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Thread: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

  1. #1

    Rolleye11 NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Reviewer's Note: This is a review of the NiteCore D10 and EX10 lights with Golden Dragon Plus (GDP) emitters, as compared to the standard Cree versions. For a detailed review of the D10/EX10, please see my original review thread. The GDP D10 and EX10 were provided by Edgetac/NiteCore.

    UPDATE MARCH 26, 2010: The D10 has been replaced with a new "special edition" that lacks the continuously-variable interface but adds strobe and SOS support. Check out my detailed review of the D10SP for more info.

    Part I - Build Differences

    Cree Q5s on the left, GDP on the right:



    Not much has changed on the surface of the NiteCore D10 and EX10. As you can see, the GDP versions look roughly comparable to the previous Cree versions, although the knurling seems to go a little further up, closer to the end of the heads. I notice the "D10" label has moved from the head to the body (written in smaller script, consistent with the EX10 label style). Labels remain sharp and clear, although I have noticed some variability among all the samples.

    My D10-GDP seem to have a better lube applied, but the EX10-GDP had the same viscous blue-lube than the earlier Cree versions came with. In this case, it needed to be cleaned off for proper function (the light was too stiff to use initially).

    A more significant difference is that my D10-GDP has a rather loud whine on its highest settings on standard batteries (although not on 14500 on max). All modern multi-stage lights can generate some degree of inductor whine, but my Cree-based NiteCore were all relatively quiet in comparison. This particular D10 sample on max is one of the louder lights in my collection (but virtually quiet on the lower levels).

    UPDATE: I bought a second D10-GDP as a gift, which is completely silent at max - and has only the slightest of whines at some of the lower settings. As always, you should expect that YMMV.



    One thing that does differ slightly is the head of the EX10. The stainless steel bezel ring on my EX10-GDP is bit thicker than my EX10-Q5. More significantly, the threads seem to be cut to more of a point on my EX10-GDP, making them wider overall. Although well matched for its own body tube, it will not screw into my EX10-Q5 body (and conversely, my EX10-Q5 head is too "loose" to screw into the EX10-GDP body). Not a problem of course, but something to keep in mind if you were ever planning to try and mix and match heads and bodies. The D10s were all completely interchangeable in my testing.





    The most obvious change between the lights is the emitter - you can see the much smaller GDP emitter on both samples above (Cree Q5 on the left, GDP on the right).

    What isn't as obvious is that there have been some changes to the reflector. First off, they are a little "deeper" on the GDP models, coming to a smaller opening at the emitter end (as you would except given the smaller GDP emitter). Harder to see is the texturing, which seems subtly different to my eye. I've check with NiteCore, and they confirm the GDP reflectors are more finely textured with "slimmer" lines. They are also say the shape has changed slightly (the original reflector was optimized to try and reduce Cree rings).

    And that's about it for build differences - there are no changes to the UI, piston design, etc. For all intents and purposes, these are basically the same lights with a different emitter/reflector installed. To learn more about how the lights work, please see my detailed original D10/EX10 review.

    Comparison Beamshots

    For GDP beamshots, I have included the original Cree samples of these NiteCore lights, along with two Fenix Rebel lights and a custom mod of an Edison Opto KLC8 emitter (in an Ultrafire WF601A with a home-made sputtered reflector). I have added the KLC8 into the mix because that emitter was known to produce strong blue/yellow shifts in its spill (something the Golden Dragon has also been accused of).

    Unfortunately, I have only had time for indoor "white-wall" beamshots for the moment. For the D10 shots, all lights are on 100% on Sanyo Eneloops. Beamshots are taken at about 0.5 meters from a white wall.










    Note: Despite how the pics look, the GDP and Rebel lights are very smooth with no visible rings in real life.

    First thing you will notice is the GDP has a secondary blue corona immediately adjacent to the wide yellow primary corona (surrounding a fairly neutral hotspot). The spill also seems less intense than the Cree Q5 version, but the infamous "Cree rings" are no longer present.

    In terms of tint shift, you'll note the GDP is still a lot better than the KLC8 emitter, which had a blue hotspot, wide yellow corona, and pronounced blue spill.

    In terms of overall beam pattern, the GDP is closer to the Rebels than the Crees (although with less wide spill than the Fenix head). Both my GDP samples are very smooth with minimal rings - the pics make the beam look ringier than they really are.

