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Thread: Help me find my first light!!

  1. #1

    Default Help me find my first light!!

    Well some of you might have noticed my other thread saying I ordered my Fenix L2D Q5. Well the order was through dealextreme and they were taking forever to ship so I cancelled.

    So now im wondering if I should go with the same light, or order something different.
    Here is what I am looking for guys:

    I need something very durable as I am in the military and use this to work on aircraft. And I drop it often
    It has to have a good flood as most of my work is up close on engines. But throw is also nice to have too when I am trying to read the number on the plane from far away.
    For power I want to stick with AA's because they are free at work.
    I would like to keep the price around $70 or less.
    Size is not a big deal as long as it can fit in my pocket.
    And for function I am not picky. A 3 mode high med and low would be fine.
    Also decent battery life is kind of important too.

    So please make some recommendations guys!!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic vickers214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Hi,

    I think Fenix was/is a good choice but if you want a flood light an XP-G emitter like the latest R5 is for you. I have Q5s and R2s, which are throwier; the R5 is the latest most efficient one as well so good battery life.

    I work in LE and my Eagletacs and my colleagues Surefires hold up well, as do fenix so they are all durable, only SF is out of your budget and mine!

    How about the Eagletac P20A2 Mk2? 230 OTF lumens, Forward Clicky that in my eyes should be the law, and a quick burst of light just to have a quick look at some thing would be useful in your job as it is mine without having to do a full click? Also modes controlled by the head, so you donít start changing modes on the clicky (VERY ANNOYING!) and it takes P60 drop in so you can upgrade or buy a red LED for say hunting???

    And the Quark AA2 Tactical could be worth a look, but ive just got my quark AA tactical so I cant comment on durability yet

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Ok so I want something with an R5 for good flood/throw mix? Sorry I am new to all this and dont know much about it. That eagletac does look nice though. How would that compare to a fenix ld20+? But the fenix is R4. Is that good too?

    Please keep the suggestions coming guys!!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by vickers214 View Post
    ........How about the Eagletac P20A2 Mk2? 230 OTF lumens, Forward Clicky that in my eyes should be the law, and a quick burst of light just to have a quick look at some thing would be useful in your job as it is mine without having to do a full click? Also modes controlled by the head, so you donít start changing modes on the clicky (VERY ANNOYING!) and it takes P60 drop in so you can upgrade or buy a red LED for say hunting???

    And the Quark AA2 Tactical could be worth a look, but ive just got my quark AA tactical so I cant comment on durability yet


    I will also recommend the EagleTac P20A2 MkII XP-G R5 with OP reflector. This amazing light uses two AA batteries and produces over 200 OTF (out the front) lumens. I have a bunch of small lights and I keep one of these beside my bed, and in my truck.

    Be sure to double-check the numbers and get this one, exactly as shown here: EagleTac P20A2 MkII XP-G R5 with OP (orange peel) reflector.

    Here's a pic of some of my lights. You can see the P20A2 on the far left.



    -

  5. #5
    Flashaholic vickers214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    I just had a quick look at the LD20 R4 and its an XP-G emitter as well so good flood as well, XP-Gs tend to be good at flood with the throw and XP-Es better at throw.

    An LD20 or ET would still give you useable light over say 100-150 meters depending on the setting, do you need more than that? I would say the flood of the XP-G would be better for you to light up the enigine compartment insted of a XP-E with a tight bright hotspot (which is throw) reflecting back in your eyes. Of course this is all rule of thumb as some dimpled/OP reflectors can give flood on an XP-E.

    The Fenix is a usefull bit smaller, but it has a reverse clicky and changes modes on the clicky, but if that kind of UI would not bother you then its worth a look, it also does not take P60 drop in like the ET.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    So you guys say to get the OP reflector? Does it make that much of a difference?
    Chevy I see you have both the Quark and the Eagletac. Which of those 2 do you like better? And which would you say would work better for me?

    Vicker 100m would probably be fine. I would say this light will be used for up close work 90% of the time, and for things far away 10%.

    And im not sure if I would like the UI on the fenix. I have never had a light with different modes so im not exactly sure though. But I can see how accidental mode changes can get very annoying.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    I just received my first good light, the LD20R4 and it came with a smooth reflector. I didn't know you could specify the OP reflector. However, I have no complaints: great beam geometry, no artifacts - with my limited experience I am very happy.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    The Quark AA2 is considerably floodier than the EagleTac.

    Click here for a beamshot timelapse video showing the run time and brightness of the two lights (plus NiteCore D10 and iTP Polestar A6). Watch in HD and pause to see details.

