Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
UPDATE JUNE 14, 2012: This review has been revised with the results of the new aspheric Collimator head for the 7G5V2. Scroll down to the individual sections for updated info. I have also summarized all my Collimator head findings in post #58 of this thread, making it easier for you to see what is new about this head all in one place.
UPDATE November 27, 2012: A revised model line, the 7G5CS, is now available with an improved user interface and build.
Welcome to the new second edition of the 7G5, a high-output thrower light from Crelant.
So, how much has changed from the first version of this light? You might be surprised …
But first, here is new optional Collimator (aspheric) head:
New 7G5 V2 Manufacturer Specifications: (changes from V1 reported specs identified in brackets)
- LED: CREE XM-L U2
- Hi mode brightness: 850 lumens (previously 860 lumens reported on 2x18650 for the V1)
- Low mode brightness: 240 Lumens
- Modes: High-Low-Strobe
- Input voltage: 2.7V - 12V (previously 3.7V to 16V for the V1)
- Power supply, not included: 1x or 2x 18650 Li-ion battery (previously 3xCR123A, 4xCR123A, 3x16340, 2x18650, 2x18500)
- 1*18650 (650 lumens) - 90 minutes (not previously supported for the V1)
- 2*18650 (860 lumens) - 110 minutes (previously 90 mins for the V1)
- Switch: Forward tactical clicky switch
- Material: T6061-T6 Aircraft Aluminum (previously T7075 for the V1)
- Finish: Hard Anodized (type III)
- Stainless steel bezel (previously aluminum for the V1)
- Tactical grip ring (not present on the V1)
- Lanyard ring (not present on the V1)
- Waterproof: IPX-8 rating, beyond 5 Meters
- Length 251mm, Head 62mm, Body 25.4mm
- Weight: 287 grams (without batteries) (previously 315g for the V1)
- Note: The GITD O-rings on the extension tube are replaceable with the included black o-rings.
- Note: the V1 included anodized square-cut threads, not included on the V2
- ncludes extension tube, spare o-rings, lanyard (previously no lanyard on the V1)
- MSRP: ~$92
Ok, so a lot has changed here. Let's go through it all a step at a time …
First point – the printed packaging specs have NOT been updated yet, at least on my sample. The printed specs are no longer correct, please refer to the reported specs cited above (especially in terms of supported cells – 4xCR123A will blow the circuit on the V2). Hopefully these will be corrected on the packaging soon.
Packaging remains fairly basic. Inside the clamshell plastic, you will find the light, spare o-rings and GITD boot cover switch. New on the V2 is a basic wrist lanyard (as the light now comes with a removable lanyard ring).
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2012: Collimator Head
The optional Colimator head comes in its own cardboard box, wrapped in plastic. Scroll down for more pics.
From left to right: 4GREER 3100mAh 18650; Crelant 7G5-V2, 7G5-V1; Niwalker 750; Tiablo A60G; Thrunite Catapult V3, Sunwayman T40CS.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Crelant 7G5-V2: Weight: 282.6g, Length: 251mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
Crelant 7G5-V1: Weight: 321.3g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
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.
Since the V2 now fully supports 1x18650, here are some additional comparisons to that class of light:
Crelant 7G5-V2: Weight: 247.6g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
Tiablo A9 Flood (XM-L U2): Weight: 156.7g, Length 158mm, Width (bezel) 45.1mm
Xeno G42: Weight: 224.3g, Length 161mm, Width (bezel) 46.6mm
4Sevens X7: Weight 146.9g, Length: 151.5mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
Scorpion V2 with Turbo Head: Weight: 188.3g, Length: 171mm, Width: 41.0 (bezel), 37.0mm (tailcap grip ring)
Here's a few shots of the Collimator head, compared to some other well-known aspherics.
From left to right: 18650, Crelant 7G5V2-Collimator, Dereelight DBSV2-Aspheric, Tiablo A9 R2 "Throw King".
UPDATE JUNE 14, 2012: Dimensions of the Collimator head
Whole head: Weight: 255.6g, Length: 79.2mm, Width (bezel): 67.1mm
Aspheric Lens: Weight: 98.8g, Height (center): 24.0mm, Width (base): 66.7mm
I will talk more about the Collimator head internals at the end of the build section of this review.
Stock 7G5 V2 body:
The V2 7G5 appears to be a completely different build. There is really nothing similar to the old model, except for the user interface, emitter and reflector. The light engine "guts" thus seem the same, but in a new shell – note however that the circuit has gone through a voltage range revision (see below discussion below).
