Review: L3 Illumination L10 Nichia 219

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GottaZoom
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Review: L3 Illumination L10 Nichia 219

L3 Illuminations L10 model is an AA light, purchased with 4 modes in Natural finish.

I’ve been excited to get my first Nichia 219 led based light, so this is my first experience with this high CRI led and with L3 products. It came in a nice plastic box with extra o-rings and split rings for key carry (mine will ride inside my wallet).

Finish – With the natural finish I expected more of a silver with black accent as seen in the pic above. The finish is more of a uniform dark grey with some brown tone in it. Still very nice. My wife really liked the orange after seeing all of the available colors, so we may order another.

Beam – I was concerned in that another BLFer reported a dark corona between the hot spot and the spill, but that isn’t evident in my sample. I also feel my LED is well centered in the fairly deep reflector, so that and/or depth of the LED to the reflector may be part of reported differences. The beam is decidedly more yellow than my Thrunight T10 XPG, probably helping to deliver the higher CRI.

Comparing the beams of these two similar lights, the general size and shape seem pretty similar. The XPG seems to have a bit more throw and is definitely brighter with both lights on high when compared on a wall or across a small dark room. The Nichia will make a fine primarily indoor or backup light (which is as I intended).

CRI impact – Colors do pop better as demonstrated by others. My wife and I were comparing colors in her closet. I find the cool white colors to be acceptable, but there is a lot more white over the color while the Nichia just seems to reflect the colors with a better white balance and more natural color as the result.

T10 vs L10 – The L10 is about 2mm shorter than the Thrunight T10. The head is about 0.5mm thinner also. Plus the L10 has a reflector that seems to be ~1.5mm deeper by guess (and probably narrower by the smaller head difference). The deeper reflector is impressive given the shorter overall length, and may be needed to offset the slightly narrower width.

While both will tailstand, the L10 is more stable due to the large ring at the tail vs. the fan tail of the T10. However the lanyard recess in the tail ring on the L10 does present some sharp corners that could be a problem if carried loose in a pocket. Hopefully they will round them in future versions. Build quality seems acceptable, though perhaps thinner than with the Thrunight T10.

The L10 head has more length in the threads, and its head tighter to the body, so it doesn’t need to be turned out as far to keep the head from accidentally lighting if the head is tipped.

Modes – The L10 always starts in the firefly mode. The Nichia low is VERY low. It is much lower than my T10 and I will only find it useful when my eyes have adapted to no other light. The low is a useful level for very close work. The medium seems comparable to the T10 medium. The high is similar, but somewhat less bright to the T10 high.

Since it will take longer for my eyes to adjust, I probably won’t use the firefly in the L10 as often as I have with the T10 (particularly when entering darkened movie theater). But I like having it in my always-with-me backup light for long run time in the event of being stuck somewhere with no other light. That’s why I carry a backup light in addition to an EDC light chosen on what I’m wearing and otherwise will have handy in the car or day bag.

EDIT: No beamshots, but my impression outside are the same as indoors earlier today. The XPG throw is more focused with less spill than the Nichia. At ~120 feet the brightness of the XPG is slightly stronger than the Nichia. But the Nichia flood in the <50’ level is better than the XPG. Up close the Nichia colors are still beautiful, but at mid and further distance the XPG brightness tends to be more attractive in its utility.

And a few more thoughts:

1. The firefly is still VERY low. It will likely only be useful after much dark adaptation, or for use in extreme stealth situations.

2. With 4 modes and always starting on firefly it is some work to get to high; I’ve found this is helping me to use only enough light rather than always going to high.

3. This first experience with the Nichia is not likely to move me more to neutrals, or turn me to a tint snob. I like it, but I still see it in something of a niche role. Especially outside, I still prefer a bright and throwy light. One nice thing about the warmer light outside is that the floody spill is less annoying than it is with the brighter whites.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06 Reason: sb56637 replaced <!-- break --> with <!--break--> via Scanner Search and Replace module.
jacktheclipper
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Thanks for posting your observations , GottaZoom .

