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Thread: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Hey guys. Here is a quick review and comparison of the new Nitecore LA10 Compact Lightweight Camping Lanterns.





    These are handy and versatile little lamps for camping and EDC purposes. Aside from the emitters, both are pretty much identical. The difference between the emitters, their output and potential uses however is quite noticeable, as you'll see in a moment. For now, here is a quick size comparison with some comparable lights:



    Fenix E05, Fenix CL05, Nitecore LA01 CRI, Fenix E12


    Nitecore LA10
    HIGH: 135 lumens, run time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
    MEDIUM: 40 lumens, run time: 6 hours
    LOW: 10 lumens, run time: 23 hours
    Impact resistance: 1.5m
    Water/Weather Resistance: IPX6
    Light: CREE XP-G2 S3
    Power: AA (Alkaline, Lithium, NiMH)
    Dimensions: 3.08" x 0.89"
    Weight: 1.51oz w/o batteries

    Nitecore LA10 CRI
    HIGH: 75 lumens, run time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
    MEDIUM: 30 lumens, run time: 6 hours
    LOW: 9 lumens, run time: 23 hours
    Impact resistance: 1.5m
    Water/Weather Resistance: IPX6
    Light: Nichia NVSL219B CRI>90
    Power: AA (Alkaline, Lithium, NiMH)
    Dimensions: 3.9" x 2"
    Weight: 4.5oz w/o batteries



    Inside the battery tube


    -The LA10 is basically an aluminum tube light with the look and feel of a pocket EDC light. Not sure what type of anodizing was used. Minimal knurling (tail cap only). The ring to deploy the diffuser is beveled, but smaller in diameter than the tail cap, so there's not much to prevent it from rolling away. The lines in between the bevels do however offer a bit of resistance at least. The frosted plastic diffuser does a great job of dispersing the light with minimal glare.

    -Both can be used as a makeshift floody flashlight with the diffuser retracted. There's no internal reflector, so there's not really much difference in light output or throw, just dispersion. If you're finding it a bit glarey on high though it does cut out most of this while still producing usable light.

    -Threads were smooth and came well greased (you hear that Fenix?).

    -Both include a lanyard and 2 spare o-rings; black and clear. Both feature a magnetic tail cap as well, so there a number options for suspending or attaching them in various configurations.

    -UI is typical for a twisty. Hold the beveled ring and tighten the tail cap to turn on, loosen to turn off. Turning it off and back on in less than two seconds to switch modes: Low->Medium->High->Signal Flash.

    -Aside from their portability and ease of use outdoors, they're also pretty handy indoors. Magnetic tail cap makes them handy in the kitchen. They throw a decent amount of light down towards the base as well. I stuck them to a metal hook in the ceiling and got some fair ceiling bounce. I set one on a low table on one side of the living room and the other on top of a bookcase on the other side both on high and light up the room impressively.

    -CREE version warms up noticeably and fairly quick on high, but no where near enough to burn you or damage the battery. Might make for a nice little hand warmer on a chilly backpacking trip? I have not observed the same behavior with the Nichia version.

    -Seems like Nitecore can't decide on the max output for the Nichia version. I've seen both 75 and 85 lumens in several places. In either case, it's "bright enough" as far as I'm concerned.

    -Neither come with a pocket clip. This doesn't bother me, but it may be an issue for some.

    -Neither has a true moonlight mode, though you can run it with the diffuser retracted to cut out side glare as mentioned above.

    -My LA10 CRI makes a "zippery" noise when I deploy the diffuser, as if a bit of something was stuck in the threads or it could be a burr. It's mildly annoying, but not a deal-breaker. My regular LA10 doesn't do this, so it must be an anomaly. At the very least, it's not scratching up the visible portion of the diffuser.

    Now for some beam shots:



    CREE XP-G2 S3



    Nichia NVSL219B



    CREE XP-G2 S3



    Nichia NVSL219B


    On it's own, the regular LA10 is noticeably cool white, but not overly blue it would seem. However, the difference is astonishing when you compare it to the CRI version. Nitecore claims color rendering to be at least 90% and I'm inclined to believe it.





    By my estimate, I would put the LA10 in the neighborhood of 5500-6000k and the LA10 CRI in the neighborhood of 4500-5000k. Here's something interesting though; compare the two pics below.



    CREE XP-G2 S3



    Nichia NVSL219B


    In a hypothetical roadside repair scenario, the regular version with nearly twice the lumen output is actually the better choice. Your mileage will vary by application!

    Conclusion: I like them both (I know, I say this a lot) and for the price, neither are a bad investment. A true field test while backpacking may widen the gap in usability. I usually don't do a great deal of examining of foliage in the dark and I would tend to feel that the brighter CREE version may be more useful for after dark camp tasks, though the Nichia version is certainly more pleasing to the eyes. Small and compact enough that they could easily slip into a pocket or pouch. The lack of a pocket clip may puts some off, but for the price and intended use I don't think it's necessary. Most flashaholics will have at least a few similar sized lights with clips and will be able to improvise. I wish they had a moonlight mode, but all things considered I can live without that.

