imagine it will take some time before all the distributor channels start shipping the light with them.


    Output
    • The new circuitry results in a considerable increase in output/throw on primaries on Hi, with similar runtime. In fact, initial output on primary on Hi now matches that of RCR on the new digital model, which is most welcome.
    • Initial output and throw on RCR on Hi on new Q2 version is unchanged from the earlier P4 light (see beamshots and runtimes), although the new digital D-mini got marginally brighter over the course of the RCR run. In fact, all RCR modes show a slight increase in output over time from initial values.
    • Efficiency of the low mode on the new digital D-mini is far greater than the resistored low of the 2-stage switch for the original D-mini. Output levels on Lo are roughly comparable, but runtime has increased significantly on the new model (especially on RCR).
    • New medium mode is intermittent to Hi and Lo modes, as expected.


    Conclusion:
    • A significant upgrade to the original D-mini, with greatly improved output/throw on Hi on primaries for equivalent runtime, and improved runtimes for similar output on low. Medium mode in intermittent to Hi/Low in terms of output.
    • Output, throw and runtime on Hi on RCR are largely unchanged from the earlier version, so users of the light in this format may want to wait for a Q5 digital edition. Although I don't have a 18650 body tube, I expect the same pattern as seen for RCR would hold true for 18650.
    • Q2 edition comes with a premium white tint bin.
    • Forward clicky seems to be of high quality, and likely to be popular with many users as it facilitates mode changing.
    • Lack of a retained last mode memory setting is disappointing. Light reverts to Hi - Med - Lo sequence once you turn it off (assuming you leave it on for ~5 secs in any given mode first), which is good for users who prefer the light to always come on in Hi mode. However, a dedicated memory mode would allow each user to choose their preferred start-up mode. Still, lack of strobe and SOS modes make cycling much less annoying than on 5-stage lights without memory.
    • Build quality is at least comparable to the older model, and anodizing has been upgraded to HA-III natural (although mine had cosmetic blemishes on the bezel).


    There you have it - a worthwhile upgrade to classic light. Cheers!
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 02-29-2008 at 07:36 AM. Reason: updated tailcap lock-out
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Kilovolt's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Thank you very much, it's really interesting.


  3. #3

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    The D-Mini Q2's from DX had fully anodized threads. The tint is very nice and white (WC claimed). Only Type II anodizing though.

  4. #4

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbler View Post
    The D-Mini Q2's from DX had fully anodized threads. The tint is very nice and white (WC claimed). Only Type II anodizing though.
    Hi Dobbler, that's true, but those weren't the new digital circuit D-minis. Those seem to have been partial original D-mini bodies that had been given away as part of a settlement to a former company partner, and were completed with additional parts and re-sold with no warranty through DX and others. So build wise, they seem to be using the old body tubes (which were fully anodized).

    The new Digital D-mini is an official product that has circuit-controlled medium and low modes for more efficient output/runtime, improved output on primaries on Hi, HA-III natural, and a forward clicky - but oddly no longer has the tailcap thread anodizing. Strange ...
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 11-02-2007 at 07:37 AM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I only use hi mode -- the D-mini is a pocket thrower and the lower modes are of little use (to me).

  6. #6

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbler View Post
    I only use hi mode -- the D-mini is a pocket thrower and the lower modes are of little use (to me).
    There's still an advantage if you use primaries on Hi (noticeably brighter now). But if you are running RCR, there would be no real reason to upgrade. And based on ernsanada's numbers, it looks like output on 18650 with the extra body tube is just like RCR - basically unaltered on Hi.

    Oh, and I just updated main post with Ricky's info about the old-style pouches being back in stock.
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  7. #7
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    selfbuilt,
    Thanks for the pics and runtime graphs and all the hard work they involve. I just ordered this light, and did so after seeing your review. Thanks again!
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  8. #8

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by woodrow View Post
    Thanks for the pics and runtime graphs and all the hard work they involve. I just ordered this light, and did so after seeing your review. Thanks again!
    Thanks woodrow - glad you found it useful.

