Need input on flashlight choice

D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
Well I'll start off by saying I'm new here but I think I found a spot where people actually know what they are talking about. Ok here it goes. I am looking for an LED flashlight. I had a just down right terrible experience while elk hunting last fall in Colorado. I had, I did say had, a 2 AA cell mini mag flashlight. Long story made short. I got stuck at 4 a.m. at 10,000 feet in the dark when both of mights either had bad bulbs or batteries that only lasted for 5 minutes.
I have somewhat of a budget (probably $50) or so for a new flashlight. I want something as bright or brighter than the mag-lite and if possible something that allows you to change the beam pattern. I kind of new to the whole LED world but I think it's the way to go. I've visited the LED Museum and have taken note on the tests of some of these lights. Now I'm seeking more input so I came to the experts.
I don't expect these lights to light up the world but I want something I can use for a few months out of the year and will last me for 10 years or more. I'm open to anything and everything so all input is welcome. Thanks everyone,

Herd Bull
 

BuddTX

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
Messages
2,521
Location
Houston, TX
Of what is commercially available today, I would choose among the following:
LED's
-----------
Inova X5,
Princeton Tec Aurora (headlamp),
Princeton Tec Attitude
------------
Incandent's
------------
Princeton Tec Surge
Brinkmann Legend LX
(or a surefire, but they are all +50$)
www.brightguy.com carries all of these lights except the Brinkmann Legend LX.

Do a search here on any one of the lights, and you will find hours of reading to do!

Some quick notes:

Inova X5 - Current model is great, but the new model will have a tailcap on/off switch instead of twist on, and will also be about 15 % brighter than the current model (which is already very nice and considered one of the best currently available commercial lights out there). The 3 volt lithium batteries are better in severe cold than alkaine, but buy the batteries in advance online. Buying two 123a batteries locally will cost you 12 - 15 dollars! Online - 1.50 - 3.00 each.

P/T aurora - This is a new model so there is not a lot written about it. I never thought I would use or need a headlamp light, that is, until I got this 3 ounce sucker! IT IS GREAT!

P/T Attitude - I have 3 of these mounted on my retractable dog leash. Takes AAA batteries and has a bright run time of 50 hours, and another 50-100 hours with diminishing results.

Brinkmann Legend LX - "Almost a surefire on a budget!" Great light, inexpensive compared to a SureFire equivalent, bright light, very nice beam, takes those 123a batteries too. 1 hour run time.

P/T Surge-Same approximate beam as the Legend, Longer run time (3-5 hours) Waterproof to something like 500 to 2000 feet (I don't remember the exact number) takes 8 AA batteries, so it is a little bigger and heavier than the Legend.

Read also, the excitement that people are having with the ARC LS "seconds" that they are buying. The ARC LS "firsts" wont be available for a while, but I can't wait to see them!

As you said "the future" is in LED lights, and with the introduction of the 5 watt Luxeon Star LED and the high production and tweaking of the 1 watt Luxeon Star LED's you are going to see a lot of new products out there soon.

You can also buy a "mod" or modified light from several people here (not me). Most of these mod's get very good reviews by people that have purchased them. Check them out also!
 

BigHonu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 1, 2002
Messages
1,242
Location
Honolulu, HI
Welcome Herd_Bull!

I would recommend these lights:

Eternalight Elite X-Ray
Inova X5
Arc-AAA
ASP Triad (if you need to light up something far away)

The Eternalight is the most flexible (dims, sos mode, can stretch out the runtime if necessary, uses alkalines or lithiums, etc.), is water-proof, fairly shock resistant, and has the Night Beacon feature (in case you drop it before you turn on the main leds). The exposed leds may be more prone to damage, but I have not had any problems after dropping my light several times. The only real problem is the push buttons. If you leave this light in a cramped pocket or pack, it may turn on by itself (happened to me). Even with the timer mode, I don't like the idea of wasting that burntime.

The Inova X5 is very solid, water-proof, bright, but uses expensive batteries (but is more suited to colder conditions as opposed to alkalines). In my experience, "bright" runtime is about 4-4.5 hrs with 2-3 hours of diminishing light. It may be a problem to turn on and off with thick gloves on, but I am just guessing.

The Arc AAA very small, bright enough to find your way around, water-proof, durable, uses alkalines (unless the AAA lithiums are coming out), about 4 hours "bright" runtime. No reason to not carry it. The perfect backup light.

The ASP Triad – For when you need higher output and longer throw. I don't have any experience with this light, but some more knowledgeable members claim that the beam (when focused down) will "throw" farther than the SF E2/E2e.

I would take: 1) Arc AAA pinned to the inside of a pocket (so no chance of losing it). 2) SF M2 (P61). 3) Arc LS. 4) Depending on how long the walk is, I would substitute the Eternalight for the M2 because I can sacrifice brightness for runtime and, if needed, switch batteries with the Arc LS.

Just my opinions

Aloha
 

hotfoot

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
1,164
Location
Can you say, \"Durian\"?
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BigHonu:
The exposed leds may be more prone to damage, but I have not had any problems after dropping my light several times. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Quickbeam:

Personally, I wouldn't take the eternalight on a hunting trip - exposed LEDs could be subject to damage from drops ...
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I used to think the exposed LEDs were a serious liability too, but they're a little harder to damage in actual use - or abuse. I have a 'sacrificial' eternalight Ergo which I subject to a great deal of *ahem* testing - I have flung (not merely dropped) it onto hard-tile floors, metal filing cabinets, concrete walls, road tarmac. So far, no direct hits to the LEDs themselves, but the light is holding up fine, apart from the body plastic marring a little from all those impacts. You might be outta luck though if you're always hunting around sharp rocks and drop one there.

