Review: Olight SR96 Intimidator 5299lm!! (Proprietary battery)

subwoofer

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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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Olight have long been known as the makers of search lights by which all others are measured. The SR90 set the benchmark, not for overall output but for throw, and was one of the most wanted lights on the market. Part of that same SR-series, the SR96 is designed around maximum output rather than throw, and as stated in the title, measured in at an amazing 5299lm (outperforming Olight’s specified 4800lm) thanks to its three MK-R LEDs

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Taking a more detailed look:

The SR96 arrives in a presentation carry case.

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It comes assembled, but there is an insulator cutting off the battery so it won’t have turned itself on during transit.

02%20Olight%20SR96%20case%20open%20P1100417.jpg



The full contents of the carry case include the SR96, carry strap, spare O-rings and a mains charger.

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The battery tube is deeply textured and provides excellent grip.

04%20Olight%20SR96%20rear%20angle%20P1100431.jpg



The tail-cap (which does unscrew) has a button which you press to see the battery level. The level is indicated by four lights. In the centre is a rubber cover that protects the charging socket.

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The charger is shown connected here.

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The SR96 uses three distinct reflectors within the head. Each has a textured reflector round the MK-R LED.

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The MK-R is a large Quad Die LED.

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The three medium sized reflectors are not very deep and are textured (exactly as needed for a floody light).

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There are deep fins in the main head with plenty of room for air to circulate and cool the head. If you look carefully inside the head (behind the black fins) is the bare aluminium pill. This receives all three reflectors and mounts for the LEDs, and is itself finned.

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Another view of the fins and large bare aluminium pill.

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The battery pack unscrews from the head. It was inside this join that the SR96 came with a plastic insulator that needs to be removed before using it.

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Looking at the contacts on the battery, there is the central positive contact, and a negative contact ring.

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And the corresponding contacts in the head.

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To get an idea of size, the SR96 is pictured next to the M2X-UT Javelot which is a single 18650 light. The SR96 is substantial, but not a monster. (remember the M2X-UT does have a large reflector)

17%20Olight%20SR96%20size1%20M2X-UT%20P1100503.jpg



And another size comparison, the SR96 shown with the Fenix TK75.

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There are two gold coloured rings with holes to attach the carry strap. They freely rotate about the SR96.

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The strap is nice and wide and very comfortable. You will welcome this if carrying the SR96 all night.

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The threads on the battery tube are square cut and fully anodised. What is interesting is that the longitudinal grooves cut for the grip on the battery tube, just nick the threads giving the a slightly serrated look.

21%20Olight%20SR96%20threads%20P1100523.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!



Starting indoors, despite the mainly flood orientated beam, there is still a defined hotspot. The spill is nice and wide and great for area lighting.

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Before seeing the SR96 outdoors, I need to show you the TK41 I regularly use a reference. This is a good strong 800lm beam with good throw.

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And now the SR96, and yes the exposure is exactly the same in both the TK41 and SR96 photo. An almost biblical ‘let there be light’.

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Modes and User Interface:

Olight have kept things simple with the SR96. It is a search light and has a single button, so has only three brightness levels and a strobe.

There is a pseudo-momentary mode. From OFF press and hold the button to switch ON to the last used mode. As long as you hold the button for at least 2s it will go OFF when you release the button.

To Switch ON press the button once. The SR 96 switch ON to the last used mode.

NOTE: last used mode never includes Strobe.

To change modes when ON, press and hold the button to cycle through High -> Low -> Medium -> High etc. Release the button when you have the mode you want.

To get strobe, from ON or OFF, double tap the button. To exit strobe, either turn OFF, or press and hold the change mode.

Lockout mode is available. To engage lockout, from ON, press and hold the button and allow the SR96 to cycle through the available modes three times, at which point it will turn OFF. Release the button.

To exit lockout mode, triple press the button, or remove and reinstall the battery.

When locked-out you will notice that when pressing the power button there is a brief flash from the LEDs.



Batteries and output:

The SR96 uses its own built in 7.4V 7800mAh battery pack.

The SR96 has taken my integrating sphere to its limits and has shown heat effects on some measurements meaning I had to rethink how I worked with the SR96. Sphere V2 is being planned right now.

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Olight SR96 using integrated batteryI.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
High52990
Medium16440
Low555
Strobe28429.8

* 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 41200lx @1m giving a beam range of 406m.

Parasitic drain at the head of the light is 10.5uA meaning the battery pack would be depleted in 82.57years. This of course is negligible.

