Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
Reviewer's Note: This is a review of a custom light, from the One Stop Throw Shop (formerly known as OMG Lumens) run by CPF builder saabluster (aka Michael Johnson).
Michael (saabluster) is well known for his specialty of making maximally-driven, throw-focused lights. He has recently ventured a little further afield, with his first flooder – and a rather unique one at that - the REV Captor.
The first thing eagle-eyed readers might notice is the great similarity of the physical build of the REV Captor to the Supbeam X40. This is not entirely surprising, as Supbeam functions as an OEM supplier to other flashlight makers (as well as producing lights under their own name). The REV Captor is a unique light, made to Michael's specifications. So while there are bound to be some similarities in form and function to the X40, you can rest assured the REV Captor is a unique light with its own set of distinctive features.
As always, I will put this light through its paces using my standard testing protocol (as well as a few new measures). Let's start with the manufacturer's specs:
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer reports. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- LED: three Cree XM-L2 LEDs (2 cool white and 1 warm white for enhanced CRI)
- Runs on (3) 18650 rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries sold separately. You absolutely must use high quality "protected" cells.
- Max 2500 lumens output
- Infinite brightness magnetic control ring ,minimum brightness : 3 lumen ,fully variable from minimum 20 lumen to maximum 2500 lumens; - Max viewing distance is about 300' depending on ambient weather and light as well as target albedo
- Working voltage: 4V to 13V.
- Max runtime: 1200 hours.
- Impact resistant: 1.2 meters.
- Waterproof to IPX-6
- Size: 181(L)x 68.00(bezel diameter) unit: mm.
- Weight: 520g without battery.
- Stainless 304 bezel and rotate-ring
- Can directly recharge batteries with included magnetic charge cable. Comes with an AC-DC adapter and a car charger for charging the batteries inside the flashlight at home or on the go.
- Aircraft grade aluminum body structure.
- Premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish.
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating.
- Momentary forward click tactical switch.
- Stand-by mode for easy on-off switching in session
- Tactical knurling for firm grip.
- Mechanical reversed polarity protection design for battery carrier.
- Intelligent highly efficient circuit board design for max performance
and long run time.
- Specially designed for Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search & Rescue and Outdoor activities.
- Intelligent temperature controlled light output for user safety.
- Regarding Charging: Input : 5V DC Output : 4.2V DC/500MA *3 MAX
- Charging time: depends on the capacity of the batteries , Charging time = battery capacity/500mA + 0.5 hour
- Comes with: REV Captor, carrying case, spare O-rings, magnetic USB charging cord, car charging adapter, home AC charging adapter(US style), holster, user manual, and lanyard.
- This is also covered by our standard limited lifetime warranty.
- MSRP: $349
The REV Captor came in the standard Supbeam presentation-style case, with metal closing flap and hinges. Inside, in cut-out packing foam, was the light along with a wrist lanyard, belt holster with closing flap, extra o-rings, spare tail switch boot cover, USB charging cable with AC adapter and DC car adapter, manual, and business card from the One Stop Throw Shop.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; REV Captor; L3 (Supbeam) X40; Supbeam K50; Olight SR52.
All dimensions are directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
REV Captor: Weight: 498.3g (~637g with 3x18650), Length: 182mm, Width (bezel): 68.0mm
L3 Illumination (Supbeam) X40: Weight: 517.2g (~655g with 3x18650), Length: 182mm, Width (bezel): 68.0mm
SupBeam K50vn: Weight: 645.9g, Length: 230mm, Width (bezel): 90.1mm
SupBeam K50: Weight: 645.0g, Length: 230mm, Width (bezel): 90.1mm
Fenix TK61: Weight: 605.7g (790g with 4x18650), Length: 218mm, Width (bezel): 96.0mm
Fenix TK61vn: Weight: 608.0g (792g with 4x18650), Length: 218mm, Width (bezel): 96.0mm
Fenix TK75: Weight: 516.0g (~700g with 4x18650), Length: 184mm, Width (bezel): 87.5mm
Nitecore TM15: Weight: 450.6g (~634g with 4x18650). Length: 158mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Sunwayman T60CS: Weight: 338.9g (~477g with 3x18650), Length: 145.0mm, Width (bezel): 60.0mm
The physical build of the REV Captor is similar to the Supbeam X40, with a few significant exceptions. Let's start with the common elements. Like the X40, anodizing is a flat black, with aggressive knurling present over most of the handle. Combined with the control ring flats and heatsink fins in the head, I would say overall grip is pretty good. Light can roll fairly easily, but the indented flats in the head help limit that somewhat.
