Lumapower M3 Transformer: Anyone out there have one and like it?

AFAustin

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Just in the last day or two, a bunch of CPFers have posted quite a few comments expressing disappointment in the M3, and describing its shortcomings. I guess I may be weighing in myself soon enough on this---I have one en route. :whistle:

In the meantime, I'm just wondering if there are some CPFers out there who have the M3 and are happy with it? If so, I hope you'll post your comments. BTW, all comments, positive or negative are welcome, but I simply wanted to start a thread where any M3 fans would also be encouraged to speak their minds.

Thanks.
 

Kilovolt

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I've had my M3 for about ten days and I do like it. It appears that nowadays the most important if not the only important feature of a flashlight is throw. If you expect pure throw from an M3 you'll be disappointed and you will say so.
I do like my M3 because when I walk in the dark I'm not only interested in what happens 300 ft away but also in what lays in front of my feet. And M3 gives out a nice and smooth flood that is very good and useful in the real world.
I must also admit that I take with me a P1D CE just in case there is a tiger lurking in the woods along my path......:)
 

Ty_Bower

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I like my M3. It's a little bit different from some of the other AA powered Cree offerings out there. Yes, it's a bit bigger, but there's more to it than that.

I like the textured reflector. It makes a nice beam. I don't care for the smooth reflector in my L2D.

I like the 2-stage reverse clicky. If I want the low setting, I just pick it up and click it. When I'm ready to turn it off, I cover the end with my hand and double click to turn it off. If I want the high setting, I double click to turn it on, and click once to turn it off. There is no strobe/SOS/half-click. I think it is a very no-nonsense user interface.

I like the conservative maximum output setting. People are disappointed that this light isn't as bright on high as a Fenix P1D or L2D. It is true the Fenix Cree lights are brighter, but for many tasks the M3 is plenty bright. It is still a bright light, and it still warms up on high. For short range tasks, the M3 puts out enough light and has a better beam than the Fenix.

I'll agree the threads have too much free play in them. I think maybe they machined the threads loose expecting them to need a little extra room after the anodize process. I understand it is tricky to get threading "just right" when hard anodizing is involved.
 

heliyardsale

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AFAustin,
Don't get me wrong, Altought I'm mildly disappointed with the M3's output, its a very cool light. The problem we are all starting to face is the fact that there are a ton of really great Cree lights available. Everytime I read about a new light, it's hard not to jump in a purchase it. I think I have just reached the point where its hard to find any super better than the last light features with so many great lights out already. Some are better than others, My biggest gripe is brightness compared to the size of the M3. After receiving my Mini-D and M1, the notch was raised quite a bit on the brightness scale. If I had purchased the M3 after my first LED light (a Streamlight C3, the 10 led model) The M3 would have blown me away. I was under the assumption that it would be similar in brightness to at least the Mini-D when it's running on high and with 123a or 14500's but its not even close. Considering it's made by the the same company, that was a big disappointment for me. All in all its a very nicely constructed light. it just needs to be brighter and smaller in size. I think if you looked at total light useage by most of us here on the CPF, maybe yourself included, you will find that the most used lights are small, higher-lumen models that we can EDC. I just don't see myself carrying the M3, its too big and not bright enough when I need a bright light during my travels. I hope you are more happy with your purchase than some of us are. I hope you post your thoughts after you have had a chance to play with your M3 when it arrives...
Best wishes,
Heli
 
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Gointothelight

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I admit it, I am a flashlight junkie and the M3 is a great fix. I'm not just about throw... Listen, if I want throw I'm going to grab a 9volt flashlight, not a AA light. For a pocket light I want a combination of l o n g runtime, a good flood with some reasonable throw... the M3 provides all 3 in a reasonable package... add to that the interchangeable bodies and battery choices and it is as flexible as you could ask for.

Yes, there are better specialty pocket lights for throw, smaller lights available, etc... but the M3 provides enough of everything to make it very desireable... it has completely replaced my Surefre L1 as my most flexible and used light.

OK, I was put off by the size when I first received it... much larger than I anticipated or even wanted. But it has grown on me considerably. The heft feels good and is easier to hold than smaller lights. I can make it smaller using the CR123 body and the AA body, while slightly larger, uses cheaper batteries. AND I much prefer the 2-stage high/low clickie to a twist light. PLUS, I like being able to stand it on the tailcap and use it as a candle to light an area.

It is smaller than a Surefire L1, more flexible and offers better lighting choices. If you want small, you can't beat a Fenix (I have several) but for a "do it all light" the M3 is now the one I use the most. I now have 2 and am thinking about getting a 3rd.
 

gunga

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I'm curious about runtimes. The low level is 10x less than the fenix, so I wonder how much more runtime is possible on low with a AA battery. 23hrs for Fenix is great, wonder how long this one goes for...
 

Ty_Bower

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Gointothelight said:
...For a pocket light I want a combination of l o n g runtime, a good flood with some reasonable throw... the M3 provides all 3 in a reasonable package...