The original 7G5 build seemed very basic, somewhat reminiscent of a number of the budget lights - except with a few nice features like anodized square-cut threads and a 1xCR123A-size battery extender (allowing for 3x or 4x CR123A/RCR, and 2x 18500 or 2x 18650). The new model is completely different, with a 1x18650-sized extender (giving you 1x or 2x 18650). That physical change has necessitated a circuit change, to fully support 1x 3.7V Li-ion. As a result, 4xCR123A is no longer supported (i.e., the voltage range has been reduced to ~12V max). More on this later …
This new build seems a lot more robust. The wall thickness seems higher now - but overall weight has decreased. This seems mainly due to a weight reduction in the head, with the V2 head being 42g lighter than the V1. This may indicate reduced heatsinking.
Physically, the aluminum body has apparently changed from T7075 to T6061. These are both "aircraft grade", but I understand that 6061 is somewhat softer than 7075 (and supposedly less prone to break or crack). Given that we aren't likely to be directly subjecting our lights to take-off and landing stress, I don't imagine this really matters much in a flashlight.
The anodizing is a glossy black now. Lettering is a much brighter white, standing out better against the background. There are a series of GITD o-rings along the battery extender tube (presumably to help with grip). These can be replaced with the included black extras supplied.
There is no knurling on the V2 light, but there is a removable rubber grip ring now. I generally like rubber grip rings, but I find this one to be a little too small (i.e. I prefer a wider ring, for more stable finger support).
The V2 can no longer tailstand, but the forward clicky tailcap is much easier to access now. There is a removable metal clip ring, allowing you to use a wrist lanyard now (oddly, there were no attachment points of any kind on the V1).
Sadly, screw threads are no longer square-cut or anodized for tailcap lock-out. Triangular threads seem of good quality, though.
There is now a slightly scalloped stainless steel bezel ring around the head. There is a GITD o-ring below the new bezel. The lens is of improved quality - it is much clearer now, with a definite anti-glare coating. The reflector appears completely unchanged from the earlier 7G5, and should continue to provide excellent throw.
There is still a spring on the positive contact plate in the head, so flat-top batteries should work fine.
Is it just me, or does the overall build look a lot like the Sunwayman T40CS (which in turn looked a lot like the Surefire UB3T Invictus?).
FYI, Tiablo is apparently the owner/manufacturer of all Crelant lights (you'll note the same Canadian source address for both companies in the promotional material).
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2012: Collimator Head
Ok, that's a big aspheric lens up there.
The Collimator head replaces the stock 7G5V2 head/reflector, and screws right on the the base of the head (i.e., the pill/emitter area). As you can see, it is rather large (and a bit ungainly looking), but it fits on solidly. Light may feel a little top heavy in the 1x18650 size shown earlier, but it pretty well balanced in 2x18650 with batteries loaded.
The head features cut-out holes around the circumference, similar to the Tiablo A9 (recall the close relationship between Tiablo and Crelant). But this head feels more solid and sturdy than the A9 aspheric head.
This head uses a similar focusing mechanism to the A9 aspheric - you can unscrew the top half of the head relative to it's base, defocusing the optic. In my case, I found ideal focus was pretty much full tight.
There is a glass lens just below the bezel - I'm not sure why (perhaps to protect the aspheric optic?). It is certainly not going to provide additional waterproofing, given the cut-outs around the circumference.
There's a plastic plug that screws into the unused head when not in use, which is a nice touch.
UPDATE JUNE 14, 2012: Head disassembly
First thing to notice if you unscrew the focusing feature all the way (and open the head up completely), is the back of the aspheric lens is held in place by a metal retaining ring. You will need a very wide set of tweezers to fit into the holes on either side of the ring to unscrew.
Once you do, you aspheric lens pops out the back. As you can see above, there is indeed an o-ring above the lip of the aspheric lens that makes contact with a lip inside the head, to maintain waterproofness of the light. Note that it can be a bit tricky to re-seat this o-ring within the head when tightening the lens back into place, so I don't recommend you don't open it up as a matter of course. If you do, mount the o-ring back into the head first, and then carefully re-tighten the retaining ring with the aspheric lens in place
You can unscrew the bezel ring separately, and the front glass lens and o-ring pop out. Again, I am not sure why this lens is here – it provides no extra water-proofing, since there are cut-outs on the head below this point (and the aspheric has its own o-ring).
