4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral, Tactical, Cool White Comparison Review

UnknownVT

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Once again through the very kind courtesy of 4Sevens I have these 3 Quark 123-2 (2x CR123) lights to compare - the Neutral White, regular Cool White and Tactical versions.

Size -
Quark123_2Sz.jpg

not much to see here.....
externally there is little difference - the tactical version has the protruding tail-switch boot (which makes it not able to tail stand).

Heads -
Quark123_2Hd.jpg

hard to see any difference between the Quark heads - the Neutral White perhaps seems to show a little more brown in the reflector.

Comparison on Max all using primary CR123A -

Neutral White vs. regular Cool White -
Quark123-2Nw_cW2.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_cW2U2.jpg

the cool white looks pretty blue in comparison - but it is only slightly on the blue side - see later comparisons. By eye these seem about the same brightness - but obviously the very different tints makes the comparison difficult

So I removed the color by deSaturation -
Quark123-2Nw_cW2deSat.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_cW2U2deSat.jpg

with the color removed by desaturation - the regular cool white does seem a bit brighter.

Neutral White vs Tactical (regular Cool White)
Quark123-2Nw_Tact.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_Tact2U.jpg

again the Tactical cool white looks more blue because it is in direct comparison with a warmer Neutral white - but one can see that it is a little less blue than the regular cool white in the standard version - this is probably just variations in the bin.......

Tactical Cool White vs. Regular Cool White -
Quark123-2_Tact.jpg
Quark123-2_Tact2U.jpg

side-by-side one can see the tint difference - but in isolation this is all pretty trivial........

Neutral White vs. Fenix P3D-RB100
Quark123-2Nw_P3Drb100.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_P3Drb100U2.jpg

this Fenix P3D-RB100 has one of my favorite tints for a regular cool white -

In comparison with other (Cree) cool white the RB100 looks "warm" -
Quark 123-2 Cool White vs. Fenix P3D-RB100
Quark123-2_P3Drb100.jpg
Quark123-2_P3Drb100U2.jpg

the Quark looks a bit brighter - but the Fenix Rebel has a much nicer tint - the Quarks all have very nicely centered beams - the Fenix Rebel does well too.

Quark 123-2 Tactical vs. Fenix P3D-RB100
Quark123-2Tact_P3Drb100.jpg
Quark123-2Tact_P3Drb100U2.jpg

the tactical version seems to have a slightly better tint than the other Quark, however it is still not quite as nice as the Fenix Rebel, although it is close - again the Quark may be slightly brighter - the Fenix Rebel again matches the well centered beam of all Quarks.

The Tactical version differs from the regular version Quarks in that the Tacticals (obviously) have a forward/tactical clicky - it can have two memorized modes accessed by tightening loosening the head - each of the two accessible modes can be programmed from a choice of 8 modes -
I'll just attach the scan of that part of the manual here -

modes.gif

there is a slight typo/mistake - there ought to be an arrow between Max and SOS.

These Quarks all have common traits in very well centered - therefore nice smooth beams - they all have lots attention to detail and quality.

I personally like the Neutral white version - and although I have long been an advocate of the forward/tactical clicky - I am willing to forgo this very desirable feature for the easier accessibility of the all the brightness levels in the regular version - I like the the sequence of going from Moonlight > Low > Medium > High and the ability to get to Max by tightening the head - this feature was originated by Fenix - but 4Sevens' Quarks just have so much better and more useful levels.

Once again winner(s) from 4Sevens in this really nice Quark series.

INDEX to Follow Up Parts-

More comparisons with Neutral White Quark 123-2 - Post #8

Tint binning of NiteCore EZaaW and the Quark 123-2 - Post #10

Standardized Stairway Beamshots - Post #11

Comparison with with almost the opposite end of the scale the Quark AA Neutral White - Post #12
 
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Burgess

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Thank you, Vincent, for your time, effort, and dedication !


:goodjob::kewlpics::thanks:
 

Patriot

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Wow! Excellent work Vincent. You put some serious work into those pics...:faint:


Thank you. :thumbsup:
 

Sharpy_swe

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Great review :)

Love the comparison with the P3D RB100, which happens to be my favorite flashlight. I have a QAA2 Neutral on the way and it's going to be fun to compare them.
 

UnknownVT

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More comparisons with the Neutral White Quark 123-2
(with the only 2 other Neutral White flashlights at hand)

vs. Neutral White (Warm Tinted) - Quark AA2 - both Max
Quark123-2Nw_QkAA2Nw.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAA2Nw2U.jpg

the Quark 123-2 is brighter - but it is more interesting to see the difference in tints and color saturation. The 2AA version seems warmer/more yellow and deeper in color/more saturated -
among others there could be two main reasons - variance within binning of the LEDs - both are Cree XP-E 3Q 5A.
Or the difference in driving currents - the 2AA version being lower in drive current may have shifted more toward warm/green as with all LEDs -
please see discussion about Lower level comparisons and tint shift in Post #14 (link) of
Neutral White (Warm Tinted) - Quark AA2 Neutral White Comparison Review

vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) on Max
Quark123-2Nw_EZaaW.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_EZaaW2U.jpg

the NiteCore EZaaW does real well against the 2x CR123 Quark 123-2 - but then again the NiteCore beam is noticeably narrower so the light is more concentrated - this accounts for the visual brightness.
Again the Quark 123-2 is "cooler" when compared to the single AA NiteCore EZaaW - I am guessing that since Neutral White LEDs are still fairly limited/rare that the EZaaW probably is also using the Q3 5A? (remember this a pure guess on my part done without any inside information or otherwise - it is a GUESS only) that it is again the lower limited drive current of the EZaaW that is contributing to its warmer more saturated tint.

