Review: LED Lenser P7.2 (4xAAA)

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stephenk
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Review: LED Lenser P7.2 (4xAAA)

Disclaimer

The LED Lenser P7.2 was purchased by myself around 18 months ago.

Overview

The LED Lenser P7.2 is a very popular consumer light, particularly in Europe and Australia, and has been around for a few years. It has improved upon the P7 with improved optics and higher output.

The LED Lenser P7.2 is a zoomy / flood to throw light, and uses 4x AAA batteries. Alkalines are recommended (likely due to the light being direct drive), though I use NiMH batteries in this light with no apparent issues.

Limited manufacturer specifications are available, and are listed below.

Operational Modes:
Low: 40 lumens; 50 hours run-time; 100 m beam range
Power: 250 lumens; 4 hours run-time; 220 m beam range
Boost: 320 lumens; 2 hours run-time; 260 m beam range
Note: The boost mode is obtained by pushing and holding-in the tail cap switch.

Specifications:
Type: Professional hand-held torch
LED: High End Power LED
Operating Modes: Boost: 320 lumens / Power: 250 lumens / Low: 40 lumens
Beam Range: Boost: 260 m / Power: 220 m / Low: 100 m
Run Time: Boost: 2 hours / Power: 4 hours / Low: 50 hours
Maximum Luminous Flux: 320 lumens
LED: CREE LED chip
Focus: One handed speed focus
Optics: Advanced Focus System: Spot to flood
Batteries Required: 4 x AAA alkaline (Included)
Overall Length: 141 mm
Head Diameter: 37 mm
Barrel Diameter: 29.5 mm
Weight: 175 grams
Colours Available: Matt Black
Body Material: Aircraft grade aluminium
Electrical Contacts: Gold plated contacts
Switch Type: End cap switch
Warranty: 5 Years
Regulatory Compliance: CE / RoHS

Packaging

The light was supplied in a black presentation box and included:
1 x LED Lenser P7.2 LED torch
1 x Durable Nylon Holster
1 x Wrist Lanyard
4 x Alkaline AAA battery

Anti-roll device, mounting device, pocket clip, and filters are available as options at extra cost.

Ergonomics and Construction

LED Lenser are known for solidly built lights, and this one is no exception. It has survived many drops onto hard surfaces with no issues. The 5 year (now 7 year) warranty stands by the build quality. The light is only rated IPX-4 due to the zoom mechanism, and thus it is advisable to not use the zoom mechanism in wet weather.

The light has a good knurling, is well anodised (in black), and fits comfortably in the hand. The zoom is operated in push pull fashion, and can be operated easily with one hand. There is no zoom lock, though the zoom position has never been loose. The threads were reasonably well lubricated. The switch is located on the tail cap, more on that later in the next section.

User Interface

The LED Lenser P7.2 has a very simple user interface. Half-pressing and holding the switch in allows for 320 lumen turbo (boost) output. This allows for momentary/tactical use, but means that you cannot run the light continuously in turbo (unless you have a thumb of steel).

Continuing with a full-press “click” engages 250 lumen high mode. Another click engages the 40 lumen low mode. Another click goes to Off. You have to cycle through both modes, and there is no memory.

There is no firefly mode, moonlight mode, strobe, SOS, or any other fancy mode such as battery capacity check. This light is very low tech! On the plus side, the light has a reputation for high reliability due to its simplicity, and for many users the limited user interface still does the job.

Optics

The LED Lenser has an excellent optic system, and I have yet to see a zoomy light with better optics. This optics contains a plastic lens with TIR and aspheric elements. The LED is on a raised extension. This design allow for minimal loss of light when in zoom/throw compared to aspheric lenses where around half of the output can be lost when at full zoom/throw.


At the wide/flood end the beam is very uniform, with a sharp beam cut off. This allows for very even illumination of objects compared to the typical hotspot and spill beam of non-zoom flashlights.


At the zoom/throw end of the beam, there is an almost circular bright hotspot with no spill beam. There is minimal halo effect compared to other zoomy lights. Thus as the zoom/throw end, this light produces an impressive pencil beam of light that is useable (i.e. can identify animals) at over 150m.



