Optolife review - the best aspheric flashlight lens

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Enderman
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Optolife review - the best aspheric flashlight lens

So for the past year I've been searching for new ways to build another thrower with even more lux than before, and one of the most important parts is the lens.

The problem with lenses is that to get higher lux, you need a bigger diameter, and the bigger the lens the more expensive and rare it becomes.

Previously I used the cheap $8 100mm fasttech lens which is what many people have used to get 1Mcd+ in the past: https://www.fasttech.com/products/1606/10002523/1583700-replacement-100mm-optical-borosilicate-plano

Unfortunately this lens is very low quality, only has a usable aperture of <90mm, and is hit-and-miss.

In the top right you can see how badly the 100mm lens focused, with some chromatic aberration where the yellow/red light got separated from blue/green.

BTW I have 3 of these 100mm lenses, this one was the best quality. Even with the bad quality I got close to 1.5Mcd.

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My next step was to check the professional optics manufacturers for stock optics. Edmund Optics, Knight optical, Thorlabs, and many other places.

The only stock aspheric lenses they had were small diameters (<100mm) except Thorlabs, which had one 100mm aspheric, but it cost over $1100... Sad

I asked for quotes of custom 100-150mm aspheric lenses, and the lowest price is approx. $750-1500 for a single custom lens.

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Finally I went back to searching for stock lenses and finally came across this site: http://www.optolife.com

They actually had large diameter (>100mm) plano-aspheric lenses in stock!

I researched a bit, and it seemed like a legit store. During my research I even came across a post they made on this forum too: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11802

I was convinced, and after some emails back and forth I found out that not only did they have one 120mm lens in stock, but also a second one, even though it says "out of stock" on the website.

At $33 per lens it is far more affordable than getting a custom one made, so I thought I would give it a try (this was pretty risky of me, I usually never buy directly from china)

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The lenses I bought:

A380

A037

$33 per lens is definitely more expensive than the $9 fasttech lens, but the precision polished glass is far better quality and definitely worth the price.

They came very well packaged in paper wrap, bubble wrap, and with hand-cut soft foam at least 1" thick on all sides of the box.

Instead of chinese air mail, which often gets lost, I chose a more expensive tracked option for shipping which is far more reliable.

The shipping cost $40, but it arrived by UPS, tracked, and only took about a week all the way to Canada.

 

Here are the two lenses compared at 5m:

They are obviously not the same quality as a lens made by a higher quality company like Edmund Optics or Thorlabs, but the asphere is good and focuses well with nearly no artifacts.

I was very impressed, and glad I didn't get something anywhere near as bad as the fasttech lenses.

Even though it is more expensive than Fasttech or Kaidomain, if you can afford the lens+shipping I highly recommend buying from Optolife because their service and products were good.

Overall I spent nearly $100 USD for the two lenses and shipping, and here are a few things you should know before buying:

1) The website stock info is not up to date, so you should switch the option from "aspheric condenser lenses stock list" to "Frequent manufacturing aspheric condenser lenses list" when searching for lenses, then email and ask if it is in stock even if it says out of stock.

2) Some fields like R1 or R2 are sometimes left blank for certain lenses, make sure you email and ask to make sure what you're buying is a plano-aspheric lens, and not spherical-aspherical or something else. For example, I was considering A092, but then found out R2 is actually not flat, which makes it useless for me.

3) As with most Chinese manufacturers, their English isn't great, so try to keep any emails short and simple to avoid getting incorrect information.

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PS- I'm pretty sure the long FL 120mm lens is the same one used in the world's longest range LED flashlight, the Lance of RA: https://www.silentthunderordnance.com/shop/lance-of-ra

The head diameter is 135mm, and the rim does look like 7.5mm, so I am fairly confident he used exactly this same lens.

PPS- I'm just making this review because I saw old posts of people asking about this company and if it is good for lenses, not sponsored or anything like that, just happy with my new lenses Smile

Enderman
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I did some quick tests and managed to get 1.03Mcd with both lenses.
I only used a XP-L HI at 4.2A!
Not even using a wavien collar!
Shocked

Theodore41
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I know that some modders use a second, very small lens near the led,so as to improve the beam and the throw.
Edit.
What about a gb for a 1.5Mcd aspheric?If it is possible,I am in.

