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Thread: ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

  1. #1

    Default ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

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    Skilhunt has long been a maker of high quality professional flashlights. The DS10 is the smallest of Skilhunt's new DS series, featuring an electronic side switch and a strong magnet in the tail cap.

    Thanks to Skilhunt for providing the DS10 for review.


    I’ll be reviewing the DS10 in two sections: first, I’ll discuss the light objectively (the facts about the light itself), then I’ll discuss the light subjectively (my impressions about the light's performance when used for specific applications). If you have any other specific applications you'd like the light tested for, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

    Video Review

    Below is a video review of the DS10. Due to my old image hosting site closing down, I've got new restrictions on image uploads and have replaced the "Construction" section of my reviews with a more detailed video review.


    This video is available in 1080p HD, but defaults to a lower quality. To select the playback quality click the settings button (looks like a gear) after you've started the video.


    Objective

    Manufacturer's Specifications

    Price: 40 USD





    Dimensions




    Plus, here's a few shots with some good detail.










    User Interface

    The DS10 shares an interface with other models in the DS series, controlled by a single electronic side switch (a magnet in the tail has replaced the traditional tail switch).

    To turn the light on in the last brightness mode used, press the switch once quickly. Once on, a single quick click rotates through the sequence Low -> Medium -> High -> Turbo. Two quick clicks switches to strobe mode. To turn the light off, hold down on the switch for about a second.

    Also, when the light is off, you have direct access to the Low mode by holding down the switch for a second instead of a quick click, or direct access to Turbo by using two quick clicks. The result is that when the light is off, you can always turn it on in Low, Turbo, or the last used brightness setting.


    Action Shots

    You can click on any of these shots to see them full size.

    Light in Hand


    White Wall (Low, Medium, High)
    ISO 100, f/3.5, 1/20"


    BeamSlice


    MugShot


    Indoor Shots (Low, Medium, High)
    ISO 100, f/3.5, 1"


    Outdoor Shots (
    Low, Medium, High)
    ISO 100, f/3.5, 2.5"


    Long-Range Shots (
    High)
    ISO 100, f/3.5, 5"



    Performance

    Submersion: I submersed the DS10 under a foot of water for about an hour, clicking the switch several times. I found no evidence of water entering or damaging the light.

    Heat: The DS10 produces no noticeable increase in heat during any mode of the DS10.

    PWM: I found no evidence of pulse width modulation on any mode of the DS10.

    Drop: I dropped the DS10 from about a meter onto various surfaces (including grass, carpet, dirt, and hard wood), and found no cosmetic or functional damage.

    Reverse Polarity Protection: Skilhunt claims reverse polarity protection on the DS10, so I inserted the battery backwards and attempted to turn on the light. When the battery was corrected, correct function resumed.

    Over-Discharge Protection: The DS10 includes a low voltage indicator that flashes red when the battery voltage is low, and the battery should be replaced or recharged at such a time.


    Spectral Analysis


    All light that we see as white is actually made up of several different colors put together. The relative intensities of the different colors in the mix are what determine the tint of the white we see. For example, cool white LED's have a lot of blue, and warm white LED's have more red or yellow. This measurement was done on a home made spectrometer. The plot below the picture is corrected for the spectral sensitivity of the human eye. Note: the peak in the 900nm region doesn't really exist, it's a piece of the second-order spectrum that's showing up here because of the high intensity of the light source.

    Output and Runtime


    ANSI FL-1 runtime ratings are the time it takes for a light to fall to 10% of it's original output (counting from 30 seconds after turning the light on).

    The vertical axis of the graphs below represents a relative brightness measurement using a home made light box. The horizontal axis is time in hours:minutes:seconds. Runtimes are stated in hours:minutes:seconds. These graphs may be truncated to show detail.

    Mode Comparison


    Turbo


    High



    Throwing Distance

    ANSI FL-1 standard for stating a light's throwing distance is the distance at which the peak beam intensity (usually at the center of the beam) is 0.25 lux. I calculate throwing distance and candela (lux at 1 meter) by measuring peak beam intensity at five different distances and using the formula lux*distance^2=constant.


    Peak Beam Intensity: 2034 cd
    Throw Distance: 90 m


    Subjective Review

    Quick break down:

    + Tiny
    + Powerful magnet in tail
    + Reasonable output levels
    + Direct access to Low or Turbo from off
    + Strobe hidden
    + Low voltage indicator
    + Good output regulation
    + Smooth brightness transitions

    - Could be brighter
    - Long press required to turn off

    The DS10 is an excellent light for a low price, and has all the quality I expect from a Skilhunt light. I'll get one of the two negatives out of the way immediately: the fairly low max brightness. For today's lights, 300 lumens isn't really exceptional when li-ion batteries are involved. In my opinion, the DS10 could be made to have a higher max brightness, but in reality, it's not necessary. The DS10 is an EDC-type of light, small enough to be carried every day and not be obtrusive. 300 lumens is plenty of light for most tasks, and if you anticipate a need for more then it's likely you'll carry a different light to have available. Also, my current EDC has a max of 180 lumens, and it's never a problem, so take that into consideration.

    This brings me to what I like about the light. First, it's tiny (the second smallest CR123 light I have, the smallest is a twisty-only with no switch) so that it can be carried easily even in small pockets, or even clipped to the brim of a hat. Second, the tail has a very impressive magnet. You can see the video above to see just how strong the magnet is. I've seen other lights with magnets in the tail, but this is the first one I've used that was a high quality light, the others being the kind of cheep thing you find at a chain hardware store. The magnet is exceedingly useful for keeping the light where you want it in a variety of situations (I anticipate keeping this in the car as an emergency light, with a lithium battery installed).

    I really like the UI of the DS series. Having a single switch keeps things simple, and the strobe mode is hidden well enough that I have not yet activated it by accident. Having direct access to Low or Turbo brightness is a great feature. One of my biggest pet peeves in a flashlight is having to subject my night-adapted vision to high brightness modes before I can reach the low brightness mode I want. Also, there are always situations where you need to very quickly access the maximum brightness possible. My only problem with the interface of the DS10 is that when the flashlight is on, a quick click changes the brightness mode and you need to hold the button down for a second to turn the light off--I would much rather do a long press to change modes and be able to turn the light off with a quick click.

    Skilhunt has done a good job of paying attention to detail, so that the DS10 is a high quality light with all the little things done well. It's got good output regulation, well-chosen output levels, stainless steel bezel, good clip design, heat dissipation fins, attractive design, low voltage indication light, smooth transitions between brightness levels, etc.

    Overall, the DS10 is an excellent compact light, with great features that are difficult to find all together at a better price. If you're looking for a compact, high quality, simple interfaced, EDC-style light, the DS10 would be an excellent choice.


    Long Term Impressions
    I'll fill this part in after carrying the light for a while. If nothing get's added here, either I find nothing else worth noting about the light, or I end up not using it often.
    Last edited by Bigmac_79; 06-06-2014 at 03:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* RI Chevy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

    Excellent review! Thank you for doing this for us.

  3. #3

    Default Re: ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

    Quote Originally Posted by RI Chevy View Post
    Excellent review! Thank you for doing this for us.
    Thanks

  4. #4

    Default Re: ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

    Nice job, thanks for the review. Looks tempting and will be checking on prices and availability.

  5. #5

    Default Re: ReviewTheLight: Skilhunt DS10

    Turbo graph has been updated, the first one was bad due to and instrumentation failure.

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