Wurkkos

Review: NITECORE P12 2015 edition (18650 or 2x RCR123/CR123)

subwoofer

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
2,498
Location
Hove, UK
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Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
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06%20P12%202015%20angle%20model%20P1070571.jpg





Taking a more detailed look:

Using NITECORE's standard packaging the P12 here is the '2015' edition.

01%20P12%202015%20boxed%20P1070554.jpg



With the P12, you get a spare switch boot, two O-rings, a grip ring, pocket clip, holster and lanyard.

02%20P12%202015%20box%20contents%20P1070558.jpg



The P12 in its holster.

03%20P12%202015%20holstered%20P1070560.jpg



On the back the holster has a D-loop, a fixed belt loop and a Velcro fastened belt loop.

04%20P12%202015%20holster%20detail%20P1070563.jpg



Taking the head off the battery tube makes it easy to see the contacts. There is physical reverse polarity protection so only button top cells are suitable for the P12.

07%20P12%202015%20head%20contacts%20P1070576.jpg



The threads at the head end are square cut, fully anodised and well lubricated.

08%20P12%202015%20head%20threads%20P1070582.jpg



A spring is used as the negative terminal in the tailcap.

09%20P12%202015%20tail%20contacts%20P1070587.jpg



At the tailcap end of the battery tube, standard threads are used these are also fully anodised and well lubricated.

10%20P12%202015%20tail%20threads%20P1070591.jpg



The switch is semi protected, but with generous enough cut-outs to allow easy access. The raised sections are large enough to allow tail-standing.

11%20P12%202015%20tail%20cap%20P1070593.jpg



An XM-L2 LED sits are the centre of a smooth reflector.

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The P12 with grip ring and pocket clip fitted.

13%20P12%202015%20clip%20and%20ring%20P1070603.jpg



The mode switch has blue illumination for battery level warnings and displaying the battery voltage.

14%20P12%202015%20switch%20illumination%20P1070619.jpg




The beam

Please be careful not to judge tint based on images you see on a computer screen. Unless properly calibrated, the screen itself will change the perceived tint.
The indoor beamshot is intended to give an idea of the beam shape/quality rather than tint. All beamshots are taken using daylight white balance. The woodwork (stairs and skirting) are painted Farrow & Ball "Off-White", and the walls are a light sandy colour called 'String' again by Farrow & Ball. I don't actually have a 'white wall' in the house to use for this, and the wife won't have one!



The P12 has a great EDC beam. There is a wide soft edged hotspot and even spill. This works well for close and medium ranges.

15%20P12%202015%20indoor%20beam%20P1070839.jpg



Thanks to its output being just shy of 1000lm the P12 is no slouch outside either.

16%20P12%202015%20outdoor%20beam%20P1070882.jpg




Modes and User Interface:

The P12 has four steady modes High, Mid, Low and Lower and three flashing modes, Strobe, SOS and Beacon.

As well as the momentary forward clicky switch, there is a mode button on the side of the P12's head.

From OFF, to use momentary, half press the tail switch. The P12 will come on in the last used steady output mode (or Strobe). Release the switch to turn OFF.

From OFF, to use constant ON, press the tail switch so it clicks and release. The P12 will come on in the last used steady output mode. Fully press the tail switch again to turn OFF.

From ON, briefly press the mode switch to cycle through Lower, Low, Mid, High, Lower etc.

From ON, press and hold the mode switch for 2s to enter Strobe. Press and hold the mode switch for 2s again to change to SOS, and once more for 2s to change to Beacon.

To exit any of the flashing modes and return to the last used steady mode while ON, press the mode switch briefly. Turning the P12 off using the tailcap switch will also reset the P12 to the last used steady mode. However, Strobe mode will be remembered, so once set to strobe mode, the P12 will stay in Strobe for momentary of constant use until the mode switch is pressed again.


The P12 also has a hidden feature that allows you to check the battery voltage. From OFF, press and hold the mode switch and while doing this click on the tailcap switch. The P12's mode switch will then flash blue, initially indicating the whole Volts, then the 0.1V. So for example, four flashes pause one flash, means 4.1V. After the voltage has been displayed the P12 comes onto the last used Steady (or Strobe) mode.



Batteries and output:

The P12 is happy to run on either 18650, 2x CR123 or even 2x RCR123.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NITECORE P12 2015 using NL188 3100mAhI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
High9230
Medium2350
Low600
Lower<2 (Below Threshold)0
Strobe*30816.3
Beacon*171Flash every 2s

* Beacon and Strobe output measurements are only estimates as the brief flashes make it difficult to capture the actual output value.

Peak Beam intensity measured 10800lx @1m giving a beam range of 208m.

There is no parasitic drain.

