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Candlepower vs. Lumens ???

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by David, Oct 1, 2003.

  1. David

    David Well-Known Member

    I see some flashlight companies express the "power" of their lights in LUMENS (ex. Surefire), while others (ex. Streamlight) use CANDLEPOWER.

    What do Lumens and Candlepower really mean to the average user of a flashlight, and what are the differences between the terms?

  2. Mr. Bombastic

    Mr. Bombastic Well-Known Member

    The two terms are not directly comparable (unfortunately).

    ‘Candlepower’ is a measurement of the brightest part of the projected light (usually the centre of the beam).

    ‘Lumens’ are a measurement of how much overall light is given out (which is a better judgement in my opinion).

    For example, a laser pointer (bright and narrow beam) may have a very high Candlepower rating, but a very low Lumens rating. A tactical floodlight (less bright but wide beam) may have a lower Candlepower rating, but a much higher Lumens rating.

    Also, when Surefire state that a given torch is say, 65 lumens, that is the average brightness over the life of the batteries, not how bright the light is when first used (it will be even brighter then that in the beginning, and dimmer near the end).

    For a better explanation, have a look at www.candlepowerforums.com
  3. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info -- VERY INTERESTING!

    :D :) :D
  4. G&R Tactical

    G&R Tactical Well-Known Member

    Mr. Bombastic is correct, LUMENS is the best way to measure a torches power....
  5. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Well-Known Member

    So, what is the best way to compare CP & lumens? How do I know I'm getting the right light for my application?
  6. Mr. Bombastic

    Mr. Bombastic Well-Known Member

    The two measurements can't really be compared.

    But most tactical xenon based lights from Surefire or Streamlight are broadly similar. The Streamlight Scorpion is 65 Lumens, much like the Surefire 6P.

    LED lights are normally lower in brightness, but better in runtime.

    I personally carry a Surefire E2e (60 Lumens) and an Inova X5T (5+ Lumens). But I don't own a firearm. A mounted light might need additional shock-absorbsion (the higher end Surefires have this).

    Just like buying any other gadget, it all depends on what you are looking for. :)

    Are you looking for a floodlight, or a bright and narrow beamed light? Tactical rear switch, or normal push button? Small, or big? AA batteries or Lithiums?

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