Niwalker MiniMax Nova MM15 (2xMT-G2, 4x18650) Prototype Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS+

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InfinitusEquitas

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From the owner of GoingGear, who has used this pre release version; "If you like floody lights, this guy is about as floody as lights get. Awful distance, but amazing area lighting for about 100 yards. I really like it." I think, InfinitusEquitas, you have clearly underestimated the lighting distance in an attempt to bolster your position.

The bit you're missing, is the light only offers that range on the highest setting, for 3.5 minutes.

Turn it down to the 900 lumen or lower setting, that you're likely to use on, for the sake of runtime, not killing your batteries, and heat, and you're cutting that range significantly.

Don't get me wrong, I like floody lights. I love headlamps that have a wide beam angle for close up work, but they have no range, and neither will this light.
 

A.O.

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Nice review once again Selfbuilt... I always enjoy them.

But... I just don't get it... a light with this much available power with such limited throw.. If lights have gone out inside a big empty warehouse or something, maybe..

My opinion, obviously a reasonable newbie here, would be to add some throw to this thing.. I love my TK75, but its a good combination throw and spill.. with this lights incredible small size, it that were that balanced... I for one would be all over it!! But, that's just me maybe.
 

Bronco

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I think you have it exactly backwards. Niwalker is well aware they are building a flood light. Hiking with a thrower is quite obnoxious, as the small hot spot bounces around with your body movement. Additionally, most of our visual information comes from our peripheral vision. Our sense of balance at night is aided by the peripheral awareness a flood light offers. Flood lights better serve most practical applications for lighting.
Agreed.

I would also say as a general matter - with all due respect to many of the suggestions here that would be excellent for another light - if we really want to have any input in shaping the final design of this light, we should probably be making recommendations that work somewhat closely within the existing physical parameters of the light. Infinitely variable output selector rings, user programmable drivers and larger, deeper reflector designs are all great things. But many of them may well require retooling costs that the manufacturer wouldn't be eager to incur this late in the game.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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Nice review once again Selfbuilt... I always enjoy them.

But... I just don't get it... a light with this much available power with such limited throw.. If lights have gone out inside a big empty warehouse or something, maybe..

My opinion, obviously a reasonable newbie here, would be to add some throw to this thing.. I love my TK75, but its a good combination throw and spill.. with this lights incredible small size, it that were that balanced... I for one would be all over it!! But, that's just me maybe.

+1

The light is the most powerful, yet has the least reach of any on the list. I'll go to CPF hell for saying this, but it's too much light for close up work.

Adding a bit of length to the light, increasing the depth of the reflectors would narrow the hotspot, give it just a tad more throw. It can also serve to permit space for more complicated/robust circuitry, and maybe even a somewhat larger heatsink.

The TK75, is in another class of lights altogether though. It has spill, but it's fairly close to being a dedicated thrower.
 

A.O.

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+1

The light is the most powerful, yet has the least reach of any on the list. I'll go to CPF hell for saying this, but it's too much light for close up work.

The TK75, is in another class of lights altogether though. It has spill, but it's fairly close to being a dedicated thrower.

This is true, but this light is also a 4x18650 light and should have at least some decent downrange effectiveness which it just doesn't seem to have... and yeah.. WAY to much light for close up work. Seems it would be blinding, that much light that close.
 

JaimeB

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From my previous two humble post, it is clear I'm in the same mindset as Infinitus...king kong flood for 3.5 minutes and then drops to a conventional 870 lumens (with the aforementioned short range Infinitus refers, which is correct).

If you are advancing the flashlight technology and torch design, as I'm sure NiWalker is - to stay competitive - do it right to get the customer to choose your brand over the others. If this torch is priced over the $200 mark, you better have some very useful output, regulation, design advantages. That is why Nitecore threw the ball out of the park with the TM series.

This NiWalker has a "100points" in my book as far as design and size - but if you want to make it the king of flood, it needs an intermediate output to make it useful in everyday (night) use. From a useage practicallity, Infinitus is right on the money (and thus so am I ) get a powerful 2000 lumen output as the high setting with tons of flood given the two small and shallow reflectors are stricktly designed for short range illumination.

I rest my case - the market is "flooded" with competitive options...
 

maxrep12

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Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.
 
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TEEJ

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Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.

