LED flashlights

CougTek

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Ask JTR to build you one. He won't rob you and it will be well made. However, I don't think he'll bother if what you want is a cheap product.
 

Stereodude

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I'm unsure about LED Lenser's quality. Many online reviews say they:
1) exaggerate lumnes / beam distance
2) run time
3) circuits are basic and not constant current type
I don't really know about 1 and 2, but 3 is correct. They use a current limiting resistor, not a constant current drive circuit. If you're happy with the light it doesn't really matter.
 

mubs

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Thanks SD. They are sold here through an authorized dealer for less than is available abroad - a first and absolutely shocking! I may buy them and take my chances.

Coug & DD: A suggestion I seriously considered. I have no doubts at all about jtr's abilities. The real question is cost. jtr is meticuluous and should be paid for it. Whether my needs require that level of sohistication is the question. I may still reach out to him once I buy some flashlights and know more about what I want and don't want. My only experience with LED stuff right now is the $5 flashlights I picked up at an office supplies store in the US a few years back. No name, no pedigree or specs. 3xAAA, 8 LEDs in a ring, 9th LED in the middle. I picked up 4 or 5. They work well.

My main need is for flood instead of a tightly focused spot. Ideally, something that can go from flood to spot and do both reasonably well.
 

LunarMist

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Thanks SD. They are sold here through an authorized dealer for less than is available abroad - a first and absolutely shocking! I may buy them and take my chances.

Coug & DD: A suggestion I seriously considered. I have no doubts at all about jtr's abilities. The real question is cost. jtr is meticuluous and should be paid for it. Whether my needs require that level of sohistication is the question. I may still reach out to him once I buy some flashlights and know more about what I want and don't want. My only experience with LED stuff right now is the $5 flashlights I picked up at an office supplies store in the US a few years back. No name, no pedigree or specs. 3xAAA, 8 LEDs in a ring, 9th LED in the middle. I picked up 4 or 5. They work well.

My main need is for flood instead of a tightly focused spot. Ideally, something that can go from flood to spot and do both reasonably well.
I'm not quite sure what you are doing - is it work related? Normally I use a Fenix TK series light for general use, but there are plenty of other good brands. My rule of thumb is that 10,000cd is about the least throw I'd want in a general light, but some people will accept less. I use a floody zebralight for a headlamp if that is needed. It serves double duty a nightlight/reading light for camping or in other primitive areas without reliable electricity. Having both good flood and good throw in a single lighting device is difficult as you have seen there are not too many compact choices. That Fenix headlamp looks good, but the throw light is on the weak side because it is head mounted. The whole setup is quite bulky and heavy; I'd be sweaty and and irritated after wearing one for a few hours.
 

Bozo

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Maglight has been around for years. I have a few of their standard flashlights. They are all metal and almost indistructable. They are now making LED flashlights.
 

mubs

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LM, not work related, only for personal use. I sometimes travel to areas where there are no lights at night (rural, remote) and at such places having a bright flashlight that throws a narrow beam is useless. I don't shine the light at distant objects at all. The need is to see the immediate vicinity, avoid uneven surfaces on which one can twist an ankle or fall, see the edge of the paved road (if there is one on that spot), etc. For these, a flood works better than a spot. A flashlight with excellent flood and lousy spot will actually suit me well . I am also looking for a headlamp with flood. Think changing tyre in the dark. My car's tyre mount point is particularly tricky, and again a spot will be useless here. Head mounted will keep my hands free and also direct the light where I am looking. The Fenix headlight is quite costly, so I may buy the Led Lenser Seo 5 instead.

Bozo, I have several Mag incandescents. I don't know how good the Mag LEDs are, but I'd rather go with a known good mfr like Fenix or 4Sevens that makes the proper circuits for longer run times at higher light levels.
 

mubs

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Thanks. Actually DX will be convenient, because they ship here and many people buy regularly from them and the shipments don't disappear.
 

sechs

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Bozo, I have several Mag incandescents. I don't know how good the Mag LEDs are, but I'd rather go with a known good mfr like Fenix or 4Sevens that makes the proper circuits for longer run times at higher light levels.
I have a Mag LED flashlight. They're a known good manufacturer.

Frankly, I'd put more faith in a company that focuses on making rugged flashlights than one that concentrates on a nice bulb.
 

Stereodude

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I have a Mag LED flashlight. They're a known good manufacturer.

Frankly, I'd put more faith in a company that focuses on making rugged flashlights than one that concentrates on a nice bulb.
They're a well known manufacturer. That doesn't mean the flashlights are good or are any more rugged than products from other companies. Their early LED flashlights had poor heatsinking compared to other LED flashlights. I don't know if the new ones are any better as I haven't bought any.
 

