Litesam E11Z Review - A Well Done Spot/Flood Zoom Light

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fangle
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Litesam E11Z Review - A Well Done Spot/Flood Zoom Light

One important thing at the start. This is NOT the typical inexpensive zooming flashlight seen everywhere under many different names. The E11Z doesn’t have a flood with ragged edges, a small square spot, a cold blue beam, or any of the other disappointments of the cheaply made lights. So, what is the E11Z? Read on. . .

Litesam offered an E11Z light and battery for review. I agreed with the caveat that I would report whatever I found. Many thanks to Litesam for giving me the opportunity to do this review. I prefer reviews with real life experience using the light to see its durability in actual EDC use. I carried the E11Z for almost two months before writing this review.

I ordered the E11Z through Amazon meaning the light I tested had no special preparation and should represent what anyone would receive. (Litesam is the brand used for online sales. The company also markets under the Fitorch label, with cosmetic differences between the two brands.) The packaging is very nice, using a full color sleeve over a tan box. The sleeve makes the package look like something that would be on a retail store shelf. The light and accessories were secure inside the box and there was no shipping damage. In addition to the typical lanyard and O-ring Litesam also provides a spare button cover and a holster. (Litesam photo)

The holster has a fine texture hook and loop fastener to close the flap. The flap and elastic sides hold the light securely. Shaking it upside down can’t dislodge the light. The back has two straps. One is sewn in place for a belt loop and over that is another strap with a snap and Velcro for a removable attachment. While smaller than a standard molle strap this snap allows placement on molle webbing or backpack straps.

The Light
The E11Z is the same general size as other single 18650 powered lights but the head is larger in diameter to accommodate the zoom assembly. The first two are Litesam photos and the other three are my photos after nearly 2 months of EDC use. The light is shown with the had retracted and extended.




Manufacturer Specifications:

The E11Z has a forward clicky switch. This means that with the light off, a partial press of the switch will turn on the light but not latch it on. This is useful to briefly shine the light if the button is held but have the light turn off when the switch is released. It also prevents accidentally changing the lighting mode by bumping the switch while the light is in use. The simple user interface cycles through high – medium – low modes and has hidden strobe and SOS functions. The alternating frequency strobe is accessible by a double-click. The SOS flasher is reached by either a double-click from strobe, or a triple-click from any other mode. The light has mode memory and low voltage indication. When the battery voltage is low, the E11Z will switch to low brightness.

The head has a custom optic under a glass lens. Rotating the head moves it in and out for flood to spot patterns. The movement is lubricated to move smoothly and it does not change from the desired setting in use. In the two photos note the yellow of the emitter showing around the edges of the optic in the spot position. The emitter is seen in the center of the optic in the flood position. The LED isn’t moving but the focus is changing. The head is reverse-threaded, turning it clockwise extends the head from the body.

The light emitted in the spot position is neutral to just cooler than neutral white. Colors are close to true but the light does not appear yellow. The throw is good with little spill close to the user. In the flood position the light is cooler, looking more like the color of the edges of the spot pattern. The flood is the most even, balanced pattern I have in a light and is perfect for close work. The light does not reach very far in this mode. Moving the head from flood to spot a white ring forms at the edges of the flood pattern, gradually shrinking in size and growing in intensity until the center of the beam is a white hotspot.

The beam photos are all from a tripod mounted camera with fixed settings and daylight white balance to accurately show what I saw during the test. The E11Z is mounted above the camera in the same position for all photos. Low mode on both spot and flood is too low to show in the photos using these settings, but it is useful for navigating a dark room without disturbing others. The PWM used for low and medium is not visible in real world use but can be seen on camera.

Control – E11Z Off

Medium Flood

High Flood

Medium Spot

High Spot – The fence is 200 feet away (red mark) and the white house is 535 feet away (yellow mark

Animated GIF – High Spot/Flood

Animated GIF – Off/Medium/High Spot

Animated GIF – OFf/Medium/High Flood

I used the Ceilingbounce app on an S5 cell phone along with a white box to get relative brightness measurements on the E11Z. Using the Litesam battery these are relative light levels showing both flood and spot beam patterns.

Using the app again, I compared the E11Z in flood mode to an Astrolux S1 with both lights using the HG2 18650 and with the E11Z using the Litesam battery. This S1 is generally considered to be 1200 lumens on its highest mode and 800 lumens when it steps down. The E11Z compares favorably to the 800 lumen level, running at or above its rated 750 lumens. Note that the Litesam 18650 and the unprotected HG2 provide the same brightness in the E11Z. The smooth flood makes this light more useful for close work (10 feet or less) than other lights with higher lumen ratings.

