so what was it like here a year ago? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

jmpaul320

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Mar 31, 2012
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I am relatively new to the forums. Some of you may know me, for those of you who don't my name is Justin and I joined about 4 months ago after lurking for a few weeks as a guest. The first light I bought was on March 3rd, which was a trustfire tr-j12 which I ordered from linkdelight dot com. I also ordered 3x king kong 26650s from intl outdoor. This purchase was after doing about 2 hours of googling for 'bright flashlight' and similar searches. I stumbled across budget light forum and the trj12 seemed to get good reviews so I jumped on it. Not knowing anything at all about what an xml was, or even how popular intl outdoor was I ordered. Because at 1 am after 4 beers and several mixed drinks I wanted a bright flashlight dammit. And since I had done 2 hours of googling I knew everything... right?:thinking: wrong.

But things have turned out fine. I have spent a good amount of $ over the last 4 months. While it has been more than I initially anticipated on flashlights - let me just say - this is a wonderful hobby that I enjoy every aspect of. I have spent well over $2500 in 4 months (probably more) but I have never gone beyond my means, nor have I accumulated any credit card debt. (I pay off my card every month). To put it simply - I enjoy flashlights.

Ok - that introduction got a bit wordy and I apologize to anyone who read the title only to open this thread and go wtf? when they scanned those first paragraphs. But I think it was necessary.:duh2:

My point in creating this thread is this: After several hundred posts and several custom flashlight builds, and more importantly a lot of forum searching - I have discovered the old world of cpf. That is incandescents and any other "pre-x lamp" lights. A utopia which was ruled (and still is imo) by members such as lux, fivemega, kiu, and dozens of other flashaholics with thousands of posts and/or custom part sales on this forum who rarely post from day to day now, or have gone completely inactive.

What was the cause of this? Was it the cree x lamp? Maybe. I truly do not know. I wish i discovered this hobby 10 years ago when I was still in my teens and I could experience the thrill of everyday someone finding out how to push x or y bulb another 100 lumens. Although if I got into this hobby 10 years ago, my income would have been 1/10th what it is now and I would have lacked resources to pursue flashlights to the full.... I guess thats called irony?:sick2:

Over the past month I have had the pleasure of building several mag lights which are... lets say - less than cutting edge. The mag85 and the mag 458. Ok I didnt build the 458 per se, I ordered everything from Fivemega and futzed with the 16aa battery carrier for 4 hours to get my non-button top cells to make contact correctly.:crazy: But I digress. In building these mags I got a taste of what flashlights were years ago. Putting together packs of 9 or 16 or even more nimh cells, buying expensive chargers, worrying about flashing a bulb... and I also had the thrill of powering up both the WA1185 and the osram 458 and watching... watching as they got brighter and brighter, to the point where smoke started billowing off them as they burned in. Somewhere between all this I felt as though I understood what cpf was about years ago - what all my searches had turned up with various builds etc. Somehow I actually felt.... nostalgic; as if I got a glimpse as to what things were like years ago. I loved every second of it. Maybe this is what its like to work on an old muscle car for years on end, just to get it running and drive it down the street and back, even when a current production car can be had with more power for 25% of the cost. I just wish I could have been a part of this before you could go on ebay and buy a "ultraok cree q5 superbright 1400 lumens aa 5 mode" flashlight for $5.75.

I certainly mean no disrespect to budget lights; or the xlamp for that matter. I own more xmls, xpgs etc in my collection than any other emitter, and quite frankly - they're awesome. I also own my fair share of budget lights which I use daily. But that being said, nothing will make me smile or capture my heart (that sounds horribly cheesy I know) like spending hundreds of dollars and hours upon hours on a build & hours to charge & condition nimh batteries, only to have something short out, pull my hair out, swear endlessly - only to then finally get it right at 3am.

My reason in typing all this and creating this thread is to first pay respect to older cpf members that have slowly become less active in recent years that have contributed so much to this community, and to reflect a bit just as to what really defined this hobby just 1, 5 or 10 years ago. I mean no disrespect to anyone - and if there is any offense taken - I sincerely apologize. I am open to any and all feedback.
 

ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond

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I think just with any hobby you will have people who make it a lifelong hobby, those who are here for a few years and then move on to other hobbies and those who are just looking to buy one good new light.

I joined about three years ago and at that time I was just at the trailing end of the incan peak. Everyone here had already done it, but I love incans and I had to try too. It was nice becuase everything was readily available. Now parts are much scarcer.

I really think it has to do with our underlying fetish of being here. We all like a practical EDC light that we will use most of the time - but what really gets it going is a super bright burn out your retinas and have the neighbors call the cops light.

When I first joined LEDs were really still maxing out at around 200 lumens OTF. The only way to break the 1000 lumen mark was with a super over driven incan bulb. Shortly after joining the XP-G, the SST-50 and the SST-90 came into being and the goal of 1000 lumens from LED became a reality. Heck I was able to get ~500+ lumens out of a SST-90 running off one 18650 in a 6P light. That has only increased over the past few years to the point where there are many 2000 lumen LED lights in easy grasp of almost everyone.

Also, at first LEDs didn't come anywhere the color rendering of incans. But that again has changed as LEDs have gotten better.

Personally I had many incans at first and that has dwindled as LEDs have gotten better. I use LED lights daily for around the house and nightime stuff. But if I am going for a walk in the woods give me an incan any day. You can see better and farther with a lower power incan outdoors than most LEDs will allow.

Now I have only been here 3 years. I am very interested to hear how the 5-10 year veterans will answer this question.
 

THE_dAY

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Joined
Nov 28, 2003
Messages
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sfv, california
I remember that Arc flashlight with their single CR123 lights were very popular.
They were about ~20ish lumens and single level at ~330mA, then I had it modded with the latest Luxeon emitter (before Cree came into the game) and bump up driver to 667mA to get ~45 lumens.

Wow that 45 lumens was amazing!

I don't remember any Chinese companies, I think Fenix was the first I remember coming in later on.

One thing that hasn't changed is that this is still one of the nicest forums with such great members on the internet.

It was the lights that got me here but it was the company that made me stay.
 

nbp

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Dec 16, 2007
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10,755
Location
Wisconsin
My point in creating this thread is this: After several hundred posts and several custom flashlight builds, and more importantly a lot of forum searching - I have discovered the old world of cpf. That is incandescents and any other "pre-x lamp" lights. A utopia which was ruled (and still is imo) by members such as lux, fivemega, kiu, and dozens of other flashaholics with thousands of posts and/or custom part sales on this forum who rarely post from day to day now, or have gone completely inactive.

What was the cause of this? Was it the cree x lamp? Maybe. I truly do not know. I wish i discovered this hobby 10 years ago when I was still in my teens and I could experience the thrill of everyday someone finding out how to push x or y bulb another 100 lumens. Although if I got into this hobby 10 years ago, my income would have been 1/10th what it is now and I would have lacked resources to pursue flashlights to the full.... I guess thats called irony?:sick2:

I just wish I could have been a part of this before you could go on ebay and buy a "ultraok cree q5 superbright 1400 lumens aa 5 mode" flashlight for $5.75.

My reason in typing all this and creating this thread is to first pay respect to older cpf members that have slowly become less active in recent years that have contributed so much to this community, and to reflect a bit just as to what really defined this hobby just 1, 5 or 10 years ago..


