Review: Olight S30R III. Perfect for urban explorers

The S30R III is my second flashlight from Olight. The first one I bought was the S1R, which is a perfect, small, everyday carry flashlight (Check out my review of the Olight S1R).

But for exploring dark and abandoned places, I need something a bit different. So here are my requirements for an urban exploration flashlight.

  • Long battery life (2-3 hours) plus as bright as possible
  • Easy to charge by offering a “no disassembly required” and “no fiddling” charging mechanism.
  • Can be used while charging.
  • Water proof (rain, etc.).
  • A form factor suitable for carry on luggage.
  • Turbo mode („very bright mode“) for light painting to photograph in totally dark environments.

And the S30R III perfectly meets those requirements. But before I continue with my Olight S30R III review, here’s a size comparison of those two flashlights.

How long does the Olight S30R III last?

This flashlight emits a powerful 1050 lumen for approx. 3 minutes which is perfect for “light painting” in dark rooms. In such cases, I use Slow Shutter Cam App with a manual exposure of up to 1 minute and slowly “paint” the room or the subject with beam from the flashlight. Here’s an example of a dentist chair I photographed this way inside the abandoned Beelitz Heilstätten.

 Dentists Chair at Beelitz Heilstätten

Dentists Chair at Beelitz Heilstätten

A dentists chair at the Beelitz Heilstätten. I made the light around the chair by taking a long exposure and “painting” some light from the Olight S30R over and around it.

 Dark Cellar

Dark Cellar

A completely dark cellar at Beelitz Heilstätten illuminated using light painting technique in combination with a long exposure.

After 3 minutes in 1050 lumen mode, the Olight S30R III switches to 500 lumen which is still very bright and enough for what I need. In this mode (1050 for 3 minutes followed by 500 lumen), the battery provides light for more than 3 hours. If you don’t use the turbo mode with 1050 lumen, you get 3.5 hours at 500 lumen from a fully charged battery.

Moreover, the beam range is up to 600 feet and that has proven to be really valuable in long hallways of abandoned factories and hospitals.

But the Olight S30R III has more than just those two modes. I rarely use those additional modes but here they are for the sake of completeness:

  • 1050 lumen for 3 minutes as mentioned above
  • 500 lumen for up to 3.5 hours
  • 120 lumen for up to 15 hours
  • 12 lumen for 130 hours
  • 0.5 lumen („candle light“) for 100 days.

Operating and using the Olight S30R III is quite simple:

  • Single click the switch turns the flashlight on and off.
  • Click and hold the switch to toggle between different modes and brightness settings.
  • Double click the switch fast to turn on turbo mode (1050 lumen)
  • Triple Click to enable the defense strobe mode (Don’t know if this will help during a Zombie Apocalypse, we’ll see)
  • Tap and hold switch for 2+ seconds to activate transport mode. The flashlight is now protected against accidental operation e.g. if you carry it in your pocket. Tap and hold the switch for 1 second to disable transport lock.

If it seems that you can’t turn on your flashlight, you may have (accidentally) enabled transport lock. Press and hold the switch for 1 second to disable it.

Portability and suitable for carry on luggage.

Weighing just 3.88 oz, with a length of just 4.48 inches and a diameter of 0.99 inches, the Olight S30R III is perfect for carry on luggage. It comes with a handy clip that you can use to safely store and find it in any pocket in your carry on bag.

Really easy and convenient charging

What I like most about Olight flashlights is the charging mechanism. You don’t have to disassemble the flashlight and you don’t have to fiddle a small USB like plug into some inconveniently located socket.

To charge Olight flashlights, just use the magnetic charging cable and attach it to the back of the flashlight. Done. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. An LED indicator right on the magnetic charger indicates if the battery is currently being charged (red) or is fully charged (green).

 Olight magnetic charger LED

Olight magnetic charger LED

Further, the back of the Olight S30R III is magnetic. So you can use that magnet to attach the flashlight to any metal structure (and there are a number of those in abandoned places).

And finally, you can charge the flashlight by using a power bank and even use it while it charges. I just love that.

The Olight S30R III is water proof

And finally, the flashlight will still work if you use it in a humod environment or accidentally drop it into a wet spot. It’s IPX8 water proof, which means it is protected in water up to 3 feet.

What’s in the box?

Olight itself and retailers sometimes sell special editions with e.g. a second battery, a second charging cable and so on. So it’s really difficult to tell what’s in the box. My box came with the flashlight (of course), a wrist strap, battery and a desk charger. I had to order the portable magnetic charging cable extra. So check Amazon for different offers of the Olight S30R III.

Summary

The Olight S30R III [Amazon Link] is a perfect addition to the smaller S1R every day carry flashlight. With 3.5 hours on 500 lumen and a beam range of more than 600 feet, it’s a perfect flashlight for me for exploration that does not add much bulk to my carry on luggage and is easy to carry around on site.