Dazed & Confused. Need Recommendation.

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Trying2Ketchup
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Dazed & Confused. Need Recommendation.

First, I want to apologize in advance for asking what some might interpret as one of those “search, newb” questions; trust me when I say that I’ve spent no less than a dozen hours in the last week researching LED flashlights, watching video reviews, looking at the new technology that’s been developed, and generally, gleaning as much information as I possibly can.

With all of that said, I am now officially caught up in the “paradox of choice” quagmire.

I would like to buy an affordable (less than $30), relatively bright (a true 80 to 150 lumens), more white than yellow or blue, COMPACT (something I can fit in that square small pocket that’s inside one’s front jean pocket, ideally, or in the main front pocket at least), reliable flashlight, that can also obtain several hours of run time, with at least useable light, on regular AA or AAA batteries (the fewer the better).

Just to save any of you who are helpful enough to take the time to give me a recommendation, I will post this video that I found on youtube; in this video, the gentleman reviews a maglight, a Ultrafire C3 (the 5 mode that can either run on 1 or 2 AA batteries), and one of the Cree Q5 specials that can be bought off ebay or at meritline or DX for around $5 to $8 (they all look the same, like a Sipik or a clone):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU3u0_XTyM8

While he states that he thinks the Cree Q5 is a good light, especially for the money, I tend to like the Ultrafire C3 that he has much, much more, and here’s why: The Ultrafire C3 has much more spill and broader coverage than the Q5, while still being able to throw a decent amount of light with a nicely patterned center hot spot, and he’s demonstrating it with just one AA battery in it. I do not like even the broadest setting on the zoomable Q5, as there’s no spill, and I think the beam is far too narrow for general use purposes. Also, the Ultrafire C3 he is demonstrating has a nicer color light output, IMO.

I do know from reading posts here that many have had problems with the Ultrafire C3 (especially the non-stainless steel one and the 5-mode unit), and that’s another point of consideration. If I could find a Fenix or something similar to the Ultrafire C3 he demonstrates in this video, in its smaller configuration with 1 AA battery, for around $30, I’d be quite satisfied. I do not need a strobe function, and to be honest, I really don’t need a firefly/low mode setting (although it would be nice).

I really appreciate any and all feedback and suggestions.

TadpolePilot
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:bigsmile: Welcome, their L2m model is on sale for 11.50 + $2.00 shipping. Get that model and one CR123a cell/battery and that is almost the correct size. Their will be an extra tube that will take a 18650 cell/battery. One unit will get you what you want order a lanyard ring or a belt clip and lanyard combo. I just received one and it is nice. On this sight read posts by Foy on SolarForce L2m and he will make you want one. Here is your list: 1 L2m 2 drop-in unit can buy there or on a number of sights 3 CR123 battery get good one 4 order the clip to go on the light This will make one very happy let us know how you like it.

"Yell  {"Old, Broken Butt,  Zeide"}&nbs

gcbryan
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If it needs to be AA…

For $20 and under I like the Ultrafire BJ08A. For under $40 I love the Photon Proton Pro.

I’m sure you will get many suggestions. Welcome to BLF by the way Smile

trooplewis
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I have several AA lights that I really like.

If you can handle $40 (it goes on sale for that amount regularly), the Klarus ST10 is a fantastic single-AA light, my favorite Klarus St10

For $20, LightHound sells one that is the same as the AA Balder, very nice light, get the XP-G version it is cheaper and will run longer on one AA LightHound AA

For less than $20, the angle-head UniqueFire V4 is an awesome AA light with a nice clip
The V4 on Ebay

I also like the Jetbeam BA10, it’s a quality 2-mode light with no blinkies.

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp Mustang...now I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...

http://dreammustang.com/

http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac47/Ha

Tecmo
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I’ll go ahead and mention the good old Trustfire R5-A3. XML sucks with single AA lights. This is a great xpg, good with 14500, alkaline, and rechargables.

