Do it once and do it properly

Jeff T

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
6
First post here but I've been lurking around reading.

I've got quite a few flashlights already and I'm trying to stop by buying one near-perfect light. The hope being that after I have that light, I've ticked all the boxes and can stop looking for a while. I'm going to stop buying lights that almost do what I want. The next light will need to tick all the right boxes and will become my go to light.

I'm after a high quality, single 18650 light, on the smaller side, and I'm looking for 2 things in particular: ability to select any of the modes with the light turned off, throws well enough for camping/outdoor use.

To give some background information about what I already have, here are some of the better lights I have in different categories:

AAA:
- Fenix LD01: great build quality, good beam, good clip, bright for what it is.
- Prometheus beta QR: copper, high CRI, nice feel.
- Foursevens Atom A0: tiny, sits on keys without getting in the way.

AA:
- Olight S15 titanium: best light I own.
Pros: Nice tint, great feel, well-spaced modes, some aspects of UI are excellent (direct access to moonlight and high, general user won't accidentally change modes).
Cons: Changing modes is annoyingly slow, button is too sensitive and it comes on in my pocket sometimes. Electronic lockout is available but it then becomes a chore getting to the right mode.
- Thrunite T10: small and light with well-spaced modes. Great for stuffing in a bag but not really powerful enough for outdoor use.

18650:
- Rongli C8. Build quality isn't great but it has a tight hotspot, is very bright and throws well. Cons: no memory - comes on high every time, low mode isn't very low.

I filled in the checklist to provide more information, fingers crossed I can find my perfect light!


==================Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?
>>> This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).


2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)
>>> Prefer <$150. I could spend more if it's something particularly special, but I don't want something so expensive I'll be afraid to lose or damage it.


3) Format:
>>> I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).


4) Size:
>>> SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
- Small enough to fit into a jacket pocket. Doesn't have to be so small that it can be carried in a jeans pocket comfortably all day, but I'm after something smaller than the Convoy S8.


5) Emitter/Light source:
>>> LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
Prefer high CRI, but a neutral white XP-G2, or XM-L2 (though probably too floody) would be OK. I don't like lights that look blue.


6) Manufacturer:
>>> Ready made or special edition is fine. I doubt special edition would fit into my budget.


7) What power source do you want to use?
>>> After a single 18650 light. I could use a recommendation for a good quality protected cell that isn't too expensive.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
>>> I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)


8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is not a happy experience).
>>> I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
>>> SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.


9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.
>>> Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.


9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
>>> 5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
>>> 30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)


10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).
>>> 90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)


11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.
>>> Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).


12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):
>>> Prefer clicky (forward or reverse, doesn't matter), or even a slide switch that seems to be less common these days. Location of the switch isn't crucial, but I'd prefer it to be on the side.
I have an Olight S15 titanium with an electronic switch on the side that I don't like. The button is pressed too easily and the light often comes on in my pocket accidentally.


13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.
* I'd like 5 or so well-spaced levels:
1. Firefly (<1 lumen)
2. Low (~10-15)
3. Med (~50-75)
4. High (~200-300)
5. Turbo (500+)
* I'd prefer for firefly and turbo to be hidden
* I don't like strobe, sos or blinking modes, so if they're there I'd like them to be well-hidden.
* I don't know if it's possible but I'd like direct access to the different levels. I.e. I'd like to be able to select the brightness while the torch is turned off.
I'm imagining something like a 3 way selector ring/switch (low > med > high) that can be operated even with the light turned off. Hold the on/off switch while the light is off to get direct access to moonlight mode, double click at any time to get to turbo.
* I don't know if that control mechanism exists but something similar would be awesome.
* It needs to be simple enough to operate that I can't pass it to someone not into flashlights and have them operate it. I.e. no half-clicking to cycle through modes. Any UI that takes getting used to is probably out.


14)Material/Finish/Coating
>>> Aluminium or titanium. I like aluminium for the weight, but something about titanium makes it feel special. Either or.
Copper and steel look cool but are too heavy.


15) Water resistance
>>> IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min) at a minmium


16) Storage conditions
>>> In house (temperature/climate controlled environment


17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.
>>> Pocket/belt clip
>>> Wrist/Neck Lanyard

>>> A strong magnet in the tailcap would be nice.
 

RetroTechie

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
1,007
Location
Hengelo, NL
Welcome to CPF, Jeff T! :wave:

Fenix PD32 Ultimate Edition
Any Xeno (neutral white or even warm white) or Eagletac light (with neutral white LED as option) that takes 1x 18650

Some of those should tick a lot of the boxes in your list above. Note I haven't checked modes for those lights, nor do I own any of those. But did some research myself a while ago looking for something similar, and found that other-than-cool-white tends to limit one's options. Which in this case might be a good thing. :)
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,323
Location
Northern New Jersey
I'm after a high quality, single 18650 light, on the smaller side, and I'm looking for 2 things in particular:
1. ability to select any of the modes with the light turned off,
2. throws well enough for camping/outdoor use.

