I recently discovered that as one ages you need more photons to see clearly. In particular, when skimming the bookshelves at home it’s extremely hard for me to make out titles because my eyes require (a lot) more light than they formerly did.
My wife gave me a 4Sevens Preon 2 penlight last December, and I love it. It weighs 1.6 oz and uses two AAA batteries. No special batteries needed. In addition to the 3 main selections (low – 2.2 lumens; medium – 22 lumens; high – 120 ANSI lumens), it has a strobe and SOS options, not of use to me. When you turn it on, it comes on “low”. Pressing on/off switch slightly then switches to “medium,” pressing slightly again switches to “high.” A full press on the switch turns it off. Actual operation is easier than the explanation suggests.
It gets this much light from the new CREE XP-G S2 LED, a modern LED capable of incredible light output. Low, at 2.2 lumens, is fairly dim, but ideal for reading a restaurant menu in a dimly lighted place. And it’s good that the dim comes on first: the “high” setting seems like flashbulb brightness, which would be annoying in (for example) a good restaurant or if you want to read from the program during a play.
It’s easily carried, and 120 ANSI lumens is a LOT of light and provides excellent illumination. So far as I can tell, this is the current leader in the penlight format. And my life is easier now that I can readily carry sufficient light for my elderly eyes.
[Wikipedia has a good explanation of lumens for those interested.--OH]