Spark SF5 XM-L2 NW (AA/14500) Carbon fiber and Flood/Throw reflector kit

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ChibiM
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Spark SF5 XM-L2 NW (AA/14500) Carbon fiber and Flood/Throw reflector kit

Spark SF5 XM-L2 NW

Handsome AA light!

The Spark SF5 uses a NW XM-L2 emitter that is mainly focused on using AA batteries.. There is not much improvement in output when using 14500 li-ion batteries! Please read on.

The main selling point would be the +/-200 lumen output on AA battery,
and its unique Carbon fiber sleeve
plus
the double reflector kit!!!!
And last but not least... it`s unique color

 

Brand/modelSpark SF5 NW
LEDCREE XM-L2 NW
Working Voltage0.9-4.2V
BatteryAA/14500
SwitchSide switch
Modes4+1: L, ML, M, H + Turbo
SOS/StrobeNo
Mode changingSide switch: PRESS and HOLD
AnodizingHAIII
Tail standYes....
Lock outYes... manually
Momentary-OnNo
Coated glass lensNo, (but using a Schott ultra clear lens
ReflectorOP and Mule
WaterproofIPX 8
  
  

What you get:

Not much, but still a few noteworthy things.

  • Spark SF5 Flashlight
  • Small black storage box
  • Black pouch
  • Pocket clip
  • flood / throw reflector set
  • Very short little manual

The first thing that I noticed was the black little box.. which fits much better with this size of light than the regular stuff we get. And the pouch.....hmmm how can I use that one?
At the same time I was disappointed to see so few accessories. No holster, no O-rings, no lanyard...
The SF5 doesnt even have a lanyard.. in case you were wondering. But there is always the possibility to attach one to the clip..
That are a few points of consideration for Spark!


DIMENSIONS and WEIGHT:

"Throw reflector"
Length: 90mm

"Flood reflector"
Length: 85mm


Body diameter is 21.5mm
Head diameter is 24mm

Weight:
Without battery: 52grams
With AA battery: 78 grams

In comparison with other AA lights:

 Spark SF5Olight S15Eagletec D25ASunwayman V11RFenix LD12
length85mm87mm87mm100mm105mm
Dia21.5mm19.5mm18mm23mm21.5
Dia head24mm23mm18mm23mm21.5

Weight

grams

5246246054

left to right: UltrafireM5, eneloop AA, 18650battery, Spark SF5, Sunwayman V11R, Fenix LD12
Some side by side comparison: Mouse over with "throw reflector" mouse out with "Flood reflector".


HANDLING:

The SF5 is fairly shorter than the Sunwayman V11R and Fenix LD12. I wouldn`t say too short, but definitely on the shorter end of the spectrum.

Finding the switch in full darkness will be no difficulty. The switch sits in a a cut out in the head. This give a little more protection for accidentally switching on.

The Pocket clip is strong! it feels thicker than the one from the V11R, but the V11R clip is less flexible.. Much stiffer than the clip of the Spark SF5.

The NW emitter they use is probably a 3C.. not as nice as the 4C.. and more towards green if you compare the 4C and this SF5 NW side by side.

Because of the clip and bigger size head (with the heat grooves) it`s not as slippery as it may look like.

1 thing that I don`t like so much that it only has a side switch... I really like the V11R which has a tailcap for On/Off.
I know some people like side switch lights, but i really prefer something with a mechanical ON\OFF.
That was actually the main reason I sold my Olight S15.
The next thing that is seen many times with side switches is that you have to HOLD the switch while cycling through the modes.. I dont like that... but fortunately this one switches fairly quickly between modes.. faster than the Sunwayman C10R and C15A.

If it has a side switch, at least I would like to switch modes by CLICKING and not holding the switch.

UI and MODES:

  • 4 modes plus Turbo.
  1. Low
  2. Medium Low
  3. Medium
  4. High

  5. TURBO

When Off, press and release the switch.. it will come on in Low
Press and Hold to cycle through the 4 main modes...
Double Click in any mode will bring you to TURBO.
Another double click and it will bring you back to the previous mode.

Turn OFF by short click.

1 thing to note:
If you are in Medium for a few seconds, and you want to go to high.. the light will start back from Low instead of continuing to cycle to high...
This is something I don`t really like personally.
At the other side, you will be able to go back to Low any time. when the light is off.. just by holding the switch for a second or so.

PERFORMANCE:

Amperage with AA battery:

  • 1: 0.01A
  • 2: 0.04A
  • 3: 0.20A
  • 4: 1.50A

  • 5: 2.30A

Amperage with 14500 battery:

  • 1: 0.005A
  • 2: 0.02A
  • 3: 0.10A
  • 4: 0.30A

  • 5: 0.70A

Manufacturer specifications: Run-time

Turbo: 260 lumens 0.9hours
High: 100 lumens 2.8hours
Medium: 30lumens 9hours
Medium Low: 32hours
Low: 10 days

My test:
Turbo: 0.8hours
Medium: 8hours

I haven`t tested High, Medium Low and Low.