    Actually, I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be more interest in this light. I think maybe the initial reviews showing no difference in throw on 18650 discouraged people. But that's hardly surprising, since there's not going to be much of a difference between a Q2 and P4 when driven by a 3.6V rechargeable Li-ion (i.e. just as my RCR results showed). The real benefit to this light is its more efficient low modes, and (thankfully) greater output on primaries.

    Now I just wish they would re-introduce thread anodizing ... Luma is the only Chinese maker of thrower lights that has this excellent feature (i.e. MRV has it, but Tiablo, DBS, Regal, etc. don't). I missed it on my new D-mini.
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  9. #9

    Thumbs down Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    What's up with the no tailcap lock-out? Seems like more and more lights are forgoing this feature for no good reason. Most people who EDC a light do so in their pocket, with other items, and an accidental activation is a real pain if you can't prevent it.


  10. #10
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I just got a D-Mini Digital a little more than a week ago, an impluse buy really... I didn't properly research it before I bought it. I knew the original was popular and I liked the look. I didn't know a Q5 was on the way, but that's not a huge deal.

    I have no problem with locking out with the tail cap. Mine only needs a 1/4 turn to lockout. My theads don't look anodized either.

    I think the switch is way too sensitive.

    I just switched to the OP reflector as the SMO was really ringy. I'm going to go test out side.

    What's the easiest way to get a D65 tube for it, and how much? I wish BJ would carry them.

    This light looks cool, but I guess I really don't need it. An 18650 option for it though might be the ticket. I feel the light is already a bit over priced, though. Not many good 18650 solutions out there right now though.

    Thanks for the review.

  11. #11

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by StandardBattery View Post
    I have no problem with locking out with the tail cap. Mine only needs a 1/4 turn to lockout. My theads don't look anodized either.
    Now that's interesting. Unfortunately, I'm travelling at the moment, and don't have my D-mini with me to re-test. I do recall trying a 1/4 turn when it arrived, and the light still lit. I will have to play around with it some more when I return in a few days. I'll keep you posted.

    Not many good 18650 solutions out there right now though.
    In the thrower category, there are some excellent choices on this cell (Luma, Tiablo, Dereelight especially - see my sig for a review). For general purpose, I'm a fan of the VB-16.
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* StefanFS's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I'm amazed that LumaPower didn't go with higher output on the highest level. The D-mini design is capable of running a CREE at 1 A for quite a while without overheating. With a CREE Q2 that should translate to about 10 000 Lux in throw at 1 m. That and the lack of mode memory. Otherwise it seems to be a good upgrade on a great light.

    Stefan

  13. #13

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I do have to say Thank You for not including SOS and strobe! Thank you!
    I would really like to see memory added so it will remember last setting. Very close to my perfect EDC light...
    Just say no to strobe and SOS...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    In the thrower category, there are some excellent choices on this cell (Luma, Tiablo, Dereelight especially - see my sig for a review). For general purpose, I'm a fan of the VB-16.
    You're right in the throw category there are a couple nice choices. I'm familair with the DBS and the A8/A9, don't know anything about Luma. In the general area The Dereelight CL1H is pretty good, except I've had several issues with mine, and they are changing things daily. It's a little too big/heavy for EDC and they have cancelled the 3 stage.

    So is the D65 tube actually available for the D-mini digital, or is it out of stock and we have to wait to see if it comes back?

    I'll look at the VB-16 again, it has been a while since I looked at that one. Thanks for the tip.

    ps... moved back to the SMO reflector D-mini-D for a couple more tests.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Of course, I see today the Q5 version is availible now...have not even gotten my Q2 yet. However, I am not too sad. I do not believe that the Q5 will be as bright (or at least throw as far) as the Tiablo q5 I have...also runtime is short. This hopefully will be a great throw in the pocket throw light when for what ever reason the Tiablo is to big to take with me.
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  16. #16

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by StandardBattery View Post
    In the general area The Dereelight CL1H is pretty good, except I've had several issues with mine, and they are changing things daily. It's a little too big/heavy for EDC and they have cancelled the 3 stage.
    What others would you consider for the general category? The CL1H looks pretty good to me but I'd like to do a little compare and contrast with some other lights before I make the plunge.
    Last edited by liquidinfo; 11-06-2007 at 02:57 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I am having trouble deciding between a digital mini for $70 bucks or a SF L1 (cree) for $135.

