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Review: 473 nm 100 mW Jet Lasers PL-E Pro „Sky Beauty“

Radim

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Review: 473 nm 100 mW Jet Lasers PL-E Pro „Sky Beauty“





After some time using this amazing laser I would like to do my first review here on LPF for you. I do not have LPM therefore I realized to do the review by my own way according to my use. You might find another reviews here where there is a lot of great information and experience with this laser. I took also several shots of the laser and stuff. Some of them are taken with my digital camera, some with my mobile phone cam. All pics are clickable leading to higher resolution. If you miss some information there, do not hesitate to ask in comments.
Enjoy...



Selection
Not only I always wanted 473 nm wavelength in my collection, I wanted also portable and highest power and the best beam specs for purposes of laserpainting. Quite contradiction in my demands. However luckily this laser has them all. It’s DPSS with very ineffective process therefore 100 mW is quite a lot. In deed I do not believe it is only 100 mW, I have seen the same laser from different member here to do over 200 mW (source: Razako's review). I also did not wanted 465 nm which could give you watts of power and the color should be very similar, it’s diode and beam specs are not as good as with DPSS. In addition for my purposes I needed the longest possible duty cycle, that was reason why I went for Pro and not Mini – larger host, therefore better heatsinking. In addition you might select between silver and black finish, where for practical reasons of laserpainting and my liking as well I selected the black version.

Also to mention LPF community here helped me with valuable advice to get to JL, which I completely omitted to include to my company selection. Thanks, the best choice.



Customer experience and shipping
I have contacted JL customer service and Gray responded to me quite fast. We discussed my needs in detail and he (and JL team) spent a lot of time finding a solution for me. There was even option they could make me custom module powered by accu pack to keep long duty cycle. Still I found this solution quite bulky for my laserpainting needs. All at all after thought decision I selected my original choice finally. I went for mechanical switch as the code switch is not recommended due stability issues. All my customer experience with JL was the best I had so far. Only fail was with DHL or JL's shipping agent, which caused extreme delay. After contacting Gray he found out what was wrong and got it working – they were so nice, to refund me full shipping cost for „inconvenience“. The total time was since 15th March ordered till 5th April to be in my hand. When I ordered the laser I asked to have both tailcaps, AC adapter, beam expander and remote switch. Gray was so nice to sent me extra tailcap and remote switch for free.

Overall experience is: JL customer care is outstanding, Gray will do everything for you and is able to respond in times when normal people sleep deeply. This guy is extra caring and friendly. JL has real valuable asset in him.



Packaging
I think it is part of the product, as when shipping is not done properly, the risk of laser being damaged during transport rises. So, here you can see what you can expect with your JL order:




(mobile cam pic)


Package arrived in classic yellow DHL sack with shipping documents attached to it.



(mobile cam pic)


Inside was in wrap foil well packed box with the stuff inside. You can imagine the size of the box with comparsion with my Zippo lighter (standard size).


]

(mobile cam pic)


I noticed they packaged it very carefully.



(mobile cam pic)


After removing the foil there is a very nice paper box...



(mobile cam pic)


...with chart showing wavelength stability on the back. I’m not sure if it is for my particular laser, or for these in general (I think it is likely as I would expect individual test on separate paper).



(mobile cam pic)


Inside the box is well fitted Christmass. :D



(mobile cam pic)


JL even care to put extra foam pad at the bottom.



(mobile cam pic)


Here all the stuff packaged individually.



(mobile cam pic)


Laser itself and all the parts are packaged in antistatic bags in addition.



(mobile cam pic)


You can notice the laser came dissassembled in two parts and see the plastic batt reducer for 18650.


Overall this is the best packaging I’ve seen so far. Only a bag of silicagel was missing there, but no humidity could pass this packaging anyway.



First tests
After I got home, I did first tests – see here:



(mobile cam pic)


The beam.



(mobile cam pic)


The dot at daylight.



