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Choosing a good flashlight: Guide on Terminology

Few things are more precious to a  survival enthusiast during the night than his flashlight (and bonfire). And this is that the lighting is very important in camping and night walks in the mountains. Nowadays the old flashlights are not enough and we have modern LED flashlights for all tastes and situations.

There are flashlights of multiple sizes and designs designed to carry on the key ring, pouch, backpacks, car, head, camping out … Of course, we also have a good range of prices. Choosing a flashlight requires at least a small reflection as it can become a high investment, and so we should know some of its features and components.


Parts of a flashlight

A little theory

The most important part logically is the led and this will depend on the brightness and consumption of our flashlight. So let’s focus on learning a little theory about leds.

I will try to explain it quickly and easily. The information that you can find in the lanterns, regarding the lighting, will be lumens and sometimes candles, viewing angle and/or lighting distance. Let’s explain these concepts and the difference between them.

Lumens: is the brightness, the total amount of light emitted by the LED, regardless of how it is distributed. The higher the lumens the faster the flashlight battery drains.

Candelas: It is the intensity of the light, that is to say, as it disperses that light emitted by the LED. It is measured as lumens between the solid angle.

Finally, the lumens emitted by the LED between the solid angle gives us the number of candelas. The candles give us an idea of how light is dispersed. (If you get lost do not worry that now you will understand better)

Lux: And how much light is spread on the surface to which I am pointing my flashlight? For that is the lux, which indicates the number of lumens per square meter of surface. Remember, the candles tell us how light is dispersed in space and the luxes as it is distributed when projected onto a surface.

Logically, the more angle of illumination offered by the flashlight, the light emitted (lumens) will disperse more (fewer candles) and less light will reach that surface to which we are pointing (lux).
If you have two flashlights with the same amount of lumens but different angle of dispersion, the higher angle will distribute more light so it will be characterized by fewer candles, luxes and less lighting distance. The lesser light angle scattered less light and can get to illuminate a greater distance, but at the cost of seeing worse what, there is to the sides.

Color: this is already difficult to specify. There are LEDs that offer good brightness but then turn out to be flashlights with an “unpleasant” light, which pulls towards greenish or violet tones. The shades of light vary due to the color of the resin covered by the LED.

Warmth: many of you may have heard of cold light or warm light. That gives us an idea of how similar to the light of the Sun is the light emitted by an LED. The cold lights are typical of the first LEDs that appeared and light bulbs of low consumption or fluorescent, the typical ones of the kitchens and schools. The warm lights are like those of old incandescent filament bulbs, which offer a more yellowish light. A warm light helps to distinguish real colors better since our eye is better adapted for this type of lights.