Really - I thought these kind of reviews and information were supposed to HELP people buy a decent light by providing accurate, representative information.
I never did understand the extended shutter speeds posted for their beam-shots, and just out of curiosity, decided to try some shots myself using their reference settings - ISO 100, f4 and 4 seconds.*
So last night I pulled out a digital camera while having supper in a restaurant down the street and set it up to take a few shots later in the evening. I figured anytime after 7:30 in the evening might be OK to start.*
Even inside a dimly lit restaurant, those setting overexposed any photographs to the point they were almost a complete whiteout! Using only ambient lighting! Outside at 8:00pm streetlights were on and it would have been dangerous (and illegal) to drive a bicycle without some kind of lighting, but again - using the camera settings used in MTBR beam-shots - photographs were ridiculously overexposed. So how would you evaluate a light for evening conditions if you can't even take pictures with the settings they chose to use?
And no, there was nothing wrong with the camera. At reasonable settings, it took correctly exposed pictures. In fact I took TWO cameras and checked one against the other just to be sure.
So I actually had to wait till 10:00pm until there was absolutely no ambient light except from a few remote street lights to be able to use those MTBR beam-shot settings. And ...... you must be kidding!*
If these guys really want to pretend that a 4 second exposure at f4 and ISO 100 is representative of anything close to what any light puts out in the real world, or is even vaguely representative of what you'll be looking at if you actually buy any one of these lights - they're probably also selling swampland in Florida.
No wonder most bicycle lighting systems are so mediocre! With people like this doing lighting reviews - there's no need for the bicycle lighting industry to produce better lighting!
There was some discussion many years ago in the MTBR forums about changing the setting standards used to ISO 100, f4 and *ONE second. That would make a lot more sense. But I'm not counting on anything soon. The best strategy might simply be for members to post their own beam-shots - preferably using settings that don't permit taking night shots without any lights at all.
Actually I'm not all that upset - I'm actually amused that people like this can pass themselves off as doing something constructive and that the bicycling public at large will swallow it. My own little venture into bicycle lighting was more about beam spread than light intensity, and nothing met my requirements for coverage, but I really wasn't expecting the products on the market to be quite that dismal. Lots of people really are .... riding in the dark!