REPOST: OWNER REVIEW - Photon Freedom Micro Flashlight
- Revised report per Ray's edits in text below and in HTML with pics at http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Photon%20Freedom%20Micro%20Flashlight%20-%20OR%20-%20Hugh%20Teegan/
Thank you for the edits Ray, I hope I've taken care of them all in this revision........thank you....hught
PHOTON FREEDOM MICRO FLASHLIGHT
OWNER REVIEW BY HUGH TEEGAN
February 2, 2008
NAME: Hugh Teegan
LOCATION: Bellevue, Washington, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been hiking (mostly in Europe) since I
could walk but only began backpacking in 1998 when I wanted to
explore further into the wilderness and National Park areas of the
US Pacific Northwest. I have backpacked extensively in the Cascade
Range, some in the Olympics and BC Coast Range and my most recent
major expedition was the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier. My backpacking style is lightweight with sandals on my feet, sleeping under my rain cape and carrying mostly dried food.
Manufacturer: Laughing Rabbit Inc. (LRI)
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.photonlight.com" LINK TEXT = "http://www.photonlight.com">>
Listed Weight: 0.25 oz (7 g)
Photon Freedom Micro: 0.3 oz (8.5 g) including batteries
Key carabiner and key ring: 0.1 oz (2.8 g)
Photon Crocodile Clip: 0.2 oz (5.7 g)
Photon necklace with photon clip: 0.1 oz (2.8 g)
Weight as used in this report: 0.6 oz (17 g) (light, crocodile clip and necklace)
Length: 1.5 in (3.8 cm)
Width: 1 in (2.5 cm)
Height: .25 in (0.6 cm)
Body Material: Glass filled polyurethane
Battery Type : 2 x CR2016 lithium (Coin type)
Bulp Type: LED, not replaceable.
Bulb Burn Time (Bulb Life) : Guaranteed 10 years (In European Union) (per manufacturer)
Beam Type: Fixed focus.
Battery Life: 12 - 100 hours depending on mode used (per manufacturer)
Illumination distance: "Visible over one mile" according to the manufacturer
Main Beam: On/Off and continuous brightness control
Safety Beacon: Slow, Medium, Fast, S.O.S, Morse Code
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Retail package" IMAGE CAPTION = "Light in package">>
The Photon Freedom Micro (hereinafter called the PFM) is a miniature LED light powered by two internal, user replaceable, CR-2016 "coin type" lithium batteries (included). The PFM comes with the following accessories:
A black thin cord necklace
A small clip which allows the user to attach the necklace to the light.
A small clip which attaches the light to a crocodile clip through a universal joint.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Light with clip and necklace attached" IMAGE CAPTION = "Package contents">>
The PFM case is rigid and hard with the naked bulb protruding from the front. The PFM is available in several colors, mine is mostly dark "metallic" blue. The plastic clips and the crocodile clip are all of hard black plastic. The crocodile clip has three little magnets built into one of the jaws so that the Light can be attached to a metal surface. It sticks securely to the side of my fridge.
The universal joint allows the PFM to be swiveled in any direction and though the stalk of the ball looks thin it has suffered no wear or tear during the review period.
The necklace is of braided black cord and is 26 in (66 cm) long.
Control is via a single push-button switch which occupies much of the top surface of the PFM.
The PFM attaches securely to either clip and requires a very deliberate effort to detach.
At full brightness the PFM creates a pool of light about a foot in diameter directly in front of the bulb. Illumination gets successively less as one moves out from this pool until one comes to a bright aurora perpendicular to the bulb which seems to be created by the ring where the bulb and case meet.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instruction sheet is a separate sheet of cardboard inside the package that contains the PFM and it's accessories. How to use the various modes is described verbally and graphically in a clear and concise manner.
The battery replacement instructions are equally concise but neither the text nor the illustration indicate the tab at which the "small pointed object" must be inserted in order to open the bay, though this is easy to figure out from the light itself.
Above the heading on the instruction sheet and easy to miss are the instructions for taking the PFM out of demonstration mode. It is important to do this as the PFM will keep turning itself off until demonstration mode is disabled.
All of my hiking with the Photon Freedom Micro has been in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges of the US Pacific Northwest and the Coast Range of British Columbia, Canada. I have carried one of the older Photon Lights without any of the accessories in my emergency kit for over a year. On one 3 night backpack in the Olympic mountains I forgot to bring a headlamp and used the older Photon Light as my sole source of illumination. On that outing I found the Photon Light quite adequate around camp and for route planning after dark. The one disadvantage was that, because I did not have an accessory clip, one hand was often occupied with holding the Light. Since that experience, I continue to keep one PFM in my emergency kit and an additional one with the crocodile clip and necklace for general use after dark. These two PFMs now form my standard 3 season lighting kit and I no longer carry any other source of illumination. Having two complete lights avoids
the problem of battery replacement in the field which could be tricky given the very small size of the parts.
Most of my hiking is on established trails with some hiking on rough boot paths and animal tracks. I rarely plan to hike after dark and when I do it is usually the last few hours of the hike and on well maintained trail close to the trail head.
I have used the PFM on several backpacking trips in the past year. Because of the "aurora" cast from the PFM I do not use it on a clip anywhere near my eyes. When doing chores around camp I find the most effective placement for the PFM is clipped to my shirt:
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Light on shirt" IMAGE CAPTION = "Light as used around camp">>
This works well for "close-in" work such as cooking, cleaning and organizing. Generally, for work over a more extensive area such as shelter site selection I find it better to hold the Light in my hand but even then the field of light is barely adequate for finding and checking out a suitable site.
When using the PFM in my shelter I find it best to suspend it from the inside above my head. This casts a glow throughout the shelter allowing me to prepare my bedding, do other chores, read and review maps inside the shelter without having to move the Light. I also leave a PFM on inside the shelter at low power if I need to wander from the shelter at night so that I can use the shelter as a visible reference point to which I can easily return.
When using the PFM while hiking in the dark I find it best to clip it to my belt.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Light on belt" IMAGE CAPTION = "Light as used for hiking">>
This gives a smaller but more intense area of light directly in front of my feet. This is adequate for on trail hiking and on rough trails when going uphill. The PFM is barely adequate for rough trail travel when going down hill as the slope causes the light to be more diffuse making it more difficult to see obstacles.
At home I measured the light output of the PFM on new batteries (as delivered in the Light) at 110 lx using a Gossen Ultra-Pro light meter. After 5 nights of in camp use and three hours of night hiking use, the light output was down to 22 lx. I found this level still adequate for all my regular uses of the PFM. The batteries have never run completely down but I have replaced the batteries once when the light output became visibly dim.
Also at home, I accidentally left the PFM in the pocket of my hiking shorts during a complete wash cycle. After retrieving the PFM I opened it and even though there was no visible water inside, I allowed it to remain open overnight as indicated in the instructions. I closed the PFM up the following morning and it worked fine and has continued to work since.
The Photon Freedom Micro has become my light of choice for three season backpacking. I carry two to avoid needing to change batteries in the field.
Things I like:
Tough and water resistant.
Thinks I don't like:
"Aurora" around join between Light and case.
Dark case makes it hard to find (next time I'll pick a brighter color)
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