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Thread: Spot to spill ratio

  1. #1

    Default Spot to spill ratio

    Last night I was out for nice nighttime nature hike (aka flashlight walk) and I was musing on the ideal beam shape. I used a light with a carclo triple in it for a bit, but I felt like I had to crank up the lumens quite a bit to get the same situational awareness as I would with a less powerful reflector beam. Even then, it was not great at punching out 30-50ft into the woods on either side of the trail. Regardless of the light's efficiency in lm/W, the fact that it requires more lumens to get the job done makes it less efficient than it could be.

    On the flip side I also used my lumintop fw1a with sst20. It has a relatively narrow and intense spot with dim spill. This also meant that I had to turn the brightness up more to get the spill adequately bright, which meant pumping unnecessarily many lumens into the now too bright spot. Also not as efficient as it could be. Good for reaching out into the woods, but ideal for lighting the way in front of you.

    The best balance I've found yet is a very close tie between the malkoff m61 reflector and the hds edc reflector, with either nichia 219 or cree xpg emitters. No matter the brightnes level, it never feels like either spot or spill is too bright relative the other. Just a perfect beam that can light up everything in front of you and also reach out a little ways. Honorable mentions, that are almost just as good, include convoy s2/s2+ with nichia 219 and zebralight sc64w hi.

    What's your favorite general purpose beam?
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  2. #2
    Enlightened Katherine Alicia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I`m defo more for spill/flood than beam, one of my fave lights is and old Vidor Incan that takes a 4.5v battery, it has a smoothish reflector and a frosted glass bulb, I find the light from most Orange peel reflectors to be quite nice too. I have a few reading torches that I`v modified to give nothing but spill and no specific beam or hot spot, and I`m most likely to ceiling bounce when I need light indoors than poke a light directly at where I want to look, it feels kinda claustophobic like wearing blinkers when it`s mainly just a beam.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I agree, the Malkoff/McGizmo reflector in m31,61,91 is basically the best general purpose light I’ve seen, especially with xpg2 and xpl emitters. Plenty of usable spill and a hot spot that will reach some without blinding at closer distances. Great balancing act! I also like nailbender/customlite p60 modules but they tend toward more lumens in the hot spot with a large, fainter spill. Nice, but Malkoff’s are worth the premium imho.
    Last edited by ledbetter; 07-04-2020 at 11:21 AM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* SCEMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I've found the Olight R50vn (XHP50 Shave Dome) ideal for foothill trails with a wide spill for situational awareness and plenty of punch to reach out when needed. Medium mode is fine with High & Turbo in reserve.
    Last edited by SCEMan; 07-04-2020 at 12:17 PM.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    The AVS head on the elzetta’s are fantastic for both spill and throw.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    Quote Originally Posted by thermal guy View Post
    The AVS head on the elzetta’s are fantastic for both spill and throw.
    Oh that's true I'd forgotten about the AVS. It was definitely one of my favorite beam shapes. I ended up selling mine though because it lacked a good general purpose mode. The high was almost always too bright and the low (with hi/lo tail) was almost always too dim. A shame because I did really like the beam.
    Hello darkness my old friend,
    I've come to talk with you again...
    I liked neutral tints before they were cool.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    Ya I kinda agree with you on that but for me that’s how I like my lights in the woods. I know some are content with using 10-15 lumens on the trail or to get out of the woods at night. Not my butt! I want a ton of light and want it EVERYWHERE!! 😂😂
    If i had one day left to live i would want to be at my workplace.Because every day is like a frickin eternity.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    Spot to spill ratio, interesting topic. Plenty of spot and insufficient spill versus plenty of spill but not enough spot. Lots of nights I lull myself to sleep meditating on beam profile/reflector/optic configuration/throw/power/size, that kind of thing. I want decent throw and decent beamwidth and decent brightness and decent portability and decent runtime. What I end up getting is many flashlights in vastly different size classifications. I like to rotate my edc lights, and I like to keep up with the newest emmiters. Sometimes I am in a more floody mood, and sometimes I am in a more throwy mood. In edc size lights, I like Nitecore TM9K and Imalent MS03 for flood, and Emisar D4V2 quad W2 for throw. But I get much more beam profile thrill from Acebeam X65, K75 and Imalent R90TS, and other larger lights.
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  9. #9
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    Default Spot to spill ratio

    For outdoors I have been using zoomie lights only for years. It is not only for being able to always get the flat spot of the right size, it is just a necessity in the urban environment if you dont want to annoy people around you.

    Speaking of specific lights, it is either a 18650 zrayVN or 18350 ultrafire f-10 modded with the lexel driver and xpl-hi.

    At home I also use another f-10 modded with a 6500k optisolis. Such a great Sundrop type circle of perfectly tinted light

  10. #10

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I think about this every morning when I take my pup for a walk at the dog park. It's always dark, hours before sunrise. The lights go out at around 2200 so it's pitch black in most areas. My favorite spot / spill is the tri-LED lights I have - FW3A and D4V2. However, when I got my new 5000K M61NLLLL and put it in my 6P, the spot / spill won me over and that's what I use every morning. My pants has a front left dedicated light pocket and the 6P fits perfectly for EDC. Got an Oveready McClicky hardpress tailcap and G2 head on her, and a Keeppower 16650 2500 mAh in her.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I was trying to come up enough spill for my BOSS. Was pleasantly surprised when I swapped it’s narrow clear optic for a narrow frosted. Spill has increased dramatically and the impact to throw was minimal. Up till the change, I was blasting the lumens to make up for the limited spill.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I like a bit of punch over flood generally so use the M61HOT or a Surefire LX2 with a Malkoff super scout head on it most for general EDC. I like having a useable low that generates a little throw to it. Put the Hound Dog Super in a pocket sized package and I’d be pretty ecstatic.

    This new M91BN is also turning out to be pretty superb and If it was the first light I bought, I may have bought fewer of them. Or maybe not...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    Surefire has a good balance in their EDCL series and their 500 lumen mini scout weapon light which seems to me to be the exact same LED and Optic as the 500 lumen edcl1-t

  14. #14
    Enlightened Katherine Alicia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    Quote Originally Posted by Msf View Post
    I was trying to come up enough spill for my BOSS. Was pleasantly surprised when I swapped it’s narrow clear optic for a narrow frosted.
    one of my night time reading torches is like that, I coated the reflector in glitter and put a frosted lens over it, the beam is now pure flood with no hot spots at all, just a nice clean and even incan light.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Spot to spill ratio

    I have a small number of floody lights, but even at short distances I tend to prefer a moderately throwy beam profile so that I can use a very low output and still put enough light on exactly what I want to see.

    Has anyone measured the spot:spill ratio for common lights?

    Just judging against the wall at about 2m distance, my 1xAAA lights, which I consider to be extremely floody, seem to have about a 1:3 ratio. My 1xAA and 1x18650 pocket lights, which I consider to be moderately throwy, have about a 1:5 ratio. My incandescents and throwy LED flashlights seem to have about 1:8 or more.

    Are these numbers consistent with what you see? Or is 2m too short a distance to really see the difference between floody/middling/throwy lights?

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