TACM 3: bulb better than SF?!

JB

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
298
I've been reading some of the old threads on the TACM 3 and the consensus seems to be that while the SF 6-series has overall better build and beam quality, the TACM 3 is better shock isolated and brighter. I want to focus on the brightness aspect (since I consider the bulb to be the heart of the light) and the manufacturer's claims are certainly impressive for the TACM 3: 105.5 lumens @ 80 mins. Compare this to SF 6P/P60: 65 lumens @ 60 mins. No contest!

Okay, manufacturer's claims aren't always "real life". So I had a look at Brock's page and the brightness ranking. The TACM 3 is ahead of the SF D2/P60 and even the 8NX (110 lumens!), but behind the SF D2/P61 (to be expected since the P61 is 120 lumens). The TACM 3's bulb also appears to be very efficient. It's 5.15W bulb is ahead of the 5.3W SF D2/P60 and 7.3W SF 8NX. And Brock reckons the runtime of the TACM 3 is "just over 60" mins.

My only conclusion is that the TACM 3 bulb is superior. The question is: why doesn't SF incorporate a bulb like that? Imagine combining such a bulb with SF's superlative reflectors. SF is pushing the envelope in tactical flashlights (now even to batteries), so why is it falling short in the bulb department? Am I missing something?

P.S. I'm cross posting this to the SF forum, maybe Ken or PK would reply.
 

PeLu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,712
Location
Linz, Austria
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JB:
I want to focus on the brightness aspect (since I consider the bulb to be the heart of the light) and the manufacturer's claims are certainly impressive for the TACM 3: 105.5 lumens @ 80 mins. Compare this to SF 6P/P60: 65 lumens @ 60 mins. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

One thing to mention:
SF always give the luminous flux out of the lens while others just give the bare bulb's flux. Difference could be as high as 1:2

And usually when people refer to 'brightness' they mean illuminance at a specific distance. And therefore it is easy to explain:
The TACM 3 lits only about half the area than the 8NX (according to Brock's data) and only one fourth of a 6P.
 

JB

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
298
PeLu...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>SF always give the luminous flux out of the lens while others just give the bare bulb's flux. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So, that is what PK means when he says that SF quotes "real" lumens and it takes into account the reflector inefficiencies.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>And usually when people refer to 'brightness' they mean illuminance at a specific distance. And therefore it is easy to explain: The TACM 3 lits only about half the area than the 8NX (according to Brock's data) and only one fourth of a 6P. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This reminds me of the games manufacturers can play in giving candlepower ratings. Focus the light into a tight spot and you can get very high CP ratings! So the TACM 3 is concentrating the light into a smaller area so the apparent intensity is higher.

Thanks for the enlightenment PeLu.
smile.gif
 

Gandalf

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
802
Location
USA
Pity that Surefire doesn't make a lamp for the 6P with a tighter beam, without having to double (or more) the cost of the light with a turbo head, and make it impossible to carry in your pocket. A tighter beam lamp that fits the standard 6P, 9P, etc. would probably be fairly popular, IMHO.
cool.gif
wink.gif
 

lightlover

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
1,901
Location
London, UK (Parallel Universe)
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JB:
PeLu...

This reminds me of the games manufacturers can play in giving candlepower ratings. Focus the light into a tight spot and you can get very high CP ratings! So the TACM 3 is concentrating the light into a smaller area so the apparent intensity is higher.

Thanks for the enlightenment PeLu.
smile.gif
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

See also the other discussion on much the same thing, - Topic: Diamond Products TACMIII 105.5 Lumen Tactical Torch @ http://www.candlepowerforums.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000544&p=

While I understand how Candlepower ratings can be used and abused, I've always taken Lumen readings as near-absolutes before.
Of course, they only tell a part of the story, but it's an important part.
Now it seems that they can be misrepresented and exaggerated too.
(Is nothing sacred ?)

However, a somewhat redistributed, more concentrated beam, (if it was possible from the same bezel size) like Gandalf requests, would be a very tempting option......

lightlover
smile.gif
blush.gif
wink.gif
cool.gif
 

pk

Photon King
Joined
Aug 3, 2001
Messages
1,735
Location
Westminster, CA, USA
JB,

Let me give it a try to explain since you requested my respond.
I suppose your major concerns are the following issues;

Shock isolation
There is no shock isolated bulbs that I am aware of.
SF products are the only mechanical shock isolated products in the market.
If your impression is that brand X gives shock isolation, it's probably due to polymer housing construction.
Maybe, this Brand X should be compared with SF polymer constructed products such as G2 or 8NX.
I don't see SF P60 bulb itself would be more fragile compared to Brand X.
If you drop these two "bulbs" from equal distance, I don't think SF P60 will fail more than brand X.

Brightness
Lumen values we are referencing are amount of light coming out of an illuminator.
Maybe, we should reference Peak Beam Equivalent Candle Power for comparing brightness of a single spot.
However, any bulb can be focused in many different ways to produce a various projected light beam patterns as you aware of.
Also, light lost are generally resulted from three major factors:
Optical lens lost, Reflector lost, and Electrical lost.
All of above issues are carefully considered in all SF products.

Efficiency
If I told you P60 bulbs were for 120 lumens @ 80 minutes,
this would be one hell of efficient tungsten bulb breaking current limit of thermal dynamics.
That doesn't mean P60 can not be improved. I think you know what I mean.
Also, testing method changes light output rating spec completely.
SF rating is exactly what you get out of illuminator after all lost by deficiencies.

I have touched only the surfaces of many subjects.
'Hope I answered some of the answers you are searching for.

Respectfully,
pk
 

dano

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 11, 2000
Messages
3,885
Location
East Bay, Cali.
Just a FYI...both SF and TACM bulb assemblies are made by Carley in Mexico...The TACM is also larger in diameter then a SF "P" series assembly...

