Welcome to the Part II of my 100-yard outdoor beamshot round-up thread for 2011 (September, 2011).
This thread focuses on recent lights I’ve reviewed. Please see the earlier 2011 Part I (June, 2011) thread and my original 2010 outdoor beamshot thread for earlier sets of comparisons.
How to interpret these images:
External beamshots are tricky to do well. The shots will never match what you see, due to limitations of the camera relative to your eye (e.g. lower dynamic range, limited settings, etc.). There are also numerous compensations in you brain/visual system that invalidate direct comparisons (e.g. pupil responses, dynamic white balancing, etc.). When you throw in varying natural lighting conditions (e.g. moonshine, clouds reflecting ambient light, wind, fog, etc.), plus all the 3D topographical landscape features that can confound a single light source, you get quite a lot to deal with!
For these reasons, I have limited myself to a simple set of outdoor beamshots, all taken at the same time, in the best conditions I could find (i.e. clear night, little wind, foliage fully extended, etc.). As before, I am using the same closed and deserted service road for these shots. Here is an aerial view taken from Google maps:
As you can see, there is a straight line from my position (pictogram) along the road, to a copse of tree located 100 yards away. There is a dead birch tree right at the red arrow-head that is a convenient marker for the photos.
I’ve also highlighted a point 30 yards from my position (blue arrow). The reason for this is shown on the side schematic for this area:
As this road goes along a ravine, and there is a significant elevation drop beginning about 30 yards in. The road makes a right turn as it winds down the ravine. Here is a control shot in daylight to show you what I mean:
This shot is taken at eye level, and I have centered the camera on the copse of trees at 100 yards (specifically, right in the middle of the dead birch tree – red arrow). The blue arrow indicates the point at 30 yards beyond which the road "falls out of view" as it dips down.
For all night-time flashlight pictures, I have angled the light directly above the camera (roughly eye level), focused on the center of that dead birch tree. Because of the positioning, this means that a good amount of the hotspot's corona should light up the road up to that ~30 yard mark. You will thus be able to see not only the center beam throw at 100 yards, but the corona and wider spillbeam in the foreground just in front of the camera.
Although you can't see them in the daylight shot, there are a series of communication towers located in a clearing ~650 yards away. Although I didn't realize it when first scouting this location, the red aerial warning lights on these towers will show up as distant red dots in the background of the night time shots. There's also a photo-reflective sign along the bottom portion of the road that you will notice in the shots (left-over from when the road was in use, warning of the steep curve).
Unless otherwise indicated, all lights in this round-up were run on Max, on the highest rechargeable battery option the light would take. The camera settings are optimized to show off the hotspots - 5 sec exposure, f2.7, ISO 80, automatic white balance (to minimize tint differences, which can be distracting).
PLEASE NOTE: the pics typically look considerably under-exposed relative to what I subjectively saw during shooting! Most of the lights could easily light up 100 yards, but it may not look that way in the pics. This is just the difficulty of finding a good exposure that shows you everything - it doesn't match what the eye sees.
You also need to realize that your monitor and graphics card setup may look very different from mine - I know from experience that this can vary widely in terms of brightness and contrast. Again, the goal is only to provide relative throw comparison, not absolute representations of what I saw.
HOW TO BEST COMPARE THE IMAGES:
All images are reduced to 50% for this page – but each image is a link to a higher resolution scan. The best way to directly compare the lights is to open them in separate tabs. If this doesn't happen automatically when you click on them, right-click on an image, and choose "Open Link in a New Tab". Then repeat this process for a second light, and so on. This way, you will then be able to switch between your browser's tabs to see the matching higher resolution images taken at exactly the same position (i.e. the images should look stationary, with only the flashlight lighting conditions changing).
And now for the main show ...
Please see my master review list at flashlightreviews.ca for links to individual reviews of each of the lights listed above.
A final word:
As with all beamshot comparisons, simple pics can be misleading. But this should give you a rough idea of relative beam pattern and throw among these lights.
As before, I will be posting animated GIFs of the full resolution pics in some of my recent reviews, to show the most relevant comparisons.