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#34055 - 11/10/04 09:36 PM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Klitzke Offline

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 11
I'm fairly new here so this site may have already been posted, but I found it interesting:



#34056 - 11/11/04 04:01 AM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
Brenner is a German word for burner, which can mean light or lighting element in that situation. So, where it says Aviator Brenner, he means the Aviator with the bulb on (as well as the LED), where he says Aviator LED, it is just the LEDs on. The Aviator is a two stage light, when you turn it part way on it is just LEDs, when you turn it all the way on it is LEDs in conjunction with a 50 Lumen light bulb.

A little Deutsch/Surefire lesson for you. <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

#34057 - 11/11/04 04:12 AM Re: Flashlight came in handy

Got it... thanks. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Still trying to figure out whether the $160, $165, or $185 price tag is worth it. I know the L4, L2, and A2 are damned bright, but my question is whether the brightness (even if it's a potential 15x increase) is worth a 15x increase in price (compared to a Mini Mag AA).

#34058 - 11/11/04 04:31 AM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
I was the same way when I bought it. I kept thinking, "Do I really need a $140 flashlight?" But, after carrying it for a while I have been amazed how usefull it is. I really think I use it more then my knife/multi-tool. The part that I can switch between LED and bright bulb is what I really like, sometimes you only need a little light and sometimes you want to make it look like daylight. Also, since LEDs don't burn out in anywhere near the amount of time bulbs do chances are I will never be stuck without some kind of light as long as I keep the batteries fresh.
If you really arn't sure still then check out the Surefire G2 (I think it is). It is only like $30 and is actually a little brighter then my A2 (but, isn't LED), the body is made from a composite plastic which makes it weigh less and makes it better in the cold then steel.

#34059 - 11/11/04 07:15 AM Re: Flashlight came in handy

Mr Dead,
Your answers continue to provide more insight into the specifics of Surefire torches. They justify the high cost. So it definitely helps me, thanks.

English is not my native language. Thank you for the complement.


#34060 - 11/11/04 08:25 AM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Mr_Dead Offline

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 34
Don't tell Surefire (they can dealers for discounting), but you can find them cheaper.

Right at the moment, the L4 can be had for $120:

Botach sale

Of course, there are plenty of xenon, Luxeon 3 and even Luxeon 5 lights available elsewhere for much less, if it's just the brightness that you value. Currently popular are the tiny Nuwai Quantum III [$40-50] and the 2-stage Streamlight 2L LED 3W Luxeon [$67.50].

Quantum III review

Streamlight for sale

#34061 - 11/11/04 01:22 PM Re: Flashlight came in handy

Okay; what, then, separates one of these lights from a Surefire? Or an Inova X5?

(Still trying to justify, justify, justify!)

Thanks again.


#34062 - 11/11/04 01:40 PM Re: Flashlight came in handy

Where can you order the McGizmo switch? And is it as waterproof as the Surefire itself?

Mr. Mean, why did you decide on the L4? The deal is looking mighty good right now... I'm trying to figure out if I want an L4, L2, or A2 (still). How long should the A2 bulb last?

#34063 - 11/11/04 02:52 PM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Mr_Dead Offline

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 34

I have the Inova X5 (the HA-III, sterile, subdued version), and there's no comparison to the L4. The 5 5mm LEDs in the X5 don't put out anywhere near the light of the L4. Shone on the wall, where the beams overlap, the light from the X5 is barely visible. It's about comparable to my modified L4 on "low", maybe a little less bright, though it's hard to compare since the tints are much different.

The X5 is, however, reportedly very efficient at sucking the last bit of life out of CR123 cells, and several people report getting hours and hours of further use in the X5 out of cells that are no longer useful in the more powerful lights. That can be valuable, especially if the "primary" light is for critical use, and you change cells frequently so as not to be caught near "empty".

The specs on the Streamlight look similar, but you'll find that they feel much different. Next to the surefire "E" series, the Streamlight feels bulky, heavy, and a bit clunky... and too large (especially the head) for convenient pocket carry. The quality of the Streamights is very good as flashlights go, it's just not in the same league with Surefire.

