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Thread: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

  1. #1
    Flashaholic OneBigDay's Avatar
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    Default Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    I did a series of beamshots here, with 12 different lights, mainly comparing similar lights in the P60 vs. D36 platform. I thought the results turned out pretty good. This is my latest attempt at comparing some new lights that I picked up over the winter, along with some reference lights (for me anyway) to compare them against.

    I changed the exposure a little bit trying to get "slightly" more brightness in the photos than I did with the previous set. They are brighter and I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing. The other photographic difference is I used a daylight white balance for these so you can see some of the XML/XPG tints are visibly greener than the SST-50s. I forgot to take a "control" shot this time, but it is safe to say the park has lots of ambient light around, but the trail is pitch black.

    All cells are freshly charged 18650's (non IMR AW) or IMR 26650's (battery space).

    My motivation for doing this round was to compare my 3 XML dropins with each other and with some other powerful lights, and do the same with the Kerberos triple and VanIsleDSM quad. I also wanted to compare the XML with some SST-50s since they are now competitors (in the <=3Amp range).

    The lineup...


    • Fenix TA-21 XR-E Q5
    • Kai Domain 4-18v 1Mode XM-L T6 P60 dropin
    • Thrunight XM-L T6 1.5Amp P60 dropin
    • Nailbender XM-L T6 3.1Amp P60 dropin
    • Triple XP-G R5 (Kerberos Triple)
    • Quad XP-G R5 (VanIsleDSM Quad)
    • Nailbender SST-50 P60 (direct drive)
    • Nailbender SST-50 D36 (2.8A regulated)
    • Download Pocket Rocket SST-50



    There are 2 full sets of shots, 1 in the Park, 1 on the Trail, followed by some comparison animated gifs. For those in a hurry, I suggest looking at the second set (the Trail) first, as it really shows the beam characteristics very clearly.

    Enough with introductions. Beamshots please.

    The PARK

    Daylight with distances


    Fenix TA-21 XR-E Q5 | KD generic XM-L T6 P60 | Thrunite XM-L T6 P60


    Nailbender XM-L T6 | Kerberos Triple XP-G | VanIsleDSM Quad XP-G


    Nailbender SST-50 P60 | Nailbender SST-50 D36 | Download Pocket Rocket SST-50


    Animated GIF Comparisons

    All lights in a single slideshow


    Comparison of 3 XM-L T6 dropins


    Comparison of Triple XP-G vs. Quad XP-G


    Comparison of Nailbender XM-L vs. Nailbender P60 SST-50 (direct drive)


    Comparison of Nailbender XM-L (3.1A regulated) vs. Nailbender D36 SST-50 (2.8A regulated)


    3 biggest hitters side by side (XM-L vs. Triple XP-G vs. SST-50)



    Conclusions, lessons learned, and general musings


    1. My weakest light here (Fenix TA-21) still rocks!
    2. The thrunite XML speced at 1/2 the amps of my Nailbender 3.1 Amp XML holds it's own in a serious way. The Thrunite XML is still brighter than my SST-50 direct drive on an IMR cell. I don't have the patience for run time tests, but I imagine the gain in brightness is not worth the run time difference between the XML 1.5 Amp and the XML 3.1 Amp. This was the biggest surprise in these comparisons to me. The Thrunite XM-L wins hands down as the price to performance sweet spot in this bunch (i.e. best value).
    3. In the <= 3Amp range, the XML does overtake the SST-50 in brightness, and has a great beam profile as well (arguably better than the SST-50).
    4. All my SST-50s have much better tints than the XM-L lights (in the cool white zone).
    5. Kerberos triple beats the Quad for sheer output AND gives more "throw" at the same time. I suspected this but you can really see it in the slideshow comparisons. The Quad still gives nice flood, but the triple takes the crown in this category.

    Now if only the Zebralight SC600 could make an appearance ...

  2. #2
    Flashaholic OneBigDay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    The TRAIL

    Daylight with distances


    Fenix TA-21 XR-E Q5 | KD generic XM-L T6 P60 | Thrunite XM-L T6 P60


    Nailbender XM-L T6 | Kerberos Triple XP-G | VanIsleDSM Quad XP-G


    Nailbender SST-50 P60 | Nailbender SST-50 D36 | Download Pocket Rocket SST-50


    Animated GIF Comparisons

    All lights in a single slideshow


    Comparison of 3 XM-L T6 dropins


    Comparison of Triple XP-G vs. Quad XP-G


    Comparison of Nailbender XM-L vs. Nailbender P60 SST-50 (direct drive)


    Comparison of Nailbender XM-L (3.1A regulated) vs. Nailbender D36 SST-50 (2.8A regulated)


    3 biggest hitters side by side (XM-L vs. Triple XP-G vs. SST-50)

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* QtrHorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Did you use the Fetie switch with the Quad? I'm only asking because it is rated very high. If you did not, what switches did you use; McClickies on all lights?

    I was surprised in regards to the output of the 1.5 XML compared to the 3A and the tripple compared to the quad. The tripple seems to really outperform the quad.

