Warning: pic heavy as usual.
The MT40 is the first "Multi-Task" MT-series from Nitecore that I have to review. I will follow up shortly with other members of the family (UPDATE: MT1C/MT1A/MT2A and MT2C/MT25 reviews are now up). The MT40 is distinguished by its larger size (2x18650, 4xRCR/CR123A) and higher output compared to its smaller siblings. Let’s put this sample through its paces ...
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer reports. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- LED: CREE XM-L (U2) LED
- Output and runtimes: Turbo: 860 lumens (1.5 hours), High: 530 lumens (3.5 hours), Mid: 280 lumens (7.5 hours), Low: 100 lumens (24 hours),
- Peak beam distance: 1190 ft. (363 m)
- Peak beam intensity: 33,000 cd
- Impact resistant to 4.9 ft. (1.5 m)
- Water resistant to IPX-8 standards
- Uses 4 x CR123A or 2 x 18650 (Batteries not included)
- High efficiency current circuit bard regulates output
- Two rapid switching modes adapt to any user requirement
- User defined mode allows for customized brightness and output modes
- Intelligent memory functions
- HA III Military grad hard anodized aero grade aluminum body with anti-rolling design
- Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Detachable two-way anti-rolling clip
- Purpose-made rhombic knurling for better grip
- Length x Head Diameter x Tail Diameter: 8.72" x 1.96" x 1" (221.5 mm x 50 mm x 25.4 mm)
- Weight (excluding batteries): 8.64 oz. (245 g)
- MSRP: $70
All the MT-series lights come in basic display packaging, similar to the recent Nitecore Explorer and SENS series. Extras are generally comparable, and include a basic wrist lanyard, extra o-rings and boot cover, removable pocket clip, manual and warranty card. A few models (the MT40 included) come with a basic holster as well. The MT40 also comes with a removable metal grip ring.
As a teaser, here’s a quick overview of the family:
From left to right: Duracell CR123A, AA (NiMH); Nitecore MT1C, MT1A, MT2A, MT2C, MT25, M40, AW Protected 18650 (2200mAh).
The MT40 is the largest member of the family.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Nitecore MT40; Jetbeam BC40; Sunwayman T40CS; Crelant 7G5-V2; Karus XT30.
Actual Measured Dimensions
All dimensions were personally measured, and are given with no batteries installed:
Nitecore MT40: Weight: 244.2g, Length: 223mm, Width (bezel):50.0mm
JetBeam BC40: Weight: 226.3g, Length: 224mm, Width (bezel): 48.5mm
Klarus XT30: Weight: 283.1g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 58.0mm
Niwalker 750N1: Weight: 408.0g, Length: 269mm, Width (bezel): 58.6mm
Sunwayman T40CS: Weight: 296.7g, Length 227, Width (bezel): 63.5mm
Tiablo A60G: Weight: 297.8g, Length: 256mm, Width (bezel): 56.8mm
Thrunite Catapult V3: Weight: 434.8g, Length: 254mm, Width (bezel) 58.0mm, Width (tailcap) 35.1mm.
The overall appearance of the MT40 is similar to the Jetbeam BC40 (recall: Nitecore and Jetbeam are historically both brands of Sysmax corp.). But there are a few differences, which I will outline below.
Anodizing is a glossy black, with no chips on my sample. Labels are bright white, clearly legible against the dark background. Unlike the BC40, the MT40 has actual knurling across the whole battery tube (and parts of the tailcap and head). Knurling is actually of reasonable aggressiveness, and grip is improved compared to the BC40.
There is a removable metal grip ring included in the package of the MT40 (note you have to remove the o-ring to get it on or off). I find you really have to crank the tailcap to make contact with the grip ring installed (at least on my sample).
There is a spring in the head, so all flat-top high capacity cells should fit and work fine in the light.
Screw threads are standard triangular cut, and seem of good quality. They are also anodized for lock-out at the tailcap. Tail switch is a forward clicky, with traditional feel. The Jetbeam Backup and Professional series lights often felt a bit "squishy" in comparison.
Light can tailstand, but may be a bit wobbly (due to the partial raised areas for the lanyard attachment on the tailcap). Due to the cut-out nature of the tailcap ring, the switch is easier to access by finger or thumb than the BC40.