Labels are sharp and clear, and include a small indentation below the control ring filled with GITD paint on the REV Captor. This is to help you orient the light (more on that in a moment).
There are flat indents on the control ring to help with feel. There is a label mark on the control ring that lines up with the labels on the head. Going clockwise, the output modes are min output "3 lms" (first detent), lowest level of the continuously-variable ramp (second detent), output ramp, "max" output (third detent) and "standny" (fourth detent). Unlike the X40, there is no strobe mode on the REV Captor. The detents are firm at each level, with even resistance across the ramp area.
Screw threads are traditional triangular cut, but seem of good quality. They are anodized for lock-out.
The light can tailstand stably, and the tailcap cut-outs facilitate access to the switch. Switch is a forward clicky switch (i.e., press for momentary, click for locked-on). Switch feel has a slightly longer traverse than typical, with a definite click. There is a charging dock in the tail that connects to the supplied USB-cable. See below for a discussion.
There is also a small LED indicator next to the charging dock. It is green when the light is on and the batteries are well charged (or, when charging, if the batteries are fully charged). It is orange when on and the batteries are partially discharged. It is red when on and the batteries are running low (or when batteries are being charged), and flashing red when the on and the batteries are <10% (or if there is a fault when charging and the charger has shut-off).
There is a triple set of springs in the base of the battery tube that make contact with the carrier. Normally, a single spring would be needed for simple operation, and two springs for in-series charging. The addition of a third spring (along with a more complex wiring design inside the carrier) allows the light to actually charge the cells in parallel, not series. This is a much safer way to charge cells. FYI, I notice the contact board says SupBeam …
Let's take a closer look at the battery carrier:
As you can clearly see above, this is the exact same carrier sold on the X40 (i.e., note the model labels). This is a good quality metal battery carrier that holds 3x 18650 cells. The positive contact points inside the carrier are slightly raised, so all types of 18650 cells should work fine (i.e., true flat-tops, wide and small button-tops). Longer cells may be a bit tight with the base springs, but my protected 3100mAh cells all fit (although some wider cells may make it harder to fit the loaded carrier back into the handle). Unlike other carriers, all the cells point the same way here (i.e., negative terminals at the base, positive terminals toward the head). Again, the innovative carrier is a 3s1p arrangement for operation (i.e., all cells in series), but charges in a 1s3p arrangement (i.e., all cells in parallel).
Physically, the carrier only fits one way, with the contact board facing the springs in the tailcap. The inner-most positive contact of the carrier is recessed at both ends, and there is a large metal plate at the carrier end that contacts toward the head. Note that the negative current path is carried by the body of the light. The positive path connects through the spring in the head unit.
Note that CR123A are not supported – the REV Captor is 3x18650 only.
As with the X40 (and other Supbeam lights), the charging dock is magnetic and there is no open voltage at the tail (i.e., no risk of shorting when cells are loaded). What you see at the exterior base are two metal circular contacts – these are connected to the terminals of the carrier through the springs. The charging cable directly attaches to the external contacts through a strong magnetic connection.
Both AC and 12V DC adapters were provided.
Because of the strong magnetic pull of the charging cable head (i.e., it will attach itself to anything made of metal), I generally recommend you connect the head to the flashlight before you connect the AC/DC outlet. The risk of accidentally shorting the cable is quite low, as there is a raised plastic divider separating the inner and outer contacts on the head. But given that the magnet is fairly strong, I wouldn't want to trust that tiny bit of plastic to rule out the potential for even a momentary short.
Scroll down for some direct measures of charging time, using the USB cable with or without the AC adapter.
And now, for the truly distinctive part of the REV Captor – the head:
Ok, so what are you looking at above? The actual emitters are obscured by the "holographic" diffusion film on the lens. This produces a very unique beam pattern, as you will see later in the beamshots (i.e., it is not a standard diffuser by any means). Let's take a closer look at it:
The angled shot above shows what Michael describes as interference patterns between the smooth surfaces of the film and the glass lens. These do not affect the beam, although they do tend change subtly as the head heats up. And as you can probably guess, there are 3 XM-L2 emitters hidden behind there. Let's turn the light on low and take a look:
There are two cool white XM-L2's and one warm XM-L2 - to improve the color rendition index (CRI), and move the overall tint closer to neutral. Thanks to the heavy diffusion, the color tints blend together quite well in the beam's projection. Scroll down for a comparison of beamshots.
If you want to see what the standard X40 head looks, please check out my review of that model. As you would expect, the reflector typically has deep emitter wells, overlapping a significant amount in the middle.
Interface is generally comparable to the X40 – except Strobe has been replaced by a Standby mode on the ring of the REV Captor.
Turn the light off/on by the tailcap clicky – press for momentary, press and release (i.e., click) for constant on.
Change output modes by turning the control ring in the head. Arranged from clockwise/left-to-right (looking down at the light, held in traditional flashlight carry), the modes are detent 1 (moonlight) > detent 2 (lowest level of the ramp) > continusouly-variable ramp > detent 3 (max) > detent 4 (standby).
There is no strobe mode on the REV Captor.
Due to the unique beam profile (which spreads out horizontally), there is a GITD spot below the control ring to help you orient the light before you activate (i.e., have the spot pointing straight up). You will of course quickly figure it out once the light is on, but the spot is a useful indicator ahead of time.
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
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.
FYI, you might want to check out Michael's sales thread here on CPF for a more detailed video showing you the beam pattern. Otherwise, scroll down for my beamshots.
Like the X40, the REV Captor uses a "continuously-variable" ramp that is actually composed of a series of discrete output levels. Technically, all "continuously-variable" ramps actually have discrete levels – it is just a question of how many there are, and if you can notice the steps between them. It is hard for me to give a precise number, but I would say there are at least ~25-30 discrete levels (i.e., the same as the X40). But as these lights gradually move into each one (i.e., it is not a sharp jump), you are not likely to be able to notice the fine gradations in practice.
Since the REV Captor appears to the same as the X40 in this regard, here's the relative ramp from that review:
The raw data coming out my lightbox doesn't actually give you a good feel for how "visually linear" the X40 and REV Captor are. For that, I have plotted the results on a cube root scale, based on modern perceptual research that shows we actually perceive non-point sources of light according to this power relationship:
The REV Captor/X40 ramps look very linear to my eyes.
There is no sign of PWM on any level – I believe the light is current-controlled. Even my moonlight mode was flicker-free.
There is no strobe either.
I don't see any evidence of a significant current drain when the clicky switch is off.
There is a standby drain when the control ring is set to Standby. I measured this as 13.0mA on the REV Captor. Since the cells are in series when activated, that would translate into about ~10 days before 3100mAh cells would be fully drained. As such, I do not recommend you use the Standby mode for anything more than temporary use. Always make sure the light is clicked off at the tail (or locked out at the head) when not in use.
Because the AC charger uses a USB connector to the charging cable, I was able to take direct measures of the REV Captor charging parameters. For these measures, I am using the new Xtar VI01 "USB Detector" (basically a specialized USB current/voltage meter). This model has recently been favorably reviewed by HKJ here.
For charging tests, I started with discharged AW protected 18650 cells, measuring ~3.0-3.4V at rest. For all these tests, I left the USB detector in place during charging, and took periodic readings. Note that the voltage reading on this device refers to the input voltage (i.e., from the charging brick).
Initial charging current and input voltage:
As you can see, charging started at 1.46A with a typical USB 5.37 input voltage ("U" is meant to represent Volts on the top display above). Recall that the AC adapter has a max charging rate of 2A and 5VDC.
After 1 hour of charging, I re-measured charging current and input voltage:
As you can see, the charging current has dropped down to 1.30A at this point, with a consistent input voltage, as expected.
After 4 hours of charging:
Charging current has now dropped to 1.02A, still with a fairly consistent input voltage of 5.45V (not shown)
After 5 hours and 45 mins of charging, the indicator was showing green:
Interestingly, there was still a low current detectable here (0.17A).
However, if I unplugged and re-plugged the charger, I got 0A.
Resting voltage of the AW 2200mAh batteries was ~4.17-4.22V.
This is very reasonable charging time and acceptable resting voltage at termination.
To test how a standard USB port would work, I ran another test using a group of cells that partially discharged, down to ~3.62V each. When plugged in to AC power (using the 2A AC adapter), I got a charging current of 1.30A. Here is what I got when I then plugged the light into a standard USB 2.0 port.
As expected, the charging current was lower when run on USB (indicating that it would take longer to recharge cells by USB alone). However, this 880mA measured current exceeds the 500mA charging spec of the USB 2.0 standard. I have seen these sorts of levels on a number of USB chargers before (including all the Supbeam lights I have tested), and they have not apparently caused any problems on my USB ports. However, as I never recommend you exceed charging specs, I recommend you stick with AC or DC adapter to charge cells in this light.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on their respective max rechargeable battery sources (i.e., 18650s), 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.
OK, this should be your first indication that something funny is going on with that unique diffuser on the REV Captor.
Believe it or not, the actual output of the REV Captor is actually pretty close to the X40. Since you can't really see that in the pics above, where is all that light going?
You first clue will come from what happens if I rotate the light 90 degrees or so. In the first shot below, the GITD is pointing straight up. In the second, it is pointing to the side (pointing parallel to the ground).
As you can see the REV Captor puts out its beam of light in a narrow oval-shaped pattern. Most of the light is be shone outside of the frame of reference of the camera!
Since these up-close shots will only show you so much, let's turn to floor carpet shots:
The first image above is the standard X40, while the second two are of the REV Captor (again with the GITD perpendicular or parallel to the floor). When the GITD is facing up, the REV Captor puts out a very wide beam of light (i.e., the second pic above). But when it is turn perpendicular, you can really see how much light is restricted to that narrow band (i.e., look at how bright the center of the carpet is, from all the light pouring out one side of the light).
Based on these carpet shots alone, you would probably draw the erroneous conclusion that the REV Captor is actually brighter than the X40. As always, it is hard to find a simple method to compare two lights with such drastically different beam profiles. The REV Captor is extremely dimensionally-limited, leading to a very different emission pattern. You will therefore have to rely on a combination of beam shots to get the right impression.
While on that point, it is good to keep in mind is that the broad diffusion effect turns the entire open end of the light into (effectively) one large single emission surface. On most lights, you get instead a single (or several) ultra-small emitting surfaces. This diffused surface is quite nice for dealing with irregularly shaped objects in your near field of view. Here are some examples to show you what I mean by that.
The first are some shots looking inside my old computer. Both lights are on max (which I wouldn't normally recommend), but it's a chance to compare roughly equivalent output levels. The light is shone upward, from the lower right corner.
Notice how much better the REV is for actually seeing everything inside the casing? You don't blow out your vision in the center of the motherboard, and you can still see things in the corners.
Michael points out that the diffused beam is better for smoothing out shadows, and potentially "seeing around things" better. I don't know if I would go that far, but notice what happens when I picked up one of my dog's toys off the floor:
Not only does everything look better with the REV (in terms of tint, color rendition, and smoothness of beam) - but check out the shadow of the plush squirrel (especially the lower right paw). I don't know about you, but those man-eating claws in the X40 shadow look downright scary.
While the shadows do indeed look better with the REV, it is not necessarily a panacea under all conditions. Watch what happens when I do my standard indoor comparison in the basement. The REV Captor is just shown in its horizontal spread orientation (i.e., GITD dot pointing up).
Again, don't be fooled by the relative lack of brightness – most of light is lost to the far left and right of the frame. But notice how the couch casts a relatively greater shadow on the right side wall than with the other lights? That is because the couch is at about the same height as the REV Captor. Indoors, those other lights are bouncing a lot of light off the ceiling and walls, helping to light up the side wall beyond the couch (i.e., the Captor lights up a narrow but wide band).
Please don't misunderstand here – the Captor is actually quite useful indoors at lighting a whole area well. But you have to keep in mind the frame of reference and the angle of reflections in an enclosed environment. Ultimately though, it is outside where I believe the REV Captor really shines (pardon the pun), since you will not be "wasting" light that shines off into space with no return on your investment.
For outdoor beamshots, the first ones below 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).
First a comparison of the two orientations of the REV Captor to the X40. Sequence is X40, REV Captor horizontal, REV Captor vertical
Again, when you turn the REV Captor vertically (i.e., GITD pointed to the left), half the light is pounding into the pavement, and the other half if being blown off into space. You really are meant to point the REV Captor horizontally, to maximine the amount of life put into your surroundings.
Here's the standard horizontal REV Captor to the Niwalker MM15 and Olight SR Mini:
Ok, again, my standard outdoor beamshot setup doesn't allow you to gauge just how much light is extending beyond the frame. For that, I decided to take a 5-yard step into the frame:
Even this doesn't do it justice – the REV Captor extends much further out on the sides. But it should give you the general idea what to expect – a 170-degree arc of light around you, relatively narrow in height (thus making sure light goes where it is needed, not blown off into space).
By the same token, you may be annoying your neighbors beside you, if the spill reaches around to illuminate more than you intended. If so, you can easily just rotate the light perpendicular (so that the spill spreads up and down, instead of left and right). Another point to keep in mind is relative glare always seems to be less with a diffused beam (with its large effective emission surface). I certainly find it more comfortable to view things under a diffuser cover. The flip-side to this is that anyone caught on the periphery of the beam is similarly likely to find it less annoying than an equivalent output of a traditional reflectored light. In any case, this is where the continuously-variable output setting of this light will also come in handy.
Ideally, the best way to show the beam spread would be to stand in a soccer/football field, with the camera located at least one storey up behind you. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to do that just yet … stay tuned in case I come up with something. In the meantime, for proper outdoor shots, please check out Michael's REV Captor thread here at CPF
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).
The max output of the REV Captor doesn't seem that far below the standard X40 (listed as the L3 Illumination X40 above) – despite the one warm XM-L2 and the diffuser coating. Of course, that estimate is hard to obtain – depending on how I rotate the light in the lightbox and ceiling bounce tests, output can drop by up to ~10% (i.e, I get anywhere from 2400-2700 estimated lumens in testing, as I turn the light).
The REV Captor is clearly not a great thrower, given that most of the light is redirected to a narrow band in an arc around the light.
Note: All my standard 18650 runtimes are done using AW protected 2200mAh.
Also, the X40 comparable is listed as "L3 X40" in the graphs below.
Again, take the relative output estimates with a greater grain of salt than usual, given the unique beam pattern. As you might expect, I get a very similar regulation and runtime pattern as the standard X40. Although fully flat-regulated at most output levels, on max the light appears to be largely direct-drive. But that depends somewhat on the actual 18650 cells used. Here is comparison of my 2200mAhs to the more common 3100mAh NCR18650A-based batteries:
As expected, the REV Captor runs for longer on 3100mA cells – with longer time at near-max outputs.
Overall output/runtime efficiency is excellent, considering the diffuser film (which will cause some light loss) and the one warm XM-L2 emitter. I would certainly consider the REV Captor to be on par with other current-controlled lights
The REV Captor has a very unique beam profile, with most of the light distributed in a wide arc with a narrow height band. Of course, that's presumably why you are interested in the light, right? If you find the side-spill is greater than you want, you can easily rotate the light so that it is dispersed up and down instead.
The REV Captor doesn't support CR123A or RCR (i.e., 18650 only).
The magnetic charging cable worked well in my testing, with no open voltage reading at the tailcap (and so no risk of shorting your batteries inside the light). The REV Captor uses the innovative Supbeam carrier that supports in-series running of the light, but in-parallel charging. This is good news for in-light charging, as in-series is not recommended for multiple cells.
The REV Captor is certainly unique in my testing – I have never seen such a distinctive beam pattern. . Virtually all the light is distributed within a very wide but narrow arc. This makes the REV Captor uniquely suited for tasks where you want to illuminate a wide surface evenly (e.g., surveying a field outdoors).
Physically, the build is very similar to the Supbeam X40 – right down to the common battery carrier and charging mechanism. This is no surprise – Supbeam functions as an OEM manufacturer, as well as a brand-maker in their own right. You get all the basic features of the X40 here – but with a completely unique beam, and some interface tweaks. Some of my favorite build features include the physical clicky off-on switch (i.e., no standby drain), and the visually-linear, continuously-variable ramping control ring. Some other nice touches are the "near-moonlight" mode (i.e., ~1 lumens in my testing), the physical lock out, and an in-light/in-parallel charging solution.
But the beam is the hold-out feature here. Early in my "flashlight career", I experimented with DIY diffuser films. I found that some of them could indeed "elongate" a hotspot along one axis – but I never saw anything that produced the sort of extreme effects seen here. The inclusion of the one warm XM-L2 emitter works well to give the light an overall "neutral" tint cast (given the extreme diffusion effect).
The REV Captor is an innovative light, built around an existing framework that has excellent features. I am not sure if the beamshots in this review really do it justice. I recommend you check out the video in Michael's REV Captor thread here at CPF for more info.
This is a true flood light that actually puts the light where it is needed – on the ground all around you, not wasted up into outer space. As always, I'm interested to what members here think of the novel beam dispersion.
REV Captor provided by saabluster (One Stop Throw Shop) for review.