The Fenix TK15 user manual promises the light is "intended for harsh conditions." I found that to be a true statement. In my backpacking, water testing, and tactical shooting clinics, the TK15 excelled and no failures were noted. Expect to find an incredibly easy to use UI in this 6.0 oz medium sized tactical torch that runs on CR123 primaries or rechargeable Lith-Ion protected 17670 or 18650 power cells. Accessable modes and mode memory are discussed and shown. The ease of use is refreshing here and on several levels, the TK15's simplicity is a key selling point. Brightness is impressive from the Cree XP-G LED emitter (details given in vid). Throw is slightly less than the still excellent 4Sevens Maelstrom G5 but still good to about 75 meters in the weapon light POU. The pure whiteness of the XP-G is always a welcomed attribute for me and this version of TK15 throws bright and clean. The smooth and somewhat deep reflector shows no artifacts, has excellent spill, and has just a slight donut phenomena (common for lights designed for throw). Construction and quality are outstanding: good knurling, permanently attached emitter with no failure points, tactile feel on buttons, thick walled 6061 1" diameter aluminum tubing, strong enough blackened pocket clip, squared anodized threads, fore and aft impact springs, AR glass lens, excellent digital regulation, and drop and waterproof to reasonable levels. Extensive water testing was conducted (shown). Some minor downsides: side-mounted dimmer switch lacks knurling and can be tough to locate (mount it towards rail on weapon to prevent mode changes!), it can't tailstand with protruding clicky switch, and it has no beacon or SOS modes (upside for some). POUs on the tough TK15 include weapon light (1" tube helps here), home or vehicle light, BOK light, backpacking search light, police officer or soldier torch, or a larger EDC light. Value is excellent for quality and durability of the TK15 (use my discount code "nutnfancy" at firearmsprostore.com). Accesorries are included and the Fenix sheath is good enough and lightweight. Many great brands of tactical lights have emerged and compete for your money. The Fenix TK15 holds its ground as one of the best. .//////////////////////////Nutnfancy Likability Scale: 9 out of 10//////////////////////Music licensed to TNP from Jason Shaw
They're tiny, lightweight, super bright, and reliable. For me that makes them some of the best "Wilderness Lights" out there. The 4Sevens Mini 123, CR2, and AA single cell lights are reviewed in this Nutnfancy flashlight video. At a whopping 189 OTF Lumens and good burn times, the 1.4 oz Mini 123 is my favorite (it also has an wonderful area-flooding beam pattern). It excels in tent illumination (just hang from gear loop!), camp lighting duties, and even serious search functions. You will be blown away by its flood of light which seems almost impossible coming from single cell torch. The tiny 1.0 oz Mini CR2 makes a great EDC light, burning for 4.4 hrs on its 40 Lumen Medium mode. It carries invisibly in your daily system and is the best choice for keychains. If battery availability is a concern, then you might want to opt for the still small and lightweight Mini AA (also 1.4 oz) that has a 90 Lumen Max mode (akaline cell). Also note with the Mini AA version: if you run "AW" brand #14500 IC-protected cells in your Mini AA it will transform the light into a mini searchlight (wow!). However the 14500 3.7 Volt 750 mah power source runs the light hard in High mode and results in more heat (could be good if you need the heat). The usually hidden but still easily accessed special modes are very useful in the Wilderness light POU as well: SOS, Strobe, High and Low Beacon modes. Expect the beacon modes to be very useful for finding your tent (boat, campsite, stranded person) again. These long running Beacon modes could be real life savers in the woods (you could leave it with your injured party as you go and seek help); it gives great piece of mind in the pitch black darkness of some wild places. For pure EDC, I do prefer the more elongated and pencil-like Preon 2 light with its clicky UI and pocket clip. It is a proven performer as well. The Minis can no doubt be great EDC lights as well, fitting on keychains (considerations given), the included neck lanyard, or just being jammed into a pocket with a small homemade