Project Lumen – Part 3

This is the third installment of Project Lumen and things are moving along nicely.  Today I offer up data on a cheap piece of crap, a former superstar and a modern LED light that is all polymer to keep cost and weight down.  As with the previous article, I will review the notes and data points from the first three lights I tested.

One thing common aspect with each light tested is the fact everyone should perform a similar test in THEIR home.  Don’t fall into the trap of presumption.

NEBO Classic

To be frank, this is a 100 lumen turd.  The illumination was underwhelming, as was the switch activation.  In full disclosure I bought this flashlight for $9.00; that is NINE dollars, spent for the sole purpose of illuminating my tinkering with my Lee Pro 1000 Press.

As with the ProTac LED and Microstream the color was a vibrant white hue and overall provided a minimum of light to do the job.  That is not what made it underwhelming.  The part that was truly stupefying was that it had twice the lumens of the Microstream with only about 10% of the light improvement.

As with the Microstream it was better than nothing, but only by a slim margin.  I included this flashlight in the test because it provided a data point.  It led to a wasted test day.

Streamlight NF-2:

This is the first of three incandescent flashlights I am testing.  It has 78 lumens and is an outdated, discontinued model.  It was included here for the sole purpose of comparing incandescent illumination to LED.


The good part: it didn’t affect my night sight at all.  Unfortunately the light provided was sub-par.  The yellow coloration was a non-issue, but the overall light quality was poor and cast a lot of shadows.  I actually cleaned the lens, installed new batteries and tried again the next morning.  Poor lighting was the same result.

I have two more incandescent lights to test, but my suspicions are we will get similar results.  Incandescent lighting just can’t compare to a quality LED.

It is worth noting that this light was considered to be at the top of its class when I bought it…. in 2004.

Streamlight PolyTac:

With 275 lumens out of the C4 LED, the Streamlight PolyTac was the brightest light tested so far.  The light quality did not disappoint.

Let me briefly discuss the actual PolyTac itself.  As the name describes, the entire light is polymer.  It is probably not the light you want to take on an excursion to douchebagistan, but for EDC it works splendidly.

Sidebar:  I actually keep this light installed on my AR, attached with a Viking Tactics mount.  Yes I know, polymer light on an AR.  Whatever; I live in this thing called reality.  If I have to use my AR in defense, especially more than a few shots, I will be famous.  I keep the light on there for one reason –   varmints on my property.   Since I don’t plan on a Chupacabra returning fire, I feel safe in my choice.

Now, back to the discussing the light quality and effect…

Upon initial activation the brightness of the flashlight did affect my eyes briefly.  This was the first time this has happened during the test and my reflex was to close my eyes and squint for maybe five seconds.  I think this is important.  When identifying someone inside of your house, five seconds is an eternity.

The light quality was, as I said above, great.  No weird shadows.  The LED and reflector design cast a smooth, even light across the area of coverage.   Just awesome illumination – once my eyes adjusted.   Out of those tested so far, this is the one I would choose today.


Will the brighter lights cause greater reflex squinting?

Will the squint time increase with the lumen output?

Will the 550 lumen Nitecore cause me to convulse?

Stay tuned for the next episode we test an old tech Mag Light 3D Cell light, the discontinued Streamlight TL-3, maybe a Streamlight Stinger and the 550 lumen Nitecore SRT3.


  1. Something you may want to consider is the wavelength and projection of incandescents.

    There is a reason firefighters have non-led lights still. They “cut” through smoke and fog WAY better.

    If you live somewhere there could be a lot of dust or smoke, that 78lum incan, might be a lot more useful than a 200lum led.

    1. 1) I don’t own one.
      2) I don’t know anyone that owns one I can borrow.
      3) I am not buying one, out of my pocket, just for the test.

  2. I imagine if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, a Nebo is okay for an inexpensive throw in the drawer power out need to go to the head flashlight. There are of course many brands with decent (even better) models for under $25 one can purchase. I own a couple Nebo products and the main issue with the less expensive of them, is the switch working properly. The Redline model I have works just fine. I’ve had a couple Eagletac models which seem reliable and of reasonable value, the latest acquisition being a D25LC2 model. I’ve also used some Coast brand models at work that seem to be decent for the money; they have models at many price points.

  3. I just got a LUX-PRO LP600 for $24 at lowes. it is over 280 lumens, which is wicked bright. They also have one that you can change the beam width on for $29. They are led and made of metal. Don’t know how long it will last, but the price was right. it has three modes, bright, less bright, and flashing. I got it to check the back yard for skunks before I let the dogs out, and it does a very good job, the beam seems to go on forever.

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