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DSpeck's Fire~Fly II 3W Luxeon Star Flashlight Review

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Fire~Fly II

The goal of Fire~Fly(FF) maker was the smallest CR123 powered luxeon star flashlight possible. I've missed the first revision of this light, but got the second edition. Obviously, it is an improvement over the first revision, plus powered with a better LED unit. As far as achieving design goals, I would say DSpeck(the author of FF2) pretty much did what he wanted. I am not aware of any CR123 powered flashlight smaller than that. FF2 was announced in early spring 2004. And I received mine in July 2004. Not bad at all. Major point of interest to me was the two level switch FF2 was supposed to be equipped with. The description stated that variable beam would be achieved by turning the bezel to different degree. Which I prefer over separate knob design. Also, FF2 had several options to choose from when announced. The optics: NX-05 or Fraen, i.e. more of a flood type vs. focused beam. Heat sink: Aluminum or Copper. Al being lighter, and Cu being better heat dissipater.

Al vs. Cu heat sink

 - I was not sure how significant weight savings would be with Al. So, I've used the precision scales to get the picture. Total weight of fully assembled FF2 with Cu heat sink is 53 g. exactly. Al heat sink alone weighs 5.5 g. and Cu weighs 16.9 g. Almost 3 times lighter. So, overall assembled FF2 with Al heat sink weighs 11.4 g lighter(i.e. 41.6 g.). Which is ~21% of Cu heat sink version of FF2. Noticeable weight reduction. As far as the heat dissipating properties of Al and Cu go, I've tried both heat sinks and can't tell the significant difference when operating the light hand held. Palm acts like a heat sink itself, so the difference is hard to tell. Apparently it will become more important in candle mode. Although lots of folks argue about Al vs. Cu heat sinks, and I am not so sure the difference between those two is that important for hand held flashlight.


 - Can be divided into 2 main sections, head assembly and the barrel housing the battery. Although the heat sink is a separate unit connecting bezel and barrel. Thus giving us three components. The bezel is knurled, aggressive enough to be easy to operate, but not too much, so it doesn't become annoying. Body also has three knurled rings, providing grip security. Smooth part of the body features DSpeck's logo - designed by Imago Media, subdivision of Imagometrics. Actually, for top notch flashlight reviews you should check out their flashlight evaluation site - Imagometrics Flashlight Reviews. Very nicely done site, tonns of useful info, I use it a lot myself :)
    Another important feature of the body, is the design of the tail and key ring hole. As you can see on this picture FF2 can stand on its tail, allowing the Candle Mode operation, and the key ring hole is integrated into the tail.
    One characteristic feature of FF2 - very thin walls. To reduce both, size and weight. Walls on FF2 are 0.5mm thick. Which is considerably less than the width of the walls on Longbow Micra - 2mm, ARC4p etc. As far as the dimensions go, precise numbers would be as following: Diameter in widest part, that is the bezel and knurled parts of the barrel - 20.65mm, body diameter on smoother section - 19.75mm. Length ~68.5mm (2.7") 1-2mm less when turned on to second level, i.e. bezel is screwed all the way down.


 - Beam is ok for the flashlight of this size, though nothing extraordinary. In Low mode it measured 30 Lux from 1 meter, and in High mode it measured 250 Lux from 1 meter. I have lights that fare much better using the same power source, although FF2 design has its limitations, probably light output was affected by that too. What I don't really like now is the fact that FF2 uses optics, not the reflector. I've commented on that in other reviews, I like reflectors much better, so I won't repeat all that here.


 - Basic operation is that of standard twist head flashlight. Twist the head to the left and the light will be on in Low mode. Twist it further to the left, and it will go to High mode. Overall I find two levels completely satisfactory, as usual I don't need more than that. Although if FF2 had additional modes operated with twist head I wouldn't mind at all. Oh, almost forgot, but you already knew it I guess, twist the head to the right to turn the light off.

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Last updated - 05/06/19