    Here are some extra shots with the EX10, but they don't look appreciably different from above. All lights are AW RCR.







    Discussion of Beam Patterns & Tints:

    First off, let me be clear: These up-close white-wall beamshots are very misleading when it comes to actual usage!

    For what it's worth, here are my subjective impressions:

    At close distances (i.e. 1-2 meters), the secondary blue corona of the GDP is present, but it is not as pronounced as shown in the pictures above. It is also only visible if you are shining it on white objects. The overall visual impression is of fairly cool spill with a very warm (yellow) center. In constrast, the Cree has a consistent tint between center and spill - but the dark ring in the corona is noticeable. The Rebels probably have the best pattern at this distance, with a smooth even transition from hotspot to spill, without any tint changes (although you will note my RB080 is rather consistently cool whereas the RB100 is consistently very warm).

    At longer distances (i.e. 3-10 meters), thing are very different. The secondary blue corona of the GDP is invisible, and all you see is a very nice wide hotspot/corona which is very warm-tinted. In contrast, the Cree looks a lot like a spotbeam, as the Cree ring produces a sharp demarcation to the dimmer spill area. The Rebels still have a pleasing transition, but the corona around the hotspot is not as bright as the GDP, limiting how much you can see immediate around the hotspot. Frankly, the GDP is probably the most useful beam pattern at this distance, since it lights up the widest area in its warm-tinted hotspot/corona.

    At really long distances (i.e. >10 meters), all that matters is the hotspot. In this case, I personally like the Cree pattern, since it gives me fairly uniform illumination of objects in the center area.

    When it comes to tint, things also change with distance. Up close, you may think my GDP samples look on the cool side overall. At intermediate distances, they definitely look very warm, since the yellowish corona dominates. At longer distances where you don't see much of the corona, the center hotspot actually looks pretty neutral to my eye - but with slight cool tint around its edge.

    The take-home message here is really this: There's no such thing as a perfect beam at all distances for all uses.

    The Crees suffer from the infamous dark rings around the hotspot (although this can be minimzed with a well designed reflector). Still, some may actually prefer their spotbeam-like appearance - especially at a distance.

    Personally, I think SSCs and Rebels have typically have a fairly pleasing patterns for up-close work - but Rebels are hard to find in mainstream lights now (due to Luxeon's QC and quantity production issues). But I also find the typical SSC/Rebel hotspot pattern to be a bit narrow, without much of a corona.

    IMO, the GDPs offer one of the best compromises with their nice wide corona and lack of rings. But the blue/yellow tint variation across the spill/corona is noticeable at up-close distances on white or lightly-coloured surfaces. It is important to note that the supposedly "cool" overall GDP actually gives you a decidedly warm perception at intermediate and longer distances, because the yellow corona dominates.

    Output, Throw and Runtime Comparison

    Testing Method All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes which are done without cooling.

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

    Throw/Output Summary Chart



    At first blush, it looks like initial max output of the GDP samples are lower than the Cree Q5s. But you need to realize that there can be considerable variation in max output between samples of the same light (likely due to Vf differences). See the runtime graphs below before jumping to any conclusions.

    Min output levels seem unchanged.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:

    D10

    Note that I have 2 samples of D10s with Cree Q5s (identified as #1 and #2 below). I've also include a NDI Cree Q5 in the runtimes, since the circuit efficiency has not changed signficantly in the D10s.









    EX10







    Output/Runtime Comments:

    Li-ion rechargeables (14500/RCR) - D10 & EX10
    • Max output of my GDP samples tends to be at the lower end of my Cree Q5 samples, but with similar runtimes overall.
    • When matched at Med-ish output levels, runtimes appear roughly similar between my GDP and Cree Q5 samples, although with perhaps just a bit less output or runtime on the GDP samples.
    • Taken together, these results suggest that the GDP versions are equal (or close) to the Cree Q5s in output/runtime efficiency on 14500/RCR.


    1xAA Standard batteries (NiMH/Alkaline) - D10
    • Max output of my one GDP sample was lower than either of my Cree Q5 samples on standard batteries, but with similar runtimes to the higher output Cree Q5.
    • When matched at Med-ish output levels, runtime of my one GDP sample was clearly shorter than either of my two Cree Q5s (which were exactly the same to each other, despite having different max outputs).
    • Taken together, these results suggest that the GDP versions are slightly less output/runtime efficient overall, with potentially lower max output on standard batteries.