    In order to see the flood vs throw differences, notice the extremely bright reflection at the middle of the photo (centered on Bumblebee) for the EagleTac. Conversely, look up around the hanging backpack and door jam to see how much floody light the Quark is offering.

    As for the UI differences, the EagleTac is simple and effective, but pretty much requires two handed operation unless you keep the threads well lubed and clean. The Quark UI is excellent, except for the disco modes at the end of the sequence, and you'd get used to quickly accessing the mode you want after you carried/used it for a little while.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    So you guys say to get the OP reflector? Does it make that much of a difference?
    Chevy I see you have both the Quark and the Eagletac. Which of those 2 do you like better? And which would you say would work better for me?.....

    Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, and with 100% surety - get a OP reflector! Smooth (SMO) reflectors are basically designed for "throw", which means they generally have a small, concentrated hotspot. This would be great if most of your work involved long distance spotting. But the OP reflectors have a wonderful balance of throw and flood, the hotspot is substantially larger, thus much easier for general use.

    JF, I use the EagleTacs for around the house and in my car. For my EDC pocket-light, I use the Quark 123*2 Tactical, because of its small size.

    I am convinced, from your description of your needs, that the EagleTac AA*2 would work better for you than the Quark AA*2. The reflector on the EagleTac looks to be a tad larger on the EagleTac than the Quark, and I think the EagleTac throws out more lumens than the Quark. Plus, the ET UI is very easy: tight head = Turbo, loose head = medium. Other modes available with a quick tighten/loosen of the head. There is a strobe, but that can be disabled.

    However, the Quark AA*2 is also a quality light, slightly smaller for easier carry. But based on your statements, I think the EagleTac edges out the Quark for you.

    -
    Last edited by Chevy-SS; 08-07-2010 at 01:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by entoptics View Post
    The Quark AA2 is considerably floodier than the EagleTac.

    Click here for a beamshot timelapse video showing the run time and brightness of the two lights (plus NiteCore D10 and iTP Polestar A6). Watch in HD and pause to see details......
    Pretty good vid. Clearly (IMHO) shows the EagleTac producing more lumens. The Quark hotspot and spill is larger than the EagleTac.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
    Pretty good vid. Clearly (IMHO) shows the EagleTac producing more lumens. The Quark hotspot and spill is larger than the EagleTac.
    You are correct. This is not just a function of the photography. The brightness difference in real life is fairly subtle, but certainly noticeable when they are side by side.

    The flood vs throw difference on the other hand is extremely obvious in person.

    The EagleTac still provides considerable spill light though, so it's hard to say which would be better for the OP's needs. If most of the use will be inside 10 feet, I'd suggest the Quark I guess.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Ok this could be a stupid question, but is there any difference between the Quark Turbo and Quark Tactical? Everything about them on the website looks exactly the same, except the turbo is 15 dollars more. What am I missing here? Also does either of these lights come with an OP reflector?

  13. #13
    Flashaholic OfficerCamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quark AA^2 Turbo is a good choice. Wide beam with decent throw due to an XPG emitter with a wide reflector. Price is right in your range, and the 4Sevens CS is a joy to deal with (according to others).
    Never owned a Fenix, but their quality appears to be just as good. Both brands are popular here on the forms, so either choice is a high quality, cost effective light.
    I can personally vouch for 4Sevens. I've owned 4 different lights and have had 0 reliability issues.
    Who the hell would spend $50 on a flashlight? - My Mother

  14. #14
    Flashaholic OfficerCamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    Ok this could be a stupid question, but is there any difference between the Quark Turbo and Quark Tactical? Everything about them on the website looks exactly the same, except the turbo is 15 dollars more. What am I missing here? Also does either of these lights come with an OP reflector?

    The turbo has a larger diameter "turbo" head, which produces more throw. To confuse you more, the "turbo" uses the "tactical" user interface.... go figure.
    Who the hell would spend $50 on a flashlight? - My Mother

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Jash's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    You won't go wrong with the Quarks. I've got the Turbo and the Tactical. If I HAD to choose between the two I would choose the Turbo because despite the tighter hotspot, it's a great thrower that makes itself useful when you use the lower modes.

    That said, either one is great, but yes you have the $15 difference which is kind of hard to justify really. There isn't $15 more of engineering and construction involved.
    There can never be too much honey to lick off your fingers.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    So is it accurate to say that the tactical is floodier than the turbo?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    So is it accurate to say that the tactical is floodier than the turbo?
    Yes. The turbo head (the only difference) is specifically designed to increase the throw of the Quark series. It is not any brighter, it just has a smaller, more focused hot spot.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Ok thanks guys. I think the Quark may be the winner. I only wish it had better battery life. I will most likely be restricted to using it on high for the majority of my jobs. The 1 hour life on turbo just wont cut it.

