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Thread: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

  1. #1

    Default How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I am new to flashlights and am looking to purchase a few for three primary uses (EDC, car, home). I have been researching various lights in the AAA/AA/2AA categories and realized that there are endless possibilities. My question is, how did you find out which flashlights are your go-to primary flashlights? How many did you buy before you found your favorite? It seems these things can really empty the wallet pretty quick

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Tegan's Dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Still realizing it!

    I've always liked flashlights, but until recently thought Maglite was the best. I've spent a fair amount of time looking at the budget side of flashlights since I don't use them for anything really critical. That's a nice way to see what kind of brightness you need, and if you prefer flood or throw. In the end I'm sure I'll get a few more expensive lights though.

    The thing I've realized, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, is that in this hobby there is a huge variety of lights. The only way you really know if you like something or not is to try it. I haven't sold anything in the marketplace, but if you spend a lot on a light you don't like, someone else probably will like it and you may be able to recover your money. I also do a LOT of research here before I pick anything up. Take what you read with a grain of salt, because everyone has an opinion and not everyone has the same use as you, but the wealth of experience in lights is amazing here. Read posts and ask questions.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I actually do not know which is my favourite light as of yet. But the lights I currently have all have its perks and what not. I guess for myself personally, what i found most useful is a keychain light and I think the best one is the 4Sevens Quark Mini CR2. I have the 4Sevens Quark 123^2 as well, and I think its too big for everyday carry and usually keep it in a schoolbag or at home. I have the Preon AAA^2 as well which i love as a pocket light because of its slim and slender physique.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    There's really no end to realizations.

    A little while after you thought you found the perfect light, you will come across something else that will one-up that. It can be anything; output, performance, features, UI, etc. I recently got into being picky about tints.

    At the moment, my primary EDC is a C2-BK with Cryos head, Xeno ST05 bezel, vinhnguyen54's XM-L T6 5,000k driven at 4.2A and McC2S with 60 ohm resistor.

    Before that was a TN11.

    Before that was a Scorpion V2 Turbo.

    Before that was a TD-15.

    Before that was a T20C2 MkII.

    Before that was a P20C2 MkII.

    Before that was a PD30.

    Before that was a PD20.

    Before that was a P2D.

    Before that was... Well, those cheapy multi-emitter 3xAAA lights sold at stores.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Not there yet.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default

    It seems almost every light I own has its place. I liked them all at one time. I do find I keep going to pocket size lights. Generally 2 CR123 /18650 size lights or single AA size. 100 - 140 mm length. Shorter or longer lights are good, but do not get the same amount of use. Now I am looking for neutral tint. It probably took 3 years to know that.
    Try buying one light of each format to see for yourself what you like. Also try to figure what your preferred interface is. One hand operation, momentary forward colicky etc.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    it took me a few years to find what suits me for edc, home/car, and work.
    ive purchased around 50 lights of many different makers, sizes, battery types, interfaces...

    for my needs, ive come to the conclusion that i like.... quality, good beam patterns, High CRI emitters, and simply interfaces, and because im a flashaholic... options and parts for modding and spicing things up.

    my EDC rotation consists of surefire L1s, and HDS
    for work, home and cars, my go to lights are surefire p60 hosts with malkoff drop-ins.
    i have a few other lights for different purposes, such as throwers, and task lights, and a few i consider as toys, but the lights mentioned above are my "go to" lights.
    Last edited by skyfire; 05-15-2012 at 02:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* davyro's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    What i came to realize was an EDC light (pocket size) is the type i'd use the most.This lead me to an HDS since then i've bought another three HDS lights.Having
    said that i'm still always on the look out to see if i really fancy any other lights out there that i really want,but i can say it took me at least 10yrs before i realized
    a EDC size light is the one for me on most occasions.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    An important realization for me was that there isn't one right light or type of light.

    Different uses can prompt different requirements. There are some themes in what I like though. I came in with UI that fits the task being one of my main themes and it still is (along with loads more options now.) I knew I never really liked the CCT of incandescent lights (and to some extent that included home lighting) but being here refined that choice and that took some time and experimentation with LEDs used in different environments. I also know I didn't like the inefficiency of incans ... guess what I still don't have despite the urge for a strictly play hotwire? I didn't care about pocket clips early but for my main EDC light I now wouldn't go without. That just took some experience with lights that had decent clips. For beam profile's I've gotten to have different preferences for different uses and can't say I knew what I wanted when I got here. That took a little bit of experimentation and a lot of reading/looking at beamshots.
    “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to discern whether or not they are genuine.”
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  10. #10

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I like all of my lights. Equally. Creeping around the house I have my favorites. Wouldn't use one of those for spotting wildlife. Working on the car requires another *set* of lights. I wish I could buy them all. My advice would be to start slowly choosing the lights that interest you. Use your new light and imagine how it could be better. Soon you'll find another light that is "better." Pretty soon you'll have a king's ransom tied up in lights! Is it dark yet?

  11. #11

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I've been a LONG time lurker here. First it was AA lights (much more capacity than AAA and about the same size). But then I realized that CR123s were ideal in flashlights.

