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Thread: Why you no longer own an HDS

  1. #1

    Default Why you no longer own an HDS

    Looking to see why people might no longer own an HDS light. Basically Iím trying to talk myself out of trying one because theyíre pricey and they donít run off my preferred power source which is Eneloops. So any of you ex-HDS owners, why donít you own one anymore? Do your Malkoffs, Zebralights, or Fenix lights fill your needs? Not looking for anyone to bash HDS and I realize that theyíre considered some of if not the best edc light one can buy. Just want to know what about the light didnít work for you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    ...they donít run off my preferred power source which is Eneloops.
    You can get an HDS light with a 2xAA tube.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    The addition of 18650 battery tubes was really late, and the tubes are quite expensive.
    I'm also not crazy about the difficulty of repair; replacing a boot switch on a rotary would mean mailing it back and waiting, or having a pricy spare tube pre purchased.
    They're wonderful lights though.
    Last edited by eh4; 03-13-2018 at 06:57 AM.
    The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Not a CR123 guy, and the lack of a clip on the rotary renders it useless for me.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    A better clip option does need to be developed, but you can use rcr123 batteries or get it with the 18650 body, which is really nice!
    SureFire - Quality and brilliance

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Big fan of the designs but I prefer more lumens. Never have understood why he sticks with relatively low power models.

    I still own both a Rotary and a Clicky -- they are beautiful. I just don't carry them.
    Oveready Boss 35 & 70; LensLight Mini; HDS Rotary 325 XP-L, Clicky 170W; ZebraLight SC 600 MK III HI, SC600W, SC62W, SC60W, SC52W, SC51C, SC5W; EagleTac NW D25LC2 Tactical, NW D25LC2, NW D25A, DX30LC2 Clicky; Fenix PD35; Nitecore D10R2 and D10R2 (Tribute); Elzetta Alpha

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Looking to see why people might no longer own an HDS light. Basically Iím trying to talk myself out of trying one because theyíre pricey and they donít run off my preferred power source which is Eneloops....
    Quote Originally Posted by the.Mtn.Man View Post
    You can get an HDS light with a 2xAA tube.
    Off-topic, I suppose, but this is (one reason) why I still own one ... well, several actually
    ... is the archimedes peak

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Relatively low output and no AA option.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRZ View Post
    Relatively low output and no AA option.
    I own HDS. But a single AA would definitely be the ultimate light. 2AA tube is VERY LONG

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by hatman View Post
    Big fan of the designs but I prefer more lumens. Never have understood why he sticks with relatively low power models.
    Relative to what?

    At any rate, his reasoning is very practical and logical: 1) Overdriving LEDs shortens their lifespan and causes them to lose brightness long before the LED itself actually stop working; 2) Carefully regulated output below the LED's maximum level maximizes battery life.

    There's a reason the HDS slogan is "The light that gets you home."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    So I own and XP-L 4000k Rotary. I will not sell this light. The rotary and UI is perfect, the moonlight is where it should properly be, the build quality is awesome and its like the one light you need that will not fail.

    That being said

    Drawbacks for me and why I will stick with just the one for now. Size, weight, output on high are limiting factors in my own personal opinion and how I use lights myself.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by the.Mtn.Man View Post
    Relative to what?

    At any rate, his reasoning is very practical and logical: 1) Overdriving LEDs shortens their lifespan and causes them to lose brightness long before the LED itself actually stop working; 2) Carefully regulated output below the LED's maximum level maximizes battery life.

    There's a reason the HDS slogan is "The light that gets you home."
    Christ! Nobody is asking him to overdrive them, but just for more output they can comfortably deliver while remaining well within the manufacturer's specs. So sick of hearing that defense and excuse.

    As for point 2, that's what multiple or variable outputs are for, so users have a choice in the trade off between output and runtime and anywhere in between for a good combination.
    Imalent, Armytek, Gearbest, and Banggood are still in business for the same reason Logan Paul is still making money.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by the.Mtn.Man View Post
    Relative to what?
    "
    Relative to, literally every other RCR123 light on the market.

