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View Poll Results: Do you prefer Infinite Variable or Preset Modes?

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  • Infinite Variable

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Thread: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

  1. #1
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    Default POLL ADDED: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    At first I thought I would like infinite variable output so I purchased the D10. Then I found out I like to know how much runtime on each mode. That's pretty hard to determine on an infinite variable output light. It might look like 20 lumen but it could be 30 lumen because IIRC our eyes can't really tell the difference, but that actually reduces the runtime. So I sold it. I am now only getting preset mode because I know how much runtime I can get per battery on each mode; plus or minus some. THANKS SELFBUILT. It's the comfort of knowing.

    Does any one have the condition I have?

    - OR -

    If you still love infinite variable output, let me know how you determine runtime assuming you don't carry spare because quite frankly I don't carry spares. My job does not require me to carry a light or spares, I just like flashlights. If your method actually works, I might change my view and get another D10.

    Edit: Poll added.
    Last edited by dealgrabber2002; 03-05-2013 at 04:02 PM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I feel the same way as you.

    Always wanna' know How Long it'll run at "this" level.


  3. #3
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    ~

    Both ............................................. each has it's purpose .

    ~
    ~ "She" says ...... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

  4. #4

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I was on the fence regarding variable, since I got my HDS Rotary I'm sold on it. Fortunately it allows preset or variable if I had to be mindful of runtimes. It can switch between a preset and the rotary knob so I could check if I was near a level that I knew the runtime for.
    The Rotary makes it easy to dial in the least amount of light required for the task so my battery life is pretty good.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    This is one of the many reasons I so like LiteFlux. Both options available.

    Geoff

  6. #6

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I prefer well positioned presets. There is no such thing as infinitely variable. I find "IV" often means lots and lots of choices that look about the same in a range I wasn't interested in!

    In addition to knowing the run time what good presets do is make your pupils do the fine tuning and are pupils are closer to infinitely variable.

    I understand modes being close together for the sake of more runtime at a similar output. When it comes to how many lumens is too little or too much for a particular task though I 've found multiples of 5-10X pretty good. IE if 70 lumens is too bright to read a book (and it is!) then 10 wont be too little for me. If 10 is too bright and hurting your eyes 1.5 wont be too little.
    Having presets makes my eyes do the work ... and they do a better job than most IV UIs

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I prefer IV, my point is
    -Do not have to cycle between modes to desired one
    -Able to adjust the level while the lights are off
    -Limited number of preset modes, sometime you need the 1 in between 2 preset modes
    -Improved utilize of forward clicky, no accidental mode change
    -Simpler UI than preset modes, dont have to memorize the order of levels
    -Looks cooler, while others are using preset
    -Smoother operation

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Agree w/jh333233 on all counts.....no need to "program" a light level. I'm not all that concerned about battery usage. That's what they're for. That's like worrying about ammo usage in your gun...that's what you got it for...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Both, as long as it has a control ring ui.

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I only have one variable output light, a DX 1-100% ramping module hosted in a Solarforce L2.

    Its not a deal breaker either way for me.
    CLICK HERE for my flashlight reviews.
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  11. #11
    Flashaholic* derfyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I often find myself using more light that I really need with IV. It seems like I adapt my needs to the preset selected when I use a fixed preset light, while I always put a lot more light than what I really need with the IV, like I do with a dimmer in my house lightning. Do you always set the minimum level needed in your living room? Not me... Also, the runtime is my main concern with IV, I don't know what values I'm using.
    sig line removed to help search function...

