Lumintop FW1A discussion and review

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Frazil
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ToyKeeper wrote:
The momentary mode supports regular (steady) output or anything in the strobe group (party strobe, tactical strobe, bike flasher, candle, lightning).

What it doesn’t have is “manual memory”, which makes the regular ramping mode start at the same brightness every time. Instead, it has only “automatic memory”, which uses the last-ramped level. Newer versions allow switching between these two. But that probably isn’t relevant for light painting, and doesn’t affect momentary mode.

You’re right. Thanks for this information.
Cheers

Edit:
FW1A is on the way. Wink
…and I add a FW3A, just because… well I love carrying multiple flashlights. Big Smile

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Finally!

 

The proper version of this light with so little thermal mass. Only.. Why only OP reflector ? Why no SMO.. ? Beats me to death.. Flat Stare Small emitter and OP reflector, makes no sense to me.

I was very much excited when the Lumintop rep on AE told me about the EDC18 that was based on the FW3A - that made me think that Lumintop does consider options and variations.

I've just replied that I'm not too much interested into triples, or multi emitter lights in small formats due to low thermal mass and that I would take a single emitter variant any time,

even at the expense of a shorter cell fueling it, like an 18500/18350 if size constraints are imperative.

Not too many minutes ago just randomly found and watched a review on YT about the FW3A and somewhere in the review, the 21700 and single emitter variations of the FW3A were mentioned - moment of awe!

Ofc, I went straight to Google and typed in Lumintop FW1A - low and behold.. the unexpected (but hoped for.. ) happened! Hurray!

Only when I've got to any of the shops selling them.. there had to be a shortcoming.. ONLY... OP reflector as a choice!.. Flat Stare Not nice, really a bummer as far as I'm concerned.

 

Hopefully Lumintop will consider having an SMO reflector as an option for the FW1A any time soon tho Smile

 

 

Yay!

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80T wrote:
Hopefully Lumintop will consider having an SMO reflector as an option for the FW1A any time soon tho Smile

Why? I’ve never seen any testing proving that smooth reflectors give noticeably more throw, and the lead to more beam artifacts. With the smaller LEDs used here, this light already is quite throwy.
Lumintop actually considered both options, I suggested they pick OP if they had to choose just one.

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bmengineer wrote:
80T wrote:
Hopefully Lumintop will consider having an SMO reflector as an option for the FW1A any time soon tho :)
Why? I've never seen any testing proving that smooth reflectors give noticeably more throw, and the lead to more beam artifacts. With the smaller LEDs used here, this light already is quite throwy. Lumintop actually considered both options, I suggested they pick OP if they had to choose just one.

 

I haven't mentioned the small emitter and SMO reflector combo in relation to the throw ability, just the beam pattern, well, more like.. the "Hot-Spot pattern" if I could call it so.. the Hot-Spot shape, definition. The smaller the emitter, the fuzzier the Hot-Spot. Indeed, the OP reflector will smooth out the whole beam, but at a cost. And for me that's not the cost of the throw, but the smoothed out Hot-Spot, which with a small emitter it's even more pronounced than say a bigger emitter like an XHP50 / XHP70 for example. I'll always take some artifacting and a sharp, defined, homogeneous Hot-Spot over an overall smooth beam. That being not talking about outer ringing artifacts or other such unwanted beam "elements" which have nothing to do with the reflector being OP or SMO Anyways. Having an OP reflector it's like applying a post-processing blur pass over a CGI image in order to mitigate aliasing.. instead of using an actual antialiasing process. You end up losing all relevant detail in the picture by the time the blur is strong enough to make a difference in alleviating the unwanted aliasing. It's pretty much the same with the beam on a flashlight. I just like it sharp and crisp, with a homogeneous Hot-Spot especially and regarding artifacting, that shouldn't be there in the first place on a quality well though light. If there's artifacts in the beam, then something has been poorly designed, either the reflector geometry, the emitter's centering tolerance, the protective glass lens, the bezel holding it in place, or any other such elements that I'm not probably aware of. OP reflector really isn't anything but a strong gaussian blur applied to an HD image as far as I'm concerned. Nothing in relation to throw, regardless of what degree it affects it.

