Need help finding a reading/outdoor flashlight.

F

foghar

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
5
I have spent the last few days researching like mad... never knew how cool and how many features flashlights have nowadays. I have read lots of reviews on these forums, but I do not feel like I have figured out which flashlight would be best.

I will be backpacking in another country for about 10 days, and I need a flashlight. I was hoping you guys could help me a bit. I have 3 primary features I want:
1) long battery life on 'low'
2) a very low 'low' that I can use to read my Kindle in the dark (I would like to use this at home to read in bed too)
3) a decent mid/high so that I can walk around outside at night if needed (don't need a huge amount of light)

battery: AA is preferable, AAA is okay though
price: low if possible (20-30 would be ideal, but I will spend more if I need to)
size/build/button/clip/color/etc: not really a concern

Most of the reviews/specs I see around focus more on the highest settings, not the lowest. So I am not really sure what would be a good light for reading.

The Quark 123 R5 is the best I have found, since it has both Moonlight and Low in addition to the higher settings. 60 is a bit more than I wanted to spend if I don't have to though.

The iTP A2 EOS XP-E Q5 seems good too, and is about half the price. I have seen the reviews, but I am not entirely clear on how it would be for reading on low.

Thanks guys,
 
carrot

carrot

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
9,238
Location
New York City
The Quark 123 is great light. If you get the clip version you can clip it to a hat brim as a makeshift headlamp but I wouldn't trust the clip for your actual pocket as too much of the light sticks out to be safe. You can also get the Prism accessory to turn it into a real headlamp, which works quite well.

I think a headlamp would work rather well for you. Black Diamond makes a few headlamps with a ramping UI that lets you select the output you want all the way from very low to very high. The Spot and the Storm are the ones you might consider as they are very versatile. There's also Zebralight (expensive, but nice) and ICON Irix (cheap, but cool) to consider. I am a pretty big fan of Petzl and PT for headlamps too but since you want a fairly low output they aren't ideal for you.
I'd also suggest you check out Zebralight's
 
jak

jak

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
250
Location
TX
Zebralight: that's my go to light for so many situations. Either an H51 or an SC51 would suffice I think, because they both come with headlight bands. Sadly, $64 sounds like it's more than you want to spend. But let me throw in 2 more words... "worth it." They had some other models on their site (zebralight.com) that were on clearance for $49, but those seem to be gone now.

As for ITP Light, I have the A3 (AAA version) and I would say that its low mode is too bright for extended reading (that's just my opinion, it might work for others).
 
tre

tre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
1,222
Location
Northern IL USA
+1 on the Zebralight SC51. You may even want to consider the neutral tinted Zebralight SC51w as I (and many) find it to be easier on the eyes. Low mode is as low as the quarks but with longer run time (16 days). The Zebralight user interface is the best around (IMO)
 
F

foghar

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
5
Looks like everyone is recommending that Zebralight SC51. Maybe I will bite the bullet and spend the extra money.

Would I be better off with the SC51Fw or SC51w? Seems like floody would be a bit better for reading... although I can always tape the SC51w.
 
Danielsan

Danielsan

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Messages
398
Location
Germany - Darmstadt
ZL SC51/H51 or Fenix LD10, because its very solid, great runtimes and you can buy a camping diffusor and a bike mount as well, so a great little multi talent. It offers also a clip which can be reversed so you can clip the light on a base cap. It isnt cheap with 55 dollar but worth it. It hasnt a very low low mode but thats not really good for reading, i read books with 80 Lumen, its perfect and you dont damage your eyes. I have cheap ebay book light with a blue led, maybe 10 Lumen, you cant read a book with such a dimm light, its ok for reading a small text but not "serious" reading.
 
Last edited:
V

Vortus

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
1,203
Location
TN
Nice thing about some of the Zebras is using as a head light or dangling on a cord you can read hands free.
 
Philonous

Philonous

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
100
If you're going to be reading with it, get the SC51w. I love my SC51, but personally I can't imagine using it as a reading light. I don't need a light for that purpose, but if I did I'd get the neutral version. Cold light just doesn't go well with the printed page.
 
jak

jak

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 16, 2011
Messages
250
Location
TX
Since you mentioned that you don't need "a huge amount of light" for walking around at night, and if you use this mostly for reading, then the frosted/flood seems like it would work well for you. However, if this is the only light you plan on having, the versatility of the non-F may be a better choice, seeing as how you can, like you said, add some tape. The SC51w will definitely be able to accommodate you on any night time walkabouts.

I'm excited for you on this endeavor. I don't think you'll have any regrets getting this light.
 
F

Forgetful

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Messages
20
4sevens Quark series.

Very efficient on batteries. Many super useful modes ranging from 30 day run time to 200 otf lumens.

Choice between two very useful UIs.
Lego-able. Buy a 20$ tube and now your 1 cr123 light is a 2 AA.
Light weight and very light on lithium primaries.
Also priced very fairly.

Zebras are great too but they don't do "it" for me. Personal choice though.
 
Last edited:
F

fnj

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
555
FWIW my take is exactly the opposite to Philonous'. For reading, there is absolutely no reason whatever not to use the cool light. There is absolutely no color rendition to be concerned with. All you are looking at is black and white, and it is very clear and not strainful to use the cool version, at least for me. If, on the other hand, you want to clearly distinguish objects outdoors, the w version is helpful.