    1xCR123A Standard batteries (Primaries) - EX10
    • Max output of my GDP sample was definitely lower than my one Cree Q5 sample on 1xCR123A, with increased runtime (but runtime was not increased as much as I would have expected if they were equally efficient).
    • When matched at Lo/Med-ish output levels, runtime of my one GDP sample was shorter than my one Cree Q5.
    • Taken together, these results suggest that the GDP versions are slightly less output/runtime efficient overall, with potentially lower max output on primaries.


    Preliminary Conclusions

    Note that there is considerable danger in drawing conclusions about overall output/runtime efficiency based on only 1-2 samples of each light. But I think a couple of take-home messages are suggested by my testing:

    • On Li-ions, the GDP versions appear to have equivalent or nearly as good overall output/runtime efficiency. Max outputs tend to be toward the lower end of the natural variation among Cree Q5s.
    • On standard batteries, the GDP versions appear to be less output/runtime efficient - but the performance difference is not huge when you take normal variation among samples into account. Max output seems to be a bit lower than my Cree Q5s.

    Take from that what you will. Personally, the difference is not great enough to me to be a deal breaker either way. I would base my decision on the beam characteristics.

    I have been EDCing my Cree Q5 D10 for the last month or so, and will now start carrying my GDP D10 instead. I will report back further impressions as time goes by as to my ultimate preferences.

    -------------------

    UPDATE 9/10/08: Color Rendition

    There has been a lot of discussion about Color Rendition Index (CRI) differences between various emitters. Unfortunately, our perception of color is heavily influence by tint - for example, "cool" tints look brighter, but "warm" tints tend to differentiate greens/browns better outdoors.

    I've taken shots of part of my garden that has green, browns, blacks, reds and whites. All lights have been matched for overall output, and are taken at 5 sec exposures at f3.2.

    First, a control shot in daylight


    Fenix Rebel RB100


    NiteCore D10 Cree Q5


    Nitecore D10 GDP


    I don't know about you, but I don't see any great difference between the lights.

    -------------------

    UPDATE 9/11/08:

    Per request, here is an the animated gif comparing just the Q5 and GDP (reduced in size and optimized for bandwidth). As is quickly apparent, the spill is less bright on the GDP up-close. The GDP also has a much wider corona around the hotspot. Thus any color differences in the flowers seems to have more do with light intensity (i.e. less bright in the spill, over-exposed near the center due to the long exposure times)



    Although I know it seems like the brighter spill of the Q5 would be better for most uses (i.e. more floody), this benefit drops rapidly once you shine the light out >2 m. In the 3-10 meter range, corona width is far more important to help you see what you are looking at. This helps reiterate my point that the GDP is not best suited for up-close tasks, but is good for intermediate distances.

    Certainly by eye, I could detect no real difference in color rendition between the 3 lights in my comparison. I think everything we are seeing here is just corona/spill intensity differences.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 03-26-2010 at 12:13 PM.
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  2. #2
    Enlightened Jambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    That's a great review, thanks for all the time and effort.

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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    great review as always, Thank you selfbuilt


    cheers
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    Becoming AA and AAA lovers. Current AA/AAA collections; - LiteFlux Lf5xt - JetBeam Mk. IBS - Nitecore Defender Infinity - Nitecore D10 - MiniMag with Sven Dittmann dropin - MiniMag with Terralux K2 TFFC -Fenix L2D q5 - Lumapower Conexxion - LiteFlux Lf2x - Tiablo MA1

    This month EDC => D10 (AA) and lf2x (AAA/neck carry)

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    Flashaholic* Dioni's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    I was waitting for more runtime in GDP versions once that at bouncing test shows a better output of Q5.

    I got a D10 GDP recently!

    Excellent review!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Dioni; 09-08-2008 at 10:26 PM.

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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Hi selfbuilt,

    Thanks so much for such a comprehensive review. I would just like to clarify certain issues here before I jump into the GDP bandwagon.

    1) If I understand you correctly, both the D10 and EX10 does not whine when used with AW 14500 and RCR123 respectively at highest output. Did I get that right?

    2) I read someone complaining that the D10 with AW's 14500 shuts down in about 10 secs or 10mins of usage (something like that). Did you encounter that?

    3) Are the lights running very hot on extended usage as compared to the Cree version?