 

EDIT:

 

Oh and another thing that someone's already mentioned before, and nothing new in the flashlights world, if I'd ever want a smoother overall beam, it's very easy to add some form of diffusion to the light's beam, being it a film over the lens, or a rubber/silicone cap, or whatever else that would work, the option is always there. Not so much an option to sharpen the beam back, (Hot-Spot especially) when you have an OP reflector to begin with. Even a ceiling/wall/floor bounce would help if you need any diffuse/ambient lighting and you don't have any difuser on you in any such situations where you would need it, it's just handy in any situation, just point the light in a different direction than what you need to lighten up and you have ambient/diffuse light, even more so that you would have with an OP reflector. So, basically an OP reflector really isn't like.. "needed".. other than for plain aesthetic purposes, just so one could say the beam pattern is smooth/er than it was before - note that for any given artifact, the artifact would still be there, but just blurred out - e.g. outer ringing - thus smoothing out the whole beam, isn't that effective in the first place, just makes the beam more.. "bland", less eye-popping let's say, definitely not adding up anything to it. It's like instead of cleaning the mud that the children left on the kitchen floor when they've entered the house straight from the garden on a rainy day, you would take the dry mop and just spread the mud as evenly as you can across the entire floor's surface, that's all an OP reflector is.

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80T wrote:
The smaller the emitter, the fuzzier the Hot-Spot.

That’s backward. Larger emitters make fuzzier hotspots. Smaller emitters make more defined hotspots. A single-point light source makes the sharpest edge possible.

In practice, it usually comes down to the size ratio between the reflector and the emitter. Bigger reflector and/or smaller emitter makes for a tighter, cleaner hotspot. Smaller reflector and/or bigger emitter makes for a looser, fuzzier hotspot.

80T wrote:
I just like it sharp and crisp … I’ll always take some artifacting and a sharp, defined, homogeneous Hot-Spot over an overall smooth beam.

That may be a somewhat unusual preference. As far as I can tell, it’s much more common to prefer a smooth flashlight beam over a beam with sharp edges. The usual tradeoff people must decide is where to place the balance between making the beam throw and making the beam look pleasing.

The FW1A uses an OP reflector to make the beam look a bit nicer and eliminate the “fried egg” beam issue with XP-L HI… and it works. It doesn’t seem to reduce throw enough to be a problem though. If anything, I found it was too throwy even with the OP reflector. I probably would have added some DC-Fix to blur it a bit more, except my FW1A had a cool white LED… so I swapped the LED instead.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
80T wrote:
The smaller the emitter, the fuzzier the Hot-Spot.
That's backward. Larger emitters make fuzzier hotspots. Smaller emitters make more defined hotspots. A single-point light source makes the sharpest edge possible. In practice, it usually comes down to the size ratio between the reflector and the emitter. Bigger reflector and/or smaller emitter makes for a tighter, cleaner hotspot. Smaller reflector and/or bigger emitter makes for a looser, fuzzier hotspot.
80T wrote:
I just like it sharp and crisp ... I'll always take some artifacting and a sharp, defined, homogeneous Hot-Spot over an overall smooth beam.
That may be a somewhat unusual preference. As far as I can tell, it's much more common to prefer a smooth flashlight beam over a beam with sharp edges. The usual tradeoff people must decide is where to place the balance between making the beam throw and making the beam look pleasing. The FW1A uses an OP reflector to make the beam look a bit nicer and eliminate the "fried egg" beam issue with XP-L HI... and it works. It doesn't seem to reduce throw enough to be a problem though. If anything, I found it was too throwy even with the OP reflector. I probably would have added some DC-Fix to blur it a bit more, except my FW1A had a cool white LED... so I swapped the LED instead.

 

What I wanted to say was a smaller emitter VS a larger emitter with an OP reflector (let's say the emitter/reflector size ratio would be the same)

With a small emitter, even the slightest imperfections in the reflector would smooth out/spread the Hot-Spot edge sharpness

 

If you found the FW1A being a bit throwy, that could be because the Hot-Spot (with the OP reflector) instead of being homogeneous, thus, center to edge the same brightness (egg-yolk tint shifting aside) it's faded way more from the center to the edge, (compared with an SMO reflector) thus producing a more pronounced throw in the very center, apparently making the Hot-Spot smaller and throwier I'd imagine because all of the edge would fade-out much faster with distance than the center of it.