The 7G5 V2 has the same interface as the V1 - which is very basic. 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.
Personally I would rather see Strobe "hidden" in some way, and not on the main sequence.
For a more detailed examination and comparison of the build between V1 and V2, please see my video overview:
I have provided a quick video overview of the Collimator head below:
Videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once a video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at either output level – I presume the light is current-controlled.
Strobe was unchanged, measured at a very fast ~16 Hz.
Also as before, there was some high frequency noise detectable on my oscilloscope setup at each level. This not visually noticeable.
Basically, the circuit seems completely unchanged from before (aside from the altered voltage range, that is).
I will start with the stock reflector head, and discuss the optional Colimator head at the end.
Crelan 7G5-V1 on the left, 7G5-V2 on the right.
As before, 7G5 has a large head, with a deep and smooth reflector. This means excellent throw – I would expect the V2 to be unchanged from the V1.
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.
Note: My positioning seems a little off with the V2, which was recessed a little further back from the wall (giving a wider spillbeam width). In real life, the two versions have exactly the same beam characteristics.
The V1 and V2 have virtually identical beams. The only real difference comes from minor focusing variations. Note that as before, you can unscrew the bezel, which may help with fine-tuning the adjustment.
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).
Again, the 7G5 V2 is unchanged from the V1. I'm also added the Tiablo A60G above, so you can see how the latest thrower made under the Tiablo label performs in comparison. Tiablo seems to be the maker for Crelant, but the 7G5 uses a larger reflector than the A60G.
From my original 7G5 V1 review:
As you can see, the 7G5 has a more focused hotspot than the Thrunite Catapult or Olight SR51. Scroll down for full ANSI FL-1 testing results.
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2012: Collimator Head Results
There's not much point in doing white wall beamshots of aspherics at under 1m. So instead, I will focus on 100-yard outdoor shots.
To start to compare beam profiles, here is how the 7G5V2 output differs between 1x18650 and 2x18650 batteries, on both the standard smooth reflector and the new Collimator head:
Here is how the smooth reflector directly compares to the Collimator head (on 2x18650):
To help you see that better, here is a zoomed perspective on the hotspots:
As with all aspherics, the Collimator head for the 7G5 V2 gives you a projection of the emitter die image at a distance, with little side spill. That said, there is always some degree of chromatic aberration with aspherics (i.e. that colorful blue-red fringing around the edges) – this is more noticeable at closer distances, though.
Peak throw has increased with the Collimator head, but not as much as you might have expected. This is due to the relatively large die size of the XM-L emitter. For aspherics to produce very tight throw, you need to start with a very small die. To show you what I mean, below is a comparison to a couple of classic aspheric lights – the Dereelight DBS XR-E R2 EZ900, and the Tiablo A9 XR-E R2 "Throw King":
And again zoomed:
Overall, the 7G5V2 Collimator puts out about the same peak throw as the premium EZ900 XR-E DBS aspheric does. But the 7G5V2 Collimator does so over a wider area.
Although hard to give exact measures, I would estimate that the DBS aspheric illuminates an area ~10ft x 10ft (i.e. ~100 square feet) at this 100-yard distance, and the 7G5V2 Collimator illuminates an area ~14ft x 14ft (i.e. ~200 square feet). So effectively, the 7G5V2 is putting out the same intensity of light, but spread out over twice the surface area.
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 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.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables.
Again, I will start with the standard reflector head, and discuss the Collimator head at the end.
Although my V2 sample has slightly lower output and throw, I don't consider this to be significant. There is bound to be some variability between samples, due to circuit/emitter differences. Exact positioning of the emitter and reflector will also affect throw.
As a reminder, the best way to compare overall throw among lights is by looking at beam distance, not raw lux at any given distance. As you will see, my V2 has ~2.5% less output, and ~6% less throw. This is within normal variation.
Since the V2 can now run on 1x as well as 2x battery sources in the 1x18650 size, let's put it through its paces relative to that class:
The output of the 7G5 V2 on 1x18650 is quite good – I get almost 600 estimated lumens, with over 30K lux@1m throw. That makes it the best throwing reflectored 1x18650 light in my collection at the moment.
Because the 7G5 V2 takes 2x18650, it can also run on 2xRCR or 2CR123A (in theory). But here is where the problem comes in – the nearly 800 initial lumens on Hi is a heavy drain for these low capacity cells.
