Wednesday, January 6, 2010

cree headlamp

CREE Q4 High Power Headlamp LED 300 Lumens Flashlight

Seller was smartshop.123. Took 39 days for the package to arrive in the mail from hongkong. It cost me US $0.99  or approximately PHP 45.46 + Postage US $12.99 and php 35 pesos handling fee at the post office.

Ok this is a generic, as in no brand light. Wait, didnt I promise that I wont buy generic lights anymore? Yes. Well am I breaking my promise? NO. Why? Simple, this isnt mine. I bought it for my bro in law.

Packaging was austere but OK. No manual though.

Now for build quality. The body is the usual cheap plastic. The lens and lens cover are made of plastic. The threads on the lens cover are plastic.

As you can see, the entire front of the unit detaches to gain access to the 3x AAA battery compartment.

The hinge is stepped and constructed of plastic. There are many steps so you can adjust the angle well.

The button is a bit small but it works. There appear to be 3 modes. Press once for high mode, press again for low mode then again for flashing. The ebay description says 6 modes. The lens casing can be pulled forwards for zoom or back for wide angle.

Here are side views of the beam at wide and zoom settings. I think I would advise covering the red band with aluminum foil to avoid spillage of light to the side.

The wide mode has a clean and clear 71 cm diameter round beam at 1 meter. No artifacts. At zoom, its an 11 cm wide square at 1 meter with minimal spill. Its square because thats the shape of the LED emitter. Its supposed to be a cree.

Compared to my led mini maglite 2nd gen 2 AA on the Left, its actually a bit brighter specially on zoom.

I dont have any rechargeable AAA batteries so there will be no burn times. All pics with the light on were done using 3 unomat AA batteries in a battery holder and the battery holder was connected to the headlamp's contacts with alligator clips.

So to summarize

build quality - plastic, but everything fits and works, 3/5 stars
price - 4/5 stars
light quality - its strong and the zoom is good - 5/5 stars
speed of delivery - 2/5 stars

update: My bro in law is a doctor like me. He's a urologist. Now, as surgeons compared to say hunters or spelunkers,  the zoom is very important because, specially if we are using loupes, we need a very very concentrated beam of light of high intensity focused at around hand length. Too low of an intensity and you would not even notice that the beam is on because it is drowned out by the operating room light. A hunter of a spelunker would need a less focused beam with a little spill over to illuminate peripheral vision. In the operating room, the spilled light would be a waste and would interfere with your assistants.

Let me give an example to illustrate. Imagine A mound of dirt that is waist high. You have a tall tin can buried flush to the ground. Its night so you have 1 strong spotlight that illuminates the mound of dirt. You are standing right next to the mound so the tin can is at wasit level. You can see the ground well but the bottom of the tin can is in shadow. You cant position the spotlight to illuminate the bottom of the can because your head blocks the light. Now in situations like that you will need a headlight. Actually a weak one will do  but only if you turn off the spotlight or direct it somewhere else. If the ground around the tin can's mouth is illuminated by the spotlight, then your irises will contract so you can't see the inside of the tin can unless your headlight is also strong. Photographers should be familiar with this problem.

Update: You can buy a model very similar to this except for the color for 1,500 pesos in local malls. I forgot the name of the store but its a small kiosk decorated in camoflage colors. It sells camoflage clothes, airsoft accessories and some generic and class A china LED flashlights. There are branches in Robinsons malls like Robinsons San Fernando Pampanga and Robinsons Ermita.

This particular model once modded with an external AA battery pack (for longer lasting AA nimh batteries) and an external switch (So a surgeon can turn it on and off without breaking sterility) is personally recommended by me for use as a surgical headlight. See this other blog post for more about surgical eadlights.


Chance Favors The Prepared Mind said...

Here's my Facebook album on how I reconfigured/adapted my Led Lenser biking headlamp into a usable surgical headlight.

Chance Favors The Prepared Mind said...

Also, here are a couple of my Youtube videos featuring the reconfigured Led Lenser headlight:

Hope you like it.

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