Warning: pic heavy as usual.
The 7G5Cs could be considered the "V3" of the 7G5, Crelant's inaugural "thrower" light. Has the light evolved sufficiently from the V1 and V2 versions to earn a new model number? Let's find out ...
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer report on their website. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- CREE XM-L U3 bin LED
- Maximum output: 920 lumens (reviewer note: on some Crelant marketing material, it is labelled as 895 lumens)
- Tactical High Mode, and On side switch Infinitely variable brightness system
- Hidden Strobe and SOS, Quickly click 2 times side switch ---> Strobe, and quickly click 2 times again ---> SOS
- Runtime: High output at 3A: 920 lumen max for 110 minutes (reviewer's note: also labelled as 895 lumens for 112 minutes on some material)
- Runtime: Low output at 0.01A: 5 lumen max for 148 hours (reviewer's note: also labelled as 48 hours on some material)
- Working voltage: 5VDC - 12 VDC
- Battery Types Supported: 2 x 18650 or 4 X CR123A
- Beam Distance: Effective range of 500 meters
- High efficient constant current circuit and output-luminance. Newly designed high efficiency broad voltage drive microcontroller drive circuit
- Mil. Spec. Type III hard anodized aircraft grade 6063-T6 aluminum alloy
- Color: Black
- Ergonomic grip with anti-roll design
- Tactical forward tail cap switch
- Stainless steel retaining ring on the bezel protects the head from drops and impacts.
- High performance aluminum smooth reflector with concentrated beam shot. New hybrid reflector specially designed for CREE LED, which allows for better beam quality, efficiency and throw capability
- Waterproof: IPX-8 Standard, to 5M
- Impact Resistance: 1.5M
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear coated and anti-abrasion glass
- Dimensions: Length 249mm, Head Diameter 65mm
- Weight: 296g excluding battery
- Accessories: Lanyard, spare o-ring
- Specially designed for Military, Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search & Rescue and Outdoorsman
- MSRP: ~$100
The 7G5CS came with fairly basic packaging. Inside the cardboard box with packing foam were the light (with metal lanyard ring and rubber grip ring installed), extra o-rings and paracord-style wrist strap. There was no manual or holster on my review sample, but I believe some dealers do sell the light with a holster (and I would expect a manual to be standard on shipping versions).
The specs printed on the side of the box do not appear to be entirely accurate. For example, I would expect much greater than 48hr runtime on the lowest mode (note the revised website specs say 148 hours). Also, the stated 500m beam distance would translate into 62,500 cd beam intensity by ANSI FL-1 standards (not the 116,000 listed on the box). As you will see later in my review, 62,500 cd beam intensity is believable. I would suggest you rely on updated manufacturer/dealer stats on the web, and not go by what is printed here.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Crelant 7G5CS, 7G5-V2; Sunwayman T40CS; Klarus XT30; Nitecore MT40.
Actual Measured Dimensions
All dimensions were personally measured, and are given with no batteries installed:
Crelant 7G5CS: Weight: 334.5g, Length: 247mm Width (bezel): 64.0mm
Crelant 7G5-V2: Weight: 282.6g, Length: 251mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
Crelant 7G5-V1: Weight: 321.3g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 61.4mm
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.
One of the first things to note is that the 7G5CS has a wider bezel opening now, and an increased weight from the earlier versions.
One of the distinguishing features of the 7G5 V2 was that it was a completely different physical build physically from the V1 – but with basically the same output levels and reflector. The new 7G5CS differs in every way from the earlier lights – not only is the build new, but so is the reflector, circuit, UI and emitter.
Anodizing is a glossy black, with no damage or nicks on my sample. Labels are bright white and clear, and include a serial number. There is some knurling on the battery tube and tailcap, but only of moderate aggressiveness. With the various ridge detail items, I would describe the overall grip as acceptable. There is a removable rubber grip ring and metal lanyard ring installed near the tailcap.
There is a spring in the head, so all flat-top high capacity cells should fit and work fine in the light.
The 7G5CS comes with flat-ended stainless steel bezel and tail rings. The light can thus headstand and tailstand (i.e., the tailcap is recessed enough to allow tailstanding).
Screw threads are traditional triangular-cut, but seem of good quality. They are anodized at the tailcap, so you can lock out the light (a feature missing from the earlier 7G5 V2).
What's particularly new here is the dual-switch design. The 7G5CS uses a forward clicky switch in the tailcap to control on/off. There is a secondary electronic switch in the head to control output modes. Overall effect is somewhat similar to the Sunwayman T40CS, although dimensions differ. I also find the 7G5CS secondary switch to be on the small size - the T40CS has a wider switch, easier to find by touch. Scroll down for a discussion of the user interface.
As mentioned above, the 7G5CS comes with a wider reflector than the 7G5 models. Shape of the reflector has also changed – it doesn't seem to be quite as deep (although it is still smooth for max throw). It is deeper however than the Sunwayman T40CS, so I would expect the 7G5CS to be intermediate to the T40CS and the earlier 7G5 models.
There is a GITD (glow-in-the-dark) o-ring underneath the lens. It seems fairly bright.