Initial output is at the limit and the P12's output sags over the first three minutes, at which point it drops to around 555lm (more than the Mid level). This output is regulated for a further 40 minutes before dropping to the Mid (235lm) output. The Mid output is regulated and maintained for nearly four hours before dropping off to the ANSI cut off.

NITECORE%20P12%202015%20runtime.jpg




Troubleshooting

This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

Nothing has come up during testing.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.



The P12 2015 in use

NITECORE's P12 has been a popular model for some time. The single 18650/2xCR123 format, combined with the slim profile head but still plenty of power. Easy to carry and a powerful light in its class.

In its most basic use, it can be a pre-selected single mode light. You can then use that pre-selected mode with either momentary or constant on. Like this you can be safe in the knowledge that you will get the mode you want. Of course, once on, you can then easily choose a different mode with the separate mode switch.

The choice of modes seems to work well for me, you have a great 'Lower' 1lm mode, and of course the Maximum at nearly 1000lm. 60lm and 235lm are great general modes, but some might consider the jump from 235lm to 1000lm as being too big a jump. In reality as an EDC light you are going to use the 1lm, 60lm and 235lm modes the most, and then you have the bonus of a big 1000lm burst on hand.

Size vs EDC-ability is very much reliant on personal taste and requirements. Personally I won't EDC the P12, but it is a perfect size to pick up when I know I need a light rather than one (or two) I would carry 'just in case'. The P12 is a really comfortable size, and not a burden if it turns out not to have been needed. With the head being the same diameter as the body, there is a simple sleekness to the P12, and this makes if very pleasing to hold.

The P12 is simply big enough to be powerful, but small enough to be easy to carry and pocket, a great mixture.




Review Summary

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Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well for me
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923lm Maximum outputNoisy tailcap switch click
Very useful 1lm Lower modeMode switch can be difficult to find if wearing gloves
Can tail standCannot use flat top cells
Battery Voltage readout
Remembers last used mode - Constant or Strobe
Well regulated output
Big enough to be powerful - small enough to be easy to carry

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subwoofer

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Reserved for updates...

Just to confirm the P12 fits in the holster with the grip ring fitted.

P12%202015%20grip%20ring%20holster%20P1090297.jpg
 
Last edited:

CelticCross74

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3,938
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Fairfax Va
great review although Imma say its closer to 960 lumens. The steep drop off you got as soon as you turn it on is kind of discouraging. Live the mode switch. The jump from turbo to high is a bit extreme. The P12 doesnt fit in its sheath with the tactical ring on which is unfortunate. Just got the MH20 which eats the P12 for lunch though.
 

cccpull

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Oct 17, 2009
Messages
331
Nice review with great pictures. Almost seem like a new car photo shoot.:)

If you don't mind, what is the size of the backyard and distance of flashlight to fence? Thanks.
 

subwoofer

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2010
Messages
2,498
Location
Hove, UK
great review although Imma say its closer to 960 lumens. The steep drop off you got as soon as you turn it on is kind of discouraging. Live the mode switch. The jump from turbo to high is a bit extreme. The P12 doesnt fit in its sheath with the tactical ring on which is unfortunate. Just got the MH20 which eats the P12 for lunch though.

I'm not familiar with 'Imma', who/what if this? I see Selfbuilt has tested a P12 2015 and got 960lm, but LEDs can vary by up to 10% in output sample to sample, so the output I measured is within normal variation.

The P12's holster has a flap which can close much looser than shown in my photos, due to the long velcro strip. I suspect this would allow the grip ring to be used and the P12 not going so far into the holster. If I get a chance I'll try this.

P12%202015%20grip%20ring%20holster%20P1090297.jpg


Nice review with great pictures. Almost seem like a new car photo shoot.:)

If you don't mind, what is the size of the backyard and distance of flashlight to fence? Thanks.

Thank you, I try to make the photos as clean and clear as possible.

In the backyard the tree is around 22m and the fence about 27m away.
 
Last edited:

BugoutBoys

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Oct 22, 2015
Messages
511
Location
Colorado
great review although Imma say its closer to 960 lumens. The steep drop off you got as soon as you turn it on is kind of discouraging. Live the mode switch. The jump from turbo to high is a bit extreme. The P12 doesnt fit in its sheath with the tactical ring on which is unfortunate. Just got the MH20 which eats the P12 for lunch though.

The good part though is that you can simply turn the light off, then back on and you can get max output again!
 

CelticCross74

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Aug 30, 2014
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3,938
Location
Fairfax Va
allow me to correct myself. Yes you can get the light into the sheath with the ring on. When I say the MH20 eats it I am speaking in terms of thermal regulation, range and actually being closer to 1000 lumens as well as shorter. I am not sure but does the 2015 have ATR? Just got the P12GT and am very impressed with it it is my 3rd P12
 
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