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Thread: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

  1. #1

    Ooo I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    That's an average, I'd say, give or take a few years. Where does the time go?! I was looking through old purchase records I had kept and the dates blew my mind. I didn't realize it had been so long. I still consider most of these my "best" lights.

    I started the madness around 2008 with a couple of Fenix lights (L1D was the very first). My first TK20 was bought in November 2008! I added a second one in 2010 when they were discounted.

    Still on a Fenix run, I added a TK11 in 2009 (R2 emitter). The CPF'ers of the time probably remember what a huge splash the preceding TK10 model was; that one light spawned so many threads it pretty much forced a change to the CPF "Reviews" forum. Everybody was posting reviews of that light! The TK11 version had a larger body for 18650 support, so that's the one I jumped on.

    By 2009, the 4-Sevens Quarks were on the scene, and my first was a AA Neutral-white. From then on until they closed down, I was adding various Quarks here and there over the next several years.

    I still dabbled in a few of the Fenix offerings though. Anybody remember the TK40? That was another light that made a huge splash on CPF. 500(?) something lumens, AA powered!! Granted, it took EIGHT of those AA, but still! It was a big deal, and the price was fairly reasonable too. However, that is NOT the one I bought. The TK30 was introduced a little later, which could be used with either one or two 18650 configurations, and that's the light I jumped on. I don't think it was ever as popular as the TK40 though, for whatever reason. The 30 had a much better interface in my opinion. Anyway, that was in 2010.

    After that, I mostly just added some 4-Sevens lights here and there whenever something unique came out; mostly some of the neutral or high-cri offerings. I was getting more picky by that time, so I didn't jump on anything unless it was special somehow. I dabbled in a few other lights, mainly just some things that were heavily discounted and I thought might-as-well.

    My last major light purchase was a second Quark Turbo-X Neutral, in 2014, at a big discount. I liked the first one I had, so I thought heck for the price, why not. These lights were some of the first usages of the Cree XM-L emitter. It seems this was about the time that all the trends were going towards larger footprint LED dies, that could put out a LOT of light, but didn't throw as well for a given reflector size compared to the earlier XP-G, and especially XP-E and XR-E lights.

    From that point it seemed to me like most of the lights out there were just getting weirder, wilder, and more complicated: 10 Modes! Special blinking modes! Hidden modes! Custom program mode! Oh my! Bleugh. I felt like Clint Eastwood saying "You kids get off my lawn!!"

    So that's been pretty much it for me since then. I've got a LOT of lights laying around, obviously, so I haven't really felt the need to buy much anything else. I did just discover the 16650 battery option for those old lights, so that'll put some of them back in business again (whooo!).

    Every now and then I'll look around CPF to see what's out there but so far I haven't been tempted to get back on that train again! I'm glad I started when I did, since it was a pretty cool ride getting in at the dawn of the LED era, going from the early Luxeon emitters, to Cree P4, Q2, Q5, R2, R5, and so on.

  2. #2
    Administrator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    To paraphrase John Le Carre; "They are all 'best lights'".

    Two of my very favorite lights are a SureFire U2 (upgraded emitter tho), and a few L1's (same) - good user interfaces never go out of style.

  3. #3

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    nuttin wrong wit dat. 10 years ago was a great time to be a flashaholic.
    John 3:16

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Sounds like you picked some great lights that work well for you. Carry on and enjoy the peace that comes with great choices and being happy with them.
    THRUNITE > Archer1AV2|TiS|TH20|TN4A Hi...all in neutral white
    YUJILEDS BC Series 95+ HiCRI
    > Sofirn C01|Dorcy Penlight (Yuji modded)
    XTARVC4, LCTBC500, Amaloops, 1999 MAG-LITE 2D Incandescent(glass lens) Petzl Tikkina 80L ..... Fenix E01

  5. #5

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I'd love to see a family pic of your oldies but goodies, especially the Fenix L1D! I always thought the L1D and L1P were the coolest looking lights but unfortunately they were around well before I got into flashlights. Can't find them anywhere nowadays.

  6. #6

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    About 10 years ago was a big peak of innovation. I still have my Fenix P3D Q5, P2D/L1D Q5, L2D Q5, L1T Q2 (Leatherman version), PD30 R4, and TK11 R2. These were made just before Surefire sued everyone and the lights were drastically changed to not have a simple lockout or interchangeable parts. I went with Quark after that (Quark Pro 2A). I still occasionally use my U.S. made Inova T1 2008 model (last model before Niteize bought them and made them in China). Now I've been sticking a lot to Nitecore and Klarus, but the user interfaces are way more complicated. The earlier Fenix lights had it perfect being able to start on high or low on the first push of the button. I just didn't like the starting flash of high on many of their lights and the loss of low when using lithium AAs. The P3D and PD30 were perfect though.

