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Thread: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I just wanted to know why these fairly expensive little flashlights have a lot of followers, that love this brand.

    Are they just well designed or are they as strong as a tank.

    Is it the Interface?

    They are all small in comparison to where the other major brands are heading and that is bigger, more lumens and more throw.

    None of the HDS models seem to go over 200 lumens.

    Is this purely an EDC oriented Company?

    What is the deal with HDS flashlights?
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    we get this question a lot in here and you I myself asked that question and never got to understand what it means to have this light until I bought my first rotary.
    Out of the top of my mind
    1-Indestructible, Literally it can't be destroyed by usual usage.
    2-Has great run times which answers your Lumens question. Its only capable of 200 max because the concern is to have the light run as much as possible with a decent amount of light.
    3-Potted electronics which usually means that it would be one of the rare lights that would work in case of an EMP pulse hit . Off course it can also mean that you can use regular or rechargeable batteries in it as well.
    4-It has one of the finest and most user friendly UI and form factors in the market.

    I so regret trading my Rotary and not I have a 170E on the way and have asked for a notification as soon as the rotaries are back in stock

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by jalal20 View Post
    we get this question a lot in here and you I myself asked that question and never got to understand what it means to have this light until I bought my first rotary.
    Out of the top of my mind
    1-Indestructible, Literally it can't be destroyed by usual usage.
    2-Has great run times which answers your Lumens question. Its only capable of 200 max because the concern is to have the light run as much as possible with a decent amount of light.
    3-Potted electronics which usually means that it would be one of the rare lights that would work in case of an EMP pulse hit . Off course it can also mean that you can use regular or rechargeable batteries in it as well.
    4-It has one of the finest and most user friendly UI and form factors in the market.

    I so regret trading my Rotary and not I have a 170E on the way and have asked for a notification as soon as the rotaries are back in stock
    You sound like you are well and truly hooked on HDS flashlights.

    Do you keep other bigger lights or throwers as well?

    And do you just keep the HDS as your EDC?
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I am just a humble flashaholic , I currently have a haiku and a Maelstrom X10. I sold most of my lights since I wasn't using them, like my Mule and Makai. Also my Macs XML 18650 and Macs Ti XML and Macs Al SST50 among others that just turned into shelf queens. Currently I have a Ti+, HDS 170, TM11 and a TCR1 on route to me. The TCR1 should be shipped any time today and the others should arrive this week. Out of all of those my Mcgizmo and HDS are my absolute favorite. I sold my S18 last week because it was too big for my use and I preferred the X10 which to my eyes is pretty similar on medium to long range.

    EDIT: Oh and I think that I won't be letting my Haiku loose its EDC status

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    You sound like you are well and truly hooked on HDS flashlights.

    Do you keep other bigger lights or throwers as well?

    And do you just keep the HDS as your EDC?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by jalal20 View Post
    I am just a humble flashaholic , I currently have a haiku and a Maelstrom X10. I sold most of my lights since I wasn't using them, like my Mule and Makai. Also my Macs XML 18650 and Macs Ti XML and Macs Al SST50 among others that just turned into shelf queens. Currently I have a Ti+, HDS 170, TM11 and a TCR1 on route to me. The TCR1 should be shipped any time today and the others should arrive this week. Out of all of those my Mcgizmo and HDS are my absolute favorite. I sold my S18 last week because it was too big for my use and I preferred the X10 which to my eyes is pretty similar on medium to long range.

    EDIT: Oh and I think that I won't be letting my Haiku loose its EDC status

    I was just reading up on HDS systems stuff on their homepage.

    There are lights named rotary that seem to still have a single button interface.

    What is going on here?
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Yeah the rotary has a single button but its tailcap rotates in change the levels and you can also preset levels using the clicky, its like having a clicky and a rotary
    check this video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiUwj6l1SCo


    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    I was just reading up on HDS systems stuff on their homepage.

    There are lights named rotary that seem to still have a single button interface.

    What is going on here?

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I think I got it wrong about the interface.

    Do you prefer the rotary control ring or the clickie type interface?
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    The rotary is very nice but the clicky is not too shabby also. it depends on personal preferences but infinitely brightness control lights are very popular these days. I have to of them on the way

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    I think I got it wrong about the interface.

    Do you prefer the rotary control ring or the clickie type interface?

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    The Rotary control ring seems to have been taken off the list of products now.

    Were there some problems with it?

    They all use a Clickie interface by the look of it.
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    The Rotary control ring seems to have been taken off the list of products now.

    Were there some problems with it?

