review: L3 Illumination L10C (Nichia 219B version)

It’s not really that simple. Both are good.

The L10C-219 has a better tint, better modes (not missing “low”), floodier beam, lighter/narrower body, no mode memory, and a lower price.

The T10T NW has a nice titanium body, throwier beam, longer runtime on medium, mode memory, works as a twisty, and has a diffuser cone.

Different people have different preferences, so maybe some of those differences speak to you?

What I’d really like is the L10C-219’s emitter and driver in the T10T’s body. Or perhaps an old L10 in titanium or steel with a clip and 219B emitter.

This L10C looks like a nice AA light

I’d like the combination of the 219b & t10’s ability to use as a twisty.

Thanks for the review ToyKeeper. My order of Tiara A1 got canceled by HKE because they are out of stock. I’m thinking of getting the T10T now but I’m not sure because L10C looks interesting too with that Nichia and well spaced modes. The only thing that kept me from buying an L10C a few days ago is the $15 shipping. I could just add a little amount of money and get the T10T with that titanium goodness.

I just bought a T10T and debating buying a D25A Ti. I already have the L10 and love it but I love titanium so much! Not sure if I want to spring for a L10C now or wait to see if they do mpre color options

It is a nice AA light. One of the best, IMO.

The T10T NW is pretty nice. The main complaints I have about it are: no “low” mode, and no way to get rid of mode memory. The L10 and L10C have what I consider a nearly-perfect mode selection, and I love how it always starts on the lowest level… not to mention the best tint available anywhere. It’s not even a tint, really — it’s just white.

The L10C is still a small light; it’s just longer than I thought it would be. The length isn’t such a bad thing though, since it’s easier to hold. The original L10 sometimes felt like it was almost too short.

I should add a shot comparing it to the popular SK-68. The L10C is tiny in comparison.

The $15 shipping definitely makes things difficult though. That makes the two lights practically the same price.

If you’re interested in the D25A Ti, you might want to look for an older model, or wait until next year. The ones currently available are kind of … not so great. I ordered one in January but they ran out, so I didn’t receive it until EagleTac made a new batch. And it seems the current batch has issues: Review: EagleTac D25A Ti 219 (mid-2014 botch, er, batch)

If the D25A actually lived up to its specs, it’d be an awesome light. But mine is way off spec in several ways, and some of those are systemic issues that pretty much everyone seems to have (others seem limited to just this batch). For example, it claims there’s no PWM… but that’s just blatantly false and has been for a long time. What concerns me most is that the moon mode is forty-seven times brighter than any other “moon” mode in my collection, and therefore not a moon at all… and the AR lens turned a high-CRI neutral-white Nichia 219 into a low-CRI yellow beam with a bright blue ring around it. It’s a really nice host, but I kind of want to rip its guts out and replace them with something else. If it were large enough to fit a qlite in, I probably would have done so by now.

First time I’ve ever been unhappy with a light with a price over $10.

The D25A I am interested in seems to be an older one since its the full Ti head with a XM-L and not the XM-L2 like on the new one

Thank you ToyKeeper, great review - I want one.

FWIW, I ran a low mode runtime tests on my twisty L10 219 using old Eneloops (~1600 mah by a C9000) and got 49 hours at what I meter to be 2.5 lms (47/ET lumen scale). Great regulation, it should do 60 hrs on a 2000 mah cell, so the spec is way understated.

I’ve been wanting to get accurate numbers for runtime on the L10 / L10C, but I don’t really have good equipment to test it.

All I can say is that it feels like it lasts a lot longer than spec, and the closest I’ve found to a measurement also suggests the same. Selfbuilt measured medium mode on an alkaline cell and got 7 to 8 hours, and when I’m primarily using moon and low, a battery lasts almost as long as it would in a Zebralight. So, I was guessing the 30 hour figure was a very low estimate. Plus, selfbuilt’s graph (medium mode) shows the L10 getting higher efficiency than any other lights near the same level.

Maybe I should just leave one on and check it manually to get a ballpark estimate. No nice graphs like some reviews provide, but at least a better idea how long “low” lasts. I suspect the 60-hour estimate is probably pretty close.

Don’t have any more tools than you - I have to manually check the light in the light box every xx hrs and log it on a piece of paper - a PITA.

I did run a medium test as well - 7.5 hrs @ 20 lumens on a ~1600 mah Eneloops so call it ~9 hrs on a new cell. I usually don’t test the higher modes - I rarely use high modes so don’t care, don’t want to burn my lights up, and rather rely on SB’s results. My lumen scale is, of course, going to be significantly lower than yours/Selfbuilt for reasons we’ve previously discussed, but at least we seem consistently in the same ballpark.

Last night, just two nights after I got a couple L10Cs, I apparently managed to damage both of them. D’oh. Or, at least one of them anyway, and the other one stopped working.

