Need help desperately SK68 - SK98 which is better?

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aec
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Need help desperately SK68 - SK98 which is better?

Hello everyone!

As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact.
I’ve been researching the SK68 and SK98 models, but I just got myself even more confused.
The first one is an older but quite popular and a bit smaller model, and the second one is a newer and a bit larger model, if I’m not wrong.

The case is that in my search on ebay and such I noticed some models seem to have different manufacturers (UltraFire, Sipik…) and even diferent LED sources (Q3, Q5, XM-L T6, 18650…) some of which I read have a more yellow-ish tint, and I’m completely lost in that matter. So perhaps you can help me out?

I’d like to know which combination (model, manufacturer, LED, anything else…) would you recommend me considering:

  • White light.
  • Best “light output (lumen) – Run time (hours)” ratio.
  • Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED.
  • Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).

Any help will be welcome, thanks! Smile

DBSAR
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aec wrote:
Hello everyone!

As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact.
I’ve been researching the SK68 and SK98 models, but I just got myself even more confused.
The first one is an older but quite popular and a bit smaller model, and the second one is a newer and a bit larger model, if I’m not wrong.

The case is that in my search on ebay and such I noticed some models seem to have different manufacturers (UltraFire, Sipik…) and even diferent LED sources (Q3, Q5, XM-L T6, 18650…) some of which I read have a more yellow-ish tint, and I’m completely lost in that matter. So perhaps you can help me out?

I’d like to know which combination (model, manufacturer, LED, anything else…) would you recommend me considering:

  • White light.
  • Best “light output (lumen) – Run time (hours)” ratio.
  • Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED.
  • Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).

Any help will be welcome, thanks! Smile

The SK68 uses an XR-E (Q5) emitter ( either the EZ900 or EZ1000 series) and some SK68 clones use a XP-E emitter.
I found the original “Sipik” SK68 has the best & brightest throw distance with the XR-E (Q5), and all SK68’s and its clones are smaller than the SK98 version. ( SK68 uses either a AA Alcaline, Eneloop, or a 14500 Lithium, and the SK98 uses an 18650 Litium. Also most SK98’s will have a XM-L ( usually a T6 of cool white color tint) also the bigger SK98 will have bigger and brighter flood on high, but less throw brightness due to the less lux in the beam of the XM-L.
I prefer the original “Sipik” for quality and brightness, and the emitters usually never burn out in stock form. Runtimes on a single Alcaline AA in the SK68 is around 30 minutes on high, just over a hour on a Eneloop, and around a hour on a 14500 rechargable Lithium.
I never tested the run time on the larger SK98 light.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

GottaZoom
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Buy one of each – and/or multiples of the one you want.

Generally you won’t know what you’re going to get in the way of tint, quality, etc. until it arrives and you test it. Unless you are going to source your own replacement LED tint and mod it. The drivers also have a fairly wide range of variability.

ghos
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aec wrote:
Hello everyone!

As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact.
I’ve been researching the SK68 and SK98 models, but I just got myself even more confused.
The first one is an older but quite popular and a bit smaller model, and the second one is a newer and a bit larger model, if I’m not wrong.

The case is that in my search on ebay and such I noticed some models seem to have different manufacturers (UltraFire, Sipik…) and even diferent LED sources (Q3, Q5, XM-L T6, 18650…) some of which I read have a more yellow-ish tint, and I’m completely lost in that matter. So perhaps you can help me out?

I’d like to know which combination (model, manufacturer, LED, anything else…) would you recommend me considering:

  • White light.
  • Best “light output (lumen) – Run time (hours)” ratio.
  • Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED.
  • Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).

Any help will be welcome, thanks! Smile

I have own a few of each and modded them, i would say my personal preference is the SK98, it is very versatile, driver is 17mm and star is standard 20mm, but try to get the one with solid pills and with the option to use a 18650 battery, you can go all the way up to 3400mah for even longer runtimes

The standard most probably comes with a 6500 xml cool white, its easy to swap it for number of other LEDs

I have even built a MT-G2 version and a triple nichia 219 version, the possibilities are endless Big Smile

If you want to build a thrower, simply swap the XML in the SK98 to a XP-G or XR-E, the throw beam will be even smaller (approx 3/4) then the SK68 due to bigger aspherics in the SK98, which means further throw!!