    At the price point these lights demand (and rightfully so), I expect some great output as well as the other features HDS is so well known for. It has variable output so it can still be the light that gets you home. I'd like the option to also be the light that does much more than other $225+ lights. To each there own though, I understand if output isn't a priority to you.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    As far as i know David, the HDS is limited to 1a which is pretty much the safe limit of a CR123 cell.................of which the light is developed around. Its no barn burner and never will be, not too long back(10yrs or so) 60lm was the bees knees. 200-300lm is ample for most and it gets Henry his caving run times. It has been pretty much done to death with output, quite a few feel the same. CPF is a super small part of Henry's business here and afaik , he has no plans to change his bullet proof light.

    I have the 200lm rotary, i also have lights that can hit 4000lm with not much size difference(for seconds and resulting in aggressive step downs and very warm hands!). The HDS is a purchase for someone who wants that tank of a light, clever efficient driver and great UI. Unfortunately, if WOW output is wanted, HDS is not the light for you. The reflector and 200lm puts out an adequate beam and impressive. Each light is calibrated so 200lm or 350lm is exactly that. Not exaggerated figures from many chinese manufacturers. So maybe one could argue the 350lm HDS is more like a 6-700lm nitecore

    My advice would be try one, if its not for you, sell same day! The UI and feel in hand really makes it a special light. But those are just words, try and maybe you will find out why HDS has such a strong following, even if the output is less than many available lights.

    Lumens are awesome, but when it comes to just getting on with a job, 100-200lm is more than adequate for me (subjective as with everything i have wrote!)

    All 16340 fed lights, lots of size and output differences here...............nothing can replace the 200 hi cri rotary imho

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Looking to see why people might no longer own an HDS light.
    I was thinking about purchasing a second in HDS light in High CRI. The only obstacle I have is size and weight. My current HDS Tactical Rotary requires a holster to carry it and I find myself not wanting to holster a light for daylight/daytime EDC - plus many folks here in CT see the light and think I also have a firearm so it is not good around these types of people.

    What I really like about the light is that it is well made, provides lifetime warranty, fully adjustable, and has an instant burst mode from whatever mode you are in. Plus you can program it. I will always have at least one HDS light. It is a fantastic light if you need to "challenge" a potential mugger or thief in a dark area at night. So, when I am out at night or pre-dawn I always carry the HDS.

    In the meantime I have purchased an Aeon MkIII as a high CRI light to see if it will work as a substitute for a second HDS light. It is much smaller, much lighter, has the best high CRI emitter I have ever seen, and very easy to carry all day long in the front pocket without noticing it. Plus, since it is not in a holster it does not spook the people. At night I also carry the Aeon MkIII as a second light in my front pocket.
    Last edited by RCS1300; 03-13-2018 at 11:19 AM.

  16. #16
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    I love the zebralights, awesome compact 18650 lights. Yet guess which one i will grab if i can only take one with me.........

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    To add to my previous reply for clarity, output is not one of the factors against an HDS for me. Something to keep in mind is that LEDs haven't really gotten all that much brighter the past few years, but rather have been able to take increasingly higher levels of current before burning out, much to the detriment of their lifespan. So any light which uses a safe drive current for a CR123 for extended usage on high, isn't going to be much brighter than an HDS. Taking into consideration that our perception of light is logarithmic in nature, it will be a while before others lights driven at 1A will notably outdo a HDS that doesn't change from yesterday till then.

