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SUREFIRE L2 DIGITAL LUMAMAX
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SureFire L2 Digital LumaMax, retail $165 (www.surefire.com)
Manufactured by SureFire (www.surefire.com)
Last updated 02-07-12





SureFire is well-known for making the toughest and brightest personal and tactical lights in the world, and the new L2 will not disappoint you.

The L2 has a 5 watt Luxeon Star LED and a stippled (textured) reflector to make its light, feeds from two CR123A lithium camera batteries, and has a momentary pushbutton on the tail for two-stage (low and high) operation; twist-tailcap for continuous operation of both stages. The LED and reflector are protected by a pyrex glass window (or "lens" if you are more comfortable with that term, even though it does not focus or defocus the light in any manner).

The L2 is rated to produce over 60 lumens on high; however I am not equipped to measure light in lumens - you need an expensive instrument called an integrating sphere to do that, and I do not own or have access to one of these devices.

The L2 is not on SureFire's website yet (as of 06-01-04), but it is in their 2004 catalogue.


 SIZE



The L2 comes with batteries already installed, so you'll be ready to roll right away.

For momentary, low level light any time, press lightly on the tailcap button and hold it that way for as long as you need light. Release the tailcap button to turn your L2 back off. For momentary, high level light, press in more firmly on the tailcap, and hold it that way for as long as you need light. Release to turn your L2 back off.

For continuous mode, twist the tailcap clockwise (as if tightening it) to turn the LED on in low mode. Twist it clockwise some more to get high mode. To turn the L2 off, twist the tailcap counterclockwise (as if loosening it) until the LED in its business-end extinguishes.

The L2 features a LOTC (Lock Out Tailcap) to prevent the flashlight from turning itself on when packed in a box, bag, camping kit, etc. There is a "witness mark" (a U-shaped cutout) on the barrel, and a circular dimple on the tailcap itself. When the tailcap is turned approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 turns from constant-on in low mode, the flashlight will be locked out. Tighten it back up (screw it in 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 turns) when you're ready to use your L2 again.


Picture showing the witness marks on the barrel and on the tailcap.

The L2 can be held overhand (like a police officer usually holds his or her flashlight), or underhand (like how most other people hold a flashlight). When held in an overhand grip, your fingers curl around the barrel, and your thumb automatically falls over the tailcap switch.



To change the batteries in your L2, unscrew the tailcap, throw it in the {vulgar term for feces}bowl, and flush it away...O WAIT, YOU'LL NEED THAT!!! So just set it aside instead. ;-)
Tip the two dead 123A cells out of the barrel, and dispose of or recycle them as you see fit. The red SF123A cells that came with my L2 fit the barrel a bit tightly; I had to gently tap the open end of the barrel on a table in order to get them out.

Insert two new 123A cells (CR123A, DL123A, or SF123A) in the barrel, button-end (+) positive going in first - facing the bezel (head) of the flashlight.

Screw the tailcap back on, and back it off when your L2 springs to life, so you don't just waste those brand spanken new batteries. :-)
Aren't you glad you didn't flush away that tailcap now? ;-)

I tried to test-fit a PILA 168S lithium ion rechargeable cell in my L2, and it did not fit. So, sorry folks, no rechargeable PILA 168S cells for this guy.

Measures 1,507mA (1.5A) in high mode on the DMM's 2A scale.
I cannot measure low mode; you'd need something a little more sophicsticated than a DMM to measure that, and I don't have such an instrument.

I'll be running a battery discharge analysis of the L2 on 06-02-04; I'll post the chart here when the test is complete.


And here's the battery discharge analysis chart, as output by my battery discharge analysis machine.
Runtime to 50% intensity was approximately 50 minutes.
It runs for 40-50 minutes in regulation, then rather rapidly decreases in brightness over the next 30 minutes.
Total runtime was 4 hours 40 minutes, using high mode.
I used SureFire brand CR123A cells (SF123A cells in the predominantly red covering).

As of 06-13-04, I'm running another battery discharge analysis, this time of low mode. I started the test at about 12:14pm PDT on 06-13-04, and as of 8:42am on 06-14-04, the flashlight is at about 4-5% of its starting intensity (started with an arbitrary reading of 11.2, now at 0.5). I'll stop the test soon, and post the chart here.


And here's the battery discharge analysis chart.
As in the test above, I used SureFire brand (SF123A) cells for this test.
It's hard to tell exactly where the regulation ends. It runs for just over 12 1/2 hours to the 50% intensity point.




Picture of the business-end of the L2, showing the LED emitter, the textured reflector, and the lightly scalloped bezel.

The L2 is extremely well-made and engineered. The same SureFire quality you've come to expect from their personal and tactical lights is built into this product. The exterior finish is a type 3 hard anodize ("HA-III" as us flashaholics know it), and there's a gold colored material (Chemcoat) inside the barrel to protect it against corrosion from water or bad battery juice.

One of the things I noticed quickly is that the L2 has a "scalloped" bezel, so if the light is set face-down while it's on, some light still escapes and you can easily tell it's still turned on, even if you set it down on a completely flat surface like a tabletop or countertop. No more ruined and wasted batteries from your setting the light down and not realising it's still on.
(Yes, I really did that - to a SureFire KL2 if I remember right!)