To see if this "guess"-theory was correct - here is another set of beamshots with the Quark 123-2 on level 4 "High" (not Max) and the EZaaW on its Max -

Quark 123-2 on Level 4 "High" vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) on Max -
Quark123-2NwHi_EZaaW.jpg
Quark123-2NwHi_EZaaW2U.jpg

the EZaaW is obviously brighter in this comparison - but notice that its tints is no longer so much more warmer (talk about double-negatives :eek:) or as saturated in comparison to the Quark 123-2 which obviously has a drive current that has to be below that of the EZaaW.

But this comparison suggests that my guess that the EZaaW might also be a Q3 5A may not be so - perhaps the bin is closer to a 5D or even 6A? which obviously means it's warmer
and if it is a 6A - then it is classified by Cree as a true "Warm" LED as opposed to these Neutral White LEDs of the Quarks.......... but these are pure GUESSES on my part as I said without any inside information or otherwise....
and I would be quite happy to be corrected with facts.
 

DM51

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Great review and pics, giving a superb guide to the tints available. Very useful to have the desaturated pics to illustrate what seems to be a very similar overall brightness.

The Neutral White tint looks very nice indeed, to my eyes anyway (I totally understand others will prefer the Cool White). It is excellent to have this choice.

Moving this to the Reviews section...
 

UnknownVT

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the Quark 123-2 is "cooler" when compared to the single AA NiteCore EZaaW - I am guessing that since Neutral White LEDs are still fairly limited/rare that the EZaaW probably is also using the Q3 5A? (remember this a pure guess on my part done without any inside information or otherwise - it is a GUESS only) that it is again the lower limited drive current of the EZaaW that is contributing to its warmer more saturated tint.

To see if this "guess"-theory was correct - here is another set of beamshots with the Quark 123-2 on level 4 "High" (not Max) and the EZaaW on its Max -

Quark 123-2 on Level 4 "High" vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) on Max -

the EZaaW is obviously brighter in this comparison - but notice that its tints is no longer so much more warmer (talk about double-negatives :eek:) or as saturated in comparison to the Quark 123-2 which obviously has a drive current that has to be below that of the EZaaW.

But this comparison suggests that my guess that the EZaaW might also be a Q3 5A may not be so - perhaps the bin is closer to a 5D or even 6A? which obviously means it's warmer
and if it is a 6A - then it is classified by Cree as a true "Warm" LED as opposed to these Neutral White LEDs of the Quarks.......... but these are pure GUESSES on my part as I said without any inside information or otherwise....
and I would be quite happy to be corrected with facts.

I wrote to NiteCore to ask which bin they used for the EZaaW -
their reply was mainly Q3 5B.

The 5B is still a Neutral White - its tint is in the same color temperature range as the 5A - ie: 4,000-4,300 degK - but it is just on the green side of the Planckian Locus - whereas the 5A is on the red side.

Here's the crop from Cree's pdf on the XR-E (the one for XP-E is similar)
ColorTempBinXR-E.gif


The color representation of the CIE 1931 Color space:
300px-PlanckianLocus.jpg


EDIT to ADD -
here's a better representation of the binning in color (kind of combining the above two diagrams)
I borrowed this from the excellent sticky thread Bin Coding: Color, Flux, Vf Charts, Links (Luxeon, XLamp, SSC Z-Power/Acriche, Ostar by DFiorentino
creexlampnww_ix9.jpg


So the difference in tint we're seeing is probably due to sample variation, the slight leaning toward green of the 5B vs 5A, and probably the difference in light concentration due to different reflector designs.
 
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UnknownVT

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I wanted to see how well regulated the Quarks were - so just out of interest I did a comparison between the Quark 123-2 Neutral White and the Quark AA Neutral white (almost the opposite end of the scale using a single AA NiMH at 1.2V)

First both on Max -

vs. Neutral White 4Sevens Quark AAl both on Max -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANw.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANw2U.jpg

it's pretty obvious that the Quark 123-2 is brighter - not surprisingly since it is driven by 2x CR123A (at 6V) vs. the 1x AA which is all of 1.2V.
But notice the difference in tints - the AA version seems to be more yellow(/green?) this kind of stands to reason since the LED is at lower brightness so it is being driven by a lower current.

But more important how do the Quarks compare on their lowest modes
- are the circuits regulated well enough to make them the same levels?

vs. Neutral White 4Sevens Quark AA both on Minimum - level 1 - Moonlight mode -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwMin.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwMin2U.jpg


vs. Neutral White 4Sevens Quark AA both on level 2 - Low -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwLow.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwLow2U.jpg

both these sets are pretty comparable - so the regulation both from 2x CR123A and almost the opposite end of the scale from 1 AA (NiMH) are coping equally well.......
so I would hazard that these are well designed regulated circuits......
 

DavyCrockett

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Nice comparison shots up the stairway.

One question, your Tactical one, what exactly does Tactical mean here?
Does it mean this light can be attached to a firearm or what? Thanks.
 

UnknownVT

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what exactly does Tactical mean here?
Does it mean this light can be attached to a firearm or what?

1) Forward ("tactical") clicky switch.
2) the head can be programmed with one setting each in the positions of tightened and loosened head.
3) once programmed it is a two level/settings light.
 

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