Review: SHADOW JM26 Compact XM-L Thrower (1 x 18/26650)

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turboBB
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Review: SHADOW JM26 Compact XM-L Thrower (1 x 18/26650)

The JM26 is another of Shadow's recent releases. It can be considered the fraternal twin of the SL3 in that it bears the same looks in a slightly longer form factor owing to the deeper reflector:

Therein the reflector lies the main difference in that the JM26 features a single emitter that while outputting roughly half of the SL3, bests it in throw. By how much you ask? Let's find out...


MFG SPECS
• Cree XM-L U2 LED with lifespan of 50,000 hours, Maximum output of 800 lumens.
• Digitally regulated output, maintains constant brightness.
• Low voltage warning flash.
• Side switch on body of flashlight for on/off operation (Hold button for more than 1 second). Hold switch further to enable mode switching between 3 light modes (High, Medium, Low) and 1 strobe mode accessed via quick double click 
(Strobe can be accessed regardless if the flashlight is on or off) • Smooth Aluminum reflector.
• Long throw flashlight with illumination past 300 meters. (36,000 lux @ 1m) • Made of durable 6061 aluminum alloy.
• CNC manufactured.
• Stainless steel bezel.
• Toughened ultra-clear glass lens.
• Premium Hard Anodized Type III grey finish. Scratch resistant and anti-abrasive.
• IPX-8 waterproof.
• 142mm(Length)x32mm(Body)x63.5mm(Head).
• 220g weight (batteries not included).
• Powered by Li-ion battery: 1x26650. 
• Test run(Powered by 1x26650,capacity of 3.7V/4000mAh,Kingcell brand in China):
High mode: 1.6 hrs,800lm.
Med. mode: 4.7 hrs.
Low mode: over 35 hrs.
• Versatility of exploration,searching,camping,hunting,cycling,patr ol,outworks etc.
• Included accessories: lanyard/O rings/glass lens.


PACKAGING / CONTENTS
The JM26 arrived in generic Eco packaging with decent foam cushioning:
   

Accessories included are:
- 2 x small o-ring's
- lanyard
- spare lens (& corresponding o-ring)



CONDENSED VIDEO SUMMARY
Here is a complete video summary of the JM26:



DESIGN & FEATURES
The JM26 features a removable flat SS bezel:
  
There is no AR coating on the lens.

When removed, the lens and emitter should be easily replaceable for upgrades. The reflector is a nice hunk of Al and while it's a nice size in diameter (56.2mm/2.2"), it's relatively shallow (32mm/1.26") thus gives the JM26 a nice balance between flood and throw. It's centered around the emitter by the black plastic disc (to right of o-ring in top left pic):
  
 
Speaking of the o-ring, it's a little tricky to mount around the reflector and took some patience and deft maneuvering to align it properly. One slip and the reflector can be marred so best to leave this alone if one has limited adroitness in their digits.

As can be seen in this close-up, there is ample room to work on swapping out the emitter board to a higher output bin or perhaps different tint to suit one's needs:
 
The aforementioned black centering disc simply goes around the base of the emitter board.

There are many machined grooves and design motifs that subjectively I find aesthetically pleasing, additionally, the grooves around the head function as heat fins:
  
As with their other lights that feature a side-switch, it's adorned with a SS ring (it might actually be Al since it failed the magnet test). The collar that the side-switch rests in features alternating textured curved and flat sides.

With the exception of a "plug" at the base (more later), the battery tube is milled as a single piece (that is, there is no tailcap) and again features a blend of symmetrical machined grooves and design motifs that I feel works well:
  
There are two flat surfaces where the model and company name are laser etched.

The base of the tube is finished off with milled grooves that run parallel with the tube:
 
Carrying on the "milled as a single piece" theme, the lanyard holder holes are drilled directly into the base. The base is nice and flat so allows for pretty stable tailstanding. The non-anodized piece is actually a "plug" that is non-removable. It was explained to me that this was done for aesthetic purposes but I would've preferred that they had simply removed the anodizing rather than incorporating a separate piece but ultimately, it shouldn't compromise the water resistance.