A lot of what you're paying for on the Surefire is details. The anodizing is HA (hard anodizing) III (type 3), which is many times harder than earlier version- apparently SF has demonstrated this by using the (knurled) SF body to actually saw through a "normal" aluminum flashlight. The SF has a pyrex lens, which is both heat resistant (all these tiny, powerful lights can get pretty hot) sturdy, and scratch resistant. The LED is the Luxeon 5, brighter and more even than the Luxeon 3 series. The reflector is better engineered- you'll be amazed how even the light beam is from the LED lights. Machining is very tight and precise througout. The "clicky" switch is very positive and intuitive.

By contrast, both the Streamlight and Nuwai QIII are Type 2 anodized (like, say, a mag-lite) which wears much faster. The LEDS are Luxeon 3s, and almost always have a marked blue or violet tint. The regulators will be much simpler, probably voltage-only. The switches on both operate a little differently than SF- when you push it DOWN, nothing happens.. when you let it back UP, the light comes on. No big deal unless you need a "momentary" flash, or to flash Morse code or something, then it might be a problem. And on and on...

All of these are fine flashlights, none are perfect. Whether some or any of them are worth the cost is not something I can determine for someone else. The Streamlight, for example, costs less than half of the typical street price of an L4, and probably povides 80 percent of the functionality... and for 95 percent of the users, that 20 percent won't make any difference at all.

One disadvantage of the L4 is that the beam doesn't carry as far as incandescents, and not as far as most Luxeon 3 lights.. it's more of a "flood" as opposed to a "spot". I'm in city and suburbs a lot more than out in the country, so that's to my advantage, but some dismiss it on those grounds.

Please do check out the excellent series of photos in the thread that Burncycle pointed out here:

German Flashlight Thread Photos

The text is in German, which doesn't help me much (it's not much better piped through Babelfish, either), but the light used is in the lower left of each photo in red.

#34064 - 11/11/04 03:39 PM Re: Flashlight came in handy
Mr_Dead Offline

Registered: 10/30/04
Posts: 34
You can order through the "Sandwich Shoppe" (it's a pun):

Sandwich Shoppe

Or presumably, though the forum of that name on the candlepower forums, or you can order directly from the maker, one Don McLeish, who goes by "McGizmo" and has his own forum on candlepower.

Here's the thread to actually order from him, be sure to follow the instructions in the first message:

McE2S Thread

is it as waterproof as the Surefire itself?

Don builds a custom line of flashlights called the "Aleph" series that is more highly regarded and more expensive than the Surefires, but parts interchange with Surefire. I don't think you have to worry about quality.

On the "body" end of the switch, the cap seems to compress the o-ring identically to the original cap. On the "switch" end, the rubber capsule enclosing the switch seems identical to Surefire's, and people buy them to replace Surefire's.

The only real difference in waterproofness I can think of is that the L4 "clicky" can be tightened further than the Aleph tailcap, which turns on the threads as part of it's function- but that's the way most of the SF tailcaps work as well.

why did you decide on the L4? The deal is looking mighty good right now... I'm trying to figure out if I want an L4, L2, or A2 (still). How long should the A2 bulb last?

I think the xenons are rated at about 20 hours MTBF. That seems short, but not many people really use them that much. The L4 LED is rated at 500-1000 hours, very short for an LED, but still- it's 25-50 bulb changes. By the time I use that, there will be two or three new generations of LEDs out.

I was impressed with how bright and small the L4 was, and since I expect to carry it for at least 3 hours a day, every working day, I wanted to keep it compact. The L2 is very bright as well, and is regulated on "low" for excellent battery life, but is more of a "spot" vs a "flood" (which can be good or bad), and is an inch longer and about an ounce heavier. The parts are also much less interchangeable for custom/modded parts- the tailswitch and head are electronically integrated.

That having been said, you get SF quality and 2-stage operation for a lot less than the L4 plus an aftermarket switch.

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