Please recommend me a flashlight!

nleahcim

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First off, don't worry about size. 90% of all LED flashlights discussed here are far smaller than a 2-C light.

Second, what kind of beam pattern do you want? Would you prefer a really bright hotspot that will light things up 200+ yards away, a floody light that's just as bright but will only throw out to 30 yards but illuminating a far larger area, or something inbetween? I'll warn you beforehand - throwers will require a wider head to accomodate a larger reflector.



Have you seen the new JET-III review? The CL1H is outperformed in every way, but there isn't a runtime test yet...

Ideally I'd like something with an adjustable beam pattern. I think most of the time I'll want something pretty narrow - but on occasion I'll want to really light up a whole room...
 

nleahcim

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Surefire UA2 Optimus coming this month.
It's a Surefire, which is always good. Surefire durability and reliability.
But it's pretty much gonna be Surefire's flagship flashlight. It will have 11 modes, a 200 lumen max output(A mag is about ten), 100 hour battery life at its' lowest power, and FOCUSES. That means it can go from spot beam (Throws a long beam downrange) to a flood beam (Wall of light) and all points in between. 289$, includes 20 batteries, enough to refill it 10 times. It's small enough to EDC. (Every day carry.) Also has a strobe and S.O.S function.
If you need the maximum 200 lumens you press the tailcap down. Otherwise, you turn the tailcap.

There will also be another one which is the same size, has a reflector, but doesn't have the focusing ability, but has an incredible 400 LUMEN OUTPUT.
If it was me, I'd go for the Optimus. Focusing has never been done like they're doing it, and a focusable beam with no imperfections is invaluable. Go outside, investigate funny noise from afar with maximum setting on. Go closer and shift to flood beam, to find it was a giraffe or something. Go inside and read newspaper with low setting.
That sounds pretty perfect. I'd feel funny paying $289 for a flashlight though, you know? I mean... that's alot of green for a flashlight...
 

nleahcim

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There are plenty. In fact it's getting to the point where it's harder to find lights that work well on NON rechargeable batteries.

I would actually recommend getting Sanyo Eneloop AA and AAA cells. They are low-self-discharge, which means unlike standard NiMH cells, they maintain their charge when sitting on a shelf for months, so you can load them up in things like cameras, or flashlights that are onl used intermittently, and that require more power than cheap alkalines can deliver. Previously your only options are to use standard NiMH and often find your devices dead when you need them, or burn through $2.50 disposable lithium AAs.

Another nice advantage of rechargeables, aside from the fact they are "guilt free" and save a lot of money, is that you can always top them off. With disposables you have to run them all the way down before swapping them out with a fresh one.

Based on your other desired features, I would recommend the Fenix L1D, with Sanyo Eneloops.

IMO adjustable focus is overrated. Modern LED lights like the L1D have a good ratio between hotspot intsenity, and spill intensity, so they can be used either up close or at a distance. Much better IMO than the old stock maglites which had a tiny "pencil beam" and very little spill, but couldbe defocused to a not-very-useful "donut hole"

Depending on how much money you're willing to spend, and whether your'e comfortable with building things, I would actually recommend you go to the incan forum and inquire about making a hotwire for really high output and long throw. One good incan, and one good LED should satisfy most of your flashlight needs.
That's good to hear that rechargeables are common. The Eneloops appear to be NiMH cells. Why not use higher energy density cells like li-polys or li-ions? I have plenty of charging equipment for the more advanced chemistry batteries (we have a plethora of chargers at work...)

As far as money goes - I hadn't imagined that you could spend as much as you can on flashlights. I don't think I'd feel comfortable spending anything more than $150 on a flashlight - above that just strikes me as odd...

I don't mind making some things myself - I mean, after all, I'm an electrical engineer so I'm pretty comfortable with most of this stuff already.

So as for the L1D - is there a big difference between the performance of the L1D and L2D? Or is it just that the L2D's batteries last twice as long? It looks like the L2D is a bit brighter in strobe mode I guess.
 

I came to the light...

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Ideally I'd like something with an adjustable beam pattern. I think most of the time I'll want something pretty narrow - but on occasion I'll want to really light up a whole room...

Well, sorry to dissapoint you, but there isn't really a good adjustable flashlight out there. I'm counting the maglite focusing as useless, because of the giant donut hole when you set it to flood. Only one light comes to mind as having a focusing beam pattern, and that is the JETBeam JET-II. However, the difference isn't really that much, and its still just defocusing the beam like a maglite, although the donut hold doesn't show up until much later. From selfbuilt's thorough review:

"From left to right: maximum unfocused (just before you loose thread traction), to maximum focused


Jet2-Wide1.jpg
"


Surefire is coming out with the UA2 Optimus this month, which is supposed to solve this problem. Surefire doesn't usually claim much, but they almost always acheive what they claim, so I don't doubt this will be the case. But so much else is sacraficed in the UA2. Namely, efficiency, compact size, UI, and price. I'd never buy it. But its still up to you.

