This thing is a beast.
I’ve resisted the temptation to purchase one of the many available “coke can”, multi-battery cell, some multi-emitter, uber bright lights. The form factor has no appeal to me. Of course, your mileage may vary.
But for your consideration is a variation on the theme in the Olight R50 Pro Seeker. I have already extolled the virtues of the Olight brand in this review. Many of you agreed. Olight is one of the better known Asian brands, and has a good reputation for quality.
So the R50 jumps into the fray with a few positive twists over some of the aforementioned “coke can” lights.
First up, a fairly modern LED, the Cree XHP70 – a multi-die emitter that allows very high output without resorting to multiple emitters and the challenges associated with such a set up.
Next, rather than rely on multiple battery cells, this light uses an included Olight branded 4500 mAh 26650 lithium rechargeable battery.
And in a nod to recent and modern design, the light is rechargeable with a design this writer loves – the magnetic base charging. Included is a USB charger with the magnetic base and a red indicator for charging, and green indicator for charging complete.
Light Form: Concentrated Broad Spot
Max Lumen Rating: 3200
Beam Distance: 250 meters
Level 4: 3200 lumen (steps down to 1000) – 1.5 minutes / 150 minutes
Level 3: 1500 lumen (steps down to 1000) – 10 minutes / 150 minutes
Level 2: 400 lumen – 7.5 hours
Level 1: 50 lumen – 50 hours
Incidentally, I tested the highest setting in my integrating sphere and it measured 3100 lumen. That’s quite the testament to Olight – most lights measure significantly below the rated output.
Waterproof to IPX 8 (waterproof to 2 meters)
Weight with Battery – 9.24 oz
Length x Body Diameter – 5 x 1.25 inches
5 Year Limited Warranty
The light comes packaged in a simple, attractive box. Contained in the box is the light, a battery, nylon holster, magnetic charging cable (USB) and a USB charger as well as instructions.
The light feels natural in the hand. I’m still not a huge fan of the Olight side button (hard to find in the dark) but it functions well.
Here’s the Olight R50 along side 4 relatively small lights – L-R – Zebralight SC62w (a small side button light that uses 1 18650 battery); a relative newcomer, the Manker E14 shown with the optional 18650 battery tube; a very small light, the Olight S1R (1 16340 cell) and its big brother, the S2R (1 18650 cell); and finally, the Olight R50.
Another photo of these lights – the Manker uses an optic with 4 Nichia 219B high CRI emitters; the Zebralight and the R50 use traditional reflectors; the S1R and S2R both use a single XML2 emitter behind an optic.
In these days of ever-increasing output (remember a few years ago when 100 lumen was a super light?), it’s always good to see some actual comparisons. Here’s my setup – on the tripod is a Canon 40D with a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 lens. For the night time shots the camera is set manually to a color balance of 5000k, ISO400, shutter 1/400 and the lens is at the 18mm setting, f11. The shed is about 100 feet from the camera.
Here’s a view looking back from the shed to the camera.
Zebralight (rated at 930 lumen)
Manker (rated at 1600 lumen)
Olight S1R (rated at 900 lumen)
Olight S2R (rated at 1020 lumen)
Olight R50 Level 1 – (50 lumen)
Olight R50 Level 2 – (400 lumen)
Olight R50 Level 3 – (1500 lumen)
Olight R50 Level 4 – (3200 lumen)
The R50 is a wall of light! A serious search light in the palm of your hand. I used it for my early morning dog walks and found that the lowest setting was bright enough, but when you want to have a giggle and feel as though you are holding a car headlamp (on bright) in your hand, a quick double click to level 4 is amazing. Incidentally, to activate at level 1 you simply hold the switch down for a second or so…then continue to hold (or press and hold from any level) to cycle through levels 1,2 and 3. A double click gets you to level 4 and a triple click gets you to strobe. As you might imagine, the light does get warm on the 2 higher levels, but the automatic step down protects the electronics (and your hand.)
It is worth mentioning, too, that I had a slight issue with the original sample that Olight sent. Olight’s customer service was exceptional – they immediately sent a return label and shipped out a replacement. Since they warehouse and ship from the Atlanta area, the exchange happened very quickly. I have an 8 year Olight that has never failed me, and having owned numerous Olights through the years and having never experienced a failure, it seems safe to say that this minor issue was an anomaly. Still, experiencing it allowed Olight to demonstrate some outstanding customer service.
So the verdict? If you want a really bright, hand-held search light – not much larger than a ‘traditional’ flashlight – this thing is a relative bargain. The normal price is typically around $140, which includes everything. I noticed a number of sales going on right now and prices around $110-115. Right now, the Olight store has a good sale going and you can pick up the light HERE.