  18. #18

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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    ..............nothing can replace the 200 hi cri rotary imho
    Interesting.
    Last edited by RCS1300; 03-13-2018 at 11:54 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Back on topic, apologies

  20. #20

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by Thetasigma View Post
    To add to my previous reply for clarity, output is not one of the factors against an HDS for me. Something to keep in mind is that LEDs haven't really gotten all that much brighter the past few years, but rather have been able to take increasingly higher levels of current before burning out, much to the detriment of their lifespan. So any light which uses a safe drive current for a CR123 for extended usage on high, isn't going to be much brighter than an HDS. Taking into consideration that our perception of light is logarithmic in nature, it will be a while before others lights driven at 1A will notably outdo a HDS that doesn't change from yesterday till then.
    Regarding LED lifespan.
    My recollection is that LEDs run slightly above spec rarely burn out. Instead they just get dimmer.

    Personally, collecting and upgrading lights is a hobby. I don't care if the LED in a higher power light only lasts 20,000 hours instead of the manufacturer specced 50,000 before it dims to 70% of its original output. I'll have replaced the light with something better long before that ever happens. Unless you're planning to get one light and use it for 10+ years without ever upgrading I wouldn't worry about LED lifespan. Chances are other parts of the light like the switch will wear out long before the emitter dies.

    Regarding HDS
    The main reason for having an HDS is when dependability counts. If you're going into a situation where your light absolutely must work, and where it might be subject to abuse, then you want something like an HDS which can take a beating and still work. HDS is a classy design with slick user interface and small enough for EDC ... and unlike most of the competition it is TOUGH! (so I hear... don't own one myself).

    On the other hand, if your light is primarily just a pocket toy and you're not planning on going on any caving expeditions, you might want something that has more lumens to impress your friends. Or something that maybe just weighs less while sitting in your pocket. If that's your primary use, then you don't need an HDS... get something like a Zebralight or Emisar D4.

    If you want a work light that can survive drops while being much cheaper than an HDS, you could try a Rayovac Indestructible. Too big for EDC, but supposedly they have 30m drop resistance in a light that costs less than $20.
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 03-13-2018 at 12:05 PM.

  21. #21
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by RCS1300 View Post
    Interesting.

    Hard to explain, for me it just has that special feel in hand. The 219b 4k is super nice and the hot spot/ spill is just a great all rounder for pretty much any type of use(good general beam). The rotary UI is one of my fav UI's, awesome! Being able to dial in that exact amount, on or off(off takes practice) is a huge bonus. As with infinite control UI, i like the ability to dial up/down on the fly!

    As you have a HDS, also the Aeon, i guess you might have an idea of that kind of special feel in hand. Just sits right, inspires confidence kind of thing. HDS are special in their own way, and tbh as much as i love lumens, its kind of refreshing that Henry has stuck with his ways. I might be in the minority, but the 1000 ansi for 30s kind of grows old these days. I know if i leave the HDS on max, its not going to damage anything. I know if i drop it 10ft, the light will still work. I know that the cell inside is not pushed to and past its limits.............Sometimes less is more..............

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    I don't ever intend to sell my HDS lights. I may add more.

    That said, I will say the reason I am not carrying my HDS more frequently, and why it makes it into my bag more than into my pockets is the lack of a clip. Let's not even consider the existing clips out there to be options, because frankly they are an upsetting pairing for such a good light.

    The Rotary might possibly be one of the best EDC lights ever invented. The UI is nothing short of flawless. However, with its fat, 1" diameter body and lack of a pocket clip, it can be an uncomfortable carry in many pants and is hard to deploy. Holsters are great and available if you like 'em, but I'm just not much of a holster kind of guy.
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  23. #23
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Nicely put fireclaw, all lights have their purpose. If i want WOW and crazy, HDS is not picked up. Depending on the application in mind, depending on budget and what is wanted from the light would of course go towards investing. Not many need much over a few 100 lumens for general EDC type uses, for an investment that can be upgraded down the line, HDS is certainly worth a look.

    Little digression with LED's, the older Novatacs which one measured around 100lm , the other nearer 70lm. After a 219b and 219c swap, the actual output significantly increased.............just with a later up to date LED. Tad over 300lm and over 200lm respectively measured pre and post mod.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Love the thoughtful repsonses all. Let me ask this from you heavy HDS users, how often do you go through cr123 primaries in your light? Iím so used to the convenience,safety, and worry free use of Eneloops itís hard to think of going back to primaries or lithium ion.

