Comparison: Stainless Steel AA Flashlight – Amutorch XPG3-S3 vs “Neal’s” Nichia 219C

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MascaratumB
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Comparison: Stainless Steel AA Flashlight – Amutorch XPG3-S3 vs “Neal’s” Nichia 219C

Hi BLF!

After buying 3 Amutorch Stainless Steel (XPG3-S3) flashlights in AliExpress I made a small review on those lights and recently I’ve been experimenting some things on them with TIR lenses and with a smooth reflector.

Meanwhile, after reading that thread’s comments and –X3–‘s thread, I contacted the BLF member Neal to get a similar flashlight that uses a Nichia 219C LED.

He sent me the flashlight for free (I also bought some Aspire cells) with the purpose to “just compare them, and tell your real feeling” (Neal @ PM). So, to honour our agreement I’ll compare Neal’s light with the Amutorch(s) I already had, providing information about the differences these lights have, that are about the tint.

I’ve already thanked him in PM but I make it again: Thank you Neal!!

First, I’m pleased to have received this light from him, and second, I’m pleased to provide a small comparison between those lights, the best I can as I am not an expert and I do not have technical know-how to focus on some specific aspects.

NOTE: I must inform that the photos I’ll present below were taken with a smartphone, so do not expect professional pictures here! Also, some picture are almost similar but have a different focus, especially to try to illustrate the beam/hotspot/spill. (Click images to see them bigger)

Let’s start… Wink

Package and flashlight:
The light arrived in a cardbox, wrapped in small bubble plastic bag, with 2 spare o-rings!

COMPARISON (always Left to Right)

1 – Nichia 219C [Original TIR (~15º)] > XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º)]

2 – XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º)] > Nichia 219C [Original TIR (~15º)]

3 – XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º) > Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º) > Smooth reflector] > Nichia 219C [Original TIR (~15º)]

4 – XPG3-S3 [Smooth reflector] > Nichia 219C [Original TIR (~15º)]

5 – XPG3-S3 [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)] > Nichia 219C [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)]

6 – XPG3-S3 [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)] > Convoy S2+ [XML2 T6-4C / OP reflector] > Nichia 219C [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)]

7 – XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º) > Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º) > Smooth reflector] > Nichia 219C [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)]

8 – XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º) > Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)] > Nichia 219C [Smooth reflector]

9 – Convoy S2+ [XML2 T6-4C / OP reflector] > XPG3-S3 [Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)] > Nichia 219C [Smooth reflector]

10 – XPG3-S3 [Original TIR (~15º) > Pebbled/Hive Lens (TIR, 60º)] > Nichia 219C [Smooth reflector] > Convoy S2+ [XML2 T6-4C / OP reflector]

11 – Nichia 219C [Smooth reflector]

I have a few thoughts to share about these lights and the experiences:
1 – The tint from the Nichia light is…AWESOME! I didn’t mention it earlier, but this is my 1st flashlight with Nichia LED, and I love this tint! Apart from the LEDs and plates, the flashlights are identical in their pieces!

2 – All of these lights have some “Cons”:
a) the driver, as all of them have PWM in Low and Mid, all make a small “bzzzz” in those 2 modes;
b) when using Ni-MH, the Low and Mid modes are pretty close; so, only using a 14500 they get more spaced, but using a 14500 turns the light hot faster than a AA battery;
c) the original TIR lenses are not my favourite as they produce a very narrow beam, and being a small light, perhaps preferable for indoor environment, maybe a lens with a more floody beam would be better;
d) the o-rings in the middle of the light (where the head un/screws) are very fragile, so they break easily. I’ve taken mine from there.

3 – About the comparisons…

a) My preferred settings are those in the photo above: XPG3-S3 with “Hive” TIR lens, and the Nichia 219C with the smooth reflector, although the Nichia with the “Hive” lens is awesome too. I just don’t have 2 Nichias (yet…) to compare them!
b) The hotspot produced by the original TIR Lens is bigger that the one produced by the reflector (although this has a bigger spill, of course). Also, I just tested them, and the TIR is better in distance “throwing”;
c) The SMO reflector I’m using, being smaller than the OP one used in the S2+, produces a wider spill and a more defined hotspot;
d) The Nichia 219C seems to tend a bit more to NW, while compared with the XML2 T6-4C (I guess this may be a fact, but I’m not aware of that accurately);
e) The “hive” lens turn the XPG3-S3 into a more NW tint, which I’d prefer over the original CW tint it has.

4 – I would have some suggestions to try to –hopefully – improve these lights:
a) to change the driver into one that didn’t have PWM and with 4 very well spaced modes (ML-L-M-H), always being able to work with Ni-MH and Li-Ion;
b) to sell this light with a SMO and/or an OP reflector or maybe with a more floody TIR lens (frosted lens or not);
c) I would change the Amutorch LEDs into a more NW tint (if not into a WW like the Nichia)

5 – I must say again that, despite all the cons, I really like these lights, they have a classy touch and with some mods can be pretty good!