Another comparison, this time showing all three levels of the E11Z using the Litesam 18650 against the S1.

There is no mention of stepdown in the manual, but it appears there is throttling taking place. I ended this test after 12 minutes. This test used the Litesam battery.

Extended runtime in high mode makes the light warm but not too hot to hold. This series of thermal imager photos shows the heat moving through the head into the body tube. The test started at 4:36 and continued with the image times shown in the bottom right of each image. The final image after 15 minutes of runtime has the head extended (arrow). All temperatures are in degrees F with emissivity set to 0.85. The light is on an insulating pad in a 70F room.

I carried this light for nearly two months, using it at work and other activities. After this EDC use I took the light apart for photos. The O rings fit properly and did not pinch or move out of place when tightened down. The black color is smooth and even and it is highly resistant to scratches. The finish showed minimal scratches even after weeks of use and bouncing around in a work bag pocket with another flashlight. Only the clip showed minor chips. The body texture allows a good grip without being sharp.

The threads were well machined, turned smoothly, and arrived lightly lubricated.

The head has a gold-plated spring but no visible retaining ring for the driver. I was not able to disassemble the head without risking damage to the light.

The tail uses a retaining ring and a gold-plated spring. The switch circuit board appears to have space for some additional circuitry not used in this light.


With the light disassembled it was time for measurements. The head does not readily come apart so I did not take measurements at the emitter.

Using my DMM for low current levels and a DC clamp meter on a short wire shunt for the higher levels I recorded tailcap currents for both my HG2 cell and the Litesam 18650. The Litesam supplied 18650 allows the light to operate at its full potential as shown in both light and current readings.

The Battery
The Litesam provided protected battery is rated at 2600mAh. A 1A charge/discharge test cycle on my BT-C3400 charger confirmed the rated capacity. I compared the Litesam battery to my HG2 in a different light that uses direct drive circuitry with multiple emitters. This pushes the batteries to deliver high current. The HG2 provided 7.6A and the Litesam provided 5.8A. Remember that the Litesam is a protected cell which are generally not used in direct drive lights. The wrapper is durable, and does not allow any view of the cell color or markings underneath.

Summary and Opinion
PRO
• Light performs as advertised
• Battery performs as advertised
• Good construction, fit, and tough finish
• Smooth operation of zoom/spot control
• Good value with included battery
• Simple user interface
• Low voltage warning
• Very useful combination of spot and flood beams – best flood pattern I have seen so far

CON
• Not easily disassembled. I think this could be a good platform for modifications
• It rarely happened, but a few times a partial click would not change modes
• No low voltage shutdown in the light

I was excited to try this light because I am always searching for a night geocaching light. I want a wide, even flood beam without a hotspot to allow careful searching outdoors and this light meets that need. I have larger lights and brighter lights, but if I am doing close work the E11Z is often my choice. For close work I don’t need brighter and for hiking and caching I don’t want larger. I find myself using the spot setting less often, but if night caching looking for firetacks it would be perfect. With the review complete, this light is going in my caching bag. Recommended.

Test Equipment
• Ideal 61-768 clamp meter
• Protek 506 DMM
• Fluke Ti32 thermal imager (E=0.85)
• Zeiss Stemi 1000 microscope
• Pentax K50 camera
• BT-C3400 Opus charger

ARC
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Nice looking light and i always liked Zoom lights and aspheric maglite people used to make back in the day :), always seemed nice to be able to alter the beam profile on the fly.
Nice review too, i will have to check one of those out one day.

SKV89
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Looks like a great light. Very usable zoom feature and the tint is not cold white/blue. Thanks for the review.

beam0
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It’s a well built light but be warned it’s basically a 2-trick pony, either full spot or full flood (unless you like the black hole that none of the reviewers mention)

http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1282771#comment-1282771

Donut hole in all in-between positions:

It’s also quite noticeable outdoors. It basically looks exactly like these wall shots when beaming into the green lawn outside in pitch darkness.

Fangle, can you please focus the light to the in-between/middle positions and comment on this?

Maybe that’s what you meant by “a white ring”?
Moving the head from flood to spot a white ring forms at the edges of the flood pattern, gradually shrinking in size and growing in intensity until the center of the beam is a white hotspot.”