  7. #7

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    This thread just nails it for me, about 3 months ago I pulled out my 2008 Surefire L1 Digital Lumamax out of my storage box from my man cave. The light was my EDC for a good 5 years. Loved the thing but I kind of veered away from the hobby for a few years and started collecting knives..now back to Candlepowerforums.

    I must say being out of the loop for about 7 years or so, i'm blown away with how much more efficient and brighter these illumination tools have become over the years.
    I made a few purchases this year. Bought some great lights from Surefire, Lumintop, a couple Lumens Factory droppins...but the one light that I carry everyday again is my trusted old friend, my beloved L1. It's gone through many AW RCR16340 batteries in it's lifetime and I replaced the rubber tail cap because it was worn smooth.
    Last edited by 1996alnl2; 11-24-2020 at 02:56 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    You are not alone. My most frequently used lights are the 6p, Kroma, and LX2.

  9. #9

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gurdygurds View Post
    I'd love to see a family pic of your oldies but goodies, especially the Fenix L1D! I always thought the L1D and L1P were the coolest looking lights but unfortunately they were around well before I got into flashlights. Can't find them anywhere nowadays.
    I happen to have a photo I took not too long ago with the L1D and a MiniMag LED (1st gen). The Mini had that "sudden death" shutoff; it didn't bother me at first, but after the fourth or fifth time I got left in the dark, I hit the internet in search of better lights, and found CPF.

    The L1D was purchased shortly after that. I really liked their olive-drab color; wish more lights had options other than black.





    I still use the MiniMag sometimes for draining NiMH AAs prior to re-charging. No worries about over discharge; wait till light goes "poof", remove the batteries.

    .

  10. #10

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Man those L1Ds are cool !! Thanks for posting the pic!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stress_Test View Post
    I happen to have a photo I took not too long ago with the L1D and a MiniMag LED (1st gen). The Mini had that "sudden death" shutoff; it didn't bother me at first, but after the fourth or fifth time I got left in the dark, I hit the internet in search of better lights, and found CPF.

    The L1D was purchased shortly after that. I really liked their olive-drab color; wish more lights had options other than black.





    I still use the MiniMag sometimes for draining NiMH AAs prior to re-charging. No worries about over discharge; wait till light goes "poof", remove the batteries.

    .

  11. #11
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I still have a few great lights from 10 years ago, and even 12-13 years ago. L1D was my first Fenix but I sold it or gave away it long time ago. But I still have TK10, TK20 and TK30(the newly released TK30 is a totally different light and not a successor).
    I liked the simple UI with low and high, chosed by twisting or untwisting the head. And at that time Fenix was truly regulated.

  12. #12

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Lots of companies got tangled up in the lumen wars mess and ended up releasing "flavor of the month" units without much soul. First one to 500 lumens, 600, 700, 1000. Then it was who can make the brightest with the smallest battery. That led to whopping output statements with fine print stating "for 22 seconds then puts out xx" (which was often less than the other lumen war king could put out continuous).

    The tint wars has not been so dramatic but there were winners and losers there too. Yet if you go back and dust off the lights from around 2010 you realize "man those were pretty good". You get used to the norms of the current crop then one day you realize the things you once took for granted were actually pretty marvelous. One of my favorite lights is that old classic Fenix E01, warts and all.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 11-25-2020 at 07:47 AM.
    John 3:16

  13. #13
    Flashaholic desmobob's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I've been thinking about the age of my lights, too. I haven't thought much about them until I had an ArmyTek Tiara C1 Pro and Wizard Pro both fail this year. They were both five years old, and I hadn't bought a new light since I had purchased those two.

    I started thinking about my other lights and if they needed "upgrading." I have a souped-up Thrunite TN36 from Vinh, TN31, TN4A, Zebralight H600wMkII, ArmyTek Predator Pro and Viking Pro, etc. They are all great performers, and not quite obsolete yet, I hope.

    Is it possible or common to "upgrade" older lights with newer emitters, or isn't it that simple?
    ​"What do you carry a flashlight for?!"

