Author Topic: ReviewTheLight: Imalent EU06 (Inf. Var., Cool Throw + Neutral Flood + UV Flood)  (Read 1103 times)

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Offline Bigmac_79

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Imalent is a relatively new flashlight manufacturer, and has debuted with a set of lights that feature a touch screen based user interface.  The EU06 sports three separate emitters:  a cool white XM-L2 for throw, a neutral white XP-E for flood, and an ultraviolet XP-E for fluorescence.


Thanks to Imalent for providing the EU06 for review.


Iíll be reviewing the EU06 in two sections: first, Iíll discuss the light objectively (the facts about the light itself), then Iíll discuss the light subjectively (my impressions about the light's performance when used for specific applications). If you have any other specific applications you'd like the light tested for, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Video Review

Below is a video review of the EU06. Due to my old image hosting site closing down, I've got new restrictions on image uploads and have replaced the "Construction" section of my reviews with a more detailed video review.

[video=youtube;Qy1a2f023h0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy1a2f023h0[/video]
This video is available in 1080p HD, but defaults to a lower quality. To select the playback quality click the settings button (looks like a gear) after you've started the video.


Objective

Manufacturer's Specifications

Price: 90 USD





Product Manual




Dimensions




Plus, here's a few shots with some good detail.








User Interface

The EU06 has infinitely variable output from each of it's three emitters, in addition to Strobe, Beacon, and SOS from it's main emitter, each of these also available in infinitely variable brightness.  These modes are controlled by two buttons on one side of the head and the touch screen on the other side.  The interface would be tedious to describe in type here, so I'll refer you to watch the video above which describes the interface in detail.


Action Shots

You can click on any of these shots to see them full size.

Light in Hand


MugShot
Cool Throw, UV Flood, Neutral Flood


BeamSlice
Cool Throw, UV Flood, Neutral Flood


White Wall
ISO 100, f/3.5, 1/20"
Cool Throw, UV Flood, Neutral Flood, each at Max, two middle positions, and Min




Indoor Shots
ISO 100, f/3.5, 1"
Cool Throw, UV Flood, Neutral Flood, each at Max, two middle positions, and Min




Outdoor Shots

ISO 100, f/3.5, 2.5"





Performance

Submersion: Imalent claims IPX-8 on the EU06, but after inspecting some of the seals I'm just not confident enough to submerge it yet.

Heat: The EU06 is programmed to only give max output for 3 minutes before dropping down, so it never gets more than warm.

PWM: I could not detect PWM on any output level of any emitter of the EU06.

Drop: I dropped the EU06 from about a meter onto various surfaces (including grass, carpet, dirt, and hard wood), and found no cosmetic or functional damage.  I'm nervous about the screen though, as it seems a landing on the wrong angle could easily damage it.

Reverse Polarity Protection: The EU06 claims reverse polarity protection, so I inserted the battery backwards and tried to turn the light on, then corrected the battery and the EU06 resumed normal function with no evidence of damage.

Over-Discharge Protection: A battery icon on the screen gives you a rough idea of the battery life, and it begins to flash when it's almost depleted, so that's your signal to change the battery.


Offline Bigmac_79

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Spectral Analysis




All light that we see as white is actually made up of several different colors put together. The relative intensities of the different colors in the mix are what determine the tint of the white we see. For example, cool white LED's have a lot of blue, and warm white LED's have more red or yellow. This measurement was done on a home made spectrometer. The plot below the picture is corrected for the spectral sensitivity of the human eye. Note: the peak in the 900nm region doesn't really exist, it's a piece of the second-order spectrum that's showing up here because of the high intensity of the light source.

I noticed an interesting feature of the UV emitter soon after turning it on.  Not only does it emit a significant amount of visible light, but when on high it looks white and when the output is dimmed it looks more yellow.  You can see by the spectrum of the UV emitter that there is much more UV than visible light emitted, but that the spectrum of the visible light changes for the low output. See the comparison below:



Also, I've included an overlay of the graphs so you can see the difference between the cool and neutral emitters.



Output and Runtime


ANSI FL-1 runtime ratings are the time it takes for a light to fall to 10% of it's original output (counting from 30 seconds after turning the light on).

The vertical axis of the graphs below represents a relative brightness measurement using a home made light box. The horizontal axis is time in hours:minutes:seconds. Runtimes are stated in hours:minutes:seconds. These graphs may be truncated to show detail.

Mode Comparison


Max Cool


Max Neutral



Throwing Distance

ANSI FL-1 standard for stating a light's throwing distance is the distance at which the peak beam intensity (usually at the center of the beam) is 0.25 lux. I calculate throwing distance and candela (lux at 1 meter) by measuring peak beam intensity at five different distances and using the formula lux*distance^2=constant.




Subjective Review

Quick break down:

+ Three infinitely variable emitters
+ Very nice neutral flood
+ Good throw
+ High power UV
+ Touch screen very responsive
+ Independent memory for each emitter
+ Good beam pattern on all emitters
+ Nice style
+ Wide output range

- Not as bright as claimed
- Little or no regulation after 3 minutes
- UV emitter has significant visible output
- Learning curve on interface

I'l start by saying, this has been my first Imalent light to review, and I believe one of their first to make, and I've been favorably impressed.  The certainly have a ways to go before perfecting the art, but I'm very glad to see a company willing to try some new ideas and make some non-standard flashlights, and I hope to see more innovation by Imalent in the future.

