BeamShots (UpdatedJune 2nd, 2012)

I decided to give it a go setting up my camera and taking some comparative Beamshots, and used settings similar to Foy's in his photos.

Camera set to 1/4", 2.8f, WB@5400 and Pattern Metering.

The far tree trunk is the focus of the lights and is 100 ft away, that thing on the bench next to it is a pottery rabbit. The close tree with the overhanging limbs is 20ft away. I'm going to try to do the mouse-over photo trick, and the background image will always be the Manafont XM-L dropin for reference. I shot 12 different lights in about 5 minutes, I resized the original image to 800x600 (no cropping) and sharpened them all exactly the same (night focus issues) so the baseline should be the same for every image.

One other note here, all my lights have smooth reflectors.

I didn't have a clamp to keep the lights focused and steady on the same spot, so some of these you have to pay attention and realize the the focal point is a bit high or left, but I think most of them came out fairly similar in aim. Does make you appreciate the way an XM-L lights up a huge field of view.

First, the Solarforce L2 host with the Manafont 3-mode XM-L, SMO reflector

Next, a Thrunite XM-L single mode P60 in a SkyRay host. Aiming was off to the right on this one, sorry. Mouse-over to see both images

Alright, this is the XR-E P60 in a 501B host

ALso a mouseover

And this is the mighty TK41, mouseover to see the Manafont XM-L. Now you know why you want this light!

This light is the Solarforce L2m (mini) with an XP-G dropin. Mouseover is still the M/F XM-L

Now the Palight C8 with XP-G, same XM-L mouseover. Noticethat with the XP-G and bigger reflector, the hot spot on the XP-G is brighter than that of the XM-L

Are we having fun yet?

This is the Ultrafire TH-T60 with XM-L, the mouseover is still the Solarforce with MF XM-L. THe TH-T60 has a reflector that is a little bigger than a P60, but not as big as a C8/K8 style reflector.

And this is my favorite light, the Trustfire T2, has an XP-G with a smaller-than-P60 reflector (same mouseover)

Here is a shocker. This is the $8 Ultrafire single-AA battery Zoomie from Ebay, compared to XM-L. The hotspot is noticeably brighter than the XM-L hotspot, just way small. Not bad for 8 bucks.

Now the little single AAA Trustfire F23 for fun

OK, Last two

The Trustfire F15 with XM-L and smooth reflector, compared to the Manafont XM-L

And last, the Coleman Max Bubba, a 2-"C" cell battery from Walmart. Seems to throw exactly like the XR-E in the 501B host above.

The Coleman has a brighter hotspot than the XM-L, but the rabbit, a bit out of the center spot, is lit up more by the XM-L

Saved one too many spots...but a good comparison here.

TK41 and the mouseover is the Trustfire F15 (both XM-Ls). The F15 is a good light for $28, brightest budget light I have. But the TK just makes you chuckle when you set it on "Turbo" mode, and throws twice as far as all the others. I think it is all in the large, optimized reflector. And it makes me want to save up for a TK35.

Got one slot still open, might as well compare the Ultrafire TH-T60 with the Trustfire F15. Both have XM-L's, the TH-T60 has a smaller head and reflector, but not as small as a P60 dropin. The TH-T60 is the original image, when you mouseover it you will get the F15

Great beamshots!

They are very informative and the mouse-over is a very effective way to spot (haha) differences.

Very cool stuff trooplewis! Thanks a lot, this took a lot of effort. I love the mouseovers too. Sticky for this post!

Thanks for the beamshots troop!

Good job, troop.


Great beam shots troop!! TK41 is a beast!!

Great Job!


Good job, pal ;) Just try to improve a little bit that aiming ;)

Great work, trooplewis! I like your real-world approach in comparing the lights. Very useful even for the technically/electronically dim-witted (like me).

Now I have to take a closer look at the F15...

Thanks for the nice comments guys.

One thing I noticed is that when you are looking at these beamshots in person, the dimmer shots actually appear very much brighter. For instance, the little stainless steel AAA F23 is a useable light at that distance, and doesn't appear nearly as dim as the photo shows. That is part of the problem with trying to compare what a camera lense sees and what the human eye sees. The spill is way brighter to the eye than what most of those images show.

I may try this again using settings of 1/3 shutter speed instead of 1/4, maybe that will be more realistic. Trying to avoid having my family do the "what on earth is your dad doing outside with a tripod and all those flashlights?" thing...

I also need to rig the lights better for consistent aim. You can't just set them on a table because the head size varies from light to light, which makes it tilt up or down.

Nice work, Troop! You know, in most of them I actually prefered the Manafont XM-L drop-in over all. Lights up plenty in the background but also lights up everything else. I definitely prefer floodier lights in real world application. I think that drop-in as a good compromise between flood and throw. The F15 comes in pretty close to it but with the compromise leaning more towards throw than flood.

Thank you so much for putting in so much work! I LOVE seeing beamshot comparisons!