I've been a flashaholic for years and I still don't get the obsession with ultra low modes.

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I've been a flashaholic for years and I still don't get the obsession with ultra low modes.

I’ve never understood why people want a .03 lumen mode on their full sized flashlight or worse yet, their headlamp. If I need less light which almost is never the case, I just use my $0.99 keychain light. For all other uses, I want actual light I can use.

I usually won’t even buy a light that has a moonlight mode unless it’s hidden and I never have to access it if I don’t want to. All these people insisting every light has a sub lumen mode are very vocal but ruining the vast majority of lights for normal people.

I have NEVER met anyone in real life that wants or needs more than 3 modes or has any desire for a sub lumen mode. The majority of people who actually use their lights and don’t just play with them actually want to be able to illuminate things in the dark. It’s not that complicated. They want to light up the night so they buy a light. They don’t want to squint and scratch around with a light that barely puts out any light.

I’m a rare flashaholic who is mostly a user and less of a hobbiest. I have come around on a few topics that I used to not worry too much about. For example, I was never a tint snob and thought people were just being picky. Now I find that given the choice, I will go for a warmer tint everytime. This sub lumen thing just escapes me.

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For me, sub lumen is mostly about having the opportunity to look at and appreciate the emitter itself while it is running. I just find these things amazing to look at.

I completely agree, that when I need to use a light daily and can’t employ a hidden Moon mode then I skip it in favour of a simple 2 or 3 mode setup. It’s just annoying to cycle through and often confuses me about whether the light is actually on or not. It’s more of a nuisance there.

I can however appreciate why a really low output mode can be handy, for example to maintain nightvision or not disturb others in the dark. However I’ve very very rarely needed to use a moon mode in that way myself.

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Nice rant. I can see where you are coming from.

I personally don’t like a bunch of modes either, but I do like a good moon mode for times when I’m navigating the bedroom after my wife is asleep, or just a bathroom trip when I don’t want my eyes to readjust. I personally don’t go as low as other people though, I still need to see the floor in front of me. My small lights always get Moon, L, M, H.

My new obsession is red for the moon mode. It’s functionally about the same as a normal moon, but I think it looks cooler (as do most non-flashaholics).

On any larger light that will only be used outside (most throwers) I only give them 3 modes. L, M, H.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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Firefly or moonlight modes are great when it’s pitch black and you only need 0.1 lumens to go across a room without bumping into something or stubbing your toe. Anything brighter (>10 lumens) will be painfully bright when your eyes are adjusted to the darkness and may annoy others if anyone else is near. Your eyes will have to readjust to the darkness once you turn it off.

A $0.99 keychain light may even be too bright, and I don’t know of any dedicated firefly lights aside from survival GITD sticks that only provides sub-lumen brightness. I find moonlight mode very useful, and I’m surprised you haven’t found it that useful.

I do agree with you that having too many modes gets cumbersome to loop over especially when the modes aren’t hidden.

BLF ≠ B-grade Flashlight Forum


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You are obviously irritated by moonlight and it shows in your words so don’t expect all happy posts as responses.. ‘Loving’ flashlights for some involves a bit of obsession and fixation on a single or many details of a light. “I LOVE THROW!” I LOVE SUPER BRIGHT!” I LOVE LONG RUNTIMES! Personally, I have a moderate fixation with owning an ‘everything light’ just in case there is a disaster, I can potentially grab any one light and have low that can last days if a hurricane hits or high that can blind an intruder if necessary…

From a different point of view, in complete dark, a little light goes a long way. My eyes are not all that great and in my dark room (with ambient light), 3 lumens is bright. In a blackout or in a cave or when reading a map on a camping trip or during a night race, low lumens is best. Some have eyes a lot better than mine so I can’t wonder WTF when some claim that 0.03 lumens is good enough for them.

