Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Niteye EYE-40

Niteye has kindly provided me with their EYE-40 model for review.  This is definitely a light I've been looking forward to checking out ever since I laid eyes on their EYE-30, and heard that there was an even more powerful light on the horizon.  At first glance, it does look a little ungainly and disproportioned, but after seeing it in person and experiencing the sheer lumens any qualms about it's looks or gimmick factor of adding even more leds was gone.

For those who don't know about Niteye, they are apparently related to the Jetbeam company which has been producing quality flashlights for years.  They are based in China and use the latest in led technology in their products.  This particular model uses 4xXM-L leds in four separate reflectors.  It uses a battery carrier to house 4x18650 batteries and produces at maximum setting 3000 lumens.  Operation of the light is done with a stainless steel magnetic rotating ring below the head.  It has 6 positions which can be felt by distinct detents along the ring's travel.  The ring has good knurling, although it's only on one side, which I found to be kind of strange, but in actual use makes no difference.  All the way to the left is strobe and going right you have OFF/LOW(one led)/MEDIUM(two leds)/HIGH(three leds)/TURBO(four leds).  An interesting feature with this light as with the EYE-30 is that with low only one led is activated and with each additional increase another led is lit up.  There is also a beacon mode which can be activated by switching from strobe to off and then back to strobe quickly.

This light as stated before produces 3000 lumens, which by any standard is an immense amount of light, especially out of a package this small.  The body of the light is about the size of your typical drink can with reflectors adding a bit of extra height.  It is by no means an EDC or even a holster carry light even though it does come with a nice quality cordura one.  This light would be great for taking on a camping/hiking trip, it would make an excellent searchlight or just a light to keep around the house/car for any sort of use.  The lumen range makes this light very versatile as it goes from 60 lumens on low/350 lumens on medium/1200 lumens on high/ and 3000 lumens on turbo.  Runtime according to the manufacturer and not tested by myself is LOW-50hrs/MED-6hrs/HIGH-2.5hrs/TURBO-1.5hrs.

I've been using this light for three weeks now and I've used it for everything.  I've taken it camping where there was no ambient light, so I was able to fully experience the sheer power.(see videos below)  Surprisingly it had decent throw although it is mainly a flood light.  This light truly put to shame all those campers who showed up with their hardware store bought lights and weak headlamps.  I've used it going for a walk around a lake near my home, as well as in the home on the lower settings to navigate around late at night.



A few final notes on this light.  This light does heat up rapidly on Turbo and it will reduce to 60% of it's brightness after 5 minutes to save the leds and batteries.  There is a built in charging port which allows charging with the included 12 volt car charger.  It does not balance the batteries when charging this way, so it is recommended to take the batteries out every so often and charge in a proper charger eg. Ultrafire WF-139 charger.  The light does come with a carry handle as well, which is a nice accessory to have.  It makes carrying this light easier and you can still manipulate the control ring while carrying it this way.  The manufacturer states that this light is waterproof.  It has a removable rubber plug to cover the charging port when not in use and uses o-rings at all the threaded parts.  All in all this is a high quality light which is very nicely engineered and built with excellent anodising all over.  At the time of this review it can be purchased for around $320CAD.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Well the long awaited EYE-30 from Niteye has arrived, courtesy of Viola from Niteye.  This is my first multiple XM-L flashlight and my first multi 18650 light as well.(4x18650)  I was always leery of multiple battery flashlights as I'd heard of accounts of lights exploding.  I've been assured that with decent quality batteries and proper battery management, i.e. keeping batteries at a similar charge state, that it would be safe.  The light was received in a nice quality aluminium case.  Upon opening, the light sits in foam with the included accessories of a carrying handle, car charger, holster, and a spare o-ring.  Right off the bat when handling the light you notice the quality of this light.  The machining and anodising is top notch, with no flaws visible to the naked eye.  There's some nice and functional cooling fins around the head, and not too aggressive knurling on the battery tube.

The main feature of this light beside the 3 x XM-Ls is the magnetic dimming ring.  On this particular sample it is a bead blasted stainless steel ring(basic model has a black aluminium ring).  The light has 6 positions, starting from all the way to the left is strobe, then Off, Low(60LM/55H/1 led), Middle(300LM/12H/2 leds), High(1000LM/3H/3 leds), and Turbo(2000LM/2H/3 leds).  If you switch strobe off then on again quickly the light goes into a beacon mode, flashing every 3-4 seconds.  Great feature to have in an emergency and would probably last a very long time.    Each level is easily detected as there are detents for each position.  Another nice feature of this light is the built in battery indicator, which uses 4 orange leds to give you a visual indication of the batteries charge state.  It will light up for a few seconds whenever entering into a new mode.  This light also has a built in charging port to allow you to charge the batteries in the light.  Be cautioned that there is no built in balancer for the batteries, so you should occasionally take them out to give them a charge.  For a quick top off when travelling or for daily use this feature is very handy.

I expected this light to be unwieldy since it uses 3 leds and 4 batteries, but to my surprise it is actually very compact(145mm(D)x66(L).  The beam is also very nice with the three spots blending together very nicely with minimal rings.  It's more of a flood light, but because of the smooth reflectors and the sheer power of the  light on turbo it can definitely reach out and illuminate at a distance(380m).  The light appears to be able to withstand the elements, as it uses o-rings everywhere, and the charging port has a rubber stopper which must be pulled out to insert the charger.  An interesting observation about this light is how it manages the leds.  If you turn it on low(single led lit) and turn it off and on, it will switch to the next led.  I guess this is so use is spread out.

Some final notes, this light does get quite hot with extended turbo use, but if hand held it is tolerable.  The light will also drop into a lower mode if overheating is detected.  For a general purpose flood light that is high quality and versatile with great output, and appears durable I think Niteye has produced a winner in the Eye 30.  At the time of this review it can be purchased for about $270CAD on eBay.  Stay tuned for a video showcasing this light's ability in the dark.

There's news of an Eye 40 which uses 4xXM-Ls and I eagerly await it's arrival to do a comparison with the Eye 30.