[Review] Convoy Z1 - Convoy's first zoom flashlight

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Mocarny
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[Review] Convoy Z1 - Convoy's first zoom flashlight
Convoy Z1 - Convoy's first zoom flashlight (well, it was clickbait, actually the second one)

3 in 1 review. At the end there will be a summary for those who like only particulars, in each topic I will bold the key sentences for those who read a little more, and a long waffling for everyone else. Enjoy!

Obrazek

 

For VERY large photos: click -> on the photo page right click -> "Open image in new tab"

 

 

Table of Contents:

-General parameters
- Package content
- Appearance, parameters
- UI, runtime and charging
- PWM
- Waterproofness
- Light pattern, tint
- Beamshots
- Usage and my experiences
- Summary 

General parameters
LED: 1 * Luminus SST40
Brightness:max 2000lm (1450lm according to my measurements)
Mode: 4 modes 0.1%-3%-30%-100% /12 groups
Mode brightness:
zoom out - 2 - 61 - 575 - 1450lm
zoom in - 1 - 29 - 267 - 670lm
Memory mode: yes
Battery: 1*21700 / 18650 (not included)
Material: aluminium alloy
Color: black
Switch: back, reverse, metal
Lens: convex lens (high quality borosilicate glass)
Diameter: 52mm head/tubus battery 28.2mm
Length: 135.8mm (zoom out)/149.5mm (zoom in)


Package content



Obrazek
There was a flashlight and lanyard in the package, but not the basic one, which is often attached. Anyway, you can buy the better one separately for about 4$. This is cool. The better one is...better. It can be detached in two ways, it has an adjustment on the wrist and a thick cord. It is worth 15 PLN.

Appearance, parameters

Dimensions? The flashlight is small, it fits nicely in your hand
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The design is a very good thing, but let's start one by one:

- The bezel at the lens has an o-ring and the thread is well-fitted and twists tightly.
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- The lens is made of borosilicate glass with a hardness of 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Such glass retains less light than ordinary glass used in flashlights, which is important for this lens thickness. This type of glass is used in more expensive binoculars to achieve the highest possible brightness.
Picture
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Diode SST40 5000K (optional 6500K) and more o-rings
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- From the driver's side there is a massive spring, trapezoidal threads cut out, spring at the driver is bridged - all great.
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- Metal reverse switch. It has a nice click
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Everything made a positive impression on me, the flashlight is small and interesting.

UI, runtime and charging



UI
I chose a version with 4 modes: 0.1%-3%-30%-100%
I like the simplicity of these drivers, but for everyone else there is a 12-group driver-Biscotti software, but named 12-groups so that nobody would bother that Convoy violates the license.

Runtime
What about cooling? Zooms are generally on average, so let's see what it's like here.I ran a 10-minute test with a maximum brightness of 1450lm
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Temperatures:
2min: 38°C
5min: 45°C
10min: 48°C
Brightness after 10 minutes: 576lm

So it is not so bad, with the power of up to 80% it will shine for more than 2 minutes (at home, about 22°C and outside maybe 3 minutes), and after 10 minutes the brightness stabilizes at the level of mode 3, that is 567lm. This means that in this mode the brightness will not drop anymore, at least for the first 10 minutes, but I think it will not drop even longer.



PWM


I haven't observed any

Waterproofness



Unfortunately, the lowest o-ring of the moving head has cut through when I was unscrewing.. - Anyway it is put back in, because without it the flashlight zooms very loosely, but it is in two pieces and does not protect against water. I am sorry. BUT from what I can see it is waterproof and in my opinion it would have been able to do it at least a few minutes under water. Therefore there is nothing to worry about the rain while using it.

Light pattern, tint



Diode SST40 5000K, max brightness 1450lm

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The middle picture shows well the circles that are formed around the spot, and the last picture shows well the shape of the spot, i.e. the slightly blurred shape of the diode.
If anyone uses my measure on the photo, he or she may calculate that the angle of the light beam opening = ~ 54°. But maybe nobody uses it because I stopped mentioning that the dot is a hotspot and each line is 15 cm apart... Yes, this may be the reason... Never mind. To get to the point, this is not a wide angle, so when we set it to maximum dispersion, it will not shine as wide as some of you are probably familiar with (me too). It is worth taking this into consideration if you want a very wide beam (typical for cheap zooms).