    I wonder how the Kerb quad compares to the Van quad.
    Last edited by QtrHorse; 05-15-2011 at 09:03 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Wow that looks like a really nice park and trail where is that?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic OneBigDay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    I did pick up the Fetie switch with the Quad, hoping for some good throughput and I could always use it with something else down the road. Most other lights have a McClicky - Including the Seraph/Thrunite combo which has an oveready upgrade system in the tailcap.

    The triple has a solarforce L2-S4 in it, no idea what amperage it is rated to.

    The only thing I can come up with on the triple/quad comparison is that there must be a significant difference in the way the optics put light forward?

    Minnehaha park in Minneapolis is the general area.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic OneBigDay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    One question I've always had that defies what I know about this is ...

    My Nailbender SST-50 light is direct drive with a freshly charged IMR cell that can in theory deliver 10A discharge. I thought the idea behind direct drive is that it takes off the governor (the driver/amperage limiter), and gives the emitter as much juice as it can (regardless of if the emitter can handle it). This must not be entirely correct because my regulated dropins from Dave are definitely brighter than the same setup with direct drive. The direct drive SST-50 dropin in the photos above pulls about 1.25Amps directly connecting the cell with the bottom of the FM host - that seems really weak for a direct drive dropin with a 10amp IMR cell.
    Last edited by OneBigDay; 05-15-2011 at 11:05 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    That's not my understanding of direct drive. An emitter at a certain voltage will "pull" a certain current. Having more amperage in the battery will not cause the emitter to pull more out of it. If you increase the voltage it will increase the amperage through the emitter.

    So the key to direct dive is to match the battery to the vf of the emitter and eliminate the inefficiencies inherent when using drivers.

    I'm not really an electronic guy so anyone feel free to correct me.
    Last edited by gcbryan; 05-15-2011 at 11:48 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Awesome thread OneBigDay - I have been looking for a beamshot comparison of these 'monsters' for a while now and you have done it in a superb fashion! Thanks so much for your great work!!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Thank you for taking the time to do these beamshots for us.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Amazing work!
    Very helpful, really appreciate the work you put in, thanks!

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* VanIsleDSM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Quote Originally Posted by OneBigDay View Post

    1. Kerberos triple beats the Quad for sheer output AND gives more "throw" at the same time. I suspected this but you can really see it in the slideshow comparisons. The Quad still gives nice flood, but the triple takes the crown in this category.

    I saw this thread posted for beamshots in my Quad sales thread. I don't mean rain on your comparison at all OneBigDay. With all respect to you an Kerberos there is something flawed with your test. The Quad 5.6A will easily trump the triple, as it quite handily trumps the Kerberos Quad.

    Look here where they have actually been measured in a sphere: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...ew-photo-heavy!

    I'm not sure if you had a bad cell or what the problem was, but you were definitely not getting full output from the quad.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic OneBigDay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    VanIsleDSM - at first I was irritated with this post but I can see where you are coming from. I am sorry somebody posted this link in your sales thread, probably not ideal for you.

    Having said that it is only fair that I defend my results above. I am not getting a spif from anyone or being sent stuff to "review". I'm just going through the rounds like everyone else here, spending my hard earned cash, having a little fun, testing some gear, and posting my results. I went through quite a bit of effort to bring forth a level playing field to make sure the photos represented as much reality as a photo can - Freshly charged and measured cells (all cells above 4.1x v), photos taken at the same exposure, same night, same place. No special treatment for any assembled package. So actually there is nothing wrong with my test. This is what your dropin looks like at full output in my FM 26650 host.

    If anything the deck is stacked in favor of the quad with a physically larger host to more quickly dissipate heat, the fetie switch that should provide less resistance than stock solarforce switch in the triple, and an IMR cell which the triple also did not have.

    Life is busy at the moment but I have a TNC 26650 host coming any day in the mail and maybe I can rerun the triple against the quad to see if I get different results in a different host. I would be happy to show the quad is brighter if it plays out that way. From your link it looks like others have already shown this, and the truth has a way of bubbling to the surface... No promises on when I can do a retest, but I will try to do it relatively soon if possible.

    I understand that with an extra emitter and a driver that is pushing the whole setup harder, the quad "should be" brighter, but in my setup so far it is not. I just rechecked both sales threads and the quad dropin I have is driven at 4.2 amps and the triple is driven at 2.8 amps.
    Last edited by OneBigDay; 11-11-2011 at 08:28 AM. Reason: adding advertised specs

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Just looked through all the images.
    My two favorites are the Nailbender XML P60 3,1A for good flood and quite some distance.
    And for a bit more throw but a lot less flood the Nailbender SST50 D36
    Maglite 3D // MTE SSC-P7-C // 47's Quark 123˛ NW XP-G R4 // HDS Rotary R1S-200 + Lee Filter 206 quarter CT orange // 4Seven's Preon 2 highCRI SaTi // green Thrunite Ti

  14. #14

    Default Re: Beamshots of XM-L, XP-G Triple, XP-G Quad, and SST-50

    Epic!



    I'd like to try taking photos like this, but the trick is to find some place where Homeland Security wouldn't come swooping down on me!

    (don't know if my simple Cybershot cam would be up to the task anyways)



    By the way, what tripod/mounting system do you have there for the lights?

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