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Thread: How many lumens is enough lumens?

  1. #1

    Default How many lumens is enough lumens?

    I understand you can never have enough lumens... But how much is enough for certain tasks? Lets leave out S&R and tactical use.

    Lets not focus in throw vs. spill too much in each scenario, although of course you can give a preference.
    Max Lumens the light should have:



    Walking the dog in suburbia?

    Camping site?

    General in-house use?

    2 day blackout?

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night?

    Walking in the woods?

    EDC?
    Last edited by ev13wt; 04-23-2012 at 05:28 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    my opinion

    Walking the dog in suburbia?

    10k

    Camping site?

    1k

    General in-house use?

    1k

    2 day blackout?

    1k

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night?

    1k

    Walking in the woods?

    5k

    EDC?

    never enough (never know how many you will need )

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Most everyone is going to give you numbers that are way too high; almost everything you've listed could be covered with not more than 25 lumens (dog walking excepted), and you'll still be on the same set of batteries when they've had to change out several times..

  4. #4

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    I have a Surefire E1B 110 lumen's. I have found this to be enough for all your above situations. Inside the house the 5 lumen setting was plenty.

    Camping, in the house, flat tire, walking in the woods I have found a headlamp works best. I have a surefire minimus 100 lumen and rarely use the top setting.
    Last edited by brianna; 04-23-2012 at 05:50 PM.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* S1LVA's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    I find that 150,000 lumens is a sufficient amount for general tasks

    Seriously though... A light with 3 well spaced modes can be an ideal EDC. My Alpha XM-L from Darksucks is MY ideal EDC. Low is great for most tasks; medium is excellent for when I need more punch; and high is insanely bright for lighting up a huge outdoor area or just showing off

    Just my 2 cents.
    S1LVA
    I used to be afraid of the dark. Now, the dark is afraid of me.


  6. #6
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    For most of my applications I would say that 10 would be sufficient, however I like them all focused in the same direction for what appears to be a bright beam.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* jmpaul320's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    50-100 imho is enough, except for dog walking maybe 200... but if you want to be really spechal, you need 2000 lumens.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Most everyone is going to give you numbers that are way too high; almost everything you've listed could be covered with not more than 25 lumens (dog walking excepted), and you'll still be on the same set of batteries when they've had to change out several times..
    +1

    I use my lights for everything OP listed. I use Moonlight and 3 lm the most....guess I like letting my night vision work for me. A 100 lumen max is nice to have but I really only need to use that for spotting deer in the woods or riding a bicycle at speed at night.

    I have a 450lm light running on 2x14500s, but IMHO, the work/hassle/costs of lithium primary and Li-ion rechargeables is really subject to the laws of diminishing returns. I like 1xNiMh the best.

    (interesting, I walk my dog on 0.3 or 3 lumens. I especially prefer to be discrete when my dog does his business on neighbors lawns)
    Last edited by reppans; 04-23-2012 at 07:10 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    42 of course.

    Realistically some light with a user interface that lets you easily shift brightness according to what you're doing, looking down and close, then looking far away and then back to the trail or task in front of you.

    Fractions of a lumen for when you're eyes are dark adjusted, maybe 10-30 for doing lots of things effectively, maybe 100-300 or more with throw for finding something or someone lost in the distance or dealing with a momentary crisis.

    I think that a range of settings from less than a lumen to something around 100 lumens is really great, with 2-30 lumens being used most of the time.
    Something with a range from ember, to candle, to torch is about perfect, bonfire is fun but rarely needed.
    Last edited by eh4; 04-23-2012 at 08:41 PM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    My opinion:

    Walking the dog in suburbia?
    100. 2000 for fun.

    Camping site?
    For headlamp, 100 would be fine. For lighting up gazebo/tarp etc - 500-1000 (total, from multiple sources)


    General in-house use?
    50

    2 day blackout?
    50

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night?
    50 to fix it. 5000 if you are scared or there are growling noises, or a zombie outbreak at the same time.

    Walking in the woods?
    3 if i'm wanting some night vision. 100 if i don't care about night vision. 800 to throw.

    EDC?
    100

  11. #11

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Walking the dog in suburbia?
    - I don't have a dog but I would imagine 25 would be more than sufficient for suburbia (ie: streets and sidewalks). For rural maybe 50 would be better.

    Camping site?
    - I would say 10-25 would be good for personal use around a campsite. 25-50 if you want to illimuinate for more than one person.

    General in-house use?
    - 0.001 - 5 lumens for around the house at night. 50-100 if you need to illuminate for work.

    2 day blackout?
    - 10 lumens should be more that ample for illuminating each room.

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night?
    - 25-50 to illuminate work area, although I would want more to make sure people see me so closer to 50-100.

    Walking in the woods?
    - Personal taste but I find 100+ lumens is my personal minimum for forest walks. Preferable would be 300 lumens that can reach out and touch the trees in the distance. If any critters are going to be coming at me I want to be able to see eyes at a distance.

    EDC?
    I want something with a range from at least 1-150 lumens for EDC with a minimum of 3 levels. More levels is better. Infinite variable is best.

