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Thread: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

  1. #1
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    Default Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Hi everybody,
    I currently own a Elektro Lumens Firesword V and an Elektro Lumens EDC XML. I am satisfied with both as they are still fairly powerful, but I was just curious to see if there was any meaningful upgrade path beyond them or if we are leaving the realm of practicality entirely if you go further.
    For reference, the Firesword is around 3000 lumens and the EDC XML is around 1000 lumens.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by plebtheturtle View Post
    Hi everybody,
    I currently own a Elektro Lumens Firesword V and an Elektro Lumens EDC XML. I am satisfied with both as they are still fairly powerful, but I was just curious to see if there was any meaningful upgrade path beyond them or if we are leaving the realm of practicality entirely if you go further.
    For reference, the Firesword is around 3000 lumens and the EDC XML is around 1000 lumens.
    It's a shame nobody answered you because the answer is yes.

    Since then, integrated circuits have become much cheaper and more commonplace, so lights that are 3000 lumens can also be 300 and 3 lumens. But flashlights have become "boring" in the most recent 2-3 years because the only measurable progress has been in lumens outside the range of normal needs.

    In-body charging with a DC lead or micro-usb port is common as well.

    Finally, I think my Firesword V runs for something like 30 minutes on four 18650s. It also draws so hard that sometimes it trips the protection circuit on the 18650s I have in it. The MC-E LED was famously inefficient, though much better than the Luxeon V that preceded it. My Olight R50 Seeker is about as bright, a quarter the size, and runs at least as long at full blast. It fits in my back pocket.

    I think the darling of the small but powerful "EDC" world right now might be the Emisar D4 or D4S. I don't really follow these sorts of pocket barn burners but Subwoofer measured it at 3082 lumens on an 18650. This one fits nicely in your front pocket, unlike the rather large EDC XML. You will burn yourself, if you leave it running at full blast, since there's not much heat sinking.
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    In a more general sense, as well as better electronics there has been a generation jump in single LED output. There are now lights that output with a single LED what used to require multiple LEDs to accomplish. Along with that, many of those lights really require IMR cell chemistry to provide the amps necessary.
    Several of the web stores like Battery Junction do an annual best light listing. It might give you a better ideal of some of the changes if you look up a couple of them.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Some LEDs have achieved incredible efficiency and brightness, and some LEDs, at the expense of efficiency and brightness, have achieved exceptional accuracy of color rendition (high CRI). In the last few years high CRI LEDs have found their way into some flashlight models.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    You can go farther and be more practical at the same time; the good ol' Zebralight SC600 is still 1x18650, still choose-your-own-modes, but is now smaller, with neutral tint and 0.2-2,400 lumens output.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    I think It's kinda peaked at this point good brightness levels to the point of stupid bright, cost and energy efficiency, but batteries I think will always be lagging behind.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    First, thank you to the OP for getting me to look at the Fire Sword V. A 13", 3000-lumen anvil is honestly very attractive to me. Yes, I have a 22K-lumen pop-can, but there is something very satisfying about something the size and weight of a steel club with the bonus feature of being a flashlight.

    And, to answer the original question, there have been advancements since the fire sword. If the criteria to be used to judge advancement is just lumens, then pop-can flooders are worth a look, many tens-of-thousands of lumens these days. If you want something visually brighter than your current light, then find something well more than double the amount of lumens (human eyes/brain are logarithmic, not linear).

    For a good idea of the speed of technology progression, watch the end of the "Adventuresportflashlight" (vestureofblood) review of the X80GT. I happened to watch it again last night--he does a beamshot comparison of his brightest light from 10 years ago vs the X80GT. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-Acebeam-X80GT

    I won't go into detail on good points from replies above--technology has also improved flashlights with respect to selection of beam color, CRI, user interfaces, and batteries/cells. I'll add that there seems to be a lot more selection of good throwers as well--powerful single LED with nice reflectors of all sizes, up to the size of the BLF GT. Not as many lumens as the multi-LED flooders, but way more intensity in a small spot.
    Last edited by Keitho; 11-07-2018 at 05:59 PM. Reason: add link

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    In the last five years prices have dropped, efficiencies have increased, sizes have shrunk, and run times are longer. All of these changes have been quite incremental.

    I believe that the biggest changes have come in single button interfaces and control microprocessors. The newest are programmable, reflashable, have rich feature sets, offer user selectablility, and are open source.
    I got nothing else to say...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Beam tint has moved towards more neutral, PK left SureFire and started his own deal and David Chow sold foursevens.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothybil View Post
    In a more general sense, as well as better electronics there has been a generation jump in single LED output. There are now lights that output with a single LED what used to require multiple LEDs to accomplish. Along with that, many of those lights really require IMR cell chemistry to provide the amps necessary. Several of the web stores like Battery Junction do an annual best light listing. It might give you a better ideal of some of the changes if you look up a couple of them.
    I guess all of the Cree XHP models (and equivalents like Nichia 144) are technically multiple LED dies combined together in a single package. The introduction of new drivers to enable use of high vF emitter packages from single cells in small lights is meaningful depending on what you want. High CRI options seem to be much more plentiful and in higher CCT too so people who want more neutral to coolish (5000-5700K) can get deep reds.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Last 5 years? Hmm....

