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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Ledlenser MH10 Headlamp > Test Report by Coy Ray Starnes

Ledlenser MH10
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report:  March 6, 2018
Field Report: June 1, 2018
Long Term Report: July 27, 2018

LEDLenser MH10
                                                      front view of the Ledlenser MH10

Tester Coy Starnes
Gender Male
Age 56
Weight 250 lb (113 kg)
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)
Location Grant Alabama USA

Tester Biography
I live in Northeast Alabama.  I spend my free time hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and kayaking.  I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally.  Most of my backpacking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler.  My style is slow and steady and my gear is light.  I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9kg) not counting food and water.

Initial Report: March 6, 2018

Product Information
Item Ledlenser MH10
Manufacture Ledlenser
Year of Manufacture 2018
Manufacturer URL
Power one 18650 rechargeable lithium ion (3400 mAh)
LED type single LED bulb
Lumens 10 - 250 - 600 lumens
IPX Rating x4
Listed Weight (website) 9.31 oz (264 gm)
Measured Weight (everything) 7.4 oz (210 gm)
Listed Weight (on box) 5.6 oz (158 gm)
Measured Weight (field ready) 5.7 oz (162 gm)
Color Black
MSRP 80.00 USD

Product Description
The Ledlenser MH10 is a rechargeable headlamp with lumen settings of 10, 250 and 600.  It is designed to work as a close-up light, a medium duty light and far reaching light.  The light can be further tuned to the task at hand by using a broad beam or focusing the beam very narrow.  With an IPX 4 rating the MH10 is designed to work in fairly wet conditions but not underwater.  In other words, rain and or sweat should be fine, but don't go swimming while wearing it.  The sequence of lumens output can be selected by choosing mode 1 or 2.  Mode 1 turns the 600 lumen light on first and then weakens the light with each click of the power button.  However, if I wait more than a couple of seconds to click the on/off button the light turns off with the next power button click.  Mode 2 is just the opposite, starting the light in the 10 lumen setting.  I actually prefer this mode because I most often just need my light around camp but can easily adjust up to a higher setting when needed.  It is also more stealthy, a 600 lumen light will notify folks in the next county I’m around.  

Because the battery is stored in a separate compartment on the rear of the headlamp, the bulb housing is rather small.  It is round, and slightly bigger than a US quarter.  It sticks out about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) from my forehead.  It sits on a contoured plastic plate that measures 2.5 in (6.4 cm) wide by 1.5 in (3.8 cm) tall and has some cushioning built in.  The on/off button is located on the top of the headlamp bulb housing.  The light angle is adjustable in five audible clicks from straight ahead to almost straight down at my feet. The headband is slightly under an inch (2.5 cm) wide and adjustable. The battery compartment is a 1 in (2.5 cm) diameter cylinder that measures 4 in (10.2 cm) long.  The charging plug-in-point is near one end and covered by a flexible flap that seals it off.  The battery compartment sits on a plate almost identical to the one the headlamp bulb housing sits on and a cord runs between the battery compartment and headlamp.

LEDLenser MH10
                                    back view of the Ledlenser MH10

LEDLenser MH10
                                                        power cord from battery to headlamp

The technical specifications of the light are pretty impressive for such a small light.  The light is listed as a maximum 600 lumens but can be adjusted down to as low as 10 lumens.  It utilizes a single white LED bulb but the exact type is not mentioned. I can remember when not too long ago the only way to get a bright LED headlamp was to get one with a bunch of LED bulbs. The burn time at full power (600 lumens) is listed as 10 hours.  At the lowest setting (10 lumens) it is listed as 120 hours.  I did not find the information for the middle lumen setting on the website but the box it is packaged in listed it at 250 lumens with a 15 hr burn time.  The average battery life will of course be dependent on which brightness level is used for the most part.  The beam distance is listed as 600 lumen/150 m (492 ft), 250 lumen/100 m (328 ft) and 10 lumen/20 m (66 ft).  My iPhone did not do it justice but below are 2 photos from the same spot in my backyard looking at a blooming pear tree about 70 ft (21 m) away.  One is flood and the other is spot but both are using the high beam setting.

