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Old 03-15-13, 03:43 PM   #1
vol
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Are non-zoomable flashlight better than zoomable ones?

At least in my experience with two flashlights, the zoomable is not so good: when zoomed in, obviously it doesn't light far enough to see the road; but when zoomed out, it's too concentrated and does not light enough area. The intermediate zooming is not good in either aspect. In comparison, my flashlight without zoom feature lights both far and wide. Is this a general case? If so, I'll eliminate zoomables in my future purchases.
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Old 03-15-13, 04:21 PM   #2
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You are probably seeing the impacts of different lenses and reflectors used on zoom lights vs. fixed lights. On a fixed light you can focus the beam where you want it to be for that light. On a zoom, you still only have one reflector and lens and need it to be right at all focus distances and that just isn't possible.
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Old 03-15-13, 08:16 PM   #3
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Hmm, thanks, makes sense.
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Old 03-15-13, 09:18 PM   #4
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My impressions also agree that Adjustable focus tend to be of lower Quality.
More important to me is the fact that they generally use less sophisticated (Read: Cheaper) design and technology.
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Old 03-15-13, 10:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
At least in my experience with two flashlights, the zoomable is not so good: when zoomed in, obviously it doesn't light far enough to see the road; but when zoomed out, it's too concentrated and does not light enough area. The intermediate zooming is not good in either aspect. In comparison, my flashlight without zoom feature lights both far and wide. Is this a general case? If so, I'll eliminate zoomables in my future purchases.

What you are seeing is the result of the very thick magnifying lens and less refined reflector used in all popular A.F. (adjustable focus) lights, the magnifying lens eliminates the side spill (the 'HALO' around the central beam) that is common on most F.F. (fixed focus) lights.
Also I have never seen a zoom light lens that has A.R. (Anti Reflection) coating, which is common on even cheap Chinese F.F. Lights.
Simply point the lights at a wall across the room and it is obvious the difference in how the beams are focused.

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Old 03-15-13, 10:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vol View Post
At least in my experience with two flashlights, the zoomable is not so good: when zoomed in, obviously it doesn't light far enough to see the road; but when zoomed out, it's too concentrated and does not light enough area. The intermediate zooming is not good in either aspect. In comparison, my flashlight without zoom feature lights both far and wide. Is this a general case? If so, I'll eliminate zoomables in my future purchases.
I have 4 of the zoomable ones (3 modes) and prefer them over the fixed lens.
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Old 03-16-13, 12:22 AM   #7
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I have 4 of the zoomable ones (3 modes) and prefer them over the fixed lens.
I'm interested in the 3 mode zooms. Could you provide a link? Thanks.
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Old 03-16-13, 06:44 AM   #8
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I'm interested in the 3 mode zooms. Could you provide a link? Thanks.
I have 2 of these.

One on my night helmet

http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Modes-Zoom...-/280725638342
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Old 03-17-13, 01:42 AM   #9
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I've got a few cheap zoomable flashlights (mostly from DX) ... so far, every one I've opened up had no reflector at all, so a significant portion of the light was wasted just due to that.

So I'd say that at least in that case, yes, non-zoomable flashlights are better than zoomable ones.

And really, even if they do have a proper reflector, the beam pattern is going to be a big compromise if you're zooming it -- the only way the reflector can have the proper shape is if there's only one "zoom" level.
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