So, the most obvious thing about this light is it's touch screen.  I've already covered the interface in detail in the video review, so I won't re-hash how it works, but I do want to make some comments.  Until now, there have just been two ways to adjust infinitely variable brightness that I can think of.  The first was done by holding a button, and the light would ramp up or down, and you'd give a signal to stop when you wanted, kind of like playing a slot machine ;). Obviously not them most convenient method for controlling infinite brightness.  Then, we saw the magnetic control ring, which allowed a user to rotate a physical ring in either direction to increase or decrease the brightness at will.  This was an infinitely superior method of controlling infinite brightness, because the user was given complete control to fine tune to the desired output, and you never had to pass through settings too bright on your way to a dim setting, or vice versa.  Now, we're seeing control of infinite brightness using a touch screen, similar to what many of us are familiar with on our modern phones or tables, but on a smaller scale.  There are quite a few advantages and disadvantages of the touch screen interface, and because I see the control ring as it's main competitor, I'll focus on that comparison.  First, the control ring has the advantage of being easier to manipulate with gloves or cold/wet fingers, etc., being a physical mechanism.  The control ring also is more intuitive for the same reason, an so far has been easier for me to use without really thinking about it.  The touch screen has the advantage of giving visual indication of the chosen output level, and also requires no moving parts.  I am very curios to see how the screen holds up under long term use and abuse, but so far it has survived my drop test, and of my three Imalent light's I've tested, only one has a small scratch on the screen from being in my bag with other objects.  It seems to me that the screen will be more resistant to things like dirt and grit, where the ring would be more resistant to impacts.  I've never yet had a failure of a control ring on any of my lights, but I've read several reports of such, so we'll see how well the touch screen holds up in comparison over the long term.  Next, so far the control ring has the advantage of smoothness of control, as the touch screen can make the output a bit jumpy due to my large fingers and it's relatively small size.  In the end though, the biggest possible advantage and disadvantage of the touch screen is going to be it's versatility.  So far, Imalent has used the screen to adjust infinitely variable brightness, make mode changes, and display the battery level.  However, there are potentially many more was of implementing the screen to display various information, control various functions, etc.  Depending on how well these functions are implemented (or not), the screen has the potential for surpassing usefulness, as we've seen in the area of mobile phones. 

So, for the EU06 in particular, the interface is a bit tricky to get used to, as I expected for it's combination of two physical buttons with a touch screen that has a brightness slider and another on-screen button.  However, once you practice with it a bit, it gets pretty comfortable, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it in a high pressure situation.  If desired, it can be easily used only as an adjustable brightness light, and you can ignore the extra emitters and flashy modes without much fear of activating them by accident, which I consider to be an important feature.

The combination of three different types of emitters I have found to be very useful.  The main emitter is focused pretty well and set fairly deep, so that it throws a bit better than you would see in other lights with the same bezel size.  It's a cool white, and the beam is free from any noticeable artifacts, which would not be the case if the other emitters shared it's reflector.  The flood emitter is a great touch.  I appreciate that it's side mounted so that it doesn't interfere with the throw of the main beam, and the diffuser ensures that the flood beam is smooth and well distributed over the whole area you point it at.  Being side mounted means you might have to use a less convenient grip at times, but the alternative would be to force it into the same reflector as the main emitter, or greatly increase the bezel size to fit another emitter in the front without compromising the main emitter.  The ultraviolet emitter is a very nice feature, as there are few lights that incorporate both UV and visible light in one package, but many people will have a use for both during their job or hobby.  You'll see in the performance chart above that the lumens rating I measured is very low for the UV emitter, but this is due to the face the lumens are only a measure of visible light, and though the UV emitter does put out some visible light, it puts out much more ultraviolet light that you won't be able to detect until it fluoresces on something.  You can take a look at the spectral graphs to see approximately the ratio of visible to UV light output.  That being said, it seems to me that this light does put out more visible light than other UV emitters I've seen, but I'm not sure if that's due to it's manufacture, if it's fluorescing it's own dome, or something else.  Imalent has claimed it's a CREE XP-E emitter, and I'm working on getting a hold of the data sheet (I've contacted CREE because they don't have any info about a UV emitter that I can find on their site, I'm guessing they don't make it any more).  I'll also note here that the EU06UV is actually the alternate version of the EU06, and the standard EU06 has a red emitter in place of this UV emitter.  When I took a look under the diffuser, it's a straight shot to the emitter, so it looks like a modder would have a fairly easy time of swapping in any other color of XP-E you like. :thumbsup:  Finally, each of these emitters has a very wide output range, and the output that you select is memorized independently, which I've found to be very useful.

A couple negative aspects that I'd like to see Imalent work out as they grow: first, this is a very smart light, but it has poor regulation, and I'd like to see some improvement there.  Next, max output figures are lower than what I measured.  And finally, I think the button/screen combo UI has some room to be worked out and make a bit smoother to learn.

Overall, the EU06 UV is a great entry into the flashlight realm by Imalent, and as I said, I'm excited to see what this company does in the future.  If you like high tech and want a cutting edge flashlight with a lot of options and features, it's hard to beat the EU06 UV!


Long Term Impressions
I'll fill this part in after carrying the light for a while. If nothing get's added here, either I find nothing else worth noting about the light, or I end up not using it often.