Note: I noticed after the following run-time test in Turbo, that it had some contact issues, and therefore sometimes not working in Turbo, only in High...
I worked this out, when I compared the output to the Sunwayman V11R, using my Lux meter.
So this is what I got from a normal eneloop AA 1900mAh min. before I discovered the contact issue.

Tightening the bezel solved the problem though.

Using a 14500 battery doesn`t help in overal output..
The Sunwayman on the contrary has a big improvement..
A positive side would be that the Spark SF5 would have a longer runtime in Turbo.
The V11R gives out about 200% using a 14500 over a normal AA battery

The Spark SF5 only produces about 10% more output..

 


Pictures taken with Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR M-mode: (iso100 f3.3 1/25sec 6mm)


Note that I collected the output the last few minutes in 2-minutes interval, while the main part is taken in 5-mintues interval.

Even after it reached 0 on my Lux meter,it was still producing light, a few lumens... But at which I just stopped the run-time test.

PWM:

No...not in any mode.

camera set to 1sec.....
Low mode:

Very smooth.

Flood vs Throw reflector kit:

Here the comparison between the "throw reflector" and the "flood reflector".

here the reflectors:


here the comparison in beam pattern.

Mouse Out is "flood reflector" and Mouse Over is "throw reflector".
The flashlight is about 25-30cm off the wall.

The Flood reflector is great for using as a headlight for close up work!


Throw


Flood

Without reflector

In comparison to the Sunwayman V11R

Wallshots:

mouse Out : Spark SF5, mouse Over: Sunwayman V11R
The Spark SF5 is Neutral white, while the Sunwayman V11R is cool white.

Here some beamshot comparisons with the Sunwayman V11R (rated 216lumens) on AA.

Control shot:

Mouse Out is Spark SF5 neutral white... Mouse Over is Sunwayman V11R cool white.
Spark SF5 is specified as 260lumens on AA
Sunwayman V11R rated at 219lumens on AA.

If the V11R is 219 lumens, I assume the Spark SF5 to be around the 200lumens of an AA battery.
not bad! But not the claimed 260lumens, or the Sunwayman V11r is underrated..
or my eyes are just a bad judge?! NW versus CW?

Another comparison between the specified 1lumen V11R and the 1 lumen SF5 in Lowest mode:


Left: Spark SF5, Right: Sunwayman V11R


Left: Spark SF5, Right: Sunwayman V11R

There must be a mistake, or the V11R is not 1 lumen or the Spark SF5 isn`t..
My guess would be the Sunwayman V11R is not 1 lumen, but utie a bit less!!

A few more pictures:

No square threads, but lubed.



centered emitter.

Summary:

PROS:

  • Available in CW and NW
  • 200+ lumens of 1xAA battery
  • Carbon fiber sleeve, unique
  • Color!
  • 5 modes.. Enough to choose from
  • No PWM
  • Hold it`s own against the SWM V11R CW
  • 2 types of reflectors, Flood and Throw
  • size

CONS:

  • No electronic lock-out (although I don`t like electronic lock-outs anyway)
  • Lack of extra accessories, like extra O-rings and holster.
  • Contact issue, sometimes didnt work in Turbo... (until I fastened the bezel)
  • Color mismatch between body and the 2 bezels... (which is not a big deal for me, really)
  • Not cheap @$50+

 

Edited by: ChibiM on 07/12/2014 - 09:27
jmpaul320
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I just got a sf3 – i was looking at the sf5 on hkequipment last night – i might pick one up

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

unknown00101
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Love the look of the carbon fiber, quite beautiful. The light reminds me of a zebralight.

ChibiM
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Will stop typing now..

thanks for the comments.. definitely better looking than the average black light.

Will hopefully continue the review tomorrow.

ImA4Wheelr
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Nice review.  Well check it out again after you finish.  Cool trick with the mouse over.

Firelight2
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You say the SF5 has a 3C tint neutral emitter? That would make it 5000k.

That’s much cooler than the tint in my SF3, which is around 4200-4500K.

ChibiM
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i honestly don`t know which emitter they used.. but its more greeny that my 4C lights.
Don`t know exactly what other emitter they could have used.

The greeny mainly shows when comparing it with my 4C lights I own. Not as much by just shining at random objects.

Trevi_lux
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Nice review ChibiM Big Smile .
The SF5 and the Zebra SC52 are my favorite aa flashlights.
With eneloop 2400mA runtime on turbo 1h.06 min, on High mode 2h. 47 min. I love with flood reflector.

blfdemigod
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Very nice review. Would it be possible to take a pic showing how the flood looks in your garage as well, as I'm assuming that garage pic is with the throw reflector? Maybe I'm wrong.

Also very weird how weak it is on 14500

My collection 2 Small

Disclosure:

Firelight2
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ChibiM wrote:

i honestly don`t know which emitter they used.. but its more greeny that my 4C lights.
Don`t know exactly what other emitter they could have used.

