Warning: even more pic heavy than usual.
Welcome to the Crelant 7G10. This is my second review of a Cree MT-G2-equipped light, following on from the Niwalker Black Light Vostro BK-FA02 last month. The build and interface of the 7G10 will seem familiar to those who have one of the 7GxCS-series lights, but with a few twists in this case. Scroll on gentle reader, to learn more …
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: CREE MT-G2
- Maximum output: 1860 lumens (ANSI FL-1 standard)
- High efficient constant current circuit and output-luminance
- Durable, custom-designed Microcontroller drive circuit
- Side switch and mode changing infinitely variable brightness
(Hidden Strobe and SOS, quickly click side switch twice).
- Working voltage: 5.4V--12V DC
- Battery Types Supported: 4 x 18650
- Runtime: High output at 3 A: 1860 lumens for 130 minutes.
- Runtime: Low output at 0.01A: 1 lumen max for 1000 hours
- Effective range of 550 meters
- Mil. Spec. Type III hard anodized aircraft grade 6063-T6 aluminum alloy
- Color: Black
- Ergonomic grip with anti-roll design
- Bezel: stainless steel
- High performance aluminum OP 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
- Lens: Toughened & ultra-clear coated and anti-abrasive glass
- Dimensions: Length 198mm, Head Diameter 79mm ,body 54mm
- Weight: 644g excluding battery
- Accessories: Lanyard, spare o-ring
- Specially designed for Military, Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search& Rescue and Outdoorsman
- Newly designed high efficiency broad voltage drive circuit maintains constant
brightness and maximal runtime
- IPX-8 standard waterproof
- MSRP: $158 (but you can find it for less)
One of my complaints with the 7G9 was the rather flimsy packaging it came in. I am glad Crelant has updated this for the 7G10, which comes in a much thicker cardboard box with proper cut-out packing foam. A good thing too, as there was damage to my box in one corner during postal shipping – but the light inside was fine. Along with the light, you get a decent wrist lanyard, extra o-rings and a manual.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Crelant 7G10; Niwalker Black Light Vostro BK-FA02; Skilhunt K30; Fenix TK75; Crelant 7G9.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):
Crelant 7G10: Weight 643.4g (827g with 4x18650), Length: 198mm, Width (bezel): 79.0mm
Crelant 7G9: Weight: 482.2g (634g with 3x18650), Length: 188mm, Width (bezel): 64.0mm, Width (tailcap): 46.7mm
Eagletac MX25L2:Weight: 468.7g (with battery pack: 744.2g), Length: 266mm, Width (bezel): 62.0mm
Foursevens S18: Weight: 700g (800g with 6xCR123A), Length: 233mm, Width (bezel) 63.0mm
Fenix TK75: Weight: 516.0g (700g with 4x18650), Length: 184mm, Width (bezel): 87.5mm
Niwalker Black Light BK-FA02: Weight: 689g (873g with 4x18650), Length: 208mm, Width (bezel): 80.0mm, Width (tailcap): 51.9mm
Olight SR95: Weight: 1,224g (with battery pack), Length: 323mm, Width (bezel): 87mm
Skilhunt K30: Weight: 636.0g (773g with 3x18650), Length: 199m, Width (bezel): 76.0mm
Thrunite TN31: Weight: 572g (est 724g with 3x18650), Length: 203mm, Width (bezel): 79.0mm, Width (tailcap): 49.0mm
Xtar S1 Production: Weight: 876.0g (est. 1028g with 3x18650 protected), Length: 240mm, Width (bezel): 83.4mm
The 7G10 fits in well with other 3x and 4x18650 lights in this space.
Overall build is in keeping with the Crelant 7GxCS-series lights – just on a larger scale. Anodizing is a matte black, and seems to be of decent quality. There are no obvious chips or damage on my sample, but I have seen some on my other Crelant lights. Labels are bright white and clear, well centered, and include a serial number.
As on previously lights, knurling is rather weak (i.e. smooth), but the additional ridges and other build elements help with grip. Overall, I would rate the grip as reasonable.
Light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring. The light can tailstand stably, and there is a single hole that you could thread a wrist strap through (although that would limit tailstanding).
As with the 7GxCS-series lights, the 7G10 uses a side electronic switch in the head to control output modes. Scroll down for a discussion of the user interface.
