Random Ramblings of Everyday Life

Review: 4sevens Quark Prism

Posted in Gear Reviews by ziptrickhead on July 3, 2010

This Quark Prism was provided by 4sevens (www.4sevens.com) to review and give away at FCW-6. I was the lucky one to grab this as one of my raffle prizes.

The Prism comes as a kit that includes the optical prism in rubber housing, head strap, and a diffusing filter. The Prism kit can be purchased directly from 4sevens for $20. There is also a filter kit that includes red, green, and blue filters to snap into the rubber housing that’s $10.

When I first saw 4seven’s announcement of the Prism, I knew right away that I had to get one. It’s such a simple idea that I was amazed that no one else has done it before. Basically, it is suppose to use an optical prism to bend light in a 90 degree angle. In combination with the head strap, it allows lights to double as a headlamp. As someone that hikes and camps, I know how useful headlamps are. The Prism is great because it allows me to use my Quark 123a as a headlamp for a fair price without having to buy a completely separate light.

The diffuser lens basically just snaps into the rubber housing and is held in place by 4 tabs. It’s easy enough to get it, but for me it can be a pain to get off. You really need some sort of small, flat tool to pry the lens out. Not that big of an issue though as I really just use the Prism with the filter for the flood. If I need throw, it’s easy enough to just take the Prism off the light and turn the strap until the light is facing the direction I want.

When the Prism was first announced, a lot of people were arguing about whether it just used a mirror to reflect light or an actual prism. It looks to me as though it really is a prism inside the rubber houses, although I’m not going to be taking it apart to find out. It does reflect (or bend, however you want to look at it) light very well and you can see that there isn’t much loss or distortion of images going through it.

The Prism itself fits very snugly on my Quark 123a. It should fit almost the whole Quark regular line, as well as any lights with similar head diameter. It even fits my Nitecore EX10, even though the Nitecore has a smaller head diameter than the Quark. Obviously it isn’t as snug on the Nitecore, but it’s on tight enough that I’m not worried about it falling off during normal use. You can see in the picture the reflection of the emitter. Because of the rectangular design off the prism, when the Prism is used without the diffuser filter, the beam is pretty ugly. You get a central circular beam and then on both sides you get half circles.

I was a bit worried about retention since my Quark doesn’t have a pocket clip. Doesn’t seem like it will be an issue though as the elastic loops make for a very snug fit. I had no retention issues with either the 123a or the AA bodies. I can see that it might be uncomfortable with a multi cell light like the AA^2 model. The shortest I could make the head strap was about 7.5 inches and the longest about 9.5 inches unstretched. That makes for a pretty tight fit, and I believe that the head strap is the weak link in the Prism kit concept. I think that 4sevens has come out with a redesigned strap after people had complained about how tight it was, so maybe the kit I received was old stock. Also, one of the elastic loops is starting to pull out since you really have to tug it open to get the light in. I’m worried that the loops will rip out, although I’m not sure if there is a way to get around this other than adding a bulky clamp. Hopefully 4sevens will either cover worn head straps in the warranty or give us the option of buying extra head straps.

Overall, the Prism is neat and I like it. $20 is a bit high for the kit, but it’s not a terrible price if you already have a Quark flashlight to use it with. I think people would be less willing to purchase the the Prism kit if they already didn’t have a Quark and wanted a headlamp. Personally, I feel that the kit would be a real deal and a must have if the colored filters were already included in the $20 price point, but I don’t know how expensive those optical prisms and lens are so it’s hard for me to comment on that.

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