Review: Kaidomain KD C12 XPL HI

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Rolz
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Review: Kaidomain KD C12 XPL HI

KD C12 XPL HI

Previously I posted a review on the new Kaidomain KD C8 which uses the XPL HI V2 LED and smooth reflector (http://budgetlightforum.com/node/41330). After posting the review, Ban at Kaidomain asked if I’d like to try out the OP reflector in the C8 as a comparison along with a C12 torch. In this review I discuss the C12 and towards the end include details and beamshots of the C8 for comparison purposes.

Thanks to Kaidomain for supplying a torch for this review.

Sellers/Manufacturers Specs

The KD C12 with a XPL Hi comes in multiple models. The differences are in the modes provided and the type of reflector includes OP ("orange peel") or SMO (Smooth).

 

Below is a list of models along with a link to the Kaidmain site.

KD C12 C12SM1 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 1-Mode SMO LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12SM3 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 3-Mode SMO LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12SM5 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 5-Mode SMO LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12SM5 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 5-Mode SMO LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12OM1 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 1-Mode OP LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12OM3 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 3-Mode OP LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

KD C12 C12OM5 Cree XP-L HI V2 6500K 1600 Lumens 5-Mode OP LED Flashlight - Black (1 x 18650)

 

At the time of posting this review all were priced at $21.91 shipped.

The torch tested is the KD C12 C12OM5 model.

The web site listed specifications of the tested torch are,

Brand:

KD

Model:

C12OM5

Flashlight Material:

Aluminium Alloy

Flashlight Color:

Black

Emitter Brand/Type:

Cree

Emitter BIN:

XP-L HI

Color BIN:

White 6500K

Total Emitters:

1

Battery Configurations:

1 x 18650 Li-ion batteries (not included)

Voltage Input:

3.2V - 4.2V

Switch Type:

Clicky

Switch Location:

Tail Cap

Modes:

5

Mode Memory:

-

Mode Arrangement:

Lo(5%) > Med(30%) > Hi(100%) > Strobe > SOS

Circuitry:

Digital Regulated 2500mA Current Output

Brightness:

1600 lumens maximum brightness (manufacturer rated)

Runtime:

2 to 3 Hours (manufacturer rated)

Lens:

Coated Glass Lens

Reflector:

Aluminium Textured / OP Reflector

Carrying Clip:

-

Carrying Strap:

Yes

Other Features:

Waterproof IPX-4 Standard

Dimension:

160mm (L) x 45mm (Dia. of Head) x 25mm (Dia. of Body)

Weight:

165g (not include battery)

Package Content:

1 x KD C12 C12OM5 Flashlight

 The torch length is approximately 15cm and the head size is 45mm.

The torch was delivered well packed in a bubble envelope and arrived undamaged/marked.

From the left (Convoy S2, KD C12, KD C8 and Convoy X3)

 

The torch is very similar in length to the C8 model, only a few millimeters shorter. The key difference is the head design which included very large cooling fins to dissipate heat more effectively.

Below is a front on photo of the head, showing clearly the XPL-HI LED.


Next is the inner section of the head. The aluminum reflector was removed reveling the Drop in which is brass. The LED board is copper.

 

 The torch dismantled


 

The knurling on the body is very good. Somewhat smooth, but not slippery. The grip is good. The threads are slightly square and came with minimal lubing which is easily resolved. The torch is coated in black anodization. I cannot confirm if it’s type HAII. The quality is very good to excellent in finish. As mentioned earlier there are nil imperfections or chips in the supplied torch. Black O Rings included.

 



The driver is a NANJG 105C 8x7135 with 380mA regulators. It has last mode memory. Although the model supplied has 5 modes it can easily be changed via soldering the appropriate star to ground.



http://www.kaidomain.com/product/details.S023810

Modes: 4 Groups

1. 2 mode, Low 10% - High 100%
2. 3 mode, Low 5% - Mid 30% - High 100%
3. 3 mode, Low 5% - High 100% - Fast strobe ( or low strobe 2hz, flash twice per second)
4. 5 mode, Low 5% - Mid 30% - High 100% - Fast strobe – SOS

On medium there is a just noticeable buzzing sound. It’s quite faint.

