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Thread: Quick Review: Longbow MICRA Luxeon Torch

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Quick Review: Longbow MICRA Luxeon Torch

    Longbow Micra – no frills review
    Light Type:Luxeon Star
    Light Class: Outdoor/WaterSports

    Short Description:
    The Micra is made by a local company, Longbow. The outlook of the torch is rather stylish and no fanciful outlook resulting in a very compact design. It uses the CR123 and specifications listed a curent-regulated circuit to provide almost constant output for 1hr followed by 3hrs of diminishing output.

    To give you an idea of where this torch stands take it this way:
    1) In terms of function the closest competitor will be the ARC-LSH.
    2) Size-wise it will be the Surefire E1e Executive.

    And thus the closest competitor is the E1e Executive running the KL1 bezel.

    Packaging:
    A lanyard is included with a quick clip. However the clip is of mediocre quality with the spring opening not closing properly, leaving a slight gap: a potential hazard to losing the light with the lanyard still secured to the wrist.

    Bulb and Optics:
    The 1W Luxeon Star used is of high-dome type, and hence produces a more focused beam (by LED standards).

    When the collimator is used the focused beam shows a slight dark patch at a corner of the central spot. On close inspection this is due to the slightly off-centered squarish beam. It seems this is typical of high-dome Luxeons. You won’t notice this imperfection in everyday use, so take this minus as nothing significant.

    Unlike many others' bezels, the Luxeon Star is not totally sealed behind the bezel, instead the bezel can be removed to reveal the LED, and yes you guessed it - it works as a ‘candle light’! And it is so versatile that if you find the bulb too glaring you can simply screw back the bezel and remove the collimator for a non-glaring ‘candle light’. In my opinion the Luxeon Star works far better than incandescent in this mode due to the evenly diffused and eye-pleasing beam.

    Like standard LEDs, Luxeon Stars are susceptible to color variations. On a general note I can say that despite being more value-priced than other upmarket brands, the quality of the Luxeon Star on their Micras and Minis are as good and as white.

    As for the lens, from the feel it is not Lexan and hence most definitely a Pyrex.

    Ergonomics:
    There is no pushbutton for momentary-on mode. The tailcap is fairly easy to turn with the sculptured design and the threading feels very smooth.

    Unfortunately this brings to a design fault. Due to the perfectly rounded design of the bezel if the bezel is screwed in tightly for waterproofing purpose it is very difficult to turn even when your hands are dry and near impossible with wet/oily hands. A slight letdown when it is purposefully designed to serve as a 'candle light'.

    Performance:
    Light output is typical of a good quality Luxeon Star. The light is near white and the beam exhibits a slight doughnut-like shape. The beam is about 20 Lumens when using the collimator and reduces to a perfectly diffused beam when removed. This diffused beam is especially good for general lighting and reading.

    The specifications listed a conservative 1 hr normal output and 3hrs diminishing light. This is certainly a very humble statement compared to the hordes of manufacturers out there. Kudos to the company for not exaggerating running time to impress unsuspecting comsumers. I have clocked slightly over 2 hrs of use and still no sign of diminishing.

    Luxeon Stars are known to generate fair amount of heat and sufficient cooling is required to keep it working for ages and also to make better use of the precious battery power. The Micra does not have any cooling fins but with testing I have to say that it may not need them after all. The Luxeon Star itself is encased by a brass ring and the heat sinking is well coupled to the body.

    Durability:
    Durability is a relative term. Although not specified in the manual but a look at it shows that it’s most certainly powder-coated.

    There are O-rings between every interconnection. There's no mention whether it is waterproof (so better assume it isn't) but I can safely confirmed that it works well in streams and waterfalls, with certain waterproofing quality. I certainly feel very comfortable to bring it along on my treks and kayaking.

    Conclusion:
    Despite being a new company it certainly does not skimp on the quality at the expense of pricing. At an estimated price of S$125 I cannot think of any better light to even come close to its price/performance ratio or to justify paying twice for a light that still only performs just as well.

    Pros: Waterproof, tough, long battery life, lightweight.
    Cons: Rounded Bezel

    Verdict: Highly Recommended.