    Thanks.
    The love of light is the reason why I don't walk in darkness. But darkness has it's beauty...Sadly, my lights are much more beautiful!!
    Beam shots Night Trekking with HDS high CRI and McGizmo Haiku & Mule high CRI

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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Excellent review - as always.

    I'm puzzled that the smaller emitter size of the GD+ doesn't seem to make it a better thrower than the Cree.

    A prerequisite of good throw is that the light source should be as small as possible. I would have thought with the proper reflector, the GD+ could be made to out-throw other LED types.
    Resistance is futile...

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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    WOW!

    Excellent review, thanks for taking the time to do all of that! I've been debating on which EX10 to buy and this review has helped a bunch!
    Facts are stubborn things.-I read that somewhere.
    Fenix P2D Q5, Fenix L0D P4, Romisen RC-C3, Nitecore D10 Q5, Nitecore D10 GD+, Ultrafire C3, Nitecore EX10 Q5, and Lumapower Incendio

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    Flashaholic* TONY M's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Nice review SB!

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    I'm puzzled that the smaller emitter size of the GD+ doesn't seem to make it a better thrower than the Cree.

    A prerequisite of good throw is that the light source should be as small as possible. I would have thought with the proper reflector, the GD+ could be made to out-throw other LED types.
    DM51 I thought that too as the GDP+ emitter is quite small but having taken the dome off a cree (p4) emitter I can say that they are smaller than they look with the dome on.

    The P2 emitter is smaller than the P4 onwards and it throws better too as I have 2 lights with both emitters that share the same reflector.

    I wonder in the future how small the emitters can be made.

  9. #9

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Thanks for the positive comments everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dioni View Post
    I was waitting for more runtime in GDP versions once that at bouncing test shows a better output of Q5.
    I think a lot of people were hoping for the same thing - and it can look that way initially, since you get longer runtimes in some cases where the max output is lower. But when you match the samples for actual output, it becomes fairly clear that the GDP can only at best match the output/runtime efficiency of the Cree Q5s - not exceed them.

    Mind you, I haven't done really low lo mode runtimes yet, so it's possible the GDP could do better there - but that would rather uncommon in my testing experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by pjandyho View Post
    1) If I understand you correctly, both the D10 and EX10 does not whine when used with AW 14500 and RCR123 respectively at highest output. Did I get that right?
    2) I read someone complaining that the D10 with AW's 14500 shuts down in about 10 secs or 10mins of usage (something like that). Did you encounter that?
    3) Are the lights running very hot on extended usage as compared to the Cree version?
    1) That's right - I can detect no sign of whine on either light on Li-ion - they are perfectly silent to my ear at all outputs. But on NiMH, the D10 is rather annoying to listen to at near-max and max output.
    2) No problems with early termination on any of my 3 NDIs or 3 D10s to far, on any of my 4 AW 14500s.
    3) Good question, but I haven't tested that (all my runtimes are done under a cooling fan).

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    I'm puzzled that the smaller emitter size of the GD+ doesn't seem to make it a better thrower than the Cree.
    A prerequisite of good throw is that the light source should be as small as possible. I would have thought with the proper reflector, the GD+ could be made to out-throw other LED types.
    A good point, but it may be because the reflector has only been slightly tweaked from the Cree version, as opposed to completely redesigned. When Fenix came out with the Rebel lights, they had a whole new reflector - yet peak throw barely increased over my Cree Q5, both with textured reflectors (Fenix heads reviewed here). Of course, I don't think the Rebel die is actually that much smaller than the Cree (it just looks that way, likely because the Cree dome seems to distort the die size somewhat). The GDP is definitely smaller than the Rebel, so we may see some throw improvements given more time to develop better reflectors suited for the GDP.

    One last point: I haven't really commented on the color rendition aspects yet, mainly because I haven't had time to do much testing outdoors at night. But so far, my highly limited subjective impression is the GDP is at least as good as my warm-tinted Rebel at capturing colour outdoors (both of which are better than my more neutral Crees). But it's hard to say for certain, since warm tints always look better when shinning at green/brown outdoors. I'll see if I can get any decent pics of the difference.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-09-2008 at 07:28 AM.
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  10. #10

    Thumbs up Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    One last point: I haven't really commented on the color rendition aspects yet, mainly because I haven't had time to do much testing outdoors at night. But so far, my highly limited subjective impression is the GDP is at least as good as my warm-tinted Rebel at capturing colour outdoors (both of which are better than my more neutral Crees). But it's hard to say for certain, since warm tints always look better when shinning at green/brown outdoors. I'll see if I can get any decent pics of the difference.
    Wonderful and comprehensive review as usual

    I'm glad to see both your samples of the Golden Dragon + are better/warmer tinted than my 3 samples (plus one pre-production sample) - perhaps NiteCore have moved to a slightly warmer tinted bin.