A close up of the drop in shows good quality soldering of the components to the PCB The voltage regulators are clearly labelled as 38A (380mA)


Side vide of the drop in. The copper LED board is clearly visible.




The tail cap is not the same as that of a C8. The button bulge at the end of the tail cap is not as per the C8. This torch can tail stand whereas the C8 cannot. Short lanyard came supplied and fitted to the torch.



The torch bezel and Lens. The lens does appear to be glass. I suggested in my C8 review that the lens appeared to be plastic. On closer inspection it is glass. It is listed as coated.


One surprise encountered was the inability of the torch to accommodate non protected batteries. On first receiving the torch I inserted a LG HE4 (65mm in length) and found it failed to operate. On substituting the battery with a protected longer Panasonic NCR 18650B (70mm length), the problem was solved. The Body tube appears too long to easily accommodate shorter unprotected cells. Later in this review I present some LUX readings where I use a LG HE4 in this torch. A small 2mm thick rare earth (neodymium) magnet was attached to the “-“ end on the cell. This overcame the tube size issue and enabled the torch to work effectively.

 

Photos below of the C12 (left) and C8 (right). The tail cap on the c12 differs, however the overall design is unable to deal with shorter 18650 batteries.


 

Below are beam shots for the C8 and C12.

 


Outdoor shots (distant tree is approximately 70m away)

 

Tailcap and LUX readings.

 

LED

Battery

Tail cap Current (High)

Tail cap Current (Medium)

Tail cap Current (Low)

KD C12

XPL HI V2

Panasonic 18650B

 3.02A

0.9A

0.15A

 


When swapping the SMO for the OP reflector I didn't see the same results in the battery charts for the C12.

 

 

Summary

The KD C12 proved to be a good performer. Overall a good torch.

Below is a summary table comparing the KD C8 to the C12. Although the C12 scores well the C8 is just ahead on a few points, making it better choice. Given the price difference is minor I would recommend the C8 over the C12. Both are good choices, but if I had to pick one it would be the C8. The C12 driver was a 5 mode. I ignored the strobe and SOS in this review and focussed on the 3 normal light modes.

 

KD C8 SMO/OP SPL-HI

KD C12 SMO/OP SPL-HI

Host

C8 Host

C12 Host

LED

XPL Hi V2

XPL Hi V2

Driver

KD V2 8 x 7135 (380mA)

 3.04A

NANJG 8 x 7135 (380mA)  3.04A
Audible noise on Medium

Tailcap current Measured

~3.0A

~3.0A

Modes

Many variations set via solder tabs

Many variations set via solder tabs

Mode Memory

Yes Last mode

Yes Last mode

Battery Type

18650 (Protected and Unprotected)

18650 (length must be > 67mm)

Tail stand

NO

YES

Brightness

Very Good

Good

Host/Torch Quality

Very Good

Very Good

Overall Assessment

Very Good

Good

 

C12 Pros:

  • Good driver delivers 3.0A on high
  • 3 Light levels with Memory. LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH. Can be changed via soldering
  • Price is good considering the XP-L Hi is new to the market.
  • Can Tail Stand
  • Clean beam pattern
  • Good Mode Spacing.
  • Doesn’t heat up to the point where it’s too hot to hold.

Cons:

  • Not as bright as the C8 tested
  • Audible buzz on Medium
  • Cannot accommodate shorter batteries without a spacer.

 

 

 

Rusty Joe
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Thanks for this review. I enjoyed it and it gives clear perspective on the performance. 

Rolz
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Rusty Joe wrote:

Thanks for this review. I enjoyed it and it gives clear perspective on the performance. 

Thanks.Being only my second review I’m gradually improving the measurement techniques and presentation.

Rolz
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I forgot to mention that I prefer the mode spacing on the C12

1. C12 Lo 5% > Med 30% > Hi 100%
2 C8 Lo 2% > Med 35% > Hi 100%

Any thoughts on which is prefered for a 3 mode torch?