Beamshots

 


ISO200, t2s, f/3.5 sunlight white balance.

Photos of what the forest looks like:
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The right pictures:
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And here it is good to enlarge the photo (instruction at the beginning of the review), because the flashlight has gained 180m even in the third mode, 267lm, and at full brightness I think it'd would also do 300m.

It is worth noticing that there is only 53% loss of light between diffused and concentrated beam. This is a good result, taking into account that a cheap zoom for about 40 PLN already loses 80%.

At a glance:
Convoy zoom in - 1 - 29 - 267 - 670lm
Convoy zoom out - 2 - 61 - 575 - 1450lm

Shenyu T6 zoom in - 23 - 45 - 90lm
Shenyu T6 zoom out - 108 - 216 - 442lm

Let's compare this zoom with Convoy:
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Total destruction, there is nothing even to talk about because Convoy completely disintegrated this weak flashlight, which as the loser returned to the back of my shelf.

Usage and my experiences



Reading a common opinion about zooms, I think I became discouraged to them. Having just such a flashlight for 10$ which is a very bad zoom I understand why there is a black cloud of hatred hanging over these flashlights.
But here it looks different, because Convoy Z1 is a great flashlight, in which I don't even see any sense in finding flaws. Well, it may be hard to turn the head and zoom in with one hand, but something for something - the flashlight is more waterproof.
I definitely recommend it to anyone who would like to start their zoom...or not at all, to someone who would like to start with a cheap zoom for about 8$, then buy a Convoy, because otherwise he will not appreciate it flowing wide streams of awesomeness.

Gallery



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Summary

 


If you are thinking about buying a zoom flashlight, turn your gaze to this wonderful Convoy, because it is beautiful and very sexy.


Pros:
+ Lens of borosilicate glass
+ High-quality wristband included
+ Loss of light at maximum light concentration only 53%

Cons:
(I haven't found any significant downsides)

About host - threads, knurling o-rings and so on
Rating: 10/10 


About light - UI, tint and so on
Rating: 9,5/10


1 - very bad flashlight hurts to look at, terrible quality, not worth any (even very low) price
5 - average flashlight, at a reasonable price - for the average person "great". Or better flashlight, but overpriced
10 - flashlight meets all my expectations in a given category (e.g EDC, headlamp, thrower), it's durable and neatly made, perfect light tint, worth its (even slightly inflated) price - just pure perfect, so I doubt any light can get a 10 from me

 

I hope you enjoyed!

 

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

Edited by: Mocarny on 10/13/2020 - 17:43
Barkuti
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Mocarny wrote:

Sorry but not sorry. I don't see how “preventing” full focus over the emitter is good. In a flashlight able to fully focus you can always zoom in a tiny bit less and prevent that. But what if you want to fully focus with a Z1? Sad This is a minus for me. I've grown used to fully focusing flashlights, and I love it:

 

 

LoL! 

Thanks for the review. 

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 05:36

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Thanks for the review and to point out the narrow angle when fully zoomed out and to not be able to fully focus on the die. Somehow that takes away what zoomies are good at.

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

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Unheard wrote:
Thanks for the review and to point out the narrow angle when fully zoomed out …

Oh! Mmm, didn't pay attention to this before, but of course I agree:

 

 

Distance to the wall is 70cm and each line is 15cm apart, thus the projected flood “circle” from the out the front cone of light at these 70cm is… a tiny bit less than 70cm wide. Trigonometrically this is a tiny bit less than 60° full angle or 30° half angle. This is indeed poor, there is nothing more grievous than a zoom flashlight without a (preferally super) wide flood cone. Flat Stare 

You can always zoom in a tiny bit if you find the flood cone too wide, but you can't zoom out once it is at max.

Conversely, those who don't like to see a fully focused emitter can always zoom out a tiny bit and fix what doesn't needs to fixed.

I understand Simon is getting feedback from chinese forums too. The problem is he is getting feedback from people who knows no better, and it exactly is that people who needs a fix.