    They all use a Clickie interface by the look of it.
    What do u mean rotary control ring?
    They all have the same design but the bottom of the rotatry's battery compartment is adjustable and its not distinguishable in looks unless you use them. There is a ring but its only for holding the light and nothing more


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by jalal20 View Post
    What do u mean rotary control ring?
    They all have the same design but the bottom of the rotatry's battery compartment is adjustable and its not distinguishable in looks unless you use them. There is a ring but its only for holding the light and nothing more


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I can now understand the working interface after reading the HDS material at the HDS website.

    Do you like the rotary brightness level control or the clickie only?

    It still does not look like enough light to do normal activities to me.

    I carry an ITP A3 EOS Upgraded (3 level) pocket light 1 x AAA and it puts out 96 lumens.

    Doubling that I can't see how it would be useful for military use especially.
    Last edited by Oztorchfreak; 04-17-2012 at 08:13 AM.
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  12. #12

    Default

    Both

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    I can now understand the working interface after reading the HDS material at the HDS website.

    Do you like the rotary brightness level control or the clickie only?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    Are they just well designed or are they as strong as a tank.

    Is it the Interface?
    Yes.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    It still does not look like enough light to do normal activities to me.
    What kind of "normal activities" are you talking about? For everyday tasks, 40-lumens is generally more than sufficient, and more often than not you can do the job with less. Even a 100 lumen light is plenty to illuminate my entire 150x50 foot backyard. Unless you have a specialized task, 200 lumens is pretty much the practical maximum for most people, and even that will be way too bright a majority of the time.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by the.Mtn.Man View Post
    What kind of "normal activities" are you talking about? For everyday tasks, 40-lumens is generally more than sufficient, and more often than not you can do the job with less. Even a 100 lumen light is plenty to illuminate my entire 150x50 foot backyard. Unless you have a specialized task, 200 lumens is pretty much the practical maximum for most people, and even that will be way too bright a majority of the time.
    I will try my Maglite XL200 in the back yard tonight and see what I can see with it.

    It is approximately 200 lumens.

    Why then do people want more and more throw and lumens?

    Is it a status thing to be on top of the big guns?
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

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    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    Default

    Punch in "why do you guys like HDS so much?" in the Google bar at the top. There's a huge thread on this that has been going on awhile. You'll get some good info there and maybe this thread can be merged with it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I admit I don't own a current HDS light - I've owned a variety of Henry involved lights over the years - an Arc4+, and HDS B42 and U60, Novatac 85P and 120P (US made when Henry was still involved in the joint venture) and liked them all. I haven't gotten a current model because my modded Novatac 120P (K2 TFFC) is still such a great light I'm having trouble justifying the upgrade.

    One thing I'll add is that, pretty much from the get go, one of the defining principles of the various lineage of Henry inspired lights is that you only use as much light as it necessary for the task at hand. The focus has never been on total output at the expense of efficiency. Now the UI is the real heart of all of them and it still is my favorite UI of all time. But the mimimum light necessary principle has guided much of the design elements as well.

    I admit I like a flamethrower as much as the next guy but even back with my B42 and Arc4+ I found I rarely used high even at those modest lumens in an EDC light. My Novatac 120P on high is over 200 and I use level 1 and level 6 for 90% of my tasks and level 12 for 8%, level 21 2% if that. Knowing what I know now I might have just modded my 85P and been done with it as level 20 would have been plenty on high.

    But all of this is EDC discussion - a light I have with me all the time. I have other lights for throw or higher output situations when needed.

    As another aside, however, the two critiques I've had of the Arc/HDS/Novatac/Ra-HDS series of lights is that with the exception of the Arc4 they are resoundingly ugly lights - not a critical element but Henry definitely takes "function over form" to one end of the spectrum. The other is their size, which even in the more modest original HDS/Novatac size package pushed the envelope for pocket carry - and the current lights are headed somewhat in the wrong direction on that count for me (although the size does contribute to their sturdiness) but not enough to dissuage me from eventually picking up a rotary - mostly because I'm intrigued by that addition to the interface.
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  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbp View Post
    Punch in "why do you guys like HDS so much?" in the Google bar at the top. There's a huge thread on this that has been going on awhile. You'll get some good info there and maybe this thread can be merged with it.
    I typed what you said about HDS into Google on CPF and there are many threads on this topic.

    And from what I read Henry has been in business for some 28 years, so he must be doing something right.
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    Flashaholic* Oztorchfreak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    To Gatsby,

    Well said mate.

    He must have his finger on the pulse and listen to what the needs of his customers are.

    I had not taken much interest before in HDS because of the low lumen output mainly and the high prices for an EDC.


    Cheers
    ONCE YOU START COLLECTING LIGHTS THERE IS NO END IN SIGHT.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Henry also has some great reading material on his website.

    His products are a reflection of his knowledge and commitment to quality.

  21. #21

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    Why then do people want more and more throw and lumens?