Hmmm, I generally see almost all of the emphasis on throw.

The range in meters is a big selling point. I see a lot of lumen stuff of course, but, except for flashaholics, they don't know what that is. They generally know more is better, but, from what I see/hear, most think the range in meters advertised and the lumens are different ways of saying the same thing: "How bright it is", just like the wildly crazy Candle Power claims for the various spot lights arranged across the big box store's shelves; 15 Million Candle Power! (From a 55 watt halogen bulb, etc.)


I think the points about the throw at the 870 L output being short are completely in line with the light's shortcoming to many though.

All lights cannot do all things, there are simply too many design compromises.


A screw driver may be great at screwing in screws.,,,but, there will be those who complain how it SUCKS at driving in nails.

Why can't they make a screw driver that can drive in nails?

Well, they do, but, it makes it less good at either function to be able to do both.


The giant lumen out put is from giant honking LEDs...which also put out a lot of heat.


A larger LED has a larger point of emission, and, therefore, less throw for a given reflector size, etc. That means the lower output, smaller LEDs can more easily out throw the larger higher out put LEDs.

If they do it with less heat, great...and for those that want more throw, that's potentially a better overall solution.

If you WANT a wide floody and powerful beam, the MTG2 is a good way to go, if the resultant range/heat management limitations work for you too.


If you are ok with less flood to optimize range, you can take a smaller amount of light, and concentrate it into that smaller pattern, and get just as bright in the smaller area, but also project that beam farther.


I have an aspherical (Zoomie) MTG2 light that runs on two IMR 16340....which is my way of hedging the bet. That way, I get the ~ 3k lumen mule-like flood if zoomed out, and, zoomed in, a giant Eggo Waffle I can project onto more distant targets. I can also zoom to a TIR-like beam spot for intermediate targets.

:D
 

InfinitusEquitas

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Rather than address some statements made in this thread, I would like to point out an issue that does not surface often. Among companies that provide personal lighting equipment, for a variety of activities, there is little emphasis on throw. This is no more or less the result of the equipment serving a purpose rather than being the focus of novelty.

No one is disputing the benefits of flood. No one expects this flashlight to be a thrower.

The problem is it's probably a 90+ degree flood light, with a humongous hotspot. Making it very dim at lower settings.

Look at those wonderful gifs Selfbuilt put up. On the maximum 5200 lumen mode which lasts 3.5 minutes, at even 100 yards, the light is already losing ground badly. Cut that back to 2000 lumens, or 900, and you won't see much of anything past 50 yards.

At the same time, if your goal is to light up something 50 yards away, you can do it with literally a 5th the power or less, to the same effect, without blinding yourself, and do so with still very floody lights. Look at the SX25L3... it's a flood light, but it has just a bit more reach to it. With half the power.

Ever wonder why the "personal lighting equipment" companies don't just sell large lightbars, with bare emitters? Why they bother with even having a dome on LED's? It's do DIRECT the light. That's all I'm suggesting... slightly improved throw so the light is more than just a mere novelty for blinding yourself.
 
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JaimeB

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Flood me once- shame on you. Flood me twice...er...eh...you won't be able to flood me again! While the suggestions and opinions evolve on flooders, I will drop the hammer on the opposite side of the fence for a TK-75. I may just catch the Chupacabra on its tracks at 400 yards :)
 

maxrep12

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Hmmm, I generally see almost all of the emphasis on throw.

The range in meters is a big selling point. I see a lot of lumen stuff of course, but, except for flashaholics, they don't know what that is. They generally know more is better, but, from what I see/hear, most think the range in meters advertised and the lumens are different ways of saying the same thing: "How bright it is", just like the wildly crazy Candle Power claims for the various spot lights arranged across the big box store's shelves; 15 Million Candle Power! (From a 55 watt halogen bulb, etc.)


I think the points about the throw at the 870 L output being short are completely in line with the light's shortcoming to many though.

All lights cannot do all things, there are simply too many design compromises.


A screw driver may be great at screwing in screws.,,,but, there will be those who complain how it SUCKS at driving in nails.

Why can't they make a screw driver that can drive in nails?

Well, they do, but, it makes it less good at either function to be able to do both.


The giant lumen out put is from giant honking LEDs...which also put out a lot of heat.