 

EDIT:

 

If I'm excused of my quick'n dirty Paint skills.. this is pretty much what I think happens with a small emitter like an XP-L HI and an OP/SMO reflector:

Of course this is a rather gross approximation and exaggeration from my part, just to make the difference more striking..

And this would be how two of my 14500 lights with the same (exactly the same) geometry reflector, one OP, one SMO and same emitter size, thus same emitter/reflector ratio are looking like:

Of course, disregard the brightness that was manually matched, the tint and likely the tint-shift on the left - What I only wanted to portray here is just the beams patterns..

 

OP on the Left / SMO on the Right (my preference being.. Right)

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80T wrote:
the Hot-Spot edge sharpness …

If I’m excused of my quick’n dirty Paint skills.. this is pretty much what I think happens


We don’t really have to guess. Some of our more talented reviewers made equipment for measuring intensity vs beam angle. For example, in maukka’s FW3A review, there are detailed measurements of how the beam is shaped with three common optics:

The 10507 is more or less equivalent to a SMO reflector… and the 10511 is essentially the same thing but frosted (similar to OP) so it blends the beam together a bit. I greatly prefer the smoother 10511 beam.

  • Smooth reflector = ringy beam, sharp edges, visible artifacts
  • OP reflector or frosted optics = smooth beam, gradual slopes, subtle or no artifacts

The effect of an OP reflector or frosted optic is very similar to running a Gaussian blur filter over the beam, and that’s a good thing… unless you want sharp edges.

In any case, that’s not what causes the “fried egg” effect. The XP-L HI beam is still more intense at the center, even when it looks like a fried egg… it just has a visible tint shift there due to the way it emits different frequencies at different angles. It’s not nearly as bad about this “Cree rainbow” effect as most LEDs, but it still happens somewhat. The warmest frequencies go out the sides of the LED, where they bounce off the reflector and end up in the center of the hotspot.

The effect is usually most visible with a large smooth reflector, but it can also be seen even in the non-frosted Carclo optics. Here are those same results, but showing CCT by angle instead of intensity. This is the egg yolk effect:

Regardless, I almost always prefer a smooth change of intensity from the hotspot to the outer edge of the spill. It doesn’t have to be a linear change, but I like to avoid the appearance of any sharp edges. The plateau-shaped beam in the “quick-n dirty Paint” pic above doesn’t really appeal to me.

I liked the FW1A’s beam with XP-L HI… it was very nice. But it was too throwy for my purposes, so I modified it. The effect was very similar to what is shown in the intensity-vs-angle graph above, going from 10507 to 10508. It went from ~22 cd/lm down to about ~10 cd/lm, which made the hotspot wider and less intense. And I’m pretty happy with the result. I wanted ~10 or ~12 cd/lm, and that’s what I got.

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ToyKeeper wrote:
  • Smooth reflector = ringy beam, sharp edges, visible artifacts
  • OP reflector or frosted optics = smooth beam, gradual slopes, subtle or no artifacts

From what I've experienced so far, the ringy beam usually, if not exclusively comes from the emitter's centering ring, height not properly adjusted, lens reflecting the emitter back into the reflector ofc at different angles, the bezel holding the glass lens in place if it's glossy instead of matte and other small, overlooked factors like these. The artifacts that I've seen related to the reflector and here it applies both to SMO and OP, where the OP is hiding them to some extent, because.. that's what the OP reflector is intended to do, are the flower petal corona, or depending on the depth and centering alignment different other shape variations, uneven Hot-Spot brightness, accentuated tint-shift (with some OP reflectors I've found the tint-shift to be not only noticeable, but considerably more pronounced than with the very slightly different shaped but compatible SMO counterpart reflector and some other times with a SMO reflector the tint shift would be basically more pronounced and separated completely from the Hot-Spot, all in the Corona)

 

All in all, I would say that the reflector geometry, emitter alignment, emitter / reflector size ratio (in fact reflector angle vs emitter size would be the more relevant ratio here.. ) are playing the most relevant part in the beam quality and even to some extent in the tint shifting.

 

All of the 3 TIR's in the intensity/angle graph that you've presented are nothing like what I like my beam patterns to look like, I can see very little to no plateau in the center 5 ~ 10 degrees and the slope is too gradual all around, also the spill is negligible.