    Color rendition I find very difficult to discern (other than the blatantly obvious) - I tried in Post #27 with foliage, and Post #34 the Macbeth color rendering chart in NiteCore D10 Golden Dragon Plus Review - there were differences - but nothing that I would have said one was much better.

    A 10 point difference in CRI (which is badly understood**) I don't think makes much visible difference
    - I think the tint difference is more noticable.

    **CRI - says nothing about color temperature -
    a very good example is incandescent lights - which rate close to 100 (perfect - by definition)
    - which leads many people to cite this to argue the superiority of incands over LED
    - yet anyone with eyes can easily see the HUGE yellow/orange bias of incands and the real difficulty in seeing yellow print on white, or sorting shades of blue under incands..... yet incands have CRI close to 100 - so are they really "perfect"?


    Please see a summary of sorts in Post #73 of Puny LED flashlights (Not!) + COLOR RENDITION Comparison (there's an index in the opening post)

  11. #11

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    EXCELLENT review SelfBuilt. Thanks.

  12. #12

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownVT View Post
    Color rendition I find very difficult to discern (other than the blatantly obvious) - I tried in Post #27 with foliage, and Post #34 the Macbeth color rendering chart in NiteCore D10 Golden Dragon Plus Review - there were differences - but nothing that I would have said one was much better.

    A 10 point difference in CRI (which is badly understood**) I don't think makes much visible difference
    - I think the tint difference is more noticable.
    Very good points Vincent. I think you've summarized that well - it's difficult (impossible?) for us to really address color rendition objectively when we are dealing such strong tint differences and the effect that has on our eyeballs. I actually found your Macbeth charts very interesting in that regard (and I share your subjective impression that the warm-tinted Rebel seemed to be capturing colors the best - but that could be largely tint again).

    I'll see if I can take a few night shots with the lights matched for output, but I'm not optimistic I'll capture anything that's very useful. All I can say is that I've always liked warmer tints for outdoor use (regardless of the emitter CRI rating), since it tends to help with greens and browns. But most people I know like my cool tint lights because they subjectively look "brighter". To each his/her own ...
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  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Very thorough and helpful Selfbuilt.

    I'm wondering if a smooth reflector would reveal more differential in throw compared to them both having OP reflectors. My guess is that we'd see more of a difference.

    Thanks!

  14. #14

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    I've added a low mode RCR run with EX10s to the main post. As expected, when matched for output, the GDP version had less runtime than the Cree Q5.
    EDIT: Scratch that for now - not sure if I used the same battery from the earlier Q5 run, so I will re-do it to confirm and re-post tomorrow.

    I have added some outdoor pics comparing the Rebel, Cree, and GDP lights matched for output. As expected, I don't see any real color difference between the emitters. I would recommend you just go with whatever beam profile you prefer.

    Scroll up to the end of the first post for the pics.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-11-2008 at 07:30 AM.
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Interesting tint variation from unknownvt's, so did nc change bin used or does GDP just come with that much of variation?

    Runtime of GDP seems to be a bit disappointing, a lot shorter than Q5 with comparable output, I remember 47 said they should be on par.
    Last edited by jzmtl; 09-09-2008 at 08:47 PM.

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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Selfbuilt:

    Great review, especially the pictures and runtime charts. They really give readers a good idea of what they may expect from these flashlights.

    ...

    I had a D10 Q5 and ordered the EX10 GD+ with great expectations that the EX10 would be brighter (I had heard that the EX10's were slightly brighter than D10's) with better color rendition. So, you can imagine my reaction when I first tried the flashlight indoors against a white wall ...

    Then I tried it on a night walk. That's where the light really shined! (pun intended ) At that range, it has such a nice beam pattern! Diffuse to the point of being almost floody. Pleasing tint. Without a big hotspot, the low is almost sublime - last night's half-moon almost washed the beam out. And the high is more than I need for 99% of my intended uses.