User interface is similar to the Jetbeam "Professional" series (i.e. PA- or PC- series lights). Turn the light on by pressing the tailcap clicky (press for momentary on, click for locked on).
With the head tight, you get Turbo output. With the head loosened, you get the programmed user-selected state. You select the output mode for this state by soft-pressing the clicky switch from off (or clicking off-on from on). The sequence on the MT40 is: Hi > Med > Lo > SOS > Strobe, in a repeating loop. The light has mode memory, and saves the last setting used in the head-loosened state.
Note that Hi on the user-selected head-loose state is lower than Turbo on the head-tight state (i.e., there are four defined output constant modes).
The main difference is that the MT-series lights do not suffer from the programming glitch noted on the Jetbeam Professional series lights, where rapid flashling of the tailcap in Turbo could alter the saved state of the user-selected mode. The MT-series lights all performed as expected (i.e., memory mode remains constant, no matter what happens in the Turbo mode).
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
As always, videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
Nitecore claims that the MT-series lights are current controlled, and I believe that is true. However, there is a re-occurring signal pattern:
It's difficult to get a clear oscilloscope trace of this signal, as the intensity is very low on my MT40. As a result, I need to increase the sensitivity on my oscilloscope amplitude setting to a point where a lot of noise is also apparent. Here is an example of a trace from another MT-series light where I got a more pronounced signal, the MT1C on 1xRCR:
Please note that this "zigzag" pattern is most definitely NOT pulse-width modulation (PWM). I am testing half-a-dozen MT-series lights right now, and my oscilloscope shows this consistent triangular circuit signal at somewhere between ~950-1050 Hz on the Lo/Med/Hi (but not Turbo) of each model.
Rest assured, it is certainly not as visible as 1kHz PWM would be. I've noted in the past that visual flicker detection increases on PWM lights as you go to lower outputs (even when you keep the PWM freq constant). Part of this may simply be due to different flicker detection thresholds at different intensities, but I suspect it is due in part to the pulse-width changes in the PWM wave (i.e., the shorter "on" / longer "off" phase in the PWM signal at low intensities is more noticeable for some reason). In the case here, the zigzag signal is constant at all outputs (i.e., it is pulse-constant), with a consistent slope (i.e., it is waveform-constant). This appears to drastically reduce the "noticeability" of the signal compared to PWM.
Also, I have noted that this signal intensity is quite variable across my MT-series samples (i.e., it is not a full on/off signal, and its amplitude varies considerably). In the case of my MT40 reviewed here, the signal is so weak that I cannot see any evidence of it visually on any mode, even when shining on a fan (maybe just the faintest hint of it on Lo). It is certainly not visible in actual use (and as everyone here knows, I am particularly sensitive to PWM flicker ).
Again, the point here is that the MT40 is indeed current-controlled, and you are highly unlikely to be able to detect any sign of this reocurring circuit signal.
The MT40 has a fairly unique strobe – it switches between two frequencies (11 Hz and 16 Hz) on every pulse. In other words, the time between pulses keeps alternating from 90 msecs and 60 msecs (i.e., pulse, 90msec pause, pulse, 60msec pause, pulse, 90 msec pause, etc.). I have never actually seen this before, and it even differs slightly from the other members of the MT-series family of lights (which I will discuss further in my reviews of those lights). It makes the strobe even more disorienting than typical.
The MT40 uses a Cool White XM-L emitter, well centered on my sample (with a black centering disc around it). Reflector is smooth finish and seems slightly larger than the Jetbeam BC40 (which was textured). I would expect reasonably good throw, but not as great at those lights with larger, deeper, parabolic reflectors.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on 2xAW protected 18650, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
The MT40 is bit throwier than the Jetbeam BC40, with a more sharply defined hotspot. There are some some beam and tint artifacts in the corona around the hotspot likely due to the smooth reflector. These are not overly distracting, but they are noticeable by eye (you can't really see them in the pics above).
Of course, these sorts of reviews are never complete without outdoor beamshots. These are all done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground). Please ignore the red-tint in the lower-right corner these shots (I was wearing a brighter-than-usual red headlamp during this excursion ).