I've been here almost 5 years and I feel exactly the same as you do in the above statements. I believe this is an amazing place, and I love it here, but I still feel like I missed out on the best years of CPF. I've said, and maybe even posted here, the same thing you have in bold, haha. Things have come a long way, and in many ways they are better, but I also think that some of the small-town community feel of CPF has passed as it's grown, and some of the passion has perhaps fizzled due the the proliferation of cheap mass produced flavor of the month crap out there. I try not to think too much about what I missed because mostly it just is depressing. On the other hand, I've seen and been a part of a lot of cool stuff here in the last 5 years, so I can't be too down about it all. :)


Edit: When I joined, Fenix was all the rage and the X-RE was blowing our minds with 200 lms from 2x123s. ;)
 

lionken07

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Joined
Feb 7, 2003
Messages
166
Location
CT
I'm trying to remember what it was like when I first join... hmmm It wasn't that far off from what we are today. A lot less members perhaps but the idea is the same. People who are into flashlights talking about what we enjoy using.
 

Gunner12

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Joined
Dec 18, 2006
Messages
10,063
Location
Bay Area, CA
When I came onto the site, back in 2006, the Cree XR-E stuff was just coming out and everyone was very excited, as expected. I came across this site looking at Surefire lights and was looking for something cheaper. Before that, the only LED lights over 100 lumen OTF were the Luxeon V, which got hot quickly. People were saying that they use their Surefire L4s as hand warmers in the winter. There were a few really efficient Luxeon Vs which were coveted and rare (U bins perhaps? 50% brighter then all other ones!). Incan Maglite mods were the hot topic back then, with the Aurolite mod for the Minimag trailing off around that time, but ROP and Mag85s were relatively popular. Most cheap LEDs advertized "1 Watt LED", "3 Watt LED", "10 Watt LED" (roughly corresponding to Luxeon I, III, and V).

One of the most popular LED lights was the Arc AAA and the Arc LS was THE small LED light to get (some might say it still is). The first Cree light that I read about was the Huntlight FT-01XSE (back when Quickbeam still did reviews, link goes to that review). It got an amazing 4000 Lux at 1m and hit 130+ lumen! Fenix was start to get popular with their original L1P and L2P, then they made their L1T and L2T. I think the LxP had the Luxeon I and the LxT had the Luxeon III. The P1D Cree was their first Cree LED light and it was well recieved. There was a small issue with a dark portion in the P1D's beam and people were unhappy about it, but in the end people just got used to it. The L0D was also popular when it came out (the first version had a Luxeon III I think).

I bought one of the first budget Cree lights, the EastwardYJ U2 that winter. I really liked it and still have the body. The LED has been changed quite a bit and it is now a twistie, haven't bother changing the switch yet (the original LED and driver was de-domed and shattered on a bad fall, also broke the lens 3 times).

There were many people trying Cree mods at this time, but the Cree XR-E had a metal ring and a different emitting pattern which caused many of these mods to create ringy beams and orange peel reflectors became more popular. Seoul P4s were popular since they were a straight swap for Luxeon LEDs with the performance of the Cree XR-Es but the positive metal base caused problems for some.

When I left for college in ~2009, XP-Es were getting to be the norm and XP-Gs were the new things to have. XR-Es were starting to fall on the wayside and McGizmo made his Sundrop. Neutral lights were starting to be popular and 4sevens started making his own lights.

More things happened, RA lights was popular and HDS was coming on scene or something. Olight and iTP were still seprate, Fenix was just releasing their LD20 I think instead of the L20D. Forward clickies were also getting more common. Zebralight was just coming with their second gen products. P60 drop-ins were really popular (at their peak maybe in terms of threads about them). Malkoff was starting off with his P60 drop-ins and Maglite mods. Anyone remember Rexlights? Those looked nice.

Nitecore had their D10 lights which many liked, though there were a few threads about threading breaking off. There was also some dicsussion about the piston drive and how McGizmo would react. IIRC, Nitecore asked McGizmo's permission first. I do recall lots of people liking Jetbeams's Jet I, and Jetbeam CE. Those looked nice. The RRT0 and stuff were just coming out and Jetbeam's IBS system was popular.

Liteflux was still around too and many marveled at the output of the LF2X with a 10440 battery. Solarforce was getting popular as a cheap P60 host. Dereelight was becoming popular as another well build hoast body and their DBS was one of the best dedicated throwers at the time. Tiablo was also around with their A9 to compete with the DBS. I'm probably missing quite a few companies, there was one with a smaller diameter bezel but deeper reflector, and really cool looking head with some internal fins showing. I have probably also gotten some dates mixed up (some things might have been in 2008 or 2010).

