I regularly get asked for beam comparison photos of all the lights we carry. The following images were taken in manual with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed locked. The settings were chosen that most closely represented the amount of light visible to our naked eye. The EXIF data is preserved, if you want to examine it.
The targets are e-type steel, painted white, at 100 yards.
All of the lights were placed on a barricade with the hot spot of the beam centered on the plates. I feel it's necessary to stress this point because the Surefire results may appear as if they are pointed downwards slightly, when in reality they have so little throw that they simply cannot illuminate objects very well at 100 yards.
Manufacturers love to publish high lumen numbers in advertising, but most do not also list the candela. You can have thousands of lumens, but if the candela is not adequate, you'll end up with a wide beam that has no throw (distance). Candela gives you a much better indication of what the beam profile will look like.
A perfect example of this is the Surefire M600DF. It has a claimed 1500 lumen output with an 18650 cell, but has rather poor candela (16,000). This means the light has tons of spill and will really light up a room at close distance, but it has hardly any throw. As you will see below, it can barely illuminate steel plates at 100 yards. Even our E1HT light powered off a single CR123 with 325 lumens is able to illuminate the steel plates because it has over 23,000 candela.
Lights powered by two CR123 or one 18650/18350/16650 cell:
1. Surefire M600DF - 1500 lumens doesn't mean anything if the optic/LED combination doesn't focus it into a useful pattern. There's so much spill that the beam doesn't even look centered on the steel plates. This was a current production M600DF, brand new out of the package, tried with multiple good 18650 cells. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would choose this light or anything using the same head like the M640DF Pro.
2. Arisaka/Malkoff E2XT and 18650 E2XTL - These are our highest candela heads, and it shows. While "only" 500 lumens, you can see the beam in the air, and the targets are illuminated very well due to the 55,000 candela. There is a massive difference in usable light between the E2XT/E2XTL and Surefire M600DF.
3. Arisaka/Malkoff E2HT - This is our second highest candela head. While not quite as punchy as the E2XT, it still has the same 500 lumen output and has no trouble illuminating the steel plates with 35,000 candela. It's also a significant improvement over the M600DF.
4. Modlite OKW - My personal favorite, the OKW has a super intense beam rated at 69,000 candela and 680 lumens. The new Dual Fuel version has the bonus of being able to use 18650, 18350, or 2x CR123 cells.
5. Modlite PLHv2 - At 1350 lumens and 54,000 candela, the PLHv2 is a great all-around option. It has more spill than our E2XT and E2HT, while maintaining an impressive amount of throw.
Lights powered by one CR123 cell:
6. Surefire M300C - At 500 lumens, this light seemed to throw similarly to the M600DF. I can only recommend this light for use in CQB situations, as it can barely illuminate the targets at 100 yards.
7. Arisaka/Malkoff E1HT - As mentioned earlier, the E1HT outputs 325 lumens, but it's tightly focused like the E2XT and E2HT, giving it 23,000 candela. For this reason it is quite effective at 100 yards, as shown in the photo.