Why not EDC adjustable focus?

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Don5946
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Why not EDC adjustable focus?

Am I in the minority when it comes to wanting an adjustable focus butt kicking EDC? Maybe this topic has already been hashed to death but I haven’t come across anything to date about it.

It is just my opinion but something around the size of the BLF A6 for example. Is it too complicated to produce a quality light therefore making it too pricey, does it somehow cheapen the overall quality, such as rendering it moisture prone? I have no idea and I’m trying to understand Smile

I’d like to think and hope there is enough interest for something EDC to be on the market.

Is there something I am missing? Thanks

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wight
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It just doesn’t achieve much.

Think about it – exactly what would you be trying to achieve?

Still fine, still on a break. One day I’ll catch up with you folks! previous wight catchup Wink
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I think with the moving parts, it is harder to get good water resistance… Any moving parts are also more subject to failure in some way…

That said, it would be an interesting thing to get a small quality zoomie for EDC, the wide even beam on the close to emitter setting would be very usable…

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Don5946
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One benefit would be a more user-friendly multi-purpose light. For example: when using the light while you are close to walls or structures that reflect too much flood, but your purpose is to reach out farther with a beam without the side-glare interference. Yet the flood option is still there when you want to use it. To me, the side-glare effect is about on par with getting too much blacklight feedback to the eyes. It is an annoyance that maybe doesn’t have to be present in an EDC. It would be nicer not to have to deal with to much flood when not needed.

Also its uses could be more closely tuned to each environmental condition, similar to the advantages of having the current software used to finely tune the intensity or purpose of the emitted light. I also should have mentioned in my post that the zoomie option was in addition to the software and size of the A6 or similar light.

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Don5946
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chadvone wrote:
http://lens-light.com/products/mini/

Wow, nice lights I imagine and the first ones I have seen that says quality. Dang though if they don’t come with a luxury price to boot. It would be interesting to see how they perform. But too few lumins compared to the example of the A6, and definitely not a BLF pricing structure I’m sure. (I’m guessing of course)

Not enough battery. It should be something with the 18650 for run time. And it “has to have the latest software” since I can’t go backwards now. BLF side-effect I guess,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, It would be like trying to go without a TV remote now that I’ve been spoiled Big Smile

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SK68 sounds like what you’re looking for.

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wight
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Don5946 wrote:
One benefit would be a more user-friendly multi-purpose light. For example: when using the light while you are close to walls or structures that reflect too much flood, but your purpose is to reach out farther with a beam without the side-glare interference. Yet the flood option is still there when you want to use it. To me, the side-glare effect is about on par with getting too much blacklight feedback to the eyes. It is an annoyance that maybe doesn’t have to be present in an EDC. It would be nicer not to have to deal with to much flood when not needed.

Also its uses could be more closely tuned to each environmental condition, similar to the advantages of having the current software used to finely tune the intensity or purpose of the emitted light. I also should have mentioned in my post that the zoomie option was in addition to the software and size of the A6 or similar light.

In practice I find that zoomies still produce [even more] distracting spill when zoomed in and an all-too-narrow beam when zoomed out. Being able to closely tune a flashlight to the situation is a little over-rated IMO. Personally I pick a mode and then angle the beam from my reflector flashlight to suit the situation. The truth is that a zoomie flashlight wastes so much space on the mechanism that a fixed-beam reflector flashlight can usually beat it on both flood and throw at the same time. The “even beam” of the zoomed-out zoomie, which looks so cool against a white wall, is not very practical for outdoors in my experience – a normal reflector beam is better for illuminating a path or road.

The zoom mechanism eats a ton of space that could be used for heatsinking, batteries, and optics. An SK68 takes up nearly as much space as a Convoy S2 yet can never even begin to approximate that level of performance. While the SK68 isn’t the optimal zoomie solution I think that it is a good representation of the limitations zoomies run into.

I think that the lack-of-waterproof-ness argument is a red herring. Cellphones are rarely waterproof but remain popular. We just don’t use them in water / rain. Same thing with flashlights; many people EDC flashlights which are not waterproof and it remains a non-issue.