Screw threads are traditional triangular-cut. As with many Crelant lights, there are not anodized – although that wouldn't matter much here, as it is the tension of the springs against the battery carrier that determines whether you make contact or not. Note that like some of the other Crelant lights, I found the threads a bit rough when tightening - especially over the area where the o-ring is present. Be careful you don't have the o-ring bulge out while tightening.
Note that there is a tripod screw point on the back of the light, opposite from the switch. However, this is not very useful, as the raised ridges of the head (a quarter-inch away) prevents you from screwing the light onto a standard tripod mount.
The 7G10 uses a battery carrier for its four 18650 cells, arranged in a 2s2p arrangement (i.e., two parallel channels of two cells in series). While the carrier seems of good quality overall, with solid metal end pieces and firm struts, the center contact points project out from the end pieces. This increases the risk of shorting the carrier when cells are loaded (i.e., most carriers have recessed center contacts, to minimize this risk). So be careful not the lay the carrier on its end on a metal surface, when cells are loaded.
Also, one of the center contact points came unscrewed on my sample (i.e., I found it loose inside the light upon receipt). It screwed back in fine, but this seems to be an unusual oversight when shipping out a light. Another distinctive feature is that there are four springs in the tail of the light, to connect to the negative terminal of the carrier.
There are some quirks to the interface, in relation to connecting the light with fresh cells installed. See my User Interface section below for a discussion.
All of my high-capacity 3100mAh cells fit comfortably into the light, for both height and width. If anything, you may find smaller cells are a bit loose inside the carrier.
The reflector is a good size, lightly textured (light orange peel) finish. The reflector has approximately the same width at the opening as the Niwalker BK-FA02, but it is not quite as deep. As a result, I don't expect the 7G10 will throw quite as far, but should still be in the same general ball park.
As with the BK-FA02, I imagine that it's the emitter that has really caught most people's attention. Relatively unknown in the flashlight world until recently, the Cree MT-G2 "Easywhite" series was designed for higher voltage, high-output directional lighting applications (i.e., as a replacement for classic halogen bulbs in accent lighting, track lights, etc.). Please see the Cree MT-G2 spec sheet for more info.
As you can tell, the MT-G2 is a remarkably large emitter, with a dome diameter of almost 8.9mm (vs. 5mm on a XM-L2, for example). Of course, what really matters is the surface area of the die underneath, which is only 2x2mm on the XM-L2. I am not sure of the actual die dimensions on the MT-G2, but as you will see in the blow-up pic below from my BK-FA02 (with the light on), there appears to be a grid of 72 distinct segments.
The result of this is that you should expect these lights to be relatively balanced in their output (i.e., not heavily focused for throw, although the large reflectors will help).
I note that the MT-G2 also comes in a wide variety of relatively warm defined tint bins – 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, and 5000K color temperature – with a minimum CRI of 70-75, depending on the tint bin. Cree also offers higher 80 CRI at the cooler end of the tint bins, and guaranteed 90 CRI at the warmer end of the tint bins (presumably for increased cost).
I don't know if a defined tint bin is used in the 7G10, but my sample seems to be pretty similar to the "Neutral White" Niwalker reports for their model.
User interface is similar to the 7GxCS lights. 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.
Unfortunately, the 7G10 turns on immediately in max Hi as soon as you start the screw on the head. Rather than coming "on" in standby (which would have been sensible), you get full power the whole time you are trying to screw the head onto the light. You need to click down to Lo, and then to standby off, every time you change the batteries.
As before, double-clicking the side switch when On enters into the blinking modes, starting with Strobe. Double-click again to advance to SOS. Double-clicking a third time advance you to Standby. A single click move you back to the regular constant output sequence, starting the in the Standby mode.
In either Hi or Lo, pressing and holding the side switch 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. The light retains the memory of the user-set levels, until you break the current by fully removing the head.
Here's how the ramp looks:
The ramp on the 7G10 is faster than the other 7GxCS-series lights I've tested, such as the 7G3CS shown above. As before, there is a slight pause when first holding down the switch. Then the light ramps down over ~5 secs. It holds the lowest level for about a second or so, and then ramps back up in the same ~5 sec timeframe. The light flashes 3 times when the max level is reached, and then starts ramping back down after a brief pause. Overall duration (Max to Max) is ~12secs, compared to ~17secs on the other 7GxCS-series lights. The 7G10 also doesn't go down as low as those lights.
