I'm considering a zoomie for a work-EDC, looking for quality options

At work I currently carry an S41 quad in a holster on my belt, and before it I used P60 SolarForce lights for several years. I’m having a blast at home with my newly purchased and modded Brinyte B158 aspheric zoomie, and it makes me wonder if a smaller zoomie might work well as a work-EDC. I work in manufacturing and use my light frequently - with a zoomie I could potentially flood a vehicle’s engine compartment with light, or light up those racks/machinery on the other side of the (large) building when needed.

Requirements for this light would be:
1x18650 or 1x14500 format
Overall length no more than about 140mm
Head diameter no more than about 25mm

The SK68 and SK98 style zoomies I have experience with are not what I want to carry and rely on for an EDC, however. I’m looking for something that is of good quality - and has good output. :slight_smile:

Are there high-quality zoomies out there?

One that I’m looking at as a potential is the Fenix FD30. I wonder if Coast or LED Lenser lights could be modded into something that would work for me.

Any other contenders?

Hmmm… The Fenix is not a real zoomie i.m.o. and LedLenser and the like use crappy drivers and ancient LEDs for too much money (correct me if i’m wrong).
But the cheap zoomies usually also have crappy drivers and crappy LEDs.
They’re either one mode or 3 modes with PWM and next memory mode.
And it seems we’re stuck with those 23mm or 21mm lenses in a appr. 25mm diameter head.
It seems the slimmer ones all use a trimmed 23mm lens (they just grind off the outer perimeter).
It would be better if they used a trimmed 21mm one, but they don’t… (that is, i never seen one with that lens trimmed).

So, what to do?
I have one i quite like.
Yes, it’s a SK68, but has the 21mm lens, which has much shorter focal distance and therefore catches more light from the LED, so it’s still a fair amount of lumens when zoomed in, but with a fairly big LED projection.
But i will put a dedomed XP-G2 in it soon (maybe later this evening) which will tighten the beam again.
Those SK68s are fun to mod though, and i have increased the head travel by a couple of mm.
Zoomed out (wide beam) the lens nearly touches the LED dome, you can light up a whole wall with it.
It has the 1 mode driver. It’s quite bright on a 14500 though.
The Jetbeam JET I MK driver would be nice in it.

Either way, i would like to know if there are better alternatives too.
I am waiting for this one to be delivered:
It’s the same thing, only in a smoother package…
Same lens, same 3 mode PWM next mode memory driver probably…

Led Lenser P5r.2.
It is 14500 size, and has the best zooming optics of any flashlight brand because they patented it first.
I have been EDCing mine for the past few years and it is extremely small and light, has a ton of runtime on max compared to other flashlights, and has a 240m throw which is more than most 1000lm reflector flashlights.
Also a really nice spot and flood, none of this “ugly beam” stuff that people complain about all the time from zoomies.

Is that this one?


Hmm… the “r” is missing…
But does have a modern LED (XP-G2) :slight_smile:

It’s the non-rechargeable version.
The r one uses a 14500 battery and has a magnetic wall mount for easy recharging :slight_smile:
It’s also like twice as expensive, but I like the recharging feature and better specs of the P5r.2.

…better specs in what sense?
Because i actually want to buy a Led Lenser one day, because people say the optics are really good.
But usually i’m repelled by the price…

Double the lumens, double the distance, same runtime, less weight, no need to spend money on batteries :slight_smile:

I see a P7.2 on a discount on a Dutch webshop…
4x AAA, could be modded to take 26650 i suppose…
It’s €46.99 at the moment (about $48)
But let’s not hijack this topic…

Interested in a customized edc?

Just saw some videos of Ledlenser reviews, and you’re right about zoomed in and zoomed out.
But the stages in between do show donuts and / or rings…

Sorry, not sure if that was directed at me, but I’ll answer anyways - yes, I and willing to customize/mod the light and EDC it.

I’ve been able dig up one or two threads about modding lensers, there’s not a lot out there, but from what I’ve found it might be feasible. I like the form factor of the P5.2 but 240lens is nowhere near enough, mods to accept a 14500 and push more current would be a requirement for that light.

I just finished an sk68 mod, soldered switch spring, copper pill insert, bored and stretched for 16650 xpe R3 1D, 3 mode driver, SS clip, ya da, ya da. Point is, it sounds sort of like what you want with much of what’s wrong with the sk68 being upgraded. And the whole thing polished and tricked out with burl. It’s headed for a forum giveaway but I or someone else can certainly dial one in for you. I’ll be home in a bit and post some pics. The giveaway thread will go up tomorrow.

About 13 mm longer than before but still much shorter than my BLF A6. Tail cap current is 1.8A so plenty of punch and over 2 hours of it. Medium is about 550 mA and low is ~90mA. Zoomies waste a lot of lumens, much more than any reflector or TIR, especially when fully focused so expect lower numbers than cree charts list. Fwiw, the numbers for this same led pulled from Djozz tests are ~15 - 200 - 510 lumens for those currents. Larger die XPG –2 or XPL HI will get more lumens(a lot more with an FET DD driver but won’t be as tight). This was just a transplant attiny13A, one ordered from MtnE could have a more interesting ui or better mode separation. The burl is finished in epoxy so not many chemicals will harm it.