My MTG2 Thrunite T10T Ti “Micro Sunbeam” -> http://www.budgetlightforum.com/node/41059

My MTG2 #@!$ zoomable sk98 pocket rocket -> http://budgetlightforum.com/node/27089

My SK98 Triple Nichia 219 92cri-> http://budgetlightforum.com/node/27590

Rusty Joe
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aec wrote:
Hello everyone!

As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact.
I’ve been researching the SK68 and SK98 models, but I just got myself even more confused.
The first one is an older but quite popular and a bit smaller model, and the second one is a newer and a bit larger model, if I’m not wrong.

The case is that in my search on ebay and such I noticed some models seem to have different manufacturers (UltraFire, Sipik…) and even diferent LED sources (Q3, Q5, XM-L T6, 18650…) some of which I read have a more yellow-ish tint, and I’m completely lost in that matter. So perhaps you can help me out?

I’d like to know which combination (model, manufacturer, LED, anything else…) would you recommend me considering:

  • White light.
  • Best “light output (lumen) – Run time (hours)” ratio.
  • Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED.
  • Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).

Any help will be welcome, thanks! Smile

Hi! And welcome to BLF!

First off, reading BLF can be confusing because you have the modding crowd that always complicates things by assuming everyone else is a modder (certainly no offense to our modders, but it is a common error), or else talks past newbies with techno-jargon. Here is the low-down…

I think your expectations of the Sipiks need to re-evaluated rather seriously; the Sipik and Sipik clone format boast practicality, NOT brightness. No zoomie can really do justice for brightness because these lights have no reflectors and lose a lot of the light they produce. Plus, they produce too much heat for such a small form-factor. Many have died with just sparse use. I do not recommend them at all. So scratch that. Go with a non-zoomie for brightness. I can recommend a lot of things on that front.

Second, the advantage of the Sipik magnifying lens is only made by the zooming feature, which is only effective with the XR-E/XP-E formats. An XM-L is not right for this light because the die is too large and the magnifying lens too small. It won’t throw like the XP-E and XR-Es, so don’t waste time with them. I’ve had a number of them and would never buy another because the throw advantage just isn’t there. They flood quite brightly, but that is all.

Buy these (colored, silver, and black)…

http://www.banggood.com/Ultrafire-CREE-XPE-Q5-300LM-MINI-LED-Flashlight-1xAA-Or-14500-p-76701.html
http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-CREE-Q5-300lm-Mini-Zoomable-EDC-LED-Flashlight-Silver%281+AA-Or-1+14500%29-p-40270.html
http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-CREE-Q5-300lm-Mini-Zoomable-LED-Flashlight-Black%281+AA-Or-1+14500%29-p-33588.html

These usually use the XP-E emitter and provide a lot more throw than the XR-E, in my experience. This may be because the lens is different or set further back, but either way, you can’t go wrong at these prices. They are cheap in material, of course, but such a light is intended to meet pragmatic concerns. Get a couple. I can almost assure you you’ll enjoy them over the larger, less practical, 18650-needing SK98s.

ToyKeeper
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Rusty Joe wrote:
aec wrote:
As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact.

  • White light.
  • Best “light output (lumen) – Run time (hours)” ratio.
  • Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED.
  • Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).

I think your expectations of the Sipiks need to re-evaluated rather seriously;

Second, the advantage of the Sipik magnifying lens is only made by the zooming feature, which is only effective with the XR-E/XP-E

The SK-68 is cheap, has decent throw in narrow-beam mode, and is decent for impressing “muggles” because it’s brighter than most of the lights they’ve probably seen before. Its flood mode is okay but nothing special. Battery life is pretty short, even if you get a multi-mode dimmable model. The SK-68 makes a great gift light to give away, and it can be fun to keep a couple too.

The SK-98 has a nice flood beam, though there are other lights for the same price which do it better. Its zooming feature isn’t very useful compared to the SK-68, for the reasons Rusty Joe mentioned. And it tends to have terrible heat dissipation so it might burn its emitter.

Both models are large for their battery type, cheaply built, have poor heat management, aren’t waterproof, and usually come with cheap blue-ish emitters. However, they do have a certain “tacticool” bling factor, and are interesting due to the novel flood-to-throw zoom mechanism. Add a loupe / magnifying glass and transparency sheet, and they can be used to project images.