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I think the main problems with zoomies are that it can be hard to dissipate heat, it’s harder to waterproof, and that some people don’t like the beam profile saying that whilst a zoomie can do everything it doesn’t do anything particularly well. I tend to disagree with the last point though, I thought the only area lacking was midrange flood.

I found the X2000 to be excellent when I led tour groups. It made a great area light when showing close up objects, and when highlighting distant objects you could shine the light over a group of people with very little spill shining on anyone. During the day a zoomie is aso great for highlighting objects in the shadows of dense trees without having the worries of using a laser.

Someday I would like to try the Thorfire or Convoy BD04 but with a few mods or maybe even the Brinyte B168 but it may be a tad large.

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I have only played with a couple zoomies , they do take up more space for there size. I remember reading somewhere you loose out the front lumens also.

I have been looking for a cheap side switch host. Most of the overseas sights are full of zoomies.

I stopped dropping my phones in water when I got a waterproof one.

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There are some really cheap AA zoomies and Harley Quinn and wight are working up an at tiny controlled boost driver or put a BLF15DD in one instead. I don’t know of any side clicky zoomies though.

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Look at Suprabeam:

http://www.suprabeam.com/uk/products/q_series

Their Q1mini is one of my EDCs, it works fine for small tasks, and the variable focus is really good. But they are rather pricey, it’s a Danish company…

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I haven’t found a zoomie that I have liked yet.

- Fully zoomed out, they cast a “blah” beam of unfocused nothingness. I like my beams to be brighter where I’m looking and less bright where I’m not looking.

- Fully zoomed out, their field of illumination is much narrower than most standard flashlights. And the cutoff at the periphery is a distinct shadow line. My eyes tend to be distracted by the abrupt cutoff.

- Fully zoomed in, most zoomies have an annoying “space invaders” LED die image. (Some manufacturers don’t allow you to zoom all the way in, to avoid this issue.)

- Fully zoomed in, there’s little spill to illuminate anything in the periphery.

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It is a matter of preference
My wife has the first flashlight that arrived as EDC
A cheap bronze colored using a 18650
Edges of the beam are green light it reaches 50m, has no memory and two annoying blinky modes.
Yet how much my son and I point out the weaknesses, no matter what other light of decent quality we present, she just wants this, the lack of hotspot and looks are her reasons. She doesn’t mind clicking past the blinky blinky and actually uses it on a daily basis, so go figure

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An EDC zoomie can be very useful, but a good, compact and affordable one has not been made yet. Most zoomies are ultra-budget and have a terrible led and very poor optical design (how easy is to make a slider with broad flood and good focus?, and they all fail), and usually way too much aluminium is used. And it is easy to make it adequately waterproof, not submergable under pressure but perfectly rainproof.

That Lenslight looks good (don’t know about the optical design), something like that can be be made much cheaper and still be good.

The led should be a narrow beam one like the old XR-E or better an Oslon SSL80 (bonus: it comes in a wide variety of tints and CRI Smile )

I rebuilt this very cheap but compact AA zoomie with a latest ssl80 led (4000K 92CRI), it is very nice as an edc. For a budget zoomie the flood is relatively broad, but the build quality leaves enough to desire, I had to modify quite a lot (switch, driver) to make it bright and reliable.

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Wight said it well. As far as I’ve seen, small zoomies are a concept that has yet to be made decently.

Perhaps it’s impossible to “have it all” in one light with the technology we have now. A reflector that changes shape would seem to be the ideal solution to achieve a perfect flood, throw, and everything in between if it could only be done.

Phil

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Thanks for all the help, my hopes have been gently let-down. Smile Maybe in the near future someone within the BLF will figure out how to shape-shift a reflector (phils suggestion) which is a first for me but I’m all for it! I really like the idea.