    (1) Relatively inexpensive Pocket EDC lights are now available that output 4,000+ lumens. They aren't that practical due to heat, but they exist (Example: Emisar D4)

    (2) Big throwers are now available that can illuminate things a mile away without having to be a custom modded light (Example: BLF GT)

    (3) A brand new technology is now out in a few production lights. This technology, LEP, uses a laser instead of an LED as the light source. LEP lights are still very rare and fairly expensive, but they allow tremendous throw in a package smaller and narrower than any comparably LED light. (Example: Acebeam W10)

    (4) At the extreme high-end, large production flashlights now exist that feature active cooling (fans) and output as much as 40,000 lumens.

    (5) Direct copper stars have replaced indirect aluminum as the standard for most flashlights except for the very low-cost budget types.

    (6) High quality high-drain 18350 cells are now available (1100 mAh capacity, 15A discharge), making it practical to produce lights in the 2,000+ lumen range in small pocket size.

    (7) There has been a trend towards adding built-in USB charging systems into many new release lights.

    (8) Neutral tint is now mainstream for medium and high-end lights.

    (9) It is now possible to get high-CRI and high-lumens in the same package (example: Fireflies ROT66.... 5,000+ lumens of 93 CRI 4500K)
    Last edited by Fireclaw18; 11-08-2018 at 06:59 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    ^^ I forgot about LEP - that was very significant.
    I got nothing else to say...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Aside from the absurd, ridicules and useless amount of lumens to test any battery, the next quantum leap will be when you have a GUI to setup the light the way you want it to act. Changes have been subtle and gradual but todays lights are a lot better than 5 years ago.
    Leslie W. Knight

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by lwknight View Post
    Aside from the absurd, ridicules and useless amount of lumens to test any battery, the next quantum leap will be when you have a GUI to setup the light the way you want it to act. Changes have been subtle and gradual but todays lights are a lot better than 5 years ago.
    Doesn't the LuxRC 371D already allow this in your view?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    The Anduril UI (open source) allows for a great many operation modes and is flashlight programmable.
    I got nothing else to say...

  16. #16

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    I would also add to everything above that most of the flashligths today don't just "drop down" lumen output after some period to avoid overheating but actually measure the temperature of a flashlight and adjust the LED output respectively to protect both flashlight and battery. I think this is very important because it makes our flashlights safer to use and also maximises the lumen output and prolongs battery/flashlight life.

    JF

  17. #17

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by JanezFord View Post
    I would also add to everything above that most of the flashligths today don't just "drop down" lumen output after some period to avoid overheating but actually measure the temperature of a flashlight and adjust the LED output respectively to protect both flashlight and battery. I think this is very important because it makes our flashlights safer to use and also maximises the lumen output and prolongs battery/flashlight life.

    JF
    Good point! 5 years ago, most good quality flashlights had timers for turbo mode to prevent lights from overheating. So if you put a light on at max power it might stay there for 3 minutes then ramp down. Today, the trend is for most good quality lights to have temperature sensors instead of timers. When the light gets too hot, the temp sensor causes output to ramp down automatically, and then ramp up automatically when the light cools.

    Another trend is there are now compact production triple and quad LED lights available. 5 years if you wanted a compact triple or quad LED light pretty much your only option was to go for a modded light or a drop-in.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Warp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    Great thread. I only check in briefly every now and then to research a new light...money saving strategy you know how it is.

    I didn't realize how much I was missing out on though.

    This year I poked around and picked up a Thrunite TC20 + Catapult V6 and was fine with that, but then I found this thread, one thing lead to another...now I have the two new Thrunites, an Astrolux S41 (Nichia), ordered an Emisar D4 (Nichia), ordered a Fireflires ROT66 (Nichia), and my Christmas list is topped with an Acebeam X70...I had no idea what kind of lumen war had been raging since early 2017 or so. Meanwhile I still have several tabs open to other lights...

    The progress lights have made since I joined 12 years ago is amazing. I was EDC'ing a Surefire G2 with P61 lamp (2xCR123, large, 120 lumens for 20 mins) and an ~11 lumen 1xAA nearly pure purple tint Inova X1 lol. The hot rods were 2D M*glites modified to hold 8xAA nimh pumping out an astonishing 800-1k lumens for a short time.

    Just...wow.
    Last edited by Warp; Yesterday at 03:48 PM.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    To me the most amazing thing is the High CRI 5mm LED's from Yuji. I never thought they would be made - but they have been, and I am using them in all my old 5mm LED lights. Wonderful things. I'm in love!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    There getting brighter in much smaller packages!!!

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any meaningful changes in flashlights in the last 5 years?

    OP oh HECK YES there have been many advancements in every aspect of high output LED lights. That being said there is ONE issue that has yet to catch up to the new generations of lights that are the most capable I have ever seen in my 22 years of collecting now. That is battery tech. Battery tech among lithium ion cells is actually BEHIND all these new super lights.

    Over two years ago Sal, the owner of Orbtronic, told me that Panasonic was coming out with a 4000mah 18650. They did and unfortunately ALL OF THEM were bought by computer companies and even Tesla. Then Tesla decided to go 26650's that have cutting edge capacity thus Tesla bought all of those TOO!

    For our LED lights we are just going to have to wait until actual cutting edge lithium ion cells to CATCH UP technologically to be able to power these new generations of high output lights capable of things that just 5 years ago most thought was either impossible or was going to take another decade to develop.
    Last edited by CelticCross74; Today at 12:40 PM.

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