This seems like a problem, but I really don't think so. Nowadays throwers have generous spill, and bright at around 150 lux @ 1m. From personal experience, I can tell you that a semi-thrower (Tiablo MA6) lights up any internal space almost too much. In a normal sized room, point it at the ceiling and you've got enough light throughout the room. For a larger area, the spill is bright enough that you get a huge flood effect. The only problem would be that the hotspot may be distractingly bright.

So, I'd recommend a thrower with a large spill area. If you like a more compact light, I own the MA6 and couldn't be more pleased. You should probably stay away from the top thrower, the Dereelight DBS, because although its spill is bright, it isn't nearly as large as most other lights' spill. With the MA6, you won't really get a needle beam, just highly focused. I have found the MA6 to be the perfect compromise for me - I think you may too.
 

I came to the light...

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You're asking a lot of questions about numbers. If you want numbers, and a very straightforward and thorough discussion, for many lights, I've got the perfect site for you: light-reviews.com. He's reviewed almost every modern LED, and includes lux numbers and full runtime graphs. enjoy :D
 

SimpleIsGood229

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I really do think you'll be extremely happy with either the SureFire Optimus (200 lumens, adjustable beam) or Invictus (400[!] lumens, non-focusable). Sure, they'll be almost $300, but rediculous performance and reliability ain't cheap!

Besides, you're gonna end up spending some $$$ anyway, so why not just go for the gusto and do it? ;-)
 

2xTrinity

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So as for the L1D - is there a big difference between the performance of the L1D and L2D? Or is it just that the L2D's batteries last twice as long? It looks like the L2D is a bit brighter in strobe mode I guess.
It's much more efficient to drive a 3.7Vf LED from a boosted >2.4V input (2 cells under moderate load) than it is to drive it off 1.2V input (1 cell under heavy load). These are three main reasons:

1) High gain needed in the boost driver, which leads to worse efficiency (more power lost in the inductor)
2) More than double the input current needed to produce the same output power, which leads to greater resistance losses in the driver, and batteries

Improved efficiency can lead to either MORE than double the runtime at the same output, or a blend between higher output and higher runtime.
 

KeeperSD

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I really do think you'll be extremely happy with either the SureFire Optimus (200 lumens, adjustable beam) or Invictus (400[!] lumens, non-focusable). Sure, they'll be almost $300, but rediculous performance and reliability ain't cheap!

Not trying to be argumentative, but i am curious how you can say that he would be extremely happy with a light that hasn't even hit the general public? I understand people's excitement and throwing it in as a consideration, but hard to say that someone will be extremely happy by it without it even being tested.

It will be interesting to see how well the focussing mechanism works on the Optimus.
 
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roymail

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AA's - Fenix L2D-Q5 or L2Tv2 (great w/NiMh rechargeables)

CR123's - Surefire G2L or 6P w/M60L

2/3 C - Maglite w/Malkoff drop-in (bigger but can focus)

---------------------------

*You came to a good place for opinions... everybody's got one or more*
 

nleahcim

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OK so I've decided to get an L2D. It is cheap enough that if it is not perfect - I will survive.

A couple questions first:

Should I get the smooth reflector or the textured reflector? How does that affect the output?

Can I get a red filter for it? Where?

Which L2D should I get? There seem to be a bunch - and they don't really say much on the website about what the differences are.

Is the fenixstore.com website the best place to order them?


What batteries should I get? I'd like the highest capacity rechargeables possible.


Thanks!
 

Gunner12

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Smooth vs Textured? Output should be the same with both reflectors but the textured reflector gives a smoother beam while the smooth reflector gives a bit more throw. I'd pick the textured one.

There is a Red Filter at Fenix Store.

The "normal" L2D-CE uses a Cree XR-E P4 LED. The Q5 version uses a Cree XR-E Q5 LED, which gives around 30% more light.

Fenix Store is a pretty good place to buy the lights. 8% off coupon at Fenix Store is "CPF8".

As for batteries, many would recommend the Eneloop 2000 mAh ones or the Energizer 2650 mAh batteries.
 

maxa beam

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OK so I've decided to get an L2D. It is cheap enough that if it is not perfect - I will survive.

A couple questions first:

Should I get the smooth reflector or the textured reflector? How does that affect the output?

Can I get a red filter for it? Where?

Which L2D should I get? There seem to be a bunch - and they don't really say much on the website about what the differences are.

Is the fenixstore.com website the best place to order them?