I of course tried some burning. It lit up a cigarette in about 30 seconds at the distance of about 4 meters, focussed to infinity. I used Panasonic 18650A batt for it. After warmup it is incredibly bright and powerfull, definitely more than 100 mW. The dot is nice round TEM00. The output beam diameter is about 1 mm and divergence below 1 mrad (as JL say – I did not measured it properly, but compared to my other lasers it seems to be true). If the laser is running in the enviroment of temperature above about 25 degrees Celsius it switches to near TEM00 or TEM01. But only if running longer and warms up too much. I’ve never ran it to be really hot to touch, so I cannot say how it will come out. After it is cold again, it returns to TEM00. The laser heats quite a lot, therefore cooling is needed – with environment temperature in reasonable range or keeping it off for a while. But it is a much better duty cycle than I expected. The output power stability is higher than I expected as well, still it is not as stable as my 589 nm Dragon Lasers Spartan. But it is not a problem at all. And yes, my laser likes it a bit warmer, but not too much.



The Laser
This host and laser was described here in other reviews, so here I’ll take it briefly. The host is pretty large, much larger than WL Spyder, which looks like a toy next to it. It is well bulit, with smooth threads and quality finish. You can choose to use one 18650 batt with reducer (or battery condom as one member calls it in his review) or one 26650 batt. For flat top, JL included three small neodymium magnets as well. Batt comes negative pole first, as drawing on host shows (good to have).

The host has momentary and continuous buttons, both working perfectly. Before you need to switch on the power supply with button (or standard laser key – depending on tailcap you have) and three leds next to buttons start glow red. After you fire it the led(s) turns green (in case of constant on button and by brighter blue for momentary - I personally would switch them), which is not visible usually with goggles for blue, but not a problem at all.

The aperture has threaded protection cap with hole on it to be tied with bezel as you can see. The aperture window (according to JL it is also IR filter) is good to access for potential cleaning.

The laser is focussable with scale and mark to remember position of focus. As every laser will be individual with infinity you need to play with it to find right focus position. The focus ring is turnable, but the bezel is static, with combination with quite tight focus ring it is not likely to come out of focus with manipulation.

At the bottom you can find from aperture side – 3.5 mm jack for remote switch, 5 V DC input from the AC adapter and threaded hole for tripod, which is not very deep for common tripod „bricks“, but you can always use clamped solution.
To add there are also holes on bezel and tailcap for attaching lanyard (supplied with laser), protection cap etc.
Entire host has a very nice design, with knurling to keep firm hold.

A few pics:



(digital cam pic)


First side-top view.



(digital cam pic)


Second side-top view.



(digital cam pic)


Bottom view.



(digital cam pic)


Detail on connectors and tripod hole.



(digital cam pic)


Back with switch tailcap.



(digital cam pic)


Front with aperture open.



(digital cam pic)


Laser activated – diodes.



(digital cam pic)


Laser in operation on constant on button – diodes (for momentary button it is much brighter and blue).



(digital cam pic)


The aperture protection cap detail.



(digital cam pic)


Size comparsion with my Zippo lighter – standard size.



My experience
My experience from use is mainly from laserpainting. The laser is easy to handle and it is important to know it well to manipulate it in low or almost lack of light conditions. Not a problem. Tailcap switch and push of button do the job. Momentary button is smaller, therefore there is no problem to distinguish them with finger. In addition I sometimes use also the remote switch for which I got standard jack-jack extension with jack female-female adapter. Works perfectly.

However supplied remote switch works like push-to-click to swith it on after release. By touching it you can switch it off momentary and by release it turns on again. If you want to switch the laser off completely, you need to do push-to-click again.

With remote switch I can keep laser on static position, be out of scene or no eye safe zone and switch it on on my demand. Awesome feature.

It is also good to ensure operating temperature is kept. If laser is too cold it gives just a little of power, if it is too hot it jumps out of TEM00 as I mentioned above. I once did not realized the low output at low temperatures (was not that low at all a lot above zero) and it was not good, I had to switch it off and make it slowely warm to prevent moisture and thermal shocks. Now I keep it wrapped in bubble foil to be sure it is kept warm – no problem since then.

