Now that I’m a flashaholic, I’m always looking for brighter LEDs. A recent eBay search for the latest Cree XR-E 7090 white LED R2 bin, I found this Solarforce Cree R2 (5 mode) drop-in.
It’s called a P60 sized drop-in, because that is a Surefire size designation for a reflector-LED-regulator assembly that also fits many different other manufacturers flashlights. The Solarforce drop-in is advertised as 290 lumens (seems unlikely), maximum. The five modes are: strobe, 3 levels of brightness and S.O.S. It was $27.99 USD plus $3.00 shipping. It showed up today in the mail and I was shocked, because delivery from China, where the vendor is located, took only 10 days.
For a comparison test, I used fully charged Ultrafire RCR123 batteries and Ultrafire 502B flashlights with switches replaced with Judco SPST 519PB-ND I bought from Digi-Key. The other P60 size drop-in was a generic Cree P4 module. In the first beamshot, the difference is brightness is minor. I tried another Cree P4 and it put out much less light compared to the Solarforce R2 drop-in. The third beam shot uses the first two modules, but is underexposed 1.5 stops to maximize the visual difference in the two beams.
So did I find a brighter light? I have the feeling I did. I’ll have to check it with my light meter and compare the EVs.
My beamshots were done with a Nikon D70, Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. Exposure information: ISO 400, 1/30 sec, f2.0.
I ordered an Ultrafire C2 flashlight after reading Ernest Sanada’s great review on CandlePower Forums, but delivery from DealExtreme.com in Hong Kong took 5 weeks. They have good prices, but you can’t expect your stuff right away.
I got impatient and ordered another C2 from BatteryJunction.com (highly recommended) – they only took 4 days for delivery.
The Ultrafire C2 uses a Cree XR-E-7090 P4 LED (PDF) which puts out up to 87.4 lumens @ 350 mA, according to Cree. What this actually means is this flashlight is really bright. The manufacturer also says, “White XLamp LEDs are tested for luminous flux and placed into luminous-flux groups.” Your flashaholic calls it binning -they test the LEDs, then throw them into “bins” depending on their output. These Ultrafire C2s use a P4 bin LED.
The Ultrafire’s exterior aluminum is available in two anodized finishes. One C2 I bought is hard anodized to type III specification – it’s gray. The Battery Junction Ultrafire uses the type II specification anodizing – it’s black.
A couple of days ago, DealExtreme came out with an Ultrafire C2 that uses the Cree XRE-7090 Q5 LED, which has a maximum luminous flux of 114 lumens @ 350 mA. What this actually means is this is really, really bright. I ordered two Cree XR-E Q5‘s on star boards from Kaidomain.com, maybe I can stick one in one of my C2s.
I’m becoming a (noob) flashaholic. The last photograph in this group proves it. It’s a beamshot comparing the AA Maglite (using fresh AA alkaline batteries) and the Ultrafire C2 (using RCR123A 3.7v Li-Ion batteries), taken with a Nikon D70, 18-70mm lens at 55mm, color temperature – 5700K, ISO 400, .7 sec., f8. I’m not sure how meaningful this beamshot is, because it was taken from about 15 feet, but it shows the relative brightness for comparison.
I’ve always liked flashlights – I think every kid did. I didn’t know there were serious “flashaholics” until I came upon candlepowerforums.com. These people are very serious about flashlights. Who knew one could spend upwards of $800 for a flashlight?
Hong Kong, with their cheap manufacturing, seems to be a source for these inexpensive but powerful flashlights. I ordered some parts from dealextreme.com – a Cree P4 LED Emitter and a 3.6V~9V 800mA Regulated IC Circuit Board.
I thought I would use these new parts instead of the original LED and voltage dropping resistor in modding this $12 “SUPER” 7 watt Luxeon LED flashlight I bought from a Hong Kong vendor on eBay.
My first mod sort of failed in that I didn’t consider the position of the new LED in the reflector for that all important beam. I guess that’s how you learn.