LunarMist

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I have limited experience with the old Xeon Maglights, but would not buy any of their lights again.
 

mubs

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I have a Mag LED flashlight. They're a known good manufacturer.

Frankly, I'd put more faith in a company that focuses on making rugged flashlights than one that concentrates on a nice bulb.
Where did I say "nice bulb"? The ones I mentioned can match or better MAG in quality of construction or ruggedness. And, they are a whole lot better in many other respects as well. I did a bit of reading before making my statements.
 

LunarMist

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Where did I say "nice bulb"? The ones I mentioned can match or better MAG in quality of construction or ruggedness. And, they are a whole lot better in many other respects as well. I did a bit of reading before making my statements.
Maglite became popular in the 80s for law enforcement, government type of organizations, security guards, etc. The larger ones were useful for beatings.
The Maglite era seems to have died down after the brighter LED lights came onto the scene a few years ago, and the company has been going downhill since.
 

mubs

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IIRC, the founder's mistress sued for part of his wealth and it became nasty. You might remember it if you were in S. CA at that time. I too have a couple of Maglite's, but they're hardly ever used. Can't hold a lumen (candle) to cheap Chinese LED flashlights.
 

Handruin

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The Sipik SK68 or a clone of it is a popular low cost zooming light that's widely available. link

There are 3 mode and 1 mode versions of it. 3 mode clone
Do you own any of these or have you had any experience with them personally? I'd like to get a better than average light but I'm not interested in paying $80 for it. I just want something a bit better than the $1 lights from harbor freights. After reading through the comments in this thread I became interested in the Fenix pd35 for size and performance. Is there an adequate clone of this light for less money even if it isn't as good but close?
 

mubs

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Still haven't bought any yet. The local LED Lenser distributor talks big, but no action so far. I'm back from my trip (for which I wanted the lights in the first place), so no rush to buy now. I'll probably buy something cheaper from DealExtreme. Thanks Stereodude.
 

Stereodude

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Do you own any of these or have you had any experience with them personally? I'd like to get a better than average light but I'm not interested in paying $80 for it. I just want something a bit better than the $1 lights from harbor freights. After reading through the comments in this thread I became interested in the Fenix pd35 for size and performance. Is there an adequate clone of this light for less money even if it isn't as good but close?
Sorry for not replying to this earlier...

I have a two coworkers who bought some of the cheap Chinese made zooming lights. One bought an 18650 variant. The other a single AA. They're both happy with them. I've played with them a little. Personally, I probably wouldn't buy them, but I'm much more of a demanding flashlight "snob" than they are. They're decent for the price and the zoom is nice, but the tint of the beam and the build quality of the lights isn't what I'm after. I'd rather pay more and have a very nice light even if I have to spend many times more.

The PD35 requires you to make a commitment to 18650 batteries and an appropriate charger. I'm sure it's a nice light. I haven't seen or used one myself though. In 18650 land I'm a fan of buying a P60 host like a Solarforce L2P host and buying a custom made LED drop-in for it like one of these (also sold through the forum) or these.

My go to light these days is a blue L2P with a 4500K 92CRI Nichia 219 drop-in from Nailbender.
 

time

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I need a headlamp for close-up work, i.e. arm's length. Needs to be well-secured but comfortable, have decent battery life (hours, not minutes) and good color rendition. Cost is no object, provided I'm not paying for diamond encrusting or the techno equivalent.

Recommendations please?
 

LunarMist

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Maybe a Zebralight like this?
I have several of the zebralights. Mainly I use the H51 for single-light walking around and the H51F (frosted glass) for room area or at low levels on the headband when I also have a brighter flashlight. I had one zebralight with the bare LED, bust did not like the lighting as much. There are newer, but fewer lights now. If you need many hours at decent output you will need one of the 18650 models or something with several AAs. Of course those are all heavier.
 

LunarMist

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Is weight a significant issue with a headlamp?
The design of the band is probably most important, but I find the heavier headlamps tiring after a few hours. The main problem is that headlamps are often problematic to use with various types of hats or hoods.
 

time

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Thanks for the ZebraLight recommendation. The weight is excellent. Would have to carry spare batteries, but 4x AA should add up to 110 lumens for >7.5 hours.

But how do you buy them? Every single headlamp on their site is either backordered, out of stock or can only be preordered. :(

Now that I've done a bit of research, I've realized that most headlamps are intended for use in darkness, based on their modest lumens ratings. I'm looking for something that can also highlight detail in dim or shadowy conditions, so preferably with a maximum output north of 200 lumens (at a guess).

