What flashlight feature are you most surprised to care about?

flashflood

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Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
608
When I first got into this about half a year ago, I only cared about two things: brightness and AA NiMH battery support. I had zero interest in starting a relationship with lithium, and had pretty much no opinion on flashlight size or UI.

My first Real Flashlight was therefore the Fenix TK45 -- 760 lumens on 8xAA NiMH. Coming from a Maglite background, the output was shocking. There is no other word for it. I was instantly hooked.

I still love the TK45, but in the meantime I've fallen hard for smaller lights, AW IMR cells, 18350 and 18650 formats in general, the FMA CellPro Multi4 charger, and forward-clicky control.

The latter is the most unexpected development. I didn't think I cared, but have found that single-handed operation is really valuable. Forward clicky is nicer IMO than reverse, but that distinction pales in comparison to clicky vs. twisty. Half the time I reach for a flashlight, I'm already carrying something in the other hand, and it's just a hassle to put it down, grab the light, twist twist twist, and resume -- especially if the thing I'm carrying is wet, greasy, bloody, or dirty.

How about you? What features/attributes are you most surprised to care about? And what things have you done a total 180 on since your early days?
 

OfficerSheepDog

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Oct 18, 2010
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103
Location
ON Canada
I had bought what i thought was an amazing light, a $20 6 x 5mm leds for power saving or an xenon bulb for high output, that only lasted about 7 minutes from the rechargeable ni-cd battery.

Thats when i found the 4sevens website (before they made lights themselves) and purchased a Fenix LD20 Q5

I carried the dam thing everywhere with me, now I dont know which one to take in the morning theres just so dam many ;)
 

Sparky's Magic

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Joined
Apr 8, 2010
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545
Location
Queensland, Australia
Thing that has surprised me most over the years and many 'lights is that increasingly I am being less and less impressed by sheer output and conversely more and more impressed with the actual quality of the beam i.e. Beam pattern, tint, usefulness of the spill, size of hot-spot, transition from hot-spot to spill in a gradual (seamless) flow and beams totally without rings, artifacts or discoloration of any kind etc.

Malkoff, HDS, 4SEVENS, ZebraLight and a couple of others give me this, along with sufficient output and I'll keep voting for them with my wallet: :thumbsup:

My 4SEVENS 2x123 Turbo has a perfect beam pattern, on all counts, plenty of light and has a smooth reflector and is XP-G R5. It can be done!

Cheers and Good Luck.:)
 
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ZMZ67

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Jun 4, 2007
Messages
1,901
Location
Colorado
I am a little surprised at how much tint has taken over my purchasing decisions.When I first started out I was impressed the most with the "cool" white that is so common with LED lights.Now I am looking almost exclusively at neutral/warm LED lights that offer less output than thier cooler counterparts.It makes sense of course as neutral LEDs work better for me outdoors but I never would have believed it when I first started out with LED lights.
 

flashflood

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
608
Thing that has surprised me most over the years and many 'lights is that increasingly I am being less and less impressed by sheer output and conversely more and more impressed with the actual quality of the beam i.e. Beam pattern, tint, usefulness of the spill, size of hot-spot, transition from hot-spot to spill in a gradual (seamless) flow and beams totally without rings, artifacts or discoloration of any kind etc.

Malkoff, HDS, 4SEVENS, ZebraLight and a couple of others give me this, along with sufficient output and I'll keep voting for them with my wallet: :thumbsup:

My 4SEVENS 2x123 Turbo has a perfect beam pattern, on all counts, plenty of light and has a smooth reflector and is XP-G R5. It can be done!

Cheers and Good Luck.:)

Same here -- so much so that it's in my username. Nothing against throw, it's just not what I need. Evidently, based on how often I grab it, my favorite light right now is the very floody Thrunite Neutron 1C. About the size of a roll of pennies, puts out a 300+ lumen wall of floody goodness (using AW IMR 16340), perfectly smooth beam transition, no artifacts. It is extremely usable light -- no blinding hotspot, wide area of illumination, just-slightly-cool white tint. If Thrunite would make a slightly wider body tube to accommodate 18350, and offer forward clicky, both as Lego options like 4sevens, I think I would declare it perfect. For me, at least.
 

flashflood

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
608
I am a little surprised at how much tint has taken over my purchasing decisions.When I first started out I was impressed the most with the "cool" white that is so common with LED lights.Now I am looking almost exclusively at neutral/warm LED lights that offer less output than thier cooler counterparts.It makes sense of course as neutral LEDs work better for me outdoors but I never would have believed it when I first started out with LED lights.

Interesting, because I've been surprised in the opposite direction. I thought I wanted neutrals, but in fact my favorite lights are cool white. I suspect, though, that we all have different ideas of what these terms mean. Cooler means bluer, warmer means redder, so 'more neutral' necessarily means greener. Not GREEN, but greener than cool or warm. If you put a 'neutral' and a 'cool' side by side, I'll bet half of us would declare the neutral to be green, and the other half would declare the cool to be blue.