...The heft feels good and is easier to hold...
I'll agree with that. If you want a light to impress your friends - "Gee, that thing is really small and really bright" - the M3 is not it. Otherwise, for a light that's going to get used a lot, I think the M3 fits the bill.
 

Gointothelight

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gunga said:
I'm curious about runtimes. The low level is 10x less than the fenix, so I wonder how much more runtime is possible on low with a AA battery. 23hrs for Fenix is great, wonder how long this one goes for...

I don't know yet, but they are posting runtimes on the Lumapower M3 thread as they get them. With a single AA the M3 will run more than 11 hours on medium... I have to believe it will be 2 or 3 times that at least on low. Probably a couple of hours on high.
 

Gointothelight

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gunga said:
Just keep in mind the 11 hours is using a LIthium E2 cell. I'm more interested in nimh and alkaline...

You're absolutely right about that. I always take Lithium batteries for granted... I want to keep a battery in my lights, even AA and AAA, that I could forget about for years and still know they'll come on. Standard batteries will certainly run less.
 

AFAustin

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Thanks, gents, for your very helpful and descriptive comments. I appreciate your insights into both the virtues and the shortcomings of this light.

My M3 arrived today, ahead of schedule (courtesy of a very fast ship from CPFer russtang---a great guy to deal with, by the way), and I have just begun to get acquainted with it. So far, I like the sturdiness, the beam quality, the bias towards flood more than throw, the simple 2-stage switch, the battery flexibility, and the overall "quality" feel. My biggest disappointment so far is that the "focusing" feature is seriously flawed in that the bezel really has to be quite loose to focus out for maximum flood.

As for the size issue, I do agree that for something inobtrusive in the pocket, there are better choices (I love my LOD CE). At the same time, I understand what several of you have said about it feeling "right" in the hand, the pleasing heft, etc. On this issue, I guess it mostly matters how you intend to use it.

As for the lack of impressive output, it's too soon for me to know how I'm going to feel about that. It's no barn burner, that's for sure, but its output is respectable. Moreover, the soft hotspot and nice, smooth flood, is easier on the eye for most short and medium range tasks than a true thrower, which usually has such a sharp contrast between the hotspot and the spillbeam that it really can be unpleasant for use closer in.

I'm looking forward to giving the M3 some use in the coming days, and I'll know better then what my ultimate opinion on it is.

Once again, thanks to all for sharing their thoughts on the M3.


Update after a good night's sleep: As for the not-enough-output issue, as several others have said, why wouldn't the easiest solution simply be a higher "burst" type mode, which would preserve all the current virtues and add the extra 'oomph" when you need it?
 
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AFAustin

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Used my M3 a good bit tonight, and can report on several positive factors.

First of all, I gave it the traditional new flashlight clean-the-threads-and-Nyogel-them treatment. That gave the knurled section behind the bezel a pretty smooth action for twisting back and forth between high and medium. The knurling is also well done there, and that likewise helps the action.

I took my dog on a hike, using the 1xAA body and a 14500, and the output was pretty good. It was a nice compromise between medium distance throw and a soft enough hotspot and spill beam to light up the path well without an overly bright hotspot to distract you. (I also compared output between a 14500 and an RCR123A, and to my naked eye they seemed about the same.). My benchmark here was my Jetbeam MK II (not the Cree version), which has always wowed me with its performance on a 14500. The M3 outhrows the Jet on max by a hair, and, more importantly, it kept its cool during prolonged periods on high, whereas the Jet gets hot quickly on max.

When I got back, I put a NiMH cell in the 1xAA body, and used the M3 around the house and yard. A pleasant surprise here---much better output than I expected from the single AA. The M3 had significantly more throw than my Jet MKII on a NiMH.

The GID tailcap button and GID o ring in the bezel are really pretty cool---they don't need much light exposure to glow brightly, and are a help when you pull out the M3 in the dark and don't want to press your thumb on the lens!

Finally, I haven't quite decided yet if I'm going to be in the "it's too big!" camp or the "fits my hand just right" camp, but I do know that I like the shape. The simple straight tube, with no oversized bezel, tailcap, or clip to stick out---is sleek and elegant. That, along with the nice machining and good HA, make this a handsome light to behold.
 

FLUXU

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I just got an M3 and I'm getting really disappointed so far. I have about 5 or 6 problems and sent an email to Battery Junction Saturday and have not had a reply. There are a few nice features but I'm afraid this is becoming a bad purchase.
 

BentHeadTX

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Thanks everyone for the honest reviews

I got stuck with the "we need flashlights but can't get Surefires because of the hazmat batteries" gig. I layed out a Fenix L1D CE, L2D CE and two Peak Mediterranean 2AA (1.5 watt LuxIII) one with twistie and the other "normal" clickie.

