Headlamp Porn (Night Orienteering)

xcandrew

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Haven't looked up night O on youtube in a while, so I just found this. It's really nice, lots of big headlamps on fast O runners, complete with drone shots. Besides orienteering folks, it should also be interesting for trail runners who run at night and headlamp geeks alike:

https://youtu.be/ifVupWwi3W0
 

ThinAirDesigns

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NICE!!

Watching that might help some understand why off-trail and technical running benefits from more than the usual 160 lumens that road runners and backpackers do so well with. It was amazing to see some of the shots of those headlamps which were so big they weren't supported by mere straps, but frames.

Thanks

JB
 

xcandrew

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Here are some observations about that video and some general comments on running lights:

  • As someone who has done orienteering only locally, and has won the rare night-O event a couple times or so, that big 4 day (2 night/2 day) event looks super fun.
  • It's not uncommon to see a crowd of mountain bikers have lights this bright in the US, but it doesn't happen with runners in the US, who are out of the loop. I had the brightest light by far at the 5 am start of TNF50 race in CA in 2015 with my 1200 lumen Gemini and had a trail downhill mile of 4:46 in the dark during that ultra (though I DNFed later). You can walk into a store in Norway, Sweden, and Finland and buy lights of this quality.
  • The first night women's winner won with a Petzl Nao (no more than 575 lumens in 2014), so ability still trumps candlepower.
  • Most popular headlamp in the start line scenes was the Swenor Lightning (1950 lumen certified), which being a Norwegian light in a race in Norway (though international field) makes sense.
  • The big light that a lot of the men in the start light scene had is the LEDX Cobra 5500 (now also 6500), which has, you can guess, 5500 lumens. Despite the large size, it is actually not heavy (228 gm for everything on the head). Probably the best headlamp made. It's a Swedish light with distribution all over Sweden based on the website. Here's a review in Swedish: https://youtu.be/ncul4H7jVqc (check out the cooling fins, design of the headstrap that you can't see on the company website) and here's the website in English: http://ledx.se/en/choose-the-right-headlamp/ comparison with other brands http://ledx.se/en/light-test/ link to Cobra http://ledx.se/en/products/cobra-5-500/ (don't forget to click on features and specs) ... 2 hours at 5500/6500 lumens, 33 hours of runtime at 350 lumens with the 9 cell battery! Stout looking cords much better than the Magicshine/Gemini/Gloworm bike type. Note the backup light on the products page too... if something goes wrong with the main light, don't want to be left in the dark. The Mamba 3500 looks great for overnight ultras and the Kaa 1700 looks great for the running/skiing that I do. For all of them, I like how the electronics are out of the lightheads so the cooling fins are right on the back, and how the temperature protection steps down in small steps of 10% increments, then goes back up when they cool down.
  • The guy interviewed has a Mila Vega (4000 lumens), another Swedish light.
  • Budget light on the front line of the women's race looked like maybe a Magicshine... a bike light is basically the best choice in the US when you can't get a proper running headlamp.
  • Most were wearing a battery vest under their shirts.
  • Good light quality - smooth broad beam without hotspots (and I'll good CRI) and lots of lumens make issues seeing and running on trails with roots, rocks, uneven ground etc. a non-issue. I only have 1200 lumens max with my bike light setup, and I have no problem going well under 5:00/mile pace on downhill trails in the dark. The lack of shadows on the ground issue often voiced by US runners is really more a lack of lumens and a good beam quality issue. (After all, there are no shadows in overcast daytime conditions, and its easy running.) It also doesn't help that most lights used in the US are small and sit on the forehead about 5 cm/2 inches above the eyes, both the type you buy at REI and the Zebralight style. My headlamp sits twice that distance from my eyes (10+ cm) and you can see how high the lights are mounted (especially the LEDX) on the runners in the video here. I don't have much of an complaint about light bounce back from snow or fog either - it's noticeable, but not a problem compared to a lower point. Also no reflections off glasses if I'm wearing glasses.
  • Orienteering runners generally have a map and thumb compass on one hand, and the e-punch on the other.
  • No need to dim the light to read the map, even with 5500 lumen lights. The map is easily read in the spill of the light.
 
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eh4

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I'd be happy to not get a stick in my eye, never mind come in before last.
 

xcandrew

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A good light helps with that. I just needs to have light coverage above the eyes. A friend got a stick in the eye at a local orienteering meet during a daytime meet, and luckily recovered from it. Thereafter he always wore safety or sport glasses. I also wore clear sport glasses afterwards on occasion, and found that it was a good idea for speed too. You still might bring your hands up for protection against brush, but you can whip through faster with less worry.
 

RollerBoySE

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Really interesting!