From a third point of view: to each his own. I hate zoomies but there are a lot of folks here that love them and will spend more on one light than I make in a week. It is their choice and if it makes them happy, good for them Smile

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

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The ONLY time I ever use ML is early in the morning when my eyes are not adjusted. I guess you can say I use my S20 on ML, tail standing, early in the morning instead of the Bathroom light! I know,,,,TMI!

That is about it for me unless I was in some survival mode[stuck in a cave!!!] and wanted to conserve my battery!

I am ALL about high output and high powered lights.MAX most of the time w/ High and Medium a few minutes to cool down or conserve batteries.I have a Dozen modded throwers which I take w/ me nightly on my trail walks w/ my Husky, Capo.,,,,,,,,,,,that will be ~ 50 minutes from now!

I tested one of them the other night on a Golf Course[top of hill] down the valley to a cell tower. TK61vn V4 ~ 740Kcd! It shed light on the tower from 1 mile & 27yards/1787yards/1634meters! Wink I do not think ML could do that! The COPS even enjoyed my test!


If your interested in the exciting event,see link below: POST #581


Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. 

Environment molds a person. Perseverance changes them. 


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I just used zebralight low #2 all night as a night light so my son can find his way in the dark to the restroom at grandma’s house without waking everyone up by turning on the lights. Moonlight Definitely has its uses.

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^^^^^ Another good use,an all nighter! Wink

I have the SC62 and I like looking at the LED[Another member mentioned this] when it is also on L2,,,0.06Lumens!

Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. 

Environment molds a person. Perseverance changes them. 


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Moonlight moon is invaluable while hunting/camping. I don’t carry a flashlight with a red filter so moonlight mode is great in the tent, and early mornings when im hiking to a tank to sit without destroying my night vision.

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I forgot something,imperative to mention b/4 my trail hike!

I have plenty of lights, I have designated the S10 and TN12 to be on LOW. TN12 under a lamp and the S10 under a nice BLUE VASE.

If I do not use my ALL lights I feel guilty!

Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. 

Environment molds a person. Perseverance changes them. 


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I also like ML and since I mostly build my own (and generally with Q-lite drivers) I set them up that way. When it’s pitch dark and my pupils are wide open, sub-lumen illumination is plenty for most purposes. Anything more is annoying and completely destroys my night vision. The .5 lumens ML from an S20 is downright harsh at 0300 when I’m awakened from a deep sleep.
Yes, it’s good to have the big output available but its been my habit to use the minimum required, and since I’m often out in the bush for days on end, to stretch battery life as much as possible.
Ain’t it great that we have so much to chose from that we can all have what we prefer? Smile

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Well the same could be said for strobe and sos modes, but I doubt that people requested those. The moon mode is more useful than strobe and sos in my humble opinion. I also use it for night time navigation at home but I also use full power or medium when outside to light up where I’m going and to see stuff.

I think there are still plenty of options for you, for example single mode or an electronic switch with memory.
Having to cycle through strobe and sos modes in the main interface would be a pita very quickly but I don’t think one extra mode is that big of an issue personally

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And that is the beauty of this forum; we can pool our knowledge, learn, and each take away exactly what we want.

I love it when a plan comes together!

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Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t consider myself normal in my appreciation of flashlights but even though I don’t often use a moon mode I can stretch my imagination far enough to allow that others might use them more and would not consider that an indication of either normal or abnormal behavior. On a forum such as this you will commonly find those who want a low moon mode and those who don’t. Some want always start on high, some always on low. Tint snobs and run time vs start up lumens. Normal is not a really appropriate way to characterize things here. People who ride road bikes might want unique and specific blink modes while mtbr’s might not want any at all. I’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that even among non flashaholics there are those who would like a low mode if they had one. My obsession is not with any particular mode but with choice. To me that’s as normal as can be.

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


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I have a few lights that have a super low. I use one of them just about every day. Or should I say at night I use my Moon Mode.

