4Sevens Quark AA-Warm Comparison Review

UnknownVT

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Hot off the press - courtesy of 4Sevens I have in my hot little hands a Limited Run Quark AA-Warm white.

To be clear this is a Warm tinted LED a Cree XP-G Q5 - 7A3 or 7B4 bin tint,
as opposed to the previous run of Neutral whites.
Binning sheet for the Cree XP series -
CreeXPbin.gif


these Warm whites are in the color temperature of about 3100K (green outline)-
most people (including me) probably won't tell any difference between the two bins -
especially in any typical flashlight usage.

At about 3100K this is close to imitating a good incandescent halogen xenon light (max possible color temp = 3200K before it burns out).
(Note: the Neutral white used previously were about 4100K, bin: Q3-5A - in blue-gray circle)

This Quark AA Warm Tactical was actually an AA2 head that I moved onto a single AA body to make up a "Quark AA-Warm".

Size -
QuarkAAWsz.jpg


Head -
QuarkAAWhd.jpg

This time the yellow/brown tint of the phosphor in the emitter is more obvious - whereas the tint of the Neutral white emitter phosphor is just barely different from the cool white.

What about this fuss over the Green packaging?
QuarkAAWpk.jpg

well, I really like this in a reusable heavy duty zip-lock bag - that's really good thinking - far more useful than boxes that cluster up space.

So OK what is the Warm emitter like?

vs. Neutral White 4Sevens Quark AA both Max and NiMH
QuarkAAW_QAANW.jpg
QuarkAAW_QAANW2U.jpg

yes, the Warm is "warmer" more yellow than the Neutral white and it is indeed brighter - as one would expect being a Q5 flux vs. the Q3 flux of the neutral white.

vs. 4Sevens Quark AA-R5 Cool White both Max and NiMH
QuarkAAW_QAAr5.jpg
QuarkAAW_QAAr5U2.jpg

well, not bad at all seems close in brightness - and the Warm does look like an incandescent.

Talking about incandescent - let's compare the Quark AA Warm to a real incandescent - the now legendary and one time considered a brightness monster the SureFire 9P - mine is the real original original 9P it is a Xenon powered by 3x CR123A and rated at 105 lumens......

vs. SureFire 9P (Xenon 3x CR123A) -
QuarkAAW_SF9P.jpg
QuarkAAW_SF9P2U.jpg

I would say these were pretty comparable -
the SureFire 9P has a more intense hotspot - but that stands to reason because of the much bigger deeper reflector - but the tints in these comparison beamshots look very similar
(but note in real-life the SF 9P seems a bit paler yellow and may have a hint of green when compared side-by-side to the eye)

So for incandescent flashaholics this is close to ideal -
the color temperature of a good incandescent xenon light
but with the efficiency/runtime of LED
and now higher output and multiple levels.......

Life for flashaholics just keeps getting better.

INDEX to Follow Up Parts -

Comparison of 3.7V Li-Ion 14500, and 3V power (Quark AA2 and Quark 123 configurations) to incandescent SureFire 9P (xenon 3x CR123) - Post #6

Attempt at use of RAW to try to show difference seen by eye that photo did not show - Post #8
(please also see post #341 by Canuke over at 4Sevens' CPF MarketPlace: XP-G Warm White Pre-orders! w/ GREEN Packaging! explaining why even RAW would not capture some of the tint differences I saw between warm white emitters and real incandescents )

Explanation of how different tints appear to eye and photograph - Post #16

Comparisons with more incandescent - Streamlight Scorpion (xenon 2x CR123), 2AA MiniMag and 1AAA Mag Solitaire - Post #21

Outdoor beamshots of leaves comparing Warm, Neutral and Cool White Quarks plus incandescent - Post #23

Three beams on one tree (Warm, Neutral and Cool White) and more outdoor leaves comparisons - Post #39

Flesh tone comparison of hand palm - Post #45

Explanation of wider hotspot of Warm XP-G than Cool White XP-G - Post #53
 
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UnknownVT

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UnknownVT

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My guess the main attraction of the Warm White LEDs is that they imitate/mimic an incandescent - but with all the advantages of LED - in terms of output and efficiency, plus the ability to to have multi-modes and levels.

So I did a bit more comparisons with incandescent.

First I dropped in a 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 -

3.7V Li-Ion 14500 vs. SureFire 9P (Xenon 3x CR123)
QuarkAAWLi_SF9P.jpg
QuarkAAWLi_SF9P2U.jpg

Now it's pretty obvious that on Li-Ion 14500 the Quark AA-Warm is brighter than the SureFire 9P - but SF 9P still has a more intense hotspot -

The Quark heads are versatile/interchangeable with other bodies to 4.2V max -

Quark AA2-Warm (2x AA NiMH) vs. SureFire 9P
QuarkAA2W_SF9P.jpg
QuarkAA2W_SF9P2U.jpg

this pair looks very similar to the pair of beamshots above using 14500.

