Help me choose an LED . . . and maybe a flashlight!

Bryan-ba

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Hello, I'm new here although I've been lurking a bit. I'm no connoisseur, but I'm learning a lot. I've a handful of lights, but oddly I gravitated to a Fenix LD09 that I carried daily for nearly a decade. For those that don't know, it's a discontinued 14500 with claimed 220 Lumens/3600cd and 120m throw. It's a forward clicky tail switch with a Cree XP-E2 (R3) LED. No idea of color temp or anything else. I understand not everyone likes the UI, but I didn't mind it other than having SOS in the rotation. It's size was important as it lived in my front pocket - 3.7"(94mm) x .75"(19mm). Anyway, the switch in mine died. The Fenix distributor I purchased from was great, though they had no parts. They ended up sending me an E12 despite the age of my light and them not owing me anything. However, I just don't love the E12 so I am on the hunt. I am currently carrying a Nitecore EA11 that I had (also discontinued now). I like the extra power (claimed 900 lumens/9000cd and 190m throw), but I don't care for the 1"(25.4mm) diameter. UI is ok to me. It's got a Cree XM-L2 U2, for what it's worth.

I've been around and around and considered the Lumintop Tool, Convoy T2/T3, Manker e05, a Jetbeam, Acebeam Pokelit, Reylight LANapple, Sofirn SP10 Pro, Skilhunt E2A and M150, and many others. I keep coming back to the EagTac D25A MKII and D3A. They aren't perfect, but nothing is, and I like the slim dimensions (3.4 in (87mm) x .65" (17mm) body and .7" (17.5mm) head) and think I can live with the UI. As with most people, I think, I wish it didn't have all of the blinking options and/or that they were isolated with Turbo, but I think I could live with it. I know they are "venerable" lights and have been around a while. That part doesn't bother me. Some reviews about failures and shotty quality do, however. Anyone want to talk me out of the EagTacs and in to something else? Whatcha got?

IF I go with a D25A or D3A, there are severeal LED options available. I have been reading and asking questions, but what would you all recommend and why? This will be a daily carry light for a variety of uses, and potentially (though hopefully not) used in a defensive situation where all the power I could get would be welcomed. No necessity for high CRI, though it would be nice! It is a little frustrating that all of the specs aren't available, that I can find anyway, for all of the options:

-Luminus SFT-40 5000K - "newest" and 405 Lumens - I can't find any other specs, but from what have ready this out to be a decent option for a powerhouse? Not high CRI of course but maybe a decent all arounder? Pretty sure I would go 5000k over 6500.

-Luminus SFT-40 Cool (6500k maybe?) - "newest" and 405 Lumens - I can't find any other specs. I think I would lean toward 5000K IF everything else is equal, but is it?

-Cree XM-L2 Cool (D3A only at the moment) - LED Lumen: 405/232/16/2, OTF Lumen: 286/167/11/2, Center LUX: 1,200 (original max output). Don't think I would go this route.

-OSRAM CSLPM1 Cool - 310 Lumens, approx 3,000 LUX The best throw of all options. I wish there were more specs available. Low CRI and very cool I assume. Would still consider this one though.

-OSRAM CSLNM1 - (D3A only at the moment) - No info at all on this one that I can find.

-Cree XP-L HI Domeless Neutral - LED Lumen: 353/199/15/2, ANSI Lumen: 260/145/11/2, Center LUX: 2,050, 91m beam distance (orginial max throw) I would probably choose this one over the other Cree, but I thinks it is still middle of the pacl for me.

-Nichia 519A CRI-92 4500k Neutral (D3A only at the moment) (219C used to be offered instead?) (originial best color output) I can't find any specs at all. I know this emitter is liked by folks in other lights, but how does it compare to the SST-20 here? CRI lower than the SST-20 but pretty close. Does it have more output?

-Luminus SST-20 R9 CRI-95 4000k Neutral - LED Lumen: 275/149/13/2, OTF Lumen: 195/109/9/2, Center LUX: 1,250 Specs are interesting here to compare to others. Lowest lumins but LUX basically the same as the XM-L2. I understand why everyone likes High CRI but just not sure I really need it... Contemplating.
Any thoughts or recommendations? After the LED recommendation, what light should I choose instead?

And after ALL of that, I find the Emisar D3AA to be very impressive. I just wish it didn't have a 24mm (.94") head, but it is quite a bit shorter than the rest and the body is only 19mm (.75"). . . I will likely end up getting one of these at some point and have it split time with the super slim light I end up with. I would probably have chosen the SST-20 5000k just for the crazy output (2075lm OTF / 765lm OTF) or maybe the SST-20 4000k 95 CRI for the the CRI and output (1455lm OTF / 530lm OTF), but I have seen so many recomendations for the 519A 5700k dedomed that I think I would lean that way, if I were ordering today.