  2. #2

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    When I trimmed the article, forgot to mention this - workaround for the absence of the momentary switch:

    1. You can purchase a krill clickie and bore the tailcap (hard work )

    2. Turn the tailcap just before the torch turns on. Upon a slight press it will turn on, think of the feel when you use the inova x5t (free! )

    As for pics I just lent my camera gear to a friend so I suggest you surf to http://www.longbowgear.com

  3. #3
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    darr, some correction there, it's a "Kroll" not a "Krill"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    darr, some correction there, it's a "Kroll" not a "Krill"
    haha sorry. typed in a haste. but then again i find it quite impossible to do it on the existing tailcap as the cut-in at the side to accomodate the lanyard hole is too deep. maybe other manufacturer's tailcap accessory can fit, unlikely to try though since the free 'mod' works fine for me

  5. #5

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    nice review.

    thumbs up for local products! hee..

  6. #6

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    Nice review indeed!

    I've briefly tested my ARC LSH-P and the Micra, I feel that the Micra is worth every penny.

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys

    Almost bought a Surefire that day, not that I actually save money coz I use the potentially savable money on the X5....haha. Next step is to get hold of a bare 5W Luxeon and regulator for some retrofitting....

    BTW made a mistake, the company is actually Light10. Apologies.

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    darr, you're not thinking of fitting a 5 watt into the micra are you?

    It can get very warm if you drive it at 700ma and I don't think the battery will last long.

    Keep experimenting.

  9. #9
    Member Andy Ho's Avatar
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    I am sorry for bursting the bubbles here guys. The Longbow design doesn't impress me. I would rather be paying for a Surefire E1e + KL1 or an Arc LSH. I opened the tail cap of a Micra and realised that the spring is starting to corrode. What a price to pay for lousy workmanship. I would feel short changed man. The body doesn't feel good to the touch and is IMHO easy to drop due to lack of grooving or at least a knurled handle. The lens to me look more like Lexan instead of Pyrex. Like what s_wrx said in the post I started Torchlight Hobbyist - Anyone?? we should support local market. It is not that I don't want to but it just doesn't impress me enough. The initial quote provided to me was S$170 for the Micra. All I did was paid $50 more and I have a Surefire E1e + KL1 and it is at least a type III hard anodized. I last understand from Sheares Marketing that the price of Longbow products are coming down but unless it comes down to the range of S$60 to S$70, I won't even bet an eye-lid on it. It is to me another failed design just like the PrincetonTecs.

    Andy Ho
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  10. #10
    warmtoes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ho
    I opened the tail cap of a Micra and realised that the spring is starting to corrode....<snip>...The lens to me look more like Lexan instead of Pyrex....<snip>...All I did was paid $50 more and I have a Surefire E1e + KL1 and it is at least a type III hard anodized. ...<snip>
    Andy Ho
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    Hi all, first post here for me and I can speak from a 'priveleged' position

    - the spring corrosion really isn't: the spring itself is SS and the stuff that looks like corrosion is actually cyanoacrylate bloom, which happens when the glue vapors don't get enough time to escape/dissipate. the bloom has little effect on the spring at all and can be cleaned off.

    - Andy is correct: lens is Lexan, not Pyrex (which is not needed because of the relatively little heat involved versus halogen incandescents). if you really did want pyrex, www.flashlightlens.com has suitable replacement items.

    - the surface finish on all Longbows is definitely no less than hard anodize (MIL-A-8625F Type III). the powder coat statement is incorrect. a powder-coated flashlight will not survive one-hour in my pocket without shedding half its color

    Those'r the facts, fellas!

  11. #11
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    Say again? HA3 Coating? Is that a confirmation? What will a pen knife or any other sharp and hard metal do to the coating? Nothing? I've been looking for a ha3 black smooth surface and a ha3 black bead blasted surface for a long time. Looks like I might try out the micra. The only thing I didn't like is the luxeon star colour, the one I saw at "Ali's Electronics" in Center point has a green corona, a remiscence of Low Dome Luxeon Star. Not the newer brighter High Dome ones.

    For those who have the micra, if you don't mind, can you please open up the head and see what the LED is like? Is it a half dome or is it a flattened dome?

  12. #12
    warmtoes
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    HA3 is *confirmed*, but don't get the idea that running a ******* file over it won't scathe it - I should know, even a Surefire E2-HAIII would get some pretty new "decorations" if you did that to it - like mine!!! Jangling it around in your pocket with your keys or dumping it into your camera bag/tacklebox/toolkit is unlikely to cause it any harm, though - except for that lexan.... ah. but that's replaceable....

    The LED used is a high-dome fer sure. I do know the very first rare few out there were running low-domes.

  13. #13

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    Lexan? it feels v soft to the touch.....anyway i dont care.

    mine is the high-dome. when u buy simply open up and check, its not sealed within the bezel, or shine at the wall to look for the distinct rectangular central spot.