LEDLenser MH10
                                              600 lumen broad beam

LEDLenser MH10
                                              600 lumen spot/focused beam

The light arrived fully charged and comes with a USB recharging cable but not the wall adapter.  I plan to use the wall adapter I use with my iPhone or if I need a faster charge, my iPad wall adapter.  I can also charge it in my truck when needed.  The light also comes with a travel case and a red and green filter.  Red is supposed to be easier on camp-mates eyes while green is supposed to be better for reading maps etc.  At first I thought the focus ring would thread off and the filter holder would thread on in its place but it is made of a rubber material that basically just snaps on over the focus ring.  Here is the green light filter on the lowest setting.

LEDLenser MH10
                                              green filter at 10 lumen

Speaking of the focus ring, it operates much like the lens on a camera and you can see the lens moving in or out when it is spun.  It is fairly easy to spin with one hand while it's on my head and after I did it several times it got easier.  I could describe the Advanced Focus System (AFS) but took the liberty of copying the information provided by the manufacturer.  “Traditionally, light-focusing systems have consisted of either a lens, or a reflector. The Advanced Focus System (AFS) is the patented combination of a reflector AND lens to create a light system that provides both a focused beam for long-distance and a homogeneous spill-beam for up-close reading. AFS means whether you’re reading a map up close or focusing down the path to a landmark in the distance, your light will be easy on the eyes, clear and bright.”  

The light has a few other tricks up its sleeve.  It can be locked off by pressing and holding the on/off button for about 19 seconds.  The light will blink 4 times to indicate it is now locked.  To unlock hold the power button down approximately 5 seconds and the light will blink once to indicate it is now unlocked.  Locking it off will help prevent accidentally turning the light on when stored in a pack or pocket etc. The different modes are selected in a similar fashion.  Hold the power button down 10 seconds and the light blinks once, indicating mode 1.  However, by keeping it pressed 3 more seconds (13 total) it will activate mode 2.

Instructions and Warnings
The instructions are basically a set of drawings that showed the different modes and how to set them, along with other basics like adjusting the tilt of the headlamp, focus of the beam, charging, adjusting the headband etc.  The safety instructions and warnings were on a much larger sheet and written in 24 languages.  The only one I noticed missing was Latin but Greek was included.

Here are a few of the key instructions and warnings.  The headlamp should only be operated between the temperatures of -20 to 40 C (-5 to 104 F).  Avoid looking directly at the beam.  Do not wear around the neck (I assume this could be a strangulation hazard).  Avoid direct and durable sunlight.  I think durable means strong but anyways, I found this warning a little strange, but after thinking about the black plastic housing around the battery I could see the possibility of it overheating.  It later mentions to never expose the battery’s to temperatures over 60 C (140 F).  The instructions for charging the battery were not the easiest to figure out but I interpreted the drawing to say it will show red when charging and go to green when fully charged.  If the light blinks three times while using it it means the battery is down to about 10% charge and needs recharging.  One last key point was to recharge the battery every three months if not being used regularly.  

Trying it out
I patiently waited for darkness and ventured out in the backyard. I had already put the light in mode 2 so when I turned the light on it was in the low 10 lumen setting.  I had plenty of light to safely walk down the steps and around in my dog pen.  I could easily aim the light down at my feet and dodge anything I needed to avoid.  I powered it off and then quickly got it in the 250 lumen setting.  Wow, now we're talking some serious light.  In the flood mode I could see a very wide swath of ground. In focus it shined across the pasture into some trees a hundred yards (90 m) fairly well.  I then powered it off again and went to high mode.  In the flood setting it really did not seem much brighter than the 250 lumen did.  The focused beam difference was more obvious but still not as dramatic a difference as I expected.  When I looked up in the big water oak in my yard the light looked about the same but my dad's house is about a quarter of a mile (0.40 km) away and I could tell it was quite a bit brighter looking at the siding on his house.  I then put on the green filter and was pleased to see I could still walk around using the lowest setting. 

The Ledlenser MH10 appears to be a very solid light but in case of trouble it is covered by a 5 year warranty.  It can be extended to seven by registering the headlamp.  The rechargeable battery has a two year warranty.