The sleek X5 has such a nice finish, I'd cry if mine got scratched. This thing belongs in an art museum - but I'm sure it'll be happy out hunting with ya too.
 

hotfoot

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
1,164
Location
Can you say, \"Durian\"?
Welcome, Herd_Bull!

My choices in the sub-$50 budget range:

LED flashlight = Inova X5 or Eternalight Ergo

Incandescent = Brinkman Legend LX (if you can find this increasingly rare beast...) or a Princeton Tec Surge

In the $50 or so category, I'd pick these:

LED flashlight = Arc-LS second or Eternalight Elite XRay

Incandescent = Surefire E2/E2e

IMO, all are excellent lights, pocketable and delights to own! Hope this helps
grin.gif
cool.gif
 

Quickbeam

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Messages
4,329
Location
FlashlightReviews.com
Personally, I wouldn't take the eternalight on a hunting trip - exposed LEDs could be subject to damage from drops and the batteries need a screwdriver to change - but this is just my opinion. However the different modes (especially flash and SOS) could be handy in a pinch.

x5 would be good, works well in the cold due to the lithium batteries, 20 hour runtime, 5 LEDs, but remember those batteries are expensive....

I think the Opalec LED mod for the Minimag looks pretty good (3 LEDs, 10 hours before dimming, 2-AA batteries). Or a Lightwave 2000 (4 LEDs, 3 AA cells). For a bit more light (and a bit more bulk), I'd go with a Lightwave 3000 (3-C cells, 7 LEDs, but will last a very long time at decent brightness).

Princeton Tec Attitude - 3 LEDs, 4 AAA batteries - would be a good choice as well - durable, waterproof, small, and decent light.

All of these choices would be under $50 US.

Just my 2 cents.
 

mikep

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 22, 2000
Messages
305
Location
IL
I'm guessing that after a bad experience like that, you may want to also carry an LED backup. The CMG Infinity is small, rugged, and gives a nice long output (~40hrs of low light). A Lithium AA battery gives it a good shelf-life as well.
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
I'd have to go with the Princeton Tec Attitude (and carry a bulb assy for the Rage, you have more power if needed). My attitude seems to get excellent batt. life, I've taken a set of batt's that were too dead to even light my rage and throw them in the 'tude and almost good as new. You'll even have enough left over for an Arc-AAA backup!
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
Thanks guys. Some good info on here, I knew I came to the right spot. Another question for you guys. How does the light output of any of these lights compare to say a mini-mag that runs off of 2AA batteries? The web site for Mag-Lite says this light can produce up to 2,200 canldepower at 3 ft. Also on lights like the mini-mag the beam is adjustable, is this something you can do with most of these lights?
I keep using the mini-mag as a comparison because it's very common and that is what I have most of my experiences with. Waterproof to a certain depth isn't all that important but it needs to stand up to the elements (rain/snow).
I think I have a few lights to look at anyway. I did purchase a light a while back from Walmart. I believe it was a Dorcy or a turtlelite. I took it back because it just didn't do what I need a light to do. That is my only experience with these lights. I'm assuming that light is on the bottom of the spectrum and price range. Thanks again guys. Hopefully I'm not overloading you with the need for too much info.

Herd Bull
 

Spork

Enlightened
Joined
May 25, 2001
Messages
594
Location
USA
I'll throw in another vote for the lightwave 3000. if your budget is 50 dollars forget the x5. to get the batteries at a descent price you will be spending a lot more than 50. if you wanna spend a little extra you could get the infinity or arc aaa but there more for close up work.
 
D

**DONOTDELETE**

Guest
For a LED primary backup light, I might consider a Lambda Illuminator. I'm not sure on the pricing that they will be, but I suppose it will be in the $60-70 dollar range. Read my first impressions of this light here. As far as for a backup, I would consider a CMG Infinity, as it has a very long runtime, and can use your batteries out of your Illuminator to get you out of the woods when the SHTF.

Eric
 

Quickbeam

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Messages
4,329
Location
FlashlightReviews.com
I'm sorry, I should have mentioned, all the lights I talk about would be LED Backups to a primary incandescent light.

A MiniMag can be focused down to a fairly tight spot, so it can project a lot of light into a small area. For the most part LED lights aren't designed to do that. They are more of a short-to-medium range flood-light. Not as bright as most incandescents, but long on runtime and usually produce nice smooth beams.
 

hotfoot

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
1,164
Location
Can you say, \"Durian\"?
I'll have to agree with Quickbeam. Right now there just isn't a focusable LED light that throws a good solid beam over distances in any price range, let alone $50.

IMHO, for a good primary minimag-sized incandescent for <$50, its still hard to beat the LX(but buy the batteries online) or the PT40(with a better bulb. Some say the Bison light kicks butt too.

If you do pick the LX as a primary, the Arc-LS(with 123 pack) or the X5 would do very nicely as an LED backup, finishing off all those "useless" 123s after the LX is done with them. Methinks the Arc-LS pips the X5 because with the step-up regulator, you'll still possibly get near "like-new" performance from flattish 123s.

If you choose the PT40 as your incandescent primary, I'd automatically buy a PT Impact as my LED backup. Both are <$50, their bodies and the batteries they use (AA) are exactly the same, only the business ends in their bezels are different. The Impact is a single 5mm LED housed in a special reflector/lens bezel assembly that projects a surprisingly good beam for a single LED. Not the brightest thing around, but very useful still. Both PT40 and Impact are dive-rated and are pretty darn good plastic lights.

I love them all!
grin.gif
grin.gif
 

Latest posts

Top