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Thread: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Recently I received a FOURSEVENS "X" AA2 - although FOURSEVENS are in the process of updating the design of their website and product naming/branding which can be seen at the new 'foursevens' website (rather than 4sevens), this light has the original branding and I have been assured that the product will be the same once re-branded.

    The new logo.

    Part of the Quark family, the X series add the XML emitter to this well respected series with a boost in performance and efficiency.


    Initial Impressions:

    The Quark series of lights embody ‘form follows function’. The design is clean, purposeful and crisply executed.

    With the interchangeability of Quark heads/bodies and tail-caps, which includes different battery types, there has been mention of compromise to achieve this. In this incarnation, the 2 x AA or AA2 the head / body / switch size combination has no feel of compromise, in fact feeling well balanced.

    One of the smaller size heads to incorporate as large an emitter as the XML LED, this light still maintains the refined beam quality of the rest of the Quarks with only a few hints of the size of the LED.



    What is in the box:

    There is something incredibly appealing about the FOURSEVENS packaging. The ultra-fine velvety feel of the box is unique and adds to the feeling of exclusiveness and quality even before you get to the contents. It is touches like this that makes a manufacturer stand out.



    The box front is held closed by a magnetic catch and opens like a book to reveal the light itself and information on it.




    The light is held in a plastic carrier, shown here opened up. In this carrier you can find the X AA2 , holster, alkaline batteries, lanyard, spare o-rings, handgrip and instruction manual.




    Looking straight at the lens shows the XML LED squeezed into the standard size Quark head.







    Looking inside:

    Looking down the battery tube you can see the positive contact. Of course the Quark head unscrews easily and the circular gold PCB contact for the battery tube to touch for ‘tightened head’ modes can then be seen.



    The tail-cap spring (standard Quark) is shown here.



    The threads used for the body to head and body to tail-cap are square cut for extra wear resistance.






    Modes and User Interface:

    The "X" AA2 has the standard compliment of Quark Regular modes.

    As standard the tail-cap switch is a reverse clicky (meaning until you have pressed it, heard the click and let go, the light does not come on). Momentary operation is not available with this switch, but you can buy a forward clicky switch to replace the standard one if you like.
    The main interface starts with two main conditions, head-tightened and head-loose.

    With the head tightened you turn on to get Maximum, then tap the switch briefly to get strobe.

    With the head loosened the first mode is Moonlight, then tapping the switch gives Low -> Medium -> High -> SOS -> Beacon.

    At any point you can tighten or loosen the head and swap to the last mode set for that condition since you turned on the light. - So if you turn on head-loose, change to medium, then tighten the head it will change to maximum; loosening the head again takes you back to medium.

    After the light has been off for 3s, the modes return to default of Moonlight and Maximum for head-loose and head-tight conditions.




    Batteries and output:

    The "X" AA2 is a 2 x AA light. However, as the Quark range allow for interchangeability of heads, battery tubes and tail-cap switches meaning the true flexibility is greater than the single product on test.

    In the original configuration, you can use either two alkaline primary cells or two Ni-Mh cells. With output regulation, it doesn’t matter which cell type you prefer.

    Maximum output is quoted as 280lm and is clearly brighter than non-"X" Quarks and a worthy upgrade.




    In The Lab

    In an attempt to quantify the actual beam profile I developed the following test. There are probably many flaws in my method, but it is simple and easy to carry out and seems to provide a good enough comparison.

    The method used was to put the light on the edge of a table 1m from a wall, with a tape measure on the wall. The zero of the scale is placed in the centre of the hotspot and a lux meter is then positioned at points along the scale, with the measurements recorded. Beam shots are often taken with the light shining on a flat white wall, so this method is simply measuring the actual intensity across the beam on a flat surface, not the spherical light emission.

    The results are then plotted on a graph.

    For the best throw you want to see a sharp peak with less of the distracting spill. For the best flood light the trace should be pretty flat.


    The "X" AA2‘s beam profile is shown with a typical P60 host with R2 emitter. The R2 is well known for throw, but very lacking in spill. The supplied Alkaline batteries were used for this test.



    The R2 has more throw as it has a narrow, tall profile, however the "X" AA2 has a much broader softer edged profile absolutely in keeping with FOURSEVENS statement "The XM-L puts out even more lumens in a wider area, reducing the tunnel-vision effect from a concentrated hotspot."



    Taking this a little further, I calculated an approximate factor to apply to the lux measurements, as each measurement gets further from the centre of the beam, it corresponds to a larger area onto which the light is falling. It seems to me that this should also be taken into consideration, so I applied these area corrections and came up with this odd looking graph.

    The key quantity here is the area under the graph line. This should correspond to the total light output.




    This shows clearly how much more light is spread out across the "X" AA2‘s beam and how much light is spread into the wider spill area.



