Fixed Focal Point vs Zoomable Flashlights. Which is Better?

Posted on March 24, 2016 by John Janiszewski

hdx6 LED flashlight

Flashlights are considered one of the most important tools in your arsenal as an aircraft mechanic. Maybe 2nd only to the pen. Those on night shift know exactly how important having a decent light is and probably has collected,  I mean "invested" in several.

Regardless if you work nights or days, we can all agree that having a quality, dependable flashlight is a must in this industry but with so many on the market, which is best? 

Since I started selling the LunaPro HDX6 (coupon code below) on the website, I get asked often about whether or not it's a zoomable lens. My answer is no, and that's a good thing. 

Zoomable lens have a number of problems associated with them.  Even though they look cool, they may not be the best choice for the aviation industry.

Let me explain:

Fixed Vs Zoom

Below you'll see a test of both the HDX6 Fixed focal point flashlight and the UltraFire with zoom. Both on medium setting. This is a picture of my ceiling with texture so you can see the fine details.

 

 The difference here is not in the brightness but instead of the type of light being delivered. 

The fixed lens gives off much more varying light while the zoomable lens is much more uniform. It's a flat light without much change in light intensity. 

In order to see fine details however, having light intensity variations are extremely helpful. Lets take a closer look...

Light intensity variations  

Fixed Lens:

The fixed lens has a much better distribution of light with many variations of brightness emanating from the center bright spot. The further you move away, the dimmer it becomes.   

Zoomed Lens:

The with zoomable lens, you get a only a very narrow area where the light has any variation. Light variations are what helps us find the defects and fine cracks! 

The way you get light variations with a zoomable lens is to actually move the zoom in and out. The light then becomes more focused (appears brighter) or more spread out (dimmer). So in order to recreate the same effect of light from the fixed flashlight, you'd have to constantly move the zoom slider to vary the light intensity, which is not practical. 

Water Intrusion

We all know aviation takes place in all weather. Having a water tight flashlight is a must. Most professional grade flashlights on the market today have some sort of waterproof rating. You might have also noticed that those ratings are not as high in zoomable models (or non existent) Why? because sealing a zoomable flashlight is difficult unless it is precisely manufactured, and let's face it, most zoomie flashlights do not meet this requirement.  That's why dive flashlights have fixed focal points. Less moving parts, less chance for failure.

The problem is that the zoomable part has to move freely.Water, oil or HYD fluid will find a way in and wreak havoc on the internal parts.

As part of the testing process, we sank the HDX6 in a bath of Mobil Jet II for 7 days. Try doing this with is zoomie light. Oh, and yes, the HDX6 did passed the durability test without a hitch.

HDX6 review

There you have it, but I'll let you be the judge. 

Order a HDX6 today and if you aren't 100% satisfied, just send it back for a full refund. Plus use coupon code FLASH to save 15% on your order

Order Yours Here


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