I was going out for a bike ride and tested my black L10C first as sort of a force of habit. But it didn’t turn on. I came back in to do some tests, and determined that the pill no longer responds to power. No idea why. I used it an hour earlier and it was fine, and nothing happened to it.

So, I swapped it for my grey L10C and went out. While getting onto my bike though, I somehow managed to snap it on something which pulled it away from the place it was clipped and flipped it downward onto the concrete. It still works fine, but now it has some dents on the head and tail. All my older L10s are now in better condition than my brand new L10Cs.

I’m a bit confused about the black one just suddenly not lighting up any more. If I had dropped it or something, I’d assume I managed to damage the driver. But nothing happened to it; it simply stopped responding to power after sitting unused for an hour. Maybe a solder joint is loose or cracked, and I could fix it myself. I’m not sure. But when I tried to remove the pill, I discovered that the L10C pill is apparently glued in a bit more firmly than the old L10 pills. I couldn’t get it to budge.


I despise glued threads.
Great review ToyKeeper.

Looks very nice, I have been waiting for colder tints on Nichia219.

Beamshots available anywhere to check the difference? :slight_smile:

Just picked up a D25A Ti from 2012 to go along with my new T10t. Cant wait to get them in so I can do a nice review of all of these lights.

Do you think that all the L10C mifht have the problem you discovered or shall I order one now? Id assume since the L10 was perfect that it might just be select ones that have issues???

I’ve been meaning to… just ridiculously busy the past few days, and I probably will be for a few more days.

I can assert that not all have the issue I ran into, since my other one got thrown onto concrete and still works fine. And as soon as I get the L10C pill out, I might be able to determine what the issue was… I just need to get myself some leather work gloves so I can actually try to unscrew it while it’s heated up. And, of course, find time to do it, which might be scarce this week.

Thanks for the review. I bought one for my dad and one for myself, but had to wait until yesterday to really play with it as I wanted to give him first choice on the color.

The l10 had been on my radar for some time for an edc light but the clip concerned me and I want sure I’d like a twisty. When I saw the l10c, it was an instant order and I’m really impressed. The modes are great (moonlight seems brighter than specs, need to compare it to my zebralight h52), I love the switch, the beam is very nice and the effeciency is one of the best in class. My zebralight h52 is still my go-to backpacking light, but the price on the l10c makes it a very affordable and effective edc for me. I may even bring it as a backup for my h52.

Fantastic light!

FWIW, Zebralight’s moon modes are low even by their own lumen scale. After calibrating my light box so that it matches my ZL SC52 almost perfectly (from 2.7 lm to 108 lm, anyway), I get about 0.10 or 0.11 lm for the “L2a” mode spec’d at 0.34 lm. And I get about 0.07 to 0.09 lm for my various L10 units, on that same scale. My other Zebralights are also lower than spec, but that’s okay since the level they actually run at is almost perfect for my purposes.

In any case, you may find that your L10 moon mode is very close to the highest moon mode on your Zebralight, despite the specs being different by a factor of about 3. And I think this is due to an error in ZL’s specs, not an error in L3’s specs.

That’s great info. I suppose I was a little biased as I remember reading (selfbuilt, I think) that the L3 L10 moonlight mode was widely variable between lights and I assumed the same would be true for the L10c. When I noticed that the moonlight mode seemed brighter than my H52, I assumed I had one of the brighter L10s. That will teach me to assume, eh?

I don’t have a way to do any objective measurements myself so thanks for the correction. And either way it ends up, the L10c modes are pretty close to perfect for what I need out of my pocket light. The moonlight mode is nice for checking on the kids when they are asleep, low is great for inside a computer or under a desk, medium is a decent walking around in the woods level and high is not a bad “WHAT WAS THAT SOUND?!” level.

Moon modes do tend to vary a lot more than other modes, on pretty much all lights. At such a low power level it seems more sensitive to the variation in individual components. However, Zebralight still tends to measure low on moon modes, and the L3 L10 measures a bit closer to its actual spec. On average, that is… but some L10s are quite a bit brighter on moon than other L10s.

I took my broken L10C apart today, the one which spontaneously stopped working for no apparent reason. At least, I took the pill out of the head. I had to heat it up to melt the glue, but after that it was pretty easy.

I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like the black wire may have simply disconnected itself from the driver inside the pill. Bad solder joint or something, probably just cracked and fell off. Fixing that promises to be interesting, since the only way to get at it is to unsolder the MCPCB wires then unsolder the driver from the pill. Maybe remove the foam battery pad first to avoid melting it. I’ll probably wait until I’m not quite so busy.

However, that aside, I have more L10s to test now. It should be interesting to see how much the output varies from unit to unit.

Oh, also, it seems that the newest 2014 batch of non-clicky L10-219s now use the 219B emitter. I just discovered that yesterday, and it was a pleasant surprise. They probably won’t be very available until old L10 stock is cleared out though.