In any case, these Sipik lights don’t really have the qualities you said you are looking for. For something compact with white light, good output and runtime, and decent quality, I’d suggest something else.

Going by that criteria, a few extra assumptions (like, that you want an EDC-style light), and my own personal bias, I’d say the L3 Illumination L10 (Nichia 219 model) might be worth a look. It’s available from two stores, and is reviewed in detail here.

(the review link might not work right now; CPF seems to be having a DNS problem at the moment… but his youtube review of it is still accessible)

aec
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Hello again!

First of all, thank you all for all the responses! You really have * shed some light * on the matter…
I wanted to clarify a couple of things: I should have written “something cheap and compact” instead. I know those aren’t the best flashlights, but they are (or I think they are) a good choice for such a small price, and as it is my first flashlight (well, not really, but it’s probably the first one I buy myself) and I want it for a general use, not something too specific or demanding, I won’t be spending a lot on it. I just wanted to make sure that whatever I bought wouldn’t be like a toy flashlight, with that poor, yellow-ish light that barely illuminates past 2 feet.
For the same reason I wouldn’t start modding it either, so I’d be set with whatever it comes with.

From what I’ve read so far, I guess the one that fits better my needs for now is the SK68.
Now the only things left are the best led and manufacturer, I guess.

  • XP-E vs XR-E. From the Cree page, it seems the XP-E is a bit better than the XR-E, and I guess from the second paragraph of this link that Q5>Q3? Am I right (in both things)?
  • Now Sipik seems to be the original company, but I don’t know what’s the difference between Sipik and others. The case seems the same, do the drivers change? Do all manufacturers build the same model with different components (i.e. If I decide for a SK68 w/ XP-E Q5, could I get that from Sipik or should I buy a “clone”?)?

Thanks again!

EDIT: I noticed Sipik’s official page says the LED is a XP-E R3, but i have only found Q3 and Q5 online, and the vast majority of pages/sellers only indicate the bin numbers, not the model (XP-E, XR-E, etc.)… how’s that?

EDIT2: I just got tired of searching and bought the SK68 Rusty Joe recommended for $5, there were cheaper ones on ebay though, but I didn’t want to be watching the items remaining time.
Thanks, everyone!

WarHawk-AVG
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ToyKeeper wrote:
Rusty Joe wrote:
aec wrote:
As the title says, I need help: I want a new LED flashlight, something compact. ... * White light. * Best "light output (lumen) - Run time (hours)" ratio. * Quality/reliability/lifetime of the LED. * Quality of the manufacturer (or which one do you prefer, and why?).
I think your expectations of the Sipiks need to re-evaluated rather seriously; ... Second, the advantage of the Sipik magnifying lens is only made by the zooming feature, which is only effective with the XR-E/XP-E
The SK-68 is cheap, has decent throw in narrow-beam mode, and is decent for impressing "muggles" because it's brighter than most of the lights they've probably seen before. Its flood mode is okay but nothing special. Battery life is pretty short, even if you get a multi-mode dimmable model. The SK-68 makes a great gift light to give away, and it can be fun to keep a couple too. The SK-98 has a nice flood beam, though there are other lights for the same price which do it better. Its zooming feature isn't very useful compared to the SK-68, for the reasons Rusty Joe mentioned. And it tends to have terrible heat dissipation so it might burn its emitter. Both models are large for their battery type, cheaply built, have poor heat management, aren't waterproof, and usually come with cheap blue-ish emitters. However, they do have a certain "tacticool" bling factor, and are interesting due to the novel flood-to-throw zoom mechanism. Add a loupe / magnifying glass and transparency sheet, and they can be used to project images. In any case, these Sipik lights don't really have the qualities you said you are looking for. For something compact with white light, good output and runtime, and decent quality, I'd suggest something else. Going by that criteria, a few extra assumptions (like, that you want an EDC-style light), and my own personal bias, I'd say the L3 Illumination L10 (Nichia 219 model) might be worth a look. It's available from two stores, and is reviewed in detail here. (the review link might not work right now; CPF seems to be having a DNS problem at the moment... but his youtube review of it is still accessible)

 

Haha...you called us muggles, and yes..I are one

The SK-68 and SK-98 are the small and large version of pretty much the same thing..I have both

Some say they are the "bic lighters" of the Cree world...dirt cheat and a dime a dozen

My next purchase will be a Convoy of this flavor recommend by someone here that has been around a bit

Oh and ToyKeeper,

Wingardium Leviosa

 Punk!