Thanks for reading!
Best regards Thumbs Up

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

Jerommel
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Hmmm, that’s a sweet warm white 219C you’ve got there.
Is it 3500K ?
You should compare it with the XM-L2 4C when you shine it on your arm.
With the Nichia your arm is skin colour, with the XM-L2 your skin will look greenish. Big Smile
That’s the difference in CRI and red reproduction.
That’s why Nichia LEDs are so popular among the tint snobs around here. Big Smile
Even the older 219B is still wanted because it’s available with even better red reproduction (and also has less tint shift than the 219C)
We’re all hoping Nichia will have high CRI 319A (larger hexagonal die and more power) available soon.

Nice floody beam with the 60° pebbled TIR again.

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

MascaratumB
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Jerommel wrote:
Hmmm, that’s a sweet warm white 219C you’ve got there.
Is it 3500K ?
You should compare it with the XM-L2 4C when you shine it on your arm.
With the Nichia your arm is skin colour, with the XM-L2 your skin will look greenish. Big Smile
That’s the difference in CRI and red reproduction.
That’s why Nichia LEDs are so popular among the tint snobs around here. Big Smile
Even the older 219B is still wanted because it’s available with even better red reproduction (and also has less tint shift than the 219C)
We’re all hoping Nichia will have high CRI 319A (larger hexagonal die and more power) available soon.

Nice floody beam with the 60° pebbled TIR again.


Ahah, you’re right Big Smile Great difference really!! (Nichia on the left, XML2 T6-4C on the right)
I guess the Nichia is not 3500K, because if it was wouldn’t it be a bit more yellowish?
This seems to tend to the be more like 4000K, could it be?

The LED itself is darker than the XML2, but the emitted colour seems to be tending more to NW, in comparison!

But I guess I don’t know anymore Facepalm
Here: I took the lenses and reflectors out of the lights and put them against the wall! (XML2 T6-4C on the Left > Nichia 219C on the right)

What to say? Flat Stare

Yup, the pebbled gives a really cool beam! I’m not sure, but maybe I’ll change from the reflector to the TIR…

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

Lightbringer
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Hey, did anyone ever buy from illumn.com? They have some bare 219BTs.

Just wondering if they’re reliable, if they stink, etc. I’ll be the guinea pig and run some in different lights to compare, too.

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Lightbringer
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MascaratumB wrote:
Yup, the pebbled gives a really cool beam! I’m not sure, but maybe I’ll change from the reflector to the TIR…

Do it! Do it! Evil

Actually, if I recall right, Nichias have less “tint-shift” than Crees, so the bennies of a TIR vs reflector may not be as drastic. Still, I’m getting to like TIRs lots more than I did before.

A nice S2+, wide-angle TIR, and a 219B… that’d make a damned fine close-quarters light!

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MascaratumB
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Lightbringer wrote:
Hey, did anyone ever buy from illumn.com? They have some bare 219BTs.

Just wondering if they’re reliable, if they stink, etc. I’ll be the guinea pig and run some in different lights to compare, too.

Sorry, can’t help with that! But then let us know how they shine Wink

Lightbringer wrote:

Do it! Do it! Evil

Actually, if I recall right, Nichias have less “tint-shift” than Crees, so the bennies of a TIR vs reflector may not be as drastic. Still, I’m getting to like TIRs lots more than I did before.

A nice S2+, wide-angle TIR, and a 219B… that’d make a damned fine close-quarters light!

Ooookkkkk, I did it Silly
Today I changed the reflector for a pebbled lens! Despite there was no major shifting in colour, as you said, the TIR lens enables other illumination, more floody! For my indoor use and the close range things I need it, it is better with the TIR than with the reflector!

I cut the plastic holder and that not only helps to fix better the lens and the LED, and it also helps to get a more homogeneous beam. I was using a small plastic gasket around the LED, but with that, in a real close beam, the small “blobs” of the lens were being noticed. With the holder in the back it gets more homogeneous Thumbs Up

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

Lightbringer
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Niiiiice. Big Smile

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CRX
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Nice job Thumbs Up

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Lightbringer wrote:
Hey, did anyone ever buy from illumn.com? They have some bare 219BTs.

Just wondering if they’re reliable, if they stink, etc. I’ll be the guinea pig and run some in different lights to compare, too.

I have, they are good 4000K 219B’s, no issues at all.

ALL of my links are non-affiliated for your pleasure...

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Lightbringer wrote:
Niiiiice. Big Smile
Big SmileCool
Yeah, this wins over the reflector Wink

CRX wrote:
Nice job Thumbs Up

Thank you Big Smile Not as nice as some builds or mods I’ve seen (if you know what I mean), but thanks Wink

I guess that “warm” is the new ‘cool’, isn’t it? Cool

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

CRX
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Yep, warm is cool and cool is hot Big Smile

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Very nice info MascaratumB !