    HA Type III? cannot be......mine already suffering from minor scratches.....or they got varying production runs?

    no corrosion as of now. $60 $70???? a good quality luxeon already half the price....they not gonna even break even for the next 10 yrs.....

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    darr, you're not thinking of fitting a 5 watt into the micra are you?

    It can get very warm if you drive it at 700ma and I don't think the battery will last long.

    Keep experimenting.
    hahah...no man. modding must do on cheaper stuff....a maglite

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    Member Andy Ho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warmtoes
    Hi all, first post here for me and I can speak from a 'priveleged' position

    - the spring corrosion really isn't: the spring itself is SS and the stuff that looks like corrosion is actually cyanoacrylate bloom, which happens when the glue vapors don't get enough time to escape/dissipate. the bloom has little effect on the spring at all and can be cleaned off.

    - Andy is correct: lens is Lexan, not Pyrex (which is not needed because of the relatively little heat involved versus halogen incandescents). if you really did want pyrex, www.flashlightlens.com has suitable replacement items.

    - the surface finish on all Longbows is definitely no less than hard anodize (MIL-A-8625F Type III). the powder coat statement is incorrect. a powder-coated flashlight will not survive one-hour in my pocket without shedding half its color

    Those'r the facts, fellas!
    I hope you are right about the spring part. I am not technically inclined regarding all these glue stuff but thanks for sharing.

    I know there is no need for a Pyrex lens but a Lexan lens is not entirely scratch resistant and a big scratch is going to show on your beam pattern. Anyway, if I have to pay so much it better be good. One of the reason I did not order an Arc LS despite the big hoo haa in CandlePowerForum is because of the Lexan lens used.

    I don't believe all torches are hard anodized. I was in Sheares yesterday to purchase a G2z Nitrolon and played around with his Longbow again. I realised there are 2 designs of Longbow Mini left. One a black version retailing for S$148 and the other a HA3 version going at S$168. Please tell me why there is a price difference if it is all HA3? If the black one is HA3, the price should be even more expensive because of the extra process involved.

    The beams on both torches are greenish in color and the HA3 looking one has the beam off focus. I guess it is due to the fact that the focus lens is not sitting properly in place over the LED.

    I am not targetting at you or your post but just sharing the reason why I have no interest in Longbow.

    Regards,
    Andy Ho

    My CS Gallery

  16. #16
    Member Andy Ho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    Say again? HA3 Coating? Is that a confirmation? What will a pen knife or any other sharp and hard metal do to the coating? Nothing?
    Hiya brother, don't do that to your torch ah. HA3 coating may be scratch resistant but it is in no way abuse resistant. Just for your info, a HA3 can still be dented upon impact but finishing won't come off easily. Don't have a misconception that a HA3 light is safe from abuse. Not even a Surefire. That is why I just bought a Surefire G2z Nitrolon plastic bodied flashlight last night. It is my rough use light so can and will be subjected to plenty of wear & tear.

    Andy Ho
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  17. #17
    Member Andy Ho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    darr, you're not thinking of fitting a 5 watt into the micra are you?

    It can get very warm if you drive it at 700ma and I don't think the battery will last long.

    Keep experimenting.
    Just for your info, I realised there is a 5 watt upgrade kit for the Longbow designs by Longbow. I am not sure if it applies to Micra but I am sure it applies to Mini.

    Andy Ho

  18. #18
    warmtoes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ho
    I hope you are right about the spring part. I am not technically inclined regarding all these glue stuff but thanks for sharing.
    I'm 100% certain on this issue and I can duplicate the effect with simple household super glue,which is also cyanoacrylate-based.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ho
    I know there is no need for a Pyrex lens but a Lexan lens is not entirely scratch resistant and a big scratch is going to show on your beam pattern. Anyway, if I have to pay so much it better be good. One of the reason I did not order an Arc LS despite the big hoo haa in CandlePowerForum is because of the Lexan lens used.
    And hoo-haa is all it was - a hoo-haa. Yes, a big scratch will show up in the beam, but hey - its a flashlight, not a camera lens! The right stuff is being used here IMHO because its all thats needed - SF's need Pyrex for several reasons:

    - not user-serviceable, so lens gotta be real good 'cos u can't replace it
    - pyrex *may* be better for retaining optical coatings (just guessing here)
    - incandescent SFs need pyrex for heat resistance