Here are zoomed-in pics of the hotspots:
As you can see, my MT40 definitely puts out a bit more center-beam throw. Otherwise, the overall beam patterns are fairly similar.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
Note that lumen estimation method tends to consistently under-report values for high-output lights in the ~800 lumen space. The point is that the MT40 is within a standard range of output on max, fairly close to the Jetbeam BC40. Peak beam intensity/throw is bit higher than the BC40, as you would expect for the slightly larger (and smooth) reflector. Overall, a reasonable performer in output and throw for the class, but not as much of a thrower as the larger reflectored lights.
Here is how my lumen estimates for the MT40 compare to the specs.
The MT40 is very consistent on 2x18650 and 4xCR123A. Note that I have not tried 4xRCR, but apparently the MT40 can handle the voltage (although it is not recommend).
On my protected 2x18650 runs, the MT40 has a very interesting step-down pattern as the batteries near exhaustion. It is not as evident on Turbo, but it still there (i.e., a brief step-down before shut-down). This is very useful, as it gives you advance warning that the batteries are nearly exhausted. It is also a lot better than the annoying flashing-style warnings, as you get to keep useable light up to the last minute. This is a feature I would like to see on other lights going forward.
Overall output/runtime efficiency is about what you would expect for a good current-controlled light (e.g., comparable to the Eagletac M3C4 or Olight SR51). As expected, the circuit signal noted in my oscilloscope traces has no effect on efficiency – at Med or Hi, the light performs as expected for current control.
There is a regular signal at ~1 kHz on all the MT-series lights, but it is not PWM, and it is generally not perceptible. I could certainly see no sign of it visually on my MT40, which was flicker-free at all levels. Output/runtime efficiency is very good, in keeping with other current-controlled lights.
There are some minor beam/tint artifacts in the corona around the hotspot on my sample.
With 4xCR123A in the user-selectable mode (i.e. head loose), I found the light would occasionally switch modes during use. This is due the batteries breaking contact momentarily when moving the light around (i.e., the springs in the head and tail provide insufficient tension on primary CR123A). I recommend you keep the head loosened by the least amount necessary (i.e., a quarter turn from tight is way too loose). I noted no such issue on protected 2x18650.
The new Nitecore "Multitask" MT-series lights remind me a lot of the JetBeam "Backup" and "Professional" series lights (specifically, the appearance of the Jetbeam BA/BC-series lights, and the functionality of the PA/PC-series). This review is of the MT40, which has a lot of similarity to the Jetbeam BC40.
Build-wise, the MT40 is definitely a step-up. The MT40 features decent knurling, with extra grip elements. The MT40 still has traditional triangular cut screw threads, but feel is good. The switch has a better feel than the previous Jetbeam lights (which were a bit squishy), and you have easier access to the button now.
The beam pattern is fairly similar to the Jetbeam BC40, although the M40 has a slightly larger reflector (smooth in this case). Output/runtime performance on Max (head tight) is also similar. Even the holster looks identical, except for the yellow Nitecore tab instead of blue Jetbeam.
What's changed is the interface, and output regulation method. With the head loosened, you have access to five modes now (Hi > Med > Lo > SOS > Strobe), with mode memory. All output modes are also current-controlled, unlike the BC40 (which used PWM for its single Lo level mode). I generally prefer this more versatile interface (which is comparable to the Jetbeam Professional series), but am never a fan of blinky modes on the same sequence as constant output modes. At least they corrected the Jetbeam Professional series programming glitch that allowed the mode memory to change under certain conditions.
Output/runtime efficiency is very good at all levels, in keeping with its current-control circuit. I particularly like the innovative step-down pattern shown at the end of my 2x18650 protected runs.
The MT40 is a good all-around performer for this class, and a definite step-up from the earlier Jetbeam BC40 (but of similar price). The performance of the MT40 definitely bodes well for the rest of the "Multitask" family, which I will be getting to in due course. Stay tuned ...
UPDATE: MT1C/MT1A/MT2A and MT2C/MT25 reviews are now up
Nitecore MT40 provided by Nitecore for review.