lanyard attached. The Mini lights are tough. Demonstrated in the video: a 35 foot drop onto asphalt proving as much, without breakage. PWM or circuitry whine was only in Mini AA when running 14500 cell in medium and low modes (the frequency is very high). Other upsides, especially for outdoor use: a flat base for tail standing (lantern use), good knurling, exceptionally clean beam patterns with outstanding area lighting and spill beams, Cree XPG R5 LEDs (current models, subject to change), 10 yr warranty, and proven to have excellent waterproofness (shown). Value is high, especially when acquired with the 'nutnfancy' discount code at the recommended suppliers. In The Nutnfancy Project (TNP) they have proven themselves as capable little performers that can provide serious lighting capabilities in tiny carry packages. ////////////////////// Music specifically licensed to TNP: "Sindustry" @ http://www.soundclick.com/sindustry
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Written Review by Nutnfancy:
As of 2010, few lights will compare to capabilities contained within the 1.6 ounce Preon 2 flashlight by "4Sevens." It's not the only game in town when it comes to subcompact lighting technologies, but it's one of the best. The Preon 1 is its little brother (single AAA, not reviewed in depth here) and it differs in having a twist versus a clicky UI (both interchangeable if desired). For its excellent ergonomics (discussed), longer burn times, and attention getting brightness level, I prefer the Preon 2. It incorporates capabilities that had previously been the domain of larger flashlights and gives its user more versatility. While single mode, medium-brightness level lights (like the still excellent, high value Streamlight Stylus Pro) will continue to win fans for their simplicity, the 2-cell AAA Preon 2 is a more flexible illumination tool. In the primary mode, it gives the user a choice of: Low 2.2 lumens (a useful illumination level), Med 22, or a class-leading High mode giving 160 lumens. The high mode gives the dimunitive light some serious searching capabilities, leaving dimmer lights in the dust. These primary modes are accessed by either a hard-click on the end push button or, once turned on, by soft presses on the switch. Special modes of Strobe, SOS, Beacon High, or Beacon Low are also easily accessed but reside deep enough in the interface where accidental actuation is unlikely. All the special modes further give a depth to the Preon that other penlights just lack. If users don't like the clicky UI (it can come on in the pocket, needs to be stiffer), a $5 flat cap can be purchased from 4Sevens, transforming the light into a twist UI. The tuned Preon beam is best suited for area lighting which is appropriate for the POU. It possesses a wide and clean hotspot, useful spill beam devoid of artifacts. No PWM or circuitry whine was noted in testing. Construction is top notch and promises excellent durability (like the aluminum button covered switch). Anodizing on the 6061 aluminum barrel provides some smooth traction, is durable, and good looking (red, gold, blue, black finishes have been made; titanium version also offered in 20102nds Kind of Cool too). The pocket clip is tough, rides deep in pocket, and locks into position. The Preon 2 passed 3 foot dynamic waterproofness tests easily. 2010 Cost on the Preon 2 hovered around $50 for the aluminum with some discounts available at times. Given the capabilities, the price is fair. About the same size as a writing pen, the Preon 2 fits in pen pockets readily and is an unobtrusive companion until needed. And therein lies the charm for this tiny lighting tool: huge capability in such a compact, elegant form. The 4Sevens Preon lights make a statement that will impress onlookers when they are called into action. /////////////////////// Nutnfancy Likability Scale: 10 out of 10//////// Music: TNP origination composition called Sudden Impulse