The aperture threading is exactly the same as threading of WL Evo laser, therefore I’m able to use my Evo expanded kit with it (with all kits features metioned in my laserpainting thread), although it is quite hard to fit it due little space inside the bezel ring. With supplied beam expander comes also quite smart adapter. This adapter is composed of three parts. One is to be mounted to laser one to the beam expander and third screws both parts of the adapter together. You can adjust the beam position with it or use only part attached to laser to mount some optics on it more comfortably – I use WL Spyder expanded lens kit to fix it to the third part of the beam expander adapter with a piece of duct tape and screw it onto the part mounted to laser. Much more convenient solution.

Also the protection cap is sometimes hard to access, but I have small fingers, so not a problem, but for someone with larger fingers there should be some extentsion of the handle considered.

And finally, the color - 473 nm is short wavelength scattered quite a lot in the atmosphere, therefore finding focus position requires a while. But once you get it, it is awesome needle thin beam with turqise blue center and kind of darker at the edges reminding my 445 nm – royal blue. The similar it is with my 589 nm, the edges looks a bit more orange. I like to give my lasers names, this one is Sky Beauty. Just look at the pics below and you will find out what I mean.



Beam shots
Here I took some beamshots for you (mostly after a sunset):



(digital cam pic)


At my garden with my sister’s/our dog really wanting to be at the picture (no joke, he refused to leave me alone with the laser before I took pic with him on it :D).



(digital cam pic)


The beam through the tree without the dog now.



(digital cam pic)


Laser and its output moreless from front.



(digital cam pic)


Laser and its output moreless from side.



(digital cam pic)


Night sky beam shot (here the Sky Beauty’s name comes from – the most beautiful blue of the sky).



(digital cam pic)


Beam during the day in dust particles



(digital cam pic)

Dot shot during the day at about two meters (intentionally underexposed).


Artworks
As I mentioned my use of this laser for laserpainting artworks, you can see some of them I did so far below. For more see my laserpainting thread – link to thread and the latest laserpainting are always in my signature. For your convenience I attached links leading to that particular artworks under the quoted posts.


And finally, the first artwork with my new 473 nm 100 mW Jet Lasers PL-E Pro... ;)





The Surreal World


What do I mean when speaking about the Surreal World, the world of dreams, the world of souls? This laserpainting is about that...
For more about this artwork see the original post.

Here you can see the laser creating a flat surface hitting the sphere and simulating sky, with this composition it looks a bit shorter wavelength as royal blue.







The Portal

How do I see the way into surreal world? The essence of reality is interaction, the collapse of in quantum mechanics so called wave function...
For more about this artwork see the original post.

In this laserpainting the beam comes through both worlds showing the path. Here I played with the edges and center differences to create kind of wave look around the beam.


A few words about accesories
Laser comes with manual info material, warranty sheet, quality check card, with magnets for flat top batts, battery reducer, lanyard and microfibre cleaning cloth and simple battery charger (I did not try it as I have more advanced XTAR charger). In my package I got also key lock tailcap with two keys and remote switch in addition to 10X beam expander and AC adapter ordered.

I just did not mentioned beam expander as I have tested it only briefly. The input is quite narrow, but for this laser beam diameter sufficient, output lens is great with noticeable AR coating looking like a yellow mirror. However I did not find how to adjust focus on the beam expander, it looks like the ring is fixed. It looks for Mini version it might be really focussable, but Pro version does not look like focussable. Also good to mention – focus is not zoom. The problem is rubber protection cap of the output lens of the beam expander, which holds dust and fall off a lot, but Gray told me they will be likely replacing them. The protection cap for input lens is none, but this is not as problem at all. If I compare it to Dragon Lasers beam expander, with two metal threaded protection caps for both ends, this one I like more. Still the beam expander looks to be a high quality. What I like is adapter, where you can adjust the beam position as I described above in My experience part.