Whilst this light has an impressive beam at both ends of the zoom range, things do get a bit funky in the middle of the zoom range (in particular closer to the zoom end of the scale) as the below photo shows. This beam artefact is less obvious when not looking at a white wall!

Output and Runtime

Whilst the optics of this light are impressive, the output and runtime are less impressive. Testing was performed with freshly charged 4th Gen FDK Eneloop NiMH cells. On 250 lumen high mode with NiMH batteries, the output follows a typical NiMH discharge curve as would be expected for a direct drive light. There is a drop in output during the first few minutes, though this is difficult to notice in reality. The output appears to fairly constant until around 75 minutes, when the light starts to noticeably dim. By 90 minutes the output was around 15 lumens, and continued at this output until I stopped testing at 165 minutes, at which point the most discharged cell was at 0.96V. Thus the claimed 4 hour (240 minute) runtime on high, is more around 75 minutes until the light looses its usefulness.

LED Lenser do not publish the emitter type, emitter bin, tint, or CCT. However it appears to be a cool white Cree XP-G2. There is slight purple tint. The CRI is estimated to be in the 70-80 CRI range, and is noticeably better than the LED Lenser P7QC. As the light is resistor controlled, there is no PWM.

Conclusion

This light is a bit of a mixed bag. The construction and optics are excellent, and the light punches above its lumens for throw. The low-tech user interface is easy to use, but the light lacks many modes found on other lights. The useful runtime is far less than the claimed runtime. The light is also not particularly cheap (AU$110, though can be found for AU$70).

If you want a well built light with great zoom optics and only require relatively short runtimes, then this a great option. It is also a good option for those who do not want to use li-ion batteries (which is most of the consumer market). However, if you require higher brightness, or longer runtimes, then look elsewhere.

Discussion

The optics in the P7.2 are patent pending (? in which countries) so this may limit the number of manufacturers who are able to use a similar optical design, but in an otherwise better light (higher output, better runtimes, better user interface).

The larger and slightly more expensive LED Lenser P14.2 uses 4x AA (a battery combination that can reach 1000 lumens from some manufacturers). Unfortunately, the maximum output of the P14.2 is no better than the P7.2 at 320 lumens, though runtimes will obviously be better.

LED Lenser have recently released the more hi-tech P7R which uses a (low capacity) ICR li-ion battery with in-built charger, has an electronic LED driver, battery charge indicator, zoom lock, and 1000 lumen boost mode (with stepdown). The P7R is unfortunately also ridiculously expensive at AU$230 (especially when compared to the Convoy BD04 at AU$26), though I’m sure the P7R will still be popular with the consumer market.

It seems that the path to zoomy flashlight utopia is not yet complete.

Edited by: stephenk on 08/15/2016 - 06:25
Mstevens113
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I have one of these too, picked up dirt cheap on a lucky ebay bid.

They take some stick, especially on cpf, yes they are expensive for the tech they have, there are much more capable and useful lights out there for less money, yet I still enjoy using it. Just has a nice feel to it and it does throw nicely for the limited power it has.

No way would I pay full price but I’d happily pick up another lenser if I struck lucky and picked up another bargain.

Kusie
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Quote:
LED Lenser have recently released the more hi-tech P7R which uses a (low capacity) ICR li-ion battery with in-built charger, has an electronic LED driver, battery charge indicator, and zoom lock. However, the only improvement in output is in the turbo (boost) mode (1000 lumens) where apparently the switch still has to be held down (momentary).

Hi,
since I own the Lenser P7R and P7.2 both for almost a year now I can say you are wrong here. The P7R does have 3 normal modes, high, mid and low, the is NO momentary turbo with the P7R. So for the high mode with 1000 lumens you don´t need to press and hold the switch. It´s still a forward clicky though. I swapped the cold white XP-L with a neutral white XP-L2 and absolutely love this light.
The flood is perfectly even and ideal for short range, while at full zoom the range is quite impressive. The only downsides IMHO are the early stepdown to 60% in high to protect the LED ( while the light itself is not really hot, only a bit warm…) and the switch which is a bit stiff and needs much force to press.

