Imalent MS18 review (100000 lumens) (100K lumens)
Imalent is the first major flashlight brand that claims a 100,000 lumen flashlight. Just four years ago, 10,000 lumens was at the top. Back in 2018 Imalent shook the flashlight community with the announcement of the Imalent MS12 with 53,000 lumens. Now the Imalent MS18 has almost doubled that output. Therefore it is mentioned in our brightest flashlights list!
Imalent is still a relatively new player on the market, but as we have seen in the past years, they have been one of the most innovative brands on the planet. Think about OLED displays and tint mixing capabilities. And now the Imalent MS18 with a whopping 100,000 lumens!
I ordered the double kit, including the R90TS head to review as well.
What you'll get:
- Imalent box
- Storage box
- Shoulder strap
- Spare O-rings
- Charge adapter
|Brand / Model||Imalent MS18|
|Beam intensity||458,000 cd|
|Battery config.||8*21700 pack|
|Review date||May 2019|
Handling of the light
The Imalent MS18 is a big boy! And with this size of light, I would have preferred a bit more grip!
Just above the power switch is a little OLED display that indicates the lumen output. The switch remained the same from the MS12 and is a flat iron button, which by itself is a little hard to find in the dark. I would like to see them address this little issue. In many cases this isn't really a problem, but if you're in the dark, a kind of physical indicator would be welcome. Something along the lines of a protruding switch or a ridge of some sort. This lumen monster is not going to be carried in your pocket where it could accidentally be activated.
Fortunately, it comes with a shoulder strap, as well. It's a little too heavy to use for an extended period of time. As you can see, they upgraded the attachment points for the strap. Instead of attaching it directly to the body and bezel, they now have a dedicated ring on the head, and an attachment to the tailcap.
The MS18 actually consists of just 2 main parts: the head and battery tube, aka, the body. The battery tube consists of a built-in charge port and 8 Samsung 40T 21700 cells.
Before you use the flashlight, make sure you remove the plastic washer between the head and battery tube. Unscrew the battery tube to remove.
Yes it can, but not very stably! I don't see any value in doing that... but just so you know it is possible.
Build Quality and Anodizing
Imalent has always been pretty good with their build quality, and the Imalent MS18 is no exception. It is a very decently built flashlight with good anodization. I couldn't find any weird spots or missing anodization. They also upgraded the carry strap attachments. Where the MS12 has the clips attached to the bezel and tailcap, the anno can be damaged. They found a workaround and added a special attachment ring on the head, and on the tailcap they used the metal charge cover for the attachment point. Not the best idea, but better than damaging the anno in my opinion.
If the cover gets lost, you won't be able to attach the strap anymore. And since it's rather small, losing the cover is very possible.
Have a look at the following pictures to see the machining on the body tube, which looks very good. Although this is not my favorite style of machining, it is certainly done well, as it should for this pricey beast.
The Imalent MS18 is one of a dozen flashlights with an integrated active cooling system. It uses two fans that get activated when the light is set to 22,000 lumens and above. There is liquid inside the system to cool the light even quicker. This is what Imalent says about the cooling system:
Built-in heat pipe radiator with excellent heat dissipation, and equipped with an inlet and outlet fan silent, waterproof, heavy wind, which is a perfect combination of great energy and technology.
Well, the fans are NOT quiet! They are very noisy!
And besides that, the Torx screws are coated with a substance, probably silicon or glue, so you can't easily unscrew them to take off the fan covers.
In the following pictures, you can see some details and the copper fins on the inside of the head.
See the picture of the cooling system here.
Threads and O-rings
This is where it gets a little questionable. I'm not sure if it’s because of the size and weight of the flashlight, or because of the lube, but the threads are damaged. The anodization is missing on parts of the threads. This is a real con in my opinion. A $600 flashlight shouldn't have this problem! And there is only one O-ring, while the MS12 has two O-rings. So maybe one O-ring was missing. The threads came lubed, though.
Imalent MS 18 LEDs, Lens, Bezel and Reflector
1 XHP70.2 LED not enough? How about adding 12? Oh no.. how about 18?
The Imalent MS18 uses 18 CREE XHP 70.2 LEDs for maximum output. The LEDs are centered very well in the Light Orange Peel (LOP) reflectors.
Using an LOP reflector means that the beam is smooth and doesn't focus merely on throw. The Imalent R90TS is another story.
The bezel isn't removable by hand, nor is the battery pack from the battery tube.
Dimensions Imalent MS18:
- Length: 265 mm / 10.4"
- Head diameter: 130 mm / 5.1"
- Width body : 58 mm / 2.3"
- Weight: 1878 gr / 66.26 oz.
- Weight Head: 1081 grams / 38.16 oz.
- Weight Body incl battery: 797 grams / 28.10 oz.
The Imalent MS18 uses almost the same sophisticated user interface as the MS12.
