I mentioned in another thread that I only found out that LED flashlights had become a viable alternative to bulb flashlights about 1 year ago. Prior to that, the only LED flashlights I'd seen people using were the cheaper flashlights with 8 or more 5mm LED's shoehorned into the head, usually with no reflector, but they were unimpressive to say the least. I figured that LED's only had the power to be used as little warning lights on your electronic devices, letting you know that your devise is on or off, or to let you know the batteries are dead or whatever.
Then I bought an LED headlamp right before a 3 day winter backpacking trip to the AT along skyline drive in Shenandoah Nat'l park back in early February 2007. I bought one that had 3 separately controlled 5mm LED's, and one separately contained 1w Luxeon LED in its own reflector. I was somewhat impressed with that headlamp's ability to be so light, run on 3AA batteries, and be able to light up the trail or campsite enough to see your way around. But I still hadnt seen any decent LED flashlights.
Then last year, around July or so, I got onto the internet just wasting time, jumping from one interesting looking site to another, and jumping from one link to another looking at unrelated, random stuff, and somehow ended up getting here.
To be honest, I was stunned to see such a large, well visited forum whose subject mater and reason for existence is primarily "flashlights"! I had searched the internet over the years for hobbies that would seemingly be more popular and widespread than flashlights, and yet MOST of the forums that support those seemingly more common hobbies dont have the number of members or amount of traffic that this flashlight forum does! I'm a member of a hot rodding forum, and they dont get nearly the traffic that this forums does.
So the first time I stumbled upon this forum, I began looking around to see what all the hoop-lah was about, and I looked at flashlight reviews/specs, etc. But when I went and looked in the local stores, like Lowes, Home Depot, etc, I wasnt seeing the same brands I read about here, and fortunately I had remembered the brightness specs of a few lights from here, so I didnt bother buying any of the lights from those local stores because they didnt seem to "measure up".
So I joined this forum in Sept '11, then I bought my first small LED light and was impressed by how bright it was on high and on low, so I bought a larger, brighter one for different purposes, and then I kept buying even more of them of different sizes(even though, truth be told, I dont need nearly as many as I've bought!)
But now I've been a member for going on 1 year, and I am now very interested in flashlights, of all things, but I'm still a bit surprised that flashlights are a hobby.... Is there a tube sock forum? Have toilet plungers become a hobby item yet?
But I am now better able to understand the desire to own and research different higher end flashlights, and as of a few days from now, I will own a total of 10 nice quality LED flashlights(because even though I said I wouldnt be buying any more for a while after buying a Ti D25A and D25C last week, I just ordered a Jetbeam PA-10 and a Sunwayman T20CS last night after making more money than expected in the last 5 days).
What got you into it? Why do you think people are so interested in flashlights, to the point of doing LOTS of research and making it a significant hobby(like us)?