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Thread: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

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    Flashaholic mon90ey's Avatar
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    Default 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    Someone may have posted this question before and I have missed it. If so, my apologies. Please direct me to the correct link. If not, could someone tell me what the visible difference to the average eye might be between 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens, or 180 lumens vs. 220 lumens. In a test environment (totally pitch black) I could see the possibility of a huge difference, but my question references real world environments (city, night dog walking, hiking trails at night, etc). I also realize that this question might, at first, appear to be a bit ambiguous, but I am curious as to CPF members thoughts on the topic.
    You only need three tools in life: WD-40, duct tape, and a flashlight. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape & if you can't fix it with a hammer, you WILL need the flashlight!

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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    Hi mon90ey,

    The differences you mention I will say are noticable but quite slight in a side by side comparison. If you have a 180 lumen light and the batteries are low, you will possibly suspect a brightness drop when it has dropped down to 130 lumens, but it's not sure you always will be aware of it, if it drops slowly during several minutes. Instant drop will be clearly noticable. The difference between 220 and 180 lumens is even more hard to notice.

    Don't know if my explanation is useful, but I made a try...

    Regards, Patric
    Last edited by Swedpat; 03-24-2009 at 12:52 PM.
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    Flashaholic Turbo Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    could someone tell me what the visible difference to the average eye might be between 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens, or 180 lumens vs. 220 lumens
    With many lights the specifications are off by these amount or more.

    The amount of lumens is only a part of the equasion as the reflector size,design,finish will also determine if the light is a thrower (long distance beam) ,flood (wide angle) and to what degree of both. I am no expert but to me there is no real noticeable difference between 180 and 220 lumens and the difference between 60 and 120 while very noticeable is not nearly as great as many would imagine.
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    Flashaholic* Oddjob's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    A light has to be 4 times as bright to appear twice as bright. You can notice the difference between 130 and 180 lumens but it is not a huge difference and you need to be directly comparing them. If you use a 130 lumen light and then a hour later went and used a 180 lumen light I doubt you would be able to tell the difference (assuming the lights were the same model or very similar).
    I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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    *Flashaholic* mdocod's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    You should worry very little about lumen ratings that are within the same ballpark. And by ballpark, I mean within double-triple 'ish range. That is to say, if you are looking at 130 and 180 lumen lights, you should consider anything between 100 and 250+ lumens as a possibility.

    Pick based on battery type needed for various conditions and use expectations, size, weight, beam profile, build quality, build material, interface, user reviews, modes (or lack thereof), warranty, water resistance/proof (if needed), styling.... After you have found lights that meet all of those criteria, then you can worry about lumens.

    Lumens are sort of like watts in the world of typical consumer audio "gear." It's one of the least important factors, even though it is often emphasized as being the most important by those peddling it to you.

    -Eric

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    Flashaholic* sORe-EyEz's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    i can chip in on this topic,

    185 lumens from an MTE drop-in vs 255 lumens (updated version) from MTE drop-in, in real world the difference is not too great, additional lumens result in slightly better throw. for that extra 70 lumens, the improvement in throw equates to about 15%-25% (factoring tint variations). i have them tested with fresh cells.

    what's the same:
    - both drop-in modules from same company
    - both have the same orange peel (textured) reflector
    - beam profile
    - test environment (but not pitch black), tested side-by-side
    - batteries in both lights were new

    what not really the same:
    - tint (the older drop-in had a bluer tint to it), but tint variations is common till this day

    other differences:
    -the 255 lumen drop-in has a spill without any rings to it, the 185 lumen drop-in did.

    tested in Pelican M6. i have both the 2330 & the 2390. test differences are kept to the minimum. in addition (compared to another light), the 255 lumens in the Pelican M6 host has a larger hotspot but less throw compared to the Fenix T1 at 225 lumens.

    ideally, in the real world its possible to actually test a light in person with a light 1 regularly uses. with a referance light on hand, it makes judging potential purchase less of a guessing game. bringing your own batteries for that other light helps too!

    i hope this info is useful.
    Last edited by sORe-EyEz; 03-24-2009 at 01:51 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    I can add a little something here, too. I've got an Olight T10 with a high rated at 180 lumens, and a med-high rated at 105 lumens. In total darkness in a 20' - 25' long room, you'll notice the difference im the spot and spill on the far wall. But it isn't huge. It's what I'd call 'incrementally brigther" meaining it appears maybe 10 percent brighter. But that's just a guestimate to give you an idea. It's noticeable, but it really doesn't seem dramatic.

    If you do a celing bounce test, where the light is reflected around the whole room to a greater extent than the spot and spill reflect around the room when placed on the far wall, the difference is more significant, but it still isn't huge. 105 lumens lights up whole room. 180 lumens up the whole room a little more brightly, but as a practical matter, anything you could do with 180 lumens of illumination, you could do with the 105 lumens.

    The lowest setting on the light is around 10 lumens. There's a big diffence in overal light output betwen that 10 lumen setting and the 105 lumen setting. But going to 180 lumens from 105 only increases the total amount of perceived light slightly.
    If we could get everyone in the world to close their eyes and imagine world peace for an hour, think about how serene it would be until the looting started. -Unknown

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    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    For the layman/novice flashaholic:

    There are a bunch of different variables that play into "brightness", but keeping it in layman's terms, you can boil it down to the beam profile of the light and percentages.

