Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LED Lenser X21 - the review

Regular readers will remember that I purchased a LED Lenser x21 in September and that I promised a review after using it in the field. Well this lamp has impressed me on my last three trips. It has several advantages over my old rig (a 500,000 candlepower spot with rechargeable gel battery):
  • a focusable beam, the spot is tight and useful for mammals and birds, but critically for me the broad beam produces a lovely flat, white light that is ideal for searching out frogs and other night creatures.
  • long battery life - this torch will go all night and I reckon you get about 30 hours from one set of batteries before it starts to wane. My old rig lasted 1.5 hours...
  • white light is better for viewing wildlife, you can see more, especially at range.
  • my big query at the outset was is this torch robust enough to survive my lifestyle. Well early indications are that it is. Solid German engineering and design...
There are some disadvantages though:
  • it only takes high quality alkaline (non-rechargeable) batteries. These can be hard to buy in some countries and it is not a green option...
  • the on-off button is not recessed but proud of the casing, meaning that 'negligent discharges' are a problem. 1000 lumens into your own face or someone else's is not good for your night vision! I lost a few 'pinned down' frogs when I accidently switched off the torch during photography. One of the features of the rest of the Lenser range is the recessed on-off switch at the butt end of the torch. Shame we did not get this feature on the X21.
I have shown it to a few birders on my travels and all have been impressed. Despite the cost I think it is a must-have bit of kit. Get ready to have your bag searched at the airport though.

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