The greeny mainly shows when comparing it with my 4C lights I own. Not as much by just shining at random objects.

Interesting.

My SF3 has no green at all in the tint. It’s actually one of the prettiest XML or XML2 tints of any lights I own…. comparable in quality to the tint in my 2012 XML Eagletac D25c neutral. Far better than the tint on my Zebralight SC52w.

MountainKing
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Seems a great light for the money but for that kind of money, I’d rather get a ZL SC/H 52W.

As a con you missed the ‘low output on 14500’ Smile

Thanks for the great review.

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http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
Do not support this brand.

DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
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Racer
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Thanks for the review. I’m sold. Does hkequiment have a blf discount code? I put off buying the SC52 and now I’m glad I did.

jmpaul320
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Racer wrote:
Thanks for the review. I’m sold. Does hkequiment have a blf discount code? I put off buying the SC52 and now I’m glad I did.

The code on their site doesn’t work. Let me email them

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

Racer
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The wife didn’t even blink when I said “I’m buying another $50 light payday” which means I should’ve held out for more. Now it’s just choosing a vendor and waiting a few days until money magically appears in my account Smile

jmpaul320
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Lol I got paid today too. I love the sf3 so much the sf5 is a no brainer Smile

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

Racer
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jmpaul320 wrote:
Lol I got paid today too. I love the sf3 so much the sf5 is a no brainer Smile

I don’t get paid until the 1st [twitch] [twitch] Sad

Hmmm I think I’m gonna go for the NW version of the SF5. Probably that and a D25A Ti clicky will hold me over for another couple weeks. With some of my lights coming from China and some coming 2-day from Prime, it’s always like Christmas Smile

The Burgh
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Fantastic review, one of the best ones I’ve read in a long time!

I’ve owned/used this light for several months (attracted by the throw/flood reflectors) and must say it is in my EDC rotation.

No, not cheap but dual reflectors actually gets you two good looking, very functional lights!

There will always be more darkness than I have lights.

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How is the clip? Is it decent? The review said this:

The Pocket clip is strong! it feels thicker than the one from the V11R, but the V11R clip is less flexible.. Much stiffer than the clip of the Spark SF5.

…but I’m not sure what that means. It’s stronger and thicker without being stiffer? Does that mean it’s good? Wink
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Yes, it is very strong and rigid. So rigid, I’m opting not to force it on to the body of the light – I just hate to scratch anno surfaces.

BTW, it mounts on rear, opening facing forward.

There will always be more darkness than I have lights.

Racer
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The Burgh wrote:
Yes, it is very strong and rigid. So rigid, I’m opting not to force it on to the body of the light – I just hate to scratch anno surfaces.

BTW, it mounts on rear, opening facing forward.

Thanks. It looks nice. I wasn’t originally a big fan of snap-on clips but I have a few lights where it’s done right, like the V11R.

harry218
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Nice! The comparison with V11R is really helpful as I’m in the market for a SF3 or V11R.

jmpaul320
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harry218 wrote:
Nice! The comparison with V11R is really helpful as I’m in the market for a SF3 or V11R.

hkequipment has a pretty good price on a v11r

sometimes they will popup on ebay or the cpfmarketplace for $50-60

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

Firelight2
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I have both the V11R and the SF3.

Personally, I prefer the SF3. It feels better in the hand. No need to flip it around to get to all the controls. And it looks better.

jmpaul320
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from hk equipment

You are weclome. For SF5-NW, we can offer US$49.00 with coupon SF5NWoff. For group buy, we can down to US$44.00 for 15pcs. The price including shipping with tracking for group buy. For our web coupon order. We offer free shipping but please select extra US$2.00 option if member prefer package with tracking. Thanks for your interest.

who is interested in a group buy?! I am!

feeler thread: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/30794

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

ezarc
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Thanks for the review, looks like a very nice light.

ChibiM
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I just broke the rubber switch cover as I tried to see how I can open the light.

I'm still a little concerned about the contact issue.. it's working, but when I push on the side of the head I can see the output changing, like small flickering.

This doesn't do it all the time, but from some angles more than from other sides..

 

About the clip? I think it's just a different material from the V11R.. thicker but less stiff. I didn't say it was stronger.

Fritz t. Cat
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So far, it seems that carbon fiber is only decoration over an aluminum body. Real carbon fiber products use it as structure. I am not sure if it could be used as the conduction path or not, maybe if one could find ways of connecting it to metal.

Flashlight designers should look at lighthouses and pottery.
这些谁设计的手电筒应该看灯塔,以及在陶器。

ChibiM
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It's just a carbon sleeve, nothing more.

Firelight2
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ChibiM wrote:

It’s just a carbon sleeve, nothing more.

Yes, the carbon fiber sleeve is just decorative. It sits on top of aluminum.

On my SF3 the sleeve does appear to be glued in. It doesn’t move or rotate.

pipifax
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Is this light better and more recommendable than SC52 flashlight?

Muto
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Or are they just very similar?
Either way, nice looking light.

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