Apparently the more well known brands from the US and China could learn a thing or two...

But, why not use really high CRI (90+) LEDs?
 
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xcandrew

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But, why not use really high CRI (90+) LEDs?

Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned CRI in my previous post. After reviewing the Cree spec sheet, I'm not really for the highest CRI, at least for outdoors and Cree XM-L2s.

Maybe some of the companies do like a higher CRI light. In one of the independent reviews linked on the LEDX site, a reviewer complained about the yellowish light on the Mila Vega, so I'm sure some don't like the warm white that high CRI LEDs have. In the past, I've had warm white LEDs that I've swapped in that look really bad on snow, like urine, so that would be bad in a northern climate. That experience was from a long time ago, so I don't know if that's still the case with high quality high CRI lights. Also, cool white can have 50% more lumens than warm white. http://www.cree.com/~/media/Files/C...-Modules/XLamp/Data-and-Binning/XLampXML2.pdf

I think it comes down to trying and seeing, for both the manufacturers when making those decisions, and the consumer. I didn't have complaints about the cool white Cree XM-L2s (maybe 65 CRI) on my Gemini Duo from 2013, and they seemed pretty neutral in practice. Neutral white XM-L2s that, according to that Cree sheet probably have a CRI of about 75, seem popular on the mtbr.com lights forum. They are aware of the benefits of high CRI, and most are now choosing neutral white over cool white, but no one there is saying that they like warm white. I like the neutral whites on my Yinding. I know Gemini switched all their lights over to neutral white mid-2016.

As an aside, I put a warm white 90 CRI ceiling light in my kitchen and I love it... but I definitely favor a warm light indoors and that's a completely different situation.
 
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Nitroz

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That was awesome! Thanks for sharing.

I think I coughed up one, wait make that both lungs just watching them run. :)
 

xcandrew

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You're welcome. By the way, congratulations, you just hit 3000 posts!

Let me add something to my comments on different tints on snow. I just came back from a run and thinking about it made me see a hint yellow in the center portion of the beam with my neutral white (Cree XM-L2) Yinding when looking at snow. You can't un-see it after noticing, so luckily it's just a hint. So seeing urine-colored snow probably would still be a real problem with warm tints. It must be related to how the different wavelengths of light are bent by the optics and would be affected by both the optics and the specific LED. See post #56 in the Zebralight H600 thread for a similar phenomenon: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...Mk-III-XHP35&p=5043777&viewfull=1#post5043777 I suspect you would need special optics that minimize chromatic aberrations like what camera lenses have to use like low dispersal materials and combining different lens elements - might be too much to ask at the moment.
 

xcandrew

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Yes, I know that there's no reason a high CRI LED can't be a neutral white, though I haven't had reason to dig into it. Every high powered light that I've had or been interested in in the past 3-4 years have had Cree XM-L2s. I'm haven't followed or investigated why they are the most popular, but it is what it is. Since I'm a consumer, not a light maker, I don't have much of a choice. Sure, I'd like to see high CRI neutral white lights, and if they available for the lights that I'm interested in the future, I'll buy, but I'm not dissatisfied with what I have or what is available.

I not motivated to dig into it much, so I ask, do you know off hand if those Nichias are close enough in specs to be interchangeable with the XM-L2? For instance if I want to do an LED swap, would they work and have the same dimensions so they would focus the same with the same optics? Or does the design need to be adjusted?
 

RollerBoySE

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Yes, I know that there's no reason a high CRI LED can't be a neutral white, though I haven't had reason to dig into it. Every high powered light that I've had or been interested in in the past 3-4 years have had Cree XM-L2s. I'm haven't followed or investigated why they are the most popular, but it is what it is. Since I'm a consumer, not a light maker, I don't have much of a choice. Sure, I'd like to see high CRI neutral white lights, and if they available for the lights that I'm interested in the future, I'll buy, but I'm not dissatisfied with what I have or what is available.

I not motivated to dig into it much, so I ask, do you know off hand if those Nichias are close enough in specs to be interchangeable with the XM-L2? For instance if I want to do an LED swap, would they work and have the same dimensions so they would focus the same with the same optics? Or does the design need to be adjusted?

I'm no expert, but they should be close enough to make a swap possible.
 

vadimax

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A good light helps with that. I just needs to have light coverage above the eyes. A friend got a stick in the eye at a local orienteering meet during a daytime meet, and luckily recovered from it. Thereafter he always wore safety or sport glasses. I also wore clear sport glasses afterwards on occasion, and found that it was a good idea for speed too. You still might bring your hands up for protection against brush, but you can whip through faster with less worry.

BTW, that was the first mind when I saw the action. Hell, I was nearly screwing up my eyes watching that horror movie...
 

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