    As always, I paid for these lanterns with my own "walkin' 'round town money". I was neither given these lanterns for the purpose of nor asked to do this review. I do these reviews out of personal interest as part of my hobby. I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed preparing for and writing it. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Subterrestrial,
    Thanks for the nice comparative review, complete with pictures
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  3. #3

    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    A high CRI neutral tint nichia...yes, bank's saving are bound to see a decline in number sooner! Resistance is futile! Oops. Anyway, just got one of these and to my surprise, it is not as warm as I initially thought. I was expecting a warmer neutral white like in those older zebralight C and W series, but turns out to be a cooler end of neutral white. Compared to Lumintop Tool nichia version, the Lumintop is obviously much warmer and this one is at much cooler end of the neutral, closing the gap with the Fenix HL10 2016 which I also got recently. The Fenix HL10 use undomed Lumileds with a CCT of 5700K, so this nitecore stick's CCT might be around 5000K-5500K. Compared to another neutral light, Fenix CL20 with Everlight led, the CL20 is also obviously warmer.

    After searching further into the forum only I notice this is more of a daylight neutral than morning sunrise neutral white light. Ah, my mistake on the assumption part. But honestly, the tint is not bad even though not as warm, so it's a keeper. It's kinda refreshing since not many manufacturer use high cri 5000K in their light. So I will say, keep up the good job, sysmax.(sans the wonky workmanship as complaint by some users)

    BTW, I noticed there are two small holes at the side of twisting shaft. Not sure what those are for? Maybe for letting the heated inner air to escape? Is waterproofing capability affected?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Yeah, I've noticed the high CRI Nichias are definitely on the cooler side than the regular NW Nichias. IIRC, 5000k gives a CRI of around 75, so if you're pushing for 90 it's going to be a bit higher (looks like I aimed a bit low in my estimate above, harder to tell alongside that CW CREE).

    I never paid attention to those holes until you pointed them out. Maybe they're for lubricating the threads? It's IPX6 so it should be fine in the rain, but I wouldn't want to drop it in a creek or something.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic RollerBoySE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    IIRC, 5000k gives a CRI of around 75
    I'm pretty sure that the Nichia LED is 5000K AND 90+ CRI, so what do you mean?

    Nice review by the way.
    Last edited by RollerBoySE; 03-19-2017 at 10:30 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Thanks for the review!
    civilgear blog

  7. #7

    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    I never paid attention to those holes until you pointed them out. Maybe they're for lubricating the threads? It's IPX6 so it should be fine in the rain, but I wouldn't want to drop it in a creek or something.
    I was kinda concerned that the holes might accumulate dust and dirt in the long run, causing the holes to be clogged. If there is no critical functionality through these holes, then I guess might be safe to pocket it. My instinct told me it is a piece of metalic rod inside supporting some kind of twisting action. Who knows?

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Great review thx..

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Oh by the way, can the diffuser tip be dislodged for re-greasing if it ever gotten gritty after long use? Feels like there is grease of some sort inside while twisting to extend the tip. Any idea?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic Subterrestrial's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Quote Originally Posted by LED_Power_Forums View Post
    Oh by the way, can the diffuser tip be dislodged for re-greasing if it ever gotten gritty after long use? Feels like there is grease of some sort inside while twisting to extend the tip. Any idea?
    None that I'm aware of. I'm guessing not, but I'd like to see this in future versions.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    Thanks Subterrestrial for this excellent review.
    I'm afraid though there is a typo Re. Dimensions and weight:

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterrestrial View Post
    Nitecore LA10
    Dimensions: 3.08" x 0.89"
    Weight: 1.51oz w/o batteries

    Nitecore LA10 CRI
    Dimensions: 3.9" x 2"
    Weight: 4.5oz w/o batteries
    I wouldn't expect the LED change to make such a size and weight difference

    On the other hand, since the LA10(CRI) has now a bigger brother (LR12), do you share old4570 thoughts in his excellent review of this new light, in which he says:

    "The section marked "B" is too small , and I find it some what clumsy to change modes as the fingers holding the light ( B ) tend to come in contact with my fingers twisting the tailcap . It makes for a uncomfortable twisty action when you need to fumble about . I would really like to see "B" being about double it's size to make the light so much easier to manipulate."

    Since the LA10(CRI) is significantly smaller than the LR12, I would expect this issue to be even worse, do you confirm?
    Thanks in advance.

  12. #12
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Nitecore LA10 & LA10 CRI comparison review

    I pretty much much trust Nitecore until I purchase this one.
    Their SRT series is great, but the LA10 behavior seems eccentric.
    It sometimes failed to turn on, other times manage to turn on but failed to switch to other mode.

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