 It occurred to me that the spill of my light might be influenced by the fact that my light is white , and the inside of the bezel may be somehow influencing the beam due to the reflectivity of the white lining .

 I tried to tighten the pill into the head in order to put the emitter closer to the opening of the reflector but even tightened down all the way , there is still a slight gap between the emitter and the opening in the reflector .

Nichia 219 goodness in a compact package . 

GottaZoom
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jacktheclipper wrote:

I tried to tighten the pill into the head in order to put the emitter closer to the opening of the reflector but even tightened down all the way , there is still a slight gap between the emitter and the opening in the reflector.

Now that it is dark inside and out, I’ve gone back to look again.

Shining the light on a light beige tile floor here in a fairly dark room, I can very slightly see a fainter ring around the hot spot, but only at about 1-2 feet. Up very close the brightness tends to hide it, and back any distance beyond about 3 feet the ring seems to disappear into the spill. It may still be there, but I’m just not sensitive enough to see it at that point.

Walking around the house, the ring is not noticeable at all on our darker Spanish tile floors. On high it is most noticeable at the short distances on light colored surfaces like the bright white appliances or cabinets in our kitchen. I don’t observe the effect at all in typical use or in use with lower power settings unless I look closely for it at very short distances.

In mine, the reflector seems to be almost resting on the very outer edge of the 4 corners of the LED die. There may be a very small sub-quarter-mm gap, though. Mine does seem to be very well centered, too.

PCC
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I, too, have both the T10 and the L10 Nichia. On my two lights the Firefly mode is ever so slightly brighter on the T10 than the L10, but, not as low as the Ti 0.04 lumens. I’d guess that the L10 is around 0.07 or 0.06 lumens. The weird thing, though, is that my L10 is brighter than my T10 on high. Yes, I traded batteries thinking that the battery in the T10 was getting flat and got the same results.

I’ve pretty much decided that all lights in my EDC rotation for use up close and personal should have a Nichia 219 emitter in it because you can appreciate it more. For longer range a cool white emitter will be the way to go because Lux is more important in this situation and cool whites give more output for the watts than neutrals or HCRI emitters give.

Ouchyfoot
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I have an orange and a white L10 Nichia 918. I love the light, it’s a Nichia damnit, but the colours can be misleading. The orange is nothing like the picture. It is more of a metallic rust red. The white looks good, but I’m pretty sure it’s just white enamel spray paint.

Photo

wahoowad
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Your ‘orange’ looks a lot like the red they offer

       
       
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GottaZoom
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Ouchyfoot wrote:
I have an orange and a white L10 Nichia 918. I love the light, it’s a Nichia damnit, but the colours can be misleading. The orange is nothing like the picture. It is more of a metallic rust red. The white looks good, but I’m pretty sure it’s just white enamel spray paint.

Photo

Orange from CPFM post

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?281491-L3-Illumination-L10-(1xAA)-XP-G2-LED-4-mode-in-Orange-and-Natural&highlight=l10+white

Also, white is different from the HA3 finish of the other colors in this post on CPFM:

“ White is unknown. I need your guys’ opinion on White. So far the best they can do is a glossy white finish (anodizing is not a possibility).”

BetweenRides
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Ouchyfoot wrote:
I have an orange and a white L10 Nichia 918. I love the light, it's a Nichia damnit, but the colours can be misleading. The orange is nothing like the picture. It is more of a metallic rust red. The white looks good, but I'm pretty sure it's just white enamel spray paint. Photo

Unless your camera color is off, the one on the left is red. See post #132 in the CPF thread linked above.

Ouchyfoot
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Yes, my colour is a little off. It’s closer to gotta zooms pic. It’s still nowhere near the international orange in the stock photos. The white is white-white, not bone, as it appears in my pic. It’s not a big deal with me, I just wanted the Nichia.
I really wanted a pink Nichia so I could trade heads with the white and make a “Nichia Lipstick”.

sb56637
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Thanks very much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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reppans
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Nice review…

FWIW, I took the following lumen measurements with my DSLR for both lights:

T10: 0.13, 13, 113 (coincidence?)
L10: 0.03, 2.5, 20, 80

(DSLR calibrated off a D25A Clicky)

A couple of things I didn’t see mentioned:
- The L10 uses a foam sponge spring which gives me durability concerns, particularly for a light which needs to be cycled to reach higher modes ie, no memory.
- The reset time to return to low is a quite long 5 – 6 seconds. I hear there’s a V2 that brings it down to a more reasonable 2-3 seconds.