    Note: The are my honest answers to the OP question. In general having more lumens on tap in every outdoor situation is the best for me. 1500+ lumens out in the woods is awesome, turning day into night. For most of the other situations having a top of 200-500 lumens will always come in handy.

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Purty' Near anything I do (at night)

    is quite adequately managed with 1 to 25 Lumens.


    If a light is bright enough to make yer' eyes "stop down", then it's just WASTED !

  13. #13
    Enlightened riccardo.dv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbb74 View Post
    Walking the dog in suburbia?
    100. 2000 for fun.
    Camping site?
    For headlamp, 100 would be fine. For lighting up gazebo/tarp etc - 500-1000 (total, from multiple sources)
    General in-house use?
    50
    2 day blackout?
    50
    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night?
    50 to fix it. 5000 if you are scared or there are growling noises, or a zombie outbreak at the same time.
    Walking in the woods?
    3 if i'm wanting some night vision. 100 if i don't care about night vision. 800 to throw.
    EDC?
    100
    Totally agree but the edc. You'll never know how many lumens you'll need, so higher is better for me (with good spaced levels)
    here are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

  14. #14

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    I think 100 is the magic number for most things. I don't find needing more than 200 for most things.
    My Lights -- Olight S20 Baton XM-L 470 Lumens
    Olight M20 Warrior 2010 320 Lumens
    Rayovac Sportsman Xtreme 4W 120 Lumen 3C,
    Fenix E-15


  15. #15

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    I find small lights (like the G2) with 100 lumens or less is enough if I can get the light on the spot where I need it. Bright lights are for fun! Or search & rescue. I have 3,000 lumen lights, but... just in case it gets *really* dark!

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Obijuan Kenobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Having entered the flashlight world relatively late compared to most around here, I have a rather fresh opinion that seems to find resonance on CPF if you look for it.

    I find that the main missing niche in the realm of custom lights is the super low. Moonlight is low enough that you CAN'T read without putting the light very near the page. Moonlight is low enough that you can put the LED next to the eye of a sleeping baby, and nothing happens. Moonlight low is pimp.

    Even the McGizmo lights (Don is perhaps the undisputed KING of Ti EDC light making) lack a real moonlight low. I would go so far as to say that many folks have never had a moonlight level at their disposal, and thus have no idea how useful it is. I guess making an efficient driver with this level range is not cake, but they are out there in various forms...just not in many high end customs.

    So for me, you need three levels. I can imagine ideally the current range on a Nichia 219 (for example) at 1mA, 350mA, and 1.2A. Moonlight, flashlight, and BOOM. Flashlight...around 150 lumens. And BOOM does not need to be more than 1000 lumens ever. If it's bright in daylight...what more could you want?

    Just my two cents.

    obi
    Stay sharp and bright for life.
    Have your knife and light handy at all times.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    i thought he meant the top end, not bottom... sorry

  18. #18

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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    That is until now (well for me anyway) the Jetbeam RRT01 go's so low it's useless but oh so nice to look at. Just got it today and I truly believe the hunt for my edc light is over with for now.



    Quote Originally Posted by Obijuan Kenobe View Post
    Having entered the flashlight world relatively late compared to most around here, I have a rather fresh opinion that seems to find resonance on CPF if you look for it.

    I find that the main missing niche in the realm of custom lights is the super low. Moonlight is low enough that you CAN'T read without putting the light very near the page. Moonlight is low enough that you can put the LED next to the eye of a sleeping baby, and nothing happens. Moonlight low is pimp.

    Even the McGizmo lights (Don is perhaps the undisputed KING of Ti EDC light making) lack a real moonlight low. I would go so far as to say that many folks have never had a moonlight level at their disposal, and thus have no idea how useful it is. I guess making an efficient driver with this level range is not cake, but they are out there in various forms...just not in many high end customs.

    So for me, you need three levels. I can imagine ideally the current range on a Nichia 219 (for example) at 1mA, 350mA, and 1.2A. Moonlight, flashlight, and BOOM. Flashlight...around 150 lumens. And BOOM does not need to be more than 1000 lumens ever. If it's bright in daylight...what more could you want?

    Just my two cents.

    obi

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burgess View Post
    Purty' Near anything I do (at night)

    is quite adequately managed with 1 to 25 Lumens.


    If a light is bright enough to make yer' eyes "stop down", then it's just WASTED !
    +1

    The darker it is the less lumens is needed.
    The only times that I use max on my brighter lights (200-500 lumens) is when I use it in daytime or other good illumination to look into dark holes, under the hood and similar situations.

    Edit: Just found this post that I think nicely descibes how much use you can have from just a little light when it is really dark around you:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post3931119
    Last edited by GunnarGG; 04-24-2012 at 04:21 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by eh4 View Post
    42 of course.
    Nice choice!!!



    So I guess we could say a nicely spaced light with a low low 0.01 to 2 (moonlight mode), 10, 50, 100-200 light can cover about 85% of our flashlight needs?

