Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
UPDATE March 26, 2012: Crelant has replaced this 7G5 with a new version. Please see my 7G5 V2 review for this updated model.
UPDATE November 27, 2012: A revised model line, the 7G5CS, is now available with an improved user interface and build.
The 7G5 is a high-output "thrower" light from Crelant. How does it compare to the more expensive offerings from other manufacturers? Let us find out …
Common Manufacturer Specifications:
- LED: CREE XM-L U2
- Max output with 2 x 18650 =860 Lumen
- Max output with 3 x 123A =910 Lumen
- High output: 90 minutes 2 x 18650, 65 minutes (3 x CR123A)
- Low output: 12 hours 2 x 18650, 8 hours (3 x CR123A)
- Supports battery sizes: 3 x CR123A, 4 x CR123A, 3 x 16340, 2 x18650, 2 x18500
- High efficiency dual mode DC-DC regulator (PWM / PFM)
- Working voltage is 3.7V to 16V.
- Large and deep reflector, 58mm diameter x 55mm deep, provides outstanding and efficient illumination over long distances exceeding 50 meters.
- Square threads
- Aerospace grade T7075 aluminum alloy Type-III Hard Anodize
- Switch:Tactical forward clicky switch
- Waterproof: Beyond 5 Meters based on IPX-8 standard
- Lens:Toughened ultra clear glass with AR coating
- Weight:315grams(without batteries)
- Length:210mm, Head diameter:63mm, Housing Diameter:25.4mm
- Includes: 1 x Spare rubber boot, 4 x Spare o-ring
- MSRP: ~$78
Packaging is fairly basic. Inside the clamshell plastic, you will find the light, spare o-rings and GITD boot cover switch. The closest thing to a manual is printed on the back of the insert.
From left to right: Redilast 18650, Lumintop S40, Crelant 7G5, JetBeam BC40, Thrunite Catapult V3, Niwalker 750.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Crelant 7G5: Weight: 321.3g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
JetBeam BC40: Weight: 226.3g, Length: 224mm, Width (bezel): 48.5mm
Lumintop S40: Weight: 247.2g, Length: 219mm, Width (bezel): 45.6mm
Niwalker NWK750: Weight: 392.3g, Length: 264mm, Width (bezel): 59.0mm
Sunwayman T40CS: Weight: 296.7g, Length 227, Width (bezel): 63.5mm
Thrunite Catapult V3: Weight: 434.8g, Length: 254mm, Width (bezel) 58.0mm, Width (tailcap) 35.1mm.
The overall size and weight of the 7G5 is reasonable for this class. Given the size of the head, I would expect very good throw.
Build is fairly basic. There is some knurling on the battery tube, but it is not very aggressive. Grip is ok, but the light may be slippery when wet. Anodizing is matte black, with no chips on my sample. The (thankfully minimal) labels are bright white against the black background.
Tailcap screw threads are square-cut, and anodized for tail lock-out.
Light can tailstand, despite the forward clicky switch. This means that the tail switch can be a bit difficult to access (especially if you are wearing gloves).
Note that there are no lanyard attachment holes on the tail (or anywhere on the light), so you are out of luck unless you jury-rig parts from another light (i.e. clip ring or some such).
There is a slightly scalloped bezel ring on the head.
There is a spring on the positive contact plate in the head, so flat-top batteries should work fine (my Redilast cells 2900mAh all worked fine).
Light comes with a removable 1xCR123A length extender tube. Take it out, and you will be able to run the light on 3xCR123A/RCR (or 2x18500). With it in place, you can run 4xCR123A or 2x18650.
The 7G5 has a fairly common interface. Turn the light On/Off by the tailcap forward clicky switch. Press for momentary on, click and release for constant on.
Mode switching is controlled by soft-pressing or rapid Off/On clicking of the tailcap switch. Mode sequence is Hi > Lo > Strobe, in repeating sequence. Light has mode memory, so if you leave it off for more than 2 secs, it remembers the last mode used and returns to it upon activation.
For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at either output level – I presume the light is current-controlled.
There was some high frequency noise detectable on my oscilloscope setup at each level, but this not visually noticeable.
Strobe was measured at a very fast 16 Hz.
The 7G5 has a large head, with a deep and smooth reflector. This should translate into excellent throw.
And now the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on 2x AW protected 18650. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
And now for the outdoor shots. These beamshots were done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground). We are also in early winter here now, so I was lucky to get these in without snow on the ground.
As you can see, the 7G5 has a more focused hotspot than the Thrunite Catapult. Scroll down for some detailed ANSI FL-1 comparison testing.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.
The 7G5 is currently my best 2x18650, XM-L thrower – I get 55K lux @1m (and slightly more on 4xCR123A). Overall output is similarly at the high-end of this class. I don't doubt the U2 output bin rating here.
ANSI FL-1 output values seem slightly over-stated on the Crelant packaging, but beam distance is actually fairly close in my testing.
No surprises here – the 7G5 is well in keeping with other current-controlled lights at these output levels.
Note that the reported Crelant ANSI FL-1 runtime values are definitely over-optimistic. You could maybe get the reported 2x18650 Hi mode runtime on 3100mA 18650 cells, but that's about it. The 3xCR123A Hi and 2x18650 Lo mode runtime values are way off in my testing.
No belt pouch or wrist lanyard included, so you will have to figure out your own carry option. Note there are no lanyard holes on the tailcap.
Strobe is on the main sequence, along with Hi and Lo.
Light lacks a true "Low" mode (more like Hi and Med, compared to most light).
Light is not grippy as some.
The 7G5 is exactly what it a purports to be - a no-frills, high-output "thrower" light. Throw is particular good - at 55K lux @1m, this is the best throwing reflectored light I've tested in the 2x18650-class so far.
Despite the more budget packaging and number of extras, the build of the 7G5 is actually pretty good. You get a removable 1xCR123A-length battery extender tube included (allowing you to drop down to 3xCR123A/RCR or 2x18500, instead of the standard 2x18650, 4xCR123A). The light uses square-cut threads, and seems well put together.
Performance is also quite good for the output levels – output/runtime efficiency is on par with established brand-name current-controlled lights.
That said, the interface is pretty basic (i.e. strobe is on the main sequence) – but at least there is mode memory. The light lacks a typical Lo mode (i.e. the two levels here are more like Med and Hi). And I recommend Crelant re-test the actual performance of the light under controlled conditions for more accurate ANSI FL-1 reporting (i.e. the provided output and runtime numbers are largely inaccurate, although beam distance is reasonable). But no qualms about the actual performance of the light, which again is very good at these levels.
All said, the 7G5 does seem to be an excellent bargain for a max-throw type of high-output XM-L light. You can get more expensive lights with more sophisticated features or extras, but you would be hard pressed to top the beam distance of the 7G5 in this class.
UPDATE March 26, 2012: Crelant has replaced this 7G5 with a new version. Please see my 7G5 V2 review for the currently shipping model.
Crelant 7G5 supplied by Intl-outdoor.com for review.