A larger LED has a larger point of emission, and, therefore, less throw for a given reflector size, etc. That means the lower output, smaller LEDs can more easily out throw the larger higher out put LEDs.

If they do it with less heat, great...and for those that want more throw, that's potentially a better overall solution.

If you WANT a wide floody and powerful beam, the MTG2 is a good way to go, if the resultant range/heat management limitations work for you too.


If you are ok with less flood to optimize range, you can take a smaller amount of light, and concentrate it into that smaller pattern, and get just as bright in the smaller area, but also project that beam farther.


I have an aspherical (Zoomie) MTG2 light that runs on two IMR 16340....which is my way of hedging the bet. That way, I get the ~ 3k lumen mule-like flood if zoomed out, and, zoomed in, a giant Eggo Waffle I can project onto more distant targets. I can also zoom to a TIR-like beam spot for intermediate targets.

:D
I agree with everything you have said. I should have been more specific though, when referencing personal lighting equipment. I was not speaking about hand held flashlights, which as you correctly stated, are pretty focused on throw unfortunately.
 

maxrep12

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  • Here is a thread I posted awhile back that has some relevance:

    Some years ago tubeless tires were introduced to the sport of mountain biking. The premise was that a tire that did not use a tube could be run at lower air pressures without the risk of pinch flatting from rocks or roots.

    The manufacturer developing this wheel system did not find the acceptance they had hoped for. Undaunted, this manufacturer flew quite a few pros out to their facilities for some testing.

    First the riders did a warm up lap. Next, they were instructed to inflate their own tubed wheelset to whatever psi(air pressure) they desired. Then they were told to let it rip out on the course as they would be timed. After these pros finished the first timed lap, their wheelsets were swapped out for tubeless ones. The manufacturer at this point inflated the tubeless tires to a much lower psi. The cyclists were sent out a for a second timed lap.

    As the riders pulled off the course after this second timed lap, every last one of them swore the second lap on the tubeless tires was not as fast as the first lap on their own higher psi tubed wheels. And they were all wrong. The timing clocks told no lies.

    The reason these seasoned racers perceived their first timed lap to be the fastest was due to the higher air pressure. Every rock and root hit sent a more solid impact into the racers body. They endured more physical jarring, and they were more fatigued at the courses finish. They attributed a higher average speed to causing all this body pounding. In the end, it was concluded that having a lower psi tire conform to the shape of rocks and roots, was more efficient than having higher psi tires bounce vertically off of them.

    I would submit that with lighting, tight and bright hot spots produce a similar situational misreading. Left to our own devices, it is likely we view the contrast of a narrow bright beam with relation to dark surroundings as being more effective, or superior. In truth, when compared to flood beams, the thrower has shown us less, but we give it credit for more. This is the illusion of visual fatigue.

    At any 24hour bike race, it is all flood lights. No throwers thrashing about in the night sky like light sabers. In timed events, these cyclist have found that you are most capable when using your eyeballs as intended. That means having access to your peripheral vision. In the woods, a thrower will cause you to overshoot every turn, resulting in excessive braking. This is the reality of how our vision functions. What we visually track in our periphery provides far more information than what we detect at our focal points.

    Yes I know, we were all nocturnal snipers in another life, and needed throwers then. But this is not that life.:laughing:

    Subwoofer said:
    • I've enjoyed reading this thread as I like the OP's analogy and how our perceptions are not always right.

      Having tested all sorts of lights with all sorts of beam profiles, for me flood is King (long live the flood!). Yes, throw is fun and for some applications is needed, but for at least 90% of the average user's lighting needs, flood is going to be far superior and far less fatiguing on the eyes.







 

maxrep12

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The Zebralight S6330 was a great light. I believe I posted that I would have preferred a bit more flood. So yes, I'm pretty excited about a final review on this light.

The S6330 is a bit smaller, but still managed to maintain pretty high output with thermal regulation. The MiniMax being a tad bigger likely will do fine here as well. I'm sure that the output settings will be changed as well for the production model.

Its great to see a company competing against ZL on a similar platform. The Tiny Monsters didn't do that.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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At any 24hour bike race, it is all flood lights. No throwers thrashing about in the night sky like light sabers.

Except those flood lights still have more throw than this light will.