Note that the new specs for the 7G5 V2 specifically to NOT support 2xRCR or 2xCR123A. But since I know some of you are bound to try it, here is what happens if you do:
I STRONGLY urge you NOT to try 2xCR123A on Hi on the 7G5 V2. My experience of other heavily driven >700 lumen XM-L lights is that this kind of drain is bound to trigger the PTC safety circuits within minutes. This is NOT something you want to do intentionally. In addition to cell (and user) safety, those kinds of cell temperatures can also easily damage circuits.
If you are going to try running 2xRCR on Hi (again, not recommended), you should only consider using good quality IMR cells rated for this current drain. Unfortunately, IMR cells are not protected, so please use caution not to over-discharge them. And again, there are no guarantees the light will be able to handle the heat in the smaller configuration.
Note that the ~300 lumen Lo mode should be quite safe for 2xRCR or 2xCR123A.
As a last word, do not even think about trying 4xCR123A. I tried this on the first V2 I was sent (before I was advised of the revised specs), and blew the circuit within the first few mins of runtime. The V2 no longer supports anything higher than ~12V max.
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2012: Collimator Head Results
Ok, this is going to require some explaining.
Measuring peak intensity/beam distance according to ANSI FL-1 is problematic. The standard requires you to hunt around the hotspot with the light sensor for the point of highest intensity. This was clearly intended for standard reflectors or TIR optics. But aspherics produce a direct projection of the emitter die, which has tiny regions of unusually high intensity that are NOT representational of overall output. So if you just reported those, you would get a misleading impression of actual throw.
What I have done instead is provided two numbers in the tables below – the first refers to the "average" or typical center-beam intensity, the second refers to the absolute max I was able to measure (i.e. presented as Average Center Lux – Max Lux). Overall, the hotspot of the aspheric will more closely match the lower average number.
As expected, the Collimator head throws further than the standard reflector.
But how does it compare to other common aspherics? Below are some tables comparing the reflector and aspheric versions of the 7G5V2, Tiablo A9 variants, and Dereelight DBS XR-E R2 EZ900.
Ok, that's a lot of data – the main take home message is that the 7G5V2 Collimator head throws about the same peak intensity as the DBS XR-E R2 EZ900. But as we saw in the outdoor shots earlier, the 7G5V2 actually lights up about twice the surface area at that level.
I realize that people are very sensitive to minor differences in raw lux @1m numbers for these thrower lights. But as with lightboxes, you can only really compare throw values to other lights tested with the same meter, under common conditions (i.e., calibrations vary, sometimes widely). Up until now, the light meter used for beam intensity/distance measures in all my summary tables has been the budget Cer CT1330B (which is generally believed around here to commonly have lower numbers than some others lux meters). I recently picked up the slightly more expensive budget-model V&A VA8050, which gives me higher lux readings.
Here is a comparison of the 7G5V2 on both lux meters:
As I have no idea which of these lux meters is closer to the "true" value, I have recently ordered a proper NIST-calibrated and certified Extech meter. This should resolve the matter, and I will update this review with new (accurately calibrated) throw measures once it arrives.
UPDATE JUNE 14, 2012: Front Lens Removal
The extra glass lens in the front of the Collimator head is bound to cut down on light transmission, and is not necessary since the aspheric lens has its own o-ring for waterproofness. I have re-tested the throw measures of the Collimator head without it in place:
Don't read in too much into the increased transmission above. It is VERY difficult to get accurate intensity measures from aspheric beams due to the die projection (i.e., intensity is highly variable, with regions of relatively high readings). This is why all my measures in the table are approximate (~) for both average intensity and the peak readings.
To get a better idea of the true effect of the glass, I defocused the aspheric to produce a blurred image, and held the light fairly close to the lux meter's sensor diffuser cover in such a way that the projected hotspot just barely exceeded the diffuser dimensions. This way, I could "even out" the regional imperfections and get a fairly stable reading on the lux meter.
When I did this, I got a fairly consistent ~8% increase in lux readings with the lens removed, on both the Cer and V&A meters. Take it for what it is worth.
Personally, I will be running the light without the extra front lens in place …
No real difference in the 2x18650 performance of the V2 compared to the V1. The 7G5 performance remains quite good for this class.
As with most multi-power lights, the 7G5 V2 appears to be direct-drive-like on Hi on 1x18650, with good efficiency. On Lo, the light is fully regulated, and quite efficient for this class.
