Lumens or runtime?

3_gun

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Jun 27, 2021
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I find myself almost everyday needing less max lumens and more run time. So why does it seem the only race in specs is the lumen race? Where is the race to give me/us a light of 400L for 8hrs with no heat/battery dimming issues? Yes more is better but for me it just seems to be more of what I don't need .. lumens.

A 21700 light at 400L in 4-4500k for REAL 8hrs run with a throw to around 50yds sounds like perfection to me. Of course that would mean a 5L low would be what? .. about 300hrs? or more! Add in a simplified Anduril UI (fewer blinkies/flashers etc) and to me you have a light worth $100 not $30

Am I the only one that wishes light makers would make real lumen levels and run times more to real world use? Or are most of what we buy just toys and bragging rights?

And if my dream light is out there post a link cause I haven't found it yet
 
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parang

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Dec 28, 2020
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I am with you 100%.. I have two points to make.

First, we can't control how our pupils dilate and so, often all those lumens, (and our money that bought them) are wasted. It is much better to maintain night vision with firefly and moonlight modes indoors and a nice, high CRI, even flood for walks outdoors.

Second, human eye and our complete optical system is not moving on an linear scale, but, like most things in nature, on a logarithmic scale. This is why doubling lumens won't result in subjectively observed doubling of brightness for a human.

Marketing suggests that 1000 lumens will be twice as bright as 500 lumens. Nope. Save your money.
 

vicv

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I would even say 500 lumens is too much for most cases. But you don't need to run on high either. I have a light with a 700 lumen high. It's ridiculous. I mostly use it in low which is around 100l. But I still have the high if for some reason I need it.
Oh and that 100 Lumen output is rated at 42h
 

The Hawk

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Apr 20, 2009
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Kentucky
My latest purchase was a light for the back of my bicycle. Run time was important to me. I certainly don't want it to quit in the middle of a ride. I found one that lasts 30 hours. I think that will do just fine.
 

skid00skid00

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Dec 13, 2009
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The spreadsheet I created from online tests of my lights shows:
Mateminco TK04 (26650)- 392 L, 5.5 Hr
Zebralight SC700d (21700)- 583 L, 4.2 Hr
Zebralight H600Fc Mk 4(18650)-562 L, 3.1 Hr; 296 L, 5.3 Hr.
 

3_gun

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Jun 27, 2021
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Fenix has the E35v3 that they claim & reviews show will do 450L for about 6hrs. Bad side low is only 50L & the UI doesn't allow for ON to low or turbo. Still at $70 it isn't a bad choice if I didn't already have a IF25a which comes closer to my ideal for $30.

I really think if they put half the effort into run times and thermals as they have lumens we'd have our minds blown by run times
 

Roger Sully

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While I appreciate the fact that some lights can hit the 18-20,000 lumen mark i find it sooo much more attractive that the lower lumens can go forever. Any one who has lived thru an extended power outage can appreciate the longer runtime way more than the higher lumens. My most recent "powerhouse", The Nextorch Saint 31 has a 90 lumen low that will supposedly go for 81 hours...How can you go wrong with that?!
 
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bykfixer

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John 3:16
I go for runtime Roger.

I bought one of them there lights you can morse code the space shuttle but the batteries got so hot I felt like I was carrying a hand grenade with the pin pulled.

Give me 100 lumens, and a shload of runtime any day.
 

GoVegan

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Unless I can have a light with a kyber crystal power source, I'll always value runtime more. After all, some light is always better than no light (which is what you have after your battery runs out).

Most of my flashlight usage is around 10 lumens, non blinding and I get great runtime. If I had to choose one set brightness level for the rest of my life, 10 lumens would be it as it would cover most usages.

However, even for tactical lights, I can't imagine ever needing more than 250 lumens, which is more than enough assuming it's not some floody reflector/optic. Years ago, I was always fairly satisfied with a 70 lumen tactical light, although more than this is obviously better. I just need enough light to light up dark areas, see a potential threat and see whats in the hands of a potential threat. Like parang wrote above, about how our eyes work, too bright a light just isn't worth it as there is huge cost on the runtime.

