Best Flashlight

12th July 2004

Hi all.

I'm a wannabe AC (who is still in the studying AC books, buying equipment, hanging out at the rental house stage of the process)and I was hoping to get some input on the pro's and con's of various flashlight choices.

Are Xenon's much brighter than Mini Maglight's? Are their advantages to something that magnifies the gate like the Manga Light magnifier or a doctors Otoscope? The Manga Light looks cheaply built from the picture, has any on had problems with it breaking?

On another note, is their a good alternative to the way overpriced Arri scissors? I have thought about trying to build my own pair, any suggestions.

Aaron(aspiring AC)Rohn
Cincinnati OH

> Are Xenon's much brighter than Mini Maglight's?

Don't buy one without looking at the SureFire.

( )

I use the E2E. Best flashlight I've ever owned.

Jim Dollarhide

I own a SureFire torch, have had one for quite a while. It has a lot of grunt. Excellent illumination.

I did a 2 camera shoot a few years ago where the other assistant had one & compared to what I had, it was as if I was trying to check the gate with a birthday candle!

Batteries & globe/reflectors can be expensive, but once you have experienced them, you may never look back!

There are other brands of similar quality & illumination.

Angelo Sartore
1st. AC

I use and recommend the SureFire A2 flashlight. It has a very bright light and comes with additional 3 LEDs that has a pretty decent illumination. The nice feature is that when the batteries run out for the bright light, it can still power the 3 LEDs for hours.

Plus I frequently use the LED lights to conserve batteries and activate the main light when checking the gate and looking for stuff in the grip truck.

Raymond Ocampo
Student DP/Editor
San Francisco

The SureFire looks very good, but more pricey than a small Streamlight ( ) like the Scorpion, at $60. Plus, the Scorpion has a rubberised body so you can grip it easily and hold it between your teeth. These lithium powered flashlights are far brighter than any comparably sized Maglite, but lithium batteries' operating life is much shorter than alkaline's and those batteries are very expensive unless you buy them from SureFire for $15/doz.

I carry a Mini Maglite in my shirt pocket (AAA) with a wrap of gaffer tape around the back end so I can hold it between my teeth. This is great for working around the camera. In my coat or trouser pocket is the Scorpion when I need serious intensity. The SureFire A2 combines both features in one light, but is about $185.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614

Streamlight, Scorpion and most xenon’s are fantastic. Maglights, though small, are very inefficient. Try this...Grab a $20 dollar xenon from Pelican (the case mfgr') and back it up with a couple of small LED key chain lights you can clip to your ditty bag, change bag, front box. They last for a year and cost around $7, at most outdoor stores.

As for my personal preference, I use SureFire L1 Tactical flashlights. Super long run time, great light quality and unsurpassed durability.

For a decent price, check out

Patrick Thompson
Key Grip

Check out Huge geek subculture discussion all about flashlights.

Personally I would get a 3 or 5 watt LED light. They have brightness approaching the xenon’s, but the batteries can last up to 12 times longer (though 3-5 times is more typical).

SureFire makes some, as does Streamlight, but for all out coolness get a handmade Elektrolumens ... light for about $60.

( )

Kent Alan Nichols

I highly recommend the Streamlight flashlights.

I own a rechargeable Streamlight and one of their newer twin task led/xenon lithium powered lights. I really like that I never have to worry about expendables on the rechargeable. I only need to plug in the Streamlight for a couple hours in the rapid charger in my car or house and the flashlight is good as new, without dropping $7 on lithium’s.

Search the web for good deals. I bought several lights from  and found good deals.

Christian Hollyer
Camera Assistant
Boston, MA

>Personally I would get a 3 or 5 watt LED light. They have brightness >approaching the xenon's, but the batteries can last up to 12 times >longer (though 3-5 times is more typical).

Regarding the SureFire flashlights, the CR123's aren't usually the cheapest batteries in the world...

However, I always use Battery Station here in the UK as they are a fraction of the price of other consumable / battery outlets and offer a guaranteed overnight service.

They are a battery importers and wholesalers who specialise in servicing the TV and Film industry.


Chris Burton
(TV/Film Camera Assistant/Operator)
Manchester, England

Thank you everyone for your advice.

I checked out all the flashlights and websites you all mentioned ( was cool but weird. It's like CML but for people who are into flashlights way way to much) and I ended up purchasing a Streamlight twin-task two cell lithium from it's like the SureFire Aviator but lots cheaper.

When it arrives I will post again and let you know if I bought a fine piece of machinery or a useless piece of crap.

Thanks again.

Aaron "I wish my signature was as witty as Jeff Kreines" Rohn
Aspiring AC
Cincinnati OH

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