There is a brass nodule at the base of the head, it's recessed ever so slightly so as to require a magnet when using flat-top cells:
  
There is however a large spring in the base of the tube.

There is an optional 18650 sleeve that allows the use of said cells:
[pic]


SIZE / HANDLING

L to R: SHADOW SL3 | SHADOW JM26 | SHADOW JM07-Pro | SHADOW JM07| Elektro Lumens Big Bruiser

The above is a quick shot of the JM26 compared with other single-cell 26650-sized lights. It's got a nice stout form-factor but isn't exactly pocketable except perhaps in cargo pants.

Overall the diameter of the JM26 fits very nicely in my medium-sized hands. With an overhand grip, the side-switch can be activated by one's pinkie: 
  


FIT & FINISH
The JM26 is roughly on par with the rest of their newer releases; that is to say that while it's not bad and improved from the very early JM07 I have, it could still make do with some additional refinement. Starting with the anodized finishing, the body is a different hue vs. the head:

NOTE: Flash intentionally used to highlight shading differences.

Overall, the anodizing has been applied well with none missing in the crevices, texturing or around edges:
   

The SS bezel threads on flush and the laser engravings are also nice and sharp with no blotchiness:
   
While the threads are not square-cut, they came decently greased and proved to be trouble-free during use.

Overall, the JM26 is a solidly constructed light that should stand up to a fair amount of abuse especially in consideration of its two piece build. If there is but one nitpick I can fault it with is the glue overrun from the switch:

There is also the matter of some minor blotches in the anodizing that I can't quite capture in pics but is there if one is intently looking for it.


UI
The UI on the JM26 is very straightforward. To turn it on, depress and hold on the side-switch for at least two seconds. Once on, each depress of the side-switch will cycle through the three output levels: H > M > L. Strobe can be activated at any time with the light on or off by depressing the switch twice; this can also be used as a work-around to the two second-delay by activating the strobe first and then depressing the switch one more time to exit out of it and activating H. To shut off the light, hold the side-switch again for two seconds or just quickly lock-out the light and twist the tube back on.

As with the rest of their lights with a side-switch, it is fairly easy to accidentally activate the strobe while cycling through the output levels since the spacing isn't tight enough. There is no memory so it'll always come on in H, to expound; if you last used the light in L and then either shut-off the light or change the batteries, the light will always come on in H. There is no electronic lock-out but the light can be physically locked-out since the threads are anodized.


BEAMSHOTS
Indoors (5m)
High


  

Med
  

Low
  
For details of the above indoor shots and comparo vs. many other lights, please check Epic Indoor Shots Trilogy


RUNTIME & OUTPUT
The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with: 
- Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
- Current draw
- Actual runtime using ANSI FL1 (first in HR and then in M so for the RL3100 on High, read this as 1.6hrs or 98min)
- As of May 2012: Lumens measured on my PVC LMD @ 30 seconds
- Also for High, captured the temperature: ambient, the head/fins at start and the max it reached (fan was used for all bats)

Max output measured @ 30 seconds was 839lms w/a KK 26650E (note: although I calibrate my PVC LMD before each runtime/lumens testing, the ambient temp will also cause a slight deviation in readings).

After an initial slight dip, the JM26 runs pretty well regulated until it can no longer sustain the current draw and starts a gradual decrease. Not surprisingly, the KK with the highest capacity of the batteries tested takes home the runtime crown yielding 98 minutes before the LVW (Low Voltage Warning) kicked in. As with the SL3 and JM07, the JM26 is capable of running on a single 18650 cell utilizing an optional spacer (must be able to handle 3A draw sustained). The RL3400 isn't terribly far behind the KK, producing a total runtime of 83min but with a overall lower output once it drops out of regulation. Despite not having a step down, the JM26 doesn't get all that hot. 

