Which Surefire product to get?

Genesis 1:3

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Greetings to you all from Taiwan. What an interesting party you have got here. Nice people, lots of knowledge and tons of experience to share.

Just few months ago, my flashlight knowledge was pretty much limited to the Maglite, as often seen and carried by prison guards in your movies. Today, even my 4 year old son Joe, is able to tell the difference between a K2 and Cree XRE LED. Sam, a couple of years younger, is learning the different LED colours of SF Kroma, from the catalog.

My first real contact to a quality LED flashlight was Inova XO3. Well design and built, with beautiful body and lens. We loved it so much and got a T4 soon after. I often use the T4 to drive away wild dogs, with its strong beam or less often, with its strong head. During our last holiday in the woods, we found the beam of XO3 and T4 was a bit too narrow to light up the foot path for an adult and a child, especially during ascending and decending. Upon our return to civilisation, we purchased two Fenix L2D-CE for Cathy and I; and two L1D-CE for the kids. The L1D-CE fit nicely into their small hands, and they have leant very quickly to respect its strong beam, by not pointing the light at each other. I also have a P1D-CE on the belt as my EDC. Fenix products are relatively cheaper here. With the price of a T4 from a delaer in Taiwan, you can buy all of the five Fenix lights above. I know, there is quite a big quality difference between Inova and Fenix

The Fenix honeymoon period was soon finished. During our last walk to the river bank, 2 out of our 4 LxD-CE failed almost at the same time. Both lights wouldn't switch out of the low mode. We got them replaced quickly, but this experience made me think twice, whether it is a good idea to carry all five lights of the same batch, from an average brand. There is a saying here translated into something like: you don't need a good reason to buy something expensive, just a feable excuse. I think it's about time for us to invest in a couple of SF lights.

After reading through the 2007 catalog, it was too difficult for me to pick just two from the list. I would really appreciate your help here base on your SF experience. Here we go:

1. I would like to have a small light to be used around the camp site for activities such as cooking etc. I am thinking about the E1L. Will the beam be too narrow due to its TIR lens design? Is the runtime really going to be 17 hours with the new KX1 head? Is it comfortable to use the cap clip?

2. The second light needs to be powerful with good spill (better than XO3) and runtime. This would be our primary walking light in the woods. How about the new L5 at 120 lumen?

Unfortunetely, wife and kids will continue to use Fenix. Appreciate you thoughts.
 

flash_bang

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Well, that's basically the set-up I'm gonna get, the e1l/e2l and a L5. Not sure if 30 or 45 lumens is gonna be better for me, and the runtime is the same basically on both models. not sure if it's actually gonna be 17 hrs for the e1l, but you know as much as we do, unless someone here works for surefire. You could get the L2, good dual level light with a moderate low and fairly high upper level. Maybe you could get a family set of E1l's, then everyone could clip them to their baseball caps and have hands free illumination, without the bulk of a headlamp.
Have a good one,
Flash
 

yellow

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bad to hear from Your fenix problems, good to hear how good customer service is.
Dunno why the better light (L2D is better than L4, brighter for more than double time if the facts on SF-site are right) using the better batteries, ver much smaller and considerably lower price does not get Your like.
You did not mention the only backdraw for most ppl, the reverse switch.
Reading in here You should have noticed, that even SF can get some problems.

btw: I just got a SF Z59 tailcap (costing AS MUCH as a Fenix!!) for a modded 6P.
I have to admit that a forward clickie is better for that flupic modded light, but considering price and the quality I was used from SF the last 10 years, that electronics and switch and that ridiculus small spring inside ... if that cap came from dealextreme for 5,-- I would greatly appreciate the good machining, but for the price I payed and for that SF-boasting guys in here, that tailcap is a bad joke.
 

jgdawes

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Sad to hear about your experiences with the L1D as I have one on the way :ohgeez:
For your woodland walking I would suggest the Surefire L2 combined with an incan such as the C3 or 9P. The L2 will be more useful than an L5 and won't get quite as warm on low! I have an E1L and had it modded with a reflector as the beam was too tight for walking about.
I shall warn you that the Surefire path is an expensive one, I started with the E2E and now have 8 (M2, M3, M6, 9P, L4 and so on) with another in the mail!
Hope this helps
 
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xiaowenzu

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Genesis 1:3 said:
Greetings to you all from Taiwan. What an interesting party you have got here. Nice people, lots of knowledge and tons of experience to share.