  12. #12
    Enlightened BadBulb4U's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I'm starting to lean toward an infinite variable output flashlight. My first such light was a Sunwayman V10R Ti and it just amazed me. I have a few single cell CR123A non-variable flashlights and I do like them, but you are stuck with whatever presets they have. I always thought that I was wasting battery power cycling thru different setting. There is no such waste using my V10R Ti. I can also adjust the light to the situtation and that saves battery life. I rarely time my flashlight usage. If I leave the house on foot, I will have a 2 cell CR123A (or 18650) flashlight and a single cell CR123A in my pocket and a AAA Fenix LD01 (never swapped out) on my keychain. Any vechicle I drive or pedal has spare batteries and several flashlights. (Here is an idea, we need small timers on our lights for the battery). When I walk the dog at night, there are areas that are pitch black, unless the moon is out, and there are areas where there is a streetlight or porchlight. I can easily change the output of the light for the current condition, this allows me to conserve the battery. If I want to get a good look at something, I can blast it without the head twists or switch pushing, which is helpful when one hand is holding the dog's leash. I bought a Sunwayman V20C after liking the V10R Ti so much, because I wanted a high output 2 cell or 18650 cell flashlight with variable output. There may be other flashlights that I would like just as much as the V20C, but I think Sunwayman has aquired a new loyal customer. I just love the butter smooth variable switch. In fact, a Sunwayman V10R (the aluminum model) is on its way to me right now. Don't get me wrong, I will still buy lights without a variable switch, but they will have to be special in some way.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by dealgrabber2002 View Post
    At first I thought I would like infinite variable output so I purchased the D10. Then I found out I like to know how much runtime on each mode. That's pretty hard to determine on an infinite variable output light. I might look like 20 lumen but it could be 30 lumen because IIRC our eyes can't really tell the difference, but that actually reduces the runtime. So I sold it. I am now only getting preset mode because I know how much runtime I can get per battery on each mode; plus or minus some. THANKS SELFBUILT. It's the comfort of knowing.

    Does any one have the condition I have?
    Unless you test your unit yourself, you'll never really know until you need it . . .

    (Seriously, though, thanks, Selfbuilt. (Check out them commas!))



    Quote Originally Posted by dealgrabber2002
    If you still love infinite variable output, let me know how you determine runtime assuming you don't carry spare because quite frankly I don't carry spares. My job does not require me to carry a light or spares, I just like flashlights. If your method actually works, I might change my view and get another D10.
    I test runtime on lowest and highest output. The lowest output runtime is the most important to know, but with those two data points you can guess at runtime for anything inbetween. Typically if you're concerned with runtime you use the lowest setting. Checking around the house, poking around the garage, or heading to the bathroom don't require 1000 lumens.





    (Edit: I would add that unless you run your batteries all the way down in one session, you're going to end up guessing the runtime anyway. There is zero chance I can accurately tracking runtime usage across multiple lights over multiple days. And what if I use a light on high for ten minutes and low for fifteen? What's the remaining juice at?)
    Last edited by geckoblink; 08-26-2011 at 05:54 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I prefer preset modes. That's because I don't want to need to guesstimate the brightness and runtime.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by derfyled View Post
    Also, the runtime is my main concern with IV, I don't know what values I'm using.
    Exactly my thought.

    I know there are lights that you can program, but you really don't know what lumen it's on when you stopped and set it. Sure you can eyeball it, but runtime differ from 10-15 lumen and our eyeball can't tell them apart. At least preset was set by the manufacturer with let us know how many lumen and the runtime for that setting.

    Some said but what if you need a brightness that is between 1st mode (10 lumen) and 2nd mode (30 lumen), but what can a 15 lumen do that a 10 lumen cannot and what can a 20-25 lumen do that a 30 lumen cannot?

    Phew Burgess... I thought I was alone!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Just wonder why must you know the output and the runtime,
    lumen is just a number and runtime just varies as different batteries
    even though the light may be rated at XX lumens for YY minutes
    We wont even know how this relationship comes,
    Which brand of battery? Capacity? Temperature? New battery? Calculation method?
    Afterall, the runtime isnt really a problem unless you are really short on battery
    Trust yourself rather than the manufacter
    Comfortable to eyes is FAR more important than messing with lumen

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    When battery life is crucial, what more can I do than dimming down the light to the lowest acceptable level? The batteries are empty, whenever the light goes off. Even with preset modes there is absolutely no excact estimation of the remaining runtime, without bringing a notepad, a stopwatch and a calculator. Sure, you can't tell the difference between 120 and 150 Lumens. But can you tell the difference between 120 and 150 minutes? In a real-life situation, all you can say is that the light will be on for a longer time if you use a lower setting. That's it.

