My First Attempt at Beamshots

Well last night (and before dawn this morning) I had my first run at taking beamshots. I found a decent flat spot to shoot across my neighbor's yard toward a shed that is 250' 184 feet away. (EDIT 4/19/2013 - finally measured this distance at 184 feet.) The flashlights were set on top of a fencepost (the larger Maglites were aimed a little higher due to their weight causing them to tip up on the post). The camera was on a tripod and I used the following settings f/3.5 (lowest I could go), ISO 100, and 4-sec exposure time. I feel these photos depict what I saw with my naked eye pretty accurately. Flashlights used were: KD C8 on high (measures about 3A at tailcap), Lowes Task Force 2C (has TIR optics, previously thought to be 150 Lumens, new package says 120), Maglite 2D Incandescent (rated 19 Lumens), and a Maglite 2D LED (rated 134 Lumens). Both Maglites were adjusted for the tighest hotspot (I can't stand them adjusted out to "flood" which leaves a large dark black center - donut).

Maglite 2D Incandescent:

Maglite 2D LED:

Lowes Task Force 2C:

KD C8 (High):

KD C8 (High) - Backed up a bit to get better idea of the flood area:

Amazing how that KD C8 just blows the others away! Also pretty amazing that the Mag 2D incandescent projects so far for only being 19 lumens. (I don't think the photo does it justice.)

Here's a shot showing the KD C8 beside the Lowes 2C:


Thanks for taking the time to do this .

Great job garrybunk! Looks like C8 ate everything else for breakfast...

Nice pics!

Beamshots are a pain to do. Well done!

Nice job.

Thanks! Too bad it’s not my camera! It belongs to my young brother-in-law. All I have is a point and shoot Nikon which I hate! When I was a teenager I used to use my dad’s SLR (35mm film camera) with a cable release on a tripod and do time exposures to get pictures of the stars, lunar eclipses, etc. . . Of course back in those days (listen to me, I sound like an old man!) you didn’t know what you got until you finished the roll and got it developed! This was the first time I’ve ever tried to use manual settings on a digital camera.

Those are some very nice beam shots. :)

I've dabbled with it also but came out far worse. Kudos to you for doing this 8)

Damn, that Mag LED throws surprisingly well :O

Nice shots, btw ;)

"film" you speak of? never heard of it.Wink

seriously, thanks for the shots. nice to see snow on the ground too. sometime i miss it.

Nice work garrybunk. And kinda nice to know the old Mags aren't completely obsolete.

Yeah the Mag LED is rated 388 meters. I understand the MAg LED throtles back after it gets too hot. This photo would be maximum brightness.
Tonight driving home from work (after dark) I was driving along looking for good places to slow up and test the KD C8 light on a target. I found a spot to shoot across a field to a barn. I easily lit up the whole side of the barn! I’d guess it was 500 to 600 feet away.
Yes, there was some snow that morning. I didn’t even realize it showed up in the photos.

Last night I did an emitter swap in the Lowes Task Force light and popped in an XM-L T6 (my first mod). I was a bit surprised by the result, but now realize I shouldn't have been. The light has a lot more flood now and doesn't throw as far. It will still light up that shed, but it's dimmer. In fact I took a look at before and after last night and before had a hotspot just about the width of the shed. The after had a much dimmer hotspot that was about 3 times the width of the shed.

I'm not disappointed in the upgrade as it's now a much more useable light. Instead of having a "pencil beam" it now lights up a much wider area. It's also still running on the original "driver" (not sure how much of a "driver" is there as I can't pop it out) and running on 2 C size alkalines. In fact I made a boo-boo and didn't put fresh batteries in it for the beamshot. I'm not sure how rundown the batteries are, but they are the ones that came with the light. I'd guess those batteries had about 1 hour total use prior to the beamshot. I'll have to borrow the camera again and get a new beamshot to compare.

Edit - Forgot to mention that the incandescent Maglite is headed for an XM-L upgrade soon and I'll add that beamshot to compare as well. (By that time there will likely be a lot of snow on the ground! Wonder if the snow will affect the beamshot comparison?)


Good comparison, thanks.

Even my MiniMagLite Incan light can focus a laser like tight beam with its tiny lumens. I have a Rebel 2D I haven't tried yet. The cree in the 3D is a definite thrower but now I really wonder how the Rebel act in the 2D.

any updates? I would like to see the cree led in it.

Great job Garyb. I WILL figure out how to do photos but have just been too busy to invest the time.


Good job.
Keep um coming.

Hi Garry, I’ve found it much easier…and consistent…to split a piece of Sch 40 PVC lengthwise to make a carrier for a light, drill it thread it mount it on top of a tripod. Then each light you test points exactly the same and it’s easy to get the shots. Works great for me with 2 tripods, but a monopod on the camera would also work, or use the fencepost for the camera. If 2 tripods arent an option, screw the split PVC to a can, place that on top of the fencepost or clip it to a branch or something, the same result of having a carrier for the lights that keeps the beam consistently in place.

Great job. That KD C8 is a tough light to beat.

Way to go, Garry. Even though I’ve been using a DSLR for some ten years now, I still use it on manual whenever I can. It’s still the surest way to nail the exposure. Especially in tricky lighting situations.
In the “old days” we used to bracket our exposures (using film). That costs film and money :expressionless:
With digital, however, you can keep blasting away and never have to worry about the cost :bigsmile: