Reviewer's Note: I am very backlogged with lights, so expect less detail than typical in my upcoming reviews. I will prioritize analyses over text descriptions.
The MK34 is an extremely compact, high-output flood light from Manker, featuring neutral-tinted Nichia 219B emitters or Cree XP-G3 cool white (tested here). Let's see what it can do …
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: Emitter: 12x Cree XP-G3 / 12x Nichia 219B (XP-G3 reviewed here)
- Maximum output: 8000 lumens (Cree XP-G3 LED) / 6500 lumens (Nichia 219B LED)
- Brightness Levels /Runtime (Cree XP-G3 LED):
Moonlight: 0.1-30lumens, 2month-5days; Low: 120lumens, 30hrs; Medium1: 500lumens, 7.5hrs; Medium2: 1000lumens, 3.5hrs; High 2500lumens 2h, Turbo 8000lumens; Strobe 8000lumens.
- Maximum beam intensity: 20000cd (Cree XP-G3 LED),
- Maximum beam distance: 280M
- Waterproof: IPX-8 (2 meter under water)
- Impact resistance: 1.5meters
- Working voltage: 2.8v - 4.35v (Over discharge protection)
- Driver: Most efficiency constant current circuit
- Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum body
- Surface treatment: Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Tail stand
- Dimensions: Length: 98mm, Diameter: 55mm, Weight: 278g (without battery)
- MSRP: ~$130
Mine was an engineering sample, so I don't know what final packaging will look like. Typically with Manker, you get a fairly plain package (i.e., cardboard box, basic wrist-strap and manual).
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Manker MK34: Weight 270.1g, Length: 100.6mm, Width (bezel): 56.1mm
Nitecore TM16: Weight: 508.4g (697g with 4x18650). Length 181mm, Width (bezel): 88.9mm
Nitecore TM06: Weight: 276.4g (464g with 4x18650), Length 123.9mm, Width (bezel): 50.0mm
Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (531g with 4x18650), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Nitecore TM15: Weight: 450.6g (639g with 4x18650). Length 158mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Nitecore TM11: Weight: 342.6g (476g with 8xCR123A), Length 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Niwalker MM15: Weight: 333.7g (without handle), 355.9g (with handle), (539g with 4x18650 and handle), Length: 114.6mm, Weight (bezel): 63.7mm
Niwalker MM18: Weight: 510.g (without handle), 534.1g (with handle), Lenth: 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 73.9mm
Thrunite TN36: Weight: 390.4g, Length: 125.4mm, Width (bezel): 64.0mm
The MK34 is extremely compact for a 12x emitter light.
Build quality is good overall, at least as high as the U21 that I reviewed recently. Anodizing is neutral-gray (which I like), with no blemishes or flaws on my sample. Labels are not too bright. Knurling is not aggressive at all, but overall grip is ok thanks to the triangular head. Rolling is not a concern.
There is a raised electronic switch in the head, with typical feel. There is a red/blue LED that serves as a low-voltage warning feature under the switch.
Screw threads are square-cut, and anodized for lockout. Threads are good quality, but desperately need some lube. A quick turn of the head is all you need to lock out the light. The light can tailstand stably.
The XP-G3 emitters are each in their own well, four per triangular head lobe, with a defined optic for each one. This should produce reasonably good flood. Scroll down for beamshots.
Here is the programming map from Manker:
In simple terms, click the electronic switch to the turn the light on, press-and-hold to turn off.
When On, click the switch to cycle through the main output modes as follows: Moonlight > Low > Medium 1 > Medium 2 > Hi > Medium 2 > Medium 1 > Low > Moonlight, in a repeating loop (i.e., steps up in output, then down). There is mode memory, but you access it by a press-hold of the switch from Off. Otherwise, a single click will always activate on Moonlight.
Turbo and the blinking modes are accessed by a double-click of the switch (from On or Off). First mode is Turbo. Single click to advance to Strobe, followed by SOS, then Beacon, then battery indicator (blue when >75%, purple when ~50%, and red when <25% remaining). There is no repeating loop for strobe modes, and a single click past battery indicator advances you to regular output modes (starting with Moonlight). Alternatively, double-click to return to standard outputs at any time (i.e., if you want to exit Turbo without cycling through the other modes).
So, in essence, you can jump from Off to the lowest level (single click), Turbo (double-click) or last memorized (press-hold), as you prefer.
You lock out the light electronically by doing a single click, followed by double-click, and then a triple-click. The light shuts off and the battery indicator activates. Exit by repeating this sequence.
You can program the Moonlight mode to one of 10 levels (7 in practice, on my sample). From On, press and hold until the light shuts off and the battery indicator comes on. Now do a quick 4-times click of the switch. The light will activate in Moonlight. A single click will advance you through the 10 output choices repeatedly (but this includes three modes that were too faint to see on my sample – the emitters stayed dark). Note there was some flicker on the lowest two modes that did display on my sample. Scroll down for output mode level measures. Press-and-hold to make your choice and exit.
For 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.
In this case, I recorded the video before I had the full spec sheet and manual, so there is definitely some updated info here.
There is no apparent sign of pulse width modulation (PWM) at any level. The light appears to be flat-stabilized, and is flicker-free at all output modes (except the two lowest programmable Moonlight modes, see my comments later in the review).
