Custom Knife Factor (CKF) Rama Raz Flashlight Review

Preface

Someone new has jumped onto the scene in flashlights!  The guys at Custom Knife Factory (CKF, from here on out) – unsurprisingly more known for their knives – have released a new models.  The light is the CKF Rama.  It’s a titanium light, with an extremely unusual barrel, and some awesome color anodizing.  Read on to see more!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There’s only one version of this light, but it’s available with two clip and barrel options.  What I have here is the Rama Raz, which has a smooth, flowy edged pocket clip.  The other is the Rama Dva, which has a much straighter clip, and straight holes in the barrel.

Price

The Rama (both clip models) have a list price of $390.


Short Review

I absolutely love the body features of the Rama.  The holes in the body sleeve are neat, interesting, and a nice change from the usual flashlight.  I also really love the anodizing on the titanium.  As best I can recall, I haven’t handled titanium anodized like this before, and it has an incredible texture.  Aside from the texture, I like the colors, too!  On the flip side, I don’t like the driver at all.  It uses PWM, has two in-line strobe modes, and the overall output is a little low.  And the light is overall too large, both in diameter and length.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • CKF Rama Raz Flashlight
  • Charger, single bay
  • 18650 cell
  • Charger cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Proof of authenticity card, which includes model info
  • Carry pouch
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Chocolate bar
  • Paperwork (including Russian stamp and sticker!)

Package and Manual

The light and all the goodies ship in this nice flip open pouch.  The pouch has a pocket inside, which hold the light in place, and the pouch closes with velcro.  It’s a neat shipping method, but unlikely something that you’d actually carry the light in.

Also included (and important in my opinion) is this proof of authenticity.  It’s a nice touch.

Build Quality and Disassembly

First of all, just look at that light.  This is a very unique light.  I can think of only three other lights that have anything close.  One is a one off silver (Ag) light, one was clearly made in someone’s backyard, and the other is made by Barrel Flashlight Company.  The Rama is different (and may I say better) because these holes do not compromise waterproofness.

The blue body tube behind the holes is a completely separate piece.  The hole tube is held securely by the head and tail, and kept isolated with o-rings, but the light is waterproof with or without it.

Also unique on this light is the titanium anodizing.  I have seen it before, but I can’t think of a production light that offers this service.  Again Barrel might have some one-offs, but every Rama is anodized in this way, and it is great.  The anodizing adds a bit of a textured feel, and coincidentally adds a little grip.

Here’s the body tube, where you can see the o-rings on the head and tail.

The threads on the head end are triangle cut, but some of the smoothest titanium threads I have used.  They are not anodized, and have very little lube.  They’re smooth enough that this is not any issue at all.

Both the head and tail have thick springs.  The tail springs is even a double spring.

The Rama works perfectly without the holey exterior tube.

The tail cap does not seem to come off.  The head unscrews easily as mentioned, and the grooves really assist in that matter.

There’s an aluminum pill housing all the electronics and emitter.  The driver is held in place with an aluminum retaining ring, and is removed easily.  The pill has an aluminum shelf.  Read on, but for now know that these are all good choices by the maker – it’s easy to get at the guts.  The driver is a BLF A17DD, and is a 17mm driver.

The head and all the purplish parts have a sort of sheen finish.

Size and Comps

Officially:

Lenght: 126mm
Head size: 26mm
Weight with battery: 169gr

This is a big light, make no mistake.  Unfortunately it’s much bigger than the Convoy S2+, which is already big for it’s class.

I would almost accept the tradeoff of this be a 14500 light, sized like the Convoy S2+, than it being an 18650 light sized much bigger than the S2+.

All that said, I’m able to comfortably carry 21700 lights, and the way I carry a light like this (back pocket, beside wallet), this fits and works just fine.

Retention and Carry

There’s a pocket clip attached to the tail of the light.  It’s held in place by two Torx screws.  The clip on the Raz matches the body tube, with holes and a sort of flowy shape.  But it works just fine as a clip, and doesn’t carry funny or anything.  The clip too has a nice finish, and is also titanium.  The hole spacing on the clip is much more narrow than the spacing of, for example, a SteelFlame clip.

It’s not a springy clip like you might know from a light like the TorchLAB BOSS.  It’s much more of a fixed clip like is on the MechForce MechTorch.  That said, the very thin waist in the center of the clip offers quite a bit of flex, so in the end it’s approximately between those two types of clip for springiness.

The light might also be carried in the included pouch, which would offer maximal protection, but minimal attachment points.

Power and Runtime

The Rama is powered by a single 18650 cell, which CKF includes with the package.  The cell is unbranded, and is a protected button top.

I tested the light with the included cell.  Here’s a runtime on High.  The output is unregulated, and just tracks voltage all the way down.  There does not seem to be any LVP, something I confirmed with bench power.  Interestingly the output increases within the first couple of minutes, and temperature tops out in the mid 50s (!!!) and gradually declines as the output does.

The middle mode is remarkably stable for quite a long time!  And an interesting thing can be seen at the end of this test.  The light fades to “off” and once the cell is no longer under burden, the voltage bounces back up, the light comes back on.  (This is further proof that the light is never “electrically off.”)

I had some suspicions that the light might be underperforming (compared to the claimed output) because of the included cell.  So I did a quick test with a LiionWholesale.com 30Q, and sure enough, the initial output measures significantly higher.  So if you buy one of these lights, I recommend using a higher current cell in it, than what it ships with.

Also included is a charger.  I didn’t test the charger, but I’ve tested similar Liitokala chargers.  It should get the job done just fine.

PWM

The lowest mode has visible PWM.  PWM is gone in the middle mode.  There are a few reasons to swap the driver out of this light, and PWM is definitely one of them (for me, anyway).

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.

User Interface and Operation

The Rama has a forward clicky mechanical switch.  The button cover is just barely revealed over the edge of the light, but it still tailstands easily.  The fw clicky allows momentary on, and since there’s no electrical connection unless the light is on, the light never needs to be “locked out.”

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click On (Low, unless light has been on in the last few seconds; then “Next mode”)
On Click Off
On Half press (not possible on forward clicky)
Off Half press Mode advance (LMH, Strobe, SOS)

In that table is the second reason I think this light would be better with a different driver:  Strobe and SOS are unavoidably in the main group.  Cycling through the modes always goes through Strobe and SOS!  The only way to avoid them is to wait long enough for the cycle to reset to starting at Low.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
High 900 2h30m 745 2.50
Medium 150 12h 150 0.32
Low 2 62h ~ ~

LED and Beam

The emitter used in the Rama is a Cree XP-L HD in an unspecified color temperature.

The reflector is lightly orange peeled,

The beam is a sort of broad spot, with spill most evident only on High.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive, has the best tint, and [probably] still available!

The Big Table

CKF Rama Raz
Emitter: Cree XP-L HD
Cell: 18650
Runtime Chargetime N/A
LVP? No
Power off Charge Port with no Cell?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 900
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 745 (82.8% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m)
Throw (Calculated) (m) 186.7
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 210lux @ 6.441m = 8712cd
All my CKF reviews!

* Standard measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

Conclusion

What I like

  • Nice built quality
  • Interesting design
  • Full package
  • Anodized titanium is a neat feature!

What I don’t like

  • No LVP
  • PWM on low
  • Included cell doesn’t seem to power light to it’s capability
  • Overall large size for an 18650 light

Notes

  • This light was provided by Custom Knife Factory (CKF) for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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