My thoughts on the moonlight mode

etc

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I've had a light with a moonlight mode, one of these 0.2L modes and I constantly switched to the next low mode, which was probably 10-15 lumens. It was so totally dim as to be useless just about 99% of the time. Every time I used it, I said to myself, damn, this sucks, I need more light to get things done quicker (like unpacking at a camp site or setting up a tent).

Through trial and error, I figured out that the best low mode for me is 5 lumens. That's what you get with Malkoff MDC-2AA. And it's perfect. And it comes on on low - exactly what I wanted.

5 lumens is minimum that I need to get things done. Without poking myself in the eye with a tree branch if I am navigating in the dark woods, or something. You can navigate with a moonlight mode but it's much slower with a higher risk of something going sideways.

I think the only reasons for super low moonlight modes are:

1) You are stuck in a cave somewhere and want runtime for the next 50 days. 0.2 lumens for 50 days is much better than 30 lumens for 12 hours.

2) You are in some tactical situation and need least light you can read a map with, or so far behind enemy lines that there won't be any resupply for weeks and you want to maximize your runtime. Or you are in Ukraine and afraid of sniper fire as you are sitting in the trenches.

You can read a map with 0.2L but that's about all. I tried navigating with 0.2L, in the woods and it's so slow and dangerous, can be done, but you are just that much more effective if you bump up the lumens to the next low, like 3-5 lumens.

short of something that extreme, moonlight is useless.

Granted, it's nice to have moonlight and not use it, but most moonlight lights start in moonlight, unless you reprogram them, which is a pain and just why even bother.

I gave my monlight mode light to my son, he is in a boarding school and he reads books in bed, under a blanket as not to be detected, after lights-out and he wanted least noticeable light with best runtime, seems to work well for him.
 

dmenezes

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I love the lowest (0.1lm) moonlight setting on my Manker E03H II with NiMH. It's perfect for stargazing. But there are higher modes for when navigation is needed.
 

bridgman

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Agree that something in the 5 lumen range is even more useful than moonlight mode, but I do use moonlight mode quite a bit, although mostly as a way of finding a light etc... quickly at night when camping.

Moonlight mode on a Streamlight Survivor is very useful - might be because the beam is so concentrated.
 

bykfixer

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Depends on the beam for my uses. It also matters how dark it is. I have a vintage 1xAA light that puts out around the same light as a birthday candle with a new battery. When I use a battery that won't drive a wall clock it puts out a firefly light.

The #112 bulb has a fairly tight beam but at that output lights about 10 feet when it's truely dark. Turning it on by the light of a tv and you don't know it's on. Yet it is plenty bright at times.
 

etc

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Thanks for the responses. It's just that none of them list the way the the moonlight mode is actually used.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I am with the OP in that I find I almost never use modes lower than a few lumens. Sub lumen modes are probably useful in areas with no light pollution at all but you don't have to add much to render them almost useless unless within less than a foot away. Having a light run for months at these low levels is for most folks..... useless too because you will likely never need that long off a battery but perhaps a lantern with such a mode could be useful in that it can be a "fine me" mode so you can see it in the dark to turn it on a higher mode. I also find putting such low modes on larger lights that also do 500+ lumens is a waste too, as you don't need a huge power source to run that low of output even a single boosted AAA could run for probably several weeks, to hae an 18650 or larger cell powering it for months is almost never needed.

I also find it sort of odd that people don't want to ruin night vision, yet need a light too? If night vision isn't enough to suffice then are you ruining something that doesn't work well anyway with more light? Is it partial night vision if you need to use a red or sub lumen light also. Perhaps for reading but for navigating etc I'm of the thinking just up the lumens to useful and forget the night vision part.
 

Stefano

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Thanks for the responses. It's just that none of them list the way the the moonlight mode is actually used.

It can be useful in several ways:
1) You don't want to attract attention from afar
2) Do not disturb other people in the house
3) save battery
4) see something trying to attract as few insects as possible (in summer)
5) as a signal to find the flashlight, only ultra-low levels (example 0.01 lumens)
And so on (other users may suggest other uses)

An ultra-low level is also very good on 1xAA or 2xAA flashlights because it can greatly extend the autonomy.

Having said that I agree that the minimum useful light level is at least 5 lumens but it's nice to have * also * a low level between 1 and 0.4 lumens.

Many Fenix lights currently have a low of 30 lumens, this may be ok but I wish there was an extra level with an ultra low level (maybe hidden)
This also for other brands, with current technology it would not be difficult to create a programming with the switch that allows a basic interface of four or 5 levels and an "advanced" interface with the same levels but with the addition of an ultra-low light level and maybe even a strobe.

Sometimes it is not possible to have all the desired light levels but here many people carry at least two flashlights.
I always have a holstered flashlight and a headlamp in my pocket or around my neck.
If I need low or ultra low levels my headlamp Zebralight or Armytek will supply them.
 

orbital

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+

Jetbeam RRT01 Raptor answers & solves alot of questions.
Go from imperceptibly low output to nearly 1000lm & everything in between.. via smooth rotary

Power it w/ an 18500 and you have a pocketable winner.

(tailstands for the late night countertop pitstop)
 

Poppy

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I feel similarly to etc. Whereas I like my Thrunite lights, I dislike that many of them start at a sublumen of IIRC 0.2 lumens. I suppose that I *might* use that setting in a movie theater, after the lights are out.

