HManPhoto's Random Musings

Posts covering ride reports, motorcycle gear reviews, game and movie reviews, and thoughts on life and my job.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Inova Microlight vs. Photon Freedom Micro (with video)

Several months ago I purchased an Inova Microlight and was VERY happy with it. Its worked great both at work and at home. With three function modes I felt that it did everything I would need as well as provide plenty of light. If I had one complaint it was that the "keychain" attachment point was poorly designed and hard to use.

This light came with me on a camping trip and amazed two people when we used it at night after letting our eyes adjust to the darkness. It was nearly a full moon but the light being thrown by it was still VERY impressive. Many at work were impressed enough with it to purchase one for themselves so that says something for it.

So, I'm totally happy and content with the Inova right?

COME ON!! Us flashlight nuts are NEVER content. ALWAYS looking for the next best thing. We're long the single mother in the bar. Constantly on the prowl for the next one that will make us happier than the last.

Enter the Photon Freedom Micro. I read about this on and had to check it out. I was making a purchase of batteries and other assorted items from and they had a great price on said Photon so I went ahead and added it to the order.

First thoughts upon arrival? WOW, this thing is SMALL! It came with a small keychain attachment that allowed you to clip it to a key ring. While it is smaller and more "useable" than the Inova's, it looked a bit weak to me so I took it off. It also came with a clip to attach it to the bill of a hat or anything else of that thickness. I stashed it for a later date and ended up using the attachement that hangs from a string. Makes it handy in that I can just hang it around my neck like a necklace and its right there anytime I need it. This piece can be seen in this comparison shot of the Inova and the Photon.

As you can see, even in the necklace holder it is still smaller than the Inova. Some people would consider this a bad thing as it may be easier to lose but I guess if its attached to your neck, well, its not likely to go anywhere without your knowledge.

The light is easily popped out of this carrier if you need to use it handheld and free of the restraints of the holder. You simply grab the light back by the string attachment point and lever it outwards and it slips out of said carrier.

I do have to mention that both of these lights are really really small. I can't knock Inova by saying that its light is too big by any means. The Inova is also much easier to turn on. Maybe a bad thing, maybe a good thing depending on where you carry this light and how you store it. One thing that should be noted in this picture is that the picture of the Photon makes it look bigger than it is. Compare the two quarters and you'll see that I inadvertantly zoomed in more on it than the Inova.

As for light output, the Photon is most definatly superior to the Inova. One thing the Photon has over the Inova OTHER than sheer brightness is that the Photon has a multi-variable dimming feature where as the Inova just has bright, dim, and strobe. The Photon can either be click on and off, or it can be clicked on (bright) and then the button held which will then start dimming the light in a smooth transition down to its dimmest setting where it will flash once to let you know that you hit this point. This is also where the strobe features come in but we'll come back to that. Another nice point about the Photon. If you are somewhere that you don't want the light to come on bright at all, just hit the button and hold it without releasing and when it comes on, it will be on its dimmest setting. You can then continue holding to bring it up in brightness to your desired level.

Its hard to compare brightness levels via photographs but you can easily compare the level of dimming. Below are two photos. The picture on the left is the two lights on their brightest setting. While the Photon is clearly brighter, by quite a bit, in person it is hard to see in the picture. The picture on the left is of them both on their lowest setting and its clear to see that the Photon wins out on this.

Last thing that needs to be discussed is the strobe features. Inova wins in simplicity by simply making it One click is high, two clicks brings you to low, three clicks activates strobe. Photon is a bit more complicated but has more options. Turn the light on and release the button. Then, hold the button down to dim. Light will "flash" at lowest setting. Continue holding. Light will strobe bright. Release and you'll have a strobe that flashes every 5 to 6 seconds. Hold down again. Light will flash a bit faster. Release and its about every second (similar to Inovas strobe). Hold down again. Light will begin rapidly strobing. Somewhat disorienting and reminds me of the Gladius flashlight, just much dimmer. Hold down again and the next strobe function is morse code for S-O-S. Will you really NEED all these strobe modes? Who knows. I guess it depends on what you intend to use the light for. I could see the strobe modes as being a good thing for hikers that push on after dark or may need help after the sun goes down. This light is VERY visible if being looked directly at from a LONG way off. I am limited on distances in this area but I know that several blocks away it REALLY stands out, especially on strobe mode.

The quality of the below videos is not very good and I apologize for that. However, it is good enough to compare the functions of the two lights. I did not include the 5 second strobe just as its gapped too far apart to bother with.

Slow Strobe:

Fast Strobe:

S-O-S strobe:

In all honesty there is really no reason not to pick either light. I just happen to always want the brightest light I can get and to me, the Photon wins here. Some may feel differently and depending on their use, they could be right. When it comes down to it, you can't lose with either one of these great lights. Of course, one of these days, something better will come along and I'll be here comparing it with these so stay tuned.


At 12:22 PM , Blogger CKohr7 said...

Any info on run times for the various modes?

At 12:23 PM , Blogger CKohr7 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:11 AM , Blogger Shariful Islam said...

Reliable, fast service and free online quotes at discount.very nice...............


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