So one may ax how do I use said feature? Following are a few, but not limited to examples:

Checkin on the 4 month old in the crib at night.
Navigating my crib at night. So as not to disturb the sleeping wife.
Checkin on dog in the kennel and letting her out every night and morning.
Peaking in on 2 week old kittens. They are so cute! Smile lol
Navigating my disaster of a man cave.
Y’all still reading this junk?
Checkin baby diaper for Poop during Fast and Furious 7. She let out a monster fart. Thought we had a emergency diaper change, but nope, just air. :bigsmile:

So you see, some very important things for me to do that don’t require 10,000 Chinese lumen.
At the end of the day, I probably really only need a 200 lumen high. At the end of the day, get it? 8)

RicFlair is on the air with blonde hair & pink underwear!! Whaoooooo!

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If you see a car along that road,” Tyler Nordgren warned me, “don’t look at the headlights. It’ll ruin your night vision for 2 hours.” … For roughly the past two decades, at least two-thirds of the U.S. population have not been able to see the Milky Way at all, and it will get worse before it gets better. The dawn of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is expected to significantly lower costs and spur consumption. In addition, LED lighting produces light with a bluer cast, which is more effectively scattered by the atmosphere. “This has the potential to be the nail in the coffin for seeing stars in most communities,” Nordgren tells me.


Low-low mode is to help me get myself to places where I can use my eyes for all they’re worth.

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If you ever owned a 3-mode light, with low, medium and high, do you find yourself switching modes to a lower mode because you felt high was a little bright?

The environment must be dark enough to appreciate sub-lumens. You’d be in for a darkness- adjusted eyes by how much you can see with so little light.

Also, sub-lumens, or low lumens (about 3?) are great for the long runtime especially. I have read threads where people are trapped in blackouts, or disasters, and the low mode works perfectly in giving just enough light, and yet conserving battery.

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I can see where a ML mode would be useful in theory but it just doesn’t happen enough in real life for me to warrent having it on any of my lights.

I believe strobe modes to so worthless as not to even bother talking about them.

The only times I’ve ever wanted a low mode was map reading on a camping trip at night and finding my way around a house in the middle of the night while others were sleeping. In both cases, I ended up just putting my hand over the lens and blocking 99% of the light for the few mins I needed the low.

It would be great if you could have every mode and feature you would ever desire in one light but sometimes more is actually less. If you have too many modes, too many features, the light becomes a hassle to use and overly complicated.

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Now that we’ve got a newborn in the house, the “moonlight” mode (some don’t consider 1 lumen to be moonlight) on my EA41 has become invaluable. Like a few others have mentioned, it’s perfect for navigating the room while the wife is asleep to check on the baby. I used to use my Foursevens Mini MA on low, but even those 3 lumens is too bright to shine up at the ceiling. For me, I have really come to appreciate it. It’s a specialized use but that’s why it’s a specialized mode.

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Like Speedsix, I dont have a lot of use for sub lumen “moonlight” or blinkies usually.

I am currently in love with Guppydrv firmware, which gives me the option of picking from 20+ mode groups that have what I need, and set turbo timer @ whatever I want.

Plus it uses OFF time memory. Love

In my opinion this is close to perfect UI, since people like the OP, and myself can choose 15/100%, or 2/25/100%, and others can get their moonlight on, or blinkies if they choose.


Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
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Location: Sabah, Malaysia

My S20 gets used the most as a night light on my computer desk. It's bright enough even with some ambient light from the streetlight at 2am to check on the baby if he wakes up. In fact, sometimes it's too bright so I switch to my T10S for the lower ML.


Another good use I discovered for ML mode is that it also doubles as a great locator beacon just in case you drop your light. Happened to me in the bedroom, found it easily (rolled under the bed) since it was on ML mode. Drain on ML is also negligible so you can do this for literally forever. (If you're like me you probably have enough batteries to run your light for a few  days on high, and I just started with this hobby a few months back).