    The beam

    The beam does show some evidence of the large size of the XML emitter. The spill is not perfectly circular, in fact having a slightly square shape. This is particularly evident with the light very close to a wall, the effect dropping off with distance, and if you rotate the light about it axis you can see the shape of the spill light rotating.

    Previous Quarks with the smaller R5 emitter, have a very diffuse hotspot which merges smootly with the spill. The "X" AA2 has a slightly more defined hotspot being the result of the characteristics of, and increased output of, the XML.

    Initially when I noticed this I was concerned the beautifully smooth beam profile of the Quarks was no longer present, however this is not the case. The central hotspot is wide and evenly lit. The transition from the hotspot to spill is smooth and the spill is also bright. The resulting beam has no harsh changes in brightness, instead having a smooth spread of light.







    Using the "X" AA2


    There are a variety of carry options you can use. The removable clip, holster, lanyard and HandGrip.

    The clip is strong and presses against one of the flats of the body (preventing the knurling shredding your pockets). Easily removed, the locking ring is then replaced and the only sign anything is missing is a small rectangular hole where the clip emerged. My preference is to remove clips as I don’t like how they feel in the hand when holding the light.

    The holster consists of a rigid fabric covered material joined with elasticated sides. On this example the elastic was an ideal tension, holding the light securely but without rubbing against the anodising too much. On the rear of the holster there is a smallish fixed belt loop and a D-loop for the lanyard.

    The lanyard has a double purpose. It has a small split ring which can be fixed to the tail-cap giving a fixing point on the light itself for the lanyard clip, or it can be clipped to the D-loop on the holster so this can be worn round your neck. Two plastic spring loaded adjusters allow you to set the lanyard to hold firmly onto a wrist or be big enough to go over your head.

    Lastly, there is the Quark HandGrip accessory which is a rubber strap that slips over both ends of the light. With the light held in your hand the strap runs over the back of your hand and allows you to open up your hand without dropping the light, giving you an extra secure grip on the light.



    Light in the hand and having a beam that is a pleasure to use, this Quark has been getting a lot of use. The powerful output, thanks to the XML, means it is still good for outdoor use as well as indoors, and at closer distances the smooth beam profile makes it easy on the eyes preventing tunnel vision effects that lights with small bright hotspots cause.

    There is no need to constantly move the light around to scan an area, instead the smooth beam allows you to scan the area with your eyes, only needing to move the beam to check another area.

    The slightly square shape of the spill light mentioned previously is not noticed at all in normal use.



    On Maximum, the light starts to get warm, but not excessively so and the size of the light allows the heat to be dissipated easily.

    Moonlight mode is great for night time forays and the spread of light allowing you to move about easily and stealthily. The only downside is the reverse clicky requires an audible click, and there is some pre-flash present on the example I have. (a brief burst of brighter light before the moonlight mode comes on)

    The remaining mixture of modes are there is you want them, but not obtrusively so, and can be completely avoided if you wish.

    The "X" series upgrade to the Quark range is a significant step up in output. Beam quality is excellent and the overall package incredibly versatile as a general purpose light. This charming Quark will be getting a lot of use.


    Review sample provided by FOURSEVENS.





    I’ll update post 2 of this thread once I have some more comments to add....
    Last edited by subwoofer; 02-29-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    reserved...
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  3. #3
    Unenlightened Dface's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Thanks for the review!

    My friend also bought this flashlight is very happy. Following this review, I thought, too. If you buy, then wait a little review!

  4. #4

    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    sorry, i didnt find this [strike]review[/strike]product presentation any helpful or useful

    "FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review"?? -- it's more like "FOURSEVENS X AAČ "Review"" i would say.

    no offesne

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    Last edited by shelm; 03-03-2012 at 04:00 PM. Reason: rude shelm
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  5. #5
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quote Originally Posted by shelm View Post
    no white wall beamshots?
    no white wall comparative beamshots (so that a conclusion of comparative tints could be drawn)?

    how is the tint of your review sample?
    how is the tint on all other modes of your review sample?

    the tint of the Quark X is the most apparent "aspect" of the purchase when one flashes the light. and the large hotspot size (which you did mention)

    i would welcome more critical and subjective "reviews" instead of simple "presentation" of a flashlight. if a reader wants to know about the quality (e.g. tint, or threads, or built quality) of a reviewed light, the reviewer should include qualitative or quantitative comparisons to reference model lights. then i would call it a helpful review. and then i am thankful.
    There are many styles of review and if you do not appreciate my style, don't read my reviews. I welcome comments and feedback and am keen to improve my reviews, but your post is unnecessarily hostile and demanding. Have you any idea how much work goes into a review?

    There are some very technical reviewers who have a vast array of test equipment and invest even more time than I do. The result of all the detailed testing can sometimes read like a science report; interesting but often a bit dry. My reviewing style is an attempt to present the pertinent user experience, information and observations.