I bought the P7R when it came out in 2015 and paid 100 Euros, right now here in Europe/Germany it´s down to around 60-70 Euros which is great for the full package (included 18650 and magnetic charger, holster). Build quality is high, even better than P7.2.

K.

KawiBoy1428
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@Kusie, got any links to the P7R? Only found 1 so far, $230.00usd?

KB1428 “Live Life WOT”

stephenk
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Kusie wrote:
Quote:
LED Lenser have recently released the more hi-tech P7R which uses a (low capacity) ICR li-ion battery with in-built charger, has an electronic LED driver, battery charge indicator, and zoom lock. However, the only improvement in output is in the turbo (boost) mode (1000 lumens) where apparently the switch still has to be held down (momentary).

Hi,
since I own the Lenser P7R and P7.2 both for almost a year now I can say you are wrong here. The P7R does have 3 normal modes, high, mid and low, the is NO momentary turbo with the P7R. So for the high mode with 1000 lumens you don´t need to press and hold the switch. It´s still a forward clicky though. I swapped the cold white XP-L with a neutral white XP-L2 and absolutely love this light.
The flood is perfectly even and ideal for short range, while at full zoom the range is quite impressive. The only downsides IMHO are the early stepdown to 60% in high to protect the LED ( while the light itself is not really hot, only a bit warm…) and the switch which is a bit stiff and needs much force to press.

I bought the P7R when it came out in 2015 and paid 100 Euros, right now here in Europe/Germany it´s down to around 60-70 Euros which is great for the full package (included 18650 and magnetic charger, holster). Build quality is high, even better than P7.2.

K.


Thanks for correcting me. I was going off a review I had read of the P7R. I’ll correct my “discussion”. The price is still ludicrous in Australia though!

Just a few questions on the P7R:
How long does it taken until the stepdown occurs in turbo/boost?
Can it take 18650s other than the supplied one?
How much further does the beam reach?
Does it use PWM?

Feel free to write a review!

Kusie
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KawiBoy1428 wrote:
@Kusie, got any links to the P7R? Only found 1 so far, $230.00usd?

Hi,
well, it´s very strange, I´ve found a lot of German shops that have the P7R new for 72 Euros (102 australian Dollars, 105 USD) and even Amazon has it, but a bit more expensive (https://www.amazon.de/LED-Lenser-P7R-Taschenlampe-9408-R/dp/B016P27MGG)
BUT it seems in the rest of the world this lamp is either not available or extremely expensive… maybe it was released in Europe only? Sorry I did not find a US shop with a reasonable price..

stephenk wrote:
Just a few questions on the P7R:
How long does it taken until the stepdown occurs in turbo/boost?
Can it take 18650s other than the supplied one?
How much further does the beam reach?
Does it use PWM?
Feel free to write a review!

Hey Stephen,
I will quote from a review I´ve found in the german TLF. A fellow forum member measured the time for the P7R:

In HIGH mode the P7R will do a stepdown after 30 seconds to 80% (800 lumens, not recognizable), then after another 60 seconds there is another stepdown to 45% (450 lumens, recognizable), and then it will decrease brightness linear to 30% during the next 2 hours. From there it takes another 15 minutes and some more stepdowns to 15 and 8 % and some blinking until the P7R switches off.
So the 1000 lumens is like a “turbo mode” and only available for around 2 minutes. You CAN get back to 1000 lumens immediately if you switch the lamp off and on again.

if you start in MEDIUM mode (230 lumens) the lamp will slowly decrease brightness to 65% (130 lumens) during the next 4.5 hours. Then you´ll have another 30 minutes of slowly decreasing brightness until the lap blinks and switches off.

As for the 18650, yes, you CAN replace the included 2200 mAh, but the maximum length is 69 mm, that means a protected Soshine 3400 is fitting perfectly. BUT test have shown that a 3400 mAh 18650 does not give you a large benefit, same stepdowns, only 15 minutes more light.