Field Report: June 1, 2018

Locations and Conditions 
I have used the LEDLenser MH10 on 3 overnight trips and numerous times around the house and yard.  I’ve also used it on a couple of nighttime bike rides.  The weather has been mostly mild, but also stormy and with some heavy rain, typical Alabama springtime weather. My first 2 overnight hikes were 4 miles (6 km) total each.  The first overnighter was on May 7th.  The high was 75 F (24 C) and the low was 60 F (16 C).  The second overnighter was May 11th.  The high was 80 F (27 C) and the low was 66 F (19 C). My third overnighter was on May 29th.  The remnants of Hurricane Alberto were moving through north Alabama and I waited for a break in the storms to head out.  I hiked about a mile (1.6 km) before stopping to set up camp.  With more storms on the way I got in my hammock and watched the next wave dump a lot of rain and blow my tarp.  It continued to rain off and on during the night.  The high was 77 F (25 C) and the low was 71 F (22 C).

Field Test Results 
The LEDLenser MH10 has performed flawlessly during the past couple of months.  While camping I used it mostly in the lowest 10 lumen setting and with the beam as wide as possible.  I did a little trail walking in the dark and unfortunately had to get up from my hammock to take care of business in the middle of the night several times.  It was perfectly adequate for most tasks but there were a few times when trail walking that a little more light would have helped.  I was able to see the ground very well but banged into several limbs that were about head high across the trail.  I learned to pay more attention and this became less of an issue.  It was almost like the way it needed to be tilted to see the ground adequately left everything dimly lit from about shoulder height on up to head height.  I’m speculating but I think a slightly brighter setting of say 25 lumens would have solved this issue.   I also noticed the hump of the battery on the back of the headlamp when I would lie back in my hammock while still wearing it.  Most of the time I would remember to take it off and hang it up overhead beforehand. 

LedLenser MH10
              LEDLenser MH10 just hanging out in my hammock

I used it a couple of days after I seam-sealed a new tarp.  It was around 9 PM when I heard the thunder and hurriedly set the tarp up in my yard.  For the next hour I went out to check on the tarp several times while it was raining.  It then slacked off but continued to rain until midnight. I checked it a few more times until midnight using the 250 lumen setting to inspect the areas I seam sealed.  The rain didn’t faze the performance of the LEDLenser MH10 at all.

My first two overnight trips were pretty uneventful as far as needing the light after dark but my last one was a little more intense.  Actually, I used the light for the same things but this time it was either raining so hard I couldn’t hear myself think under my tarp, or the wind was blowing limbs off trees which made me a little nervous.  I woke up several times to investigate noises but was never able to catch anything in the act.  The next morning revealed a small dead tree had blown over near my hammock and numerous live limbs were strewn all around the forest floor. I’m pretty sure one hit my tarp as it was lying right along the drip edge.  I did take this photo of the rain running off the tarp around 3 AM.

LEDLenser MH10
 10 lumen setting checking the rain pouring off my tarp

My very first real use (before I carried it camping) of the headlamp was on a short 6 mile (8 km) bike ride.  I really didn’t need to ride after dark but wanted to see if it was up to the task.   Turns out, it makes an excellent bike light.  I live in a rural area with few street lights so much of my riding is along wooded stretches of road that are basically pitch black on all but the most moon-lit nights.  The first thing I noticed was that I needed glasses due to bugs flying towards the light so I rushed back home to get a pair of weak readers.  I tried the light at the 250 and 650 lumen settings and the only difference I could tell was the brighter setting did make small limbs and objects in the road pop a little more.  I also tried various beam settings, from the widest possible to focused all the way down.   At the widest setting I could see my tire in front of me and well off into both sides of the ditches along the road.  On the narrowest setting I felt like I was riding in a tunnel but could see far up the road.  I settled on a setting just under the broadest beam which gave me good long range visibility plus plenty of side visibility.   I rode using the 250 lumen setting most of the time.  I did experiment with the 10 lumen setting while riding slowly up a couple of steep climbs and it was fine for that.  However, I had better be sure and switch to the 250 lumen setting as soon as I was headed downhill or anytime I would be going much over 5 mph (8 kmp).  At the 250 lumen setting I was comfortable riding at the same speeds I do in daylight conditions which topped 30 mph (48 kph) when on long downhills.  One other caveat, swapping modes is not a real good idea while riding.  I was careful and on straight stretches when trying to compare the different setting but to go to the 600 lumen beam from the 250 lumen setting I was normally in, I would have to click the switch four times.  Unfortunately, the first one was off so I would be in the dark for half a second and the next click brought up only the 10 lumen light.  Anyways, I won’t be doing this a general rule.  So far I’ve recharged the light once, right before my last bike ride which was a repeat of the first one, 2 laps around the 3 mile (5 km) loop of my neighborhood.