One thing is not at all controversial. For reading, you DEFINITELY want the F (or Fw) version. The bright spot of the non-F does create strain. The F is also perfectly usable for walking around outside, particularly if as you say, you do not need a lot of light. The only thing is that you will need to use a higher power than you would with the non-F, due to the diffused beam. You can see the ground right around you fine, but it will not throw to any distance at all. I actually find it easier to walk with the F than the non-F, because it does not give you any tunnel effect at all.

So on balance, given your particular requirements as stated, all round, I would get the H51F or H51Fw. The H is better than the SC if you are reading, because it will not be hanging on one side of your head. With the right angle business end, it will nicely balanced right on the front of your forehead. It is a WONDERFUL reading light, and only a bit awkward as a flashlight due to the right angle.
 
dosei-45

dosei-45

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 16, 2011
Messages
113
Location
Upstate, SC
+1 on the Zebralight. I personally think the H51Fw would be a superb pic and is hands-down the one I would choose for myself given your requirements. While it is a "headlamp", it is so very easily removed from the headband and just used as an angle-head flashlight (a wonderfully small one). The UI is absolutely excellent! (I am eagerly awaiting the release of the H302w with the XM-L LED.)

Here is a great place to learn more about the Zebralights (and many others) and also buy from:
http://goinggear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=14
http://goinggear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_20&products_id=2334



Going Gear also has a YouTube channel with LOTS of excellent reviews of lights:
http://www.youtube.com/user/goingprepared
 
Last edited:
D

davidt1

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
1,907
Yeah, ZL H501 or H51F makes a reading light and much more.

H501 used for reading in car.
IMG_4929.jpg


As desk lamp to get some work done.
IMG_5649.jpg
 
Last edited:
F

foghar

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
5
Thanks for all the suggestions. I predict a massive collection of flashlights in my future... But for now I can't go too overboard.

I think my favorite so far is the ZL H51F. I was looking for more information on it and stubbled across a post that mentioned the Ultrafire UF-H2 as being a sorta knock-off, and half the price.
 
Philonous

Philonous

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
100
FWIW my take is exactly the opposite to Philonous'. For reading, there is absolutely no reason whatever not to use the cool light. There is absolutely no color rendition to be concerned with. All you are looking at is black and white, and it is very clear and not strainful to use the cool version, at least for me. If, on the other hand, you want to clearly distinguish objects outdoors, the w version is helpful.


This is clearly a highly subjective issue, so don't take this as an attempt at rebuttal - I just want to clarify what I said earlier. Out of interest, I've tried using my SC51 as a reading light, and it's perfectly functional - if the power goes out, I will have something to do! However, under normal circumstances there's no question that around the house I prefer to read by a warmer light. For example, cold flourescent bulbs are fine, but warmer bulbs are much more pleasant to read by, purely in terms of aesthetics. Paper in books is rarely 'white' (textbooks being a notable common exception), and is often a much softer colour that just looks nicer under warmer light.


Now, are your eyes going to fall out reading with an SC51 or similar cool-white ZebraLight? Of course not, but I don't think it will look as nice on the page as an SC51w, and if the light is being bought as a reading light, then I think that's something which merits consideration. Basically, my advice to the OP is to think about the kind of light you like to read under in normal circumstances. You may in fact prefer reading under colder light - I just know that for me, the warmer the better.


Oh yeah, and in your case I'd opt for a H-model too, as advised above.
 
Last edited:
F

fnj

Enlightened
Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
555
"Sorta" is right, considering it has no memory, you have to go through the ramping every time you turn it on to get anything other than full brightness, and the parasitic current drain with the light turned off is ENORMOUS.
 
carrot

carrot

Flashaholic
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
9,238
Location
New York City
I'll provide a counterpoint: I started off as a flashaholic with high power incandescents, which are actually warmer in tint than most "warm white" LEDs on the market. However, at some point I switched to LEDs and used cool white for many years since. I have both cool, neutral, and warm white LEDs, and I cannot say one way or another which I prefer more. Both are good, but neither is so much better than the other for me that I know instinctively what to choose. There are merits to both, and it really comes down to preference.
 
tre

tre

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
1,222
Location
Northern IL USA
I think my favorite so far is the ZL H51F. I was looking for more information on it and stubbled across a post that mentioned the Ultrafire UF-H2 as being a sorta knock-off, and half the price.

H51F would be a great choice. Ultrafire, on the other hand, would not. You get what you pay for with xxxfire brands.
 
N

Napalm

Enlightened
Joined
May 1, 2011
Messages
735
Location
Canada
Klarus Mi X6

85 lumens (70 minutes)
26 lumens (5.7 hours)
3 lumens (66 hours)
Strobe 85 lumens (2.3 hrs)

And since it's an AAA you can have it in your pocket at all times.

Not to mention the looks.

Nap.
 
F

foghar

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
5
The cool light doesnt bother me for reading. I have a cheap bending-neck book light that I got that has a cool led and I don't mind the color... it is just too bright, and not good for traveling.

Doesn't look like they are any good cheap alternatives, so I think I will listen to you guys and get the Zebralight H51F for $70.

Thanks for the help, this is a great community :thumbsup:
 

Similar threads

A
Replies
63
Views
9K
arcel1t
A
A
Replies
0
Views
471
AmicusCuriae
A
A
Replies
12
Views
1K
carrot
carrot
B
Replies
16
Views
2K
easilyled
easilyled
Top