Black Diamond Moonlight Headlamp Review

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by the Product Review Staff | 2003-12-09 03:00:00-07

Black Diamond Moonlight Headlamp Review

Summary of Specifications

The Black Diamond Moonlight weighs 4.4 oz (125 g) with 3xAAA batteries (e.g., Energizer Titanium E2). It is a 4-LED headlamp with the battery housing in the rear. The headband is a conventional three-strap (bucket-style) elastic webbing (3/4") style.

Usability

The Moonlight is upgraded for 2003, with the addition of two more brightness modes (bringing the total to three: high, medium, and low) and one strobe mode. Modes are toggled with a single pushbutton switch, designed to be pushed with your thumb while your thumb and index finger 'pinch' the lamp housing. The switch is easily operable with bare hands or thin gloves, but like its smaller cousing the Ion, the 3/8-inch diameter button is nearly impossible to operate with the thick gloves (e.g., ski gloves) or shelled mitts (e.g., 300 weight fleece) commonly used for winter backcountry travel.

Changing the battery is a simple affair, involving only removing the rubber backing from the rear battery housing, and can be performed with cold hands, or even while wearing thin gloves.

The pivoting head is easily operated with one hand.

Performance

With fresh batteries at room temperature, the Black Diamond Moonlight has an initial center-of-beam brightness on its high setting of 113 lux at a distance of 2 feet, falling off to 11 lux at 1 foot off the beam's center.

In our cold conditions test (center-of-beam brightness at 38 °F), the Moonlight's lighting power on its high setting was 107 lux at 0 hours (fresh batteries), 41 lux at 8 hours, and 13 lux at 24 hours. For the Moonlight's medium setting, corresponding brightness levels were 75 lux (0 hours), 38 lux (8 hours), and 19 lux (24 hours), respectively.

Application

The Moonlight is suitable primarily as a short range headlamp for performing camp chores. With fresh batteries at its highest setting, it is bright enough to illuminate a trail, even in cold conditions. After 24 hours of continuous use in cold conditions, the Moonlight's ability to be a navigation light is replaced by a fair ability to provide continued task lighting.

Weaknesses

The Moonlight's primary weakness is in its LED bulb configuration. One basis behind a parallel LED configuration is to increase the flood area of the beam. However, our tests with multiple headlamps indicate that flood area is best increased by adjusting lens concavity rather than LED configuration. Since the Moonlight is a lens-less headlamp, the benefit of this configuration to promote a flood is marginal.

Strengths

The 2003 Moonlight is significantly improved over previous models because of the addition of medium and low brightness settings, which allow batteries to be conserved for task lighting, extending burn time by more the double over older Moonlights.


Citation

"Black Diamond Moonlight Headlamp Review," by the Product Review Staff. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00262.html, 2003-12-09 03:00:00-07.

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