    After many months of researching (going over UIs, programmability, etc) I settled on the Arc6. Best little light IMHO. Programmable and is basically one of the smallest CR123 lights with a button interface (less than 3" long). The size was the deciding factor among HDS and other similar lights. The Arc6 is like a smaller version of the McLuxIII with HDS programmability heritage. What's not to like?



    I noticed really quickly how I NEEDED a light with a strong, well-executed deep carry clip and tritium tail. I can't live without those features anymore. The Arc6 clips on my belt and stays there. No more light in the pocket taking up key/wallet/phone space.
    Last edited by Torchaddict; 05-16-2012 at 01:19 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    That's a tough question to answer Dynasty. Even though you may think you've found and do in fact have your perfect light, newer lights may tempt you because of their new emitters, run time, types of batteries they can use, amongst other things. I really think even if one thinks they have their perfect light, they're still looking for something better.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    The short answer is 'never'. For many of us, collecting flashlights becomes a hobby and it would very boring to just buy a light and then be happy with it forever. It just makes sense (as a hobby) to buy a new light every so often. Some lights get saved for years, others get gifted or sold.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Great question! As a noob to flashlights, I was wondering this myself. It seems like whenever I start a new hobby, I go through at least a few examples/models before I settle on one (or ones) that I like. While this may be part of the fun for others, I'm a bit impatient, and never liked the "starting" phase as much as I probably should. This is likely because it is a bit of hassle (to me anyway) to try try and sell what you no longer like/want in order to recoup some money to fund the new item that you want.

    Having been into watches, I agree with many of the replies - that there is no one perfect flashlight - just as there is no one perfect watch. My strategy was to zero in on a few watches that cover me in multiples scenarios, even though each may not the best watch for any one scenario. I prefer versatility (my bank balance also benefitted). I ended up with two watches that, between the two of them, have me covered for anything life might throw at me. I hope to have the same "success" with flashlights.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* ^Gurthang's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    If you stay with the addiction/affliction you'll find a need for many different lights. I've got several throwers, a pair of "normal" EDC lights [18650 based], several M@G-Mules for handing out to friends during evening get-togethers, and several more indoor "mule" lights for night time pit stops / "what was that sound?!" use. BTW, eventually you'll get into different LED emitters and "tint/CRI" amusements or serious "hotwire" lights, either of which will keep you fascinated and broke for years to come. Enjoy!!!
    ^G When I reply, threads die....

  16. #16

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I think you can get a good sense of what you'll like/dislike if you start out with a versatile multi-mode light, with a good mix of flood and hotspot. Something that spans sub-lumen to hundreds of lumens and a bunch of different battery formats. A common starter light are the 4Sevens Quarks - you can get an AA^2 X on rebranding sales and optional 1xAA tube with which you could have anything from 0.3 lumens to 300 lumens, alk/lithium/nimh/li-ion batts, 1x/2x batt configs, and 1 hr (@ max) to 300-400 hr (@ moonlight) runtimes. The Zebralights are also hugely versatile, especially the H series lights which cover headlamp and handheld bases.

    I'm personally not a fan of the 123 format.... it's only advantage is a higher max lumen output when running primaries... they have significant disadvantages when it comes to other battery chemistries, rechargeables, back-up options, compatibility and availability.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    How I know I like a light:

    If I have kept it for more than 6 months and actually use it (I have a lot of "perfect" lights that just don't get carried)
    If I sold it or broke it and bought a replacement (I'm looking at you Mini CR2)
    I have modded, or purposely tried to damage a light so I wouldn't be able to sell it and kept it as a beater (Malkoff's and HDS - Yes, Expensive beaters)
    mossyoak --> Dear God man, its your honeymoon, screw the flashlights, bring one or two and some backup batteries, and fill up all that extra room you have with condoms and alcohol.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic zenbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Flashaholism is a road, not a destination.
    EagleTac D25C S2; P20A2 MKII S2; P100C2 Q5; Fenix TK21 U2; LD01 R4; E05 R2; E01
    JETBeam BC10 R5; Romisen RC-G2 II NW; RC-T601 II U2; Inova X5
    Xeno E03; Zebralight SC600; Crelant 7G5-V2 U2; 4Sevens Quark Tactical 123^2 R5


  19. #19

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I think I was in my late 20's.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Vesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by zenbeam View Post
    Flashaholism is a road, not a destination.
    I was thinking of the perfect explanation, and there it was. Thanks zenbeam...

  21. #21
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    It took me a few years but the learning process was fun. I learned with the cheaper lights for the most part.

    I learned that a Zebralight H51f is the preferred headlamp for me and that I headlamps are useful for more than just camping trips. I learned that an Ultrafire T-50 is the best general purpose flashlight for me and that the Thrunite TI is the best small light for me.

    Anything else I have is just due to the hobby aspect and isn't really needed or used very often.

