Q: What is the difference between the reflectors I see
on your review pages?
A: The design of the reflector makes a difference in the
way the light beam is put out by the flashlight. Without a
reflector, the light would go in all directions, like a candle.
There are several different types of reflectors, each with
their advantages. Here are a few:
This is a smooth reflector, the most common type found
in flashlights you buy from store shelves. The beam
put out by this type of reflector is usually full of
"rings and holes" meaning rings of bright
light and patches of darkness. Some very well made smooth
reflectors put out a decent beam of light, but most
If the reflector is adjustable for focus, you can usually
project a very sharp, tight beam a long distance, but
once you try to spread the beam out for area lighting,
you get the "rings and holes" again.
|This is a faceted reflector. The facets
all act like little tiny mirrors, sending the spot of
light in the same direction. This usually results in a
very nice, smooth beam which does not need focusing. If
a reflector of this type is focused out, the facets disperse
the beam so that the "rings and holes" don't
show up as much as with smooth reflector. If focused to
a tight beam, the facets scatter some of the light, so
you will never achieve the same tight beam you could get
with a smooth reflector.
||This is another faceted reflector. The facets
are much more fine on this reflector than the one above.
The more fine the facets, the smoother the beam.
|Here is a spiral faceted reflector. Really
it has the same effect as the faceted reflectors, above,
but has the fine facets in a tight spiral to achieve a
||This is a hybrid reflector. It contains
faceting, but only near the bulb. This helps get rid of
the central "hole" found in the beam from most
smooth reflectors. It's a way to produce a decent beam
without the expense of making the reflectors fully faceted.
|This last one is called many things, including
"textured", "orange peel" and "stochastic".
They all mean the effect you see in the picture. This
is considered by some to be the final evolution of a faceted
reflector. Instead of facets, there is a gentle texture
on the reflector that again projects a very smooth beam
with little or no "rings and holes". This type
of reflector is usually found in better quality lights.