Enderman
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Theodore41 wrote:
I know that some modders use a second, very small lens near the led,so as to improve the beam and the throw.
Edit.
What about a gb for a 1.5Mcd aspheric?If it is possible,I am in.

Adding a precollimator lens (the smaller lens close to the LED) increases the lumens collected, but also shortens the focal length resulting in a larger spot.
I prefer highest lux possible with a pencil beam, so precollimators are not for me Smile

Also, I highly doubt people would want to buy one, it doesn’t even look like a regular flashlight.
This is what my previous one looked like:

On top of that, I have no place to buy more wavien collars from Sad I only have the single one I bought a while ago. A wavien collar is a must for any good thrower.

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Enderman
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Theodore41 wrote:
Do you know this one?
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?422036-Mj%F6lnir-Cust...

Yup, that’s a good example of a precollimator that helps collect more lumens and makes a bigger spot.
joechina
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I know Luxexcel has a starter kit for £199
but I don’t know how big they print.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/48953

djozz
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Nice experiments with good results. If the lenses are good enough to focus the Oslon Black Flat they will get you 1.7 Mcd or even more. And that is still without the collar (must be a finicky job to get the collar focused for the the 1×1mm Black Flat die Shocked )

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I agree, their quality seems to be good, I have bought pre-collimators (spherical lenses) from them. They also don’t charge much for ar-coating.

The candela value you measured is not that far off from the maximum possible value.

Did you ever inquire how much a single, custom made lens would cost and how much an ar-coating would cost for it?

Generally it seems to me like they prefer higher f-numbers compared to thorlabs.

DavidEF
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I didn’t know they’ve been around here for so long. Here’s their latest BLF thread, to which I and one other person responded.

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

Enderman
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djozz wrote:
Nice experiments with good results. If the lenses are good enough to focus the Oslon Black Flat they will get you 1.7 Mcd or even more. And that is still without the collar (must be a finicky job to get the collar focused for the the 1×1mm Black Flat die Shocked )

Focusing the collar isn’t too difficult, I use a very high quality projector lens (the 70mm one you see in the comparison image) which has a very long focal length and gives very sharp edges.
I then run the LED at moonlight or low power so that the spot isn’t painfully bright, and just align the collar and maybe adjust the height a little bit Smile

The_Driver wrote:
I agree, their quality seems to be good, I have bought pre-collimators (spherical lenses) from them. They also don’t charge much for ar-coating.

The candela value you measured is not that far off from the maximum possible value.

Did you ever inquire how much a single, custom made lens would cost and how much an ar-coating would cost for it?

Generally it seems to me like they prefer higher f-numbers compared to thorlabs.


They gave me $750 for a custom 150mm lens with AR coating.
Knight Optical gave me $1000-1500
luminarium iaculator
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Nice find! Thanks.

Modding is making something how you want it to be, not how it comes stock...

Old-Lumens

Enderman
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luminarium iaculator wrote:
Nice find! Thanks.

Ya welcome Smile
R10500
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Just what i needed! Thanks a thousand! Tried it with an XHP35HI at 2.5A yet?

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Theodore41 wrote:
I know that some modders use a second, very small lens near the led,so as to improve the beam and the throw. Edit. What about a gb for a 1.5Mcd aspheric?If it is possible,I am in.

If there’ll be a GB for those lens i’m in too! Just contacted Raymond and he can offer discounts from 10 units and more. Apparently coating for only 1 lens would cost a lot too.

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Don’t know if anyone’s interested, but with an order of 10 lens with AR coating it comes up to $59 a piece. Any takers? He may offer a better price for more units but i haven’t asked so i can’t promise.

willie
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I found Optolife and got Raymond on here over 5 years ago. Have used many of his lenses.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/7905

Although not mentioned an Optolife lens was used in my PT120 Green build in 10/2011.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/4847

Have gotten away from flashlight building and returned my passion of firearm building and conversions.

Agro
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How is AR coating on Optolife lenses?
On paper – very good:

But I’m not sure whether to trust it. And more importantly I’m concerned about the effect it has on tint…