 

EDIT: In fact, to cut the long story short, I've got a pretty good representation of a beam pattern/shape comparison in the picture on the "white" wall in my previous post. I very much like the one Hot-Spot on the right (SMO) which is.. spot on, VS the one on the left (OP) which I don't like one bit. And to understand what sharp, defined and homogeneous means to me, that's pretty much it, the beam on the right side nearly perfect. Maybe it lacks a bit of detail because of the limited color range of the camera. But, as you could probably notice, there's no artifacting going on, no ringing and no crazy sharp edges to speak of. And the setup it's a plain emitter in a SMO reflector, no difuser, no blurring or anything alike, because there was absolutely no need for them. Big Hot-Spot was obtained simply by the small and wider angle reflector (I'd say it's about a 20 degrees angle reflector in this particular case)

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80T wrote:
In fact, to cut the long story short, I’ve got a pretty good representation of a beam pattern/shape comparison in the picture on the “white” wall in my previous post.

What exactly are those two lights?

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bmengineer wrote:
80T wrote:
In fact, to cut the long story short, I've got a pretty good representation of a beam pattern/shape comparison in the picture on the "white" wall in my previous post.
What exactly are those two lights?

 

The one on the left is a Lumintop EDC05 standard OP reflector, XP-L HD and the one on the right is the Sofirn SP10S on which I've swapped the original OP reflector to the SMO one from the older SP10A revision and it runs a LH351D (reason for the lesser tint shifting)

Both reflectors are the same geometry and they would be interchangeable if it weren't for the deeper cut on the outside on the EDC05 (deeper border on the Sofirn's reflector and deeper cut on the head)

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80T wrote:
All in all, I would say that the reflector geometry, emitter alignment, emitter / reflector size ratio (in fact reflector angle vs emitter size would be the more relevant ratio here.. ) are playing the most relevant part in the beam quality and even to some extent in the tint shifting.

Of course. The primary characteristics of the emitter and optics play the largest role. But I thought the point being made was that, all other things being equal, with SMO vs OP as the only difference, you are disappointed that the FW1A uses OP instead of SMO.

That preference is totally fine; each person looks for different things in a light. The FW1A reflector is a good design though. It works well, aside from one visible ring outside of the spill area. There is also a mild Mach band effect at the outer edge of the spill. But the hotspot is nice and smooth with a fairly decent blended corona around it. And the spill is bright enough to provide some useful wider context without wasting a lot of light. Lumintop did a pretty good job with the FW1A optics.

80T wrote:
flower petal corona

Those are usually caused by two things:

  • Large square emitters in well-focused small round reflectors (corona petals)
  • Overlapping reflectors like on the SP36 (spill area petals)

If the LED is smaller, or the reflector is bigger, there is less flower petal pattern. Or if the reflector is defocused or blurred slightly, there is less flower petal pattern.

80T wrote:
the ringy beam usually, if not exclusively comes from …

Lots of things can cause rings in the beam. You listed several of those things. There are a lot of ways optics can go wrong. Smile

However, the sharp edges from precise optics can also be considered rings. Extremely well-focused reflectors tend to have mach bands between different parts of the beam, and that effect can be undesirable.

Apologies for going on a tangent. I find this stuff kind of fascinating. Here’s a visual summary of what a Mach band is:

In the graph you created for an egg yolk beam, it looks like the brightness is highest at the edges of the hotspot and slightly lower in the middle… like turning a soda can upside-down so the the concave bottom is on top. That mild donut hole effect is commonly perceived with well-focused smooth reflectors.

But in general it’s not actually dimmer in the middle. It’s an optical illusion caused by the mach band effect. In order to look flat like a plateau, the hotspot needs to be brighter in the middle and have somewhat more rounded edges. A truly flat center looks like it’s less bright in the middle.

As an example, here is a rendering of a beam with a perfectly flat hotspot and a perfectly flat spill area, with linear transitions between:

It appears to have a mild donut hole effect, but it is only an illusion.

Of course, virtually no lights actually achieve this degree of flatness. But the effect is still present and somewhat visible even with the edges rounded off a bit. For a beam whose hotspot appears flat, it’ll be shaped more like a round hill or a slice from the top of a sphere.

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Yawn

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Neat stuff toykeeper. I didn’t know about the Mach band effect. I have seen that before and found it puzzling.

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nobody wrote:
Yawn


Welcome to our humble thread.