However this may not be the only source of drain as the tailcap with battery level indicator and charging socket is also a circuit connected to the battery that could draw power. Due to the contact design, I was not able to confirm the parasitic drain.

The SR96’s output is impressive. From turn on it is easily over 5000lm and after 5 minutes makes a controlled reduction in output down to 3000lm. This 3000lm output is then maintained up to 40 minutes from turn on. After this it drops to a ‘mere’ 1600lm for a further 2 hours (that ‘mere’ was written sarcastically)!!! This is no slouch even when running short on power.

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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.

No issues were encountered 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 SR96 in use

So the SR96 is not an EDC, it is a light with purpose, and you will carry it when you too have purpose. Hand-held it will become fatiguing to hold after around 30 minutes (depending on hand size etc), but you have an excellent strap to use.

I do have reasonably large hands (taking XL/10.5 glove size) and I found the SR96 very comfortable to grip. The balance is just right for you to hold it with your thumb over the power button and the weight evenly distributed forward and aft. Intentional or not, this balance works really well. The deep grip pattern has an ideal amount of mechanical grip without being too rough.

Considering the Low mode is 555lm, this is not a general purpose light that you are going to use round the house. I would like to have a lower mode as well to make it more versatile, but the SR96 is a powerhouse and hugely effective area light.

Taking a look at the beam over a longer range than my standard garden shots, here you can see the tree is well lit, as is the entire area in front of it. The hotspot does give it some reach, though it achieves this by pure output power.

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What becomes clearer however, is that this is not a long range search light. Aiming towards a more distant tree, there is very little useful illumination cast onto the tree. Instead the close range flood takes over and limits your vision to the well-lit mid-range distance. (this is a kind of lantern effect where the nearby brightness prevents you seeing further into the distance). This aspect of the beam, its wide bright spill, makes it work very well for use when walking, as it lights up the ground near your feet as well as further ahead of you.

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If you want a workhorse super-bright area light, then the SR96 is definitely for you. If you always want MORE light then the SR96 should satisfy that craving (for now at least).



Review Summary

______________________________________________________________________________________________
Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well for me
______________________________________________________________________________________________
5299lm ANSI outputCould do with an extra lower mode
Good combination of size and outputProprietary battery
Comfortable carry strapClose range spill reduces apparent range
Superb area lighting
Good beam for walking



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subwoofer

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reserved for updates...

A note about battery packs:

Battery packs are divisive as they both provide convenience and simplicity as well as limiting you to having to use only that pack.

I tend to put a proprietary batty pack down as a warning in my reviews as you need to be aware that a spare pack tends to be expensive and if you don't buy a spare (you don't have to), it means that when it runs out, you can't use the light again until it is recharged.

You also have to consider the fact of cell ageing and that in a few years time that battery pack will no longer be performing as well. This then leaves you with the option of having to buy a new pack (if still available) or a new light.

If you have only one pack, you tend to keep topping it up all the time. This is not always the best thing for a battery (and neither is deep discharge).

However what you get with the battery pack is a self-contained product with everything you need in one case. You don't need to buy and maintain other batteries, and you have a manufacturer specified and built battery pack that will work well.

Largely it depends on the person buying it and how they want to use it. As long as you have another light as a spare then having only the one battery is not so bad.

So any comments in this or any other review about the battery pack are only general ones.
 
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snakyjake

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Great photos.
My concern is how much light is thrown at your feet, even with the flashlight held high above the head.
 

subwoofer

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Great photos.
My concern is how much light is thrown at your feet, even with the flashlight held high above the head.

The effect looks worse in the photos than it is. Being such a floody light, you have a really wide spill which does give you a really wide field of view. This light is to fill a large area with light, and it does this fantastically well. Unavoidably having the nearer area so well lit does reduce apparent maximum range.

If you were at all elevated and therefore not lighting up the ground near you, the beam of this light is like a stadium floodlight.

You really notice the difference if you use a light with tighter beam and then turn on the SR96. No scanning required, everywhere in front of you is lit up.
 

kj2

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Thanks for the review :)
Nice wide useful beam. I always had a thing for throw, but starting to like a flood beam more and more.
 

subwoofer

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Thanks for the review :)
Nice wide useful beam. I always had a thing for throw, but starting to like a flood beam more and more.

