-4AA flashlight with a "floody" beam
I read a post awhile back that said the focusing systems on LED Lenser flashlights are a gimmick and that fixed designs are superior because they don't lose light output. Is this true? I sort of like being able to focus the beam, but if it comes at the cost of light, maybe not. LED Lensers seem to have nice beams that focus without having a hole in the center, but I've never used anything produced by them except a UFO keychain light.
What are some comparable lights?
I'm considering the 4Sevens Quark MiNiX 123. This light is supposed to have 210 OTF lumens, but I'm wondering if the Fenix E15's 140 ANSI lumens are just as good or better? This light will probably go on a keychain, so a AAA light may be a better choice, but since I already have a AAA EDC I'd like to try a 3V one.
Lots of questions, and the third one deserves it's own thread in the Flashlight Electronics, Batteries Included forum, so go ahead delete it, and start it there. I will say that some searching on CPF will answer your questions. Use google, CPF only, at the top of every page.
- 4xAA is frickin' huge for an EDC; we have 1xAA lights that can match the output of a 6D cell Maglite, so anything larger than a lipstick tube is purely optional..
- Focusing lenses were a great idea on old school lights that were quite dim and needed all the help they could get to be multi-purpose. Modern flashaholic lights are actually more versatile thanks to multiple output modes and a much smoother beam with better coverage.
- The Solitaire is something of a joke in flashaholic circles, as in "I've seen matches with better output and runtime" (a lit match emits 12 lumens continuously, whereas the Solitaire dims quickly and constantly throughout its runtime, so with a big enough match..)
- The Quark MiniX will be a lot brighter than any of Fenix's keychain offerings.
Zebralight SC600 is not 4xAA, but a single 18650 li-ion (or 2xCR123A). The 4xAA Zebra is not out yet. You will need to wait a couple of months.
4xAA, as StarHalo said, is considered big nowadays. Most people will not need that configuration unless you use it to work and need big runtime. You can get a Sunwayman M40A, Jetbeam PA40 or Fenix LD40. All of them are have more throw than flood and the upcoming Zebra Q50 is rumored to be the floodiest of all (we don't know yet).
IMHO you should get a decent and cheap 2xAA just to know what to expect with new leds. Jetbeam BA20 or Fenix E21 can be enough for most tasks.
About the EDC question, CR123A powered lights will be shorter and brighter than AAA powered ones, but some people find them too fat.
If you really want floody, go for a TK41 or TK45. These use 8 AAs, but really aren't THAT much bigger. It fits nicely in ones hand.
I really like the flood to throw lights. At full flood they shouldnt lose any light and they make for a nice floody beam with NO HOTSPOT which is nice. As you approach full throw, they DO lose a lot of their lumens, but the ones that remain are so tightly concentrated that the light still has really nice throw.
I prefer them over a normal light with a balanced beam. One advantage of the normal beam is that it provides both flood and throw at the same time which you can't do with F2T...you get 1 or the other or some inbetweener.
That said, they will typically use an XR-E or maybe an XP-G emitter. I havent seen but one (Wolf eyes night hunter) with an XM-L for huge flood.
For EDC, there are a few options:
An AAA light with an XP-G has pretty solid output. You can use rechargable or lithium primaries in them.
An AA light will have the SAME output (no better). However, you can use a special rechargable lithium 14500 (and charger) in them which will almost triple their output!
A CR123 light has about double the output of the above, but CR123 batteries are expensive unless you buy in bulk. If you use the EDC a lot, consider a rechargable. This also adds another 40% brightness or so to the light, but requires special battery and charger.
I personally use a CR123 light (started with an itp A1 and upgraded to a quark mini123 XM-L) as the fatness isnt a problem and the shortness matches that of my keys pretty well.