Trying2Ketchup
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Wow. Thanks for the prompt responses, everyone.

I will be reviewing every suggestion you provide me with.

In the last 1/2 hour or so, I came across the Balder SE-1, and in reviewing that, saw a review where someone contrasted it with the Xeno E03 v3, and I must say that I really like the light pattern and color output of the Xeno E03.

Thoughts?

Beamshots of Xeno E03 vs Balder SE-1

robostud5000
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the Xeno E03 is nice. i had an XML version. it’s good if you want a floody beam because the hotspot is wide and diffuse. it doesn’t throw much at all though. that’s something that’s hard to see on a white wall beamshot. you can really tell though on outdoors beamshots. it’s something that limits the Xeno’s versatility IMO.

if you want something with a little more throw while maintaining a slim profile, go for something with a XP-E or XP-G emitter. the smaller emitter gives a tighter beam and better throw. and since were talking about single AA lights, the difference in total output between even a XP-E and a XM-L will be minimal. there’s a XP-G version of the Xeno. and XP-E and XP-G versions of the Balder.

if you really want a light that will fit in a jeans coin pocket, you’ll need a twisty. like a Olight i2, DQG AA, or similar. twisties are shorter, sometimes sigiificantly shorter than lights with switches.

also, if when you say “regular” AA batteries you mean alkaline AA batteries, you’ll need to get Eneloop batteries if you want these lights to work properly. alkalines can’t provide the high current that these lights require and you’ll get poor performance if you use them. they can also leak and destroy your flashlight.

good luck!

Trying2Ketchup
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LOL. I’ve caught the ‘bug,’ and feel the sickness/OCD coming on.

I just saw a review of the Xtar WK21 ‘meteor’ and absolutely love that light, even though it’s north of $40, but that does include batteries, recharger and some other goodies in a package (edit: $44 for Wk21 500Lm Water-proof CREE XM-L T6 LED Flashlight Torch Set USB Charger, Spacers, AC adapter, Rechargeable battery) I’ve seen just the light for around $32.

It seems really well made, is waterproof, and Xtar appears to honestly rate their products.

I’m definitely one who prefers a) flood to light up a wide swath, b) whiter versus neutral/yellow light (although not so white as to be blue/green), c) as few artifacts as possible.

Trying2Ketchup
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robostud5000 wrote:
the Xeno E03 is nice. i had an XML version. it’s good if you want a floody beam because the hotspot is wide and diffuse. it doesn’t throw much at all though. that’s something that’s hard to see on a white wall beamshot. you can really tell though on outdoors beamshots. it’s something that limits the Xeno’s versatility IMO.

if you want something with a little more throw while maintaining a slim profile, go for something with a XP-E or XP-G emitter. the smaller emitter gives a tighter beam and better throw. and since were talking about single AA lights, the difference in total output between even a XP-E and a XM-L will be minimal. there’s a XP-G version of the Xeno. and XP-E and XP-G versions of the Balder.

if you really want a light that will fit in a jeans coin pocket, you’ll need a twisty. like a Olight i2, DQG AA, or similar. twisties are shorter, sometimes sigiificantly shorter than lights with switches.

also, if when you say “regular” AA batteries you mean alkaline AA batteries, you’ll need to get Eneloop batteries if you want these lights to work properly. alkalines can’t provide the high current that these lights require and you’ll get poor performance if you use them. they can also leak and destroy your flashlight.

good luck!

That’s good information, and very specific regarding the emitters and the Eneloop batteries.

I wondered and still wonder if I’d be happy with any light running on AA alkalines (1 or 2). I’d really like to find a good light that is capable of this, but I will probably have to go through trial and error (and $$$).

Such is life.

*I really think I’m leaning towards the Xtar WK21 ‘meteor’. It’s more money, at $44, than I originally outlined, but that does include batteries, recharger and some other things that would be extra cost items for other lights.