Modes: 8 (with mfg lumens)
- Low (700)
- Middle low (2000)
- Middle I (5000)
- Middle II (10,000)
- High I (22,000)
- High II (30,000)
- High III (60,000)
- Turbo (100,000)
- Press and Hold: Activate the mini LED light above the switch (extremely dim)
- Single click: Last memorized output
- Double click: Turbo output
- Triple click: Screen turns on to show Voltage
- 4x click: Activate Fan
- 5x click: Lock out
- Press and Hold: Change output from Low to High
- Single click: Turn Off
- Double click: Turbo output
- Triple click: nothing
- 4 clicks: nothing
- 5-10 clicks: Turn Off
I don't really like the input to change modes. I'm not a big fan of press and hold for changing modes. So this is just my personal opinion. I rather like a magnetic control ring, or a click to change modes.
Instead of showing the mode you are in, the screen will show the lumen setting you are in. Starting at 700, it increases to 60,000 as you press and hold the switch. The display will show the lumens for about 2 seconds, and then the Voltage for about 2 seconds. I would rather see the lumen setting every time it jumps to the next level instead of voltage first.
Also, any number above 10,000 is difficult to read because there are so many 00000's.
Built in Switch Indicator Light:
When you press and hold the switch, it will turn on the indicator LED above the switch. This is extremely dim, but could be useful to locate the switch in the dark. I preferred to have a physical switch locator as well.
Low battery warning:
The Low Battery warning is also a little lame since you have to watch the OLED display to see if the battery is running low. It will show a battery icon blinking every X seconds. I would have preferred the flashlight to blink, or a red indicator light.
It's not in the main mode group, but you can enter Strobe mode by a double click from Turbo! There are no other blinky modes like beacon or SOS.
You can enter this mode by clicking 5 times when the light is off. The screen will show a LOCK symbol. When you do another 5 clicks the lock out mode is deactivated, and the display shows an open padlock.
I couldn't detect any by eye.
Batteries and charging:
You don't need to buy any batteries for this bad boy. It's a rechargeable flashlight, after all! It contains 8 Samsung 40T 21700 batteries. The package includes a charging adapter with an output of 19V, 2A. The charge time is 4.5 hours from empty to full. When the battery pack is empty, the display will show a battery symbol. See the picture below.
My Integrating Sphere measures only up to about 4000 lumens, and anything above that is difficult to measure consistently. I used a ND filter to cover the dome of the lux meter. Tests done with the SkyTronic LX-101 lux meter with integrated sphere that is calibrated with a 136 lumen Convoy S2+.
I don't know how trustworthy the numbers are above 5000 lumens since the output is just so brutal that the styrofoam ball becomes a lightbulb itself. So It’s very possible that the numbers are skewed at that point. So please take my lumen measurements with a grain of salt!
Lumens measurements vs (MFG):
My R90TS measurements were much closer to the manufacturer's specs than my MS18 measurements, so I retested the MS18. There was a noticeable difference. Maybe the batteries weren’t fully charged during the first test. Here are the latest (and improved) numbers:
|MFG Lumens||My Measurements|
|Imalent MS18||700||914 Lumens|
Runtime was measured using the Android Ceiling Bounce App that was developed by a BudgetLightForum member. The MS18 was put on a table pointed toward the ceiling to measure the runtime. The stepdown is noticeable in fast incremental steps. The fan was running full power. The funny thing is that Turbo uses so much battery that the fan spins slower than when it steps down. So when the brightness decreases during the step-down, the fan starts spinning faster.
Turbo output is about 1 minute when it drops down to about 25% output. Then it slowly decreases till it's to about 2 %... I don't know exactly when the low voltage warning turned on.. Because Im not watching the display all the time!
Since this light is such a beast, I have to be careful measuring the throw in our garden. The neighbors might call the police! Lol no, it's not a Tactical flashlight by any means, lol. 5 meter measurement was taken indoors. The battery wasn't fully charged, but it hadn’t been used very much, either.
- Total Throw measured at 5 meters: 350,000 cd / 350 Kcd (1183 meters, 0.74 miles)
- Total Throw measured at 10 meters: 370,000 cd / 370 Kcd (1217 meters, 0,75 miles)
I did another test tonight with a full battery and got some surprising numbers. Keep in mind that the numbers show from startup. So after 30 seconds the output and throw would have decreased. But I am happy to have measured 540,000cd 540 Kcd at startup! Pretty impressive for this kind of light!
For the following beamshots I dialed down my camera so the brightest lights wouldn't just result in a solid white picture. This way the most powerful lights are easier to distinguish! Canon 50mm F4 ISO 1600 1/40 sec. So the brightness in these pictures doesn't really show what you see in person!
Still dialed down in order to see the difference between the most powerful ones. The MS18 would just be a bright white picture without any details.
As you can see, the Imalent MS18 is a serious beast!
Went another time doing some beamshots. This time I dialed the camera back, to 1/4 of a second exposure.
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