MRsDNF
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Nice comparison Rolz. The mode preference question is an open can of worms. Its an individual thing.

 

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

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

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

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

Rolz
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MRsDNF wrote:

Nice comparison Rolz. The mode preference question is an open can of worms. Its an individual thing.

Thanks

Judging by discussions elsewhere some favor very low modes. I personally don’t find them too useful

I still need to fine tune my review skills. I found producing a review takes much effort, but it’s an an interesting process as you learn more about the torches and batteries.

Taking outdoor shots was slightly more effort than I expected. I could hear a person walking on a path not too far behind me whilst I was setting up. He stopped which caused me to turn around. He then said in his Irish voice “Sorry to ask, but what is it that you are up to?”. I told him I was reviewing a torch and then he continued on his way.

18sixfifty
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Great review!!!

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

Rolz
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18sixfifty wrote:
Great review!!!

Thanks I appreciate the feedback :-). Still some fine tuning required in presentation and content, but I’m still developing my skills.

ImA4Wheelr
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Always had a soft spot for the C12 and then they went to s__t.  Good to see the resurgence with even a better pill.  Thank you for doing this review thread. Smile

Rolz
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Always had a soft spot for the C12 and then they went to s__t.  Good to see the resurgence with even a better pill.  Thank you for doing this review thread. Smile

Glad you appreciated it. It’s a good torch, not quite the same performance of a similarly spec’d C8. The only difference being the driver and host design. It would be considered one of the best C12 torches available. Although they’ve been around for years, it’s still a good choice for the budget minded.

Velectron
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I have a couple of C12s and they worked well for me. Love the better heatsinking potential over that of a C8. I think this particular reflector in your C12 isn’t very suitable for the XPL-HI – the LED sits too far down below the reflector opening and quite a bit of the light never hit the reflector.

Henk4U2
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Very nice review. Maybe I am wrong but I get the feeling that you have a lot of sympathy for the C12, but it ultimately loses the battle on account of the hard data.
Talking about data: adding the temperature might offer a new perspective for those who are seeking a host that keeps his head cool.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

chuckhov
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Thanks for the review!

-Chuck

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Another great review Rolz, thank you!

It surprises me that the output difference between the C8 and the C12 can be that much. I mean they both have the same driving current, tested with the same sets of batteries, same emitter, same reflector diameter and textures – basically you just interchanged the reflector between them while doing the comparisons, right? And I always thought that the C12 is exactly the C8 only with more fins… so what am I missing here?

chuckhov
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Don’t they use different ‘make’ drivers?

I was thinking that I might want a C12, but after seeing this I’m leaning towards the C8.

Sort it out for me boys… I got more time than money Sad

Thanks,
-Chuck

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Just throwing this out there as a possibility.  The C12 could be measuring not as good due to the copper base, brass pill, excellent heat sinking, and not enough current to get the emitter up to a temp it is happiest at.

Cooler is better for longevity, but some heat is needed for best performance.

The C12 is meant to be hot rodded.  It is the one you get (over the C8) if you want to have some fun and go DD.

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Awesome. Thank you. Think I’ll go order me a c8 now haha

bibihang
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ImA4Wheelr wrote:
…Cooler is better for longevity, but some heat is needed for best performance

What? Sorry I’m really confused…

EDIT: I also believe that the copper base is not anything like DTP, so the heat dissipation could be still quite poor regardless if the substrate is made of copper or aluminium.

Rolz
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Henk4U2 wrote:
Very nice review. Maybe I am wrong but I get the feeling that you have a lot of sympathy for the C12, but it ultimately loses the battle on account of the hard data. Talking about data: adding the temperature might offer a new perspective for those who are seeking a host that keeps his head cool.

I expected that the C12 would score light results on par with the C8, but it came up short. The C8 is clearly a better performer.

Rolz
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Velectron wrote:
I have a couple of C12s and they worked well for me. Love the better heatsinking potential over that of a C8. I think this particular reflector in your C12 isn’t very suitable for the XPL-HI – the LED sits too far down below the reflector opening and quite a bit of the light never hit the reflector.

