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Thread: Double-review: Nitecore LA30 & LR10: Lanterns, max. 250 lumens, beamshots, compare

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    The Netherlands

    Arrow Double-review: Nitecore LA30 & LR10: Lanterns, max. 250 lumens, beamshots, compare

    Lanterns always had something special to me. Lights like these can often be found at my nightstand, and are often been used during long summer nights while enjoying the nice weather in my garden. Thanks to new techniques, those 360-degree lights are getting even smaller. Nitecore stepped into the world of camping lights about a year ago by introducing the LR30. At this time, the family has grown up; the LA30 and the compact LR10 are some new additions. Both rechargeable, and good colour-rendering thanks to the high CRI-leds. The latest LA30 has a special feature too: It can run on the integrated accu as on two AA-cells! In this review, I’ll show you the ins and outs of this little lantern; my story will be supported by a lot of pictures and outdoor beamshots. Let’s see how this interesting light performs!

    Two new lanterns made by Nitecore

    the mid-sized LA30 and the tiny LR10

    both powered by a couple of neutral-white leds

    the LA30 has a (bright) red option too

    As usual, the (manufacturer) specifications to start with:



    And the output and runtime specs:




    For testing, I got a lonely LR10; so I can’t show you a package and what’s exactly in. Have a look at you dealers’ webpage to see how the lantern is packed. The LA30 comes in a carton comes in a box that we often see with this manufacturer: Attractive, lots of information on the outside and a plastic container inside to keep the light and the parts in place. In the box we find almost all parts we need, except a power-source; only a charging cable is included. Also nothing like a bag to or case to carry the light, but I can live with boxes like these. Scroll down to see some pictures of the LA30-box and what we can find inside.

    an attractive box for the LA30

    most we need is in; the LR10 (sample without package) also shown here


    Mostly, before I get a light, I’ve had a look several times before on the official page. Same about the LR10. But I was surprised again about the small size of this lantern when I held it for first time! It’s really palm-sized. To me, the most powerful lantern with this output I’ve had my hands on until now.

    The LA30 is the larger and also the heavier one; this is also because it can run on two AA-batteries too. In my case ,it has the same colors, but a total different design to the LR10. I like both designs, but personally, I slightly prefer the roundings and the style of the LR10.

    Both lights are almost fully made of polycarbonate and available in several colors: the LA30 in yellow or blue, the LR10 in yellow or black; there’s a special “panda-version” or the LR10 too.. The construction of both is very good, no “cracking” anywhere, no seams between the parts. The only metal part on the LR10 is the hanging-loop, the LA30 has besides a metal-loop also a screw for secure closing the AA-battery compartment. No lenses on these lanterns, which is logical, but diffusers. There’s difference between the diffusers: the one that the LR10 is more translucent, you can clearly see what’s inside through it. This has an effect on the output, the light will radiate more because of the “thinner” diffuser-cap. We will see this later in this review. No engraving on these lanterns, the infos are on the bottoms, “written” in the polycarbonate. Both lights have a strong magnetic base, which is a good option: if needed, you can “paste” the lights even on a moving vehicle! Both can be recharged via a micro-USB port, that is protected by a rubber. The port on the LA30 is better positioned, it’s easier to use the light during the charging when the port is a the side. On the other hand, the cover of the LR10 (which is at the lights’ bottom) gives better grip to the light during standing on a surface. The LR10 can’t be opened, this isn’t needed because of the fixed accu. The cover of the LA30 can be unscrewed if you need to load AA-batteries. In the compartment, little but rather strong springs keep the batteries in place. Both lights are IP66-rated, so protected against water and dust. Good to know if you want to take these light on camping or during use in a heavy rainstorm. My overall-impressions of these light are positive: Durable materials, well-constructed and easy to carry. Scroll down for a couple of pictures that show more details and impressions!

    the LA30 and LR10

    made of durable polycarbonate

    the LR10 is really palm-sized!

    the LA30 is larger and some heavier, but still easy to carry

    same materials, but different styling

    the LR10: well constructed and finished

    big power button, easy to locate

    the LR30 has a the charging port at the side, the LR10 at the bottom

    a look into the charging-port of the LR10

    makes the bottom stiff and ensures good grip

    you need to hold the cover to insert the plug at the LA30

    both lights have a metal loop

    so you can hang it in the nearest tree

    a good option for camping

    both have strong magnets built-in

    I like the looks of the tiny LR10 see what’s inside

    the LA30 has a very bright red option

    both have an indicator to locate the light or for a power-check

    specialty of the LA30: it works with AA-batteries

    as also with the built-in accu!

    the LA30 during charging: the red indicator lights up

    if it turns into green you’re ready to go!

    little but sturdy springs and gold-plated contacts inside

    good lanterns have become more and more compact

    tiny but bright!

    the LA30 has a nice tint

    you can see what’s in there through the diffuser-cap

    this is a place where lanterns are a must: at a camping

    a nice couple!

    User interface:

    Both lanterns are easy to handle with, carrying the lights won’t give any problem in most cases. But the LR10 is thanks to its format the best option to carry in your pocket. The LA30 is some heavier and more bulky. Better to take this in a backpack or something like that.

    The LR10 and LA30 are user-friendly lanterns; charging the lights is an easy job. Connect the cable to a power source and the status-led will light up in red. Charging takes up to five hours for the LA30 and three for the LR10; but in my case, the job was done in 1,5 to 3 hours. If the battery is full the indicator will turn into green. I used a 1A power source. Charging the AA-cells is not possible on the LA30, only the built-in accu can be recharged. The lights can be used during charging, only if the input is to weak, the high-mode can’t be activated.