Jeff,
You are looking for FIVE modes, and the ability to select any of the modes with the light turned off,

That is the greatest limiting factor.
The only lights that I know of that do that are the v series that I posted above.
AND the Thrunite and Supbeam BIG THREE/FOUR 18650 lights. TN 30,31,32,35 series, and the supbeam K40 etc.

There was a thread on here, that I didn't follow that had "magnetic" control ring in the title IIRC. You might search for that. Found it... here it is
 
Last edited:

ACruceSalus

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
309
Location
USA
I like my SRT7 but it only has indents for the strobe, red, green, blue, red/blue, sos, standby, and turbo. All of the other white light lumens from 0-960 do not so it might make it a little harder to select the "exact" number of lumens you want.
 

TheVat26

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
363
Eagletac T200C2, though no firefly mode. They have other similar models which can have the lower mode you need. Cool white of nuetral is offered. I have the cool white and I think the color is actually pretty nuetral itself. I can't detect any blue hues. Th color rendering in the nuetral option I'm sure renders colors a lot better so of course to that route.
 

Poppy

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
8,323
Location
Northern New Jersey
Eagletac T200C2, though no firefly mode. They have other similar models which can have the lower mode you need. Cool white of nuetral is offered. I have the cool white and I think the color is actually pretty nuetral itself. I can't detect any blue hues. Th color rendering in the nuetral option I'm sure renders colors a lot better so of course to that route.

How does the UI work? How do you change modes with the light off?
 

dss_777

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Messages
900
If you could live with only two levels, any number of Malkoff lights would be outstanding. Take a look at the two-level MD2 with dropin of your choice... given your uses, realiability and performance seem really, really important.
 

TheVat26

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
363
For the T200C2, head tight is high, slightly loosen for medium. and loosen a bit more for the low mode. It will turn on at the level the head is left in. Loosen about 1/4 turn while off, then it will activate in low for example.

I also have a Malkoff MD2 high/low switch which operates the same way. The build quality if the MD2 is as high quality as you can get. The Eagletac is also very well made, but the MD2 is a lot more solid.
 

Jeff T

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
6
Cool, thanks for all the replies.

I know I'm being picky and very particular, but I figure if I compromise and buy something not-quite-right then I'll just end up looking for another light again.

That said, I suppose I could forgo the firefly mode if I had to, since in situations where I'd use this light I'd likely have a second, lower powered light (complete with firefly) with me.

I'll take a look through the lights that have been listed and through that magnetic control ring thread that was linked to.

The Malkoff lights look amazing I'm just not sure that two modes is enough given the huge range that modern LEDs are capable of. Picky, right? :)
 

dss_777

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 31, 2004
Messages
900
Cool, thanks for all the replies.

I know I'm being picky and very particular, but I figure if I compromise and buy something not-quite-right then I'll just end up looking for another light again.

That said, I suppose I could forgo the firefly mode if I had to, since in situations where I'd use this light I'd likely have a second, lower powered light (complete with firefly) with me.

I'll take a look through the lights that have been listed and through that magnetic control ring thread that was linked to.
The Malkoff lights look amazing I'm just not sure that two modes is enough given the huge range that modern LEDs are capable of. Picky, right? :)

I'm not picky as much as I am a neanderthal when it comes to lights:


"Grog want light. Grog want light now!"

"Grog push button. Button make click sound. Click sound make Grog happy!"

"Grog make light! Grog very happy!"

"Grog want no light. Grog want no light now!"

"Grog push button. Button make click sound. Click sound make Grog happy!"

"Grog make no light! Grog very, very happy!"



You can only imagine the process in deciding whether Grog wants a lot of light, or just a little. It's not pretty. Two levels and a twist head to choose them is about all Grog can handle. My Zebralight headlamp is used in Grog-mode: on or off, high or low. All the levels in-between are wasted on me, and clicking through them just make me want hit the thing with a rock.

Malkoffs are Grog-proof, and why I own several.
 

wjv

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
962
First post here but I've been lurking around reading.

I've got quite a few flashlights already and I'm trying to stop by buying one near-perfect light.

:crackup: :crackup:

Oh. . . . You're serious?

:crackup: :crackup: :crackup: :crackup:


Take a look at the Fenix PD32UEor the PD35. They are pretty close to what you are looking for.
 

Jeff T

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
6
Haha yeah... I know... If I were capable of buying just one light I probably wouldn't have signed up to a forum like this and wouldn't be reading reviews of lights!

I just did the maths and I've bought 20+ lights and spent $500+. I'm sure it's nothing compared to a lot of people here, but if I'd put in some though ahead of time I could've bought a few really nice torches that would get lots of use instead of having a box full of torches that don't get used often.

I thought I'd learnt my lesson in car audio - that average+average doesn't equal good, and good+good doesn't equal great. I eventually stopped bothering with partial upgrades and refused to spend a dime unless I knew I'd be completely satisfied with the end result.

I'm trying to apply the same logic with flashlights, and so far it appears what I want doesn't quite exist so I'll probably have to wait.
 
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