    With an IV light I can always choose the right setting. Just take a 500lm XM-L light. If you want to keep the UI simple, more than 3-4 settings are probably too much. If you take 5lm for the lower end and 500lm for maximum, you have 1-2 modes left to divide this 495lm-gap. That is not enough. There are plenty of situations, where 5lm is too little but 100lm is a waste of energy.

    The biggest problem I see with IV lights that use an adjustment-ring, is the high power consumption on lower levels, that is drasticly reducing the runtime.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    All lights should have about 4 variable user preset modes. That would be totally awsome.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    To me the whole point of IV is to dial down the lumens to the minimum you need. Then you benefit from longer runtimes than if you had just the factory presets. I don't know of any lights that offer 30 and 10 Lm. Mine typically go 600/200/50. Maybe that's why we feel differently about IV.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I like both. But I agree that I like knowing the runtime I can expect at a certain level. If a light has 4 good levels and has an efficient driver - that is more important to me than variable level.

    I have a Nitecore IFE2 with infinite control ring and it is great to adjust to exactly the light you need. But at times it bugs me not knowing how much power it is using that I would know with a fixed level light.

    Btw There is a big difference in the usability between infinitely variable lights and lights with a control ring for output adjustment. I have a D10 and it is no where near as friendly to use as a variable control ring light like the IFE2.
    Last edited by regulator; 08-26-2011 at 08:59 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    The point is moot. If you know how much runtime per setting you will get how do you keep track of the runtime? That is the problem with all long running LED lights that run under regulation. You don't know how much time you have left in the cell(s). Regardless if it is a set output or a variable drive.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic DIΩDΣ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by kelmo View Post
    The point is moot. If you know how much runtime per setting you will get how do you keep track of the runtime? That is the problem with all long running LED lights that run under regulation. You don't know how much time you have left in the cell(s). Regardless if it is a set output or a variable drive.
    I dont quite follow. If your in a situation where runtime is critical I think it would help. For example lets say you get lost or something on a hiking trip in the mountains and your trying to get back to civilization. Lets say you've got a ZL H51 on your head with a 2000mAh eneloop. The lowest you could safely navigate rough terrain is med1 (30 lumens) and ZL rates it at 9hrs. You have one fresh eneloop in your pocket that your Lacross or Maha said was charged to 2000mAh. So if you turned it on at 9pm to try and hike out overnight you'll know it should last until 6am, when the sun comes up. Thats pretty straight forward. Lets say your further in the bush and it will take severak days to get out. If you limited your light usage to say 2hrs a night, then you would know each batterey would be good for 4.5 nights. If it were that critical you could accurately track your on time just using the stopwatch feature on your watch or phone. If you were using IV and set it around 45 lumen (you wouldnt know its exactly 45) you would cut a considerable amount of time (50%) and could leave you stranded in the dark in the mountains. Playing devils advocate its also possible that you might have set it around 20 lumens which could help your run time too, depending on the efficiency (did someone say IV on low power isnt as efficient?). Thats an extreme case, but just something that comes to mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by RCantor View Post
    To me the whole point of IV is to dial down the lumens to the minimum you need. Then you benefit from longer runtimes than if you had just the factory presets. I don't know of any lights that offer 30 and 10 Lm. Mine typically go 600/200/50. Maybe that's why we feel differently about IV.
    Plenty run down that low, or lower, down into <1 lumen (moonlight mode).

    Once you start getting over say 500 lumens though, maybe the IV would be better since that is such a range.

    I think either would be ok, dual would be cool too. I think the bigger deal is the interface, and if using a preset light then the proper spaced levels.
    Last edited by DIΩDΣ; 08-26-2011 at 11:45 PM.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic warmurf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I've got 2- a VARAPOWER2000 and a custom built 6 x XML by Vestureofblood. Love em both. Very useful as you can crank it up or pull it down within a second. Very useful with high powered lights as well, as these 2 are 2200 & 4000+ lumens a piece.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I tend to like a light where I can control the output so initially I though IV was the way to go. Now I preset (for the reasons already mentioned) as long as the presets are well thought out.

