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Looking to upgrade my EDC flashlight

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by dyril, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. dyril

    dyril Loaded Pockets

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    I wish to upgrade from my trusty Arc AAA-P DS to something more flexible.
    I'm currently eyeing a Quark MiNi AA or Nitecore EX10 SP or Quark MiNi 123 or Fenix PD10.

    Recommend a Flashlight Checklist:

    1) What do you intend to use this light for?
    Indoor use.
    • locating things
    • maintaining machines
    • power failure readiness
    • gentle transition from and to bed
    • comfortable reading light

    3) Price Range:
    Preferably well under $100.

    9) Runtime:
    I want a high runtime. I have an existing AA / AAA eneloop charger, but am curious about the CR123A form factor which would be new to me.

    6) What batteries do you want to use?
    I see that 3.6V CR123A batteries exist but some of the lights I've looked at want 3.0V max.
    Considering I have no problem with discharging 4 AAA eneloops every 2-3 months for my Arc, I'm uncertain whether or not I use a light often enough to make a rechargeable system worth it.
    I also see alternative batteries such as 14500 (but those are 3.6+ V, too).

    13) Operational Modes: Check all that apply.
    I think I want at least these outputs:
    3+ lumens low
    (optional medium, 18+ lumens)
    90+ lumens high

    15) Special Needs:
    • Near-permanent EDC on neck lanyard (preferably break-away, weight permitting)
    • Interface should output high later / as auxiliary
    • Silent, smooth one-handed operation (pushbuttons accepted if inaudible)
    • Do not want a clip

    Sometimes I want a set a flashlight down as a candle/lantern but I never have a sure way to set it for a given task.

    The issue at hand could be that I've never used a flood throw or bright-enough light, so I often need to (re)orient it.

    Tailstanding is overrated when there is no gravitationally flat surface around. I like my neck lanyard because my pockets are typically full, and it's convenient to either use the light while dangling, or held under my armpit.

    EDIT:
    • I think I use my light often enough to desire a rechargeable system.
    • I'm probably disqualifying the MiNi 123 / MiNi CR2 / PD10 due to issues with rechargeables.
     
  2. jujigatame

    jujigatame Loaded Pockets

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    The Quark Mini was my first thought. Never having handled one myself I'm not sure how well the twisty can be manipulated with one hand. Still, in terms of output options and your desired carry method it seems a good fit. If you wanted to stick with AAA you could also look at the 4Sevens Preon. The clip is removable for a lanyard ring and you can install a clicky for it as well.
     
  3. nuphoria

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

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    I have just strayed in to RCR123 territory and there are several great lights to chose from. The Quarks seem to get good reviews all round but I only like clickies instead of twisties for one handed operation.

    Others that have been recommended to me are the Nitecore EX10, Liteflux LF3XT, Lumapower Incendio and Zebralight SC30. These are all good quality lights worth checking out.
     
  4. FerFAL

    FerFAL Loaded Pockets

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    EDC carriyng a Quark Mini123 now, and am pretty happy with it. I like clickies better but the twist is smaller and less likely to break. Now, the miniR2, that thing is SMALL and still has a lot of lumens. The only thing I dont like about it is that batteries arent as common as 123.

    FerFAL
     
  5. Rawls

    Rawls Loaded Pockets

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    There are a bunch of good lights out there that meet your requirements. I like the Preon in either configuration for those very purposes. It is a great little light. And it can be a clicky or a twisty.
     
  6. dyril

    dyril Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the input :)

    After more research (I must sign up for CPF after finding so many reviews), I've added another candidate: Nitecore EX10 SP; piston drive sounds nice if it does have quiet operation. I imagine the the output selection UI needs more mental effort than I expend now, but that would be coupled with a simpler pushbutton. I'm mostly concerned about its low being a truly relative low, however.
     
  7. MedXLT

    MedXLT Empty Pockets

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    Good choice with the EX10. That's what I EDC, I have the older non-SP version that "ramps" output, but I hear the SP version is just as good.
     
  8. Polygeist

    Polygeist Loaded Pockets

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    I have a Nitecore D10 which is basically the same as the EX10 except for the battery type (D10 uses AA). Mine is the older, ramping version which I prefer over the new SP UI. I don't need strobe or signaling capability and the ramping gives an infinite level of control over the output brightness. The switch is silent and easy to operate (takes less pressure to actuate than it does for my SL Stylus Pro).