What batteries should I get? I'd like the highest capacity rechargeables possible.


Thanks!
Textured if you want a smooth, pleasing wall of light, and smooth if you want it to throw further. I prefer textured. *(Or Optimuses.. Er.. Optimi.. Whatever the plural of Optimus is.. reflectors. Both in one!)

I don't think you can get red filters. Fabricating one would be simple enough.

I'm fairly sure the only difference is color. Pick one. I find olive attractive.

It's a reputable dealer, yes.

You should definitely get some Energiser 2650s.

Fenixes are good lights, that they are.

But I warn you, their output isn't what they say it is. And, of course, they're rugged, but definitely not a Surefire.

Take it from me, man, if you want a light to last the rest of your life, or until you modify/upgrade, get a Surefire. The price kind of slips away when you see that beautiful beam and test its ruggedness. Nothing really rivals Surefire in longevity and quality, I think everyone here agrees on that.
 
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smvtsailor

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I'd feel funny paying $289 for a flashlight though, you know? I mean... that's alot of green for a flashlight...

You have been spared this time, but I have observed that resistance to flashlight purchases is inversely proportional to the amount of time spent on CPF. That said, :welcome:

I would recommend a L2D if you can sacrifice the focusable beam. I find that it has a nice combination of flood and throw for outdoor use, and is a great value. It is supposedly waterproof to IPX-8 (full submersion for 30min, if i remember correctly), but for me that remains to be tested. There are red filters available for ~$5, as well as a diffuser and a red diffuser. Definitely check out www.fenix-store.com, they have a lifetime warranty on Fenix products.

Best of luck with your purchase.
 

maxa beam

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Protected ones aren't. Unprotected cells can be very dangerous if mishandled.
True that.

Also, in hopes of convincing the poster to cough up the dough and go for a real light, here's a post I typed up on the Optimus.

Get the Surefire Optimus coming out any day now. I'd go for it, atleast,( I find myself recommending this flashlight alot lately, o_O), but there's another model I have my eye on, too. More on that later. I don't even know where to begin.
It's a SUREFIRE, man. That means waterproof to one atmosphere, bulletproof ruggedness, reliability(Their main customer is the military, after all.), performance... Everything. Ask any given member here what the best brand of flashlight is and nine out of ten will tell you "Surefire".
Oh, yes. The Optimus. Almost forgot. It has a maximum of a scorching 200 LUMENS, more than any of the mentioned lights. Surefire is pretty much the only company that uses an integrating sphere to measure lumen output. Other manufacturers measure torch lumens, while Surefire measures out-the-front lumens. A 100 lumen Surefire is usually brighter than a 150 lumen other-brand. The leds are sorted, making sure you won't get a fluke. It has one LED of unknown make, but whatever it is, it must be pretty efficient. The Optimus has 11 settings..
1: Off.
2: SOS
3: 2 Lumens.
4: 4 Lumens.
5: 8 Lumens.
6: 15 Lumens.
7: 30 Lumens.
8: 60 Lumens.
9: 120 Lumens.
10: 200 Lumens.
11: Strobe.
The lowest, 2 lumens, runs for 100 hours. Judging from the runtime of Surefire's combatlights, which also run on two 123s, the Optimus' highest setting will be available for a long time.
It also has a Military-Spec Type 3 Hard-Anodize coating. It's a beautiful black coating of aluminum oxide, a substance up there with diamond and other precious gems. It's chemically grown onto the surface, so don't worry about paint chipping! Very few manufacturers provide mil-spec anodize.

It also has a stepped-down body and rubber grip. It's called combatgrip, and provides an amazingly secure grip.
That may be a little hard to picture, or maybe I'm just relieving your eyes with some eyecandy of this beautiful flashlight. Either way, have a picture.
policestuff_2001_208899501