Note the 7G5CS uses the new U3 output bin of the Cree Cool White XM-L emitter. I would therefore expect reasonably high output and throw (scroll down for full testing results).
Note that while I haven't shown it here, the collimator head for the 7G5-V2 also fits and works on the 7G5CS.
User interface has changed completely from the earlier 7G5 lights (and is considerably improved now, in my view).
The 7G5CS uses a forward tailcap clicky for on/off - press and release for momentary on, click for locked on. The light always comes on in Max output mode (i.e., there is no mode memory). Note that there can sometimes be a brief flicker when first activating the tail switch (i.e., when it hasn't been used in a while, it seems to move through Lo to Hi rapidly upon activation)
Mode switching is controlled by the electronic switch in the head. When On, clicking (pressing and releasing) the side switch moves through the following modes: Hi > Lo > Standby off, in repeating sequence.
Double-clicking the side switch when On enters into the blinking modes, starting with Strobe. Double-click again to advance to SOS. A single click move you back the regular sequence, starting the in the Standby off (i.e., single click again to move Max, etc.). Turning the light off-on at the rear tailcap reverts you back immediately to Max.
Pressing and holding the side switch from On begins a continuously-variable ramp in output. Initially, the light ramps down from Max to Min, and then reverses back to Max, in a repeating loop. Here's how it looks over ~21 secs or so:
Basically, nothing happens for the first ~4 secs once you hold down the switch from On. Then it ramps down rapidly over ~6 secs. It holds the lowest level for about a second or so, and then ramps back up in the same ~6sec timeframe. The light flashes 3 times when the max level is reached, and then starts ramping back down after a brief pause. Total time to ramp down and back up is ~18-19 secs.
Note that the ramping phases are not "visually-linear" in the sense that it is generally known here. Although ~6 secs is reasonable ramp time, the light steps down from Max relatively slowly over the first few seconds, and then more quickly over the last 1-2 secs (and the same in reverse going back up).
Also, there is a somewhat limited number of discrete output levels along the ramp, compared to most lights (i.e. you can see the light noticeably step down in increments, especially at the start of the decline in output).
There is mode memory for the set level from the continuously variable ramp – as long as you don't turn the light off at the tailcap. If you only cycle through levels by using the side switch, the light will continue to come back to your temporarily memorized set level. This means you change the default Max or Lo mode temporarily – the light reverts to the standard levels for these upon rear switch reactivation.
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.
There is no sign of PWM on the 7G5CS. There is no visible flicker at any level
There is however a re-occurring signal at a high frequency:
In the example above (from the default Lo mode), I detected a 15.8 kHz noise pattern. A similar pattern was observed on Max, at 15.5 kHz. Again this signal is not PWM, and it is not visually detectable.
The 7G5CS has a typical "tactical" strobe mode of 9.7 Hz.
Since the secondary switch is an electronic switch with a standby "off" mode, there needs to be a standby current when in this mode (with the tailcap clicky in the On position). I am not able to measure it accurately, however. As the light always comes on it Max output, this requires me to use the 10A port on my DMM (i.e., I would blow a fuse if I used my uA/mA port to connect the batteries to the light). When I switch down to the standby "off" of the secondary switch, the resulting current is too low for my DMM to read on the 10A port.
I presume this standby current is fairly low (given I couldn’t detect it on the 10A port). But to be on the safe side, I recommend you store the light clicked off at the tailcap (or twisted off for lockout) when not in use.
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.
As expected, the beam pattern is somewhat intermediate to the older 7G5 V2 and the Sunwayman T40CS. Spillbeam is a little wider now on the 7G5CS, and the hotspot is a bit wider but more sharply defined than the 7G5 V2. The net effect is actually a fairly pleasant beam for a thrower light.
I've put the 3x18650 Crelant 7G9 into the mix above, as I find the 7G5CS is very close to it in terms of peak throw. Please not that my 7G9 seems to be a lower performer than some of the others that were tested here.
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 of these shots (I was wearing a brighter-than-usual red headlamp during this excursion ).
First, how it compares to the 7G5 V2:
Here it is against a few other top-performing lights of this 2x18650 class:
As you also saw in the white wall beamshots, the 7G5CS has a wider spill than the 7G5 V2, with a slightly wider and more intense hotspot. It definitely competes well, and is currently top of class for output and throw among my 2x18650 lights.
Here are zoomed-in pics of the hotspots:
The focusing is a little off, but again, you can see the 7G5CS basically has a slightly broader and less sharply defined hotspot than the 7G5 V2. Peak throw is a bit higher on the 7G5CS as well.
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).
The first observation is that the 7G5CS has slightly greater output and throw than the previous 7G5 V2. In fact, output and peak throw are actually very similar to my 7G9 (although my 7G9 sample seems to a lower performer than most). These numbers confirm what I saw visually – I recommend you check out the beamshots above to get a better idea of how the beam of all these lights look.
The output and throw measures are also pretty close to what Crelant reports for the light. At least in terms of beam distance (i.e. "500m" reported, which matches my result). There seems to be an error on the 7G5CS box in regards to the peak beam intensity.