Greetings Cpfer! I think it's best to wait until June when Surefire release their new Cree's. Apparently the '2007' catalogue specifications are inaccurate and outdated.. the new crees are going to be even brighter than the given information. I expect the L5 to be at least 140 lumens (Real Surefire Lumens). I personally would get the L5 - it's best for throw and flood at same time, it's designed for tactical use and is almost bomb proof.

Here's a sneak preview of the NEW L5 from shotshow. See how more advanced designed compared to the 2007 catalogue version?:
l5withnewkx5zd7.jpg
 

yellow

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having just modded my 6P (old, round body) I read into SF and their actual models.

Cant say other than: ugly, especially the body, unnecessary long

They should offer a plain, simple model, round body, knurling, small head, as short as possible, no archair hero bezel, clicky switch, maybe possible for one 18650 instead of two CR123s, Cree/SSC, two levels at least.
Wonder if this model does not immediately sell best among their civillian offers

PS: above model wont stand on tailcap, if anyone wants that
 

greenstuffs

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I would wait to get the CREE offerings from SF, the current runtime is lower than your expected CREE/SEOUL from your "average" manufacturer. I have my eyes on the L1, L4 and E2L.
I have a Kroma, it puts out a nice beam for anything beyond 15 ft it won't light a walkpath properly. My l4 is great with the 2 stage switch but the runtime is lower than the current standards. Hopefully i can upgrade those lights down the road.
 

Genesis 1:3

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Thanks for the feedback. I think I will wait for the new product range.

Would it be fair to assume that flashlights with TIR lens are designed for throw; while reflectors produce wider beam?

Apart from tactical use, what are the benefits of incan lights that LED can't offer? I have read so much good feedback on SF A2, but personally can't resist a SF Kroma.
 

xiaowenzu

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yellow said:
Cant say other than: ugly, especially the body, unnecessary long
Actually the new L5 is about 20% shorter than the outgoing model, but if you want even shorter, you can buy the L4 or even L2. All surefire's are forward clickie operated, unlike many other brands which is negative clickie.
The Surefire quality is excellent and only the NovaTac is probably better in terms of construction and reliability. :D
 

xiaowenzu

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Genesis 1:3 said:
Would it be fair to assume that flashlights with TIR lens are designed for throw; while reflectors produce wider beam?
Actually the newly designed TIR lens is optimized for the latest Crees. It has taken many million$$$ R&D, and consequently Surefire's latest optics EXCELL in both throw and spill. :D
 

lukus

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I think for what you described, the L2 is the best fit. The low is still a lot of light for around the camp and walking, and the high just lights up everything. It's perfect for walking trails because of its floody nature. It was my first good quality light and still one of my favorite. They won't be changing the L2 for Crees or Seouls this year which doesn't mean it's outdated. It is close to perfect for its function and probably wouldn't benefit much from a change.

The L1 is also very handy with its 2 levels. I don't care much for the optics' too tight beam, so the F04 diffuser makes it great. I would wait for the new version on this. If they make the output as it's shown in the catalogs now, it's almost a substitute for the L2. Personally, I hope they keep the low as it is now, nice to use when you wake up in the middle of the night without being dazzled and waking everyone else. I also prefer single cell lights to multiples when using lithium batteries. There are many threads here on what can go wrong with mismatched lithium batteries so I won't go on about it. The likelihood of something going wrong is very rare, but it's still a possibility. And having something fry at an inopportune moment can make a situation go bad quickly.