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    how often do you go through cr123 primaries in your light? .
    I have duracells and Fenix rechargable CR123 and always opt for the duracells in my HDS as they last twice as long and I do not have to worry about lithium ion batteries on the nightstand. I go through about one battery a month and they cost about $2.20 each at batteryjunction. On a primary lithium battery, the run time on high is 90 minutes and I believe 28 hours on one of the lower settings, just above moonlight. If you run it at a medium setting you will likely get 4 hours of run time.


    The programming functions on this light are spectacular. You can do a button lockout, you can do a locator flash - light flashes every 10 seconds at about 5 lumens, and many other things.

    The advantage of a HDS Rotary is that if you ever want to sell it, the sale on CPF will happen within 24 hours in most cases. The light is in high demand.
    Last edited by RCS1300; 03-13-2018 at 12:51 PM.

  26. #26
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    I am out on the CR123 gurdy.....

    I use 16340 fuel so just top off every now and then(few days apart). It gets quite a bit of regular candle mode(9 clicks from off) in the evening. A HDS is worth it just for that! ..........its awesome!

    As CR123 tend to be around 1500mah, pretty much double most 16340 cells, you of course will get double the use out of a cell. But if you dont mind using RCR123/16340 cells, pretty much near free to run. I always have a spare at hand to swap out if needed.

    I have seen/read many get weeks or even months between changes, such a variable though. Few mins a day will be weeks and weeks between changes and of course output dependent ,as a big variable.

    If its going to be irregular use, bit here and there, primaries will work better. If regular use, be it EDC, walking the dog, work or what ever, 16340 might make better sense long term even with a smaller tank. Beauty is, you can use either or gurdy.................soft reset iirc and it will know which cell and warn you(LVP).

  27. #27
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    Default Why you no longer own an HDS

    I have an older hds rotary with n219a which has a much better tint that any n219b that I have. Great ui etc. Buy I never edc this light for two reasons:

    1. It is not a thrower but the reflector is by far too deep for short range. Almost unusable. I got a diffused head, put some phaseburn's diffusing film and got a nice wide flood, but at 140lm it is unusable beyond a few meters.
    2. The clip for a rotary is ridiculous.

    BTW: has an hds been ever bored for 18350s?
    Last edited by ma tumba; 03-13-2018 at 01:07 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    Looking to see why people might no longer own an HDS light.
    I used to own several -- a couple of Clickies, and a Twisty. Sold them off a few years ago to try other lights and thought the clicky interface was a little cumbersome.

    But guess what? The grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. Back to HDS, this time with a Rotary 200 High CRI that isn't going anywhere! The ability to dial in just the right amount of light is near-perfect.

    I think a lot of it depends on your needs, too. If you want a barn-burner that can spotlight across your entire property, definitely look elsewhere. But if you want a tough light that you can depend on every day, HDS is a great choice.
    Last edited by bigfoot; 03-13-2018 at 01:18 PM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfoot View Post
    I used to own several -- a couple of Clickies, and a Twisty. Sold them off a few years ago to try other lights and thought the clicky interface was a little cumbersome.

    But guess what? The grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side. Back to HDS, this time with a Rotary 200 High CRI that isn't going anywhere! The ability to dial in just the right amount of light is near-perfect.

    I think a lot of it depends on your needs, too. If you want a barn-burner that can spotlight across your entire property, definitely look elsewhere. But if you want a tough light that you can depend on every day, HDS is a great choice.
    Thatís because HDS is the Rolex of the flashlight world. True heirloom quality... have fun with your Rotary!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Why you no longer own an HDS

    Love the thoughtful repsonses all. Let me ask this from you heavy HDS users, how often do you go through cr123 primaries in your light? Iím so used to the convenience,safety, and worry free use of Eneloops itís hard to think of going back to primaries or lithium ion.

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