I've also included in this table the results with the optional collimator head (i.e., aspheric head). This head was released for the 7G5-V2, and also fits on the 7G5CS. You can learn more about it in this post from my 7G5-V2 review. To make sense of the table, the main peak distance and throw values for the collimator head are based on the typical, or average intensity, around the centre of the hotspot (as this is more indicative of actual performance). I have put in square brackets the absolute peak values I measured, which is based on regional areas of high intensity near the bond wire projections. These are highly variable, though - I recommend you stick with the typical values as a better indicator of how the collimator performs relative to the reflectored version.
On max, the 7G5CS is a top output performer in the 2x18650 class. Runtime is consistent with the output level. Note that I use lower capacity 2200mAh cells in my testing, so I expect Crelant's max runtime specs are accurate for modern higher capacity cells.
The 7G5CS is reasonably flat-regulated on max output on both 2x18650 and 4xCR123A. Interestingly, there is an abrupt shut-off on primary CR123A as the batteries start to run down. This is unusual, as most lights just show a gradual dimming in output (which is preferable for primary CR123A).
At lower levels, the 7G5CS show a more semi-regulated pattern, with a slow drop-off over time. However, the light continues to hit an abrupt shut-down point while output is still reasonably high. I did notice a brief low-voltage warning set of flashes a few minutes before the shut-down came on all the 2x18650 runs, though. You can see evidence of it around the ~345 minute mark on the ~40% run (it was too brief to capture on my other runs, but it was there).
Overall output/runtime efficiency is certainly good for the class.
Light lacks a memory mode, and always comes on in Hi. There is a temporary memory mode for the continuously-variable set level, as long as you don't click the light off at the tailcap (i.e., memory so long as you only cycle through the side electronic mode switch).
Light has a standby mode through the electronic side switch, which would require a stand-by current. But this is easily cut by clicking off at the tailcap switch, or locking out the light at the tailcap.
Continuously-variable ramp is fairly quick, with a lower number of discrete levels than typical (i.e., can notice the step down between individual levels). However, it is almost unheard of to find continuously-variable ramps on high-output lights like this, so it is quite a bonus.
Light shows an abrupt shut-down on both 2x18650 and 4xCR123A as the batteries near the end of their capacity. Most lights show a gradual drop-off in output on CR123A. Note the previous 7G5 V2 couldn't take 4xCR123A, although it could run on 1x18650 (which the 7G5CS can't). I did notice a brief set of flashes a few minutes before the shut-downs came on 2x18650 (i.e., serves as a low-voltage warning). Not sure if it also occurs on the 4xCR123A run (I wasn't watching intently, sorry).
The tailcap switch is recessed, and may be hard to access for clicked-on. The light can now tailstand, however. The side switch button is fairly small, and may be hard to feel with gloves on.
I'll get right to the point – in almost every way, the 7G5CS is an improvement over the earlier 7G5 V2.
The most obvious question in most people's mind would be the output – the 7G5CS is slightly brighter, with slightly greater throw than the 7G5 V2. The 7G5CS beam pattern is slightly different, with a wider spillbeam and more defined hotspot now (i.e., sort of intermediate between the 7G5 V2 and the Sunwayman T40CS)
But the 7G5CS is a considerable improvement in terms of interface. Gone is the simple Hi > Lo > Strobe, replaced with a more sophisticated two-switch UI. I like the hidden strobe modes now. And I am particularly impressed to see a continuously-variable ramp here – that popular interface is virtually unheard of on high-output lights, for some reason. Note that you can only temporarily reset the default Hi and Lo modes of the 7G5CS through the ramp with the secondary switch – once you break the current at the tailcap, the light reverts to default settings (i.e. Hi first, no memory mode).
The physical build has also improved over the 7G5 V2 (e.g., the light features anodized screw threads for lock-out now). Some aspects are relative, though (i.e., light can tailstand now, but the tail switch may be harder to access). Circuit-wise, the 7G5CS now supports 4xCR123A. However, 1x18650 is no longer an option.
In terms of performance, output/runtime efficiency was good (especially for a continuously-variable light). The 7G5CS was fully flat-regulated on Max, and showed a semi-regulated pattern on the lower outputs. One quirk here – the light terminates abruptly on all battery sources, at all levels. There was a brief series of flashes several minutes before the light shut-off, however (i.e., serves as a limited low voltage warning). Also, in terms of the circuit, I saw no sign of PWM - my light was flicker-free in use.
So, to answer the question I posed in the opening of the review – yes, I believe it is indeed appropriate to consider the 7G5CS a whole new light. It is the successor to the popular 7G5 V2, not a revision of it.
Given the continued relatively low price for this model (i.e., <$100), the 7G5CS seems to be an outstanding "budget" option for those looking for a high output thrower. Significantly, it even matched my 7G9 for both overall output and throw on max (although my 7G9 seems to be a lower performer than most). At the moment, the 7G5CS is in fact my "throw king" in the 2x18650 class of lights I have on hand. With the build and UI improvements over the earlier 7G5 V2, I can see the 7G5CS getting a lot of interest here.
7G5CS provided by Crelant for review.