4Sevens continues to be a standard setter in the world of high performance, multi-mode portable lighting products. A great representation of this is the Quark AA2 Tactical light reviewed here. It has an amazingly clean beam that throws very efficiently (and far for an AA torch) and kills the competition in terms of cleaniness, lack of artifacts, and concentricity. It is effective to about 50 (maybe 75) yards when detailed indentification is needed. Put that beam in a durable 6061 aluminum body that wears a Type III hard anodizing that features IPX-8 waterproofing. Proven in my own extensive water testing, I found the Quark AA2 Tactical to be extremely waterproof with no failures noted (even in open water testing to about 25 feet). Weight on the AA2 Tactical will vary from a very light 3.2 ounces to 4.0 ounces depending on the type of cells. It is extremely portable and will fit into just about any POU. The Quark AA and 123 series utilize a common emitter head and tailcaps which also can be interchanged with each other (and ordered separately) to create your own lights...very cool. Burn times and brightness levels achieve excellent capability for the utilized emitter heads (XP-E R2 LED version reviewed and tested, XP-G R5 version referenced and current as of Mar 2010): Moonlight mode @ 0.2 lumes for 30 days, Low @ 3.5 lumens for 5 days, Med @ 18 lumens, High @ 70 lumens for 5 hrs, Max @ 170 lumens (R2 version, 206 lumens R5 version) for 1.3 hours (2.5 hours R5), Beacon @ 170 lumens for 18 hrs and Strobe @ 170 lumens for 2.5 hours. Lumen measurements are actual Out The Front (OTF) achievements too, not just at the LED actual. The glass lens features anti-reflective coating on the inside (for more efficiency) and a hard sapphire coating on the outside to help curtail scratches. The TACTICAL interface on the Quark lights feature a primary and secondary mode which are easily programmed (shown). This allows instant access (without "tap through") to your two most needed brightness levels or modes. That's because this UI features memory retention so the last mode you used will be remembered when you turn the light back on (but accessing the other modes you have not programmed cannot happen quickly). Also expect an extended rubber covered durable forward clicky switch in the TACTICAL versions that allow for momentary light actuation (good feature). Don't expect to tailstand these Tactical lights however with that protruding switch (but you CAN swap out a regular Quark tailcap with it if you should want that UI and tailstanding capability!). Value is extremely high on this Quark AA2 (and seemingly all Quark lights!): Collector-quality packaging, DuraCell AA batteries, high quality lanyard with a quality snap (and comes with small SS split ring), rubber HandGrip accessory (which joggers might like), and extra o-rings are all included in what is a reasonable selling price for this quality level (around $50 to $60). Correction in the video: the FENIX light cone and red filter attachments WILL fit on the Quark lights; just press them on hard (it seems they won't break). Also some models will come with the Quark Prizm kit with allows a 90º diffusion of light and fitment of red, green, or blue filters. Quality of fit and finish is excellent throughout the Quark AA2 Tactical and I anticipate all the Quark lights, including this one, to be lifetime lights. This is evident by an industry-setting 4Sevens 10 year warranty. Overall the Quark AA2 Tactical is a homerun achievement made possible by listening to and integrating inputs from many knowledgeable light users from around the world. In many ways, the Quarks are leading the pack. ///////////////////////////////////// Nutnfancy Likability Scale: 9.5 out of 10 /////////////////////////////////// Music: By Nutnfancy, called "Sudden Impulse"
The Nitecore D20 gives great pride of ownership. There are many great multi-mode lights out there that can do what the D20 does and, depending on criteria, do it better. But the design is sound, accomplishing a wide variety of lighting tasks with style and an innovative UI. The quality level is high and its lighsaber-like construction would make a Jedi proud. Hard grey anodizing, tough glass lens, a strong (and deep carrying!) pocket clip, demonstrated waterproofness at depth (officially meeting the IPX-8 standard), toughness and durability, included accessories (o-rings, spare clip screws, 550 cord lanyard), and a very cool presentation box are some of the hallmarks of this Nitecore quality. Like other Nitecore lights, the D20 uses its proprietary Piston Drive (PD) actuation system and pulse wave modulation (PWM) to turn on and regulate output levels. A thin metal sleeve rides within the lights housing to accomplish this to complete the turn-on circuit. Turning the light on