  14. #14

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I have a Surefire L1 on my desk and an old Aleph 19 build on the nightstand, both with F04 diffusers on them. They do perfectly what I want them to do. Nothing newer needed.

  15. #15

    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Quote Originally Posted by desmobob View Post

    Is it possible or common to "upgrade" older lights with newer emitters, or isn't it that simple?

    It used to be a fairly common practice in the earlier days, but I don't know about lately. It helped back then that there were frequent, updated LEDs being released that were just higher bin (more efficient) of the same family, so physically it was just "remove and replace", and the same reflector would work. But if you had an XP-E, for example, and swapped in a larger die XM-L, then the beam characteristics change, since the reflector was made for the smaller LED.

    Either way it does require some delicate work to get the head disassembled, and to re-solder the new LED in place; the more robust lights usually have the heads glued or thread-locked together pretty tight.

    I remember it being more common to do a swap with a cheap hardware-store type of light. They usually came with an older emitter, and were often easier to disassemble. Then you could put in the latest and greatest LED, and have a high-output beater light that was still cheap enough you wouldn't freak out if you accidentally dropped it down a well or something.

    I never attempted it myself, since my idea of "delicate work" involves swinging a hammer!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stress_Test View Post
    It used to be a fairly common practice in the earlier days, but I don't know about lately. It helped back then that there were frequent, updated LEDs being released that were just higher bin (more efficient)
    More efficient, higher output, and better tint, too.
    In those "earlier days" we were trying to get usable replacements for incans, and it was a gradual process.
    Now, with all the great lights, and LEDs capable of putting out many times the lumens as then, modding seems almost pointless. Big difference from when factory LED lights like the original SF KL1 were putting out 25-30 lumens of blue light, and we were trying to get a yellowish 50 out of them!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Owen View Post
    More efficient, higher output, and better tint, too.
    In those "earlier days" we were trying to get usable replacements for incans, and it was a gradual process.
    Now, with all the great lights, and LEDs capable of putting out many times the lumens as then, modding seems almost pointless. Big difference from when factory LED lights like the original SF KL1 were putting out 25-30 lumens of blue light, and we were trying to get a yellowish 50 out of them!
    Yes, with new neutral, warm and high CRI emitters that is true. But the tint of the cool white models of for example Fenix TK10 and TK30 were creamy white and better than many of the bluish tints of successors with higher efficiency.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    What I like about some of my older lights is most could take a wider range of batteries than todayís lights. 18650 protected or not, 2 CR123 if itís cold and if it turned on in your backpack the light didnít melt a hole through something. Also output levels were closer together.
    When I go out hiking or hunting I bring 2 older lights so batteries can be swapped out easily between them if needed.
    Kata Ton Δaimona Eaytoy

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Katherine Alicia's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I`m not sure I can say my "Best" lights, but certainly some of my Favorite lights are actually from the 60`s and 70`s and they get daily use and will be reached for in preference to my EDC quite often, a lot of them are not even metal, they`re old Ever Ready pocket lights made of plastic!

  20. #20

    Default I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I agree with many comments here. When you find something that works well, it doesnít just all of a sudden stop working well because a newer model is brought out.

    Iím quite happy with my AA Thrunite lights (TN4A and T10II). They are a great balance of all of the things I am looking for in a flashlight, and until something substantially exceeds their capabilities (in the areas important to me) I am not interested in ďupgradingĒ.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Last edited by dmattaponi; 11-26-2020 at 12:21 PM.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic greenpondmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    I still like my coleman CT50 that has a 500 luman high and also a low (don't know the low lumens). It has a good color tint that is on the warm side of neutral. It has a rare Cree XLamp MC-E LED in it and it goes a good while on 6aa alkalines. It is 8 or 9 years old and can give a maglite ML50 3C a run for its money. My wife has taken it over. We call it big daddy.
    The Cree XLamp MC-E LED kind of reminds me of a xp-g. It has a nice non adjustable hotspot with decent spill. The light is about the size of a 2c maglite, but it is tactical in nature and also has a orange peel reflector.
    Last edited by greenpondmike; 11-26-2020 at 10:02 AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: I just realized my best lights are about 10 YEARS old!!

    Love the new lights with their pocketability and range of tints that are now available, not to mention current battery abilities. However, some of my favorites are still the Surefire incandescents like the C2, Z2, M3, and M4. They were my first high end flashlights and are probably more nostalgic than useful, but they'll never be completely replaced by LEDs.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming - WOW - what a ride!!!

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