Cree MC-E and Seoul P7s were popular for their high output and many budget lights have them. SST-90s and SST-50s were getting popular for high output mods since they are one huge die and there won't be a black hole in the middle of the beam. Not much talk about dedoming at that time.

On the HID custom front, RA made his MaxaBlaster, his MicroBlaster, and a small 10 watt HID thrower. There was anotehr company who made a nice small 10W HID light but I can't recall the name. Polaron's PH40 was nice and the X1s were coming out around 2009. Some 35w budget HIDs were coming out at this time as well and people seemed to like them. The N30 HID was being upgraded to the L35 and Li-poly batteries. I wasn't too into HIDs (mostly cause of the cost) so I don't recall as much. IMO, still a bit pricy even now for a good one (kinda want to build my own from a car kit when I get some time).

Well, college is over, it's 2012, and now I'm back :p
IMO, not too much has changed. XM-Ls replaced the MC-E, slightly better output levels overall, more neutral white LEDs, and the Nichia 219s look nice (have to get hy hands on some to mod my current lights.

That's what I can remember at the moment.
 
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HotWire

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Mar 9, 2011
Messages
1,651
I lurked in the bushes for years before joining CPF. I researched every modification that I could do. I did most of them. I was really glad to discover such good information all in one place. Good people, well run site. When I first started modding SureFire lights I threw the incandescent bulbs in the trash! Agh! I thought the LED was the future. And... it looks like it is. But once I realized the color rendition and high output of the hotwires everything changed. I learned the value of a respected and proven light and the problems that came with budget lights. I use all of my lights from the latest LED to the older hotwires I cobbled together from CandlePower MarketPlace. It all started here for me.
 

[email protected]

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Oct 1, 2007
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Sunraysia, Australia
Ah nostalgia! :D


I recall my journey to CPF began with the pursuit for a better work light (I had a 6 D mag-clone & 1w LED Dorcy), Seoul Semiconductors P4 emitter was still very popular and being used in current run productions like the Jetbeam Jet CL-E (one of JB's first lights IIRC) and TerraLux's LED Maglite upgrade module.

Power LED lights were pieced together multi-emitter configurations but Hotwires still reigned supreme, I built my first 50w Hotwire sometime after joining thanks to the knowledge base and custom fabricators found here...


Using the Way-Back-Machine you can actually see what CPF looked like for yourself, HERE it is as it was back in 2000 :thumbsup:
 
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zehnmm

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Jan 16, 2006
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265
Location
DFW area
I echo what Gunner12 stated. I found myself pursuing incan Mag mods, Leef bodies with SF turbo-heads, ROP, and various others. Had a 12aa-3D FM adapter, AWR hot driver, quad-bored 3D, where I ran various Osram bulbs, ranging from 500 to nearly 2000 lumens. Still have various ROPs. Still have a 4D with 5x AW C li-ions running several Osram IRC bulbs. Still use the 50W version, overdriven, that puts out 2500 to over 3000 lumens. To this day, this is the brightest and most impressive light that I have seen. I imagine some of the more recent higher cost lights that put out 2000 lumens+ are in the same ballpark.

But, like others, I have mostly migrated over to the world of LEDs. I EDC two: an E01 on my keychain, and a Tri-EDC. Have two Nailbender P60 drop-ins in Solarforce hosts, one of which is in my BOB.

As a mountain search and rescue volunteer, I have various lights ready to use, including the Olight M31 for long throw.

I consider myself a bona fide flashaholic even to this day. Just built my own poor-man's lightbox with 12" styro-foam sphere and light meter.

Be well,
 

dano

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Aug 11, 2000
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cali.
I was part of the original group that came over to CPF when flashlight talk took over the Usenet group rec.knives. Most of the light technology, then, revolved around Surerfire's 6P, Streamlight's Scorpion; the high-end, high powered (for the era) compact flashlights.