--dan
 

PeLu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,712
Location
Linz, Austria
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JB:
This reminds me of the games manufacturers can play in giving candlepower ratings. Focus the light into a tight spot and you can get very high CP ratings!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
To be fair: It depends on what you need (or in the flashaholics circles more what they want .-)

If you need a tighter spotlight, the TACM3 may serve you better.
 

PeLu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,712
Location
Linz, Austria
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by *something ridiculous:
While I understand how Candlepower ratings can be used and abused, I've always taken Lumen readings as near-absolutes before.
Of course, they only tell a part of the story, but it's an important part.
Now it seems that they can be misrepresented and exaggerated too.
(Is nothing sacred ?)
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you have no idea what the beam looks like, the luminous flux (AKA 'lumen reading') will contain only vague information. You need both. At least the beam's angle (measured for 50% of the peak brightness). Better a photo (with a angle scale), best a light distribution diagram.
 

PeLu

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,712
Location
Linz, Austria
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pk:
Efficiency
If I told you P60 bulbs were for 120 lumens @ 80 minutes,
this would be one hell of efficient tungsten bulb breaking current limit of thermal dynamics.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No it will not break the 'limit of thermal dynamics'. 80 minutes for 2 123 cells should be some 1A at 5V (Am I wrong?). This will come to 24lm/W. A black body radiator at Tungsten's melting point should have slightly over 40lm/W.
You could easily get a 5W bulb with 120lm, but you will get probably a pretty short filament lifetime (maybe one hour?) and you will have to start it carefully and keep it at it's working point. And avoid light wasting reflectors and lenses.

OK, OK, I'm just kidding. You're making a very good job to keep flashlights of this quality somewhat affordable.

I'm looking forward to the LED module and the other goodies.
 

JB

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 27, 2001
Messages
298
Wow, the great pk is replying to *me*!
shocked.gif
smile.gif
Thanks for the response pk.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Lumen values we are referencing are amount of light coming out of an illuminator.
Maybe, we should reference Peak Beam Equivalent Candle Power for comparing brightness of a single spot. However, any bulb can be focused in many different ways to produce a various projected light beam patterns as you aware of. Also, light lost are generally resulted from three major factors: Optical lens lost, Reflector lost, and Electrical lost. All of above issues are carefully considered in all SF products.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm beginning to appreciate the engineering and testing that goes on in SF. Your use of "real" lumen values is admirable and it would be great if other makers followed your lead.

I echo the sentiments put forward by various forummers to have a standardized light rating method and unit of measurement. Then we won't have to contend with comparing between cp, lumens, lux, etc. and differing beam patterns. Hey, pk would you allow Al to "play" with your lab sphere to test various lights (I think he asked in a different thread)?
smile.gif
That would be a great project.
 

lightlover

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 28, 2001
Messages
1,901
Location
London, UK (Parallel Universe)
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JB:
Wow, the great pk is replying to *me*!
shocked.gif
smile.gif
Thanks for the response pk.

...............
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

JB, quick, now ask him if an E3 will be released in 2002 !!

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PeLu:
If you have no idea what the beam looks like, the luminous flux (AKA 'lumen reading') will contain only vague information. You need both. At least the beam's angle (measured for 50% of the peak brightness). Better a photo (with a angle scale), best a light distribution diagram.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But PeLu, I do have a very good idea of the E2 beam, and of course, the distribution pattern of the 60 Lumen output.
(The beam still constantly amazes me with it's practicality and usability though.)

So, as far as SureFires go, I can compare 60 Lumens with 500 Lumen ratings, at least.

Like I said above, "Of course, they (Lumens) only tell a part of the story, but it's an important part."
What I was actually stressing myself about was that as far as Lumen ratings go, (as a measurement of "the total light output"), I didn't know that there were different ways to set up, and then manipulate readings. (Smart Manufacturers ! Naive Me ! )

Whether you need the performance of a TACM111 or a 9P Turbo, we still need some form of realistic *measured* comparisons, besides $$$'s and nonsense.

I've seen enough examples of Candlepower, and read enough Candlepower claims to understand that they are, in practical comparisons, of varying uselessness.
Like, how many CP is a >1mW laser pointer, and despite the high reading, what does it usefully illuminate ?

As to comparing beams and details of different torches, I couldn't agree with you more. We need more info. But even with the particular measure you suggest, "beam angle for 50% of the peak brightness" O don't think that would work so well for the E2, which at 1 metre has a relatively well-defined hotspot of ~25 degrees (12.5 degree beam half-angle), then a ~95 degrees width of surround beam. I don't know the actual allocation, but I believe the SF signature style is to put about 70% of the light into the hotspot ?

I would like to see photos, diagrams, tables of info, beam angles, distribution percentages, whatever.
At least, someday, there may be a standardisation of manufacturers info. (Faint hope.)
(And then, the info may still be manipulated, like CP ratings often are, and as I now realise, Lumen ratings are too.)
Over all of that, there's the question of the Colour of the light, and then it's clarity, too.

The general consensus seems to be that SureFire policy is to understate, rather than manipulate.

Regarding Efficiency in Incandescent outputs, well, you could probably build a filament which would outlast you, possibly with enough useful output too. But it would probably have to be run from mains power !!

I'm very happy to own a 9v lamp for which the Manufacturer truthfully asserts 110,000 Lumens output.
It only cost me $13.60.
And it is guaranteed for 3 whole Seconds. (It's a Meggaflash PF 300.)

I'll use it soon, to illuminate a party in a country cottage ......

lightlover
shocked.gif
shocked.gif
wink.gif
shocked.gif
 
Top