Pull up a saddle, have some tea, make yourself at home.



{ gestures at horses }

Here are the stables…




{ gestures at other horses, which are flickering and vibrating }
{ one horse explodes }

… and here are the unstables.     { sigh }



Enjoy your stay!



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ToyKeeper wrote:
80T wrote:
All in all, I would say that the reflector geometry, emitter alignment, emitter / reflector size ratio (in fact reflector angle vs emitter size would be the more relevant ratio here.. ) are playing the most relevant part in the beam quality and even to some extent in the tint shifting.
Of course. The primary characteristics of the emitter and optics play the largest role. But I thought the point being made was that, all other things being equal, with SMO vs OP as the only difference, you are disappointed that the FW1A uses OP instead of SMO. That preference is totally fine; each person looks for different things in a light. The FW1A reflector is a good design though. It works well, aside from one visible ring outside of the spill area. There is also a mild Mach band effect at the outer edge of the spill. But the hotspot is nice and smooth with a fairly decent blended corona around it. And the spill is bright enough to provide some useful wider context without wasting a lot of light. Lumintop did a pretty good job with the FW1A optics.
80T wrote:
flower petal corona
Those are usually caused by two things: * Large square emitters in well-focused small round reflectors (corona petals) * Overlapping reflectors like on the SP36 (spill area petals) If the LED is smaller, or the reflector is bigger, there is less flower petal pattern. Or if the reflector is defocused or blurred slightly, there is less flower petal pattern.
80T wrote:
the ringy beam usually, if not exclusively comes from ...
Lots of things can cause rings in the beam. You listed several of those things. There are a lot of ways optics can go wrong. Smile However, the sharp edges from precise optics can also be considered rings. Extremely well-focused reflectors tend to have mach bands between different parts of the beam, and that effect can be undesirable. Apologies for going on a tangent. I find this stuff kind of fascinating. Here's a visual summary of what a Mach band is: In the graph you created for an egg yolk beam, it looks like the brightness is highest at the edges of the hotspot and slightly lower in the middle... like turning a soda can upside-down so the the concave bottom is on top. That mild donut hole effect is commonly perceived with well-focused smooth reflectors. But in general it's not actually dimmer in the middle. It's an optical illusion caused by the mach band effect. In order to look flat like a plateau, the hotspot needs to be brighter in the middle and have somewhat more rounded edges. A truly flat center looks like it's less bright in the middle. As an example, here is a rendering of a beam with a perfectly flat hotspot and a perfectly flat spill area, with linear transitions between: It appears to have a mild donut hole effect, but it is only an illusion. Of course, virtually no lights actually achieve this degree of flatness. But the effect is still present and somewhat visible even with the edges rounded off a bit. For a beam whose hotspot appears flat, it'll be shaped more like a round hill or a slice from the top of a sphere.

 

Those mach bands are quite an interesting effect and pretty much what I've noticed on a few of my lights, that apparently had a slight/slim brighter ring just at the edge of the Hot-Spot. Now, makes sense why..

Hasn't bothered me too much, but I could've done without them (visually perceived), thus a bit of blending between the individual areas, on a much smaller scale compared to their own areas would be welcome.

Not so much so to the extent that an OP reflector would blend them combined with such a small emitter like an XP-L HI - the size of the blended area would give too much of a faded Hot-Spot and no definition.

That mock-up beam pattern drawing, looks pretty close to what I'm always after in a beam pattern - only slightly less bright corona and brighter spill, maybe I'd take even more fade from the corona to the spill.

Basically, I'm still ending up giving as example the right side of my first comparison picture of the two Hot-Spots - that beam pattern really has the near perfect balance of definition, smoothness, Hot-Spot size, etc.

That is as far as my preference goes and the purpose of that light's intended use - that being low powered close to mid distance small EDC.

For this small emitter, the SMO reflector's imperfections are smoothing the beam just enough to be.. "soft" to the eyes, but still carrying enough definition to the beam's elements and keep the Hot-Spot.. "flat".

Just enough to trick out that mach banding effect, but not enough to blend the beam's elements in a complete smooth, undefined blur. I just don't.. "feel" when I'm pointing the light when it's so blurry and faded..