takes a bit more force than some other designs but Nitecore says this system has the advantage of very low current drain in the OFF mode. This helps preserve power cells in storage (big advantage of the design I say). Shown and reviewed are both the Nitecore D20 Q5 and the R2 version with max stated illumination levels of 180 and 200 lumens respectively. The R2 LED version is preferred for this somewhat higher brightness level and, for me, a cooler-appearing beam output. Also the R2 version corrects a major gripe over the original D20: it seems to add tacticlity and feedback to the rear switch actuation which had been completely lacking. As shown in the vid, this improvement is demonstrable and will give the user UI feedback in loud environs. Some may say another fault may be the D20s (both Q5 and R2) lack of ultimate beam throw as well. It just depends on user needs and I feel most users will welcome the Nitecore's area lighting capability. Expect about 25 meters of good throw before washout with the D20s orange peel textured reflector. The beam has a usable spot, excellent spill characteristics (for peripheral illumination), and few artifacts (some halo-ing evident at some distances). The UI provides pretty much unlimited lighting states with an amazingly low and still-effective moonlight mode at about 3-7 lumens. This low light capability makes the D20 an excellent wilderness light choice since it will preserve both your batteries and night vision in these ultra-dark settings. Another welcome feature: the Nitecore memory function remembers your last used lighting level, restores it upon turn on, and there are no Beacon or Strobe modes to cycle through either (both are completely absent actually). The demonstrated shortcuts to various D20 illumination states will take practice to master but become second nature and are cool and useful features. They offer quick ways to max or min lighting. However don't expect to use them effectively under stress (you will get confused) and the D20 may not be the best choice as a tactical light because of this (unless you leave it in the desired illumination state and just turn it on). Weight with rechargeable cells comes in at 5.8 ounces (approx 5.0 oz with Lithium cells) and that's more that several other also-outstanding competitors like the Fenix LD20 and Quark AA2 Tactical. This is a downside. But many will like the ergos and hand-filling design of the D20 which makes it a comfortable duty light. Value is not as good as other ultra-quality multi-modes, running around $80 for the D20 in 2010 (all models/prices subject to change). But for many, including me, it's money well spent on a lifetime multi-mode light that offers amazing levels of coolness, utility, durability, and versatility. It is strong with the Force. /////////////////////////// Nutnfancy Likability Scale: 9 out of 10 //////// Original music created by TNP fan, UK-based ElDudio (www.youtube.com/user/eldudio)
When it comes to lighting technology, there's a new Sheriff in town. It comes in the form of high power, energy efficient, durable, and digitally-regulated LEDs. This technology has revolutionized portable lighting technologies and will continue to do so. Really even talking about this lighting creates a snapshot in time and ephemeral data point as the mentioned lights, like the excellent Fenix L2D Q5, will eventually be eclipsed. But rest assured that even at this current technological point, these lights can revolutionize your systems. Whether you're a cop, civilian sheepdog, soldier, professional or private pilot, prepared homeowner, mountain biker, or medical professional, I think a reliable and bright light is paramount to your system. Today's LED flashlights, like the L2D 2AA version shown, has impressive brightness levels, multi-mode technology, incredible versatility, and offer all of this in compact and lightweight 3.2 ounce form factors. As mentioned in the vid, expect such a light to effectively replace a lantern, headlamp, bike light, traffic wand, and pen light. They can do it all those tasks at a reasonably cost and do so reliably year after year. Not one to adopt technology just for its current "coolness," magazine or forum popularity, an item has to prove itself as "system changing" for it to be attractive to me. When we "shed some light" on the new LED lighting products, they indeed do just that.
