AA light needed with details

luisdent

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OK, I'm pretty bummed out. I lost my benchmade griptillian and a few months later my new thrunite flashlight. I'm looking to replace it and have a pretty specific set of needs. I'm hoping someone might be able to point me to a light that has the following requirements. I'd really prefer all of them to be met. Luckily, i'm not too concerned with it being super bright, in fact lower output is more important than higher.

- aa batteries or possibly rechargeable if extra batteries can easily be obtained
- deep carry pocket clip that holds onto a pocket well
- tail stand possible
- at least reasonably neutral tint and high quality light (can't stand bluish or orangish tints or funky light issues like fluctuating colors)
- superlow moonlight mode, as in less than 1 lumen, preferably lower, nothing higher will suffice
- low/medium mode for general use
- reasonable bright mode for short use if needed
- no pwm
- bright strobe
- tail/tactical style button, no side button
- high quality materials
- relatively slim shape (no bulky head)

For reference, my last three lights have been the eagletac d25a I believe. I loved that light, but it failed to to worn out contacts that were not due to negligence. I also had/have a 4sevens aa quark neutral. That is my favorite all time light so far, as it meets almost every criteria on my list, except it's a little odd shaped in the single aa form with a fat butt and head. not the end of the world, but add to that the clip isn't deep carry, and it's a bit outdated in terms of brightness, and i've considered just sticking with it, but i recently got a thrunite archer 1a v3. I liked pratcically everything about it except i couldn't stand the side button. i could never easily and quickly switch modes without searching for the button, and i do not desire to deal with that. I want a 4sevens type tail clicky button, second option would be twist, although not preferred as much. otherwise, I loved the size and shape of the thrunite, the modes were nice. moonlight was good. etc. etc.

I feel like something between the quark and the archer would be perfect. does such a light exist? i know you can get a 4sevens deep carry clip, but they look kinda bulky and weird and after shipping they cost almost $20. i'd rather put that to another light honestly. in a perfect world i'd want something with a variable output from .05 lumens up to 300 or something that you could just adjust anywhere in between. but i know that's probably not possible. I'd be happy with a slimmed down quark aa. or is there a cheaper, better deep carry clip somewhere at least for now? am i better off with a aaa light? i have a tiny aaa ThruNite Ti3 V2 that i love too, but it's too small for me to confidently edc it without worry of losing it.

Any recommendations? I've searched up and down and found nothing that meets all expectations, but some that are close. olight has a sexy aa light, but no moonlight mode. same with fenix and a few others...
 
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luisdent

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unfortunately no. less than 1 lumen moonlight is non negotiable. lol. i had the d25a from eagletac and the moonlight was not sufficiently low. I decided to just buy the thrunite 1a v3 again, and lo and behold, there is no neutral led model available anymore that i can find. go figure... my next choice would be the thrunite tn12, but i'm really hesitant to give up standard alkaline compatibility. i have no problem with rechargeables, but i have ended up in situations where buying a battery would be easy and charging would not. I really would prefer alkaline compatibility or at least rechargeables that can be bought at any walmart.
 

kerneldrop

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@luisdent - Serious question....what does one actually do with less than 1 lumen moonlight, to where more than 1 lumen is too bright?

This light doesn't meet all your requirements, but it emphasizes build quality, < 1 Lumen, Low/Med mode: Peak El Capitan with a 219b 4000k.
img.jpg
 
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luisdent

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moonlight mode it my most often used mode. I read in bed with it and it preserves night vision and doesn't mess with your sleep and doesn'tbother my wife. I use it stargazing. Contrary to popular belief you don't "need" a red light, but just a low enough light to preserve night vision. I also like the long runtime a lower lumen will give you. I can easily walk around the house at night with less than one lumen. The main thing is reading and stargazing (reading charts/star books/etc.)
 
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luisdent

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@luisdent - Serious question....what does one actually do with less than 1 lumen moonlight, to where more than 1 lumen is too bright?

This light doesn't meet all your requirements, but it emphasizes build quality, < 1 Lumen, Low/Med mode: Peak El Capitan with a 219b 4000k.
View attachment 20976
that light looks pretty good actually. i can't seem to find lumen specs anywhere though..?
 

kerneldrop

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that light looks pretty good actually. i can't seem to find lumen specs anywhere though..?
Around 100 Lumens with 1.5v, and 385 Lumens with 3.6v

It’s a head twistie. Switch on tail is just momentary

The Logan 17500 with battery adapters is probably their coolest light. You can use every battery sized 17500 and under. So just 1.5mm wider on each side than the 14500 AA light. Same brightness, just more battery options.