However in that scenario, I have used my little cooyoo, with my finger blocking some of the light.

Yesterday, my daughter had me replace 3 of the four ceiling fixtures in our bathroom because they had failed. Last night when I made my potty run, I closed the door, and flipped the switch ON. The light almost knocked me over!!!

I guess I'll be carrying a flashlight like so many others do for those after midnight runs. Maybe I'll find a new use for those sub-lumen Thrunites.
 

sween1911

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There's "moonlight" and there's "low". I agree, having to use moonlight first is a pain. Not a fan of multi-mode lights that don't let you program it or skip or otherwise get directly to the mode you want.

Moonlight has a place, albeit very limited. It would be nice to have it as an option but only if you're not forced to use it or have to pass through it to get to the next level. I have it programmed into my 250-clicked Novatac as the triple-click option, and I have it in my H17Fx equipped Surefire 6P with short-cycle memory. In both cases, I can skip over it and only use it when I have to.

Moonlight is great for very low-light navigation with dark-adjusted eyes but that's about it.
 

bykfixer

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Again, to me flashlights are tools. Now my tool box does contain adjustable wrenches, vice grips, universal screw drivers and the lot. But I also have favorites for given tasks.

Same with flashlights. If I only want a teeny bit of light I have a tool for that. But I also have "adjustable" lights that can accomplish that goal too. Those are set for 0.5, 1.5, and 30 lumens when first turned on. The 0.5 light is for 2am nature breaks if/when the bulb poofs in the 1950's aa light. It also comes in handy to check the home in the case of a bump in the night with another tool to cause an insta-blind of a perp, giving them a brief time to make peace with their maker.
 

KITROBASKIN

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Firefly illumination is so useful when nature calls in the dark of night. A flashlight with that capability gets used more yet it does need to have navigation modes as well as bright-as-possible for moments of concern or curiosity.

Some Anduril ramping flashlights can be just about low enough for fully night adapted times. Poppy talked about using a finger to suppress some of the light. I also have a tendency to energize lumen+ flashlights away from my gaze, then slowly bring the beam toward the line of sight, stopping when there is enough light.
 

JimIslander

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OP, your lack of imagination doesn't make sub-lumen lights useless. And 5 lumens is blinding in a totally dark room. :)

I use sub-lumen mode in the tent to reduce resetting my internal clock in the middle of the night. Also around the house in the middle of the night. Do you have cataracts, by any chance? I did, but even then sub lumen was very useful.
 
Last edited:

Lynx_Arc

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It can be useful in several ways:
1) You don't want to attract attention from afar
2) Do not disturb other people in the house
3) save battery
4) see something trying to attract as few insects as possible (in summer)
5) as a signal to find the flashlight, only ultra-low levels (example 0.01 lumens)
And so on (other users may suggest other uses)

An ultra-low level is also very good on 1xAA or 2xAA flashlights because it can greatly extend the autonomy.

Having said that I agree that the minimum useful light level is at least 5 lumens but it's nice to have * also * a low level between 1 and 0.4 lumens.

Many Fenix lights currently have a low of 30 lumens, this may be ok but I wish there was an extra level with an ultra low level (maybe hidden)
This also for other brands, with current technology it would not be difficult to create a programming with the switch that allows a basic interface of four or 5 levels and an "advanced" interface with the same levels but with the addition of an ultra-low light level and maybe even a strobe.

Sometimes it is not possible to have all the desired light levels but here many people carry at least two flashlights.
I always have a holstered flashlight and a headlamp in my pocket or around my neck.
If I need low or ultra low levels my headlamp Zebralight or Armytek will supply them.

OP, your lack of imagination doesn't make sub-lumen lights useless. And 5 lumens blinding in a totally dark room. :)

I use sub-lumen mode in the tent to reduce resetting my internal clock in the middle of the night. Also around the house in the middle of the night. Do you have cataracts, by any chance? I did, but even then sub lumen was very useful.
The connection here is TOTALLY DARK.... to sublumens. I'm very rarely in a situation where it is totally dark unless there is a big power outage and no moon out there is always some light and at times the light shuts down your eyes making you need more light to see in the dark places. On top of it all the carpet in my house (rental) is chocolate brown colored so anything dark colored on it is invisible with too little light.
 

Repsol600rr

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I use the lowest sublumen modes on my zebralight sc53c nightly. Even a .5 lumen mode is blinding to me when my room is dark at night. Sure hiking through the woods it's not ideal but when you get to your tent at night and need to see where you put your phone down at 11pm it's perfect. With the zebra a "usable" amount of light is also a click or double click away. Anything during the day needs more lumens and doing any actual task sure bump it up to 5 or more. But for dark adapted vision for a quick look around it's wonderful.
 

kerneldrop

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The thought of having a moonlight option satisfies most users needs.
The best part of moonlight are the posts where the strongest defenders show up to defend the merits of .002 lumens.
I sleep in tactical sunglasses so that I stay ready to deploy my 5,000 lumens nightstand single mode high only tactical flashlight at all times.
 

Mr. LED

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OP, your lack of imagination doesn't make sub-lumen lights useless. And 5 lumens is blinding in a totally dark room. :)

I use sub-lumen mode in the tent to reduce resetting my internal clock in the middle of the night. Also around the house in the middle of the night. Do you have cataracts, by any chance? I did, but even then sub lumen was very useful.
Enough said.
 
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