White lights and ARs go together like bread and butter. Tactical lights can gather some applause with a rugged build and good looks. Spotlights are found on many predator hunts. We love lights here and have tried plenty of them. But we’ve never seen a weirder flashlight than this one. Here’s our Exude OD40 Gen II Illuminator Review.
Don’t Call It a Flashlight
The Exude lights by Optical Dynamics are by technical definition not flashlights. They more or less look light flashlights. They primarily act like flashlights. Yet a flashlight, by definition it seems, reflects light to direct it. And like a pool ball loses energy when it bounces off the side bumper, light loses energy when it bounces off a reflector.
That means your favorite flashlight fails in efficiency.
Exude claims their lights are 50% more effective because they don’t use any reflectors. Exude lights leave the “flashlight” genre behind and enter the rarer category of “illuminator.”
The Exude Illuminator Tech
While most people haven’t ever seen a white light “illuminator” (and neither had we until the Exude OD40 Gen II showed up), we previously reviewed an IR illuminator. The Steiner SPIR Class1 Infrared Illuminator (formerly branded by Laser Devices) projects the same kind of light circle as the Exude lights.
Instead of being reflected, light is projected and focused as a clean disc transmitted through four collimated lenses. Okay, that’s cool tech. The disc of light has a sharp edge and no spill.
Direct Projection vs. Reflector Flashlights
Reflector flashlight tech is a century old. Direct projection using collimated lenses is a recent development. Each illumination method has strengths and weaknesses.
Remember, flashlights use reflectors and cannot focus light very well. This works well when you need a spot of light with some peripheral light spilling out around it. You gain situational awareness. All other things being equal, which is rarely the case in the real world, you get less range for the same power output. According to Optical Dynamics, compared to their Exude lights the traditional lights are only 50% as efficient.
Direct Projection focuses a very narrow beam of intense light. Think about any projected light you can. If you’re old enough you might remember slide projectors or even overhead projectors. The edges of the light hitting the screen were sharp. Think of a movie theater where the image is projected precisely onto a screen so that the edges don’t spill over. The projection is essentially perfect, with no dark spots or other flaws. It’s quite something to see.
Actual Use of the Exude OD40 Gen II Illuminator
Practically speaking, most people will still refer to Optical Dynamics units as “Exude Flashlights” and while not as precise, they won’t be entirely wrong either. When it comes to guns, “clips” vs. “mags” gets people into trouble and the argument here about “flashlights” vs. “illuminators” would be similar.
I saw a press release about the Exude light and asked if they’d like to have it reviewed here. The OD40 Gen II Illuminator arrived in a soft shell case with a red filter, a green one, and the USB charging cable. Optical Dynamics even includes the charging block! Thank you, Optical Dynamics (and seriously, Apple, you should note how much people despise it when you leave these out of your products, but I digress). A nice microfiber cleaning cloth came included as well.
The unit is large, longer than a 30 round mag, similar to a 40 rounder if you’ve ever seen one. Yet the illuminator remains surprisingly lightweight at only 14 ounces.
Here at SHWAT™ we generally prefer to hunt predators using thermal devices, although they cost more (and generally yield a higher body count at the end of the night). But for a hunter who uses calls and lights, the Exude gets interesting. Optical Dynamics explains that because the light wavelength is normal, predators won’t spook when you light them up. Put the crosshairs of a decent scope on the animal and you should be able to drop them. Theoretically, using the Exude OD40 Gen II illuminator you can identify objects in the dark up to 235 yards.
My first real-world test of that started when a bear tried to get to a hummingbird feeder outside the house we spent the night at. Apparently, that bear is somewhat of a regular there. He or she moved along, but I grabbed the Exude light and pursued.
Behind the house, a 60 or 80-foot embankment rises. Small sparse vegetation attempts to cover it, along with some cedar. While I didn’t spot the bear, I’m certain it was not on the steep hillside. The Exude revealed everything in crystal clear detail.
Exude OD40 Gen II Details
While I generally hate quoting manufacturers for specs, I haven’t been able to repackage some of their info any better than they did. So, forgive me…
The NEW Exude OD40 Gen II is a micro USB rechargeable predator and search light with three brightness settings. Its 40mm bell houses a set of photonic lenses that focus its powerful CREE® LED to offer a harmonized beam of pure light and a wide field of view by lighting up a 34.5-foot area at 100 yards… The OD40 will run up to 3 hours on its low setting… The OD40 also includes both amber and green lenses inside the robust zipper case that comes with each OD40. MSRP of the Exude OD40 is $199.99. A fully adjustable rifle mount is sold separately.
And, my light didn’t come with an amber lens. A red one was included.
Should You Buy an Exude Illuminator?
Given my addiction to hunting with thermal devices, I probably won’t use an Exude light as they envision it. But if I was without thermal, I’d give the Exude a shot. Compared to traditional spotlights used in predator hunting, the OD40 is super compact and manageable.
The light will prove handy in finding shot prey or rescuing lost people or pets in the woods. Or maybe even determining if a pesky bear has left the premises. I find this tech impressive, not to mention a great conversation starter with anyone who sees that light disc. So far, everyone who has seen it loves it. Enough said.