I really, really, really like the quality, form factor and most importantly, beam pattern, brightness and color of its output:

Edit again:

I like the Xtar WK26, also, and it seems brighter with a broader pattern (with Li-on):

raccoon city
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Welcome to the madness, Trying2Ketchup!

Best0270

Ketchup or Catsup

Tecmo
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Should I mention the Eagletac D25A to him or just let him be happy with the Xtar?

kreisler
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Welcome to BFL!

i would get a package of 3 lights from my preferred authorized dealer, test them during the weekend, and send back 2 lights. sub-30$ is definitely to be called budget category so you're right on this forum lol. if you are curious what proud owners on BFL have in their collection, check out the collection thread to get a feeling of which models are more popular. Popular lights are popular for some reason (e.g. very good build quality) and praised brands are praised for some reason (e.g. long track record). Well-tried models (for the past ~10 months) are Balder SE-1 and Xeno E03 (EDCplus.com has specialized on selling best-sellers). If you can stretch the budget a little bit more, also have a look at Quark and D25A. You could find them on sale, or CPF coupons or Father's Day specials..

Silly statement but true imho:

If SE-1, E03, Quark and D25A cost all the same 30 bucks, the very best among these 4 would be the Quark. (Anyone wants to disagree?)

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
Sardion Master
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The WK21 is a awesome little light. Think you’d be well pleased with it.

In the AA format there is so many to choose from that it’s staggering. I’m partial to the Balder SE-1 and there’s a lot of info here on the light.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

T.H.Cone
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Welcome to BLF, Trying2Ketchup.

You said “paradox of choice” in your OP. I don’t know if you were referencing the book by the same title, but for any of y’all who like to read psychology and philosophy, that book goes a long way to explaining why we are sometimes unhappy with our purchases and amass such large collections in search of the grail flashlight.

Now, if you will excuse me. I have to go shop for more lights.

fidem, prae caeteris omnibus praeter honestatem

 

 

Don't be confused, my Username has been changed from "Cone" to "T.H.Cone".  I'm still the same clown.

E1320
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I have owned all three of these and they are all nice plus the pill is interchangeable on all three and the C-3. Another nice feature is the strobe mode is easily deleted on all of them.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/2418

Trustfire R5-A3

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/trustfire-r5-a3-cree-xp-e-r5-3-mode-230-lum...

Trustfire SA-2

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/trustfire-s-a2-cree-xpc-wc-q5-3-mode-230-lu...

Ultrafire A-10

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/ultrafire-a10-ha-iii-cree-q5-wc-ha-iii-220-...

I am already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

Trying2Ketchup
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I just want to say that I am reading each and every response, and reviewing additional lights being mentioned as possible candidates (such as the Quark, EagletacD25 & Trustfire), and that this is a truly helpful forum with very friendly members, and that I appreciate being able to access the aggregate, collective wisdom here in helping to decide on my purchase.

kreisler – that suggestion of obtaining 3 lights, testing them given my individual circumstances, and keeping the one that works best for me, and returning the other 2, would be ideal, and is a great suggestion, especially since I’m discovering that many of the videos and photos comparing/contrasting the output of different lights are not as helpful as I had originally thought since the person testing the different lights is not implementing proper controls (e.g. using a different class battery in one light versus another light), or that the ability of some cameras and to capture lux/light levels at night is flawed. I’d worry about the hassle of trying to return items that I had used, though.

I do love the WK21 ‘meteor’ but I am also basing my impressions on its high mode output, which is something of a trap given my initial criteria (i.e. long or moderately long run time), since it would probably deplete its battery in 20 minutes on that setting, not to mention become uncomfortably warm if used for any significant continuous time at that level.

cone – I used that phrase “paradox of choice” just as you had assumed. It’s fascinating to me, in terms of human psychology, as to how the choice paradox often overwhelms and even degrades decision-making skills and/or leads to near inevitable regret about purchases that are made, even if the purchase was objectively a sound one. I won’t even get into the very insidious psychological force known as ‘habituation,’ so as to spare forum members from my further rambling on about such things. Smile

Trying2Ketchup
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I forgot to ask above, and will break this out separately because I have a habit of writing run-on paragraphs (sorry):

When the manufacturers give their run time ratings on each setting for lights that can run on alkalines, is that based on alkalines or Eneloopes being used?

gcbryan
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Trying2Ketchup wrote:
I forgot to ask above, and will break this out separately because I have a habit of writing run-on paragraphs (sorry):

When the manufacturers give their run time ratings on each setting for lights that can run on alkalines, is that based on alkalines or Eneloopes being used?