I’m a big moonlight mode fan but my biggest disappoint that the firefly mode is just too low. The N219 is really a gorgeous tint though.

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I have been looking for a small 1xAA pocket light for some time. I finally settled on this model from SBFlashlights who shipped well packaged and extremely fast. It’s got a nice HA3 natural finish in the version I selected as well as an orange peel reflector and anti-reflective lens. The knurling is well done without being overly aggressive befitting a light of this size. The emitter is well centered and has no yellow or blue tinge. The twist head function I don’t find at all objectionable again for something this small. The regulated ~0.1/5/35/130 Lumen spacing I find to my liking. I disagree with those who feel the the super low firefly/moonlight is too low; I deem it very useful. The only nit is the sharp edge to the bottom lanyard cutout. I may have to give it a light pass with a very fine file.

Sure is tiny! Smile

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wahoowad wrote:
!http://www.sbflashlights.com/images/products/personalizations/3484.jpg![...

 

Just a guess but if you study this and the image of the black / silver light I think it is not a photo but is a rendering out of a computer program. That would be why the color of the actual light doesn't match what is here.  For me, the little ripple is the giveaway...just too even. AND... the ripple in both images seems to be identical.

Dan. 

Texas Lumens Website… http://www.texaslumens.com

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jacktheclipper
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Does anyone use a 14500 in their L3 ?

bald1
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jacktheclipper wrote:

Does anyone use a 14500 in their L3 ?

Some folks on CPFmarketplace reported on using a 14500. No increase in output over standard or NiMh AAs. And as long as heat was controlled, no problem.

bald1
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Now that pocket clips are being made available, I ordered an orange 4500k 92+CRI B10 bin Nichia 219 to go with my natural XP-G2 R5 L10. It has a 2013 serial number whereas the XP-G2 is a 2012. The threads were perfect out of the box allowing effortless one handed operation. The emitter is well centered and no issues have been noted. NICE Smile

rpm
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I’ve been looking at these for a while and finally decided to just bite the bullet and order. I got a 3-mode orange with XP-G2 and a 4-mode white with Nichia. Wanted to get them different to justify getting two. Otherwise I would just be buying two of the same thing in a different color. Smile

Can’t wait until they arrive!

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Would love one of these, unfortunately shipping is $15 to my country. Sad

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Nice Clip, but 15$ shipping to Spain :_(

rpm
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I got my two copies today. An orange 3-mode XP-G2 and a white 4-mode Nichia 219.

Orange 3-mode XP-G2:
- Even with the same battery as the white, the head doesn’t screw on far enough in my opinion. There’s a gap about the thickness of a penny that’s visible copper. Ruins the look in my opinion, so I’m a little disappointed.
- Although there’s no moonlight, I think the low is a pretty decent low for practical usage so not terribly upset it’s missing.

White 4-mode Nichia 219:
- The white looks great, but it feels like some sort of metal paint so makes it feel cheap.
- I assume the branding lettering was just painted over, since none of it is visible
- The Nichia is VERY nice. I hadn’t previously really cared about high CRI lights until I put these two side by side. Wow! What a nice natural color!
- The head is much harder to turn on this one than the orange for some reason. Requires two hands.
- I really like the moonlight
- Like the orange, I really like the fact that it always starts on the lowest. I think I’m now only going to buy lights that go L-M-H from now on.

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I wish this was available in pink with Nichia 219. :_(

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Quote:
White 4-mode Nichia 219: - The white looks great, but it feels like some sort of metal paint so makes it feel cheap.