Long Term Report: July 27, 2018
LEDLenser MH10
              250 lumen setting on a pitch black night
Test Locations and Conditions
I have used the LEDLenser MH10 on two more overnight trips.  I also used it during two power outages and several times looking for things in my dimly lit garage.  The most continuous use was riding my bike after dark.  The first (fourth during testing) overnighter was June 7 on a trail near my home.  I hiked approximately 6 miles (10 km).  The high was 84 F (29 C) and the low was 64 F (18 C) with no rain.   My last overnighter was July 9 at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Northwestern Georgia.  The high was 90 F (32 C) and the low was 67 F (19 C).  It did not rain but was extremely humid.  I hiked approximately 5 miles (8 km).

Long Term Observations
I don’t have much new information on the performance of the LEDLenser MH10 but I have concluded it is an excellent headlamp.  It is a little heavier light than I typically use backpacking but this is fine with me since it is such a good bike riding light.  I ended up using the lowest setting most of the time when I was in camp but the 250 lumen setting was handy when I heard noises I wanted to investigate.  I also kept the beam focused towards the broad setting most of the time.  This felt more like working in daylight conditions compared to the narrow beam which would shine further ahead but limited my peripheral vision.  During testing I always managed to set up camp before dark but this is not always the case.  I pretended I needed to check trees for widow-makers and the 250 lumen setting was perfect for this.  I actually couldn’t tell much difference between it and the much higher 600 lumen setting.  My main use was bathroom breaks after dark.  The campsite at Cloudland Canyon actually had an outhouse nearby but my hammock was set up on a steep slope and I had to scramble up a rocky slick slope to get up on the trail leading to the bathroom.  I used the low setting for this and actually turned the light off before re-entering my hammock, a practice I learned long ago to keep the number of bugs flying into my hammock to a minimum. 

The weather turned hot and humid during this last phase of testing which limited my hiking opportunities but gave me an excuse to ride my bike at night.  I had already tired it on a couple of rides and added three more during the long term phase of testing. The light performed great, no different than my earlier rides, only hotter.  I rode about an hour and a half each time and kept the light set at the 250 lumen setting I had deemed appropriate in earlier testing.  I used my red blinky light for safety but it would be neat if the MH10 had a red blinking light on the backside.  I’m sure it’s not as easy or cheap to add as I think but the battery is already located there.

Final Thoughts
That’s pretty much all I have to say about the light but to recap.  This light is insanely bright in the higher settings.  The ability to chose the brightness level and focus (broad or narrow beam) allows me to match the light to the task at hand.  The lowest setting is adequate for camp use and gives extremely long battery life but I would like a slightly brighter setting just for nitetime trail walking.  I don’t do this often so it’s not a biggie.  The 250 lumen setting is great for checking for dead overhead branches after dark and plenty bright for bike riding.  The 600 lumen setting didn’t seem much brighter but on pitch black nights I could definitely tell it had a little more punch.   One of the best features of the headlamp is the ability to top off the battery before a trip and not have to guess how much life was left in them.  This eliminates packing a spare battery on anything but a really long trip.  LEDLenser does sell the 18650 rechargeable lithium ion (3400 mAh) battery separately for $20 so it is possible to take a spare if needed.

This concludes my review of this outstanding headlamp.  I would like to thank LEDLenser and for this testing opportunity.

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