Flashlight Review: Convoy M2
The Convoy S2+ is a very popular budget flashlight, available in a (rather confusing) variety of outputs, colour temperatures, emitters, and user interfaces. This review is of the Convoy M2, which is a Convoy S2+ with a larger head. Can it compete with the S2+ for light painting on a budget?
The Convoy M2 is a flashlight designed for a use with a 18650 battery. Unlike Convoy’s S series of tube lights, the M series has a head that is larger than the body to allow for more throwy beam profile. The head is 31.6mm in diameter and fits both Light Painting Brushes and Light Painting Paradise connectors. As expected for Convoy, the construction quality is fantastic for a budget light, with a clip and lanyard also included. I’ll note that my 3 Convoy S2+ flashlights are still working perfectly after 3 years of heavy use, including use in temperatures between +40C to -20C.
The battery tube can be unscrewed at both ends, and unscrewing the tail cap will mechanically lock out the light for safety. There is a spring at both ends of the tube which allows for a wide range of 18650 batteries from flat top unprotected batteries to obese protected button top batteries. The light has a single tail switch (user interface in next section). As with the S2+ , it can accidentally change modes if the light is shaken around violently (such as when using white fibre optics).
There is no internal charging (such as via USB), which is pretty standard at this price point. The bezel is crenelated, and seems to make it more stable in light painting connectors.
The Convoy M2 has Convoy’s Biscotti v2 user interface. This has good and bad points. On the good side, there are 12 different programmable mode groups, and memory can be turned on and off. There is no annoying memory timer as found with Convoy’s older 3/5 mode user interface. A half press changes modes, and a full press is on/off. On the down side, the strobe is a dreaded 2 frequency (alternating) strobe with 33% on time which generally isn’t great for light painting. This is a shame as the older user interface had a “perfect” 10Hz strobe. There is no momentary mode, which means that this light is not as suitable for light drawing as some other 18650 flashlights. Instructions were not included, but a quick google search for “Biscotti Convoy” will find the instructions on how to change mode groups.
The light has low voltage protection, and reverse polarity detection for li-ion battery safety.
Beam and Output
The Convoy M2 has a large smooth reflector and Cree XP-L HI emitter. This combination creates a narrower beam, and more intense hot spot than the Convoy S2+ making it more suitable for use with longer light painting tools as they will be illuminated more evenly.
The output was measured at 800 lumens at 30 seconds on 100% power, and there are plenty of lower output options including down to 0.1% “firefly” output. As the tested model was the 4000k version, then the 5000k and 6500k versions will be slightly brighter (due to more efficient emitters). The light does heat up quickly (though not as bad as the S2+), and needs to be manually stepped down at around 3 minutes (depending on ambient temperature) to avoid getting too hot to touch. There is no timed, or temperature controlled step down, so this light should never be left unattended on 100% output.
As with most Convoy lights, the M2 is available in a range of emitter options including 3000k warm white, 4000k and 5000k neutral white, and 6500k cool white.
Things I liked:
- Low cost and good build quality
- Programmable user interface
- Choice of emitter tint/colour temperature
- Suits a wide range of 18650 batteries
- Low voltage protection, reverse polarity protection, and mechanical lock out for safety
Things I didn’t like:
- 2 frequency strobe
- No momentary functionality
- No instructions (which would be useful for how to change mode groups)
- No automatic step-down
- No internal charging
The Convoy M2 is a high quality budget flashlight that fits popular light painting systems. It is more suited for longer light painting tools. It has a flexible user interface, but unfortunately has a 2 frequency strobe, and no momentary functionality.
The Convoy M2 can be purchased from Banggood here: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/KKvDOWJqU4
12% off with code BGTORCH