Written Review by Nutnfancy
On the cutting edge of handheld lighting technology, David Chow and his company 4Sevens have many innovative proprietary light designs. They've been dealers of other innovative light brands like Fenix, NiteCore, Polarion HD, Olights, and Tiabo for years. But in many ways they are leading the pack in pushing the high value, high quality flashlight envelope. Their current lights use the high efficiency and ultra-bright "XP-G R5" LEDs which can be driven harder than previous generations. We show several of their models on camera including the Quark MINI 123 (ultra compact, amazing brightness at 189 OTF lumens @ 1.2 hrs, 3 lumen low light mode, amazingly smooth beam pattern), the Quark 123 Turbo (looks to have a great throw, lightweight, flared emitter head. 230 lumens OTF @1.8 hr hrs, 0.2 moonlight mode), the Preon lights (very slim, 160 OTF lumens @ .8 hrs, 2 lumen mode), M500, G500, and S1800 (1500 OTF lumens!) models. Quark lights have easy to use UIs that most users will like. For instance, in several models, the special modes (Strobe, high beacon, low beacon, etc) are hidden and the user doesn't have to cycle past them each time. And the advancements continue at 4Sevens as they seek better and more efficient LEDs, regulation methods, power sources, and emitter designs. As I discussed in my "Shedding Some Light on Lighting Technologies" video last year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfQ3Ghbn
1R4), the resulting ultra-quality flashlights continue to advance and impress us with their capabilities. I look forward to a two-cell lightweight light (about the size of the Quark 123 Turbo model for example) that achieves true 200 meter performance with good burn time. The current technologies require mulitiple cells, a larger form factor, and the emitters necessarily result high battery drain. But even now some designs like the Quark G500 are getting closer to the that standard. Future possibilities aside, the current Quark brand flashlights are impressive and give their owners a lot of lighting capability for the price paid. Thanks to David and crew for the 2010 SHOT Show visit!
/////////////////// Music: Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com (CC)
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Written Review by Nutnfancy
A revolution has occurred in tactical lighting products. If you thought or still think the Maglite is the best flashlight made, or even a SureFire, Blackhawk, or Pentagon light (all good but way $$$), you are way behind the times dude. Things have changed: there some amazingly high-value, high quality flashlights in nowadays that could re-define what you think a flashlight can do. And this revolution will probably continue to evolve and improve as time goes on. These days lighting technology is akin to computer technology, with new generations quickly outpacing and obsolescing older technology. But fret not and dont think you have to wait for even better lights. Thats because right now the Fenix brand is producing amazingly capable lights for around $50. How about a 2 AA powered flashlight to puts out 180 lumens?! Nowadays the Fenix company is offering overseas-produced, ultra-high quality CREE-brand LED lights with amazing output and duration. Moreover these lights are digitally regulated to ensure consistent output despite a varying output battery, theyre lightweight, waterproof, tough, and have a host various output modes. In the Fenix L2DQ5 and the P3DQ models, you can select from multiple brightness levels uses the rear mounted switch and a slight rotation of the bezels. A bright strobe mode is included (shown in the video). Also several useful accessories are available like the very useful light cone (also shown here). These are lifestyle changing lightsclick play an d watch as Nutnfancy demonstrates these two lights in the pitch black of his Tactical Clinic in the desert. ****Nutnfancys Likeability Scale: 10 out of 10. Look for Nutnfancys table top reviews of these excellent lights in the future which will include his Philosophy of Use (PoU). Lights purchased from Yourcornerstore.com (excellent source) for around $50 each.