As mentioned above, there is mode memory for the set level from the continuously variable ramp – as long as you don't break the current by unscrewing the head from the body. So, when cycling through levels, the light will continue to come back to your temporarily memorized set level at each point. Note that the default Lo mode is not the minimum brightness of the light – you can temporarily set it a bit lower if you like.
For more information on the overall build and user interface of the BK-series, please see my video overview:
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.
As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.
There is no evidence of pulse width modulation (PWM) that I can see – the 7G10 is either current-controlled, or the frequency is too high for me to detect. There is some high frequency noise detectable in my setup:
Again, this variable circuit signal is not PWM, and it is not visible to the eye. It is not uncommon to see high frequency noise on some lights. The signal intensity seems to correlate with output level, further indicating that it is not related to PWM.
Strobe is a fairly typical 9.9Hz in my testing.
The 7G10 also has a fairly typical SOS mode.
Due to the electronic control switch, the 7G10 will always be drawing a current when the body/carrier is connected to the head. I am not able to measure it, however, as the light always come on it Max output (i.e., requiring me to use the 10A port on my DMM, which isn't sensitive enough to measure this current). I had the same issue on the Crelant 7G3CS/7G6CS.
As a result, I would recommend you store the light without the battery carrier installed, when not in use. Unfortunately, you cannot break the current by unscrewing the head, due to the tension on the springs.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on their standard battery, or AW protected 18650 2200mAh for the multi-18650 lights. Lights are 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.
Note: Automatic color balance is used in all these beam shots, to minimize the visual effect of tint differences. In real life, the 7G10 and BK-FA02 are definitely Neutral White.
The 7G10 has a wider spillbeam than most lights in this class, with a very clean overall beam profile. Compared to my only other MT-G2-equipped light at the moment - the Niwalker BK-FA02 - the 7G10 has less overall output on max, but with a more sharply defined (and wider) hotspot. Overall peak throw is a little lower than the BK-FA02.
For 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).
FYI, any "streaks" you see across the images are bug-trails. Flying insects are often attracted to the bright lights, and their flight trails get captured as swirly streaks due to the long exposure time.
As you can see above, the main difference between the 7G10 and Niwalker BK-FA02 is in the spillbeam width and intensity. The 7G10 is a good comparable for multiple-emitter lights – but with a much smoother spillbeam (and free of artifacts). The 7G10 has greater throw than the Thrunite TN30, but not as great as the Fenix TK75.
Here is a blow-up of the center of the images, to allow you to better compare the peak throw:
Again, ignore any tint differences above – they are mainly due to the automatic white balance setting on the camera.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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).
First off, I am happy to report that the Crelant max output measure for the 7G10 seems pretty consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard, according to my testing. However, the minimum output is higher than the various 7GxCS lights I've tested – and it certainly nowhere near the reported "1 lumen" spec.
In beam terms, my 7G10 sample was measured at 54,500 cd (lux @1m equivalent), with an ANSI FL-1 beam distance of 467m. I am not sure what to make of Crelant's "effective range of 550 meters" - unless they think that 0.18 lux brightness at over half a kilometer distance from the user is all that useful to the naked eye.
I find ANSI FL-1 Beam Distance is often misunderstood – it is not meant to be an "effective range", but one that conforms to an arbitrary brightness level. The ANSI FL-1 standard is for beam distance to 0.25 lux (i.e., a full moon at night). For a heavy thrower, this is obviously not that meaningful in absolute terms - but it does give you an objective way to compare relative beam distances between lights.
What you need to keep in mind is that the relative beam distance relationships hold linearly, even if you pick a higher (or lower) target lux value - as long as you are consistent about it. So to use an example in this case, the Niwalker BK-FA01 has a consistently 12% greater beam distance, for any given intensity value.
At the end of the day, the 7G10 performs as I would expect for a light (and reflector) this size. And while this is in the same beam range as many 3xXM-L lights, the larger MT-G2 emitter gives a very smooth beam profile in comparison (see pics above).
Frankly, the continuously-variable ramp is a nice bonus here too, as it allows you set whatever level you like between the min and max outputs shown in the table above.
For the first set of graphs, I will provide an estimated lumen output scale.
I like to start off with a comparison to how modern protected 3100mAh cells built around the Panasonic NCR18650A core compare to my testing standard of AW protected 2200mAh 18650 cells. As you can see, you get a longer regulated runtime on max, but the real difference is in the extended runtime once the light falls out of regulation.