One thing to remember is Surefire does not inflate the lumens. My L2 on low is brighter than other flashlights I have that are rated from 25 to 40 lumens. That's something that can't be understated. "But it's only 15 lumens when I can get X brand that has 35 lumens.".......You just can't compare SF to other brands like that. You'll know once you have one.
 

zk188

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Welcome genesis you wil enjoy CPF and its members may i advise you check yor pm box because many pepole may offer you great deals on SF products they did to me anyway may i suggjest a Surefire L2 or L4.
 

LoneWolfUSMC

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I just got my L2 for GP/Tactical EDC.

It is great. I love the low beam and find myself using it the most, however the high still comes in handy for lighting up stuff accross the street or putting someone at a tactical disadvantage (dazzling them). I took it out one night and used it on-duty in place of my SL35. It dosent have the throw of the SL35, but the LED is a lot "cleaner" and it is a helluvalot ligther. I would never take the SL camping or backpacking.

I think for camping the L2 would be great. Once your eyes are adjusted to the dark, the low beam should provide all the light you would need around the campsite and walking on the trail (for many years I patrolled in the woods/jungle with only ambient light) but you will still have the high to light up distant objects.
 

CLHC

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Greetings and Welcome!

Between the two said lights, I'd lean for the SF.E1L; but personally the SureFire A2 and the SF.L2 would be the two I'd go with. In fact I have both of these. The SF.A2 for the dual purpose of low LED and incandescent spotlighting with a decent enough throw. The SureFire.L2 for the low and HIGH beam for that close to medium wide area lighting.

Hope you find what you're looking for and Enjoy!
 

Genesis 1:3

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CHC said:
but personally the SureFire A2 and the SF.L2 would be the two I'd go with.

Thanks CHC

When would you use an A2 instead of a L2? I mean what can an A2 offer that a L2 can't.
 

CLHC

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For my usage, the SureFire.L2 is for close-up and medium area lighting like say my driveway since my eyes are terribly poor and severly myopic. The SF.A2 has the low LED lighting (lower than the low on my SF.L2)—which I tend to use mostly with this particular model—that's easier on my dark/night adapted eyes. I have the green and yellow-green models. I'll use the incandescent for the "distant" shot if I want to see something "clearly" that my SF.L2 can't easily light up. Then again, these are suited to my personal use which I find to be practical, and the way my eyes see things.

Enjoy!
 

wmirag

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In my opinion, the SF-L2 is THE walking light. The low flood lights up the immediate area in front of your feet and the "warm" spot dimly ights maybe 50 feet away. You always have the spectacular high a push-button away. I have many great light, but for walking, this is my go-to light.

W.
 

Genesis 1:3

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wmirag said:
I have many great light, but for walking, this is my go-to light.

What is your experience with A2, as a walking light? How bright are the 3 LEDs. My wife sometimes gets migraine from too much light change. She is not a big fan of our Fenix lights.

How does your U2 compare with your L2? Beam quality in particular at similar light level. I like the various settings of U2, but not sure if I can justify the additional cost for our use.

Catalog info is one thing, real life experience is another. Appreciate your thoughts.
 

sims2k

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I take my daily walks around the neighborhood in the evening - rain or shine or snow - the Surefire L2 has always lighted the sidewalks for me. I use both hi and lo settings everyday at work and at home. Just love the hefty feel of the L2 ... always carry it with me everywhere. Great light IMO....
 

Genesis 1:3

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Thanks Guys, just got my first SF ever, the A2 with white LED. Was thinking about the L2, but it was out of stock. I am glad that I got the A2, as it is so different from any of the lights I have. A2 was also on special at approx. $165 incl. lanyard, which is not a bad price consider it travelled all the way to Taiwan. Incan beam is beautiful and gentle to eyes while the led is great for navigation to kids bedroom at night.

Even though I am a private pilot without any night rating, I think it is still cool to get the Aviator. Thanks again.
 
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