    I don't know if the surefire is worth 2x the price ... I mean I am not special forces haha. Any advice?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* StefanFS's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fooboy View Post
    I am having trouble deciding between a digital mini for $70 bucks or a SF L1 (cree) for $135.

    I don't know if the surefire is worth 2x the price ... I mean I am not special forces haha. Any advice?
    The D-minis are great lights. I have had several. I still use the original version I got a year ago every day (it's modded a bit by now). It throws really good and it has good spill light. Highly recommended.
    Stefan

  19. #19

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    I agree with Stefan, the D-mini makes for a great little throw light (both original and new digital). And I doubt the Q5 will make much of a difference on primaries.

    Personally, I typically EDC a 1AA format light on me, running on 14500. This gives me the output of a CR123/RCR light, but with the option to switch to standard batteries if needed. But if I'm travelling somewhere where I want a more throwy light, the D-mini is what gets tossed in my travel bag (due to its excellent throw and low weight). Personally, I'm very interested to see how the new jetbeam II will do in the throw department. I plan to pick one up, so I'll do a comparison review when it's out.

    For general use, I haven't tried too many of the 2xCR123/18650 options out there. I have the original VB-16 modded to SSC, and it's a wonderful light for its huge range of output levels. I personally tend to go more for the throwy lights in this category, and stick with 2xAA options for general use (e.g. Fenix L2T/L2D - again for access to common batteries).
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by liquidinfo View Post
    What others would you consider for the general category? The CL1H looks pretty good to me but I'd like to do a little compare and contrast with some other lights before I make the plunge.
    That's the problem, there aren't many. You can put together a custom light, or try to find a custom body for one of your existing lights, but it's tough finding a good quality 18650 in the general category. The cell is too limited in use to the Flashaholics crowd right now.

    On idea I like is to bore out a 6P, and install a LED drop-in, but the light is a little big and heavy for EDC. That VB16 does look interesting.

    I'm hoping 4Sevens will get a good response on the PEU tactical tubes they made for the P3D and make an 18650 one; hopefully for the P1D, since its driver is better suited to an 18650.

  21. #21

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, detailed pics and more!

    Time for a big mea culpa: I was wrong about the tailcap lock-out. Evidentally I hadn't twisted far enough in my previous tests - a 1/4 turn of the tailcap is sufficient to lock-out the light.

    Frankly, I'm baffled as to how they managed this exactly. I'm guessing there is anodizing on the tailcap threads (as opposed to the body, where there clearly isn't any any more). Hard to tell from the recessed nature of the threads in the tailcap - they don't look anodized, but I'm guessing they must be.

    Sorry for the erroneous report everyone - that's what I get for a rushing out the results before leaving on a week's travel (didn't have the light with me to re-test). Sorry for the mis-report!
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  22. #22
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    selfbuilt,
    I just got mine today. I really like the UI. One button forward switch to activate Hi, Med or Low. My Olight T120 Q5 is brighter, but I do not like its UI that much. Mp P3D has a nice UI, but going to turbo(or low/med/hi mode) takes a bezel switch. This alone makes the digital mini a great light. I wish high was a little brighter (see tiablo ) as well, but I would not want to sacrifice runtime on high. If someone will post a beamshot between the origional/q2 version and a q5, I might buy the q5 version.

    Regardless, a great light when you consider the UI. Plus...no stupid S.O.S. mode!
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  23. #23

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    Quote Originally Posted by woodrow View Post
    selfbuilt,
    I just got mine today. I really like the UI. One button forward switch to activate Hi, Med or Low.
    I must say, it's starting to grow on me as well. I wasn't so sure I'd like it, since I prefer going from low to hi. But the forward clicky switch works reliably on mine, so I find I can block the end of the light and predict where it will be pretty well when I let go (unlike a lot of other lights, where you aren't alway sure where you are unless you pay attention to the output). And the absence of strobe/sos modes is a real bonus - hate coming across those accidentally.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    Just updated main post with more details on how the memory feature works on this light.