    Both lights have a big and stiff power button with a clear pressure point, you can’t miss it. The interfaces of both lights are almost the same: A short press when the light is off will show the actual voltage of the battery in three steps: One, two or three flashes. The more flashes, the better the condition of the battery. A longer press turns the lights on and off. If on, you can cycle through the modes by short clicks. No memory on last used mode, the light always starts in low. An extra and a good option for the LA30: if you keep the button pressed, the light will go directly to high. When you keep the button pressed while turning off, the light will go into “positioning-mode”: A short flash in red will tell you where the light is. One of the lovely features that Nitecore uses for many years now.

    A quick double press brings you into the special modes. As for the LR10, it will turn into slow blinking (caution). Next step (by a short click) is SOS, the third option is beacon-flash. I’m a fan of these flashing modes, it will bring you safety and you can use the light as a mark. For the LA30, no blinking or flashing in white. A double tap will turn you into red, starting at low (constant) red and after that (by a short tap) high red. Next step is red beacon and the latest step is red-SOS. You can’t go directly back to the normal white modes from the special, you need to turn off the light first and than start again. There’s no low-voltage warning on these lights when they’re on; you have to check the remaining voltage in standby-modus. Beware, that if the lights will not enter high-mode again, the battery needs to be recharged as soon as possible.

    Both lights are equipped with A(dvanced)T(emperature)R(egulation), which controls the output when the light gets to hot. The lights will decrease their output, but not by a full step. So, it's quite possible that you will hardly notice it.

    Overall, good and user-friendly interfaces on these lanterns; also enough options, including some nice blinking-modes. Maybe some user could give the lights a minor because they don’t remember the last used mode. An alert for low-voltage would also be a good addition.


    Both lanterns have three normal white output modes, in order of: LOW > MID > HIGH. Extra to the LA30 are the two constant red output modes: LOW > HIGH. The spacing between the modes is good, but I really miss a lower mode. Most Nitecore have a 1-lumen mode, and it would be a good thing if the lanterns have these ultralow-mode too. I have to mention here that the low-red mode of the LA30 won’t blind your eyes in the dark, and can be used as the lowest mode. Only the LA30 has a direct mode: instant-HIGH. The LR10 has three special / blinking modes: CAUTION > SOS > BEACON. I really love this modes. The LA30 does not have white-blinking, but only in red: RED SOS > RED BEACON. Personally I like the red BEACON, this works very well when you need to mark an object in the dark, for example your parked car. Both light have POSITIONING-mode, which helps you to find your light back in the dark when it is in standby. Good option, that won’t take that much from the battery. But lights have a VOLTAGE-check, in three steps; it’s not accurate up to 0.1 volts. There’s no LOCK-OUT on these lights, but to me, this is not a must on a lantern. So, both lights have a bunch of nice and good light-options, but I’d like to see some things added in future.

    Size comparison:

    Three “yellow-white” Nitecores here for comparison. Different in size and options, but close to each other about output. Later, I’ll pick these three for the beamshots!

    18650-battery,Nitecore LR30, Nitecore LA30 and Nitecore LR10

    Nitecore LR30, Nitecore LA30 and Nitecore LR10

    Nitecore LR30, Nitecore LA30 and Nitecore LR10

    Nitecore LR30, Nitecore LA30 and Nitecore LR10


    As we see on the photo below, the tint of the LR10 and LA30 is much more neutral than the tint of LR30. Personally, I lean forwards to the warmer tint of the LR10 and LR30, what is more pleasant to your eyes. Have a look at the three placed on a table near to a white camper.


    The profiles of these lanterns are not a surprise: A 360-degree beam that illuminates what’s nearby. But there’s a difference between the two: the LR10’s cap is more translucent so it radiates more light. The LA30 has a more smooth beam, you can’t see the leds through the diffusing cap. So, good lights for camping, hands-free working or marking. I couldn’t see PWM at both lights, which is a good point.


    Highest time now to show some beamshots! I’ll show you the white and red output modes of the LA30 here, followed by a couple of comparison shot with the other Nitecore-lanterns. I used the LA30 with the built-in battery for the beamshots, didn’t test it with AA-cells. First location, and instead of the indoor beamshots, is near to a camper.

    Camera settings: ISO100, WB daylight, F/2.7, 1.3 sec, 35mm

    Second location: Some further away, in the open field. Starting again by showing you the three white output-modes of the LA30. Distance from tripod to the lights is about six meters.

    Camera settings: ISO100, WB daylight, F/2.7, 4 sec, 35mm

    See now the LR10 on highest mode. See that the LR10 is surprisingly the brightest of the three.

    the Nitecore LR10 on highest mode

    Also the LR30 is some brighter than the LA30; see also the cooler tint here.

    the Nitecore LR30 on highest mode

    The two red modes of the LA30 shown now at the same location.

    Also the red option of the LR30 is brighter than the LA30.


    The Nitecore LA30 and LR10 are good additions to the lantern-world. Compact, bright, rechargeable, easy to use and magnetic. The LR10 is really pocket-sized! The overall quality is good, those ones will last for several years without problems. Extra to the LA30 is the bright red-option, that I really appreciate. The double power-option on the LA30 is a nice find: It’s good to know that you can feed this light also by readily available AA-batteries. On both lights I’d like to see a moonlight-option (maximum 1 lumen). Both lights should just as bright according to the specs, but the LR10 is clearly the brighter one. I’d like to see a low-voltage warning to these two. Thanks to the nice blinking options the lights can be used for marking obstacles. Personally, I like both ones, here are my personal preferences: The LA30 in or around my car and the LR10 for everyday carry!

    Thanks to Nitecore for providing me both lanterns for testing!

    Last edited by kj75; 06-08-2018 at 06:45 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Double-review: Nitecore LA30 & LR10: Lanterns, max. 250 lumens, beamshots, compar

    Thanks for a really nice review and comparison!

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