So given a usual EDC light, what I expect is a balance of brightness and runtime, and to me that means not pushing a 1xCR123 light over 325 lumens (max, as even less than this is better for me), or for a 1xAA around 150 lumens max. Above this, runtimes are just too short in my opinion. 800 lumens on Malkoff Bodyguard and as little as 15 mins of runtime, no thank you. Similar with a Surefire EDCL1-T on a rechargable 123A, about 20 mins, again no thanks.

BTW 18-20,000 lumens, just seems crazy for me. Again I can't see the need beyond specialist situations, like Search & Rescue. I know some people do like to have very bright lights in the woods, for example, but no more than 80 have always served me well and enough to see trail markers even at very far distances, but again most of the time 10 lumens is enough, that way I keep more night vision which is arguably more important in the woods.
 

325addict

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The same here. A while ago, I also kept chasing the horizon for more, more, MORE!! ...... Lumens.
That was yesterday.
I even turned back to my old Daimon incans, some with a standard 3.5V / 200mA bulb in it, as this gives me both a GREAT runtime (25 hours on a single 21700 with 5000mAh) AND it doesn't blind me when I turn it on in the middle of the night. This small Daimon light belonged to my granddad, he passed away in 1983 and I got that light... it might very well be 60 years old, but still going strong and very usable with just one 21700 cell.
I used to be a huge fan of the incan MiniMag 2AA and... I still am. It gives a very pleasant color of light, and the right AMOUNT of light too. Invaiably, there's one near my bed.
Then, there's the Mag ML25IT (not to be confused with ML25LT) which is about the best incan light you can buy for little money. If you can still get one, BUY IT! You won't regret that decision...
IMG_5828.JPG
 

chip100t

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Apr 1, 2021
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Definatly run times over lumens.
I am fairly new to taking more than an average interest in flashlights. And as such lumens was very much the yardstick I used when buying a new light.

I started out with several olights that offered both high and low outputs so had the best of both worlds. But three years later they stopped selling the proprietary batteries needed to charge the batteries internally of four of my lights, so have since vowed never take buy another proprietary cell light.

so then I found my self buying several Fenix lights which are great apart from the fact the lowest setting on most of mine is 30 lumens. Which might not sound much but is quite often more than I need so a waste of potential run time.

so now I have moved toward sofirn as they may not be as high end as my other lights but I really like the versatility of anduril and that no lumens are wasted maximising my runtimes.
 
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vicv

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In all honesty, neither. Most of my lights are either under 300 lumen, or if they're not I will use a lower mode if they're an LED. I generally walk around preferring around 40-50 lumens. On a light with good throw this is plenty of light for most situations.
But on the other hand I genuinely don't really care about runtime either. For my personal use case I rarely use a light for over 30 minutes at a time. So for me when the battery gest low I recharge them. With rechargeable batteries runtime is irrelevant within reason.
I have seen it argue that people prefer long runtime because that gives them less cycles on their batteries which will make them last longer. All of my batteries have eventually gotten bad due to time not number of cycles.
And I think most people here have more than one or two lights. Which makes runtime even less important as you're not relying on one single light.
Not to mention I still prefer incandescent lights. And even with them I get over an hour of run time or more on each. Which is plenty
 

xxo

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I used to look at lumens as a measure of performance, now I look at lumens as a measure of how fast it will drain the batteries, how much it will kill natural adapted night vision and how fast the light will heat up. Decent throw and runtime are where it's at.
 

