Hello. My name is John and I have a problem. Well addiction really. Sort of. When I was a young boy, I loved torches. They were shiny, they conquered the dark and kept the evil ones at bay. You could shine the torch up to the sky and scale the beam of light. Ooops, no, that was from a poem I wrote called Alberto the Dinosaur, but I won't go into that just now. I've seen other children - usually boys - fascinated by torches in the supermarket. 'Daaad, PLEASE!!! I WANIT!!!' I was like that. I wanted just about every torch (flashlights in the US?) I ever saw. Problem is, I still do. I submit for your attention exhibit A:
My staple camping lights for many years were the Petzl Zoom and the mini mag light. Dependable and well loved torches. There were a bunch of TeknaLights too, a few Pelicans all now gone to that great big light in the sky. And let's not forget the quest to own the most powerful torch I could. The 6D Maglight is still there on the right (although that tiny little thing next to it is actually a brighter and more versatile light - I kid you not). I had the 8D cell King Pelican lantern too that chewed through sets of batteries and bulbs. All made to look like pathetic candle power next to the average LED torch these days.
The advancement in LED technology is truly staggering. Several years ago I bought a rechargeable light from the local electronic place - 150 Lumens and 3 brightness levels. WOW!! What the heck is a Lumen? I hear you ask. 1 candle power is equivalent to 12.57 Lumens. You should learn that off by heart should you ever be on a quiz show. And while we're talking of questions you may get asked on quiz shows, 'Suicide is Painless' is the actual title of the theme tune to M.A.S.H. - Don't say I never tell ya anything.
Were was I? Oh, yeah - advancement. The 6D Maglight only has something like 30 to 50 Lumens and dims rapidly. Most LED lights usually have a circuit built in so you get the full, mind shredding 150 Lumens till the end. Then they suddenly shut off. Or did. Manufacturers quickly realized that this was perhaps not the brightest idea they had and started adding things like flashing switches or pulsating light or switch into lower mode when the batteries start to fade. Seriously, that tiny, weeny thing next to the big Maglight on the right puts out over 200 Lumens and laughs at the Maglight's dead corpse. (figure of speech, the Maglight does still work). The one with the red band around the lens puts out about 1000 Lumens and does spotlight duty for me most nights checking the lambs and looking out for foxes. Easily bright enough to spotlight with. The one with 2 red switches has about 5 different lighting levels, 3 flashing modes and runs off normal AA batteries. A quick check online will show that a lot of companys now have torches with 3000 - 5000 lumen outputs. That's a huge leap in a few short years. It's not all about Lumens though - how big is the reflector, how far will it throw, is it a floody light or a thrower?
By now you're thinking, yep, he's addicted alright. A truly lost cause. I thought that too, but then I found the Candlepower forum and realized that my perceived addiction was in fact a grain of sand on a huge beach. A lot of guys on the candlepower forum can tell you every specification of the light/output/color temperature etc etc that you could possibly imagine.
And yet, I still want more!! I want a 3000 lumen torch. Oh the POWER!!!! And I don't have a decent UV torch. And I need some red filters for my astronomy stuff. (A few of those homemade looking things are, in fact, cobbled together with red led's and various resistors - the sum total of my electronics knowledge.
So there it is. Addicted to lights. And Kites. I suppose there's a lot worse things I could be addicted to.
Must order that UV torch this week - it has 5 white brightness levels (400 Lumens white), a 3000mW UV led plus a set of tricolor Red/Blue/Green Leds. How could you possibly say no to that?