IMO “white ring” is a too nice and a cryptic way to describe what’s really going on with the beam on this. To say there’s a “black hole” would have been a better description for the donut hole effect.

Apparently the donut hole effect is a characteristic of most (all?) TIR lens zoomies. Some aspheric lens zoomies have a slightly dark center, but it’s usually hardly noticable, I’ve personally never seen one anywhere near this bad but I don’t have any other TIR lens zoomies.

Litesam does admit the donut hole is normal for this light:
Message from 3rd party seller:
“Hello, After cheking these attached photos, I would like to let you know that it’s normal”
Litesam

It may not be a con if you can live with it, or if you’re OK with using it only either at full flood, or full spot. It is something I’d want to know about before buying one. Except for leaving out this one important caveat it’s a great review, very detailed and professional. I especially like the real use battery comparison with a high drain cell.

Here’s some more of my thoughts on this light:

Pros:
Nice Knurling
Well constructed
Round spot instead of square

Cons:
Black hole/donut hole in all in-between zoom positions
Tint is much colder at full flood than at full throw.
Lacking in output and throw

Because it’s a forward (momentary) switch on multi-mode UI it takes full double clicks to change modes when on, and the tail clicky is quite stiff. Modes can be changed in momentary (from off) with quick half presses but it’s a bit tricky and takes some practice to get the timing just right for that. It’s being marketed as a “Tactical Flashlight” so a forward switch makes sense for that use, but if you’re not using it for tactical purposes changing modes will be something of a pain compared to the usual reverse clicky switch..

Also notable is the edge of beam at full flood looks like the spill on a reflector light, it’s not the well defined “circle” you see on an aspheric zoomie. This is subjective and could be a pro or a con depending on the users preference.

It looks like they’re giving this light away free right now when you buy their PS11 model.

E11Z: https://www.amazon.com/Tactical-Flashlight-Anti-Scratch-Water-Resistant-...

PS11: https://www.amazon.com/Flashlight-Rechargeable-Indicator-Water-Resistant...

 

EasyB
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That’s unfortunate about the donut hole. That doesn’t look good at all.

I would like a good zoomable TIR-type light to mod. I would prefer a TIR over a typical aspheric light because of the bad light collection efficiency of the aspheric light. My first “good” light was a Coast zoomable TIR-type and it was nice to have the different beam types in one light.

beam0
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EasyB wrote:
That’s unfortunate about the donut hole. That doesn’t look good at all.
And I think it actually looks worse in real use than it does in my photos.

.

EasyB wrote:
I would like a good zoomable TIR-type light to mod. I would prefer a TIR over a typical aspheric light because of the bad light collection efficiency of the aspheric light. My first “good” light was a Coast zoomable TIR-type and it was nice to have the different beam types in one light.

I’m beginning to think the lumen loss in aspheric can just be overcome with more power. For example my Wowtac A3S (1000lm) is a lot brighter in flood mode than this (750lm) TIR. Going to a TIR for the purpose of less lumen loss isn’t worth it unless you don’t mind the black hole in the middle positions, unless there is a TIR that doesn’t suffer from this effect. This TIR light also suffers lumen loss in flood mode.

I’d actually like to try and mod this over to an aspheric lens, I haven’t tried anything extreme yet to get the bezel removed, it’s glued pretty well.

 

beam0
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This light is also sold under the BORUiT brand:

BORUiT BC07
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/BORUiT-BC07-1380LM-XP-L2-LED-Tactical-Flashlight-5-Mode-USB-Rechargeable-Torch-with-Pocket-Clip/32844846935.html?spm=2114.search0104.3.107.5f6f17d5T7PrSV&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10152_10151_10065_10344_10068_10130_10324_10342_10547_10325_10343_10546_10340_10548_10341_10545_10696_10084_10083_10618_10307_5711215_10313_10059_10534_100031_10103_10624_10623_443_10622_10621_10620_10810_10811,searchweb201603_25,ppcSwitch_2&algo_expid=bd8bc21e-7d91-4e27-a0fc-e9bfdf0a8add-16&algo_pvid=bd8bc21e-7d91-4e27-a0fc-e9bfdf0a8add&transAbTest=ae803_5&priceBeautifyAB=0

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/BORUIT-Powerful-XPL-LED-Flashlight-XPL2-1800LM-High-Power-5Mode-Zoomable-Flashlamp-MINI-Portable-Lantern-18650/1012245_32850128011.html?spm=2114.12010612.0.0.590055652vtw0b

 

EasyB
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I ordered one from Amazon. If I can get it apart I will mod it with a dedomed XPL V6 and a FET driver.