The Fenix headlamps all use 4x AA in a pack, but fail to say how much weight that adds. They already weigh a couple of hundred grams. The cable for the waist-mounted battery pack model (HP15[/url) looks like it would snag on things so is too dangerous for this application (it's for an electrician). Only the [url=http://fenixtactical.com/fenix-hp11.html]HP11 with the pack at the back of the head would be usable, but total weight would have to be over 300g.

I also found LED Lenser, Petzl and Silva. Haven't loooked at all these properly yet.

This pelican 2720 really caught my eye. You turn it on or off by waving your hand in front of it. Probably too dim, unfortunately, but gee that would be useful.
 

mubs

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Thanks for the ZebraLight recommendation. The weight is excellent. Would have to carry spare batteries, but 4x AA should add up to 110 lumens for >7.5 hours.

But how do you buy them? Every single headlamp on their site is either back ordered, out of stock or can only be preordered.
Amazon has them and they ship most places.

On a couple of forums, I read about early failures of Zebralights. Anything to be worried about, SD? It wouldn't be feasible for me to ship it to China and back at my expense. There is a very good local source for Fenix here that provides full warranty support, but frightfully expensive.
 

Howell

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I repkaced my petzl tikka with a prinectontec remix. One drawback to these backbacker's lights is that they are made from plastic which fatigues over time, particularly from changing batteries. My new one has a lifetime warranty which would be enough of a pain if I were just in the woods, never mind on another continent.
 

time

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Amazon has them and they ship most places.
Amazon US ships ONLY to the US for all but a very limited range of items (books).
Amazon UK is a lot more flexible, but doesn't carry anywhere near the wide range of products available in the US. So there's only 2 Zebralights; both are obsolete and not what we're looking for anyway. :(

On a couple of forums, I read about early failures of Zebralights.
I looked through the original CPF thread, and it amounted to one guy whining that he had both a switch failure on one light and a driver failure on another. I'm sure he's upset, but statistically, it's bound to happen with electronic power devices. A second guy chimed in that he had two early zebralights fail (unidentified models), and the third was clearly a spruiker troll for another brand: Spark. Cursory research on this alternative brand reveals the typical cost-cutting design-stealing crap that thrives in the LED flashlight market. Good luck trying to get any of the links to work on their website, and check out the disgruntled customers on CPF etc.

I don't doubt that customer service is poor - what exactly do people expect, given the sales volume and relatively modest cost (compared to SureFire et al)? But the OP and spruiker troll posted highly adverse comments in a number of threads, generating an impression of overall customer dissatisfaction. Personally, I only take these things seriously when there's reasonable corroboration. :p
 

LunarMist

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I looked through the original CPF thread, and it amounted to one guy whining that he had both a switch failure on one light and a driver failure on another. I'm sure he's upset, but statistically, it's bound to happen with electronic power devices. A second guy chimed in that he had two early zebralights fail (unidentified models), and the third was clearly a spruiker troll for another brand: Spark. Cursory research on this alternative brand reveals the typical cost-cutting design-stealing crap that thrives in the LED flashlight market. Good luck trying to get any of the links to work on their website, and check out the disgruntled customers on CPF etc.

I don't doubt that customer service is poor - what exactly do people expect, given the sales volume and relatively modest cost (compared to SureFire et al)? But the OP and spruiker troll posted highly adverse comments in a number of threads, generating an impression of overall customer dissatisfaction. Personally, I only take these things seriously when there's reasonable corroboration. :p
One of my Zebralights lost the correct middle intensity setting. They were willing to replace it within the 1 year period, but I did not bother to return it.
 

time

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In the end, the lights came back into stock on Zebralight's own online shop, so I ordered both the high CRI AA that Stereodude suggested and the much more powerful neutral-white 18650 alternative. Hopefully the electrician will be happy with one or the other.
 

mubs

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Only Fenix is well represented here, with the same authorized dealer also selling some Nightcore, Surefire and Ultrafire models. The dealer also sells the supporting stuff - batteries, chargers, diffusers, etc. and honors warranty.

I have an immediate need for a headlamp, so I'll probably buy the Fenix HL21 from this outfit at a 50% premium compared to best US price. At least I'll have warranty support. It seems to best suit my needs. The HP25 would probably be overkill and too heavy to wear as has already been pointed out, though the choice of flood or spot or both is extremely attractive. USD100 from this source; no thanks, I'll pass.

For my other needs I'll probably order from the US and have my bro bring it in late Jan.
 

LunarMist

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Well let us know how it goes with all the various lights. I'm especially interested in how hot the 18650 models run on the forehead.
 

mubs

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That would be time. No 18650 for me; I don't want the added headaches of another form factor and a separate charger for them. It's going to be AA and /or CR123 for me, the former as much as possible.
 
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