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Mocarny
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Barkuti wrote:
Trigonometrically this is a tiny bit less than 60° full angle or 30° half angle. This is indeed poor, there is nothing more grievous than a zoom flashlight without a (preferally super) wide flood cone. Flat Stare 

You can always zoom in a tiny bit if you find the flood cone too wide, but you can’t zoom out once it is at max.


True, max zoom out is too narrow, it is just 54°. I love wide zoom, but this one is OK for me. Especially, because it has great brightness when zoomed in.

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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I don’t own a Z1, but I have modded many other similar zoomies. For these kinds of lights it’s usually not too hard to increase the width of the floodbeam.

In an aspheric zoomie, you get a too narrow floodbeam when the lens doesn’t retract close enough to the top of the LED. The fix is usually fairly simple: you just need to modify it so that the bezel can retract closer to the top of the LED. Ideally the back of the lens should stop about 1 mm from the top of the LED.

This can usually be done with a handfile or a needlefile.

Remove the lens, bezel and pill. Examine all parts and determine what part stops the bezel at full retraction. Then file that part down to allow the bezel to retract further. The part in question is usually one of the following:

  • The top of the pill. If this is the case, simply filing it down usually does the trick.
  • A wider section of the body tube. In this case you will need to file down either the wider portion of the tube that stops the bezel retracting or the bottom of the bezel. If possible, the bottom of the bezel is usually the better choice since it is easier to file and the removed anodizing is less noticeable.
  • Another solution that sometime works is to bend a strip of sheet copper or aluminum into a C-ring and insert it between the pill and body tube. This prevents the pill from screwing in all the way and allows the bezel to retract further if the bezel-stop was a wider portion of the body tube. It also doesn’t affect spot mode since spot is usually stopped by the front of the pill.

Small modifications can make a big difference. Even shaving enough so the bezel can retract just 1 or 2 mm further can noticeably increase the width of the floodbeam.

If you want the maximum possible floodbeam, swap the emitter to one with a flat dome such as an XPL HI, XHP 35 HI, or shaved SST20/40. With a flat dome you can modify the bezel to retract even further back for an even wider beam.

Incidentally, similar modding can also be done to the spotbeam.

  • Some zoomies like the Sofirn S11 intentionally stop the bezel from extending until the die is fully focused. This results in the spot beam being a blurry square or circle rather than a sharp image of the LED die surface. For a light the blurry shape looks more attractive on white walls even if throw is reduced compared to the sharp image.
  • To fix this, you can file down an appropriate surface to allow the bezel to extend further. Usually the lower edge of the wider portion of the pill is what stops the bezel at full extension.
  • Alternatively, you can try inserting something below the lens so the lens sits further out on the bezel. But this can cause other problems which you then have to fix (such as the lens not being secure in the light, or the floodbeam being too narrow).

One other thing that might be worth trying is to insert a small circle of diffusion film in the center underside of the lens.

  • This is a bit like how the S11’s optic is. That light uses an LED-Lenser style optic, but the center element is frosted.
  • With the frosting, the S11’s floodbeam is quite wide…. around 90 degrees. And it doesn’t have the sharp edge most zoomie flood beams have. It’s actually very nice. Spotbeam can still focus to a fairly small point when the stock emitter is replaced with something more intense and with a bezel mod to allow further extension. However, max throw is less than without the frosting.
  • Polish off the frosting and the S11’s floodbeam is much narrower… maybe 60 degrees and there is a sharper demarcation at the edge of the floodbeam.

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And one other limitation is having a huge collar shrouding the lens. Make the beam too wide, and it’ll be limited by that collar.

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It all depends on which zoomie. The Thorfire TA13/Sofirn SF30A featured the emitter sunk in its cavity, with a slightly short inner cylinder neck versus head lenght (see ThorFire TA13 -Sofirn SF30A- questions & dealing with). It required some skillful filing with my rotary tool.

UltraFire SK98s are well designed in this regard, the lens sits quite close to the emitter using a more or less flat emitter retaining ring. Too bad it is a quite small head zoomie. 

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