Regarding AC adapter. I did not tried it yet as it was delivered with US plug, so adapter is needed – not a big deal, I was just too lazy to find it. JL should deliver some adapter for that, according to discussion with Gray. It supports inputs AC 100 - 240 V at 50 – 60 Hz and delivers output DC 5 V at max 4 A, therefore your phone charger might not be sufficient if you consider to use it instead. As it is double insulated, there is no ground pin on input.



Conclusion
This laser is worth every cent. For 473 nm 100 mW with described beamspecs and for the price of 400 bucks I’m not aware of any better option. If I consider this as complex product (including customer care and problem solving) the value you get is much higher. You cannot go wrong with JL. And thanks Gray for great service provided. There are only little cons, which are not really important even to mention here.

It is another true jewel of my collection. And I’m looking forward to further nice time spent with this laser.

Overall I highly recommend to consider this laser for anyone interested in 473 nm portable.

Just one note, consider that every DPSS laser is different, but what I’ve read here on LPF, these dildas like it a bit warmer and give a very overspec output.



Final note
It was also a lot of fun to share with others on LPF our feelings when waiting and receiving the JL products in several threads. It made me the waiting a bit shorter. So, thanks. :)



Bonus for those who finished it here
And here is bonus comparsion of size with my entire collection of portables:



(mobile cam pic)


From left: WL Spyders collecrion - Lunar, Arctic, Krypton and Inferno, than Sky Lasers PL 532 nm 800 mW, WL Evo 532 nm 100 mW, 589 nm 50 mW DL Spartan and finally the reviewed Sky Beauty beast.
 
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BowtieGuy

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Excellent detailed review Radim! :beer:
Glad to see that it's everything you expected, it looks like Jetlasers/Gray have another satisfied customer.

Thanks for all the great photos too, some beautiful artwork in those last couple pics! :)
:gj: and :kewlpics: +rep when I can.
 
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Vetttech

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((( WOW! ))) Great review! I enjoyed it very much! Your photography skills are also very good! Lots of " Eye Candy " for us to look at. :drool::drool: Thank you! :beer:
 

CurtisOliver

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Very nice review Radim. I'm glad you are happy with it. I'm sure you will put it to great use. :beer:

Those beamshots are very good. :drool:
 
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Encap

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Radim:
Very nice review and presentation--well thought out and laid out format--comprehensive/detailed and lots of great pictures!

Beyond very good images/pictures --very professional and well done, all of them--the unboxing, the product, beam shots-- all "eye candy" and very enjoyable to view well composed and executed shots.

Excellent addition to your lasers for laser painting, collection.

You are 100% right---you can't go wrong with JetLasers--Maybe cost is a little more/higher than other makers products but the quality and features you get are also a lot more received. You get something really nice, not a toy quality laser, and an excellent value for hard earned money spent + product support and customer care very rarely found that makes the getting part, receiving, and ownership a pleasure.

As I have said before elsewhere and worth repeating again:
"Great laser in all respects-outstanding high quality professional level laser with many useful features not found in any other make. You can't go wrong with a JetLasers product. All of them are great. The PL-E Pro series being the grail of JetLasers hand held units with many useful and well considered features that no other handheld/portable laser offers.
I can't say enough good things about them either. You can always bet a JetLasers 532nm has an excellent IR filter and mW output exceeds specifications. They build them over spec so that after years of use they will still meet or exceed original output specifications output.

Everyone who owns a JetLasers product loves it and is very happy to have it.

Are the JetLasers products more expensive than other hand held lasers? Yes , but not by a lot.
Are they worth every penny spent to obtain one? Yes and then some considering the exceptional product at a reasonable price + the best customer service/support in the business and not just before you buy---you get the same attention after you buy.
Any problems are always addressed quickly and made right.

Gray and Jetlasers only want happy customers who feel they received something of value that they enjoy for their hard earned money spent with JetLasers. They will do whatever it takes to accomplish that--they have been known even to allow product to be returned for full refund several months after the sale if the customer is simply not happy with the product purchased for whatever reasons --within reasonof course. This fortunately almost never happens--everyone loving the excellent service, product received, and very happy overall, being normally and usually the case.

