Preface Official Specs Versions Price Short Review Long Review What's Included Manual and Packaging Build Quality and Durability Size Retention Power User Interface and Operation Modes LED and beam Tint vs... Beamshots, Runtime, etc table. Comparisons Conclusion What I like What I don't like Up Next Notes
Nitecore has a new lantern out, with some unusual features. This is the LA30, which has an internal pouch cell (lipo), and can also run off 2 AA sized cells, too. It’s a nice combo, and has red and white emitters, too!
There’s only one version of this light, but it comes in two body colors: Blue and Yellow. I have the yellow option.
The MSRP on this lantern is $39.95, and that’s the price you’ll likely see most places, as this is a very new light.
This is a very cool light. I like the dual-fuel feature. The output is good, too, and would be perfect for inside a tent. I wouldn’t call it lightweight, though, particularly when being used with AA cells, and so I would use this car camping, not backpacking.
- Nitecore LA30
- Charge cable
- Spare o-ring (two types
Package and Manual
The LA30 ships in Nitecore’s standard yellow and black package, with a bunch of printing and specs and a photo.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The build of the LA30 is much like what I saw of the Xtar Moon RC2. The parts seem to be ultrasonically welded (at least that’s what the RC2 was) and do not come apart. So as a whole the unit seems very solid. The dome diffuses the light extremely well.
As stated above, there’s not much to disassemble on this light. The bottom unscrews for placement of AA cells. There’s a little hook on the non-screw end for proper seating of the cover. It’s a nice cover – quite thick, and has a screw down closure. This thumbscrew was ever so slightly fiddly, but I never had any actual trouble with it. It also has a big gap for using coins, in case the need arises.
Note that this cover in no way has anything to do with operation of the light. With or without AA cells installed, with the cover off, the light may be operated fully. With the cover off, the light is no longer waterproof, of course.
Officially 75.2mm x 49.5mm x 53.8mm. It’s not really a small light, to be sure. The area that fits 2xAA cells really does require a lot of volume from the light; if not for that feature, the light would be around the size of the Xtar Moon.
Here’s the LA30 with the Convoy S2+.
Two means to hold this lantern in place. First is the magnet, which is sufficiently strong for holding the light in any orientation. The magnet is inside the AA cover (not exposed at all).
Next is the metal loop, which would be useful hanging the light from inside a tent or places like that. It is possible to remove the loop (just take off the cover and spread the loop out a little, and it’ll come out of the base). It’s sprung, so when it reaches a certain point it’ll want to snap to the ‘closed’ position.
The primary power source for the LA30 is the internal cell, claimed at 1800mAh. This cell is not removable (nor is it even possible to non-destructively view the cell in my experience). In the runtime below, the internal cell is the red line. Note from that runtime that it’s possible to reset the light to the highest output, even after it’s stepped down. Also noteworthy is that the initial stepdown from highest output to ~95% takes 10 minutes or so. Respectable.
Another option for powering the LA30 is two AA cells. This isn’t “two AA sized cells.” It’s very traditional: AA primary or AA NiMH. Nothing else. No 14500, no lithium primary (that one’s strange but the manual says it specifically). Not sure what’s the difference in lithium primary (still 1.5V), but follow the manual and don’t use those. In the runtime below, I’m using Eneloop AA (NiMH) cells. In fact, NiMH is the recommended AA type cell. The runtime is not nearly as long as the internal cell runtime.
Of interest in the dual-fuel discussion is that these cells in no way cooperate during operation. Ie if you have a fully charged internal cell, and fully charged AA cells, you don’t get (Internal + AA) type runtimes. With AA cells installed, the light will operate off AA cells, period. If you wish to use the internal cell, you must remove the AA cells. This also means that if you’re using rechargeable AA’s, the charge port for charging the internal cell will not also charge the AA cells. I wish it would. If it would then this could be a compelling backpacking device, maybe.
Below is a graph of the chargetime of the internal cell. The cell is rated at 1.8Ah and tests much higher. Charging is also respectable at 0.5A, and the charge graph is very clean throughout.
When charging, the red emitter is lit red. When charging is complete, a green emitter turns the whole dome green. It’s quite bright, and possibly something to be aware of. There’s also no way to prevent this. But it’s not a big deal. Unfortunately there’s no way to access the green emitter during normal operation.
User Interface and Operation
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Hold (~0.6s)||Low White|
|On (White)||Click||Mode advance (LMH)|
|On (Red)||Click||Red Mode advance (LH,Beacon, SOS)|
|Off||Hold||Low then High (“direct access to high”)|
|On||Hold (>3s)||Locator beacon (very low output)|
* Power indicator:
3 blinks = battery > 50%
2 blinks = battery < 50%
1 blink = battery < 10%
In Power Indicator mode, the light indicates power with “big” red flashes, then switches over to locator beacon output (much lower red).
I honestly expect there’s something I’m missing here on the UI. It’s a touch complex, but it has some very nice features (battery indicator! etc).
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime (Internal/AA)||Mode Measured Lux|
LED and Beam
The emitters are not named, so far as I can tell. They’re High CRI (and I believe it, the color rendering is quite good). They’re also not accessible for better photos – they’re under the sonically welded dome.
The beam is absolutely all flood. It’s a lantern; that’s basically what you’d want. As such, the light doesn’t hit the 35m throw rating, but I’d hardly dock the light for that….
Tint vs BLF-348
Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements
|Emitter Notes||High CRI, with red|
|Glamour Shots||Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]|
|LVP?||Switch to low|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||250|
|Lux (Measured)||43 lux @ 1.496 m|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd||96.2|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||19.6|
|Throw (Claimed) (m)||35|
This light is a spitting image of the Fenix CL20. I don’t believe the CL20 has an internal cell, so that makes the LA30 better in my opinion. Output is higher for the LA30 as well.
What I like
- On-board charging
- Comprehensive UI (even if it requires a little learning)
- Extremely diffuse output
What I don’t like
- AA and Internal cell don’t communicate in any way
- Light is a bit big and hefty
I have more flashlights for this week, but they’ll require a bunch of work and there’s all this Fallout to play…. (Also I need new cells for a couple of them.) I’ll do my best though! For you. ❤
I also have some non-flashlight items, which I find interesting and have been good items! Look forward to those!
- This light was provided by NitecoreStore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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- Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!! Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!