    The beam profile (how the light looks on a white wall) can make a light seem much brighter or dimmer depending on how it's arranged. A good way to visualize this is a garden hose: Let's say you turn on your garden hose spigot to 25%, and holding the hose in your hand you just let the water fall freely from the nozzle. Then you put your thumb over the nozzle - now the pressurized water streams far out and away rapidly. In which instance was there a greater amount of water? The answer is of course that there was the same amount/flow of water for both examples, the spigot was always at 25%, you merely changed how it came out of the nozzle. Conceptually, this works with light also; you can let light flow out broadly in a nearby flood, or you can compact it into a far-throwing narrow stream - the stream can seem brighter to the eye just because it goes farther and/or has a more intense beam profile.

    This matters in flashlights because a light that's a "thrower" will always seem brighter than a "flooder". A good example would be if you had a Maglite that was perfectly focused for a nice, intense hotspot. You note how bright this looks on a white wall, then remove the head from the Mag entirely and shine it at the wall again - now the wall is completely dim. In which configuration did the Mag output more lumens? Again, it was the same, the light bulb put out the exact same amount of light for each test.

    So now that we know the eye can be easily fooled just by how a flashlight throws light, we must devise a way to gauge *total output*, not just the output in one small area. This test is called ceiling bounce.

    When you shine a flashlight at the ceiling of a darkened room, the room as you see it is now lit only by the *total output* of that light - you've removed the element of beam profile and can now see, at least roughly, how much light is being emitted. The test goes something like this; Standing in a pitch black room with two flashlights you want to compare, you shine the first light at the ceiling - you have to shine it in such a way that you can't see the end of the flashlight itself or the beam profile, so pointing it up next to your ear works nicely. Now you're seeing the room lit by the total output of that light. Next, close your eyes, turn off or cover light one and switch to light two, and open your eyes - is the room brighter or dimmer? The answer will reveal which light has more *lumens* regardless of *throw*. (This method works very quickly and decisively when the two lights are more than 20% disparate, below that and you may need to view the room for a full minute or so and then switch lights to catch the tiny discrepancies.)

    And speaking of percentages, they're something you have to take into consideration when looking a lumen numbers. Your 180 vs 220 example can be used here - Let's say you're outdoors on a moonless night, and you turn on a 180 lumen light; it will appear very bright and you'll be able to light your way easily. So then you increase your light output to 220 lumens, that's just a little bit brighter, enough that you notice a marginal difference. But here's the kicker - let's say in the same situation, you instead have only a 1 lumen keychain light; on fully-dark adjusted eyes, this is actually "about right" for getting around, and you can navigate fine. But then you increase your light output to 2 lumens, and WOW, that's much brighter, what a difference! Why is 1 vs 2 such a profound difference over 180 vs 220? Percentages - 220 is only 22% brighter than 180, so that's a small difference. But 2 is TWICE/100% over 1, so there's literally twice as much light. Tiny number differences make big perceived differences at the low end of the scale, but not at all on the upper end.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    Look at the Pelican 7060 (rated 130 lumens) vs. 8060 (rated 190). I just can't find a better match to your hypothetical question. Both Pelican lights share similar reflectors, design, and most importantly- the output was rated by the same company. Many CPF members have been unable to notice a difference between the two lights. I have both and this is my observation:

    If I toggle back and forth between the two lights, I can see a slight difference in brightness. However, if I shine either one of them, pause a few moments, then shine the other one...it's a coin toss.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic mon90ey's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    OK, I think I'm beginning to see the comparisons here. Someone mentioned audio watts as a possible comparison, and the water hose idea makes sense, as well. I've proven to myself and others time and time again that 10 or 20 watts audio at an extremely low distortion level (.008% THD or less) will sound immensley better than 100 wats at 10% THD. so I guess it's all in how you "clean it up" so to speak, with reflector design and texture, etc. I have noticed (to my eyes, at least) that 135 to 180 lumens (I'm speaking in this example of the Fenix lights) doesn't appear to be that big a deal, at least in the L1D/L2D lights. But when comparing my LD01 on low to my L1D on low (same emmitter, different reflector, 9 lumens vs 10,) there seems to be quite a bit.

    I asked this question, primarily because I am toying with the idea of getting a P3D Q5, which runs in turbo at about 220 lumens I think, but I haven't really convinced myself of the real gain in owning it except for saying I have one, and I'm not really sure I'm comfortable with the CR123 Battery format. I could adapt, I suppose, if the gain in output were somewhat substantial, but, so far, the AA/AAA format has always worked better for me in all my current applications, and from what I've read here so far, 180 to 220 is certainly not substantial. I suppose I could buy an Eagle-Tac P10A2 if I just had to have the lumens, but, If my L1D/L2D's will do the trick, that point would appear to be moot.

    I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to add their input, and and, please, if anyone else has more, I would love to hear it.
    You only need three tools in life: WD-40, duct tape, and a flashlight. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape & if you can't fix it with a hammer, you WILL need the flashlight!

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    If you've already got the lights that you prefer for EDC use, and you'd like to get a new light that's a lot brighter, then just skip the EDC-category lights altogether - any other Fenix pocket light that you get won't be notably brighter than what you've already got, so on to the bigger and much brighter lights. A good example would be a Mag host with a 2D/6AA adapter and a simple but powerful drop-in; you could keep using your AAs and with a few minutes of effort, have a light that's far brighter than any mass-produced pocket light.

    One popular drop-in is the TerraLUX TLE-300; you just remove the stock Mag bulb and reflector, twist it in, done. $62, a minute of installation, 600 lumens. See it here: http://www.batteryjunction.com/tle-300.html

  12. #12

    Default Re: 130 lumens vs. 180 lumens

    Either i can see or i cant, if it is not bright enough for me to see without strain then yes it makes a huge difference. I have two lights within 60 lumen's but one is no use for following deer because i cant see them properly. I need a light that hits my environment with enough photons that some bounce back and hit my retina, any less and it is of no use.

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