Yeah… I got a white one a few weeks ago, and when I opened the plastic case it comes in, it smelled exactly like spray paint.
It looks good, and I imagine painting it is the only way to get it white. Maybe not as durable as anodizing, but it’s nice having a light that isn’t black (or gray) for a change.

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bald1 wrote:
Now that pocket clips are being made available, I ordered an orange 4500k 92+CRI B10 bin Nichia 219 to go with my natural XP-G2 R5 L10.

Hi, er, how well do those clips stay on? Are they tight or do they wobble? Do they have any type of ridge underneath which might fit into the groove on the light to prevent sliding?

I ordered mine without a clip because I generally dislike clip-on clips, but I later realized the light rolls very easily and a clip would help prevent that. I don’t want something which will slide or pop off easily though. Many lights have raised borders around where the clip goes, but this doesn’t. So, I’m hoping the clip itself has a ridge to fit into the millimeter-thin groove under the clip.

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Strick9 wrote:
Yeah… I got a white one a few weeks ago, and when I opened the plastic case it comes in, it smelled exactly like spray paint. It looks good, and I imagine painting it is the only way to get it white. Maybe not as durable as anodizing, but it’s nice having a light that isn’t black (or gray) for a change.

It’s fine if you keep it as an interior light, never pocketed or taken outdoors. I had kept mine inside for about a month, then one day decided to take it with me. I put it in a pocket that had some loose change in it. I did not run or walk for a significant period. Yet, at the end of the day, the paint had noticeably chipped off in several places, especially along the rim of the head. So… I took my thumbnail and scrapped—sure enough, the paint coating came off with ease. I think I’m going to strip it all off (won’t be hard to do) and leave it raw.

The white paint is not useful at all, given how fragile. IMHO, they never should have offered it, especially when “Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish” was not qualified by color. There is no way this coating is even HA.

^ Notice how I made the chip worse, just by applying a little pressure with my thumbnail.

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I can’t say the white one looked appealing, but I’d love a Nichia 219 model in turquoise or purple.

(I realize they don’t make purple ones… but if they did, I’d buy it)

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The question becomes, which colors are HA III and which ones are like the white, that can be scraped off with your thumbnail? I’d like to know this before ever considering another.

Jake25
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Only white is painted on, I pointed this out in CPF apologies for it not being fully clear on our site.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
Hi, er, how well do those clips stay on? Are they tight or do they wobble? Do they have any type of ridge underneath which might fit into the groove on the light to prevent sliding?

I ordered mine without a clip because I generally dislike clip-on clips, but I later realized the light rolls very easily and a clip would help prevent that. I don’t want something which will slide or pop off easily though. Many lights have raised borders around where the clip goes, but this doesn’t. So, I’m hoping the clip itself has a ridge to fit into the millimeter-thin groove under the clip.

I lost my clip after only a couple of weeks. It came off while hooked to my pocket. Luckily the light itself dropped down into my pocket, but the clip fell who-knows-where. I looked around for it, but I didn’t have any idea how long it had been missing.

I may try another clip if I can figure out a way of securing it. Maybe an o-ring in the groove toward the base of the light would make the clip more secure.

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Jake25 wrote:
Only white is painted on, I pointed this out in CPF apologies for it not being fully clear on our site.

Yeah, you should definitely provide an asterisk on the details about the HA III coating, and then mention that white is basic paint—not pocket friendly.

I didn’t see your specific apology but the customer reports I’d read didn’t give a good indication of just how fragile the paint is. Also, it was natural to assume that the absence of any mention on the website meant that the problem might have been taken care of with subsequent batches…

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Yeah, I agree the website needs an * for the white finish. To be fair, this very thread and this one here both discuss it being paint.

For the record, my white L10 is still holding up fine, so far… I do carry it often, but I am extremely anal with most of my lights. I am careful to keep it seperate from change, keys, knives, and anything that might scratch it.

Also, the firefly ain’t too damn low! You guys complaining about that are nuts. Just last night I thought to myself how nice it is while using it. I want a true firefly mode. Not a superlow. The 4 mode L10 modes are excellent IMO.

I like copper

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