Thanks in advance to all. Please go easy on me - I've still got a lot to learn!
 

jon_slider

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Mar 31, 2015
Messages
5,189
Welcome to the quest Bryan-ba

The Eagletacs are nice and slim, and have a much better pocket clip than the Lumintop Tool. The switches are on the tail, which is a more Tactical configuration. Because the lights can be held in an icepick grip, that puts the light at shoulder height. It is an aquard overhand grip, but potentially useful in a defensive posture, if you envision using the light to hit someone in the face.

The M150 can be charged without removing the battery. The double curve pocket clip gives the option to put the light on the brim of a baseball cap, for an impromptu hands free headlamp. Otoh, the clip is more bulky, and prone to snagging on some things. The switch is on the side of the head. This promotes a handshake grip, and is easier to hold the light, and change modes, with the light held at waist level.

The SST-20 is a smaller LED than the 519a. Smaller LEDs make narrower hotspots. The 519a produces a wider hotspot.

The SST-20 tends to have more of a green Tint than the 519a, and that is why I do not use SST-20. The 519a has superior color rendering in the Red Spectrum. This makes organic things such as food, look more appetizing.

Low CRI LEDs such as the XM-L2 have poor color rendering, but higher lumens, albeit with more green Tint.

I would choose the M150 with 4500K 519a over the Eagletac w the same LED. Because the M150 driver sends steady constant power to the LED. The Eagletac uses pulses, to turn the LED on and off very quickly. The M150 has a magnetic tail cap.

The D3AA has Aux lights the others lack. This is useful to me, when I want to see where the light is on my nighstand. The D3AA, like the M150, sends constant power to the LED. The D3AA uses the Anduril UI, which has a richer feature set than the others.

The Eagletacs do not have a battery check function. If you want to check whether the battery is half empty and approaching time to recharge, you must remove the battery from the light and do a voltage check with a DMM.

The D3AA uses 3 main LEDs, and makes a beam that has a wider spread. Better for producing a more even field of illumination for indoor distances.

here is an example of the difference in the beam spread, 10 feet from a wall, of a light that uses a single LED in a reflector, compared to the beam from a light with triple LEDs:
2mtYXAY.png


good luck w your shopping decisions ;-)
 

Bryan-ba

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Joined
Apr 22, 2024
Messages
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Location
Hattiesburg, MS
Welcome to the quest Bryan-ba

The Eagletacs are nice and slim, and have a much better pocket clip than the Lumintop Tool. The switches are on the tail, which is a more Tactical configuration. Because the lights can be held in an icepick grip, that puts the light at shoulder height. It is an aquard overhand grip, but potentially useful in a defensive posture, if you envision using the light to hit someone in the face. Th

The M150 can be charged without removing the battery. The double curve pocket clip gives the option to put the light on the brim of a baseball cap, for an impromptu hands free headlamp. Otoh, the clip is more bulky, and prone to snagging on some things. The switch is on the side of the head. This promotes a handshake grip, and is easier to hold the light, and change modes, with the light held at waist level.

The SST-20 is a smaller LED than the 519a. Smaller LEDs make narrower hotspots. The 519a produces a wider hotspot.

The SST-20 tends to have more of a green Tint than the 519a, and that is why I do not use SST-20. The 519a has superior color rendering in the Red Spectrum. This makes organic things such as food, look more appetizing.

Low CRI LEDs such as the XM-L2 have poor color rendering, but higher lumens, albeit with more green Tint.

I would choose the M150 with 4500K 519a over the Eagletac w the same LED. Because the M150 driver sends steady constant power to the LED. The Eagletac uses pulses, to turn the LED on and off very quickly. The M150 has a magnetic tail cap.

The D3AA has Aux lights the others lack. This is useful to me, when I want to see where the light is on my nighstand. The D3AA, like the M150, sends constant power to the LED. The D3AA uses the Anduril UI, which has a richer feature set than the others.

The Eagletacs do not have a battery check function. If you want to check whether the battery is half empty and approaching time to recharge, you must remove the battery from the light and do a voltage check with a DMM.

The D3AA uses 3 main LEDs, and makes a beam that has a wider spread. Better for producing a more even field of illumination for indoor distances.

here is an example of the difference in the beam spread, 10 feet from a wall, of a light that uses a single LED in a reflector, compared to the beam from a light with triple LEDs:
View attachment 61013

good luck w your shopping decisions ;-)
Thanks for the quick reply and welcome!

