A new member of the Niteye High-end series, the EYE10 is an EDC light capable of real ‘pocket-rocket’ performance.
On test is a pre-release sample. It is the final version, but the retail packaging has not been finalised.
Well… it looks quite familiar, despite being a new Niteye model. I’m told by Niteye that the design for this and a version sold by another manufacturer was created by one designer. Both Niteye and the other manufacturer have the rights to make this design, and do so independently.
Everything about the EYE10 is finished to a very high level of quality. From the stainless steel bezel, coated optics, cooling fins, titanium pocket clip and magnetic control ring, there appear to be no weak points in its execution.
Design wise, the pocket clip extends over the join between head and battery tube, so unless you are careful to slightly lift the clip when changing battery, you will end up marking the head. However to have usable pocket clip this design feature is necessary.
The infinitely adjustable magnetic control ring has strong ball/detent clicks as you turn it, so although you can stop between clicks, in normal use you wouldn’t, as the ring naturally goes from click-stop to click-stop.
Small, well made, bright and with completely adjustable output, the EYE10 make a good first impression.
What is in the box:
Being a Pre-release sample, there was no packaging.
EYE10 - as supplied with Allen key and spare o-ring.
Taking a closer look and looking inside:
The EYE10 is a single CR123 light, shown here with an AW RCR123 cell
Looking down onto the pocket clip which is held on with two Allen bolts that the supplier Allen key will remove if you want to.
The tail end has a lanyard hole post made of stainless steel set into the tail. Although it protrudes a small amount this does not prevent tailstanding.
The EYE10’s XM-L LED
To better show the cooling fins I took this silhouette photo.
With the head removed you can see the contacts and the small Allen bolt used to lock the head components in place.
The threads are trapezoid and fully anodised.
Looking down into the battery tube shows the negative contact spring.
For a CR123 size cell (shown here with an AW RCR123) the fit of the cell is loose. This is because the tube is designed to accommodate a 18350 cell. I don’t have one to test the fit, but there seems to be space.
Switching the EYE10 onto a low setting and looking straight into the lens shows the square shape of the LED reflected in the OP reflector. This is a typical feature of small lights with the large XM-L LED and has not ill effects on the beam quality.
The stainless steel bezel has a very neatly engraved/etched serial number.
The model is printed onto the side.
Modes and User Interface:
The magnetic control ring gives a very simple user interface. The ring has a strong ball/detent series of clicks throughout its range of movement which hold the position firmly once selected.
From the off position, with the EYE10 facing forwards, turn the control ring clockwise. After a few clicks, the light will come on in its lowest output, and as you turn the ring further clockwise the output ramps up all the way to maximum.
Watching as the light level increases, the control ring does give a smooth rise in output. Theoretically you could select almost any level, but the click-stops of the ring mean it will naturally stop at certain levels.
The EYE10 has two hidden modes, Strobe and SOS, both fully dimmable. To access these you take the EYE10 to maximum output and then quickly dim, then turn to max, then dim again and back to max to access Strobe, and if you do three of the dim-max repetitions you enter SOS mode.
Once you have activated the Strobe or SOS, the control ring will be at the maximum position and therefore maximum output. At this point you can reduce the output level of either mode by turning the control ring anti-clockwise.
Turning the EYE10 off cancels the hidden modes and reverts it to constant output.
Batteries and output:
The EYE10 manual states CR123 as the only supported battery type. I queried this with Niteye, who said that RCR123 can be used with caution as this raises the output to far more than the heatsinking is designed to cope with. As long as maximum is not used for longer than 5 minutes, RCR123 can be used, but has the danger of overheating reducing LED lifespan.
Using a calibrated integrating sphere I measured the output with three different types of cell.
Using the specified CR123, output was measured at 262lm, pretty much spot on the specified 260lm maximum output.
Then, it got interesting….
Using an AW protected RCR123 with ICR chemistry, the EYE10 output 563lm. An impressive boost.
Then I loaded an AW RCR123 with IMR chemistry. IMRs have the lowest internal resistance of li-ions and have the ability to deliver very high current. On the IMR, the EYE10 output 662lm! Yes, you read right, 662lm. At this output level the EYE10 gets warm within 30s and hot after a minute or so. The heatsinking is good, but the entire light then gets hot after a couple of minutes.
Of course as the EYE10 has completely variable output, even when using an IMR cell, you can simply turn it down a bit. You don’t HAVE to use maximum output all the time as tempting as it is.
On IMR, the EYE10 is a real ‘pocket-rocket’!
Between CR123 and RCR123, apart from the supercharging effect of the RCR123, I did notice that the absolutely lowest level would come on normally with the CR123, but with the RCR123, it would come on a little brighter and you need to then turn the control ring back a click to get the lowest level. A minor consequence of the massive boost in maximum output.
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.
Here I have compared the EYE10 to my reference Cree R2 profile. The EYE10 has a wide and diffuse hotspot and a floody beam perfect for everyday use.
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.
As well as the reference Cree R2, I’ve included the Fenix TK41 for comparison here. The TK41 is well known for its high output level, and the EYE10 on IMR, shows how well it compares to the TK41 in total output. The TK41 with its powerful throw has a stronger central peak, but the EYE10 has more light around the hotspot.
The beam of the EYE10
As shown by the previous beam profile graphs, the EYE10 has an excellent general purpose beam with diffuse hotspot.
The first beamshot is exposed to give an impression of the beam’s brightness to the naked eye.
This second photo has the exposure reduced to show the shape/size of the hotspot and how it compares to the spill area.
Using the EYE10
Unlike small twisty EDC lights, which are almost counter-intuitive as it feels as if you are turning the head the wrong way to turn them on, the EYE10 has the control ring set to turn clockwise to turn it on and up. This feels very natural to a right hander holding the EYE10 in their right hand, possibly not so good for a left hander.
The first few clicks as you rotate the control ring do not give any output and on the third or fourth click the light comes on in the lowest output. Adjusting to the required output level is just a few more clicks away.
The texturing of the control ring and body give plenty of grip without any sharp edges and the EYE10 is a good size to hold.
The pocket clip has perfectly finished edges that have been rounded so will not cut into your pocket.
I have accidentally tested out the resilience of the stainless bezel, by dropping the EYE10 from about 1m high onto a stone floor. The floor now has a chip in it and the EYE10’s bezel a small mark. The EYE10 came out on top in that clash.
Fit, finish and performance of the little light are all very good and it is a pleasure to use.
The Niteye EYE10 information
Test sample provided for review by Niteye.
I’ll update post 2 of this thread once I have some more comments to add....