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You can get totally ripped off when you go a buy a dedicated "weapon light." Some guys might be able to justify a $200-500 expense on ONE gun light but I cannot. Buyer beware: pricing on such lights is ludicrous and an outgrowth of marketing hype and strategy ("hey we're expensive because we're cool!"). Enter the 4Sevens "Quark Turbo" flashlights (and their successors) which pretty much divide this competition asunder. That's because these are extremely capable, lightweight, compact, tough, and relatively affordable lighting products that will impress you with their performance. The Quark 123 Turbo is my favorite (in weapon light POU): it weighs a svelt 3.6 oz and cranks out up to 230 lumens from it's programmable UI. The AA Turbo is not far behind at 205 Lumens but is a bit longer due to AA power cell use and weighs in at about 5.5 oz with rechargeables. The 123 Turbo accepts the AW IC-protected 1600 mah 17650 rechargeable cell but a more powerful 2600mah18650 won't fit (upgrade to a Quark 18650 body, purchased separately; battery types and technologies will also change). Both feature the programmable Quark "Tacitical" interface which allows two mode choices: tight bezel position and loose bezel positions (primary and secondary modes). The modes include: 0.2 lumen Moonlight (very useful), 4 lumen Low, 22 lumen Medium, 85 lumen high, and 230 lumen (205 lumen AA) Max, SOS, Strobe, and Beacon modes. This UI does lack ultimate versatility but offers mode memorization and greater simplicity. A downside to the regulation circuit is the presence of "pre-flash" after initial turn on and transition to low modes. I predict this will be fixed eventually. The beams "throw" well for the lights' size and power cells: max weapon use range will be about 100 yards/meters in my testing. Beam spread at that range does occur. The XP-G R5 LED is 46% brighter and 64% more efficient than the Cree XR-E predecessor although is has more divergence that is reigned in somewhat by the mostly smooth and deep reflector. Some tinting is noted in the "cool white" LED versions but it's transparent in use and the higher brightness levels provided by these bins are preferred for the discussed POUs. Burn times are good and again dominant any incandescent offerings (obsolete). Waterproofness was thoroughly tested and no weaknesses were revealed. With the flared emitter head, some users will prefer the ergos on the Quark Turbos which mimick traditional flashlight appearance. Cooling fins help the XP-G R5 run more efficiently and add a nice visual touch to the lights. The pocket clip is excellent. As I've discussed before, lighting technology will continue to march onward but these Quark Turbo offerings achieve usable 80-100 yd performance in the demanding weapon light POU. They also see resistant to weapon shock (initial testing only). I recommend simple installment on the gun's rail with an aluminum scope ring (with plastic shims) tightened down. Actuation with the clicky switch is simple and effective and they are no wires to break and get fouled (flush tailcap options shown as well). Additionally they will serve well in the EDC, backpacking search light, walk around, and survival light applications. As of June 2010, these lights (and especially the Quark 123 Turbo) have set some benchmarks in size, weight, versatility, and performance that the overly-hyped and priced alternatives struggle to match. /////////// Nutnfancy Likeability Scales, Quark 1232 Turbo: 8.5 out of 10, Quark AA2 Turbo: 8 out of 10////////////// Music: TNPr "El Dudio" at youtube.com/user/eldudio
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Written Review by Nutnfancy
In many cases simple is just better. This is no better illustrated than the well-made and reliable Streamlight Stylus Pro penlight. It represents an improvement of design over the regular Stylus flashlight (shown for reference). Yes it lacks the multi-mode versatility and uber-brightness of the Nitecore and Fenix Cree LED lights, but for many uses its brightness and output will be ideal. I find the ½ watt 30,000 high flux LED of the Stylus Pro possesses excellent brightness (24 lumens) for its size. Digital regulation is standard and helps achieve 7.5 hour run time (factory data). Weighing only 1.8 ounces (with two AAA batteries), this little torch is my most used light. It fits readily into pen pockets or carry bags, fannypacks, flightsuits, ACU/ABU/BDU pockets, medical kits, and shirt pockets. The clip is sturdy and functional and the light is water resistant. Made of 6000 series aluminum, it's also tough. Other upsides include: tactile push button switch, multiple color availability (that blue is cool!), lifetime warranty, reasonable cost, o-ring sealing, included belt holster, and a reasonable cost. In its POU I have noted no downsides. Where compactness and simplicity are desired for close range lighting tasks, the Stylus Pro penlight will prove itself a reliable lighting companion. /////////////Nutnfancy Likeability Scale: 10 of 10