The OP reflector supplied with the torch worked ok. In my results I also included a table where I list the figures for a SMO reflector for the C12. I replaced the supplied OP reflector with a SMO from another C12 I have (XML2) but found it didn’t fit perfectly. The reflector wasn’t a tight fit. Good enough to get decent results but not ideal. I’m sure the KD model with a SMO would overcome this issue.

ImA4Wheelr
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bibihang wrote:

What? Sorry I’m really confused…

EDIT: I also believe that the copper base is not anything like DTP, so the heat dissipation could be still quite poor regardless if the substrate is made of copper or aluminium.

 

Give the following djozz thread a read (link in picture).  The copper base with dialetic layer does pretty darn good in that testing.

With that being said, I could be completely wrong about it being a possibility.

Rolz
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bibihang wrote:
Another great review Rolz, thank you!

It surprises me that the output difference between the C8 and the C12 can be that much. I mean they both have the same driving current, tested with the same sets of batteries, same emitter, same reflector diameter and textures – basically you just interchanged the reflector between them while doing the comparisons, right? And I always thought that the C12 is exactly the C8 only with more fins… so what am I missing here?

Both torches had a 3A driver althouh not the same one. I did test out different reflectors to assess the impact it had on the LUX readings. As expected a SMO reflector leads to a higher LUX figure. The SMO cleans up the beam which removes rings in the C8. I wasn’t able to work out why the overall brightness was lower on the C12. I tried multiple batteries too. The sample C12 model I had doesn’t produce the brightness levels I’d expect of XPL-HI. I also found in my results that the C12 light output over time wasn’t quite as I expected. I saw results where as time passed the LUX readings increased. Of the two drivers I found that the KD V2 was the better driver.

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Rolz,

First off, Great review!

I have one of the older C12’s with an XPL from Aliexpress when they first came out and it is a Smooth reflector, so when this XPL-HI version came out, I jumped on it and figured why not get the OP reflector and then could swap them back and forth. Annnnd, NO, will not work properly, as they are just that little bit different, same with the pill threading.

Anyway, the pill threading should be the same on your 2 lights from KD. So could you swap the pills on the C8 and C12 and see what results you get then?
Not full blown graphs, just Lux would be interesting.
I am confused how the output can go down and then come back up on the C12, never saw that happen before but there is a first time for everything.
Maybe the thermal paste is changing properties based on heat?
My original C12 actually will put out 3.58 amps on an LG HE2 so it is brighter for sure on white walls then the new XPL HI and the throw is right there with it but with more spill and bigger hotspot (as expected).
Tint is better as well on orig XPL.

Overall the XPL Hi is a disappointment to me. Was expecting way better throw. YMMV. It may just need a re designed reflector to show off it’s stuff. Thanks! Keith

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Rolz
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Muto wrote:
Rolz,

First off, Great review!

I have one of the older C12’s with an XPL from Aliexpress when they first came out and it is a Smooth reflector, so when this XPL-HI version came out, I jumped on it and figured why not get the OP reflector and then could swap them back and forth. Annnnd, NO, will not work properly, as they are just that little bit different, same with the pill threading.

Anyway, the pill threading should be the same on your 2 lights from KD. So could you swap the pills on the C8 and C12 and see what results you get then?
Not full blown graphs, just Lux would be interesting.
I am confused how the output can go down and then come back up on the C12, never saw that happen before but there is a first time for everything.
Maybe the thermal paste is changing properties based on heat?
My original C12 actually will put out 3.58 amps on an LG HE2 so it is brighter for sure on white walls then the new XPL HI and the throw is right there with it but with more spill and bigger hotspot (as expected).
Tint is better as well on orig XPL.

Overall the XPL Hi is a disappointment to me. Was expecting way better throw. YMMV. It may just need a re designed reflector to show off it’s stuff. Thanks! Keith

Keith,

Thanks for your comments.

