Light… What is it. Some say it’s the absence of dark. Science describes it as “Electromagnetic radiation from about 390 to 740 nm in wavelength.” You can light the way, light up the sky, be a beacon of light to the eternal darkness, light up, lighten the load, Charge the Light Brigade, or even eat lightly. But what does it really do for us in our day to day life? I know without it I would be banging into walls and probably cutting my fingers making sheaths.
One of the best inventions is the portable light. From the development of burning animal fat in sea shells to our modern day LED technology we have come a long way from darkness! While we could carry a chunk of cotton and some fat or oil in our pocket to illuminate the dark areas of our lives, it just isn’t very practical any more. Since the birth of electrical storage containers, aka batteries, we can carry the brilliance of many candles in a compact space. This time around I had a chance to check out the F1 LED flashlight from LED Lenser.
Testing out the F1 by LED Lenser I immediately noticed a feature that has proved to be quite useful. It isn’t the brightness of the light, but rather the 6 sided tail cap. What make this handy is it doesn’t roll off the flat surface where I put it down! I have had too many lights find the most unique hiding spots possible when gravity takes over.
Another interesting design feature is the scallops on the bezel. Considering that the light fits nicely in the palm of my hand I would imagine that this could be used as a blunt force tool if needed. Nobody wanted to volunteer as a test subject, so I will just leave it at that… LED bulbs are far better at withstanding shock so I would have no worries as to the light surviving. In testing out this light it has been accidently dropped on hard surfaces numerous times without any problem.
The tail cap has a nice ‘bullseye’ and the button is recessed to prevent accidental pushing. My previous light that I used on a daily basis had a flush button which I would occasionally push when clipping on to my belt. So far I have yet to illuminate my leg and wonder why my battery is dead… The button has a definite ‘click’ when depressed and is very smooth. A half press gives you the momentary on feature. That comes in handy if you just need to orientate oneself in a dark room. Give it 3 clicks and you have the disorientating strobe function.
The function of the LED Lenser F1 is simple and straightforward. One click is max bright, two clicks are half bright, and three clicks give you the strobe. Personally I prefer a light that starts out on half bright then clicks to max, mainly because I don’t need warp speed when looking for my dropped keys in the dark. Just impulse power would be fine. However, I can appreciate the one click, max function. If this light is used in a defensive mode, you would want maximum brightness to disorientate. It should be noted that this light is bright enough to cause lasting damage to eyes if shined directly in them. Care should be used not to have this happen unless warranted.
This light comes with a clip which can be used to attach to a belt, pocket, or pack. I have found it to be very secure on my belt. Only once have I knocked it off and that was my own doing. I carry the light on my strong side and can deploy it very quickly when needed. The light is just long enough so the back side of the front cap fits under my belt. This provides enough resistance to keep the light in place.
When it comes to actually firing this bad boy up I have found few lights that can compare with brightness for the buck. At Max this compact baby throws 400 lumens downrange from one CR123 battery for approximately 2 hours. Minimum it puts out 60 Lumens for about 3.5 hours. Pretty sweet for a street price of around $70! There is no center dead spot. The beam diffuses out from the center spot nicely giving you a wide coverage.
Another handy feature is the low battery warning. Right before the battery reaches its end of life the light will flash 3 times when powered up. There isn’t much life left so a fresh battery should be dropped in shortly thereafter. Replacing the battery is a matter of unscrewing the tail cap and swapping the juice tube with a new one. Please remember to dispose of the spent battery properly!
All in all, the F1 LED Lenser is a compact unit with plenty of horsepower for not a lot of hay. It’s rugged, stylish, and useable for day to day carry. If you don’t normally carry a flashlight, you would be surprised on how often you could use one once you put something like this guy close at hand.