For all my runtimes below, AW protected 2200mAh cells are shown. Let's see how it directly compares to the Niwalker BK-FA02, at roughly comparable output levles.
Basically, the max mode of the 7G10 is very similar to the sub-maximal level of the Niwalker BK-FA02 (i.e. L5). For all lower outputs, when matched approximately for comparable level, you can see the 7G10 performs pretty much the same as the BK-FA02. This is an efficient direct-drive-like pattern overall.
One feature I like is the termination once the output has dropped to a very low level (i.e. <10% initial output). This means that you won't accidentally over-discharge your 18650s at a prolonged low drive current, but still have plenty of warning that your batteries are nearly depleted.
To show you how this compares to other lights in this output class, I have returned to my standard lightbox relative output graphs:
Basically, output/runtime performance is similar to a number of 3xXM-L lights (at least at the higher levels). At lower outputs though, you can see that a good current-controlled 3xXM-L will outperform the 7G10. This is as you would expect, given the additional efficiency benefit of driving multiple emitters to lower outputs (compared to a single emitter at higher output).
Regulation pattern is not that different either. Note that the output drop on the direct-drive-like 7G10 is far too gradual for you to notice – to all appearance by eye, the light will seem flatly regulated.
Note that as expected, the 7G10 is a better performer than the 7G9 (1xXM-L) that I tested.
Due to the electronic switch, the light has a stand-by current when the head is in contact with the body/carrier. I was unable to measure this current, due to the initial max power activation. Unfortunately, the only way to break this current is to completely remove the head – no physical or electronic lockout is provided.
The light comes on at max output every time you begin attaching the head to body. Once you get it started a few turns, you need to click the switch twice to turn it off (i.e., move to Lo and then Standby).
The screw threads were rather gritty on my sample, even when lubed appropriately.
Like the other MT-G2 light I've tested (BK-FA02), the 7G10 shows a mainly direct-drive-like pattern at all levels. Note that direct-drive is actually more efficient than full circuit control, but a single emitter light will never be as efficient as mutli-emitter LEDs driven to lower individual outputs (for the same combined output).
The lowest output level is much higher than the reported spec, but still reasonable for the high-output class (i.e., closer to ~45-50 lumens in my testing).
The light has only a very basic lanyard attachment hole in the base.
One of the battery carrier center column contact points came unscrewed on my sample (loose inside the light). I screwed back in place, and it has held consistently during testing.
The Crelant 7G10 is the second MT-G2-equipped, 4x18650 light that I have tested - and it performs fairly similar to the Niwalker BK-FA02 in terms of beam pattern and output/runtime performance. What differentiates these lights is the build and user interface.
Physically, I would say that the 7G10 is consistent with other recent Crelant lights that I have reviewed recently. I would consider Crelant as a high-end budget light maker, with a lot features packed into an economical build. While not as physically robust as the Niwalker models, the 7G10 is a solid light that has performed consistently in my testing. That said, I do find the screw threads a little basic (anodizing for lock-out would have been nice), and the battery carrier is not quite as solid as some others.
Feature-wise, the 7G10 is more advanced in the sense that you have two output levels that can be set according to a continuously-variable ramp. Coupled with the lack of visible PWM, this is an impressive feature set for a high output light.
However, the interface is marred somewhat by the lack of a physical or electronic lock-out. Also, when first connecting, the light should start in Standby, not Max - full-power-output as soon as you start to screw the head onto the body is rather annoying. You also need to cycle through both output modes before being able to turn off the light. Basically, the UI feels somewhat rushed - it appears that they directly ported the 7GxCS side-switch interface onto this model without consideration of the missing on/off clicky switch here.
The reflector puts out a nice quality beam, with a slightly wider than typical spillbeam, with reasonably good throw. The Niwalker model has a slight edge for overall output and throw, but you would only notice that if you held them side-by-side. I quite like the MT-G2 emitter coupled with such a larger reflector – you get the output and throw of a typical 3xXM-L light, with none of the spill artifacts.
Another thing I particularly like about MT-G2 series is the range of warm-neutral tints. YMMV, but my 7G10 is the same sort of soft "neutral white" tint as my Niwalker samples. I can see why Cree would market this emitter class as replacements for incandescent and halogen lights in the home.
The 7G10 is a good performing light, with a lot going for it – but I would like to see Crelant customize the user interface for this particular build. In any case, it is nice see another example of the MT-G2 emitter.
7G10 provided by MD-lightsource.com for review, on behalf of Crelant.