The JetLasers guys are a different breed---not in it just for for the money--they are honest, and have integrity. They are are proud of the business they have accomplished creating and the products they have created and offer--and rightly so they have done a great job of it. The founders are all engineers and laser enthusiasts themselves that love what they do and they do the best job they can on creating excellent products at reasonably affordable prices"

Enjoy your new JL 473nm---you are a luck guy to be able to be one of the people that has one.
 
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diachi

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Very nice, detailed review! :)

I need to stop looking at reviews of these 473s, they look awesome and every time I read a review I want one!
 

Jhop

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Very nice review! Love the photos. I hope I can be lucky enough to get one of these JL masterpieces one day. :D
 

Radim

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Thank you all guys for a very nice comments here.

Especially thanks to Encap for sharing his opinion about JL - might be helpful for the others.

It was such a fun for me to do this review during the weekend as part of my activities. When doing the beamshots outdoors entire its path was in our closed garden (at not frequently used large part of it, but a very nice space) the beam was mostly shot at the remote building wall (nobody lives there, just storage of stuff) at sufficient hight not to allow the dog to reach the beam or dot (he is crazy for lasers, as I mentioned it somewhere here). Entire area was controlled. And when my sister was looking for Druid, trying to catch my attention and spontanously requiring to be at the pic, I asked her to use safe area to approach and allow me to keep the safety. No single problem. For the sky shot there was clear sky and no aircrafts nearby.

I even heard people coming nearby street to recognize there is a laser in operation - so the beam is very visible even from side. When thinking about it now - maybe I'll capture it with camera from side far away to see the most of it and how catchy it is. The color in dark adapted vision is very visible.
Something like 20 - 40 meters maybe more from side it attracts attention for sure as I mentioned - the dot on the wall was not visible from the point of view of the people approaching. And output dot is very "dim" - you almost do not notice it compared to my Evo for example - of course it depends on the angle to the beam. So I assume it was the beam.

The photos are easy with a good camera and as I wasn't trying to get them perfect, it was even fast. Still I see a lot of errors in them. But nice was I even used something else from complete manual settings. Not usuall for me. :D

And diachi, do not worry, you will get it one day. I do not believe you could resist this wavelength long. :D
 

Lildutchboy7

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Absolutely beautiful laser! Love 473nm:D It's the closest I'll probably ever get to 488, if/when I get a 473 from JL.
 

paul1598419

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A comprehensive and thorough review. Lots of photos. I enjoyed the complete OP and was not bored as long as it was. Nice job, Radim. +rep when I can do it again.
 

BobMc

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Great review, good read, looking forward to seeing the new color in your painting. Best wishes :)
 

astralist

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Be careful, i have this PL-E 800mW 532nm (older version) which the aperture glass is not an IR filter, it's just a broadband coated waterproof glass.

If i had time, i'll post thread about it.

But surprisingly, the IR filter on the crystal is good enough which only has ~50mW leak of IR

EDIT:

I'm not really sure if their latest products are using a genuine IR Filter, but i cropped the aperture glass and tested it with 700mW of 808nm, all light was passed!!

I can't see clearly from you image, but it's slightly red-tinted, just like mine.
It's quite hard to differentiate between REAL red tinted IR filter coating and red tinted BBAR coating.

They are not lying about their laser is IR filtered, every pumping crystal (for 532nm and 473nm) is HR IR coated after all.

FYI, the leaked IR filter has quite big divergence, Stay safe!
 
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paul1598419

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Every IR filter I've seen and the ones I have are all greenish/bluish tinged. Can't see one that was red blocking IR.
 

astralist

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It's quite tricky to explain, but let me try:

The real IR filter is usually bluish/greenish through its entire medium (glass), BUT when you see it from certain angle, the surface looks red (only the surface, not the medium).

The blue/green tint comes from DBAR/BBAR coating
While the red reflection on the surface depicts the HR IR coating.

CMIIW, couldn't find a better words explaining it
 




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