1. could you swap the pills on the C8 and C12 and see what results you get then? -> Will aim to do so tonight and post my thoughts/observations
2. I am confused how the output can go down and then come back up on the C12 -> I was surprised by this result. I ran multiple tests using different batteries and found similar results. My immediate thought is that it’s driver related. The C8 and C12 have the same LED, assume similar wire size to LED, and assume similar switch resistance. I expected that the output initially would be similar and that the better cooling efficiency of the C12 would come into play in a 10 minute test. The C8 was hot after 10 minutes, whereas the C12 wasn’t too hot to hold, it was very warm.
3. My original C12 actually will put out 3.58 amps on an LG HE2 so it is brighter for sure on white walls then the new XPL HI and the throw is right there with it but with more spill and bigger hotspot (as expected). I have a C12 XML L2 which performs well. I’ve not checked the tailcap current, but may do so tonight and include some numbers as a comparison.
4. Overall the XPL Hi is a disappointment to me. -> The C8 with a XPL – HI performed very well. The KD V2 driver provided very good results. I’ve a C8 (XML U2) and a C12 (C12 XML L2) which I can compare against. Again I’ll do some more general tests as a comparison. The hot spot on the XPL-HI is clearly smaller in size.

I believe a XPL-HI in a C12 host with a more effective driver would be an excellent throwing torch for it’s size. If I had to re-design the KD C12 purely based on my findings I would swap the driver. The inability to take non protected cells without a spacer is bit annoying. I may find that if I can manage to swap over the pills as per the dot point 1 above I’ll have an excellent torch.

Rolz
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All thanks for the followup discussion. The response to the review has been very pleasing for me. I’m new to producing and publishing reviews on the web and have found it to be an interesting experience. It does take much time, more than I expected. I try and improve the content and presentation each time to make it more interesting to all. I’m thinking of ideas on ways of assessing the total light output. I don’t have a sphere but I’ll work something out.

I will produce more in future, with hopefully new models. If you know of areas that I should improve please PM me, I always appreciate all feedback, good or bad. Thanks Again Smile

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“I’m thinking of ideas on ways of assessing the total light output. “

.

A ceiling bounce and a light meter will do very well here.

Thanks,
-Chuck

Rolz
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chuckhov wrote:
“I’m thinking of ideas on ways of assessing the total light output. “

.

A ceiling bounce and a light meter will do very well here.

Thanks,
-Chuck

Chuck thanks it helps me confirm my thoughts. I have a room where I can do so and take a baseline for a known torch. I was considering stating “light units” as the measure for comparison.

chuckhov
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Hi Rolz,

You just need to be sure that everything is in the same place each time, and then it doesn’t really matter what you call it, because it’s all relative.

Just go down to the middle of the page here and see how Selfbuilt does his:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?381868 “Ceiling Bounce Max Output” or whatever…

Hey! – I really am enjoying your reviews! – Keep up the good work!

Thanks!
-Chuck

Rolz
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chuckhov wrote:
Hi Rolz,

You just need to be sure that everything is in the same place each time, and then it doesn’t really matter what you call it, because it’s all relative.

Just go down to the middle of the page here and see how Selfbuilt does his:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?381868 “Ceiling Bounce Max Output” or whatever…

Hey! – I really am enjoying your reviews! – Keep up the good work!

Thanks!
-Chuck

Thanks again for your help on how best to proceed and your feedback Smile

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your second review?Superb job !I am impressed with the entire revirw,format side by side comparisons ,the graphs and I am suprise by the out put and throw I mean same reflectors driver driven the se except one bieng a Nanjing 105 the other a KD V2 ,I tough it was a great side by side !

Lj

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light junkie wrote:
your second review?Superb job !I am impressed with the entire revirw,format side by side comparisons ,the graphs and I am suprise by the out put and throw I mean same reflectors driver driven the se except one bieng a Nanjing 105 the other a KD V2 ,I tough it was a great side by side !

Thanks, I was considering a mouse over for the outdoor shots but I didn’t want to over complicate the task being only 2nd time around. I wasn’t 100% happy with the final layout of photos, but next time I’ll fine tune it a little to improve the presentation. I’m still developing the testing/measurement methods. All aimed at making for a better review and hopefully simplifying the task.

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