    ...

    I'd recommend the regular Q5 version for those who favor things brighter-and-whiter. While for those who enjoy a the subtleties of a smoother, mellower beam, then the GD+ is for you.

    Or order both!

  17. #17

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Thaks! ...I can see the car door better in the first two pic`s. I like my GDP D10 just fine. But I really see no point to it over the Q5.

  18. #18

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1dash1 View Post
    I had a D10 Q5 and ordered the EX10 GD+ with great expectations that the EX10 would be brighter (I had heard that the EX10's were slightly brighter than D10's) with better color rendition. So, you can imagine my reaction when I first tried the flashlight indoors against a white wall ...

    Then I tried it on a night walk. That's where the light really shined! (pun intended ) At that range, it has such a nice beam pattern! Diffuse to the point of being almost floody. Pleasing tint. Without a big hotspot, the low is almost sublime - last night's half-moon almost washed the beam out. And the high is more than I need for 99% of my intended uses.
    Thanks for sharing. I know a lot of people are disappointed by the up-close GDP white-wall beamshots, but I am quite pleasantly surprised by the usefulness of the beam for things like night walks.

    I was never a great fan of the follow-the-bouncing-ball Cree hotspot for walks, and have typically preferred SSC/Rebels or Cree lights with bright spills to compensate (e.g. LF5XT, some NDIs, etc.). But the wide corona of the GDPs make these very useful for this activity, IMO.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-10-2008 at 09:37 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Thanks for sharing. I know a lot of people are disappointed by the up-close GDP white-wall beamshots, but I am quite pleasantly surprised by the usefulness of the beam for things like night walks.

    I was never a great fan of the follow-the-bouncing-ball Cree hotspot for walks, and have typically preferred SSC/Rebels or Cree lights with bright spills to compensate (e.g. LF5XT, some NDIs, etc.). But the wide corona of the GDPs make these very useful for this activity, IMO.
    I have to agree with what you said, for 99% of the time I use a flashlight, I need a wide, smooth beam with a mild hotspot, so I love my EX10GD.
    Every once in a while, out walking the dog, I want to take a look at something really far out and the Raidfire Spear comes in handy for that.

    So, why hasn't anyone built a double ended light with a Spear-like thrower on one end and a EX10-like light on the other end? You could pretty much put an EX10 head in the tailcap of the Spear.
    Hmmmmmm.............. I need to get a mini lathe.

  20. #20

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    In the picture of the garden it is hard to tell the difference because both the the Golden Dragon and the Q5 are excellent. An animated gif might make it easier to see.
    I used a freeware screen saver program called IrfanView with the picture set to change every one half second. That made it easier to see the differences.

    • The spill is brighter in the Q5.


    • It is much easier to see the seat and headrest in the car with the Q5.


    • The branches in the upper righthand corner are better lit with the Q5.
    • The Q5 makes it easier to see the distintion between the light green and the dark green in the plant on he left.


    • With the Q5 the red plants at the bottom and right of the photo look richer and brighter, and more like the sunshine picture.

  21. #21

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    In the picture of the garden it is hard to tell the difference because both the the Golden Dragon and the Q5 are excellent. An animated gif might make it easier to see.
    A good idea, I've created an animated gif of just the Q5 and GDP below (reduced in size slightly and optimized to spare a bit of bandwidth).

    I agree with your first 3 points, but I think the last two reflect the different beam patterns (and maybe tint) as opposed to color rendition.

    As you can see in the animated gif, the spill is less bright on the GDP, contributing to why the red flowers on the far right look less bright.

    The GDP also has a much wider corona around the hotspot, which is bleaching out the color of the red flowers in the center due to the long exposure time (i.e. they are being over-exposed by the shutter time, just like the hotspot).



    Certainly by eye, I could detect no real difference in color rendition between the 3 lights in my comparison. I think everything we are seeing here is just corona/spill intensity differences.

    Also, although I know it seems like the brighter spill of the Q5 would be better for most uses (i.e. more floody), this benefit drops rapidly once you shine the light out >2 m. In the 3-10 meter range, corona width is far more important to help you see what you are looking at. This helps reiterate my point that the GDP is not best suited for up-close tasks, but good for intermediate distances.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  22. #22

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    "I agree with your first 3 points, but I think the last two reflect the different beam patterns (and maybe tint) as opposed to color rendition."

