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

JML

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I posted the note about severe spotting on my M3, but I was able to send it back to BatteryJunction. It looked like it had been spattered with some liquid. The replacement doesn't have any spots on any of the pieces (or I haven't seen them yet), but the head section has a slightly "brushed" lengthwise grain that doesn't match any of the other parts. But my D-Mini has two faint "watermarks" on two parts (like it was sitting in water that dried), and the battery section is darker than the front and rear sections. I wrote to Ricky, and he said the watermarking was from the chemical/acid bath mixture and the anodizing process in the rack.

I've seen other problems like this on some other lights from other makers. The anodization bath can result in strange mismatching on parts because of the grain or finish of the aluminum, or from billet to billet differences. I've also seen "stains" on other lights, including my Surefire U2, where a scratch or mark on the aluminum allowed the solution to penetrate the metal more, absorbing more of the black dye. The natural color of the Lumapower HA-III is more "bead-blasted titanium-like" than the greener color on Surefire lights, or the purple-black tone variations on the Surefire U2. I think the Inova lights have had the best color and tone control on their HA-III, but it seems to be less thick than other maker's HA-III. I think Fenix does their black color well, but the color seems to disappear in sharp edges and indentations. Lumapower's HA-III seems to be pretty thick and uniformly implemented in all the cut outs and edges.
 
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gunga

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Mine has the watermarking or staining look to a couple parts. It's not severe but it bugs me... It also has somewhat unfinished, not properly done anodizing on the edge of the bezel where the lense is.

THe minor differences in tone of the HA does not bother me, but the water marks do. Bah.

Thanks for the info!
 

gunga

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Hmmm, well, had a chance to use the light tonight. Feels great in the hand, and the action of the high/med adjustment is smooth and has a nice definite click (vs the lack of such in the fenix). Switch is very firm (reverse clicky) and positive, and the beam is smooth due to the OP reflector.

I'm going to have to see if I like the low low setting (used to the much higher one on the Fenix and jetbeam). The medium and high settings are fine. I'm using the 1 AA configuration for now (tried the CR123, that was quite nice, but think I'd like to stick to AA for now).

Nice light, very usable. I'll have to test further to see if I like the levels and the UI (I'm not sold yet on the 2 stage clicky).

Anodizing water marks are not so bad, I just wish I was one of the lucky ones who got one with the "flawless" anodizing.
 

TheMechanic

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I've wrestled with making this reply; sadly, in our culture of 'victimization' and overblown offense at every perceived slight I feel it necessary to start with this disclaimer: what follows is not meant to be pejorative to any person, group of people, or animal. Clear?

That said, I'm beginning to wonder if the M3 will end up being Lumapower's "pearls before swine" light - a light that no one will take the time to appreciate.

Looking at the M3, I see a superb design, good aesthetics, and good performance. Is it the very brightest light out there? No. Is it the very smallest? No. Does it have the very longest throw or very widest flood? No on both counts. Does it have the very best runtime? Nada.

What it has is "balance", a great combination of performance, envelope, and features that taken as a whole make for a very useful and enjoyable light. It's an "enough" light: enough of each performance point to make it a good choice for a wide variety of uses.

What I've seen in the comments about the M3 indicate that very few people are giving this light the time it deserves. People have received them, found a point that they didn't like ('too big', 'dim', 'not enough throw') and immediately put them up for sale. That is their prerogative, of course, but it shows a tunnel vision of sorts - not being able to see the forest for the trees, to use an expression popular in this country.

This isn't to say that the light couldn't be improved, however. My major complaint is the "tactical" switch, which is poorly made and seems out of place given the overall quality of the rest of the light. (Ricky, if you're reading this, tell the engineering department to source a forward clicky switch to replace the "tactical" switch. For me, it's the one sour note in a symphony.)

Could Lumapower improve the brightness? I suppose, but I wouldn't want it to come at the cost of beam quality or runtime. Could they reduce the size? Yes, but I wouldn't want it to come at the cost of handling or versatility. I could go on, but I think the point has been made.

To potential M3 owners: this isn't a light that will win on any single criteria; it is a light where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you're looking for it to be the "best" in some specific way, you'll be disappointed. If you look for the overall usability of the whole package, I think you'll come away impressed.

To Lumapower: don't despair, you've done a great job (the tactical switch notwithstanding.) Make improvements as you see the opportunity, but don't allow them to destroy your original vision. You're doing good work, but you can't please everyone all the time.

-=[ Grant ]=-
 

selfbuilt

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TheMechanic said:
What it has is "balance", a great combination of performance, envelope, and features that taken as a whole make for a very useful and enjoyable light.
Well said - I've been following this thread with interest (thanks AFAustin for starting it). I love my D-mini (with 2-stage switch), and had been seriously considering the M3, but in the end decided against it.

