I'm a laser/optical/electronics technologist in a research department with 8 laboratories, studying optically accessible internal combustion engines. Most of the labs have 2D Mag lights. I'm considering to persuade them to switch to single 18650 powered lights, so we don't have to deal with the battery waste (CA), and also for the superior inspection/task lighting characteristics of a nearly gaussian LED flashlight beam profile.
So the question is, which flashlights can satisfy the following criteria:
1. can take 1 x 18650 (UPDATE: 2 x AA is the only format now under consideration, due to Li-ion safety concerns.)
2. have 2-3 levels easily accessed by either a tail switch or a ring adjust. IF the tail switch sets levels, then it must memorize the level. A good medium of 50-100 lm would be nice, as well as a high of 150-200 lm. These numbers are flexible. Forward or rev. clicky isn't critical. But it must turn on and off with one switch cycle. I don't like lights that have to click through two levels to get turned off.
3. are not physically too small--too small will be hard to find among clutter. A typical 2xCR123 tactical flashlight size is probably the minimum size that is acceptable. Larger is OK too. Must stand on the bezel easily, so a bezel of larger diameter than the body is preferred.
4. has a smooth beam profile even fairly close, such as at 6 inches from the bezel. This concern arises from the fact that large reflector lights can have a donut profile up close, and take some distance before the beam fills in. But since this light will be used primarily for illuminating optics and other things at distances of 6-18 inches, the beam must be smooth as close to the light's business end as possible.
5. can be purchased for a budgetary range of $75-100. I know this would be much easier if I could go up to the $150 range, but I'd prefer to stay below $100. If there are supremely ideal lights that anyone can speak of which perfectly satisfy the other criteria, then feel free to mention them. For instance, I am interested in the Jetbeam Raptor series, but I'm not sure about their up-close beam profiles. They are in the <$150 price range though.
6. available through distributors that take VISA. No paypal. Prefer something manufactured by a regular volume maker that's been in business for a few years, rather than something custom/one-off.
Thanks for any feedback.