    "The GDP also has a much wider corona around the hotspot, which is bleaching out the color of the red flowers in the center due to the long exposure time (i.e. they are being over-exposed by the shutter time, just like the hotspot)."
    I just got a Nitecore D10GD. Based on what I have seen with my own eyes, I think you are right. Beam shots normally keep the settings the same from one light to the next. This works well showing beam patterns and relative brightness. However, different levels and patterns of light can make colors over or under exposed in a photo. In contrast, our eyes don't keep all the "settings" the same. Our eyes are constantly making adjustments, not just for distance but also for the level of light.

    Now, I think the Golden Dragon does make colors look a little more natural than the Q5.

    The tint is perfect. It is as least as good as my perfect HDS U60 GT (Guaranteed Tint) light. The beam pattern is also perfect, with no Cree ring.

    With a 14500, the GD the tint is much too bluish white for me. Thatís fine, I'll just use other batteries with the D10GD. I also use Fenix lights, and they don't work as well with the 14500 either.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* AFAustin's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    selfbuilt,

    Wonderful review/comparison, as always. Thank you for your continuing great work on our behalf!

    Once again, you have told me what I need to know about a light. If I were just now shopping for a D10/EX10, I might have to think hard about which version to go with. The GDP's beam seems like a real plus, but output/runtime favors the Q5 versions. As it is, I was an early adopter of the Q5 D10 and EX10, and have been extremely pleased with them. Their versatility truly enables them to take the place of multiple other lights, which is fortunate since, after sending 2 kids off to college last month, I'm feeling much too broke to buy any flashlights at the moment!

    So, thanks for making this easy for me. I will contentedly enjoy my Q5 D10 and EX10 for a while and not worry about it.

    Cheers,

    Andrew
    You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, "My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!" (Dave Barry)

  24. #24

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    With a 14500, the GD the tint is much too bluish white for me. Thatís fine, I'll just use other batteries with the D10GD. I also use Fenix lights, and they don't work as well with the 14500 either.
    That's a good point I haven't addressed so far - the tint shift on 14500. As Vincent first reported, 14500s can produce a cooler blue overall tint than standard batteries.

    In truth, I've really had to look for it to see the difference on my light. It's hard to tell since my D10-GDP on 14500 is brighter than NiMH (and brighter than my EX10 on RCR). After a lot of playing around with various intensities and batteries, I think my D10 GDP is a littler more bluish on 14500. But the difference is subtle, and not immediately obvious.

    In the end, I've chosen to stick with 14500 since I find the inductor whine on NiMH more annyoing than the bit of extra blue (there's no hint of whine on 14500 on my sample).

    Quote Originally Posted by AFAustin View Post
    If I were just now shopping for a D10/EX10, I might have to think hard about which version to go with. The GDP's beam seems like a real plus, but output/runtime favors the Q5 versions.
    That's a pretty fair assessment. I don't really see the pressing need to upgrade from one version to the other, unless someone really wants to experience the other beam profile. The only things holding me back from a firm recommendation for the GDP are the slightly lower runtimes (although honestly still quite acceptable IMO) and the bluish spill at up-close distances. Other than that, I'm really enjoying the warmer wide corona.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  25. #25
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    I'm puzzled that the smaller emitter size of the GD+ doesn't seem to make it a better thrower than the Cree.
    With fresh off the charger R123's my EX10 GD+ has a fair amount more throw than my EX10 Cree Q5.

    However there are variations with all these LED's, so Selfbuilt may have a Q5 that out performs my Q5, and a GD+ that doesn't perform as well as my GD+, etc.
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  26. #26
    Flashaholic jag-engr's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post

    I like this graphic. I don't see much of a difference in color rendition, per se. To me it seems that the Cree's cool tint over a larger area seems to flatten what you see. The GDP shot doesn't illuminate the field of vision as well as the Cree, but you get better depth perception. Is the depth perception a factor of beam pattern, color rendition, or both? I suspect that it is a combination of both factors.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Thanks for sharing. I know a lot of people are disappointed by the up-close GDP white-wall beamshots, but I am quite pleasantly surprised by the usefulness of the beam for things like night walks.