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I agree, the convoy BD04 IMO would be an ideal host. I have had the Convoy 365nm for several weeks and immediately tried to purchase it in white light, but it wasn’t available. The overall quality and small size is impressive for an 18650 and the zoom movement is quality smooth. If I was able to switch out the emitter myself I would. Hmm, are there any builders that are recommended and available to discuss this with? I would like to arrange a build Smile

Thanks again all.

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The Trustfire Z8 looks good but never was very popular.
SS 14500 zoomie with a XML.
I have one that just sits on the shelf.
Z8

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Don5946 wrote:
I agree, the convoy BD04 IMO would be an ideal host. I have had the Convoy 365nm for several weeks and immediately tried to purchase it in white light, but it wasn’t available. The overall quality and small size is impressive for an 18650 and the zoom movement is quality smooth. If I was able to switch out the emitter myself I would. Hmm, are there any builders that are recommended and available to discuss this with? I would like to arrange a build Smile

Thanks again all.

BD04 is available in white tints but they are XML2, in my limited experience I found that the smaller LEDs produced a nicer narrow beam with less spill, but my sample size is small and as mentioned experience limited.

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Swapping out an emitter is a two wire affair . it took trained chimps 11 minutes to figure it out.you can absolutely master it . If you refuse to try then there are a 1000 people living within 10 miles of you that can do a two wire solder job in 34 seconds and would gladly take 10$ from you .look for a radio tech ,ham radio ,cb shop ,stereo or a computer kid and just ask .Easier to just do it yourself . it ain’t rocket science …Folding clothes is tougher . Try Zeusray or a supfire F3-L2, both have very large patterns when in flood modes.

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The Trustfire z8 is crap, too heavy, too small lens for the size, any sk68 clone has a better optical lay-out.

I still have to mod it to get the best out of it, but I like the Supfire F5 as a compact 18650 zoomie.

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wight wrote:
Don5946 wrote:

In practice I find that zoomies still produce [even more] distracting spill when zoomed in and an all-too-narrow beam when zoomed out. Being able to closely tune a flashlight to the situation is a little over-rated IMO. Personally I pick a mode and then angle the beam from my reflector flashlight to suit the situation. The truth is that a zoomie flashlight wastes so much space on the mechanism that a fixed-beam reflector flashlight can usually beat it on both flood and throw at the same time. The “even beam” of the zoomed-out zoomie, which looks so cool against a white wall, is not very practical for outdoors in my experience – a normal reflector beam is better for illuminating a path or road.


I have to say I find zoomy lights very useful and don’t wholeheartedly agree with your assessment.

They have specific uses, so this means they are not a jack of all trades, but that’s the entire point.

I also have seen zoomy lights easily out flood and out throw fixed reflector lights.

A nice comparison is a POP lite T33 with a claim 200 or so lumens from an XP-E (running on 3xAAA too) and a p60 with an XM-L SMO reflector and 600 lumens+ (I know more modern LEDs can easily make more).

But the fact remained, for about the same physical size, the POP lite could illuminate things at a greater distance and could light stuff up better close up. It of course couldn’t do both at the same time.

On a similar note, I find I use my POP lite T22 (essentially a last gen Led Lenser P5) a lot, despite owning many more powerful lights. It runs on a NiMh AA too, but is more versatile than an Olight S15 running a 14500.

The Zeusrays mentioned already. I can’t say they are “high quality lights”, because they aren’t. But they are good. I have 3 of them. And they are my ‘go to’ lights for working on vehicles.

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2 DOGS wrote:
The Trustfire Z8 looks good but never was very popular. SS 14500 zoomie with a XML. I have one that just sits on the shelf. Z8

I have a Z8, it’s ok really. The stock emitter was too blue and the driver a little annoying. But apart from that it does what is expected of it.

I used to run a Nichia219A in mine until I broke the emitter faffing with it. It now runs an XB-D I think. Which actually isn’t a bad tint at all.

I agree ‘today’ it’s nothing really to write home about. It’s heavy and gets hot with the stock driver. But it’s well built and solid and I use mine more than I use my SK68’s. Albeit I admit I don’t really use any of these that much these days, I have newer better lights.