    Just wondering but what is the best battery life a light can get on max setting, with at least 180 lumens?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    Ok thanks guys. I think the Quark may be the winner. I only wish it had better battery life. I will most likely be restricted to using it on high for the majority of my jobs. The 1 hour life on turbo just wont cut it.

    Just wondering but what is the best battery life a light can get on max setting, with at least 180 lumens?
    Not sure where you are getting the "1 hour" figure. A Quark AA2 will run for 1.3 hours on NiMH low self discharge cells. I know it doesn't seem like much more than "1 hour", but it's actually 33% more. The EagleTac has nearly identical runtimes, but it is brighter, so technically it's more efficient. The longest running 2xAA with 180+ lumens that I can think of is the LD20 R4, which comes in around 1.4 hours and 200 lumens.

    Until you have seen 200+ lumens in a very smooth and nice beam, I think you may be surprised at how often max output is truly necessary. In a brightly lit room, my D10 (145 lumen max) is excessively bright for peering into computers, machines, closets, etc. YMMV of course.

    An easy way to increase your runtimes is to buy high capacity NiMH batteries. My experience with Duracell 2650 mAh (vs 2000 mAh Eneloop and Rayovac LSD cells) is very good, and they will increase your runtimes considerably. Perhaps stretching your runtime to 1.6-1.8 hours from a Quark.

    High capacity NiMH cells are only going to be a benefit if you keep freshly charged cells in the light, as the high capacity NiMH cells have very high self discharge rates, and will drop to Eneloop level capacity in a week or two, without ever being used. After 1 month, the eneloops have the high cap cells beat because of their low self discharge (LSD).

    In other words, without ever being used, LSD cells "slowly" lose their power (~1% per month) and high capacity NiMH batteries "quickly" lose their power (~10% per month).

    If you are constantly using the lights and can put freshly charged cells in every few days, the self discharge is not a problem.

    Avoid Energizer NiMH cells. I have tons of crap ones. I'm sure other CPF members can suggest other good high capacity NiMH options besides Duracell.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    Here is what I am looking for guys:...

    ...For power I want to stick with AA's because they are free at work.

    ...Also decent battery life is kind of important too.
    This may be an important consideration most of us have missed.

    What kind of AA batteries are free from your work? If they are regular alkaline cells, I'd strongly recommend adjusting your budget to include some rechargeables and a charger (~$20 minimum). Alkaline cells are very bad for use in high current devices like flashlights.

    They perform poorly in terms of output and capacity when discharged heavily, they play havoc with some light's regulation, and they can leak or burst from over discharging, ruining your precious light.
    Last edited by entoptics; 08-08-2010 at 06:20 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    yup my work gives out alkalines. are they that bad to use? even if changed every other day?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that alkalines are pretty bad for high drain devices. 100+ lumen AA flashlights are very high drain devices.

    Do you already have an AA charger and some rechargeables? If so, I'd invest $10 in quality NiMH rechargeables and never look back.

    Many regulated lights will perform poorly on alkalines because they tend to have a voltage sag when attempting to push high currents. This sag also effectively reduces their capacity.

    On top of that, they can leak nasty acidic goo into a light if abused or left alone for long periods.

    Since they are free from your employer (is that really free?), and you can replace them regularly, I doubt the issue will be as significant for your application.

    Search the battery subforum for more information. There are some real experts lurking around CPF who will give you more facts than I can offer.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* hiuintahs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    My 2 cents worth is to buy a light with the new XP-G R5 LED......and then brand isn't so critical.

    I like the tactical versions that have the switches on the tailcap and then twist the head on and off to change brightness levels.

    I just bought the new Olight T25 with Cree 7090 XP-G R5 LED and I love it. The previous version used the 7090 XR-E Q5.

    The thing I love the most about it is that the newer LED, (XP-G R5) doesn't have so much of a hot spot as the Q5......plus just a slight bit more efficiency out of the LED. I learned this the hard way. The Q5 has too much of a hot spot for me and I found that out with an ITP- C8T.

    I also have a single AA Quark mini which also has the 7090 XP-G R5 LED and I love that light too. I like the color plus the way the beam patterns are with these LED's and I presume its not all reflector but has a lot to do with the LED also, from what I understand.

    As far as batteries go, I love the Sanyo Eneloop low self discharge NiMh. I sold all of my Duracell, Sanyo, and Energizer batteries for whatever I could get out of them on Ebay.......I liked the Eneloops that much. I only use my lights occasionally and it's nice to have the batteries not leak down as fast when I go to use them.