    It seems from the discussion of this light in Lumapower's CPM forum thread that some people have received lights that take longer for the memory reset feature to kick in (i.e. >6-7 secs).
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 11-10-2007 at 07:00 PM.
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  25. #25
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    I just ordered the Q5 version. I will take a picture of my Q2 version before it ships out (sold it) next to a Olight T20 Q5 and then I will take a picture of the Q5 version when it comes Wednesday or Thursday and then post. I hope the new one has as beautiful tint as the Q2 did.
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    So, the new D-Mini still lacks regulation on primaries? That's pretty bad considering its price tag...

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoors Fanatic View Post
    So, the new D-Mini still lacks regulation on primaries? That's pretty bad considering its price tag...
    I wish it was flat with either myself...but I like that it works well with either primaries or rechargables. My Tiablo A8q5 has flat regulation with either, but you have to run it on low for a minute before switching to high on primaries. I would rather have the D-mini as it is than that.

    Also, the Q2 has (at least mine did) have perfect -really spot on all that you could hope for- tint. Also, a one handed UI with no sos or strobe. So not a Perfect light, but flat regulation with a 18650 (when used with the b65 or PEU's tube) and usable output on 123a's.

    Besides, don't you like incans...they are not that well regulated either
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

  28. #28

    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    Quote Originally Posted by woodrow View Post
    I wish it was flat with either myself...but I like that it works well with either primaries or rechargables. My Tiablo A8q5 has flat regulation with either, but you have to run it on low for a minute before switching to high on primaries. I would rather have the D-mini as it is than that.
    There's another advantage to this sort of lesser regulation on primaries - no nasty surprises leaving you in the dark.

    For everyday use, I run my lights on rechargables - and frequently top them up so that low battery cut-off isn't a problem. But when travelling, I usually only bring primaries with me. In that situation, I like a little advance warning. As I discovered on my Costa Rica trip earlier this year, the D-mini was more useful than the Fenix P1D-CE for that.

    Of course, probably the best arrangement is nice tight regulation but a long moon mode. But failing that, I'll take the the D-mini's style of regulation on primaries as a reasonable compromise.
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  29. #29
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    There's another advantage to this sort of lesser regulation on primaries - no nasty surprises leaving you in the dark.

    For everyday use, I run my lights on rechargables - and frequently top them up so that low battery cut-off isn't a problem. But when travelling, I usually only bring primaries with me. In that situation, I like a little advance warning. As I discovered on my Costa Rica trip earlier this year, the D-mini was more useful than the Fenix P1D-CE for that.

    Of course, probably the best arrangement is nice tight regulation but a long moon mode. But failing that, I'll take the the D-mini's style of regulation on primaries as a reasonable compromise.
    Besides, don't you like incans...they are not that well regulated either
    I do love incans so they are my first choice when out in the woods. But I use them because of the sheer power and the superb color rendition/contrast. The only two things which made me interested in LEDs are: the flat regulation (in some lights) and the longer runtimes. If an LED light fails to offer me those, I'm passing... I carry back-up lights and spare batteries, so I don't care about "moon mode" and long declining output curves. Gimme me 1.5 to 2 hours of perfectly flat regulation or I'm sticking with incans. As simple as that.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* woodrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Digital D-mini Q2 vs original D-mini P4: RUNTIMES, pics & more - UPDATED!

    I just got the Q5 version today. Still great tint...brighter spot. I still do not think it is quite as bright (still a better throw light) than the Olight T20Q5, but its UI has won me over. I jsut ordered a PEU 18650 tube for it from the Fenix store. Now I will have a bright light with 3 hours regulated runtime on high...and who knows how many on medium and low. All in a nice sized light.
    "I only smile in the dark...my only comfort is the night gone black..."lyrics from Garbage

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