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Boaz wrote:
Swapping out an emitter is a two wire affair . it took trained chimps 11 minutes to figure it out.you can absolutely master it . If you refuse to try then there are a 1000 people living within 10 miles of you that can do a two wire solder job in 34 seconds and would gladly take 10$ from you .look for a radio tech ,ham radio ,cb shop ,stereo or a computer kid and just ask .Easier to just do it yourself . it ain’t rocket science …Folding clothes is tougher . Try Zeusray or a supfire F3-L2, both have very large patterns when in flood modes.

Ummm, did you post in the wrong thread? I didn’t know we were talking about emitter swapping. Silly

IMHO, you’re almost right about how easy it is to change an emitter. Learning to solder is a prerequisite. I tried for a VERY long time to figure out soldering. It seemed so simple, I thought it should be easy to learn. It wasn’t. But, there are some great tips lying around in various places on BLF that helped me get there. I can now solder wires onto emitter pads successfully! And even before I was very good at it, I was swapping emitters, cuz that’s the easy way to practice. Wink

Full disclosure: All my brains are in my head. I suck at mechanical things or anything that requires hand work. YMMV.

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I tend to think of “zoomies” (the category) as being like the SRK’s in that there is so much more potential that could be tapped. I truly believe that it is technically possible to make a good zoomie. It’s just that it isn’t being done. It can be designed so that the slide mechanism goes further back and further out. In that case, a high quality lens with a longer focal point could be used to give the most output in both zoomed in and zoomed out modes. A small die emitter might be great for a pencil beam, but that’s not very useful to most people really. And those small die LED’s don’t give enough lumens to be useful in flood mode either. I’d be okay with a XP-G2 driven hard but I think better would be a de-domed XM-L2 or a XP-L HI for high output. With a longer focal point lens, the die image won’t be too huge when zoomed in. If we really want to maximize output, a light recycling collar should be added. But, that would limit how close the lens can be to the die for flood mode.

To move in a different direction, what about considering a reflector zoomie instead? The whole reflector/head assembly can be slid up and down like a regular zoomie. Pulling it out would put the reflector at the perfect focal point for throw. Pushing it back would clear the reflector away from the emitter and make the light basically a mule. This with a XM-L2 de-domed or a XPL HI might be the best we can get in the zoomie category. The reflector could be SMO for tightest throw or OP for those who prefer a softer beam edge. Of course, the throw of a reflector couldn’t compare to a perfect die image from a quality lens. But, who needs to see a square die with tiny dots all over it being projected onto whatever they’re trying to look at?

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DavidEF wrote:
(…)
To move in a different direction, what about considering a reflector zoomie instead? The whole reflector/head assembly can be slid up and down like a regular zoomie. Pulling it out would put the reflector at the perfect focal point for throw. Pushing it back would clear the reflector away from the emitter and make the light basically a mule. This with a XM-L2 de-domed or a XPL HI might be the best we can get in the zoomie category. The reflector could be SMO for tightest throw or OP for those who prefer a softer beam edge. Of course, the throw of a reflector couldn’t compare to a perfect die image from a quality lens. But, who needs to see a square die with tiny dots all over it being projected onto whatever they’re trying to look at?

That wouldn’t work, because to move the reflector behind the LED, the LED has to be mounted on a kind of pole, which would dramatically limit the transport of heat away from the LED.

Aloha, Uli

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Simple: EDC two flashlights. One wide and the other narrow.

.

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UliBär wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
(…)
To move in a different direction, what about considering a reflector zoomie instead? The whole reflector/head assembly can be slid up and down like a regular zoomie. Pulling it out would put the reflector at the perfect focal point for throw. Pushing it back would clear the reflector away from the emitter and make the light basically a mule. This with a XM-L2 de-domed or a XPL HI might be the best we can get in the zoomie category. The reflector could be SMO for tightest throw or OP for those who prefer a softer beam edge. Of course, the throw of a reflector couldn’t compare to a perfect die image from a quality lens. But, who needs to see a square die with tiny dots all over it being projected onto whatever they’re trying to look at?

