I have question from a friend looking for a good flashlight that is small, well built, yada yada. The only restriction is that it must use only one CR 123, and be noticably brighter than a CMG Infinity (which he currently owns). It will be used primarily for outdoor activities, backpacking, so an LED is preferred but not necessarily required.
Mu first thought is the E1E series, I have 'em, I use 'em, I love 'em. I just wanted to give him more options.
So fire away, what would (or do) you carry besides the E1E?
Now that is a loaded question. If he is planning to use the light in sort of a pack for camping and such where a simple good time trip can turn into a night mare, you'll want something that is very reliable.
In my mind this rules out two things. First, I wouldn't even consider an incand light. The lamps are just too unreliable. The second things would be anything that uses a kroll switch. I can remember the last time that I built a light using a kroll switch, but I'm still sending replacements out under "warranty." The fact of the matter is that they fail. It isn't a question of whether they will fail, but when. Unless I'm mistaken, the Long Bow would fall under this category, unless you're using the twistie body.
Since you'll probably want an all purpose light, that would rule out the latest generation of KL1s. The beam is too narrow, in my opinion anyway.
With that being said, you can pretty much pick a light. The Q3 looks like a nice light. I really like the Aleph lights as well. The switching system on these is really bullet proof. Twist on and off with really nothing to go wrong.
I know that an Aleph II with a nice Lux III running at 500mA will get you over 1000 lux on a meter and give you over 1.5 hours of in regulation run time in high mode.
I just don't know of any off the shelf lights that I would recommend because I haven't seen an off the shelf single cell light that I didn't think needed modding.
Nuwai Q3 is a great light. I'd also suggest something like the Inova 24/7. If you get the full accessories, it comes with a headband as well, so you can make it a headlamp instead. Besides its handy to be able to clip the light almost anywhere. Else I'd personally throw my vote in for a Tektite Splashlite Led. Runs 1x123 for about 6-8 hrs, much brighter than the Infinity (Ultra), and enclosed in a small package that's waterproof... I have a couple of these, and they are very small and bright indeed!!
The Aleph series with the 1x123 packs are by far the nicest readily available 1x123 lights, but since you're a new CPF member and your friend is possibly not even a member at all, you or he might be shocked at the idea of paying $200 for a flashlight. All I can say is that flashaholism is a less expensive hobby than exotic sports cars. If you spring the cash for it, you'll have a light that can't be beat, but I can perfectly well understand if you decide that you're not up for something that expensive. (On the other hand, you could hang around for the next time a tvodrd light comes up for auction. Those have been going in the $500 range).
I don't think the FFII is really appropriate. Its main goal is to be a high performance light that is as tiny as possible. But I think your friend will be fine with a normal sized light.
Most of these high performance Luxeon lights will be 10x-15x brighter than the Infinity Ultra, which itself is about 2x brighter than the somewhat less common regular Infinity (I wonder which of those he really owns). That is, they will be in the 30 lumen range where the Ultra is maybe 3 lumens and the original Infinity is about 1.5 lumens.
If all your friend wants is "significantly brighter" but not necessarily high performance, he might consider the Tekna Splashlite LS which is maybe 8-10 lumens, with proportionately more battery runtime than the brighter lights will have. It's made of plastic so it's very lightweight and waterproof (about 1.3 oz with battery, compared to about 2 oz for the Infinity/Ultra), and is $40 retail, possibly less from some of the CPF discount sellers if they carry it. Disclosure of interest: maybe I'm plugging this light partly because the manufacturer sent me a free one for testing, but I do like it a lot.
Also, incandescent is ok if you're prepared for bulbs burning out at inconvenient times. That's why spares were invented, and normally carrying a spare is enough to deal with the burnout problem. LED lights are pretty new, so until recently, incandescent was all there was, and we survived. The E1e is nice, and you can always add a KL1 head later.
Finally, the venerable UK 2L (incandescent) uses 2x123 but is still lighter with batteries than an E1e because of its plastic body. It's bright, waterproof, and very tough. It was my main outdoor light for a long long time. There's an LED lamp for it which is less bright (maybe 10-12 lumens) but will run for around 8 hours on a pair of cells. The high performance 1x123 lights will run for around 1 hour on a cell.
I have to disagree about the high performance light running about an hour. I suppose it depends on your definition of "high performance." A lux III running at 500mA will run in regulation for about 1.5 hours. Running at 400mA, it will run for 2 hours. In low mode, there's no telling how long it will run.
Thanks a lot Tony! Telling me my Krolls WILL fail!
I would have to recommend the SL TT1L for what was described as need. I have mine modded with a Kroll switch on the tail. The battery in mine can only manage a weak yellow beam in Xenon mode, but chugs happily along in LED!
I'd love to try stuff like FF, Q3 etc. But I have at best a beer budget and caviar tastes!