    About the UI. At least with the ramping version, the UI doesn't take much mental effort. Max and minimum output can be jumped to and then the brightness adjusted from there. I find it fun to use. And if you find a brightness setting that works great whenever you need it, the light can be left at that brightness level, and it will remember it for next time (even if the battery is taken out). I suppose the only downside to the ramping is that it would be hard to find a specific brightness level again after changing it since there's no preset, definitive levels, just an infinite gradient. If you go with the SP version, I imagine it'd be even simple: just hold the tailcap until one of the three levels cycles around. I'm not sure if it remembers which level it was one for the next time it's turned on. I don't think it does.

    The minimum output is very low: 3 lumens for both the older D10 (source: Nitecore website) and the EX10 SP (source: CPF). Very nice for some quick added light without bothering others in dark environments.

    From what I've read, the EX10 SP emits a high-pitched "hum" when on medium output. If this is what you were referring to by "quiet operation," then for medium output mode, it doesn't. The low and high modes don't seem to have this problem. (Source: Layman's Flashlight Reviews.)

    On a side note, if you want flooding, area light, Nitecore makes a defuser cone for the D10.
     
  9. Russ/TN

    Russ/TN Empty Pockets

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    Nitecore d-10 (either user interface) and a couple of eneloop AA's = good to go!
     
  10. Russ/TN

    Russ/TN Empty Pockets

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    Second thoughts, the d10 will weigh twice what you are used to for neck carry.
    Quark Preon 1 will be lighter.
     
  11. brix

    brix Loaded Pockets

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    If its going around your neck, I recommend the Quark Mini 123 or you might want to look at the CR2, perfect size and weight to dangle around the neck.
     
  12. dyril

    dyril Loaded Pockets

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    Ugh, I failed to account for the carry weight until now.

    Code:
    [b]Weight I'm used to:[/b]
    Arc AAA:    22g (eneloop AAA: 13g)  total: 35g
    
    [b]Currently testing; noticeable but tolerable:[/b]
    Fenix LD15: 21g (eneloop AA:  27g)  total: 48g  37% heavier
    
    [b]Candidates (assuming these nominal battery weights):[/b]
    Quark MiNi 123: 18g (CR123A:  17g)  total: 35g  -
    Fenix PD10:     24g (CR123A:  17g)  total: 41g  17% heavier
    Nitecore D10:   40g (eneloop: 27g)  total: 67g  [COLOR="#aa0000"]91% heavier[/COLOR]
    Nitecore EX10:  35g (CR123A:  17g)  total: 52g  48% heavier
    Quark MiNi CR2: 17g (CR2:     14g)  total: 31g  [COLOR="#00aa00"]11% lighter[/COLOR]
    
    Yeah, I read about the EX10 whining and have second thoughts about that now. A shame, the PD system looks fun to try.

    So now I'm mostly concerned about what rechargeable batteries I could use with the Quarks, as those look enticing at this point...
     
  13. jacktheclipper

    jacktheclipper Loaded Pockets

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    Check out the iTP A2

    It is lightweight , the UI is L>M>H
    Uses AA
    ;D
     
  14. dyril

    dyril Loaded Pockets

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    After much frustrating research I guess I should give up on the idea of rechargeable 3V CR123 or CR2s. It appears the MiNi 123 can take 3.6V but not for long durations.


    The iTP A1 looks more appealing because it would be lighter, but I don't think I'm sold on the low output being so low.

    I'm making a big list of cons before I settle on something :smitten:
     
  15. dyril

    dyril Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for all of the advice everyone.
    I decided against the 3V CR lights because rechargeables aren't feasible.

    After much consideration, I figured the potential for being annoyed with the EX10 inductor whine wasn't worth the higher carry weight and higher price, so I decided to get a Quark MiNi AA, in neutral white despite the cooler version being arguably better suited for indoor use. The MiNi AA would be a mere 2g lighter than the Fenix LD15 I'm currently testing for EDC, but both would help to deplete my otherwise unused eneloops. Truth be told, I have an unused RCR123A and charger, too (don't ask why).

    I can see my flashaholism growing if I keep at it with this research of so many lights :'(
     
  16. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    If i were you id stay away from the minis, compared to the regulars the build quality is quite a bit less.

    Buy a regular 123 and get a handful of cells and charger from AW over at cpf, total should stay under your $100 limit.