The votes came in across the board from "why is the (reverse) switch backwards" to "that L2D is freakin' bright" to "I like the beam better on the Peak"

The Lumapower M3 transformer seems to be the "system" to get so eight people can screw around with all the bodies/switches and switch boots to keep them occupied. At least I have the excuse that they can configure it multiple ways in an attempt to make them happy. The OP reflector will make the people happy that preferred the Peak's beam quality and the 1AA for those that like small lights.

Since the funding is there for L1 lights, I can throw in a smart charger/discharger with 220V and 12V plug adapters. They promised to order Eneloops for correct care and feeding of the M3. They also noted I was a bit too "enthusiastic" and "knowledgeable" about flashlights.

Anyone have any reasons why the M3 won't work well in less than ideal conditions as a backup? They have Surefire incandescent lights for the monster throw applications.
 

heliyardsale

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BentHead, You lost me but thanks for the post.... I like your comment about configuring the M3.... No matter how you configure it, it's not going to be brighter. I have sent Ricky an E-mail to see if they will address the low output issue with a different head or electronics, but have yet to hear back. If anyone can and will come up with a solution, I have confidence Ricky will.....
KDX
 

flashy bazook

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interesting posts in this thread.

my experience with the M3 is that it is not designed to be the most powerful flashlight possible, but it is designed to give plenty of output with excellent runtime.

if you want small EDC size, use the CR123A formfactor. As that, it is fairly small (smaller than the L1). It is not as short as it could be, because it has a clicky. Many people say they prefer the clicky to a twisty and will not buy a light that does not offer the clicky - so this was obviously a design choice to maximize potential sales. Quite understandable, really.

I've been carrying the 1xCR123A M3 formfactor as an EDC since I got it (which is probably as long as most here, with a couple of exceptions) and the size and weight is just fine for that purpose. It goes straight into my pockets as well, no need for carrying the mini-pouch that Lumapower bundled with the light.

I've been comparing a number of CREE/Seoul flashlights recently, and can say that the M3 is less at max than the Fenix L2D CE (my 2xAA L2D tubes finally arrived!). But since I also have the Lumapower M1, I can use that for big throw and output (and the M1 throws farther than the L2D CE).

So the M3 is intended to be a general use flashlight that covers most needs, with other flashlights (such as the M1) being used for more intense light needs.
I agree that the focusability is not a huge factor, and that you do need to unscrew by several turns to get an impact, I guess is there if you need it kind of thing (get a bit wider beam).

The quality and toughness of the light is another good thing about it, it is rather solid and the HA-III ano looks and feels great.
 

gunga

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Cannot comment fully on the light since I just picked it up this morning.

I don't mind the form factor. It's not tiny and cool like a jetbeam C-LE, but fits in the hand very well.

The knurling and shape make for good 1 handed use (unlike the slippery Fenix). Hard to say much about the output since it's still daylight here. Some testing in a darkened room shows a nice smooth beam.

I have some issues with my anodizing though. I don't mind that none of the pieces match too well, with every "natural" being a bit different form the next. I do have a problem with the somewhat blotchy anodizing on the head and reverse clicky tail cap. It's fairly subtle, but it is definitely noticable. NOt well done at all. The head unit around the lense also show rough finishing and poor anodizing work there. That part really disappoints me.

I was afraid the light would be too huge, but it fits just fine and is a nice balance between small size and handling. That part I don't mind.

Anyone else have issues with the anodizing? I'm not sure I can send this back for this kind of thing, which is a pain, because it could bother me... (Battery Junction Purchase).
 

Lobo

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Dont remember who(it wasnt you then? :)), or in which M3thread, but someone had the same problem, and I believe they returned it.
 

heliyardsale

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gunga said:
Cannot comment fully on the light since I just picked it up this morning.

I don't mind the form factor. It's not tiny and cool like a jetbeam C-LE, but fits in the hand very well.

The knurling and shape make for good 1 handed use (unlike the slippery Fenix). Hard to say much about the output since it's still daylight here. Some testing in a darkened room shows a nice smooth beam.

I have some issues with my anodizing though. I don't mind that none of the pieces match too well, with every "natural" being a bit different form the next. I do have a problem with the somewhat blotchy anodizing on the head and reverse clicky tail cap. It's fairly subtle, but it is definitely noticable. NOt well done at all. The head unit around the lense also show rough finishing and poor anodizing work there. That part really disappoints me.

I was afraid the light would be too huge, but it fits just fine and is a nice balance between small size and handling. That part I don't mind.

Anyone else have issues with the anodizing? I'm not sure I can send this back for this kind of thing, which is a pain, because it could bother me... (Battery Junction Purchase).

Mine is not as spotty, the all the pieces are different shades of anodizing which is annoying. None of the pieces match at all. My M1 is the same way, the the head, tail cap and body all have different graditation of color in their finishes. I think it's a Lumapower thing... They don't quite seem to have it (finishing process) together yet, I would think they would finish all the parts for one light together, but it appears that they are batching all the parts separate ie. Heads vs. Caps vs. Body parts in different batch lots...
Heli
 
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