Reflector Types

 
 
 
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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 don't.

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 smooth beam.
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.

 

 
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