IF I HAD to choose between flood and throw as the only type of beam I could own, it would be flood, no question. This is what I use all day every day.
 

ven

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Manchester UK
Awesome review:), do love this light,sure its the size/form factor and the high output for prolonged periods due to the mass that appeals. I am a fan of Olight, the nice ano and build.........just a solid light and find the ano stands up better than most other brands in the same price range.
 

Ubec

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Cebu (Philippines)
Hi subwoofer,

As I already said in my PM to you, this review of the Olight SR96 is outstanding and please allow me to thank you again.

I do like floodlights and am torn between three lights: the Olight SR96, the Fenix TK75 and the Niwalker MM18.

Take care!
 
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subwoofer

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Hi subwoofer,

As I already said in my PM to you, this review of the Olight SR96 is outstanding and please allow me to thank you again.

I do like floodlights and am torn between three lights: the Olight SR96, the Fenix TK75 and the Niwalker MM18.

Take care!

Hello and welcome the CPF :)

A note about battery packs:

Battery packs are divisive as they both provide convenience and simplicity as well as limiting you to having to use only that pack.

I tend to put a proprietary batty pack down as a warning in my reviews as you need to be aware that a spare pack tends to be expensive and if you don't buy a spare (you don't have to), it means that when it runs out, you can't use the light again until it is recharged.

You also have to consider the fact of cell ageing and that in a few years time that battery pack will no longer be performing as well. This then leaves you with the option of having to buy a new pack (if still available) or a new light.

If you have only one pack, you tend to keep topping it up all the time. This is not always the best thing for a battery (and neither is deep discharge).

However what you get with the battery pack is a self-contained product with everything you need in one case. You don't need to buy and maintain other batteries, and you have a manufacturer specified and built battery pack that will work well.

Largely it depends on the person buying it and how they want to use it. As long as you have another light as a spare then having only the one battery is not so bad.

So any comments in this or any other review about the battery pack are only general ones.


You have mentioned other contenders so here are a few things to think about when considering the other lights:

Think about the modes you might want to use - does the output go low enough and high enough for your needs?
Look at runtimes and if the output is maintained properly.
What cells and chargers will you need?
How often you will use it?
Carrying it - is it heavy, bulky, have a holster or strap etc?
Simplicity of use (in particular will you be the only person using it or will other family members need to use it?).
 

recDNA

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Thanks for the nice review. Wild light. Great beam shots!

Why would anybody want 5000 lumens of flood? Does it have a practical use? I can't think of one but I'm not very creative.
 

Swedpat

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Boden, Sweden
I am very satisfied with my Thrunite TN35. ~2400 lumens for about an hour. If I had bought SR96 and then became aware about the performance I had been dissatisfied: 5000lm for about 5 minutes and then ~3000lm for 40 minutes. That's really misleading information to claim this light as a 5299lm flashlight. More correct is to say it's a ~3000lm light with a 5000lm burst. And the size and weight is much bigger than Thrunite TN35.
 

subwoofer

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Why would anybody want 5000 lumens of flood? Does it have a practical use? I can't think of one but I'm not very creative.

Hand back your CPF login and only come back once you see the error of your questions ;) 'Practical use'...'why would anyone...' Tsk tsk

:nana:

Of course more seriously, this is a monster area light, especially if you use it from a first floor window (where you are not exposed to the spill hitting the ground just in front of you).

I've also used it to light up water by shining it into a river and lake, that power does give you a much better view into the depths than lower power lights.
 

subwoofer

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I am very satisfied with my Thrunite TN35. ~2400 lumens for about an hour. If I had bought SR96 and then became aware about the performance I had been dissatisfied: 5000lm for about 5 minutes and then ~3000lm for 40 minutes. That's really misleading information to claim this light as a 5299lm flashlight. More correct is to say it's a ~3000lm light with a 5000lm burst. And the size and weight is much bigger than Thrunite TN35.


That's ANSI ratings for you...

...but also we have a couple of considerations.

Firstly The TN35 is a great example of its class and size for regulation, but 2400lm compared to 5299lm is quite a difference.

Secondly I think when you have a battery pack (rather than replaceable cells) you have to bear in mind the user will not be able to change the cells once flat, so what you need to avoid is very limited runtime and the need to change the battery. Although you might argue that the user should have control and can decide for themselves, the reality is that most people do need help to avoid leaving themselves in the dark. To your eyes, the solid 3000lm is still really good, and if needed you can always switch it off and on again to get back to the 5000lm+ output.

On balance I think Olight have got it right for the majority of users of this light considering it uses a built in battery pack.
 
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