The pocket clip is made by Oveready
 
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Pi_is_blue

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that light looks pretty good actually. i can't seem to find lumen specs anywhere though..?
I have a similar light, El Capitan with a 219b 3000k. It's my favorite light for around the house late at night. Brightness is controlled by tightening the head to compress the QTC pill (or depressing the momentary switch plunger to the right depth). The QTC is basically a variable resistor that responds to pressure. It can be a bit finicky and sensitive to bumps at lower levels, but is rather predictable and medium to high levels. Sub 1-lumen is very attainable, just takes some finesse in barely tightening the head. With a NiMH eneloop cell, I doubt the 219b is much more than 40-50 lumens on high (but the tint and color rendering is amazing). The standard xpg-3 neutral white should be a fair bit brighter. A 14500 cell would boost the high output considerably, but heat could be an issue. I like the lower output with a NiMH battery since I never have to worry about blinding myself.
 

luisdent

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Around 100 Lumens with 1.5v, and 385 Lumens with 3.6v

It’s a head twistie. Switch on tail is just momentary

The Logan 17500 with battery adapters is probably their coolest light. You can use every battery sized 17500 and under. So just 1.5mm wider on each side than the 14500 AA light. Same brightness, just more battery options.

The pocket clip is made by Oveready
where do you find these specs? how do i know the moonlight is less than 1 lumen?
 

Pi_is_blue

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Peak doesn't seem to publish outputs, but here's a quick compare. On the left is the Peak El Capitan 219b 3000k, on the right is my HDS with 4000k sst-20 set to 1.2 lumens.

First, setting to a low level with a quick twist of the head (my guess is about 1/4 lumen or less):

IMG_0713.jpeg


After a bit of trial and error I managed an even lower stable output:
IMG_0714.jpeg


The problem with the QTC at the super low end of the output is if you bump the light too hard, then it will either turn off or jump up in brightness. With all my Peak lights I think the lowest output I can reliably achieve is about 1/4 lumen.
 

kerneldrop

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where do you find these specs? how do i know the moonlight is less than 1 lumen?
I emailed them and they sent me specs when using their Cree XPG3 LEDs.

I’m just assuming it’s less than 1 lumen because you literally turn the head until you see light. so with the right touch you should easily be under .3 lumens.

But for reading it might flicker too much for you. the neatest thing about the light is the lack of electronics and complex circuitry…but the downfall to that is you may not get that smooth regulated constant output.
I’ll have to play with mine and see if I can notice the output changing
 
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ledbetter

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L3 Illumination L10 219b has a moonlight at about 1/10th lumen for about $25 though I prefer their reverse clicky model but I think those are only currently available with the cool white xpg2. I personally like both emitters but the 219 is nicer indoors.

A better choice is Malkoff’s MDC AA model which has lowlow level about .7 lumens and now come in a neutral tint.I have three, one with a 219b, and all three have very different outputs at the lowest level. The oldest with a cool white xpg has a moonlight mode that is so low it’s really only useful in pitch black darkness. But these lights are awesome and will never fail you. I’ve had a couple of the L3’s fail, surprisingly both were the twisty models. But I find any bargain light if dropped can fail.

Finally, I don’t think strobes belong on flashlights.
 

luisdent

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hmmm. is the peak PWM? or is it just that it's getting such low voltage it flickers? Perhaps not a regulated output therefore dependent on the current being stable?

Honestly, I'm pretty bummed about losing the thrunite 1a v3, as other than the side button, it was almost the perfect light. That side button drove me crazy, but then it did everything else so well. if it had stuck out more or something it might not have been so bad, but interface-wise my quark pro aa2 is my favorite interface.

However, the quark is .2 lumen moonlight and my thrunite ThruNite Ti3 V2 key-chain light is .04 lumens. I greatly prefer the thrunite moonlight mode. It's also a bit floodier aso it's smoother. Great for reading. The quark isn't too bad, because i add a difuser and it dims it a bit and smooths it out, however it's just a pain to need that. The 1a v3 is about .1 lumen and i found that excellent as well. So i'm a low lumen junkie i suppose.

the few lights i've considered after some research are a zebra light (not sure which), the thrunite tn12, ot the Olight S2R II.

They all have ups and downs. The zebra light has a complex ui, so I'm not sure if it is possible or not, but i do NOT want a light that has to cycle to moonlight mode. If i'm in bed and i need to turn on my light i want no flicker, directly to moonlight mode. It seems the zebralight starts on high unless you hold it down a second. I'm positive i will forget that and accidentally flash max brightness all the time. It also has a bulkier shape.

The tn12 has a reputation for being a tank and very good performer. possibly on the larger side...

the olight is sexy and i like most things about it, but from what i can tell it takes a custom battery. not cool.

I'm curious, if I didn't opt for an AA compatible light, are 18650 or 18350 available in any stores?
 
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luisdent

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Peak doesn't seem to publish outputs, but here's a quick compare. On the left is the Peak El Capitan 219b 3000k, on the right is my HDS with 4000k sst-20 set to 1.2 lumens.