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CRX wrote:
Yep, warm is cool and cool is hot Big Smile

Eheh, indeed! EvilCool
I must confess that at first I thought that the flashlights with that “white” strong light were the best, and that those with “yellow” lights were old-fashioned, that they didn’t illuminate anything, as the “old” incandescent lights were a bit like that.
Then I got my first Convoy S2+ with the XML2 T6-4C, and my opinion radically changed!
Now I got my first Nichia, with a beautiful tint (the photos cannot express how good it looks at human sight!!!), and I’ve been converted Innocent

Not that I’ll become a “tint snob” or that all my lights will all have these warm tints, but I surely be more aware of what can I expect from a light with a more warm tint like this Grad

Yokiamy wrote:
Very nice info MascaratumB !

Thanks! I hope it helps Wink

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

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ReManG wrote:
I have, they are good 4000K 219B’s, no issues at all.

Excellent, thanks!

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Lightbringer
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MascaratumB wrote:
Not that I’ll become a “tint snob” or that all my lights will all have these warm tints, but I surely be more aware of what can I expect from a light with a more warm tint like this Grad

Yes, you will. It takes time, but once you go there, you never want to go back. Big Smile

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Lightbringer
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Actually, I’m itchin’ to try those really warm Nichias that FT sells.

Just gotta figure out which host to put it in, as I gotta use a TIR for these puppies. Guessing that means an S2+…

Hmm, more later!

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Jerommel
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Lightbringer wrote:
Actually, I’m itchin’ to try those really warm Nichias that FT sells.

Just gotta figure out which host to put it in, as I gotta use a TIR for these puppies. Guessing that means an S2+…

Hmm, more later!


You mean those 219A 2200K (or something like that) ones?
They’re not high CRI. Sad
I got me a bunch a wile ago (ordered 3 pcs, they somehow sent me 6 pcs) but they’re not more that 80 CRI.
They are cheap though..

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

Jerommel
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Lightbringer wrote:
MascaratumB wrote:
Not that I’ll become a “tint snob” or that all my lights will all have these warm tints, but I surely be more aware of what can I expect from a light with a more warm tint like this Grad

Yes, you will. It takes time, but once you go there, you never want to go back. Big Smile

I can confirm that… Big Smile

Especially with the warmer tints your eyes expect higher CRI and more deep red.
With cooler tints (5000K and more) i can live with lower CRI better.
And then the Crees benefit from their higher efficiency.
I still quite like the 3A tint from Cree LEDs.

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

Lightbringer
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Jerommel wrote:
You mean those 219A 2200K (or something like that) ones?

They’re not high CRI. Sad

I got me a bunch a wile ago (ordered 3 pcs, they somehow sent me 6 pcs) but they’re not more that 80 CRI.

They are cheap though..

Yep. I figure even 80cri is better than The Usual™. Something warm, juuuust to have one, would be nice.

Worse comes to worse, they’d make nice nightlights. Big Smile

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MascaratumB
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Jerommel wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
MascaratumB wrote:
Not that I’ll become a “tint snob” or that all my lights will all have these warm tints, but I surely be more aware of what can I expect from a light with a more warm tint like this Grad

Yes, you will. It takes time, but once you go there, you never want to go back. Big Smile

I can confirm that… Big Smile

Especially with the warmer tints your eyes expect higher CRI and more deep red.
With cooler tints (5000K and more) i can live with lower CRI better.
And then the Crees benefit from their higher efficiency.
I still quite like the 3A tint from Cree LEDs.

Eheh, maybe I will Wink I’m still learning about these CRI and tint things (among a lot of others… Facepalm ), so I have a long path to run before that!
But now I’m sure I’m more inclined to get neutral to warm tints, despite CRI numbers as they are better to the eyes!

At least one of these AA flashlights will get a neutral LED (XML2 T6-3B) just to try how it works in terms of colour and fitting the lens itself! I guess it will be “cool” to have several in each colour temperature Cool
From then on…it’s just a matter of time to become snobish Big Smile Eheheh

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

djozz
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Nice comparison! Flashlight review turned into optics demonstration very informative, thanks. Smile

MascaratumB
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Thanks djozz Wink Yup, it was a bit like that, as the main review was already made, so the more important and useful things (for me, at least) would be to provide information about other possibilities of lenses or reflector, or how the tint would look on those! Wink

Hope this helps to other mods, in these or other flashlights Cool

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI

 

Dave G
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Nice comparison. I am still waiting for my two from Neal but I am already tempted to order those lenses. The diffused light does look so much better.

MascaratumB
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Dave G wrote:
Nice comparison. I am still waiting for my two from Neal but I am already tempted to order those lenses. The diffused light does look so much better.

Thanks Dave G! The Nichia version from Neal is really nice Smile And definitely looks better on the pebbled lenses!
I guess I put a link for the lenses above, if you need them.
I’m seeing myself with more and more lights with “hive” lenses! And I like them more and more Wink

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF14 & SP10A 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                                                    Convoy S2+ TIR Lenses on: XML2 / XPL-HI