It had to happen – I’ve finally found a zoomer that has my vote! For the uninitiated, these torches use an aspheric lens instead of a reflector to focus the light from the LED into a beam. The big advantage of a zoomer is that you can adjust the width of the beam, so it's both a "flooder" and a "thrower".
The biggest negative is that there’s almost no spill-beam surrounding the central hot-spot, which makes it difficult to see shapes or movement "out of the corner of your eye" which can leave you feeling disoriented in pitch-black surroundings. And at its narrowest (longest) setting it projects an image of the LED – which is square!
However these same attributes give zoomers a big advantage for hunting and game viewing because animals don't see light shining on themselves, but rather on the bushes around them, so a narrow beam is less likely to frighten them, while a wide, even beam is ideal for tracking or just navigating your way to the campsite loo!
I didn't import zoomers for a long time because they tend to be horribly over-priced for what you get. The ones you see in camping stores mostly use no-name-brand LEDs and supermarket batteries, and lack features we take for granted in similarly priced fixed-beam torches, like waterproofing, tail-standing etc. Some zoomers are so bad they give all flashlights a bad name!
But the biggest problem is that, despite what they cost, most zoomers are not very bright…
However I scored a bullseye by importing the brilliant Nitesun B158, which has been hailed by a lot of reviewers as the exception to the rule – a powerful, versatile and robust light that is remarkable value for money!
Better yet, I’ve upgraded mine with premium-brand LEDs like Cree’s very efficient and intense XPL HI white emitter which, according to my lux-meter, delivers an incredible 730 ANSI metre beam – over 230 “real-world” metres – at its narrowest setting. Yup, that’s further than almost any other "tactical" torch on the market!
But then it gets REALLY interesting!
The B158 features interchangeable LED modules (!!) and I've stocked up on a whole bunch of them, including red, green, infrared and ultra-violet. Each LED is mounted in a solid brass “pill” for efficient heat distribution and allows the B158 to deliver frequency-specific coloured light over vast distances, or wide areas, with a flick of the wrist.
This is HUGE, people!
The red module is especially important for game viewing and hunting because it doesn't disturb animals the way white light does, and also preserves our night-vision. My module is fitted with a Cree XPE LED that produces a particular frequency of red light (630nm), not a filter in front of a white LED which always produces disappointing results (a filter blocks most of the light and the colour is never "pure").
In fact, dozens of customers have bought the Bullseye with the red module only, and use it alongside a separate white-beam torch like my T70 Hunter or IF22A Rapier so they have a perfect white beam and a powerful red beam... without having to change modules in the dark.
The second most popular module in my range is fitted with LG's 395nm ultra-violet (UV) chip, which is perfect for spotting scorpions, oil spills, dirty bed-linen, fake currency and lots more. As a customer said: "UV is great for seeing things you really don't want to see..."
Infrared (as opposed to just "red") is interesting because when you turn it on, nothing happens! We can't see infrared, but night-vision scopes can, making the combination of the B158 with IR module and a night vision scope the ultimate tool for stealthy hunting! I stock two IR modules with genuine Osram emitters, an 850nm 5w and a 940nm 3w chip.
Green light (535nm) has a similar effect to red – not spooking animals (especially members of the pig family like warthog) and appears a little brighter to our eyes than red.
Note that all these modules are "single-mode", meaning they are either on at full power, or off. This is preferred by professional users because there are no surprises when they turn their torch on, like a strobe or low power setting. And if the torch is too bright at full power, simply make the beam wider.
I do, however, offer a 5-mode white module for the same price as the single-mode – it has low, medium and high modes, a strobe and SOS signal. To change modes one simply turns the light on and off again in less than four seconds – any longer and it remembers that mode and returns to it next time you turn it on. This sounds great but many users don't like it because they can't flash their torch on and off quickly without advancing to the next mode, so I supply this module only on request.
The B158B is designed for weapons mounting – it fits into an optional 30mm rail-mount or scope-clamp and I have an optional remote pressure switch so it can be operated from the fore-stock of a rifle.
The torch is powered by a single 18650 lithium ion battery which is charged externally – another "must" for professionals who can't afford to have their torches out of service while they're charging the batteries, or who carry a charged spare in their pocket.
Because it scores so well I call it the "Bullseye" and I sell it in kit form – you can order only those parts you want, and nothing you don't need. My drop-down pricelist above is simply an indication of what you can order – please drop me a line (at email@example.com) and I'll tailor a package just for you... with a nice discount if you pay by EFT into our account.