You seem to be on a Pro flood crusade, but no one is against flood here.

I'd just personally like to see some modicum of throw, similar to what we're seeing from ~2000 lumen lights. So that the light can be used at a lower setting, and still light things up 50 yards away, using 900 lumens.

Edit: Question - have you used any of these lights outside personally?

I mean any MTG2 lights, or any of the flooders like the TM11/15 or TM26, or S6330?
 

Dubois

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I would think that the spare "knob" - the blank space on the light with the switch and the tripod mount - is for a carrying handle of some description. This should help with the heat and allow one handed operation. I can't think of any other reason that that thing should be there.
 

maxrep12

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Question - have you used any of these lights outside personally?

I mean any MTG2 lights, or any of the flooders like the TM11/15 or TM26, or S6330?
Yes, I have used the S6330 extensively for outdoor hiking, and felt that it would have been better served with a wider hot spot(more flood). I used to be a cycling product tester. Among other things, this involved large scale trials with expert and pro level riders using bike lighting equipment. I have also helped companies with the development of these systems. You would be hard pressed to find members on these forums that have logged similar hours outdoors, or who have participated in controlled testing events.
Except those flood lights still have more throw than this light will.
To a degree, yes. That is mainly due to the fact that when riding at speed, you overtake objects in the foreground more quickly compared to hiking on foot.
You seem to be on a Pro flood crusade, but no one is against flood here.
I think this light has potential. When you talk about lengthening the light for the purpose of increasing throw, I find that counterproductive. Especially given the number of high power throwers currently on the market to choose from. Anytime you increase the length of a light, you also decrease the likelihood you will have the light on your person for use. The S6330 easily fit into a jacket pocket. When you move to the TinyMonster series, you are actually dealing with much larger lights. Economy of size is hugely important.
 
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selfbuilt

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Glad to see all the discussion and feedback here - I'm sure Niwalker will find it "illuminating." ;)

To clarify one point - my outdoor camera settings were chosen to showcase the differences between throwers. In practice, I found the 5K lumen turbo mode fully lit up 100 yards. The pics really don't capture this very well - simple point-and-shoots are limited . :shrug: And didn't really try out the <900 lumen mode here (except for initial activation), so can't really comment on its distance illumination properties.

This much full flood at 5k is pretty novel - it's really hard to describe it, since we are all used to more throw on these kind of high output lights.
 

InfinitusEquitas

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Yes, I have used the S6330 extensively for outdoor hiking, and felt that it would have been better served with a wider hot spot(more flood). I used to be a cycling product tester. Among other things, this involved large scale trials with expert and pro level riders using bike lighting equipment. I have also helped companies with the development of these systems. You would be hard pressed to find members on these forums that have logged similar hours outdoors, or who have participated in controlled testing events.

That's good! I just wanted to make sure you've used similar kind of lights outside too, because I've run into situations where I'm dealing with strictly theoretical propositions, and that doesn't go anywhere. Have you tried diffusers? If not I highly reccomend giving one a shot, because sometimes the hotspot is bothersome, and this may be the bigger issue, that a nice even flood is what you're after, but even with very floody lights like the S6330, you still end up having a hotspot.

To a degree, yes. That is mainly due to the fact that when riding at speed, you overtake objects in the foreground more quickly compared to hiking on foot.

Not sure what this is in regards to.

I think this light has potential. When you talk about lengthening the light for the purpose of increasing throw, I find that counterproductive. Especially given the number of high power throwers currently on the market to choose from. Anytime you increase the length of a light, you also decrease the likelihood you will have the light on your person for use. The S6330 easily fit into a jacket pocket. When you move to the TinyMonster series, you are actually dealing with much larger lights. Economy of size is hugely important.

I agree with you 100% there is a lot to be said for economy of size with lights. Where I think we do have a disconnect, is that the MiniMax is not that small.

I hope Selfbuilt doesn't mind, I overlaid roughly what the S6330 would look like over the minimax in red;

Minimax048_zpsdabd1569.jpg



The head is about the same size yes, but the body of the light is much slimmer (having to only accommodate 3 batteries vs 4) and it's already longer than the S6330. An extra centimeter, or even 15mm of length will not make the light feel that much bigger, but could work to permit changing around the beam profile just a bit, to make it more usable at lower power levels.
 
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