The reason the 3.7V Li-Ion 14500 isn't any brighter is because of the current regulating circuit.

4Sevens Quark series have Buck-Boost regulating circuits which bucks the voltages above Vf (forward voltage) down to the spec'd safe levels - and for voltages below Vf as in 2x AA (~3V) it Boosts the voltage to the Vf. So at the LED emitter -
a 3.7V Li-Ion 14500 which is likely to be above gets Bucked to the Vf
and the 2x AA NiMH (~2.4V nominal) which is below gets boosted to Vf -
therefore the output is the same as in both cases only Vf is presented.

The Quark Warm head will also work on a single 123 body making it a
Quark 123 Warm vs. SureFire 9P
Quark123W_SF9P.jpg
Quark123W_SF9P2U.jpg

so it should come as no surprise that this set of beamshots look almost identical to the two sets above.....

Notice: the color/tint look very similar in all the photos.
However by eye I see the SF 9P as a paler straw yellow with hint of green in comparison the Warm LED has some pink-ishness.

So I'm a bit surprised that my camera did not capture the difference I see by eye - I am careful to use fixed daylight white balance - and since the beams are on the same photo - they get exactly the same treatment by both the camera and any processing - so if the camera can capture the difference it should have been shown -
BUT as I said my eyes see a difference that these beamshots do not show.

I was concerned enough that I wondered if using camera RAW could show this difference - so I took some side-by-side comparison beamshots using my dSLR shooting in RAW - as well as more comparisons with known incandescents - AA MiniMag, 1AAA Mag Solitaire, and a Streamlight Scorpion (Xenon 2x CR123) - I'll post the results later.
 
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UnknownVT

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So I'm a bit surprised that my camera did not capture the difference I see by eye - I am careful to use fixed daylight white balance - and since the beams are on the same photo - they get exactly the same treatment by both the camera and any processing - so if the camera can capture the difference it should have been shown -
BUT as I said my eyes see a difference that these beamshots do not show.

I was concerned enough that I wondered if using camera RAW could show this difference - so I took some side-by-side comparison beamshots using my dSLR shooting in RAW

So for those who think that regular JPG photos even with fixed daylight white balance may be the cause of the limitation of being able to capture the differences I see by eye in the tints of the WW Quark and the incandescent SF 9P (despite the fact my beamshots are side-by-side on the same photo - so the beams receive exactly the same treatment by the camera and any processing).

I took careful side-by-side beamshots in RAW with my dSLR - Pentax K-x which gets very good to excellent color accuracy ratings in reviews.

Then processed the RAW/DNG files with two different processors - Adobe Camera RAW 5.6 (latest version that supports my camera, via PS Elements 7.0) and Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4.11 (again latest version - based on SilkyPix). I used manul white balance by selecting color temperatures of 5000K (sunlight) and 6500K (CIE/international daylight - note the Pentax DCU did not have 6500K - so I used its nearest 6250K) I present the results in a matrix below -
(all the EXIF metadata should be still attached - caveat PhotoBucket can mysteriously drop metadata)
QuarkAAW_SF9P_RAWPDCU5000K.jpg
QuarkAAW_SF9P_RAWPDCU6250K.jpg

QuarkAAW_SF9P_RAWACR5000K.jpg
QuarkAAW_SF9P_RAWACR6500K.jpg


the -2 stops underexposed versions
QuarkAAW_SF9P2U_RAWPDCU5000K.jpg
QuarkAAW_SF9P2U_RAWPDCU6250K.jpg

QuarkAAW_SF9P2U_RAWACR5000K.jpg
QuarkAAW_SF9P2U_RAWACR6500K.jpg


So here's proof positive that even with RAW and careful manual white balancing using known color temperatures my camera cannot differentiate the tints that I easily saw with my eyes
(before people make too big a deal out of this - the tint variance is noticeable if one looks for it - but overall the two tints are close -
in other words the Warm White emitter does do a very good job of mimicking a real incandescent -
as (ha-ha!) the photos show, albeit the photos do have limitations!
how's that for circular logic?:huh:)
 
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signal 13

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I never really paid much attention to the Quark line, but I think this would be a good time to try a warm tinted LED light...
 

FroggyTaco

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Thanks for the photo's. I think I am neutral guy from now on.

Was there a stated CRI improvement from neutral to warm?
 

Flying Turtle

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Thanks, again, for all your hard work, Vincent. That QMini AA with warm emitter has been calling me. Your pics really give me a good idea what to expect.