    NiMh batteries are excellent current drivers which LED flashlights require. But Alkalines work just fine.....especially if the discharge rate isn't too high.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Well the reason I dont really want to buy AA rechargeables is...if im going to get rechargeables, arent there better options than AA's? I dont know much about the other batteries, but dont I thought AA's were pretty much the lowest of the battery options.

    And yes they are free from work. Im in the Navy so the govt pays for it. lol Well actually you guys (tax payers) do. ha So thanks for the free batteries guys.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    if im going to get rechargeables, arent there better options than AA's? I dont know much about the other batteries, but dont I thought AA's were pretty much the lowest of the battery options.
    IMHO, no, there is absolutely no contest among rechargeable batteries in terms of "disposable" battery devices. AA NiMH is the king of the pile.

    In terms of pure energy density and size efficiency the AA is quite good.
    In terms of availability, it's unmatched
    In terms of compatibility, it's unmatched.

    If you don't have another AA powered device in your house then I guess maybe the charger and battery option is hard to sell. Otherwise, rechargeable AA and 14500 Li-ion are outstanding cell choices in terms of energy, performance, value, and compatibility (not just for flashlights).

    EDIT: BTW, alkalines from the Navy will mostly likely serve you well in a Quark or EagleTac. I appreciate seeing folks working within their budget.
    Last edited by entoptics; 08-09-2010 at 12:22 AM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jf2oo6 View Post
    Well the reason I dont really want to buy AA rechargeables is...if im going to get rechargeables, arent there better options than AA's? I dont know much about the other batteries, but dont I thought AA's were pretty much the lowest of the battery options.

    And yes they are free from work. Im in the Navy so the govt pays for it. lol Well actually you guys (tax payers) do. ha So thanks for the free batteries guys.
    your very welcome, and keep up the great work!

    i agree that there are better rechargeable options. such as 18650 li-ion. alkalines for high powered lights just plain suck! (but its hard to complain with "free"). although nimh rechargeables such as eneloop are actually really good. and there is always the widely available alkalines as back up.

    if your willing to buy a charger. (the cytac charger from 4sevens for about $17 shipped has served me very well, and its much better than the ultrafire WF-139 by the way.) AW18650 2600mah, which seems to be the best are about $16 each, but ive been using trustfire red/black label 2400mah 18650 li-ions for months now without any problems. 2 for $10 is a great price, and if one fails i really dont care cause it was only $5. (i have 6 in rotation, and all are still good).

    personally, i havent seen a 2xAA light that i like. theyre just too long. i also have a quark neutral tint XP-G AA2-tactical. which might not be good enough to see the tail numbers, but anything within 40 feet will be lit up. i work line maintenance on 777s and 747s (night shift) and my most used light is my quark 123-2T R5. (recently changed to quark 123-2T neutral XP-G, but i also carry a zebralight h501w, and surefire E2DL for throw).

    if you consider getting a charger and a couple of 18650, your options will be much wider. my favorite light for inspections is a p60 host with a nailbender SST-90 drop-in. the NB SST-90 is a super flooder for its size. and if i was to ever need to leave the light on for long periods of time unattended, its medium mode is more than enough for my tasks, without having to give a second thought about my beloved light overheating or dying.

    surefire p60 hosts:
    6p, C2, Z2. G2, M2. but all will have to be customed bored to fit 18650s. but 17670 sized li-ion should fit.

    budget p60 hosts which readily accepts 18650s:
    solarforce L2, or L2P (about $15-$25)
    dereelight CL1H (about $30)
    lumens factory seraph
    there are more, just cant think of them at the moment.

    if 1 light is all your willing to carry, ill go with a p60 host, and a nailbender SST-50 drop in. itll give you good throw and flood.

    or try out the quark AA-2 tactical (about $55), and if it doesnt do the job its still very useful for other applications.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me find my first light!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hiuintahs View Post
    My 2 cents worth is to buy a light with the new XP-G R5 LED......and then brand isn't so critical.

    I like the tactical versions that have the switches on the tailcap and then twist the head on and off to change brightness levels.

    ..........
    Yeah, XP-G R5 emitters is why I think the EagleTac P20A2 is the best choice for him, followed by the Quark AA*2.

    JF, the "Turbo" Quark has a larger head and is designed for 'throw', which means it has a smaller hotspot. Based on your call for doing a lot of closeup work, I would say the Quark "Turbo" should be scratched off your list.

    My choices are:
    1) EagleTac P20A2 XP-G R5 with OP reflector
    2) Quark AA*2 XP-G R5 (carefully choose regular or 'tactical' UI, based on preference)

    -

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