Worst of all, I don't know how to communicate about tint. Beamshots are great for showing relative brightness and beam pattern, but they really don't capture tint well. The emitter is FAR from blackbody radiation, with just a few strong emission bands from the LED and phosphor mix; there are variations in the Bayer filters on the digital camera's CCD or CMOS sensor; variations in image post-processing and white-balance algorithms; variations in the LCD screens we use to view them; and variations in our highly nonlinear eyes.

So perhaps I should say that I think I like cool white, but don't truly know!
 

beerwax

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Joined
Mar 12, 2011
Messages
447
hi flashflood.

with the tints green and blue are cool and pink and yellow are warm. theres a wonderful chart posted by defiorintio but i cant post links. i like pink and blue but not green or yellow. search ansi tint bin ?

my surprise like was a simple UI, you get less options but i like it that way.
and
floody beam - always thought id like throw.

i have a small aaa lite collection and the ones i goto are not the ones i thought they would be. it happens to a lot of us i think.

and that is why you should buy another lite even if you dont need it because you might really like it.
 

flatline

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
1,923
Location
Tennessee
When I first came to CPF, here are the things that I didn't care at all about but now weigh heavily when considering a light.

Blinky modes: They either need to be absent or hidden away.
Single cell: So much safer and worry-free than multi-cell.
Tint: I was hooked the first time I used a non-cool tint outside. Now that I've got a high CRI light, even regular neutrals and warms are disappointing.
Single handed mode changing: Can't stand having to use both hands to manage a light.
Having things loose: Having tailcaps "locked out" or bezels loose as part of the UI really bothers me. I want things firmly tightened all the time.

It's funny now how those considerations dominate my purchase decisions.

Here are things that I thought were important in the beginning but are mostly insignificant now: programmability, max output, throw, ability to use both Li-ion and regular cells.

My, how things have changed...

--flatline
 

motherfletcher

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Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
69
Location
Sydney
HooNz said:
Dropability :whistle:

HAHA! Love it!

Until recently I didn't give a damn about piston drive lights like the nitecores. I picked up a ramping D10 and got it in the mail this week and I'm OBSESSED with the piston. It sort of makes me regret not noticing them earlier when they were easier to find. I'm happy nonetheless :D
 

parnass

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Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
2,576
Location
Illinois, USA
As I obtained more flashlights, ease of carry and ease of use became more important than expected.

I have had several neat, superbly built lights that saw less than expected usage because they felt uncomfortable in my pockets, lacked a lanyard attachment point or pocket clip, were too heavy, used arcane pushbutton or twisty sequences, required two hands to operate, etc.

Their specifications and appearance were attractive, but they ended up being too much hassle to carry or operate.
 

Flying Turtle

Flashaholic
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
6,507
Location
Apex, NC
Ability to produce a good low followed by a neutral to warm tint seem most important to me now. Next up is probably being able to tailstand. And, I'd love to see more lights with "off" timers and voltage reports.

Geoff
 

think2x

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Jul 3, 2009
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1,581
Location
Pulaski, Va.
Mine is the Surefire two stage tail switch. I thought I would HATE the L1 when I got it (momentary push, twist for constant in 2 outputs) but it is one of my favorites, I even sold my E1B to keep the L1.
 

phonoe

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Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
35
For the big size, I will focus on the lumen and throw.

For the EDC, I like the features of supporting AA + 14500, foward clicky, and lowest low mode.
 

skyfire

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
1,823
Location
Los Angeles
Im quite surprised about how picky ive become with tints. I like it warm!
even neutrals in the range of 4500k-5000k i consider too cool for me.

another feature im quite picky about is a clean beam. i get easily irritated by noticeable rings or artifacts during use.
 

mudman cj

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Joined
Dec 14, 2005
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1,827
Location
Where corn and pigs are grown unimpeded by trees
I am surprised how much I have come to like simplicity in the UI. I had been seeking out highly customized lights that require a multitude of timed clicks to access many different brightness levels, operating modes, UIs, etc., but after enough times having difficulty getting the right mode on the first try it began to lose its luster.

Now I find myself carrying a light with a forward clicky and a control ring UI (Sunwayman V10R) that couldn't be simpler. No strobe, no beacon, no double, triple tap or special programmability; but it doesn't need it. The only thing I would change is to make the control ring a little easier to adjust with only one hand, because as mentioned by other members already, there are many times when you don't have both hands readily available.

When I started out back in the Luxeon days, I had no idea that all the cool white tints I was using would one day be objectionable to me. I'm spoiled on neutrals now and insist on either buying lights that way or modding them ASAP.
 

leukos

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Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
3,467
Location
Chicagoland
For my EDC, I value how comfortably I can hold it in my mouth for hands free usage.

For my work lights, I value polymers that can take a beating.

For my outdoor adventures, the width of the spill beam has become incredibly important.
 
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Yibida

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Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
4
My first torch was a ebay special .. 28 led ! I thought it was fantastic coming from incandescent globe type torches... then I purchased my first Crea torch ...

needles to say the 28 led has now been redeployed as a back up in my motorcycle tool kit bag...

I now care about battery life per max light output ratio...
 
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