Here in order for each cell are measurements for:
* regulation; time in minutes the JM26 is able to stay in regulation before output starts dropping
* medium; average lms in first minute + current draw and calculated runtime
* low; average lms in first minute + current draw and calculated runtime
* stand-by; since the JM26 utilizes an electronic switch, the current draw + calculated time* before cell is drained

* does not take into consideration the cell's self-discharge rate so real-life times would be lower


CONCLUSION
The JM26 is a very nice light and I'm quite taken with it. Both it and its fraternal twin, the SL3, feature very solid builds and should stand up to some hard use. Subjectively, I really like the styling; some may find that all the machined grooves lead to a busy look but it's got an industrial design to it. I feel Shadow is moving in the right direction with their recent releases but while the overall fit and finish is pretty good, I'd like to see them bump it up a notch. They seem to have done that between the first JM07 release and this batch so I'm optimistic they'll do it again with their future models. In particular, I'd like to see them revise the UI but for now though, here are my thoughts:

turboBB-licious

  • optional sleeve allows use of 18650 cells thus increasing flexibility of fuel source
  • anodized threads allow physical lock-out
  • decently regulated even on 18650's (albeit with reduced runtime)
  • two-piece setup feels very solid 


turboBB-cautious

  • brass nodule in head slightly recessed requiring use of magnet with flat-top cells
  • some blotches in the anodization
  • quick cycling of output levels can accidentally trigger strobe


turboBB-wishes

  • holster
  • spring in place of the brass nodule positive contact point
  • revised driver that would allow 2-cell operation with extension tube
  • reduce time required to turn on light from two-seconds down to one
  • tighten-up timing required to activate strobe
  • electronic lock-out feature
  • AR coated lens
  • more output levels implemented via different UI (a la Zebralight)



JM26 GALLERY


= = = = = = =
JM26 provided by sbflashlights.com for review.

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:54
eebowler
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It’s such a beautiful light. Thanks for the review turboBB H)

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

MattSPL
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Great review. Thanks Smile

JohnnyMac
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Nice review and a beautiful light. I'm surprised it doesn't best the HD2010 in throw or at least equal it. Love the side switch.

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

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Rusty Joe
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Nice review and a beautiful light. I’m surprised it doesn’t best the HD2010 in throw or at least equal it. Love the side switch.

How far behind the HD2010 is it? To those of you who own this light, what are your impressions?

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Hikelite
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UI is putting me off personally.

gords1001
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It has a 7135 driver and room for many more chips, I intend to own either one of these or an sl3 this year.

cncyana
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Hikelite wrote:

UI is putting me off personally.

Why does it put you off? I prefer memory, and a lower low, and low to hi sequence rather than hi to low.

Questions/Answers here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

Hikelite
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cncyana wrote:
Hikelite wrote:

UI is putting me off personally.

Why does it put you off? I prefer memory, and a lower low, and low to hi sequence rather than hi to low.

Press 2seconds to turn it on. Press another 2 seconds to turn it off. BTW: I have a JM26.

It has no memory anyway.  For a thrower I do not care for low-low modes and I want to start in High. Every time I had to quickly check something I have to wait unti it turn on, then wait until I reach high. We are talking about a thrower for actual purpose of seeing at 100M+, not to shelf stand. I loaned it to other non-flashaholics and they find the UI heavy too.  For pocket EDC-ing, I have other flashlights that fit in my pocket and worth starting on low mode.

cncyana
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you have good point about the high-output purpose of the light. i think the 2 secs is to prevent accidental activation. maybe the button is sensitive with a light touch?

Questions/Answers here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

cncyana
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TurboBB – I was wondering if the battery tube from the SL3 or JM26 would properly fit onto the JM07 with good battery contact and o-ring fitment. If so, I would be interested in a side-switch-ONLY version of the JM07 using the battery tube from the SL3 or JM26 if Shadow would make one. The difference in anodize color is no big deal. It would be more a pocketable and shorter version of the JM26 – with a bit less power. Thanks.