I am a fan of tail switches due to years of use with the LD09 and some larger tactical style lights. The side switch of the EA11 is growing on me though.


The M150 has been on my short list for many of the things you mentioned. I'll put it back on the list to reconsider.

Thank you for the info on SST-20 vs. 519a. Makes sense.

What color Aux lights did you go with on the D3AA? Are the RGB user changeable? If so, seems like that would be the most fun. lol.

The battery check is a good point. I never knew I missed it on the LD09 but have noticed it as being nice on the EA11.

I am torn on the multiple LEDs. My use will be a true mixture of inside and out, a jack of all trades, if you will. I have access to a couple hundred acres and live near it. While I often take a bigger light, sometimes I end up being out there until it gets dark and a little more throw would be nice.

Thanks for the images and the opinions!
 

vicv

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Southern Ontario
I think you would be surprised how much you like the cslpm1. I thought it would be too cool and the low CRI would bother me. But that's not the case. It's probably my favorite LED. It has just a fantastic tint and it throws so well that it makes it very efficient.
 

jon_slider

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Mar 31, 2015
Messages
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What color Aux lights did you go with on the D3AA? Are the RGB user changeable?
the Aux around the main LEDs are user controllable RGB. I dont have my D3AA yet, so Im not positive about the switch button LEDs..

I plan to buy w RGB switch button Aux and expect they will mirror the front facing Aux. I will usually choose to use Red forward facing Aux for my nightstand. I expect the switch will also be on Red. All Aux on low brightness to lessen battery drain.
sometimes I end up being out there until it gets dark and a little more throw would be nice.
Your outdoor application favors lights with a single LED in a reflector, such as the M150. Caveat is that small batteries such as AA/14500 have shorter runtime than larger batteries such as 18650.

As a rule of thumb, a light running on High mode will last 1 hour, while running on Medium it will last 4 hours. Therefore, if you anticipate needing a small light such as the M150, to run on High mode, and you want more than 1 hour of runtime, consider an 18650 light such as the Zebralight SC65c Hi, running on Medium output, for longer battery life than the M150.

I agree w vicv that the W1 is very throwy. It is an option for the D3AA, but not for the M150

here is a video that compares floody LEDs, similar to 519a, with the very throwy W1, in an Emisar (not specifically a D3AA):

and a couple of screenshots of the beam differences.
Screen Shot 2024-04-22 at 2.18.22 PM.png

imo the W1, on the right, is better for spotting a dog, or a bear, beyond 10 yards away. It will not show the fur colors well. A 519a in an Emisar D3AA will make a beam profile more similar to the left picture, and is more useful inside the 10 yard line. It will show fur colors vividly.
 
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vicv

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Mar 22, 2013
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Southern Ontario
the Aux around the main LEDs are user controllable RGB. I dont have my D3AA yet, so Im not positive about the switch button LEDs..

I plan to buy w RGB switch button Aux and expect they will mirror the front facing Aux. I will usually choose to use Red forward facing Aux for my nightstand. I expect the switch will also be on Red. All Aux on low brightness to lessen battery drain.

Your outdoor application favors lights with a single LED in a reflector, such as the M150. Caveat is that small batteries such as AA/14500 have shorter runtime than larger batteries such as 18650.

As a rule of thumb, a light running on High mode will last 1 hour, while running on Medium it will last 4 hours. Therefore, if you anticipate needing a small light such as the M150, to run on High mode, and you want more than 1 hour of runtime, consider an 18650 light such as the Zebralight SC65c Hi, running on Medium output, for longer battery life than the M150.

I agree w vicv that the W1 is very throwy. It is an option for the D3AA, but not for the M150

here is a video that compares floody LEDs, similar to 519a, with the very throwy W1, in an Emisar (not specifically a D3AA):

and a couple of screenshots of the beam differences.
View attachment 61018
imo the W1, on the right, is better for spotting a dog, or a bear, beyond 10 yards away. It will not show the fur colors well. A 519a in an Emisar D3AA will make a beam profile more similar to the left picture, and is more useful inside the 10 yard line. It will show fur colors vividly.

Thanks Jon, but the cslpm1 is the w2. The w1 is a bit too blue, too greenish, and too narrow for my tastes. The w2 is perfection. Well maybe not perfection. I wouldn't mind if it had high CRI. But it's so good that I almost don't care. It's the only LED I've ever come across where I will sometimes choose it over incandescent because I enjoy it so much.
 

Bryan-ba

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Great info from slider, as usual.