EasyB
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Got my light. The beam is pretty worthless between spot and flood as the pictures above show. At flood it is basically a mule. The LED is close to the optics and there is no refraction, reflection or collimation going on. The center of the optic appears to just be a diffused surface.

As the optic is moved away the outer parts of the optic start to reflect and collimate the light, causing the ring of light that turns into a spot at full focus. As the optic moves away from full flood the angle of the spill light decreases. Also I measured when in full flood the output is about 70-75% of the output in spot mode.

I got the light apart. The MCPCB is 10mm and the driver is 19mm. I will make a thread or detailed post about the mod when it’s done. I’m going to swap in the optic from a Coast zoomable light. This light was my first “good” LED light and I remember it had a good adjustable beam. I’m going to put a sliced SST40 with FET driver in it. Also a reverse clicky to use with Crescendo FW.

beam0
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EasyB wrote:
Got my light. The beam is pretty worthless between spot and flood as the pictures above show. At flood it is basically a mule. The LED is close to the optics and there is no refraction, reflection or collimation going on. The center of the optic appears to just be a diffused surface.

As the optic is moved away the outer parts of the optic start to reflect and collimate the light, causing the ring of light that turns into a spot at full focus. As the optic moves away from full flood the angle of the spill light decreases. Also I measured when in full flood the output is about 70-75% of the output in spot mode.

I got the light apart. The MCPCB is 10mm and the driver is 19mm. I will make a thread or detailed post about the mod when it’s done. I’m going to swap in the optic from a Coast zoomable light. This light was my first “good” LED light and I remember it had a good adjustable beam. I’m going to put a sliced SST40 with FET driver in it. Also a reverse clicky to use with Crescendo FW.

I’m highly interested in your mods, the Coast lens sounds good, are those TIR or aspheric? I’ve been thinking of trying to fit a aspheric lens in mine (if that’s even possible) I’d also like to swap to a reverse switch.

Also can you please tell how to get it apart?

 

EasyB
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The coast optic is a two-zone type with TIR on the outside and a lens in the middle. From what I remember it had good beam quality through its range of adjustability, but it doesn’t go as wide as the stock optic. I’ll find some more info on this coast light when I write up the mod.

To unscrew the “bezel” I put the part with the heat fins in a wood-lined vice. There are sort of flats across from each other so you can lock onto it. Then I wrapped the bezel in rubber innertube to get a good grip on it and I was able to unscrew it by hand. Then to unscrew the brass “pill” from the body I used needlenose pliers in the supplied holes.

beam0
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EasyB wrote:
The coast optic is a two-zone type with TIR on the outside and a lens in the middle. From what I remember it had good beam quality through its range of adjustability, but it doesn’t go as wide as the stock optic. I’ll find some more info on this coast light when I write up the mod.

To unscrew the “bezel” I put the part with the heat fins in a wood-lined vice. There are sort of flats across from each other so you can lock onto it. Then I wrapped the bezel in rubber innertube to get a good grip on it and I was able to unscrew it by hand. Then to unscrew the brass “pill” from the body I used needlenose pliers in the supplied holes.

Thanks EasyB, please post the link here when (if) you make a thread on it.

 

fangle
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I have not broken mine down yet, but here are some OEM images of the light disassembled. The threads are glued during assembly but something padded like a strap wrench should allow removal.


As for the “black hole”, what I saw is the same light level as flood in that zone. I did not get the impression that it gets darker there. I spent some time looking at this wondering if it did get darker, or if it was an illusion from the brighter ring forming around it. By watching just the center during the zoom process I decided that the center remained the same brightness to my eyes.

I’m glad to hear that the light does come apart easily. I think this would make a good host for modifications.

EasyB
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That’s interesting; my pill is brass where it looks like yours is aluminum.

Some more notes on taking it apart: that black plastic “cap” over the LED is very difficult to remove. It fits into a groove at the base of the metal pedestal of the pill and is very well secured. It is designed to press the MCPCB to the pill. I would recommend filing the plastic at the base to weaken the connection then using a prying tool to pry it off.

