New LED headlamp review.

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by HKMark23, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. HKMark23

    HKMark23 Millennium Member

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    I just picked up Princeton Tec's new 3 Watt Apex yesterday and all I can say is "This thing rocks!"

    PT claims 60 lumins of regulated light and I believe it, the Apex puts out way more light than my SF Aviator (50L) and actually seems to be brighter than my SF Centurion (65L), but this may be due to the "whiter" light of the LED.

    The headlamp uses 5 LED's, a single 3 watt side emitter and four 5mm's. Two pushbutton switches control them seperatly, the right one controls the 5mm's, push once for Hi, again for Lo, and once more for a flashing "signal" mode, hold the switch to power down.

    The left controls the 3 watt in the same way but without the "signal" mode. While using the 3 watt or 5mm's pusing the other button automatically shuts down the LED's in use and turns on the others.

    My first outing with the light was made Sturday on a 5 mile hike up into the Sandia Mountains behind my house. I left about 2 hours before sunset and headed for a ridge at about 9,500' (The "Shield" for those who know the Sandias).

    After making dinner & watching the sunset I broke out the headlamp and used the 5mm's to clean up. In Hi mode the light output was shall we say; "more than adiquate" infact it was ridiculous. You could actually hang this thing in a tree and light up an entire 8 person basecamp and still have more light than needed. I was able to light up the 20m outcropping I was on and there was actually light spilling over the edge down the face. PT claims over 8 hours of regulated light in this mode and another 100 hours of unregulated light.

    After cleaning up I started back down the trail in Lo mode, PT claims 14 hours of regulated light plus 150 of unregulated. Lo mode was more than adequate for the trail, lighting up a slightly warm spot of about 2m a good 10m ahead and providing very good side illumination for spotting blazes and such.

    The side ouput was just beyond my peripheral vision and gently faded so I didnt get that annoying "halo" effect.
    Hi mode on the trail was again almost bordering on ridiculous, it was almost as if I was walking with a car following me. If I was with a group, this lamp could have lit up the trail 5-6 people ahead of me, it actually provided more light than my 1 watt Yukon HL.

    Now on to the 3 watt....... dont turn this on near an airport or you may have a 747 land on your head! This thing was lighting up rock faces 50 meters away, and I dont mean just putting some light on it. I could actually make out details to the point where I could have used it to find routes up the face! PT says it will put out over an hour of regulated and 70+ of unregulated in Hi mode.

    After getting home I turned the 3 watt on Hi and left it sit facing a wall, after 60 minutes I couldnt notice a differance in the output, and this was with the same batteries from the trail. At 90 minutes I started to notice a differance in output, and at two hours it seemed to be as bright as in the Lo mode. I infact tried to switch the 3 watt between Hi & Lo and it would only stay in Lo. The 5mm's were unaffected and seemed just as bright as with new batteries.

    At this point I will mention the "Battery Power Meter" just below the main 3 watt is a tiny three color LED. If it is green you have over 40% of the total capacity, yellow indicates you are right at 40%, and red indicates about 20 minutes of light in that mode. When I was at the two hours I mentioned above, the LED was red when the 3 watt was on, but when I switched to the 5mm's the indicator switched back to green. But even with the indicator red, I left the 3 watt on all night and in the morning it was still brigter than my 1 watt Yukon with a fresh set of batteries!

    If your in the market for a headlamp, go get yourself one of these!

    BTW I picked mine up for $69.00 at Sportsman's




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    Oh and there is one gripe I have with this headlamp, I really wish they would have set up the switching on the 5mm's to include an "ultra low mode". Right now all four LED's operate togeather in both Lo and Hi mode, a third position where only one of the 5mm's was on would be a great option. The four LED's in Lo mode are almost too much for say reading inside a tent.
     
  2. Rancher

    Rancher

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    Just wondering if you checked out the Princeton Tec Corona LED headlamp. It's got 8 LED's and I'm considering it at $39.99. I've become a fan of LED's and my Petzl got cracked last weekend so now I'm looking for another headlamp and with my Petzl I had gotten to the point where I was only using it on the LED mode and just the 3 LED's was great so I figured 8 LED's with a 30-70 hour burn time was just the ticket for me.

    Anybody out there got a PT Corona? If so do you like it?

    Rancher