Then came the flood of Maglite mods, the early Cree LED lights, a bit of stagnation, then the groundbreaking Night-Ops Gladius hit in early 2005, which let the way to the multi-level LED lights that are so prevalent. About the same time, some of the first custom-LED based lights showed up (i.e. Mr. Bulk). Incans, especially the maglite mods, have steadily declined, and have been pushed aside for the high powered LED based mods.

-dan
 

HighlanderNorth

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Sep 15, 2011
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Well, this used to be a badminton forum 10 years ago, then it was a stamp collecting forum 5 years ago, so becoming a flashlight forum was really just a natural evolution from there. LOL

I'm sure that 10 years ago it was probably all about Surefire lights.
 

nzgunnie

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Nov 19, 2005
Messages
886
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New Zealand
I stumbled into this looking for information on Surefires, as I wanted one (ha haha, yes one - if only I knew...) really good light to replace my clunky old 4D mag and little mini mags and I figured a Surefire of some sort would do.

Now I have a drawer full of them.

It was all about incans back then, and I have a MAG85 to prove it. I remember when one of the earliest commercial cree drop ins was marketed on here, I still have it running on 1x 18500 in a leaf body. I still have a few leef bodies (2x18650 C in black, 1x 18500 in HA NAT and a 3x18650 M in HA NAT), they were awesome. I still wish I'd got a 2x18500 M body in HA NAT, but I didn't own an M3 then. It's still my holy grail lego.

I'm one of the ones who has drifted away a bit, and to be honest I'm no longer up with the play with all the latest LEDs. I see the old incan section has been relegated down the page and is pretty quiet now.
 

Monocrom

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Honestly, it was a little more relaxed and laid back about 5 years ago. Just a little more.
 

webley445

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Nov 16, 2001
Messages
1,353
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St. Pete, Fl.
I was part of the original group that came over to CPF when flashlight talk took over the Usenet group rec.knives. Most of the light technology, then, revolved around Surerfire's 6P, Streamlight's Scorpion; the high-end, high powered (for the era) compact flashlights.

Then came the flood of Maglite mods, the early Cree LED lights, a bit of stagnation, then the groundbreaking Night-Ops Gladius hit in early 2005, which let the way to the multi-level LED lights that are so prevalent. About the same time, some of the first custom-LED based lights showed up (i.e. Mr. Bulk). Incans, especially the maglite mods, have steadily declined, and have been pushed aside for the high powered LED based mods.

-dan

I remember when the Arc AAA was king. And spending $150+ to get all the parts to build the Mag mod, custom WA bulb, reflector, lens that wouldn't melt, battery holder, etc. Back then if you wanted a bright factory light SureFire and StreamLight was the only real route, still have my old Scorpion and SF G2.
Led's were nothing like today, LED lights were for longevity and runtimes. Incans were for power and throw.
 

Monocrom

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I always thought the Night-Ops Gladius was about 5 years ahead of its time. Still, it did kick off a new wave of innovation; despite being a dead-end in flashlight evolution itself. The tailcap assembly was the biggest reason why. Its function and features were fantastic. Its poor construction and choice of ridiculously low-rent, garbage, shallow, plastic was beyond terrible. Almost as if during the construction, they ran out of money and tacked on that tailcap assembly.

I still have my old SL Scorpion, and my SF G2. Along with my Night-Ops Gladius.
 

nzgunnie

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886
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New Zealand
I remember when the Arc AAA was king. And spending $150+ to get all the parts to build the Mag mod, custom WA bulb, reflector, lens that wouldn't melt, battery holder, etc. Back then if you wanted a bright factory light SureFire and StreamLight was the only real route, still have my old Scorpion and SF G2.
Led's were nothing like today, LED lights were for longevity and runtimes. Incans were for power and throw.

I still carry my Arc-AAA every day, it lives in the same place it did when I got it, ony my key ring.
 
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