Regarding the black hole, it may not get dimmer than the spill light, but it’s much dimmer than the beam formed by the reflecting portion of the optic. The spill light is quite dim so it effectively is a black hole when you want to illuminate something far away.

beam0
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fangle wrote:
I have not broken mine down yet, but here are some OEM images of the light disassembled. The threads are glued during assembly but something padded like a strap wrench should allow removal.
Thanks for the photos.

.

fangle wrote:
As for the “black hole”, what I saw is the same light level as flood in that zone. I did not get the impression that it gets darker there. I spent some time looking at this wondering if it did get darker, or if it was an illusion from the brighter ring forming around it. By watching just the center during the zoom process I decided that the center remained the same brightness to my eyes.

“I did not get the impression that it gets darker there.”
“ the center remained the same brightness to my eyes.”

What???
Are you saying your light does not have a black hole at center beam as shown in my photos? Photos please!
(Lightsam even admits it does)

.

fangle wrote:
I think this would make a good host for modifications.
Yeah, after you swap out the optics!

 

fangle
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No, the light does not have a black hole. The beam0 photos appear to show light adjustments in the camera from what I can tell. I watched the transition from flood to spot on a white wall, focusing on the center of the beam. The center point does not change brightness, but the outer ring does glow brighter and get tighter gradually closing down to become the spot beam. “Black hole” indicates to me the center is getting darker. I do not see that in my sample.

I have yet to use any zooming light in the in-between positions. I am either doing near field work and want smooth even lighting or I want to pick up something far away. I find this light to be very useful for my activities. The majority of my flashlight use is in the flood position with this light.

I am glad to hear the light opens easily. I have yet to open mine (too many projects in front of it) but I have some ideas to try. The disassembly photos I posted were provided by Litesam when I discussed the light with them after my initial review, and are presented here with their permission. I look forward to the mods discussed in this thread.

beam0
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fangle wrote:
No, the light does not have a black hole. The beam0 photos appear to show light adjustments in the camera from what I can tell

“Light adjustments in the camera”

What???

You’re saying I don’t see this? That it’s only showing in photos? Absolutely not! Surely you’re joking!
This is not any “Light adjustments in the camera”! or other magic nonsense.

As I previously stated this is what I’M SEEING WITH MY OWN TWO EYES, inside, outside on any color surface.

This flashlight light has a huge, horrible “donut hole” at center beam throughout the entire mid zoom travel, pretty much rendering it useless for the in between positions, I sent my photos to Litesam and they also verified it is normal, a characteristic of the optics. This was also confirmed by others as a characteristic of this type of optics.

Please post beam photos of your light at several middle zoom positions shining on a wall.

I really enjoy using my other zoomies at any position of zoom. This light is only good at full flood or fully zoomed out. This was also verified by EasyB:

EasyB wrote:
Got my light. The beam is pretty worthless between spot and flood as the pictures above show.

Is EasyB seeing these so called “light adjustments” in his own eyes???

I guess mine and EasyB’s lights are both defective and you were sent a good one for review. I want a new light like yours with no donut hole, since your light does not have it I’ll contact Lightsam for an defective exchange citing your claim.

 

stephenk
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Thanks for the review. Looks like Ledlenser style optics, including artefact between flood and throw. Looks like it has less throw than most XP-L HI based 18650 tube lights.

EasyB
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I think there is just a misunderstanding beam0 and fangle. Fangle is not saying there is no donut hole, he is saying it shouldn’t be called a “black hole” because the light in the middle is still as bright as the spill light from flood mode. However it is still effectively a black hole because it is very dim in the center.

beam0
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EasyB wrote:
I think there is just a misunderstanding beam0 and fangle. Fangle is not saying there is no donut hole, he is saying it shouldn’t be called a “black hole” because the light in the middle is still as bright as the spill light from flood mode. However it is still effectively a black hole because it is very dim in the center.

Well maybe then I took his statement the wrong way, “ The beam0 photos appear to show light adjustments in the camera from what I can tell” it sure sounded to me he’s saying the camera shows something I don’t really see. My apoligies if that’s not what he meant, but I’d need further explanation as to what he was suggesting.

Also his “light adjustments in the camera” statement, combined with: “No, the light does not have a black hole” sounds like he’s not seeing at all in his sample what is showing in my photos.

TBH, and I think I’ve said this before, to me the dount hole actually looks WORSE that what the photos show.

I’ve twice requested he post some photos, still waiting for that. I’m waiting for further clarification or photos from him now before I contact Litesam about a replacement. But regardless I’ll eventually also try to mod the light.