I have not seen any PWM with the P7R, and the range when focussed should be around 200-250 meters, someone measured
> 20,000 Lux@1m when focussed.

As I wrote the cold white XM-L LED in my P7R has been replaced with a neutral white XM-L2 so I could not make a representative review. But if you just want to see some images, go to the TLF, it´s german though:

Click

The magnetic charging is very cool, you can attach it to the wall and “click on” the lamp even upside down on the strong magnetic charger.

Kusie

bugsy
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Shouldn’t the hotspot be square if it were properly focused?

mdeni
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I have the P7 Q version and was thinking to mod it somehow. I put up a thread in this forum a week or so ago.

bugsy wrote:
Shouldn’t the hotspot be square if it were properly focused?

Оnly if you discard all the light from the side of the led, as aspherics do. TIR gathers that light too and directs it forward to the hotspot. TIR- Total Internal Reflection.

The Miller
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Nice review of an interesting light
Wow this pic is SIG material:

WalkIntoTheLight
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Sounds like a reasonable light you’d buy in a hardware store for at most $20. The company must use Jedi mind tricks to sell it at the price they charge.

stephenk
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Kusie wrote:
KawiBoy1428 wrote:
@Kusie, got any links to the P7R? Only found 1 so far, $230.00usd?

Hi,
well, it´s very strange, I´ve found a lot of German shops that have the P7R new for 72 Euros (102 australian Dollars, 105 USD) and even Amazon has it, but a bit more expensive (https://www.amazon.de/LED-Lenser-P7R-Taschenlampe-9408-R/dp/B016P27MGG)
BUT it seems in the rest of the world this lamp is either not available or extremely expensive… maybe it was released in Europe only? Sorry I did not find a US shop with a reasonable price..

stephenk wrote:
Just a few questions on the P7R:
How long does it taken until the stepdown occurs in turbo/boost?
Can it take 18650s other than the supplied one?
How much further does the beam reach?
Does it use PWM?
Feel free to write a review!

Hey Stephen,
I will quote from a review I´ve found in the german TLF. A fellow forum member measured the time for the P7R:

In HIGH mode the P7R will do a stepdown after 30 seconds to 80% (800 lumens, not recognizable), then after another 60 seconds there is another stepdown to 45% (450 lumens, recognizable), and then it will decrease brightness linear to 30% during the next 2 hours. From there it takes another 15 minutes and some more stepdowns to 15 and 8 % and some blinking until the P7R switches off.
So the 1000 lumens is like a “turbo mode” and only available for around 2 minutes. You CAN get back to 1000 lumens immediately if you switch the lamp off and on again.

if you start in MEDIUM mode (230 lumens) the lamp will slowly decrease brightness to 65% (130 lumens) during the next 4.5 hours. Then you´ll have another 30 minutes of slowly decreasing brightness until the lap blinks and switches off.

As for the 18650, yes, you CAN replace the included 2200 mAh, but the maximum length is 69 mm, that means a protected Soshine 3400 is fitting perfectly. BUT test have shown that a 3400 mAh 18650 does not give you a large benefit, same stepdowns, only 15 minutes more light.

I have not seen any PWM with the P7R, and the range when focussed should be around 200-250 meters, someone measured
> 20,000 Lux@1m when focussed.

As I wrote the cold white XM-L LED in my P7R has been replaced with a neutral white XM-L2 so I could not make a representative review. But if you just want to see some images, go to the TLF, it´s german though:

Click

The magnetic charging is very cool, you can attach it to the wall and “click on” the lamp even upside down on the strong magnetic charger.

Kusie


Thanks for the further info and link. Much appreciated.
Stepdown is a little bit too quick for my liking.
The P7R is formally released in Australia by LED Lenser.
stephenk
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bugsy wrote:
Shouldn’t the hotspot be square if it were properly focused?

It’s sort of half way between a square and circle. A rounded square, or squarish circle, maybe a squircle?