    The only lights I have where the levels are well thought out to the extent that IV would be unnecessary are my Zebralights. I like the UI on them.

    I have several lights with IV in the form of ramping and that's better than have poorly thought out presets but it's slower and I don't know what output it really is.

    I don't have a IV ring controlled light. I do have a dive light with magnetic ring control for 3 levels. I like that for that application.

    Really it's hard to beat Zebralights UI with 3 settings and then double click in each of those setting for a total of 6 settings. Most levels are 3 times greater than the previous which is what it takes for a noticeable difference. You also need a great range including low levels.
    Last edited by gcbryan; 08-27-2011 at 12:34 AM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by warmurf View Post
    I've got 2- a VARAPOWER2000 and a custom built 6 x XML by Vestureofblood. Love em both. Very useful as you can crank it up or pull it down within a second. Very useful with high powered lights as well, as these 2 are 2200 & 4000+ lumens a piece.


    Quote Originally Posted by jh333233 View Post
    Just wonder why must you know the output and the runtime,
    lumen is just a number and runtime just varies as different batteries
    even though the light may be rated at XX lumens for YY minutes
    We wont even know how this relationship comes,
    Which brand of battery? Capacity? Temperature? New battery? Calculation method?
    Afterall, the runtime isnt really a problem unless you are really short on battery
    Trust yourself rather than the manufacter
    Comfortable to eyes is FAR more important than messing with lumen
    Yes, the brand of battery, capacity, temperature, etc does make a different in determining runtime, but if I used the same battery next time (I mark my eneloops), I know it gives me roughly the same like last time. But on the same battery, if I change the setting on my IV lights and I am not sure I can get back to the same setting as before; therefore my runtime may vary a lot.
    Last edited by dealgrabber2002; 08-27-2011 at 01:42 AM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I've had problems with control rings moving in my pocket always getting a slightly different output when I pull it out of my pocket. I sold my HDS Rotary to buy the 200T Clicky because of this problem.

    However I recently bought a couple iTP SC series light's from a gun show and had fun with the IV and thought I'd give IV another serious consideration so this week I got a IFE2 and I should have the new Jetbeam RRT21 today.

    Again just carrying it for a couple days I notice the control ring moves while the light is clipped in my pocket, maybe it moves as I pull out the light or while I clip it in idk but I don't like having to be that careful. Having said that IV control ring is really a lot of fun and I plan to carry the IFE2 in rotation, maybe I should holster carry a light with a control ring but I like pocket carry, I'll get my RRT21 today and see how it goes.
    My flashlight collection HERE

  27. #27

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I like a variable for EDC. But for a work light, I always go preset.
    I got nothing else to say...

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Quote Originally Posted by adnj View Post
    But for a work light, I always go preset.
    Why?

  29. #29

    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    I guess preset modes could let one know how much runtime is actually left, if only using one mode exclusively per battery swap, or by keeping some sort of log that documents how many minutes each mode has run for, then calculating what's left after the combined levels' usage time etc. ThoughI can't/don't bother to keep up with runtime even with single mode lights!

    I lean toward preset, just to get a better idea of efficiency on medium modes (often I.V. lights just publish max & min specs). Then the only possible advantage after the purchasing decision is if the first preset mode is the one I use most often, & that's only if the I.V.'s aren't the selector ring + independent on/off switch style that you can leave on your preferred setting. Otherwise with low to medium modes anyway I.V. might allow one to compensate as the battery drains & just keep dialing up to maintain a more consistent output than preset modes. Guess I don't need it (would make an exception if s.f. fixed the T1A), so my real preference is Preset: single mode.
    Last edited by leon2245; 08-27-2011 at 02:42 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Do you like infinite variable output or preset modes?

    Variable if it's done via magnetic ring.

    If it's done via "ramping" then I'd rather have preset, please.

    Nap.

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