Somehow I had to reduce my rail bonus points a bit before they expired. Well, free tickets are just not that attractive, especially for my desired foreign tickets…
Since the switch of my previous beam torch is unfortunately broken and no suitable replacement for soldering has been found despite several intensive searches on the internet, I chose a new LED – spotlight.
Because in the bonus – program of the railway was actually a rod lamp from Ledlenser, a German company, which develops and sells a wide range of high-quality LED – lamps for professionals. And so I came to the Ledlenser SL – Pro300* by spending a part of my collection of railway bonus points.
External appearance of the lamp
This is a rod spotlight with a silver-grey aluminium housing. Striking is the round radiation lens, which is supposed to focus the beam and reminds a little bit of the thick „ashtray“ glasses of strong glasses in the 70s and 80s. At the other end, the red rubber covering the switch button catches the eye.
The lamp makes a solid impression overall. The casing is robust and fits snugly in the hand. A diamond engraving on the grip surfaces improves the grip and prevents any slipping even with smooth glove surfaces. An enclosed hand loop, which is threaded into a small eyelet at the foot of the lamp, does the rest. The weight including the battery set is almost 340 grams. The lamp housing is 18.5 cm long. This lamp is protected against splash water according to protection class IPX 4.
The lamp is equipped with a square centered high-power LED with contact lens and shines exclusively white. With the already mentioned front lens strongly the light beam is bundled without reflector practically . This allows for greater lighting distances, even if the luminous intensity of the LED used here is far from reaching the end of the flagpole. In addition, the front lens allows the lamp head to be kept considerably smaller in diameter than an optimised, relatively large reflector. Manual focusing is not possible with this lamp.
In normal mode with 220 lumen the beam reaches a width of 200 m. This is quite decent and helps e.g. with orientation on hikes, to look far ahead for directions for map matching or to find waymarks in the dark in time.
An energy-saving low power mode still provides a look ahead for up to 90 metres with a luminous flux of 40 lumens. This ensures that the close range is sufficiently illuminated to avoid tripping over roots or overlooking slopes in peripheral areas. The course of small, little-used paths is also visible.
A boost mode can also be activated by pressing the switch continuously for short periods of maximum light output, which at 300 lumens produces a light beam of up to 250 metres.
Battery or rechargeable battery and range
The SL-Pro300 is powered by 4 batteries or (self purchased) rechargeable AA size batteries. This has the advantage that these can be purchased virtually anywhere in the world – a standard size. Furthermore, the capacity of this battery size is not so bad anymore – increased capacity and lower energy consumption of the LED – lamps have come to meet each other and have considerably increased the „range“ of the lamps. A first set of batteries is already included in the factory.
With a full set of batteries in normal mode, a total lighting time of up to 40 hours is achieved. This means that a long winter weekend with 16 hours of darkness per day would be well covered even in continuous light. The still good Low Power Mode extends this time by another 10 hours.
Only in Boost mode the glow time would be no more than 5 hours. However, this is a theoretical value, since this mode should only be used for a short time and sparingly anyway.
The batteries are inserted in a battery holder, which also provides the electrical connection between the switch in the bottom and the light head.
It’s a bit of a pity – both the diameter and the length of the lamp housing would also allow operation with R14 batteries. This could increase the charging capacity and thus the range considerably. Probably the use of larger battery assemblies would also be more resource-saving (smaller material surface with more capacity). Obviously the use of energy-saving LEDs has also led to the fact that optimal battery capacities are no longer so heavy on sales compared to smaller and lighter lamp housings. I think that many lamp manufacturers should think again thoroughly about their products.
Advantages and disadvantages of the SL-Pro300
The ledlenser SL-Pro300 is a handy and bright beam lamp for all those who want to illuminate a route far ahead and benefit from a highly focused beam. Relatively low weight with long constant light output are clear advantages of this lamp.
One man’s joy … the lamp is less suitable for close-up use. For example, reading with the lamp is not such a good option. The strong bundling of the light beam provides an excessively bright, narrowly limited light cone at close range and there is no scattered light to illuminate the surroundings. This makes the light-dark contrast insurmountable for the eye and the view is concentrated exclusively on everything in the light field. Everything outside the light beam more or less disappears in black. For a search, especially for small parts in the close range, someone would have to hold and direct the lamp from a few meters distance to compensate this disadvantage.
I also find the switching behaviour for the boost mode a bit disturbing. This mode always comes with every push on the switch. This is very confusing. So the lamp shines brightly when I want to switch it off. Involuntarily I react to it with a frightened double click and skip the „off“ position. Whether I can ever get used to it and change my reflex actions accordingly…
In connection with the switch function, it is also clear that the lamp in the backpack is easily switched when the button is pressed. There is no transport security. Therefore you can either remove the batteries before packing or separate the battery contacts permanently by inserting a piece of paper or plastic foil. Otherwise you will burn your first set of batteries senselessly in your backpack.
The lamp is delivered in a plastic blister packaging with a cardboard bottom. A first set of batteries and the wrist strap are included. There are no other accessories for this lamp. A practical belt loop I have sewn myself simply from two short pieces of backpack belt.
View on further ledlenser – product series
The SL – Pro300 is already no longer part of the current ledlenser* assortment. Apparently, the BahnCard service has bought cheap leftover stock here for its bonus offers. But the product variety at ledlenser is incredibly large – the lamps are designed for professional use in a wide variety of situations. Design, technical equipment and workmanship are all of the highest quality. Durability is a declared goal of the manufacturers. Broken parts can be replaced – which unfortunately is no longer a matter of course today. The lamps are developed at the company headquarters in Solingen (Germany). However, as is often the case today, the series are produced in factories in Asia.
Rod torches with different light output levels and various features are combined in the P-Series*. Similarly extensive and versatile are the headlamps*, which are designed and used not only by outdoor fans, but above all by professionals from firefighters to emergency doctors worldwide. This goes as far as the MH 11*, which can be controlled via bluetooth per app with the smartphone.
But lanterns* are also available, from the small backpack and tent lamp ML4, which is as big as a closed fist and weighs only 140 grams, to the ML6 warm light, which provides for cosy playtime on the yacht deck or in front of the tent for over 200 hours.
The manufacturer gives a 5-year guarantee for the ledlenser quality lamps, which can be extended up to 7 years if registered on the manufacturer’s website.
So it is worthwhile to analyse your needs and then match the lamp to the right one.
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Source product pictures: Manufacturer/ Dealer