Strobe is a relatively fast strobe of 11.3 Hz at full output, but with reduced On time (i.e., it spends most of the strobe duty cycle off).
Standard SOS mode, but at reduced output.
Beacon is a quick flash at reduced output, approximately every 1.5 secs.
Since the switch is electronic, there needs to be a standby current when the tailcap is connected. I measured this as 86uA. For three 3100mAh 18650 batteries in parallel, that would translate into over 12 years before the cells would be fully discharged – and so, is not a concern.
Note that you can lock out the light by a simple twist of the head. I don't know if the electronic lock-out changes the standby drain (it may increase it, as it turns on the battery indicator).
For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 18650 battery. 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.
The MK34 is a flood light, although with a bit more of a hotspot than I was expecting (likely due to the use of optics). Overall tint is slightly neutral (i.e., creamy yellow-white). There is some tint shifting across the beam though, with a definite yellowing in the immediate corona, and some bluish-white shifting in the outer corona. While there are no artifacts per se, the hotspot seems somewhat irregularly shaped (i.e., it varies as you rotate the light).
Note that there is a scratch on my wall - that is not an artifact in the beam.
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).
This is a lot of output for such a small size.
It seems like my measures are relatively consistent with Manker specs, although consistently lower across the board. See runtimes below for more info.
As mentioned earlier, the moonlight mode is actually user-programmable.
That is certainly quite a range of options to choose from. Note that the lowest 3 levels are dark on my sample, with no light detected (and so have not included above). I also detect some subtle flickering at the lowest two Moonlight output modes shown above – I suspect this is from the difficulty in maintain a stable constant current at these low drive levels.
All my current runtimes are done under a cooling fan.
First, a comparison of the higher output modes, using 2500mAh IMR:
As you can see, Turbo shows a rapid step-down to Hi (after exactly 30 secs). Note the red battery indicator may come on before step-down occurs (and then goes off after step-down). As a result of this step-down, the overall runtime for Turbo and Hi are about the same in my tests here. You can exit and re-start Turbo mode to restore max output (again with another timed 30 sec step-down).
Runtimes are very flat-stabilized. Typically, there are a series of step-downs to lower levels, as the batteries are nearly exhausted. Combined with the low-voltage warning LED indicator, you are not going to be surprised by a shut-off.
Here is how it compares to other lights (again using lower capacity 2500mAh IMR for the MK34 tests):
This is a reasonably good showing for the MK34 – given the 3x2500mAh batteries in the tests above.
The light gets hot on Turbo/Hi, and seems to have a timed step-down at 30 secs from Turbo. You can re-start the Turbo mode any time after step-down (for another 30 sec run). Note Turbo is part of the secondary set of modes (that includes the strobes, but you exit back to regular modes at any time).
Button-top 18650s (small or large) are required to make contact, and overly long batteries may be an issue for tightening the head. Also, only high-drain rated batteries should be used on Turbo (i.e. IMR, INR or other suitable hybrid cells).
Light uses an electronic switch, and therefore requires a stand-by current when fully connected. However, this drain is negligible (86uA), and below the self-discharge rate for 3x 18650 in parallel. You can physically lock-out the switch with a simple tailcap twist, breaking this current and preventing accidental activation. There is also an electronic lock-out option.
Moonlight mode is programmable, with 10 possible options. However the lowest 3 remained dark on my sample, and the next two showed some subtle flickering (likely due to difficulty in maintain stable current control at these ultra-low levels).
Beam pattern is unique. While a flood light overall, there is more center beam throw than I was expecting. There is also some tint shifting across the beam.
The MK34 continues in a line of strong offerings from Manker. Distinctive for its class, I like the diminutive size and unique build.
Manker initially focused on throw lights with its early offerings (e.g., T01, U21). The MK34 is a unique flood light, with 12x XP-G3 Cool White or Nichia 219B Neutral white (XP-G3 tested here). The max output is very impressive, with a distinctive flood beam. Note there is some tint-shifting in the beam (at least with XP-G3), and the triangular lobes alter the overall shape somewhat - but these are not overly distracting. I hope to update this review with additional outdoor pics, once I get a chance.
The user interface has been revised from the earlier models I reviewed, and I find it to be an improvement. Please see the detailed description earlier in this review. I'm impressed to see the new programmable output control for the Moonlight mode – a nice touch.
The batteries are arranged in parallel, so you could use a lower number of cells if necessary. Note that I recommend using IMR or other high-drain rated batteries if you plan to run on Turbo (or regular modes with reduced cells). Otherwise, 3x standard 18650 (button-top) will be fine for regular non-Turbo modes. Note as well that Turbo has a timed step-down to Hi at 30 secs.
Performance-wise, you get good relative efficiency here, with excellent output regulation (i.e., flat-stabilized, with multiple step-downs as the battery is exhausted). No sign of flicker (except perhaps on the lowest sub-lumen Moonlight options in the programmable modes).
The build is probably my favorite yet from Manker – solid and straightforward (although the threads can use some lube). Overly long batteries may be an issue for tightening the head, however.
But what really blows me away is the output – it's hard to believe that I'm getting ~7500 lumens from something smaller than a soup can. This is a distinctive mini flood light, and speaks well to Manker's continual innovation (and circuit evolution).
MK34 provided by Manker for review.