    Lexan was chosen for because its meant a a sacrificial layer that protects the more expensive collimator optic underneath ie. scratch the lexan, replace it - Longbow will sell spares. Lexan also doesn't break like glass. If you break your SF's lens, you'll be without that light/bezel for as long as it takes to send it in for the free repair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ho
    I don't believe all torches are hard anodized. I was in Sheares yesterday to purchase a G2z Nitrolon and played around with his Longbow again. I realised there are 2 designs of Longbow Mini left. One a black version retailing for S$148 and the other a HA3 version going at S$168. Please tell me why there is a price difference if it is all HA3? If the black one is HA3, the price should be even more expensive because of the extra process involved.
    I can't explain the pricing, but I can and will state with 100% certainty again that all the Longbows are HA3 - regardless of color. If you are familiar at all with anodising, you will know that HA3 comes in several grades and HA3 behaves and forms differently depending on process and the specific aluminium alloy it is done on. The processes involved also vary from anodiser to anodiser, with many ways of pre-treatment, treatment and post-treatment, each one one impacting cost in different manners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Ho
    I am not targetting at you or your post but just sharing the reason why I have no interest in Longbow.
    That you have no interest in Longbow is inconsequential, just like why someone would buy a Nikon and not Canon SLR...etc. It is pure *subjective* - something I don't quibble about because there's no end. To each his own - there is no perfect thing for one and all. And everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion - which can be discussed, but not shot down. Shooting down an opinion is akin to shoving your own opinion down someone else's throat.

    I don't feel targeted at all because that is not being objective. Objectively, I am trying to correct inaccurate information posted here with the facts. I don't target the poster of the post, just the incorrect statements in the post.

    And those'r the facts.

  19. #19
    Member Andy Ho's Avatar
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    Hi warmtoes,

    Wow! That is definitely a very long post from you my friend. Whatever it is, I am still not entirely convinced about Longbow products. I don't know why but I just can't help feeling it is not worth the cash for what I feel is a design flaw. I guess Longbow needs to do something on the R&D and marketing part to push on the sales. I will definitely get a Longbow if:

    1) I am fully convinced the black ones (which is cheaper) is really HA type 3. Is there anywhere I could get a literature on that?

    2) The use of interchangeable Pyrex lens instead of Lexan. There is no point arguing about Lexan lens when scratched could be changed because if I have the option of a scratch resistant lens then why bother? I have dropped my flashlight (bezel facing down) many times and my Pyrex remains unscathed. A so called flashaholic is really particular about beam beauty just like a photographer is particular about scratches on photos.

    3) The use of knurled handling instead of just a smooth body.

    4) Has a marking on tail cap indicating where I should stop turning for standby on/off just like Surefire's Lock-Out-Tail-Cap.

    I wish whoever the manufacturer of Longbow is will hear this and improve on the design. Because if it is done, I may even give up Surefire for a Longbow. But unless this is done, I am not keen.

    Andy Ho

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  20. #20
    warmtoes
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    Hi Andy,

    You can call or email the mfg to confirm if its HA - ask for someone technical.

    Lexan scratches, but Pyrex breaks (check it out on the CPF) - and that's why Lexan was chosen. Even SF uses Lexan for some of its other models. BTW, The Longbow is a flashlight, not a hifi movie projector - its meant to light up the area in front of it, not to elicit oohs and ahs about how perfect its beam is. If all you do is point the beam on a clean white wall, yeah - the scratches would probably bug you to death. But if you're really using the light as a tool, say, in the bushes, or to fix a flat tire - you ain't gonna notice a scratch, whatever size it is!

    Yes - some buy lights to appreciate them, to baby them, never to ever let them do what they were meant to do. The lights sit on a velvet pillow in some collectors showcase. If the intention is to collect the lights, then that's fine, but that's not why the flashlights were made by the mfg in the first place. They're tools and they're supposed to be actually used - not just to be admired or gawked at. Not for the majority anyway.

    Well, like I said, everyone's entitled to their opinion. Just as you feel that Longbow is not worth your money, there are those out there who feel SF isn't worth theirs because of certain "design flaws" too. Its a you say "tomayto", I say "tomahto" kinda thing. I like all my SFs, PrincetonTecs and my sole Pelican, but each for very different reasons.

    In any case, I'd strongly recommend you give the mfg a ring or drop them an email - I'm certain your feedback would be welcome. If they listen, you may yet have your dream light. Otherwise, you'll still have Surefire. Nothing to lose, IMHO

    oops...long-winded post again....

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