They should say which they are using but there is no real standard there. However I usually disregard runtime info from manufacturers anyway.

You can usually roughly figure that out for yourself anyway. The problem is a light that isn’t regulated will run a long time with a declining output so some manufacturers may say that on high it runs for hours and hours but even though the switch setting may say high the output isn’t.

Trying2Ketchup
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gcbryan wrote:
Trying2Ketchup wrote:
I forgot to ask above, and will break this out separately because I have a habit of writing run-on paragraphs (sorry):

When the manufacturers give their run time ratings on each setting for lights that can run on alkalines, is that based on alkalines or Eneloopes being used?

They should say which they are using but there is no real standard there. However I usually disregard runtime info from manufacturers anyway.

You can usually roughly figure that out for yourself anyway. The problem is a light that isn’t regulated will run a long time with a declining output so some manufacturers may say that on high it runs for hours and hours but even though the switch setting may say high the output isn’t.

From what I have gathered, a regulated light, if done with quality, is far superior than the simpler, unregulated type, generally speaking, correct? A regulated light sort of ‘steps down’ in output at intervals, rather than continuously?

Now I am looking at the oLight iL XM-L and the Quark 123 (regular and mini) and must say that they are all excellent, too.

I am definitely discovering that I am biased towards an even beam pattern and cool, white light versus neutral (which I tend to see as more ‘yellow-ish’; I notice that the Fenix line seems to have a lot of lights that put out the more neutral color light).

GottaZoom
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Trying2Ketchup wrote:
I would like to buy an affordable (less than $30), relatively bright (a true 80 to 150 lumens), more white than yellow or blue, COMPACT (something I can fit in that square small pocket that’s inside one’s front jean pocket, ideally,

Couple months ago I bought an iTP A01 for my son for his keys but he removed the chain and prefers it clipped in his jean coin pocket (his other EDC is 123) and got my wife got an A03 to use with a Duraloop. She prefers a Fauxton for her keys and keeps the A03 clipped in its own spot in her purse. The Olight i1 and i3 are similar, plus there is the AA version.

Comparing the 2 iTP versions throwing up to 60 meters inside a dark commercial building, the A03 wasn’t as far behind the A01 as I thought it would be, but the 123 version was noticeably brighter at distance with nearly double lumens. I found the medium on the A01 to be more usable and with double the run time of the A03, too.

Got them from here at a good price stacking their sales/discounts.

http://www.aimkon.com/catalog/category/led-flashlights/keychain-lights/

The i2 specs don’t seem enough better than the A03, so the A03 titanium seems like a good buy for conventional batteries.

The Thrunite Ti from Illumination Supply was my next choice to the A03. I recently ordered one of those direct from Thrunite’s store in the just ended promotion.

https://illuminationsupply.com/thrunite-m-3.html

http://thrunite-store.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&produ...

I’m looking forward to trying out the Ti but to me it is best paired with a larger EDC pocket light.

For EDC I’d run a rechargeable and monitor/charge frequently in any battery format. Of these micro-sized lights I’d recommend the A01 for its runtime and brightness advantages, and I’d get a rechargeable or 2 for EDC use. Plus I’d carry a Photon or Fauxton on keys (or neck lanyard if preferred) as backup. The backup is always wise, but in this case it helps to tip me from the AAA to the 123 format for EDC. My home and vehicles have standard formats in case I need light/battery replacements before I can recharge.