 

Here's an example of an OP beam and a small emitter that I cannot stand:

Likely close to what a FW1a is looking like currently (maybe a tad bigger Hot-Spot tho.. )

 

And here would be an example of a beams that I would very much like:

I've probably exaggerated with the size of the Hot-Spot for this comparison, but regardless, this would be a nice SMO beam pattern and would make a good contrast to represent what I like in a beam VS what I dislike..

 

Cheers!

 

 

EDIT:

 

Just found this YT comparison of 2 lights (Olight S2R Baton II & Baton Pro) where someone with a proper camera took some decent captures of the beam patterns of these two lights and one extra (Klarus E1)

Ok, the 2 Olights are TIR optics, but basically, as far as the Hot-Spot goes, there shouldn't be any relevant difference between reflector and TIR. One of them would be the equivalent of a SMO, the other an OP.

The SMO counterpart is just a plain smooth TIR, while the OP counterpart is a frosted TIR, both of them on top of a big die XM-L2. The E1 it's a weird diamond pattern textured TIR on top of a small die XP-L HI

 

So.. first, worst of them all, the Klarus E1 - small die emitter (XP-L HI) and textured (diamond texture) optic - small Hot-Spot with loads of blending in comparison to it's area/size/diameter:

 

Next, comes the second worst, the Baton Pro - large die emitter (XP-L2) and frosted optics - reasonably large Hot-Spot, but still too much fading/blending of the Hot-Spot in relation to it's size/surface:

 

And finally, best of them all by far, the S2R Baton II - the SMO counterpart - large die emitter (XP-L2) and SMO TIR - large, defined, homogeneous Hot-Spot with just the right amount of smoothing on the edges:

 

Now this.. ^ ^ this is a beam that I really like

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Im enjoying your conversation about beam clarity, diffusion, profile shape, donuts and beamrings too. All good and very interesting stuff.

For reference, can someone show me a picture of some Actual FW1a beams please?

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Have you seen this?

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jon_slider wrote:
can someone show me a picture of some Actual FW1a beams please?

A few lights for comparison…
(pics taken at a bit of an angle to avoid direct reflections, sorry for the skewed perspective)

FW3A XP-L HI: ~4 cd/lm

FW1A XP-L HD: ~11 cd/lm

Emisar D4S XP-L HI: ~10 cd/lm

Emisar D1 XP-L HI: ~33 cd/lm

FW1A HD (left) vs FW3A HI (right):

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BOO5TED wrote:
Have you seen this?

yes, but that only pointed out the difference between a triple and a single
it does a good job, but not they type of beamshot I was hoping for

this is the type of beamshot I wanted to see, I consider this an excellent beam btw, for single LED reflector application

ToyKeeper, thank you, I chopped your last pic to show 80T, so we can discuss the actual specific beam of the FW1a in a visual:

ToyKeeper wrote:

so, is that FW1a beam too fuzzy for you @80T?
it looks pretty good to me, I like the smooth gradient (but I have no direct personal experience, and pics only tell so much)

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Most pictures will have the hotspot come out slightly more defined than they appear to your own eyes in my experience.

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contactcr wrote:
Most pictures will have the hotspot come out slightly more defined than they appear to your own eyes in my experience.

That’s for sure , I wanted to post some beam shots and quickly realized an IPad camera is not representative of what the eye sees. Not even close.

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jon_slider wrote:
BOO5TED wrote:
Have you seen this?
yes, but that only pointed out the difference between a triple and a single it does a good job, but not they type of beamshot I was hoping for this is the type of beamshot I wanted to see, I consider this an excellent beam btw, for single LED reflector application !{width:80%}[img]https://i.imgur.com/9b7Y2I2.jpg[/img]! @ToyKeeper, thank you, I chopped your last pic to show @80T, so we can discuss the actual specific beam of the FW1a in a visual:
ToyKeeper wrote:
!{width:80%}[img][img]https://i.imgur.com/LJqOqJB.png[/img]!
so, is that FW1a beam too fuzzy for you @80T? it looks pretty good to me, I like the smooth gradient (but I have no direct personal experience, and pics only tell so much)

 

I don't have a good setup for taking pictures of a flashlight beam and likely not many of us around here do, thus, as someone previously mentioned, it's easy to get mislead by a a beam shot picture.

 

For ex. here's my S2+ XP-G2 / SMO reflector - tried my best to get a decent shot, but really don't know how to get a proper brightness balance..