Geoff
 

readyme

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Let me start by asking forgiveness for my ignorance. Why is there such "love" for incandescent lights? or.....why is this "warm" light so great?
The pictures make it almost seem that the WARM LED would make everything yellow whereas the COOL LED would be more natural/neutral/white.
Just wondering...I "need" an AA Quark Tactical but I am not sure which LED to get (as an EDC).
 

UnknownVT

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Let me start by asking forgiveness for my ignorance. Why is there such "love" for incandescent lights? or.....why is this "warm" light so great?

Our eye/brain combination "see" differently to a camera - especially one that is using daylight white balance (eg: daylight color slide film or digital camera using Fixed Daylight White Balance) - that is like trying to view/compare under sunny noon-daylight.

Our eyes/brain adapt to lighting conditions and empirically (ie: reproducible by controlled experiments) follows the Kruithof curve (link - please read article)

There have been serious experiments to determine -
The Color of White
paper published by the WAAC - Western Association for Art Conservation -
specifically on illumination for displaying art/paintings (again please read) -
their findings fit well in the Kruithof curve.

So put it simply when the light level is lower our eyes tend to "see" light with more yellow/amber as "white" - it could be culture/conditioning/even evolution - but that's the way it is.

That's why so many consider normal tungsten household lighting "white" until one actually compares it with daylight - then the yellowness is shown in comparison - but under normal circumstances the light will persist in looking "white" - in the absence of any reference comparison.

It should be noted that at night if the main lighting is tungsten for example and a smaller weaker light of daylight temperature like 6500K is shown it would look distinctly blue'ish to most people.

So for a flashlight which is used mainly for outdoors and shone at distance objects (where then illumination intesity would be low) a daylight-like color temperature would make the scene look gray'ish and lacking in depth. Hence the many complaints about LED flashlights used outdoors.

Whereas old fashioned tungsten flashlight would seem more realistic and fuller in color almost looking 3-D in comparison.

Photos cannot show this well - because to get a reasonably exposed photo mean that the illumination level has to be relatively high - and looking at the Kruithof curve one can see then our eyes would favor cooler daylight like temperatures.

My comparison beamshots are set to Fixed Daylight White Balance - but I compare flashlights side-by-side in the same photo - so that differences hopefully can be shown/seen.

And the beamshots show that the Warm White emitter is very close to a good incandescent light.

So if one is an incandescent enthusiast - now a very similar color temperature/tint is available in LED - with all the inherent advantages of LED like long runtimes, higher brightness and multiple mode/levels are now available.

Hope that made some sense.
 

Locoboy5150

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Let me start by asking forgiveness for my ignorance. Why is there such "love" for incandescent lights? or.....why is this "warm" light so great?

If you get the chance, take or borrow an incandescent light, warm LED light and a cool white LED light outside in the woods like on a night hike. Then turn them all on and compare them to each other in the wilderness. It's hard to describe in words but once you're out in the wild, notice how everything just "comes alive" when looking at it while lit up with the incandescent and warm LED lights. Cool white LED lights make everything look "flat" by washing out the colors and thus the details. Incandescent and warm white LEDs make the colors come alive outdoors. Even neutral white LEDs are much better than cool white LEDs outdoors in the woods.

Like I said, it's hard to describe, but once you get these very different types of lights outside where they belong, then you'll see the difference. The results might surprise you if you're used to looking at things like lumen output, brightness of light, etcetera. They sure surprised me!

It would be helpful if someone could please take the Quark Warm white lights outside where they will really shine. The beam patterns on a wall indoors are helpful and thank you for posting them, but please also show them in the environment that they were designed for, the great outdoors.
 
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UnknownVT

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It would be helpful if someone could please take the Quark Warm white lights outside where they will really shine. The beam patterns on a wall indoors are helpful and then you for posting them, but please also show them in the environment that they were designed for, the great outdoors.

I raise you this:
Photos cannot show this well - because to get a reasonably exposed photo mean that the illumination level has to be relatively high - and looking at the Kruithof curve one can see then our eyes would favor cooler daylight like temperatures.

....yes, I have the gift of foresight... er-hum

The only true way, is to do what you suggested of actually using one's eyes in the environment that the Warm White or incandescent "shine" (sorry about the pun.....:eek:)
 

Locoboy5150

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The only true way, is to do what you suggested of actually using one's eyes in the environment that the Warm White or incandescent "shine" (sorry about the pun.....:eek:)

Oh, I see. I've never tried taking photos of beamshots before so now I can understand what you're talking about. Well, thanks for your indoor shots though. They do help out a lot, especially the ones showing the warm white Quark LED to an incandescent light.
 
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