First, setting to a low level with a quick twist of the head (my guess is about 1/4 lumen or less):

View attachment 20979

After a bit of trial and error I managed an even lower stable output:
View attachment 20980

The problem with the QTC at the super low end of the output is if you bump the light too hard, then it will either turn off or jump up in brightness. With all my Peak lights I think the lowest output I can reliably achieve is about 1/4 lumen.
also, are those hotspots visible, or is that the exposure making them appear very obvious? my quark has a much less obvious hostspot and the thrunite keychain light has none.
 

kerneldrop

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I compared two Peaks with a Malkoff 1AA--which I consider the gold standard of AA flashlights.
Low mode with the Malkoff is advertised as .3 lumens when using a 1.5v L91. I replaced the L91 battery with a used generic AA battery to get the Malkoff to the lowest possible lumen. It's less than .3 with the generic battery because there's a difference in brightness on low with the two batteries.

Now I have a machinist's touch...I have learned finesse from using Vernier micrometers.
So, I'm not necessarily saying this is the perfect light for you. You might not like fiddling, and strongly prefer the tail-switch that turns on the same every time. I can repeatedly get it this low in only a few seconds/few attempts. And it stays there with typical movement. Now if you go banging it around, using it as a shakeweight, throwing it against walls...then the light output will change as the pressure against the QTC "mechanical resistor" will change. But it's a tank, has less than 7 parts, will last a lifetime. The aluminum version is cheaper and is just as indestructible as the stainless.

I can't estimate how low I can get the Peak. In person there's a considerable difference in output, and it can be seen in the iphone photos.
I have to assume Malkoff is correct when he says low is .3 lumens. I had zero flickering once I supplied enough current to turn on the LED. I guess I remember flickering because there's that point where you have just enough juice to turn on the LED but not really and it just goes back and forth until you give it sufficient current.


Left: Makoff ~.3 lumen. Right: Peak El Capitan AA --> 219b 3500k --> narrow optic --> KeepPower 14500 1000mAh
51741646333_2345664909.jpg
51740585517_924188fc5f.jpg
Left: Makoff ~.3 lumen. Right: Peak Eiger Ultra AAA --> 219b 3000k --> medium optic (has diffuser) --> L91
51742320750_48a48576bf.jpg
51740587512_6de6c8e128.jpg
 
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Pi_is_blue

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@Pi_is_blue - that 3000K looks really nice

Definitely my favorite late at night. I prefer 4000k during the day or at dusk. I had to try all the 219b variations to find my favorite in the Eiger (left to right: sw30 medium optic, sw35 medium, sw40 narrow, sw45k medium):

IMG_0688.jpeg


also, are those hotspots visible, or is that the exposure making them appear very obvious? my quark has a much less obvious hostspot and the thrunite keychain light has none.

The hotspots are visible. I have the narrow optic in the El Capitan, which has a more focused beam. A couple of my Eigers have medium optics which give a more uniform beam over a wider angle (shown in the picture above). The HDS hotspot is a bit overexposed in the first pictures, but I still think the relative brightness difference is well represented. The narrow optic in the El Capitan yields a large hotspot, a square corona, and minimal spill outside of that.
 

luisdent

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Definitely my favorite late at night. I prefer 4000k during the day or at dusk. I had to try all the 219b variations to find my favorite in the Eiger (left to right: sw30 medium optic, sw35 medium, sw40 narrow, sw45k medium):

View attachment 21027



The hotspots are visible. I have the narrow optic in the El Capitan, which has a more focused beam. A couple of my Eigers have medium optics which give a more uniform beam over a wider angle (shown in the picture above). The HDS hotspot is a bit overexposed in the first pictures, but I still think the relative brightness difference is well represented. The narrow optic in the El Capitan yields a large hotspot, a square corona, and minimal spill outside of that.
is any peak configuration similar to a quark pro aa? for beam shape/quality?
 

kerneldrop

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Definitely my favorite late at night. I prefer 4000k during the day or at dusk. I had to try all the 219b variations to find my favorite in the Eiger (left to right: sw30 medium optic, sw35 medium, sw40 narrow, sw45k medium):

Very nice! Robyn has a nice selection of special emitters right now. Before I was wide open with cool, but now I get a mixture because, like you, I find different temps appealing at different times.
 

luisdent

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Very nice! Robyn has a nice selection of special emitters right now. Before I was wide open with cool, but now I get a mixture because, like you, I find different temps appealing at different times.
i could never stand cool white in any situation myself. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's ok. but after having my quark neutral i've never wanted a non-neutral light. I would opt for that. I haven't seen high CRI in person, but if it is truly more accurate color rendering, etc. i may prefer it as long as it also has a natural tint. some people seem to find it too warm apparently?
 
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