It's looking overexposed, but overall, it does catch the basic pattern of the beam (well, the Hot-Spot and the Corona in this crop as I don't have a big enough white wall available)

Note how dim the Corona is in comparison to the defined Hot-Spot, even with this exposure.. they're both dimmer irl, but the ratio between them seems about right as when they are dimmer.

 

As for the beam shot that you've posted above - It's still looking overexposed, so I can't really tell. The Hot-Spot alone, as is, is looking quite decent, the Corona is looking too bright, and with too much blending in the Hot-Spot, but that might just be the exposure.. So, all in all, for a semi thrower, the Hot-Spot looks about right and maybe in person, the rest of the beam might be looking just fine, or it could be looking worse and the camera is.. "compensating"..

 

The pic from TK's FW1A looks a bit harder to interpret, but I'd say it's the same case of overexposure and the Hot-Spot is even more faded than the camera is showing, pretty much in line with what my previous mock-up was looking, the one that I've said it might be looking close to what the FW1A does.

 

Anyways, my preference still is in simple terms, a big "flat" Hot-Spot with dim corona, and low blending between elements, just enough to look smooth and not eye-popping.. I don't know how to put it any other way.

BurningPlayd0h
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Looking at the popularity of smaller lights to use TIRs and textured reflectors I think you might be in the minority for wanting a very defined beam in a light this size.

I would say its probably much easier to make a beam smooth and artifact free than it is to have very sharp cutoffs between beam elements without having ugly artifacts (like even some throwers still do, with the trade-off being 100% worth it there IMO).

80T
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BurningPlayd0h wrote:
Looking at the popularity of smaller lights to use TIRs and textured reflectors I think you might be in the minority for wanting a very defined beam in a light this size. I would say its probably much easier to make a beam smooth and artifact free than it is to have very sharp cutoffs between beam elements without having ugly artifacts (like even some throwers still do, with the trade-off being 100% worth it there IMO).

 

I don't know about size and the type of reflector, but my SP10S is a 14500 (granted, the reflector was replaced from the earlier revision, the SP10A, but that's basically the same light, just different driver)

The other light is a Convoy S2+ which I've swapped in an XP-G2 and this is pretty much the same size reflector as the FW1A, I think even smaller.

So definitely a small light with no bells and whistles can have a very nice beam, just with a small enough emitter to accommodate the reflector's angle. Thing is, everybody is aiming for the highest lumen count and the highest candela rating. This causes some issues - the emitter choice gets bigger in size, and the reflector angle gets low, thus the emitter's die area heavily overflows the reflector's intended angle of reflection going way into what should be the corona and spill areas, basically throwing out the window the intended beam pattern and beam elements ratios - So how to fix it ? Simply.. adding blur into the mix - add an OP reflector and that's it.

My S2+ with its original emitter (XP-L2) was indeed brighter, but with the SMO reflector the beam was bland and undefined - swapping it to the XP-G2 made the beam pattern nearly perfect and defined with all the 3 beam elements in their own place and with their proper ratio, not overlapping and not blending more than they should've, just enough not to be an eye-popping sharp artifacting mess. And the slightest imperfections in the SMO reflector are enough to do just that.

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@80T, if you really want maximum throw, then get yourself an SMO reflector light with a dedomed SST-20.

You’ll see how intense the beam can be.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

80T
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@80T, if you really want maximum throw, then get yourself an SMO reflector light with a dedomed SST-20. You'll see how intense the beam can be.

 

I never implied that I wanted throw, "big flat defined Hot-Spot and a dim Corona" have nothing to do with throw, just with the.. beam's shape/look.

For throwing I have a couple decent throwers, from de-domed XP-E2's to XHP-35's - all of them having decent defined but not sharp beam patterns - actually on the contrary, they have smooth enough beam patterns.

Maybe the GT-Mini (XP-L HI) and the Manker U23 (XHP-35) have the egg-yolk effect in the Hot-Spot, but that is due to the tint-shifting, not because of the beam pattern.

So, in a small EDC flashlight like this, I'm not looking for either throw or power, especially with the small thermal mass.. What I'm looking for is a nice beam pattern with a nice big flat useful Hot-Spot for short distances.

This way, it would be just perfect for EDC: Low power - low temps, long run-times, low to no step-down, good close range useful quality beam, very nice UI and good size for EDC and holding it in hand.