Although I have to agree that too many modes can be a pain as well if the UI requires the user to cycle through them. That's why I prefer UIs like the S20. ML and high from off.

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I live in the woods. And in the winter, when it is cloudy and no moon, and you turn off all outside lights, it gets DARK outside.

Our eyes are very good at adapting to different light levels. But it takes several hours. So if you come from inside the house and bright electric light, you are practically blind. Then you need plenty of light to see.

But if you have let your eyes adapt during the evening, and there is a moon or clear skies with starlight, you can see all around you without problems. Well, you loose colour vision and have to move to see good. And in the shadows where the moon doesn't shine it can still be pretty dark. If you turn on a powerful flashlight then you loose all your nightvision, and can from that moment on only see what you shine your flashlight at. It is under these cirumstances it is good to have a sublumen flashlight. You can get a little extra light and keep your nightvision. Actually I often get by using only a single trit light source. That is enough to see nearby.

If I happen to have kept my nightvision, I like to be able to keep it. And use no high powered flashlight or sublumen. If I have lost my nightvision I have to have much more light, and use a higher mode.

However I always feel a little uncomfortable using a high mode flashlight outside, and not my natural nightvision, because then I can only see what I point my light at. Everything else is completely black. Indoors you can bounce the light on the ceiling and light the whole room easily. And you can use a low enough mode so the light lasts all night.

In an urban environment there are light all around and you most likely never get any real nightvision. There it makes less sense with really low modes. However indoors it can still be useful if you have it dark inside at night.

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i have to read delivery slips in a car at night, sometimes while driving. really LOW mode is great for this.

i have little use for strobe, but, i know what its for… you strobe a bad guys eyes and immediately MOVE after cliking off the light… to the enemy, its like you made a “puff!” of smoke and sort of “vanished”.

i make digital night vision from scratch? and a really low mode Infrared zoomie is perfect for close up, otherwise you wash out.

also, i wouldnt mind 8 or 10 modes… all equidistant spaced… HIGH on down to almost nothing would be perfect for in the field. i could set the infrared zoomie for JUST as much infrared light as i needed to see whatever distance i am watching, so as to always have ENOUGH infrared, but, stretching my battery life for longer operating time scanning for ‘yotes.

SOS is about useless though… we once put a little light with SOS mode on, on a hill, and no one came to see what the “distress call” was for, we thought it was funny… if people are ALREADY lookign for you? they will approach a lighter out of fluid, seeing the sparks with no flame, lmFao… but if no one is already LOOKING for you? you can SOS mode all night without anyone coming to see whats going on.

With enough black coffee and cigarettes? all things are possible…

I am currently still shipping… REAL GENUINE CREE xp-g emitters, the classic… brace yourself? as low as 20 cents apiece!! Check out the SALES THREAD, everyone is happy… then PM me


if you are into reloading? this is my site… I inherited the remains of what was once arguably the best reloading site on the internet… its the “BLF” of reloading sites…


if you think night vision would be cool? It IS… this site i am a member of, and its basically the “BLF” of home made scratch-built digital night vision. They are at the leading forefront of advanced DIY for digital night vision, and thats gun mounted or handheld… builds rival and exceed commercial offerings…


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Location: Australia

I like sub lumen modes for using at work as a train conductor, all shifts working on night trains one way or the other.
People can get very cranky if the lights too bright – I even had a guy go off and get angry and want to fight me for using my gerber recon which is all of 10 lumens at most (sadly for him he got removed by the police for aggressive behavior and missed his next train and wasted 48 hours off his life). :bigsmile:
Also handy for just wandering around the home if I want to wander around at night with the lights off.

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but if no one is already LOOKING for you? you can SOS mode all night without anyone coming to see whats going on.

There is a lot of luck involved but still better than nothing. Also very few people know the morse code for SOS and many cheap lights have errors in the code.