If you are willing to switch to 16340. You can go for the on the road i3. Decent zoomie, neutral tint, nice finish. Just a nice light, certainly after some small mods.

I can stretch(or shorten) some but not all hosts this way. Here’s a grey S2+ with an 18350 tube that’s been modded with other mods done to the inside so that with the length an 18500 tube would have it holds a 16650 and noctogon/Carclo triple.

I was not aware of the On The Road i3 - that looks interesting. And easy to mod apparently, too - I found a thread from several months ago where djozz said, “I use it as my EDC atm, but must confess that I modded it with a 90CRI XP-G3 and BLF-A6 driver (700lumen flood with a fresh battery). It is my best EDC to date.”

Maybe one of these N219C R9050 that I got recently would work well in a OTR i3?

Rbd, I remember reading your thread on that modded (lengthened) SK68, but can’t find it at the moment now to refresh my memory. Care to link me? I wouldn’t be interested in a “nice” extension like burl, I think it would be quickly ruined by the perils a EDC work light faces - dirt and grime, being on my hip as I roll around on the ground, etc. Just a plain aluminum extension would be more utilitarian for me I think.

lens? do you mean lumens? 240 lumens is definitely enough when there is almost no loss when focused or unfocused.
IMO having 4 hours of runtime is much more important than having 1000lm that doesn’t let you choose between flood or throw.
Also, the P5r.2 already uses a 14500 battery, but it’s proprietary so that it can charge on the base. All charging flashlights like this use proprietary batteries.

The p5r.2 is a zoomie that uses a TIR so that you get the full 240lm when focused or unfocused.
That’s how you can get the same throw as a 1000lm flahslight with only 240lm and an extremely small head.

Oh, and the fact that it only requires 240lm is what allows you to have 4 hours of runtime on full power with a 14500 battery.

Oops. Yeah, lm > lens. Thanks, autocorrect. :expressionless:

I know 240lm is “enough”; not that long ago 240lm was mind-blowingly bright. With 240lm I would not die or be in danger due to lack of light. But at work I frequently use my S41 quad on High1, High2, and Turbo (~400, 800, 1200lm, respectively) so I know I have a use for higher outputs, and that is what I want/require in a new work-EDC purchase.

The LED lenser TIR optic seems to be agreed-upon as a very good optic, much better than a basic aspheric lens in regards to light output efficiency, and overall beam pattern. But the low-ish output (only an issue at the flood end really, due to the advanced TIR) is an issue for me. If it is moddable up to around 800lm it could be a serious contender.

edit: I just checked the LED Lenser website, it appears I got the output numbers wrong in my post above, my mistake. The P5.2 is only 140lm I think mainly due to the fact it only supports AA and is not 14500 compatible; the P5R.2 is 270lm using a 14500. The “R” version (for rechargable) actually would NOT be good for me. I tried a rechargeable light for a while and I could not avoid forgetting it at my desk on the charger, when I went downstairs (I come and go from my desk frequently all day). Removing the light from my belt holster leads to me forgetting it at my desk - just popping in a new battery and putting the light right back on my belt is best for me. That, and the P5R.2 is getting pretty far up there in price, at $110.

The thing is, since you choose between flood or spot you get similar brightness to a regular reflector flashlight.
This is what a regular 1000 lm flashlight looks like:

On flood, the p5r.2 has almost the same brightness as the flood from the regular flashlight, just without the bright spot in the middle.
When focused, it has the same brightness spot but without the flood.

So even though the lumen total is much lower, you get the same brightness flood or same brightness (and throw distance) spot as a much higher lumen flashlight, just not both at the same time.

Plus you get the benefit of much longer runtime with the lower lumen output, like 5x or 10x longer than a 14500 flashlight that does 1000lm.

I don’t really see it the same way, I wouldn’t call them “almost the same brightness” just because the even lighting of 270lm was the same lux as the spill from a reflector light with hotspot. That is convoluting the difference between Lumens and Lux, and how different lenses/reflectors can be used to focus lumens into a high-lux hotspot, or spread lumens out over a large even area which results in lower lux.

I guess I should have specified - I have more use for flood, hence why I currently carry a quad. I was considering a zoomie to try and add some throw capability into a single light, but I would still primarily use the flat, even, flood light more frequently.

I’m not comparing a zoomie to 1200lm of a traditional reflector light with hotspot and spill, I’m comparing it to the beam pattern from my purpose-chosen S41, and it is very similar to a zoomie/lenser (the wall of light-with-zero-hotspot that you mention) - but it’s 1200lm, not 270. I’m not willing to give up that high floodlight output, or at least not much of it. As mentioned above, I was hoping to supplement my current floodlight with some throw - but not at (too much) expense to the flood end.