    Is it a status thing to be on top of the big guns?
    Pretty much. A big number on the box sells even though a light with a more modest output would be more generally practical. My HDS Rotary, for instance, rarely goes over the 25 lumen mark.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    Why then do people want more and more throw and lumens?

    Is it a status thing to be on top of the big guns?
    Buy for your 95% use case, and squint for the other 5%. Unless you want to pay 20 times too much

    About once a year you'll want to see further, or get more light in a spill, than your (real) ideal EDC [Considering cost as a parameter]. Getting that once-a-year use built into your EDC will double or triple its cost, roughly speaking. Having an HDS-style light with the reliability and interface AND the ability to pump screaming lumens... or having a big clunky super-throw torch with a diffuser on so that it's useful most days, and you pop it off to see further. You're paying in some way - dollars, size, features, reliability, and so on.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    A Porsche can't carry many passengers and its expensive for its size, too.

    HDS lights are incredibly well built and have exceptionally versatile electronics. Though they are more expensive than other options that put out more lumens, I feel that an HDS is actually worth the $100-200, whereas other companies (I will not name names) do not always live up to their $50-60.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* LightWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    The Clicky 120 has an Orsam Golden Dragon and is rated 0.3 lumens, runtime: 128 ANSI hours and the 200 Rotary with XPG LED has the same rating. 4Sevens CR123 light with XPG LED is rated 0.2 lumens for 15 days, so if efficacy is important then HDS may not be the better choice.
    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Jesus Christ - John 12:46

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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oztorchfreak View Post
    I just wanted to know why these fairly expensive little flashlights have a lot of followers, that love this brand.

    What is the deal with HDS flashlights?
    For their intended purpose, EDC, they are as near to absolute perfection as any physical object can be. Not "pretty good except...", no - perfection. Price follows from that.

  26. #26
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    Let's also recall the excellent feature-rich interface that offers so much functionality with just a single button (or twisty). The lock-out, battery detection, ramping, and adjustable quad outputs are very big draws for me. I have a rotary however I prefer the simplicity of the clicky.

    Mike

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    Flashaholic* CarpentryHero's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I buy HDS lights because there bombproof, programable to how I want them. I love the low low modes, and the beam quality.
    I own lots of other lights; Surefire,McGismo, Zebralight, Sunwayman, Quark, Fenix, Solarforce, Pelican etc
    But the HDS is the best allrounder and one of the sturdiest, so that's why it made it into my collection for Every Day Carry.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I run my HDS B42 with a Seoul P4 High CRI emitter on the lowest output ( ~1 lumen) and on the highest output (~80 lumens) at most a few minutes at a time. I run it on medium (~20 lumens) and medium low (~5 lumens) sometimes for hours at a time. If you're concerned about cell life, understanding the efficiency at the levels most used is the heart of the matter. I did a simple runtime test and got between 11.5 and 12 hours of constant running before stepdown using one Surefire 123. That's 230 lumen-hours. This is about 20% less than a Quark Regular 123 which is currently advertised at 22 lumens for 13 hours (286 lumen-hours). This light uses a much newer emitter that's also more efficient due to the cool white tint. My assessment is that in my most used output range the HDS circuit is quite efficient.
    Last edited by mbw_151; 04-17-2012 at 03:14 PM.
    Looking for something, use a handheld. Actually doing something, you need a headlamp.

  29. #29

    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    I don't personally own an HDS, but I can see why people appreciate them: Super dependable, good interface and ergonomics, long run times. If you want your EDC to be absolutely reliable then an HDS is perhaps the ideal EDC.

    HDS aren't for everyone though. They're expensive. And quite large and heavy compared to other lights that use the same cell size. And their max output is quite low. If what you want from your EDC is a tiny pocket rocket with the brightest possible light in the smallest practical package then HDS is not for you. You'd be better off buying a Sunwayman or Jetbeam, which offer over twice the lumens in a smaller lighter package.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* John_Galt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes HDS lights so good? Low lumens & quite expensive for their size.

    HDS lights are, IMO the best, period. Wonderfully robust, customizeable, efficient.

    That being said, Henry opts for efficiency over output. Another point: Henry's stated outputs are near-constant for the stated runtimes. That can lead to some loss of overall runtime. To use the example others put forth, a Quark 123. It is a newer light that uses a different, semi-regulated driver with a more efficient emitter. So it may start at 0.3 lumens for the first hundred hours or so, but will slowly dim in output over time, as the cell is no longer capable of providing enough current. The drop in input current, and subsequently output, leads to longer overall runtimes, but not always at the stated output.

    The HDS light, however, will start out at an initially lower output, but maintain that output as a constant for as long as possible. So the HDS driver is, in reality, more efficient.
    I love my HDS/Ra Clicky... My only wish would be a 5th(accessible thru a 2click press) mode, and a 2AA tube.

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