The best use for moolight is letting the flashlight on tailstand shining at the ceiling. Nearly infinite runtime and really useful incase of emergency or for keeping an eye.

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we cannot put the useless blinky modes you’ll never use in real life in the same realm of the useful sublumen modes, their utility are almost infinite, you can actually see and not be seen, pure stealth mode.
When i go running in the fields at night i usually have my headlamp off, if the moon permits it, i ‘d rather prefer use just the actual enviromental light because you can see farther… A LOT, if you are using let’s say a 10 lumen light (or more) you won’t see at that distance as your eyes would be adapted to that light metering, also people will see you and call some snipers to kill you…. :hat:

Let’s also say that you are crawling next to your wife/girlfriend and you don’t want to wake her up, with the room lights you do not use a TN36 in turbo mode with 6500+ lumen….just sayin…

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
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Moonlight mode has one very important function, to identify the nutcases.

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Always frustrated by moonmodes too! Adding moon to a 3 mode light can totally change the user interface for the worse.

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A few years ago saw someone lying in a crosswalk — who had been hit by a hit-and-run driver — at dusk, in the rain, during commute hours.

I jumped off the bus. I had my one little CR123 flashlight with me.

I heard the sirens, someone had phoned in and told her not to move and she was holding still and aware so I — stood over her in the street and stopped traffic — stopped a three way intersection.

On strobe, that little light was enough to halt multiple vehicles and make approaching vehicles stop, back up to the last intersection and take another route.

I stood there until the emergency vehicles arrived.

She would have been run over several more times — likely I’d have been run over as well — but for the strobe light.

Try it yourself in any crosswalk on any busy street in the dark during a rainy rush hour — which means wintertime, for most folks, so you’ll have to remember this in six months.

Strobe, especially waved up and down/side to side, will get a distracted driver to suddenly focus and after a couple of seconds put on the brakes.

Steady light, even waved up and down/side to side — doesn’t get you noticed for several additional seconds
UNLESS it’s really bright — and if you shine a bright light into a driver’s eyes, in the dark, in the rain, in rush hour —

Do ya feel lucky?

I love the dark and spending hours camping in dark night areas and seeing the stars, and meteor trails, and satellites
and kangaroo mice and toads with their jeweled amazing eyes
and all the rest of what comes out at night when we’re not being bright enough to stop traffic.

And I kind of like having the confidence that I can stop traffic if I need to.

Each to his own.

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“Wow” light is for me.
“Wimpy” light is for the wimps.

wolfdog1226's picture
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It is nice to have choices and WE ALL have preferences. I believe EVERY mode on a light is there for a reason. They would NOT have them all if someone in the general public did not have “any” use for them.

I noticed SEVERAL people said “STROBE” is useless. For you it may be, but NOT for me! I doubt if many of you are walking a dog, sometimes on a road, for 70 minutes EVERY night!!

It has no doubt saved me from injury or worse. In the beginning ALL my walks were on the road. I have walked Capo more than 10,000 miles in the 4+ years I have had him!. 3+ during the day and 4+ at night. 8)

I alternate 3 different walks. Two trail walks and One road walk. It is on a dirt road where I see “0” to maybe 4 cars in 70 minutes. The first thing I do when I see a car approaching is to ACTIVATE STROBE and point the light to the ground for ~ 3 or 4 seconds. Believe me that is MORE effective than a straight beam of light that can be confused as a Motorcycle or a Car w/ One headlight!

Some lights[modded] ones do not have strobe anymore. I found that waving the light vigorously from side to side is also effective.

Again, I love high powered throwers. It amazes me how a beam of light from a reflector based flashlight can go over 1 Mile! I have ones that will fit in the palm of my had that throw 500 yards!

So, if we open our minds and are objective, we will find that ML, L, M,H, Turbo, Strobe ect. can be beneficial and useful to a variety of people applying them in different circumstances! Wink

Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. 

Environment molds a person. Perseverance changes them.