    Everyone's learning and choices will be different however. Now I use lights more often and in more ways than I did before but the acquiring stage is more or less behind me.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* madecov's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Since I still don't know exactly what I like I just keep buying more. Eventually I'll figure it out.
    In god we trust.........all others are suspects
    There are no problems in life that can not be solved with high explosives or small arms
    Too many new lights to list

  23. #23

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I carry the old version of the Fenix LD01 R4 key chain light, the new version has three output modes: 26 Lumens (3hrs) -> 3 Lumens (27hrs) -> 72 Lumens (1.5hrs) and it uses one AAA battery.

    With that, all you need for the car is an extra battery, just in case.

    The 72 Lumens makes a regular house type flashlight, and the 27 hour burn time on low is great for an extended, sleeping in the car break down.

    Although my version of the LD01 is much less in Lumans than the new one, a few years ago, when I was heading outdoors to check a noise, I realized that on high, it's 50 Lumens was as bright as any of my full sized flashlights.

    If I wasn't a flashlight junkie, the little AAA EDC would be all of the flashlight that I would ever need, measured by my 1998 standard of thinking that a 2 or 3D Maglite was the cats meow.
    Last edited by braddy; 05-19-2012 at 10:23 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Many here have lived thru the technology change from incandescent to LED and the subsequent rapid evolution of LEDs. The level of change appears to be calming down now, smaller incremental improvements. The figuring it out process should be a little shorter than it was 5-10 years ago. The house and car lights are easier, something with at least a high/low and big enought to not loose will do well. The EDC is tougher. First figure out what size light you are willing to carry, coin cell, AAA, AA/123 or 2xAA/2x123. This cuts the number of options quickly. You may have to buy a couple lights to test this. Pick the size(s) and then it's time to sort features. This part of the process will take as long as you let it. Good luck.
    Looking for something, use a handheld. Actually doing something, you need a headlamp.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* scout24's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I agree with several of the above posts, it's an ongoing process. More of what I like feature-wise for certain uses rather than what specific lights I like. The features kind of lead you in certain directions. For EDC, I need a solid pocketclip, a durable material or finish, reliability and simplicity. For me, nothing has yet combined all those attributes as well as the Haiku, in whatever flavor you choose. I bounce back and forth between the xpg and high cri. For keychain or backup use, bombproof and runtime rule the day for me. I give a hoot for tint at that point, it's just gotta make light for a long time while being near indestructable. For my needs, the Fenix EO1 is it. Emergency lights for me are all about runtime, low level output, and reliability.Throwers, flooders, around-the-house lights, fun lights, that's where I can experiment and have fun now. Having bought and sold a TON of lights, I hope the road won't end anytime soon...

  26. #26

    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    My thought process this far:

    1. "Hey, flashlights have come a long way. This is interesting and useful. I guess I'll take a small one and a slightly bigger one." So I bought ITP's A3 EOS and the SA1.

    2. "These are nice, but the A3 is a bit gimmicky and not useful for every day, as it is not comfortable to hold at its small size. The SA1 is a bit better in this regard, but I think there is something more suited to my needs." So got the SA2 Eluma R5.

    3. The SA2 Eluma R5 is pretty good for daily use with its good battery life. I Don't use the small A3 anymore. Also bought a Olight S65 for its high lumen and long battery life, mostly for fun actually. It's not perfect, as it is a bit too heavy and doesn't feel great.
    So the next question is, whether there is something with a little more lumen than the SA2 at the lowest setting while having long battery life. But I'm quite satisfied with the SA2 for now: Great built quality and little weight.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Cataract's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    It took me from early 2008 till about January this year, so about 4 years, but there's a lot more to the process than just how long it took.
    How many flashlights? well over 30.
    How much money? over 3000$.
    How many interfaces? about 7

    And then there is experimentation with cool, neutral, warm, high CRI, beam profiles, throw, intensity, mode spacing, programmability, size, battery type, runtime, practical intensity, etc. etc.

    I am finally settling on single CR/RCR123 sized 15-20 degree beam high CRI (neutral or warm) with ~100 meter throw ~150-200 lumen max and < 0.2 lumen low, 2-3 hour runtime minimum (this part I'm still waiting for technology to catch up) and an interface on which I can easily get directly to max mode or (less easily) go straight to a lower mode of my choice.
    Cataract, Shiny things specialist.
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  28. #28
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    I've been into flashlights for about a year now and I'm still figuring out what I like. I've spent the past year figuring out what I want/need for work (I work in tunnel construction, so the need for a good flashlight is obvious, although overlooked by most), now I'm realizing I need more lights for EDC pocket carry, etc... As quickly as the technology is advancing, I don't think I'll ever know EXACTLY what I want.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* beach honda's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    Flashaholism is a forever ongoing process. However I have come to appreciate low lows, long runtime, ergonomics, quality builders like malkoff, McGizmo, and HDS to name a few, and the ongoing quest for the next best thing. My old standby lights will never be replaced though (i.e. HDS 85tr twisty)
    -Chr1s-
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  30. #30
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: How Long Before You Realized What You Like?

    took me a while but figured out i like surefires and got rid of all my other lights

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