Can you describe your application? How far away do you need to see? Is your area heavily wooded or bare? Mostly used indoors?
Thanks; I'll try. As I mentioned above in responding to slider, I'm not sure my use could be more varied. From walking to a vehicle in a downtown area, to being outdoors on a couple hundred acres (mixture of open pasture and piney woods), to fishing a piece of jammed paper out of a copier to keep from having to call a repairman, or looking for a kid's toy under the couch. LOL. All of these are true examples from the last few days. I'd like at least 100 yards of throw, preferably at least a little more. I'd like enough power to catch someone off guard and make them look away or shield their eyes, even if only very temporarily, in a potential defensive situation, and then I'd like just a solid, handy general purpose the majority of the time. So, yeah, I want it all! LOL Some thrown but not all throw. Need some spill for other uses, too.

Just thinking and reading more, I'm probably going to end up buying at least 3-4 lights (for now!) and trying them all until I decide which one lives in my pocket (and takes a beating).

Looking back at the M150, it is a touch smaller than I remembered (84mm(3.3") long x 21mm(0.82") head x 18mm(0.71") body. It gets enough love I probably should try it.
 

Bryan-ba

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Good stuff, all, thank you. I am ok with the 14500's limitations when it comes to capacity and just tend to charge fairly regularly based upon use. I am only on my second battery since 2015 and have had pretty good luck overall. I grab a larger flashlight with a 21700 when I know I am going to be out longer or need more light. The 14500 just seems to be my sweet spot for balancing carryability and power, with and admittedly heavy bias toward small size, but not so far I want to move into a AAA light...
 

aznsx

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Personally, I would go with the Eagtac 'D' of choice over other comparable options. I have lots of experience w/ D25Cs and D25As, and thus my opinion. I'm not aware of anything today that would replace them for me. Be aware that they require fairly short cells, so one needs to keep that in mind when cell shopping.

Be aware also that as of late 2023: An undocumented (even to ET distributors, according to mine) firmware 'UI' change appeared in some models. The change that I'm aware of is that 'Strobe' was eliminated / removed from 'Group 2'. With head tight, there is only one output, and that is 'Max-Continuous On'. A half-press in that condition, which previously would activate 'Strobe', now does nothing - (except shut off the output during the half-press, of course). The light remains in 'Max-Continuous On'. Strobe is still available in 'Group 1' as before, on the 3rd pass thru the UI, where it's unlikely to hit by accident. I'll call this change a 'feature not a bug' for me personally, because I prefer this changed UI. I'm not specifically aware of other changes w/ the newer firmware, but haven't tested for them much either. I suppose there could be others I'm unaware of.

I have two D25Cs with the new firmware. I believe another user stated that they were seeing this with a new D3A recently, but I can't confirm that. The As and Cs use different chips if I'm not mistaken (and the D25A and D3A may also be different), and thus can't be assumed to be the same on any given point unless verified.

If you want to know if a particular model has this newer firmware, use the contact form on illuminationgear's site to submit the question, and you'll get a proper response by e-mail promptly, and in English;-)

Regarding ET 'D' lights, I have a number of different LEDs in mine, and I find my favorites for all-around use are the SST-20 4000K, and 519A EDIT: 4000K 4500K (stock). I also have a 219C 4000K that I like. No, I do not see noticeable undesirable spectral characteristics / coloration anomalies in any of those. I have a number of others I like, some with higher outputs for when power is the priority, but those 3 get the most use. I found that in practice over the past couple of years, I've become accustomed / adapted to having great rendition of coloration, so I now have to have a reason to grab the ones that lack it.
 
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jon_slider

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I'm probably going to end up buying at least 3-4 lights
probably more, the more people you ask.. lol

If you find the M150 (carry weight 55 grams), falls short for your outdoor use

Try a Zebralight SC65c HI (carry weight 83 grams).

The Zebra's electronics are encapsulated in a silicone compound, which makes it more drop proof. And it is one of the smallest and lightest weight 18650 lights available.

Acebeam Tac AA
good option if a tailswitch is a priority
otoh, the output is not regulated. Here is the high mode discharge curve, from this review:

zeroair-reviews-acebeam-tac-aa-81-2048x1539.png


by contrast here is the M150 high mode discharge curve, from this review:
zeroair_reviews_skilhunt_m150_v3_106-2048x1539.png


imo the M150 has a better driver, but no tailswitch..
 

jacobd

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When the Emisar D3AA comes out in a single emitter reflector option these questions will be MUCH easier to answer!

I think the best options have been mentioned. The Acebeam Tac AA is a VERY throwy AA light, but the regulation leaves a little to be desired.

Zebras SC65c HI is a truly phenomenal light in terms of throw and output to size ratio, but some people don't love the Zebra UI. I don't mind it, I own 5 different Zebras but it takes a little self-reminding every time I pick one up, they aren't really similar to any other UI's on the market.

If throw was the only goal in a small light the Convoy S6 with the CSLNM1 (plus the 18350 short tube for even smaller size) is a standout, but it's not as great for up close use.

If throw WASN'T needed I'd still suggest the D3AA.

The Skilhunt M200 with 519a is also a good option BUT it's still 0.9" in diameter at the head.
 

Bryan-ba

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Try a Zebralight SC65c HI (carry weight 83 grams).

The Zebra's electronics are encapsulated in a silicone compound, which makes it more drop proof. And it is one of the smallest and lightest weight 18650 lights available.

Zebras SC65c HI is a truly phenomenal light in terms of throw and output to size ratio, but some people don't love the Zebra UI. I don't mind it, I own 5 different Zebras but it takes a little self-reminding every time I pick one up, they aren't really similar to any other UI's on the market.

Ok, ok, you all talked me into it! LOL. The UI makes seems to make sense to me, and I don't have any experience with anything else advanced or complicated to know any better, so I found a Zebralight SC65c Hi in stock and ordered one along with a couple Panasonic 3500mAh flat top 18650 (65.1mm long) batteries sold by the same vendor that are hopefully pretty good cells. I have had really good luck with other Panasonic batteries, so I pulled the trigger without doing any research, which is very unlike me! Please feel free to recommend some good battery options, especially if I chose poorly. I have a couple of Nitecore chargers that can handle a variety of batteries including 18650 that will handle charging duties, so I should be set.

That being said, I think I still want something smaller for carrying on occasion in suit pants or dress pants pocket, for example. I think the SC65c looks incredible and after carrying the EA11 for a week or so now, I think I can tolerate the size of the SC65c in the pocket most days for the advantages it offers, but I foresee times where a little less size would still be preferred. I wish the Zebralight SC53c AA was smaller and stood out more to me. Having the same UI (I haven't really looked into this, just assuming it is same or nearly the same) would be fantastic, but it's nearly the same size as the SC65c and fairly pedestrian running only AA instead of 14500.

As much as I like the M150 and nearly ordered one, I'm not sure it is enough smaller than the SC65c to be worth it. Still considering it, but I think it is behind the Eagtac a bit. If I hadn't just ordered the Zebra, it would be in the mix for sure based upon your recommendations above.

Personally, I would go with the Eagtac 'D' of choice over other comparable options. I have lots of experience w/ D25Cs and D25As, and thus my opinion. I'm not aware of anything today that would replace them for me. Be aware that they require fairly short cells, so one needs to keep that in mind when cell shopping.

Regarding ET 'D' lights, I have a number of different LEDs in mine, and I find my favorites for all-around use are the SST-20 4000K, and 519A EDIT: 4000K 4500K (stock). I also have a 219C 4000K that I like. No, I do not see noticeable undesirable spectral characteristics / coloration anomalies in any of those. I have a number of others I like, some with higher outputs for when power is the priority, but those 3 get the most use. I found that in practice over the past couple of years, I've become accustomed / adapted to having great rendition of coloration, so I now have to have a reason to grab the ones that lack it.

I think you would be surprised how much you like the cslpm1. I thought it would be too cool and the low CRI would bother me. But that's not the case. It's probably my favorite LED. It has just a fantastic tint and it throws so well that it makes it very efficient.
Thanks for this. Still torn on the LED choice for a D25A/D3A. Maybe I should just buy one of each! Ha.
 
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jon_slider

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5,189
Maybe I should just buy one of each!
LOL! you catch on quick..

Congratulations on your SC65C Hi purchase, it uses a Great LED and has a great form factor. I think the batteries you chose are perfect.

Thanks for letting us know that you opened your wallet, it gives me a Vicarious Thrill.
Enjoy!
 

Bryan-ba

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LOL! you catch on quick..

Congratulations on your SC65C Hi purchase, it uses a Great LED and has a great form factor. I think the batteries you chose are perfect.

Thanks for letting us know that you opened your wallet, it gives me a Vicarious Thrill.
Enjoy!
Ha ha ha. Thanks and glad to hear it. Here, I can just make your day even better - after saying what I did above and struggling some more, I just ordered an M150 with the 519a and an extra charging cable! The cable is what finally won me over, I think. Well, along with the tons of good reviews and positive comments. I like the idea of just carrying a cable while traveling and being able to charge it. So I will give it a shot and let it go head to head with the Zebra. Still may get an Eagtac though!!! :ROFLMAO:
 
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