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default

    I have found moonlight to 800 lumens would be an ideal amount of light for EDC. Yea mostly the lower modes are used for general tasks, but I have found a need for brightness when dealing with cars. Standing on the side of the road broke down or next to a dog you want to be seen. If you do not have a light shining out 400 or more lumens, traffic does not pay much attention to you. All traffic notices 800 lumens and will slow down. That's my experience.
    If I was not going to be encountering cars, probably moonlight to 300 lumens is plenty.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by petr9999 View Post
    my opinion

    Walking the dog in suburbia?

    10k

    Camping site?

    1k
    what is "k"?

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by S1LVA View Post
    I find that 150,000 lumens is a sufficient amount for general tasks

    Seriously though... A light with 3 well spaced modes can be an ideal EDC. My Alpha XM-L from Darksucks is MY ideal EDC. Low is great for most tasks; medium is excellent for when I need more punch; and high is insanely bright for lighting up a huge outdoor area or just showing off

    Just my 2 cents.
    S1LVA
    whats the max lumens on your torch? it would be nice to know how many lumens you consider insanley bright. i'm after an insane torch

  24. #24

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Quote Originally Posted by rambo180 View Post
    what is "k"?
    K is "Kilo" = x1000


    1K is 1000.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Walking the dog in suburbia? 65 lumens. Enough to light up any dark alley quite well. Also morethan enough to light up the path ahead and surrounds.

    Camping site?: Depends on the site. One that's pitch black would need no more than a few lumens to navigate around. 10 - 15 lumens for a better lit camp

    General in-house use?: 10 - 15 lumens is more than enough for me

    2 day blackout?: Only a few lumens. With everything pitch black, youur eyes adjust, and you need less light to see. Runtime is more important

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night? 10 - 15 lumens

    Walking in the woods? 65 lumens will light up a dark wood for me

    EDC? Something that has the greatest range of outputs/runtimes. You never know what you'll come across or need.

  26. #26
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    Buttrock Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Lumens is not meaningful without beam shape info.

    For example, 100 L focused tightly is plenty of light close up on a small target of interest, but woefully inadequate on a large distant target.

    Example, I have a 131 Lumen Maglite 3 D LED that can throw ~ 3-400 yards. The beam will illuminate a small circle at that range, but, will leave my feet in the dark, and be worthless to use to walk with. If I aim the little circle of light down at my feet, its too tightly focused to give a useful flood, and there's little useful light to see a path/avoid roots, etc.

    If I use a Zebralight SC600 it has a broad pool of light, and is excellent for lighting a path for a walk, etc....but its worthless to see any detail over ~ 60 yards away, etc.


    IE: A lot of lumens, spread out over a large area, results in a small lux result...so you see a wider area, but dimly, compared to a the same lumens concentrated into a tight beam...so you see only a little patch of light, but with a higher Lux value.

    For most tasks, I'd rather light up a wider area and see more context for my environment. If we agree that we see best in daylight...I think its silly to pretend that less light than that is good. Ideally, it would look like we were in day light if we had to see something.

    Anything less than that is a compromise in vision.

    As making everything around us lit up as if it were daylight is not typically practical, we compromise and talk about what we can get away with, not about what is truly ideal.


    To that end, if you think about the OP...the better question is how many LUX is enough for each task....not lumens. That will account for the beam distribution...as its applicable to the scenario...if you need to see a small or large area, it doesn't matter...as WHY you need to see it, for what purpose, will typically dictate how well lit you need it to be, and the value that describes that is Lux, better than lumens.

    To simplfy things further, as guidelines, there are published standards for the Lux recommended for many tasks, including emergency egress lighting, crawlspaces, and a great number of occupational and residential tasks.

    Last edited by TEEJ; 04-24-2012 at 06:34 AM.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Most of these tasks could be accomplished with even 1 lumen -if the ambiant light level is low enough- but I personally want something that can give me up to 180-200 lumens.

    Walking the dog in suburbia = 5 to 100

    Camping site = 0.02 to 5

    General in-house use = 0.005 to 50

    2 day blackout = 0.005 to 50

    Car breaks down? Flat tire at night = 100-200 just to be seen

    Walking in the woods = 0.02 to 200 (skunk prevention)

    EDC = 0.02 to 180-200.
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  28. #28
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    about 100-150 lumens max is all i would want, but for all of the tasks mentioned above, 50 lumens is very sufficient.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    For many years for general home use, camping, hunting, and fishing I have been satisfied with the old incandescent mag lights. I doubt any were as much as 100 lumens. Most of the time the mini mag was completely sufficient.
    I think that 50 lumens or less would take care of everything I am likely to need. For long term power outages I want something that will not use the batteries very fast so maybe 1.5 lumens or less for that.

    More is not better in many situations, and in fact sometimes more is less. I am persuaded that if I had a mini mag it would take care of all my personal needs since I am not in the rescue or LE business. I like to see bright lights, but when I need one I do not look for the brightest, but something in the 25 - 50 lumen range.

    Jerry

  30. #30

    Default Re: How many lumens is enough lumens?

    Understand that everyone is entitled to their opinions. here's mine. 10 Lumens. Why? I have a fenix E 01. Its "Never say die". I use it for lot of uses... well built. serves all purpose that i use it for. In close quarters. I do not intend to use it for far distance lighting nor i have a use. Its easy to EDC. I vote for it.

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