 

 

Cheers!

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Sorry for the double post, but just to keep things separated..

 

So.. First things first, obviously I do like this light as it's potentially covering lots of my requirements for a compact enough EDC, thus, I might bite the bullet sooner or later.. so that's out of the way.

Next, I would want to know some info about the reflector and the driver and maybe make a few small suggestions, just to know how moddable this host would be to better fit my own preferences.

 

What is the reflector size for the FW1A - Diameter, Depth and less important emitter opening Diameter ? Is there any compatible size common reflector that could be used as a drop-in replacement (S2/S2+ for ex.) ?

How is the power stage driven ? I know there's a 1 + 7 + FET setup, but I'm not really sure how that works.. I'll take it that the 7135's are driven in high freq. PWM and the FET in voltage ?

And how and why is there a 1 + 7 setup for the 7153's ? What would be the difference to.. say, 8 + FET or 1 + FET ? Also, how is the MCU driving them ? each channel gets a PIN from the MCU to drive it ?

Like in 2 PWM pins from the MCU are driving the 1 * 7135 and the 8 * 7135's and a 3rd pin is driving the FET ? In this case, could the driver be modded to accommodate a less powerful emitter like an XP-G2 ?

So, with only 4 * 7135's and no FET, the MCU would only drive the 4 * 7135's and that would leave 2 available pins for controlling a bi-color LED (Red/Green) as a battery status indicator while the light is "On" ?

 

What I'm thinking is having the reflector replaced, remove the FET and few 7135's, leaving only 3 to 5 of them depending on the emitter, swap the emitter to an XP-G2 or an LH351D or a Nichia 119D/219D, or something nice, then drill a small, plain round hole on the side about driver level to accommodate a small SMD bi-color LED that will be used as a battery indicator and use the 2 MCU pins that are remaining from the FET and one of the 7135 channels to drive that small battery indicator LED. All of the above if possible ofc.. Smile

Another thing I've noticed, was a tactical ring accessory for the FWXX lights and it's looking nice, only I would take a Nitecore style one over it because it would make for a better anti-roll design.

 

Ex. of a Nitecore Tactical Ring:

Very nice anti-roll design, in comparison to the current offe.. ring:

Which is nice and slim and good looking, but not really looking like it's serving too much practical purpose. I get that the pocket clip would be the actual anti-rolling element, but I can still see a bit more.. "tabbed" ring would do even better.

 

Besides this tactical ring, I would also add another two optional rubber elements/accessories (color options maybe ?) to the head and tail of the light, just to add to the anti-roll design for one, add some bezel cutouts and also protect the light from drops and scratches, something along the lines of this light, but ofc. slimmer and removable:

 

Yay!..

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80T wrote:
a big “flat” Hot-Spot with dim corona, and low blending between elements

Yeah, that’s kind of the opposite of what I usually want. I typically want the beam to be a smooth slope from the center of the hotspot all the way to the outer edge of the beam, 180 degrees wide. Brightest at the center, of course, and different curve shapes between the center and the edge to allow for both throwy and floody lights… but ideally no flat sections at all.

If I point a light forward to illuminate my path, I ideally want it to light up the whole path to approximately the same lux. That means the beam is brightest at the center and then fades smoothly out to the very edge. At least, that’s how the beam looks when pointed at a wall. But when pointed forward into the distance along flat ground, the result is to illuminate everything to the same level.

A beam with a big flat hotspot is better for pointing at a wall, to illuminate the entire wall to a single brightness. Or really, any time the light is pointed at things which are all the same distance away from the light, a flat beam makes sense. I keep a couple lights like that around… I just don’t use them much because I don’t often encounter situations where it is needed.

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[quote=80T]!https://i.imgur.com/hGSVUXo.jpg! [/quote]

Going off topic a tiny bit but anyone know who is carrying the grip ring? I don't see it at Illumn, Neal's store or on Fin17's page.

BOO5TED
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Kindle wrote:
80T wrote:

Going off topic a tiny bit but anyone know who is carrying the grip ring? I don’t see it at Illumn, Neal’s store or on Fin17’s page.

If I remember correctly it only came on the FW3T, FW3C and the purple TK version. I’ve got one from my FW3T I’m not using if you’re looking for one.

"America has three cities, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland."- Tennessee Williams

 

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