When I first saw Black Diamond's Icon Headlamp redux for Spring 2012 ($79.95), I was immediately intrigued by its cool metal body. So intrigued in fact, that I accidentally hit the power button while I was staring into the bulb. It was like getting maced with light.
That's how I met the 2012 Icon's QuadPower LED bulb, whose 200 lumens (versus the current model's 100 lumens) are estimated to throw a beam up to 100 meters, making the Icon the brightest headlamp in Black Diamond's lineup by leaps and bounds. The Icon also sports a 35-lumen setting powered by two Singlepower LEDs for slower pursuits. It's also got two red LEDs that can be accessed without turning on the white LEDs to give you a bit of light without killing your night vision.
The super-bright setting comes in handy with anything from high-speed pursuits like trail running to high-dark pursuits like spelunking, while the lower settings are useful for mellow campsite settings from setting up your tent to assembling your JetBoil. The one-button functionality is great, too - you can switch between settings in and adjust brightness by holding the button down. It runs on four AA batteries and its max burn times are 75 hours on the highest setting, 175 on the lowest.
I had a friend of mine test it out on an evening trail run while I ran with Black Diamond's new Sprinter model on my head. The Sprinter's 75 lumens lit up the area, but the Icon dominated the dark. With him running behind me, my shadow ran ahead of me in sharp relief for the duration of the run, and I was treated to a sweeping view of the woods ahead of me every time he looked around. The Icon (with the batteries) weighs about 8 ounces, but the topstrap kept bouncing and slipping to a minimum.
Add the tough metallic exterior and waterproof housing (protected against immersion down to 1 meter for 30 minutes), and you're looking at a headlamp that'll take your flashlight's lunch money.
If you want to turn night into day (or you're trying to attract Mothra), you're going to be hard-pressed to find this many lumens for this many dollars.
Just don't look directly into the thing.