The reason I didn't go for it early on is that I could tell from the original specs that the length and width were going to be a concern. I have a LM301, and found it a bit bulky compared to the Fenix 1AA line, so I know the extra heft of the M3 would be a negative for me (though it may be more useful for some). That being said, I do prefer the D-mini over my P1DCE for better "hand feel" (although with less pocket-ability)

I also have experience with other lights that "defocus" for flood, and have always been disappointed (no names - don't want to start a flight). :)

So I went for the L2DCE instead (with spare L1D body), and am very happy with it. Certainly, once the M3 drive currents were released, I realized that the M3 was going to take lumps for not being as bright. But that's only in direct comparison - on it's own, the M3 seems to have plenty of decent output for the runtime.

It seems to me they have indeed stuck a good balance for a "transformer" light (although a turbo mode would have helped them sell it). Probably a good bet for a starting flasholic ... although I think those of use with a lot of lights already are likely to continue to pass on it, since it doesn't excel in any one category (and thus not likely to get a lot of use).

Sorry if I'm pontificating a little off topic,as I don't personally own one. Sounds like a nice light ...
 

JML

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I think TheMechanic's post accurately characterized the M3. It's a great design with some choices that may not reflect (no pun intended) everyone's preferences, but it is a very balanced, beautifully made light. And it has room to grow in flexibility because of the modular nature of the light.

I think it's a great indoor light, and a great EDC if you don't carry a light on a keychain. It kills almost every light out there for the price and quality levels Lumapower hit. It may not be the first choice for some outdoor situations, but for walking around, it's great. No, it won't illuminate things across the street as well as a D-mini, but the flood is better (both OP reflectors). Light in weight, quite nicely made, and overbuilt.

Perfect? No. I'd like more options, and I hope Lumapower builds on the modular nature of the light. A module with more output and less runtime, for sure. More switch options? Why not? (For what it's worth, I'd like the option in all the Lumapower lights for my favorite switch: a one-stage forward clickie with momentary on, like the Inova T-series clickie and the Surefire U2 clickie.) And better QC in the anodizing tank, definitely.

This is the first production run. I think we'll be seeing more generations responding to our requestss. I sure hope so!

And you know, it's a very pretty light, too! Simple, elegant, reliable, and useful.
 
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heliyardsale

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Nice posts, I may gripe about the M3, But all in all its a good well-rounded light. I'm hanging on to mine, the more I play with it the more it grows on me... The tac-twisty? What tac twisty? Mine is like pushing on a solid tail cap... More power, better tac switch, and the light will be 100%.
Heli
 

JML

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Funny, I have the D-Mini and M3 sitting on my desk top next to a Bradley Alias I and Alias II, two knives made by Benchmade. The HA-III finishes on the lights matches the bead-blasted titanium handles of the two knives. These knives are exceptionally well made, by one of the top USA manufacturers of folders. They have excellent titanium handles, S30V blades, and a very secure monolock. But some people whine because they're not Chris Reeve Sebenzas, a knife the seller modeled these on, and which are made in a small custom knife shop, virtually by one man, and much more expensive (think at least twice the not-low price of the Bradleys). Reminds me of some reactions to the Lumapower M3.

I bet Ricky's planning modules and options. Look how fast Lumapower came out with new versions of the M1 and D-Mini, and switches and reflectors, in response to CPF feedback. In fact, I think I'm going to get one of those new M1 Tacticals... I think this is a company that's going to be around for a long time, and will not limit themselves to one or two lights that go obsolete quickly, like so many others.
 
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AFAustin

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Hi, selfbuilt, good to hear from you and thanks for your post.

Thank you, to all, for your well written and insightful comments. This is an interesting, well made light that has strengths, and maybe weaknesses, that aren't completely apparent at first blush. It obviously provokes a bit of thought and some excellent analysis. Well done, gents.
 

woodrow

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Feb 7, 2006
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I just got my M3 today. One thing that all the Chinese manufactures (or at least Huntlight and Lumapower) should do in my humble opinion is come up with a good instruction manual with photos for each light.

After finally putting the M3 together the right way with both AA tubes and the turbohead, I am pleased with the light. It is not as bright as my D-mini, that I bought it to back up. But the beam is similar (with turbohead) and to have more than 20 hours I am guessing on medium with 2 e2 lithium AA's and more than 3 hours on hi and who knows how many on low is a very good thing.

The d-mini is smaller, cheaper, and brighter. This all comes at a cost of around 30 minutes of runtime with a 3.7v rcr123a. I love it, but wouldn't be happy with it on 2 hour hike. The M3 would be good on a several hour hike or power outage. Thats what I wanted.
 
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