    I was never a great fan of the follow-the-bouncing-ball Cree hotspot for walks, and have typically preferred SSC/Rebels or Cree lights with bright spills to compensate (e.g. LF5XT, some NDIs, etc.). But the wide corona of the GDPs make these very useful for this activity, IMO.
    Thanks very much for the review selfbuilt! On the basis of that review I purchased both a D10 Q5 and D10 GDP.

    Even though forum comments regarding the spill vs the spot comparison between the Q5 and the GPD prepared me for a difference, I was surprised how obvious the difference was. I am still not sure which I like - different purposes.

    I can confirm that my two new D10s do not whine at any level.

    As for beam color. ummm, the Q5 has a slight touch of green in it, but certainly not rejectable. The GDP is definitely pinker than my P3D Q5. The color lottery is still functioning!

    I am reacting to the user interface. I have difficulty with the pressure required for the pistion and some of the changes. I often wind up with the light off rather than set at a desired level. Maybe I will get used to it. and that brings up the last comment.

    Although I can work with it, the D10 is not a flashlight that I will turn over to any school janitor or teacher or ... The L1D Q5 is about as far as the average flashlight user that I know will be able to handle. I already know that the janitors and others use primarily a single level - as bright as they can get with one push or twist! Anything more is confusion for them. The ideal light probably is the P1 Q5. on or off - and long run time - and 90 lumens! The strobe feature in the L1D from the turbo mode is really bothersome, but they get over it. That is why the L1T or L2T were so effective - just 2 levels. however, the 120lumens of the L1D Q5 was highly desirable.

  28. #28

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Thank you for your great review as always.

    Just wondering that how your D10 GDP has similar runtime as Q5 version.
    I saw in another review show that GDP has better than.
    Conception without Perception is empty.
    Perception without conception is blind. Immanuel Kant

  29. #29

    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Reviews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by moldyoldy View Post
    Although I can work with it, the D10 is not a flashlight that I will turn over to any school janitor or teacher or ... The L1D Q5 is about as far as the average flashlight user that I know will be able to handle.
    A fair assessment. I also find that my D10 occasionally turns off instead of stopping at the level I want - likely due to holding with insufficient pressure. Probably would be a bit confusing for non-flashaholics, where a few defined levels with a simple interface is key. I tend to also recommend L1D/L1T series for the "lay community".

    Quote Originally Posted by TodToh View Post
    Just wondering that how your D10 GDP has similar runtime as Q5 version.
    I saw in another review show that GDP has better than.
    The problem with n=1 experiments. As you'll see in other reviews where I have more than one copy of a light, the variation between samples can be quite large (e.g. my Jet-II IBS vs Jet-II PRO). Same circuit, same emitter, considerably different runtimes.

    Most of this is likely due to Vf differences between the emitters, since few manufacturers bother with defined Vf bins. But those of us who mod know how important it is to match the right Vf to the right circuit design if you want decent runtime.

    Hopefully, one day manufacturers of premium lights with insist on on Vf bins just as they currently do for output and tint bins. It will raise the cost, but will greatly help with runtime consistency. I have a dream ...
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  30. #30
    Flashaholic* 1dash1's Avatar
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    Default Re: NiteCore Golden Dragon Plus D10 & EX10 Revews: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by moldyoldy View Post
    I am reacting to the user interface. I have difficulty with the pressure required for the pistion and some of the changes. I often wind up with the light off rather than set at a desired level. Maybe I will get used to it.
    1. Thoroughly clean the piston and the inside barrel. Remove all traces of the original oil and residue. (I use an alcohol swab, but others might say that is a bit extreme. And avoid using any alcohol on the head!)

    2. Immediately apply a light coat of high quality lubricant. The lighter the lubricant the better. I haven't tried any graphite lubricant, but I suspect that would work very well for the piston. Remember, "less is more."

    3. Clean/condition the electrical contact surfaces (battery node, split ring, and piston opening) with Deoxit.

    4. "Play" with the split ring (located inside the head, where the piston opening makes contact) by rotating it back and forth using a small screwdriver or other pointy object, to improve free play and enhance reliable contact.

    5. Throroughly clean the threads (both the head and body threads). I use a Q-tip, although a small, fine brush would work better. Lubricate the threads and the o-ring.

    6. Reassemble.

    Your light should work much better after the thorough cleaning.

    And yes, it does take time to get used to the User Interface.

    .
    Last edited by 1dash1; 09-20-2008 at 01:28 PM.

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