The Optimus also has a fuel guage led. It glows green when the battery is full, orange when medium, red when low. I haven't thought of this, but that could also serve as a locater if you dropped the flashlight.
Oh, that's not all. It has a magnetic selector ring for cycling through the modes, and if you don't feel like doing that and need maximum power RIGHT THEN, press the MaxBlast tailcap.
OH, and some more features.
The Optimus also has an adjustable focus beam and a total internal reflector, meaning it gathers almost ALL of the light from the LED, while reflectors gather less. But, anyways, variable focus. It focuses the beam into either a pleasing wall of light(Indoor use, maybe.), or a sharp, piercing beam for throwing lots of lumen very far. And ask any member of the forums if the Surefire L4 is an amazing wall-of-light illumination tool, or if the L1 is an amazing thrower, and most, or all, will say yes. The beams on Surefires are some of my favorite. (The L4 in particular.)
It works by having a rippled "plate" over the total internal reflector, which moves further or closer to the TIR, redistributing the energy of the light. It, theoretically, would work great, with minimal light loss. Other focusable flashlights, like maglites, move the reflector further away from the beam, or closer to it, and reflectors have only one focal point. This means the beam becomes ridden with rings, holes, and imperfections, meaning less light if transmitted, meaning less visibility.
The body is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, an alloy extremely tough and resilient, and it transfers heat very well, not that LEDS produce alot of heat (not NEARLY as much as incandescents.). Oh, it uses a Lexan window, which is scratch, and shock resistant, with anti-reflective coatings on each side, meaning almost all of the light is transmitter to the target. It costs 289 USD and comes with 20 lithium primary Surefire batteries, my favorite brand. That's enough to last a VERY long time, as the Optimus takes 2 batteries.
I'm sure I missed a bunch of features, but that's all I can remember off the top of my head. You can guess that I spend alot of my time salivating at it. The only possible downside to this light I can ever think of: It doesn't use rechargeables, but they're extremely volatile and, unless you get protected ones, can die very, very soon if you overuse them. Protected rechargeables are expensive, and plus you need an expensive charger.. This stuff's enough to buy alot of Surefire Lithium 123s, which are 1.75 USD.

Woah, I just now realized I just created a wall of text describing a 6.5 inch, 6.5 gram flashlight. Oh well, it benefits the person asking the question, and it makes me tingly recounting the features of this amazing tool in detail.

You can also gather how reliable Surefire is when I'm recommending a light not even out yet.

There's another model called the Invictus coming out later, which is the same light, except very slightly longer, and it has no variable-focus ability.
The upside?
It has..



400 LUMENS.
That seems merely like a number..
Go ask about the Surefire M6, a 500 lumen incandescent, and you'll know why it's so amazing. I would gladly shell out 400+ dollars for a 400 lumen Every Day Carry light. I'll probably get both. If I could pick one? Optimus. 200 Lumens is blindingly bright, which is why it has multiple modes. When I got my first multi-level I thought "I'll be using this on high all the time.", untill I actually SAW it.
 
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nleahcim

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Smooth vs Textured? Output should be the same with both reflectors but the textured reflector gives a smoother beam while the smooth reflector gives a bit more throw. I'd pick the textured one.

There is a Red Filter at Fenix Store.

The "normal" L2D-CE uses a Cree XR-E P4 LED. The Q5 version uses a Cree XR-E Q5 LED, which gives around 30% more light.

Fenix Store is a pretty good place to buy the lights. 8% off coupon at Fenix Store is "CPF8".

As for batteries, many would recommend the Eneloop 2000 mAh ones or the Energizer 2650 mAh batteries.

So that red filter looks more like something extra that gets screwed on, on top of the front of the flashlight. I was hoping for just a filter that would go inside the light. Does that not exist?

Also - can you recommend a place to buy either of those batteries? I had hoped that I could get them at fenix-store.com but they don't seem to sell them.

Thanks!
 

nleahcim

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Textured if you want a smooth, pleasing wall of light, and smooth if you want it to throw further. I prefer textured. *(Or Optimuses.. Er.. Optimi.. Whatever the plural of Optimus is.. reflectors. Both in one!)

I don't think you can get red filters. Fabricating one would be simple enough.

I'm fairly sure the only difference is color. Pick one. I find olive attractive.

It's a reputable dealer, yes.

You should definitely get some Energiser 2650s.

Fenixes are good lights, that they are.

But I warn you, their output isn't what they say it is. And, of course, they're rugged, but definitely not a Surefire.

Take it from me, man, if you want a light to last the rest of your life, or until you modify/upgrade, get a Surefire. The price kind of slips away when you see that beautiful beam and test its ruggedness. Nothing really rivals Surefire in longevity and quality, I think everyone here agrees on that.
So - I'm not sure how much I'm going to be needing this light. It may be a thing I need it for an hour once a month. In that case - I'd feel silly spending as much as a Surefire costs... So I'm starting out with something more economical. If it looks like it's going to be an important thing for me to have - maybe I'll upgrade sometime later on...

I just don't want to spend $300 on a flashlight and then use it 12 hours a year.
 

Gunner12

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Well, that's the only filter that I can think of since the light was not meant to be disassembled by the user.

Another good thing about the L2D is that it can also use the P2D and L1D body. So you can have the options of 1 AA or 1 CR123 battery.

The L2D is a great light to start with.
 

Soundchaser

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I just got my L2D Premium Q5 a couple of days ago. Very nice little light. All I have right now is just plain AA batteries in it and it is quite bright. The multiple modes are very easy to use and give you a nice range of outputs.

I also picked up the P1D body. Together this is a very versatile combo. I highly recommend it.
 

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