That wouldn’t work, because to move the reflector behind the LED, the LED has to be mounted on a kind of pole, which would dramatically limit the transport of heat away from the LED.

Indeed it would limit heat dispersal. But I’m not sure it’s always the big deal it’s made to be. Copper DTP is a must for higher output, but not every light needs to be a hot rod to make it a good usable light.

Maglites essnetially do this anyway. But it really is more of a “focus” than a “zooming” mechanism. And a reflector based thrower will always have a spill beam. Also moving the LED out of focus may yield a more flood looking beam, but the reality is, all it usually does is make the beam ringy and less total output, if you move the LED below the reflector.

What I’d like to see is an adaptive reflector. I think it’d never offer the same OTF lumen ability, but if you could somehow have a reflector that you could change it’s shape (wider and/or deeper), while probably keeping the LED stationary, then you might be able to get some interesting beam dynamics from it.

I’m not sure how it’d work, either by some kind of sliding plate system that folds out to make the reflector bigger. Or maybe a flexible material such as some kind of highly polished plastic like foil.

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Chicken Drumstick wrote:
UliBär wrote:
DavidEF wrote:
(…)
To move in a different direction, what about considering a reflector zoomie instead? The whole reflector/head assembly can be slid up and down like a regular zoomie. Pulling it out would put the reflector at the perfect focal point for throw. Pushing it back would clear the reflector away from the emitter and make the light basically a mule. This with a XM-L2 de-domed or a XPL HI might be the best we can get in the zoomie category. The reflector could be SMO for tightest throw or OP for those who prefer a softer beam edge. Of course, the throw of a reflector couldn’t compare to a perfect die image from a quality lens. But, who needs to see a square die with tiny dots all over it being projected onto whatever they’re trying to look at?

That wouldn’t work, because to move the reflector behind the LED, the LED has to be mounted on a kind of pole, which would dramatically limit the transport of heat away from the LED.

Indeed it would limit heat dispersal. But I’m not sure it’s always the big deal it’s made to be. Copper DTP is a must for higher output, but not every light needs to be a hot rod to make it a good usable light.

Maglites essnetially do this anyway. But it really is more of a “focus” than a “zooming” mechanism. And a reflector based thrower will always have a spill beam. Also moving the LED out of focus may yield a more flood looking beam, but the reality is, all it usually does is make the beam ringy and less total output, if you move the LED below the reflector.

What I’d like to see is an adaptive reflector. I think it’d never offer the same OTF lumen ability, but if you could somehow have a reflector that you could change it’s shape (wider and/or deeper), while probably keeping the LED stationary, then you might be able to get some interesting beam dynamics from it.

I’m not sure how it’d work, either by some kind of sliding plate system that folds out to make the reflector bigger. Or maybe a flexible material such as some kind of highly polished plastic like foil.


I’d never suggest moving the LED below the reflector. I was talking about sliding the reflector back so far that the LED would be almost touching the front lens. That would make it a mule. There would be no ringy beam. And if XM-L2 were used, it would be plenty bright enough to light up a large area. Think about incandescent bulbs. A 60w incan bulb can light up a whole room in your house, and it is only 880 lumens max. In fact, Mag-lites used to be made with the ability to take the reflector completely off and use the light, tailstanding, as a candle! We’ve really come a long way since then in terms of lumen output in flashlights. A high bin XM-L2 could go over 1100 lumens without even exceeding Cree specs.

I don’t think a reflector would necessarily leave too small of a heat-dispersion area around the LED. I was really thinking that the opening in the reflector would be the full size of the battery tube, so it can slide way back. The reflector would have to be pretty big for it to work well. And that might make it too big for some people to carry comfortably. But, I think it can technically work.

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DavidEF wrote:
I’d never suggest moving the LED below the reflector. I was talking about sliding the reflector back so far that the LED would be almost touching the front lens. That would make it a mule. (…)

…and for that to work you need the LED on a pole construction.

Aloha, Uli

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