Questions/Answers here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

Pulsar
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maybe just the tail cap could be swapped? you could contact cnqg or intl-outdoor and see if they would try a tailcap swap or battery tube swap and see if they are compatible. either that or maybe a member here has both lights and can try a few combinations see what works

Hikelite
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cncyana wrote:
you have good point about the high-output purpose of the light. i think the 2 secs is to prevent accidental activation. maybe the button is sensitive with a light touch?

There way around that accidental stuff, plus the switch is not one of those extra short click like on some Spark flashlights (light touch). So far I am glad to say that in about 3 years I had not accidental activation on any flashlight.

cncyana
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TurboBB answered my question on CPF – Battery tubes are not interchangeable. So much for that idea.

Questions/Answers here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

turboBB
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Indoor shots now up.

GioLight
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anyone bought JM26 from Fasttech? http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10004663/1359102-shadow-jm26-cree-... ….is it the original?

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GioLight wrote:
anyone bought JM26 from Fasttech? http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10004663/1359102-shadow-jm26-cree-... ….is it the original?

! Fasttech added them today, no one could get them in 5-6 hours, even with fastest shipping to US (it seams that US shipments are delivered fastest) it would still take at least 5 days from today and it’s a weekend now…

 

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GioLight wrote:
anyone bought JM26 from Fasttech? http://www.fasttech.com/products/1601/10004663/1359102-shadow-jm26-cree-... ….is it the original?

It appeared on their “New Arrivals” page this morning, so it’s unlikely that anyone has one from them yet. In view of my experience with Fasttech, however, I would be very surprised if it was anything other than an original.

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sorry, i didn’t know it was a new arrival Smile …i like very much the JM26 and i know that fasttech is good shop….than the price is nice!!…i’m very tempted…..my only doubt is that it could be upgraded soon with the new XM-L2 :~ …you suggest me to wait?

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GioLight wrote:
my only doubt is that it could be upgraded soon with the new XM-L2 :~ …you suggest me to wait?

You don’t know much about the led’s, do you? Never mind, buy it now before they stop selling it because of some MAP bullshit..
It’s already XM-L2 inside:

 

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you are right Sirius, thank you Smile …it seems really an xl-l2!!…but right now i am queued to buy a modified Crelant 7g9 on CPF Italy forum Shocked
If i can not take it i think to buy the JM26 8)

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fasttech has answered it is an XML-U2 not xm-l2 Sad

Sirius9
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Then the pics are wrong…

 

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Review now completed.

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Thanks for the review turboBB. I’m not sure I understand the lack of mode memory.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

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turboBB
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Thx, I've updated the review to clarify the UI section a little:

There is no memory so it'll always come on in H, to expound; if you last used the light in L and then either shut-off the light or change the batteries, the light will always come on in H. 

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Sorry turbo. What I meant I personally dont see much sense in a light that always turns on high. If it had memory and you wanted the light to turn on high turn it off on high. If I use a light at night in the bedroom for example I want the light to turn on low.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

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turboBB
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Ah, gotcha. Well I suppose that depends on one's needs. For indoor use, I'd most definitely prefer L to come on first (or at least memorized). However, for emergency situations, it'd be nice if I can instantly access H or strobe immediately despite having L memorize in which case, the M18's UI fits the bill quite nicely.

However, in this day & age, there really is no excuse to not have modes memorized. There are so many lights with advanced UI's that the Shadow series feels dated.

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TurboBB, could you take a couple of shots to see whats under the emitter and how it looks like when you take the driver out, how thick is the aluminum under the emitter?
Does it require adding some material (copper or so) for better temperature dissipation, because I was thinking on bumping up the driver to ~ 4A and dedoming the XM-L2 T6 (U2 if I find one), all to get better throw. Any comments on expected numbers (meters) Smile

Thanks

 

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i have received this morning my JM26 from Fasttech!
I’m happy to tell you it has an XM-L2 like in pic….but i’m disappointed that the torch starts always al low mode :_(
I knew it is with no memory, but i knew that it had to start on high mode |( …however this evening i will test its performance!
Than it is normal to see a donut hole in the spot already at about 50 cm from the wall? Thank you

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