The L2 is at very minumum water-resistant, so you can use it in awful weather and not have to worry about it. There is nothing in the instructional material or on the packaging stating water-resistance, so I don't know how deep it will survive without leaking.

When the tailcap was removed, the flashlight was relieved of its batteries, and that dreadful suction test was performed, the flashlight held a vaccume (vacum, vaccuume, vaccumn, vaccuummnne, vacuum, etc.), so I believe it is both weather- and water-resistant.

I smacked the L2 against a steel rod 10 times (five on the bezel, and five on the barrel/tailcap) and was not able to damage the flashlight in any manner. There are no marks on the outside of the flashlight, so the HA-III is doing its job too.

There is knurling (texturising) along the barrel and on the tailcap; this helps aid in retention (the ability to hold the flashlight when your hands are cold, oily or wet). This knurling is somewhat aggressive (sharp), so there is a very slight possibility it could eventually cut holes in your pockets if it's carried that way for an extended period. I don't think this will happen, but it's a remote possibility.

The beam this sample produces is a pure white in color, with none of that obnoxious purple, blue, yellow, or "rotten dog urine green" tint anywhere in it. Not in the hotspot, and not in the corona.
SureFire uses the best quality LEDs in their flashlights, and that shows when you use an L2.

The beam does have a slight "doughnut" configuration to it, in that the center of the hotspot is slighly dimmer than the edges of the hotspot, however this is not objectionable unless you only shine flashlights at blank white walls. This is a perfectly normal characteristic of a 5W Luxeon LED and reflector combination, and is nothing whatsoever to be concerned about.

I believe the L2 is regulated; at least in high mode, meaning it will give constant illumination regardless of what shape the batteries are in, provided they can pump 1,500mA or so through the flashlight.

The L2 I was sent for evaluation came with the SureFire Z60 lanyard, in the L2's box, and stored in a small thermally sealed baggie.
This lanyard can be affixed to the groove in the tailcap made specifically for this accessory, and it's designed to break away when you get tangled up in something so you don't choke yourself.

The L2 is equipped with a springy steel clip on its side. This clip allows you to carry the flashlight bezel-up, and can be affixed to a pants wasteband, belt, coat pocket, or other surface with a well-defined edge.

During a continuous-on test in high mode, I measured a temperature of 173F (78.3C) on the head, and 157F (69.4C) on the barrel, about 50 minutes into the test. Shortly after I measured these temperatures, the L2 dropped out of regulation, so these are probably the highest temperatures this flashlight will generate.
This is fairly hot; uncomfortably so to the bare hand even. But I think you'll be alright if you had the L2 in a gloved hand and kept the L2 on continuously in high mode for 50 minutes. ;-)



Beam photo at ~12", on "low".
Measures 80,700mcd with a Meterman LM631 light meter.




Beam photo at ~12", on "high".
Measures 745,000mcd with a Meterman LM631 light meter.

As you can see, the camera does not differentiate between low and high, but the meter does.
The reflector is textured, giving a very smooth beam to the L2.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED (low mode) in this flashlight.



Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED (high mode) in this flashlight.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (low mode) in this flashlight; newer spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (low mode) in this flashlight; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 480nm to pinpoint native emission peak, which is 452.455nm.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (high mode) in this flashlight; newer spectrometer software & settings used.


Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LED (high mode) in this flashlight; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 480nm to pinpoint native emission peak, which is 454.662nm.

USB2000 Spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.


ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.




Beam photo on a wall approximately 6' away.



TEST NOTES:
Sample was sent by PK of SureFire, and was received on 06-01-04.



UPDATE: 07-14-04
A very faint, high-pitched whine (around 2KHz to 4KHz) can be heard at the tailcap when the L2 is on in "low" mode. This sound goes away when the L2 is used in "high" mode. This sound is very faint, and is not at all obnoxious or loud; and can only be heard when the flashlight's barrel or tailcap is placed right up against the ear.

The L2 I'm testing is a production unit, not a prototype.
This was confirmed by PK of SureFire, who sent it to me.


UPDATE: 04-29-05
SureFire has confirmed that all current SureFire lights should be waterproof to about 33 feet/10 meters. Some evaluations were posted before Surefire made the affirmation that their lights were watertight to 1 atmosphere depth. Any new SureFire lights you purchase now should be considered waterproof to 33' (10M).


PROS:
Insanely bright
Two light output levels available
Excellent construction & engineering; very durable and water-resistant
Excellent beam quality
Fully regulated


CONS:
Shorter than expected battery life on "high" mode (there goes half the star)
Higher than expected body temperatures reached in "high" mode (and there goes the other half)
Slight body color mismatch, however this is normal with the HA-3 process, and will not figure into the rating.


    MANUFACTURER: SureFire
    PRODUCT TYPE: Tactical handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: 5 watt Luxeon LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Narrow flood with dimmer corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Tailcap push two-stage momentary; twist two-stage continuous
    BEZEL: Lightly scalloped; pyrex glass window protects LED and reflector
    BATTERY: 2 ea. CR123A cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: mA
    WATER RESISTANT: Yes
    SUBMERSIBLE: Unknown/TBA
    ACCESSORIES: 2 CR123A cells, lanyard assembly
    SIZE:
    WARRANTY: Lifetime, except batteries

    PRODUCT RATING:

    Star Rating





SureFire L2 Digital LumaMax * www.surefire.com







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