Big Smile

ToyKeeper
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WarHawk-AVG wrote:

Oh and ToyKeeper,

Wingardium Leviosa … Punk!


Haha, LOL. That combination is just wrong. Smile

Also, about the SK-68, it’s definitely worth the $5. It’s one of the most iconic budget lights, and for good reason. It’s a classic, and the only 1xAA budget “icon”. (other iconic budget lights, by popular vote here on BLF, include the Skyray King, the C8, and the whole family of P60 lights)

There is a more recent 1xAA which has been very popular though, and is smaller than the SK-68 with pretty much the same benefits. I’m not sure what to call it though, and I lost the original link… but it looks like this:

I think this might have been it, except that the original price was only like $2: http://www.fasttech.com/products/1/10004841/1374705-mini-xl-49-cree-xp-e...

unknown00101
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I think it’s called “The $1.99 light” Silly

Otherwise, it’s just referred to by its specifications.

http://wallbuys.com/Product/Mini-CREE-XPE-20LM-3-Mode-Cool-White-LED-Flashlight-with-Clip-Black-1xAA—9836
http://wallbuys.com/Product/Mini-CREE-XPE-20LM-1-Mode-Cool-White-LED-Flashlight-with-Clip-Golden-1xAA—9837
http://www.banggood.com/CREE-XPE-Q5-600-Lumen-7W-Zoomable-LED-Flashlight-1×14500-p-907006.html

I would recommend the sk68 over these cheapies though. Even if you have to pay a bit more, the sk68 is a much better buy imo.

Dhvl
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Hi folks, sorry to be dredging up this thread/light after all this time but I just stumbled upon this on BLF the last week and spent all of it reading up on it and ended up ordering the 3-mode.

What I got is a silver 3 mode ultrafire “HWA WYS” Cree Q5 on the body (though the online spec sheet claims it’s an R2) that tailstands just fine. I’m kinda disappointed with the output on the max mode and measure a current draw of 700mA. I then saw that I had a coupla old “Police” brand lights in the junkbox and managed to get 2 tube extensions on and fired her up with 3 Eneloops and noted that the current draw on max was still 700mA!

My question is, will popping in a single 14500 make it any brighter? I don’t have any and wouldnt want to order 14500s if it wouldn’t make a major difference.

Also, what is the best 1*18650 FTT thrower these days in terms of absolute distance and brightness? I live in India so can only order from the likes of DX and Aliexpress.

Last of all, thank you for being patient with this post and this is one real kickass forum that is helping me getting back into budget lights. Had bought a lot of junk many years ago and had become disillusioned with cheap lights and had reverted to Fenix in all my purchases so far. Thanks again!

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unknown00101 wrote:
I think it’s called “The $1.99 light” Silly
……
I would recommend the sk68 over these cheapies though. Even if you have to pay a bit more, the sk68 is a much better buy imo.

I agree. I had better luck with sk68s than these “$1.99”. If you don’t mind the weight, sk68 has more uniform quality and higher light output than the latter. the “$1.99“s just too weak to my taste.

Twinclouds

hank
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Quote:
I think it’s called “The $1.99 light”

Search (BLF search upper left corner) for “#3 zoom” — without the quotes — and you’ll find a lot more references here; sort that result page by date

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You might think of a light as the sum of it’s parts; the heart is the led, the reflector gives the beam it’s shape, the brain is the driver, the legs are the battery, and the body houses them all. Deciding which combination is best for you needs to account fir them all.

Better throw= smaller die led + bigger reflector or aspheric lens

Brighter = bigger die led

Longer run time = bigger/more cell(s)

Rechargeable vs primary cell use

Simple UI vs multi mode groups

Please show us a list of preferences knowing that choices usually compromise other options.

Three Tanna leaves to give him life, nine to give him movement. But what if he eats the whole bag?

Scott