M.C-ACTUAL

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What lights would you guys recommend that fall into this category? I currently run a FourSevens Quark MKIII. This is my absolute favorite light and for me, hits every requirement for my EDC. I feel like a lot of the community is sleeping on this light, or maybe no one likes it. I hardly see anyone post about it.
 

skid00skid00

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Dec 13, 2009
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What lights would you guys recommend that fall into this category? I currently run a FourSevens Quark MKIII. This is my absolute favorite light and for me, hits every requirement for my EDC. I feel like a lot of the community is sleeping on this light, or maybe no one likes it. I hardly see anyone post about it.
I have an old Quark, I think it's a backup light in my car. Loved it when I got it, but there's so many, better lights available today. I think my Ultratak k18 (10440) is closest to the Q. SC52 with 14500 (it's an older SC52, so can use LiIon) blows the Q away. Hell-even my Nitecore Tini 2 is mostly better.

Getting old, even for lights, sucks!
 

3_gun

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Jun 27, 2021
Messages
635
What lights would you guys recommend that fall into this category? I currently run a FourSevens Quark MKIII. This is my absolute favorite light and for me, hits every requirement for my EDC. I feel like a lot of the community is sleeping on this light, or maybe no one likes it. I hardly see anyone post about it.
A 21700 light at 400L in 4-4500k for REAL 8hrs run with a throw to around 50yds w/a simplified Anduril UI

To date nothing falls into this category, I have a couple that do well meeting some of the goals but none hit'em all. The outline is more of a GP light that can fit a pocket rather than a EDC. Size wise an 18650 is about as much as most/many want to carry as an EDC. I'd be willing to go to a 26650 if it was sized right but to date most of those are over 6" long w/heads 1.5" & larger which pretty much keeps it in the house.

The Quark has OK specs as an EDC but a few things would keep me from buying it. One is the odd battery size & the warning NOT to use 2x123a in its place. Next is the major gap in light spacing. And lastly the minor difference in turbo & high run times tells me turbo actually spends most of its time much closer to 400 or less. The battery & spacing are much more important.

I'd like/hope my "goal" light would have spacing of 400, 150, 50 & ML or with the UI be programmable to similar out puts
 

fuyume

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Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
274
Unless I can have a light with a kyber crystal power source, I'll always value runtime more. After all, some light is always better than no light (which is what you have after your battery runs out).

Most of my flashlight usage is around 10 lumens, non blinding and I get great runtime. If I had to choose one set brightness level for the rest of my life, 10 lumens would be it as it would cover most usages.

However, even for tactical lights, I can't imagine ever needing more than 250 lumens, which is more than enough assuming it's not some floody reflector/optic. Years ago, I was always fairly satisfied with a 70 lumen tactical light, although more than this is obviously better. I just need enough light to light up dark areas, see a potential threat and see whats in the hands of a potential threat. Like parang wrote above, about how our eyes work, too bright a light just isn't worth it as there is huge cost on the runtime.

So given a usual EDC light, what I expect is a balance of brightness and runtime, and to me that means not pushing a 1xCR123 light over 325 lumens (max, as even less than this is better for me), or for a 1xAA around 150 lumens max. Above this, runtimes are just too short in my opinion. 800 lumens on Malkoff Bodyguard and as little as 15 mins of runtime, no thank you. Similar with a Surefire EDCL1-T on a rechargable 123A, about 20 mins, again no thanks.

BTW 18-20,000 lumens, just seems crazy for me. Again I can't see the need beyond specialist situations, like Search & Rescue. I know some people do like to have very bright lights in the woods, for example, but no more than 80 have always served me well and enough to see trail markers even at very far distances, but again most of the time 10 lumens is enough, that way I keep more night vision which is arguably more important in the woods.


This is why I am interested in the Fenix PD36 TAC. Not because of the 2000 lumen max Hi mode or the 3000 lumen max Turbo mode, but because of the 11 hour runtime at 350 lumen Med mode with a totally flat discharge curve.

For most things at night, I want less than 10 lumens, usually around 5 is fine, but sometimes 1 lumen is better.

For anything where I actually need to engage in wayfinding at night, the 30 lumen Eco mode of the PD36 TAC will be fine, and the 150 lumen Lo mode is more than I've ever had in my EDC flashlights. Over 18 hours runtime at 150 lumens with a flat discharge curve.
 
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