    There is no baseline comparison for tint. Tint can often be subjective and photographs misleading as white balance is variable. Even sunlight is not a consistent baseline for tint. Personally I find the tint of this light to have a slightly warm appearance. This may be due to having some green in the light, but then again maybe it isn't. I can't do a frequency analysis of the light spectrum of the Quark, so have refrained from comment rather than mislead.

    If everyone reviewed lights in the same way, it would be boring. White wall shots are not currently part of my reviews, mainly due to the fact that I don't have a single white wall to use for this. Any wall I used would then be misleading as it would not be pure white. My dedication to CPF is not yet enough for me to repaint my house to have a white wall to use for your request.

    You speak as a consumer, and as if you have a right to demand better reviews (or at least ones that suit your taste). Remember that I am a member of CPF as well, and spend my own personal unpaid time to plan, write, photograph, test and report on a product I have tested in the form of a review that I hope is informative and interesting. If you don't like it then I am happy to give you your money back......oh right, you never paid anything in the first place.
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  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quality stuff, I dig the beam profile graphs, keep that up.

    And if that's the same reflector as the standard AA2, then why not a Mini AA X..

  7. #7
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    Default

    heh man nice work. if you could add one or two other flasglight model on the beam screenshot it would be great. thanks again

    sent from my mob. Excuse misspelling. thanks!

  8. #8

    Default

    subwoofer,

    Thank you for providing this review. It gives me an idea of how I might like this light as part of my carry rotation.

    I already know what the XM-L provides in terms of beam profile and I have quark lights so I have experience of the brand. It is nice to get general impressions of the whole package.

    I may still have to pick this up. It seems like a good 2xAA back up light to have to support the AA edc primary lights.

    Sent from my smart phone using Tapatalk

  9. #9

    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Nice and informative review with great pictures.
    Thank You for Your time doing it and give us more reviews please

  10. #10
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Thanks for the review Subwoofer. I have been toying with the idea of adding one more light to my collection. I like AA and AA2 lights and this might just be my next purchase.

    Wonder if the X head would work with a Quark regular single AA using a 14500?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quote Originally Posted by staghater View Post
    Nice and informative review with great pictures.
    Thank You for Your time doing it and give us more reviews please
    Thanks :-) and more are planned. I have the Maelstrom X7 on the test bench right now and a few more lined up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bozzlite View Post
    Thanks for the review Subwoofer. I have been toying with the idea of adding one more light to my collection. I like AA and AA2 lights and this might just be my next purchase.

    Wonder if the X head would work with a Quark regular single AA using a 14500?
    The head specifications are (0.9V~4.2V total) so I would imagine this configuration would work. I have an AA Regular (running on 14500), and if I get time I'll put the 'X' head on it to try. Theoretically should be fine though.
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic* RI Chevy's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Nice job with the review. I like the different style. It is a little refreshing. Nice beam shots, and graphs. Thanks for taking your time to do this for us.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quote Originally Posted by RI Chevy View Post
    Nice job with the review. I like the different style. It is a little refreshing. Nice beam shots, and graphs. Thanks for taking your time to do this for us.
    Thanks for this comment and you have hit on the exact aim of my style of reviewing.

    There are many styles, some very technical, and specialists of providing beam shots for comparisons. I cannot compete with these, and personally find them slightly cold and lacking in some real use feedback. For each review I live, breath and 'own' the light for at least a couple of weeks and attempt to pass that experience on in my reviews along with relevant observations. Hopefully this adds another dimension to the review content on CPF.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    subwoofer - thanks for the review mate!

    I've read several of your reviews over the past few days, and have found them very informative and helpful.

    Don't let those too lazy or unskilled to write their own reviews get ya down.

    Cheers

  15. #15

    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Good stuff. Keep it up. Many of us do actually appreciate the time and effort you ( and others ) put in.
    Don't let one fools lack of perspective stop you from sharing yours.

  16. #16
    Enlightened trevordurden's Avatar
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    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    There is no baseline comparison for tint. Tint can often be subjective and photographs misleading as white balance is variable. Even sunlight is not a consistent baseline for tint. Personally I find the tint of this light to have a slightly warm appearance. This may be due to having some green in the light, but then again maybe it isn't. I can't do a frequency analysis of the light spectrum of the Quark, so have refrained from comment rather than mislead.
    While tint colour is important to me too, the only way to see it is if can turn on the light and see it in person.

    In order for tint colour to be accurate, not only does the camera white balance have to be set perfectly (which is impossible), but the computer monitor or printer has to be calibrated properly (which I only know of photographers and video editors who do).

  17. #17

    Default Re: FOURSEVENS "X" AAČ Review

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    My dedication to CPF is not yet enough for me to repaint my house to have a white wall to use......."...


    ~ Chance
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