Again, I don't recommend you try running the 7G5 V2 on 2xRCR, but here is what you could expect on Hi on IMR cells:
I will NOT be attempting 2xCR123A on Hi, since those drive levels would be bound to trigger the PTC safety circuits. But here is how the light performs on Lo on 2xCR123A:
The V2 no longer supports 4xCR123A, but does fully support 1x18650 now.
Strobe is still on the main sequence, along with Hi and Lo.
As before, the light lacks a true "Low" mode (more like Hi and Med, compared to most lights).
Light can no longer tailstand, but it is easier to access the forward clicky switch.
Light no longer uses square-cut threads, and is no longer anodized for tailcap lockout.
Weight of the head has decreased on the V2, making me wonder about the level of heatsinking on this new version.
There was a very noticeable hum on all levels on my first V2 sample. Hum is a common feature to many lights, but its presence and relative intensity are highly variable and hard to predict (it is believed to be due to inductor whine on the circuit). My second V2 sample was relatively quiet, but hum was still present to some degree.
As before, the reported ANSI FL-1 output specs seem overstated. Output and runtime efficiency are in keeping with other good quality, heavily-driven lights in this class.
The optional Colimator head throws further than the standard reflector head, but has typical chromatic aberrations common to all aspherics (i.e., blue/red fringing).
The original 7G5 V1 was basically a no-frills, high-output thrower. Throw was particularly good – it was the best throwing reflectored XM-L light that I had tested in the 2x18650-class. The new V2 is driven to the same level, and uses the same emitter and reflector, providing comparable output and throw.
That said, a lot has changed in this new version. To start, the light no longer supports 3xCR123A/RCR or 2x18500 in the base configuration, and 2x18650, 4xCR123A in the extended. This new V2 is rated for 1x18650 in the base configuration, and 2x18650 only in the extended. In my view, the light is too heavily driven on Hi to support 2x CR123A or standard ICR-based RCRs, and 4x sources are definitely NOT supported (i.e. 4xCR123A will blow the circuit, as I can verify).
That said, the full support for 1x18650 on the V2 is a definite bonus now. Although output is lower than 2x18650, it is still high enough to make this the best throwing reflectored 1x18650 that I have tested to date.
In terms of the physical build, it feels like the V2 was manufactured by an entirely new factory (except for the circuit and reflector). On the whole, I like the higher quality feel of the new V2 parts. The stainless steel bezel is welcomed, and the lens seems of much higher quality (with excellent anti-glare coating). The tailcap is much easier to access (although can no longer tailstand), and the lanyard ring and wrist lanyard are appreciated additions.
That said, I regret the loss of screw thread anodizing for lock-out (and the reversion to standard triangular-cut threads) on this new build. Moreover, the head has much lower mass now, making me wonder about potentially reduced heatsinking.
What hasn't changed is the circuit performance. As before, you still get very high max drive levels, and overall output/runtime efficiency (on both Lo and Hi) that is on par with well-established, brand-name current-controlled lights. But you still have the fairly basic interface, with a relatively bright Lo mode and strobe on the main sequence (but at least you still mode memory).
Although the price has increased somewhat, the 7G5 V2 remains a good bargain for a max-throw style high-output XM-L light. While you can no longer run 4xCR123A, the ability to run 1x18650 at a reasonable output level is likely a feature that will appeal to many.
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2012: Collimator Head
The optional Collimator (aspheric) head for the 7G5V2 is well made and does the intended job well. Build-wise, I would consider it a step-up from the common Tiablo A9 aspheric head.
In terms of the beam pattern, it is about what you would expect for an aspheric coupled with an XM-L emitter. By that I mean it projects a larger die image than most aspherics coupled to smaller XR-E emitters do. In actual fact, the larger head and optic here are required to produce comparable peak throw to the smaller (and lower output) XR-E aspherics out there.
This might be surprising to some, given that the 7G5V2 has more than 3 times the output of those XR-E lights. But it doesn't throw further because it is working off a much larger emitter die. Instead, it projects that die image/hotspot over a wider area (i.e., I estimate about twice the area of the DBS XR-E R2 EZ900, with comparable intensity).
Check out the 100-yard beamshots earlier in the review – they explain it better than any words will. You can also check out my Tiablo A9 XR-E R2 "Throw King", XP-G R5 "Special Edition" and XM-L U2 "Flood" comparison review for a further examination of the effect of aspherics on different types of emitters.
Crelant 7G5 V2 was supplied by Intl-outdoor.com for review. Collimator head supplied directly by Crelant.