Black Diamond Apollo vs Moji LED Lanterns: Simple and Lightweight Led Camping Lanterns by Black Diamond
Lantern options seem nearly endless these days with lots of great brands offering some great options.
I’m not backpack camping, so I’ll be taking a look at two lightweight options from Black Diamond: The Apollo Lantern and the Moji Lantern.
A well-lit campsite is a more enjoyable and safer campsite.
In one way or another, lighting is pretty much necessary whether your cooking at camp, enjoying a game with the kids, getting set up inside your tent, or even hanging out by the campfire.
Both these offerings from Black Diamond are LED-based, diffused, and powered by AA batteries.
Lets first take a look at smaller of the two, the Black Diamond Moji LED Lantern followed by the Apollo LED Lantern.
- Moji Lantern: Check Today’s Price
- Apollo Lantern: Check Today’s Price
Black Diamond Moji LED Lantern
Right away I noticed the size factor and packability of the Moji Lantern. The Black Diamond Moji measures 3”x3”x2.5” and packs a pretty decently powerful diffused 100 lumens when on High.
I can pack and stack about a dozen of these into one of my camping boxes and still have plenty of room on top of them for other gear!
Moji Lantern’s Eneloop NiMH AA Rechargeable Batteries
The Moji lantern takes three AA batteries which is a priority for me as I have about a hundred or so Eneloop NiMH Rechargeable batteries in my gear closet that I use on photography jobs.
I highly recommend Eneloop NiMH rechargeable and you can purchase them in bulk on Amazon:
- The Batteries: Check Today’s Price
- The Charger: Check Price
The Moji lantern is dimmable via its main push-button…simply hold the button pressed in and the lantern will cycle through its lowest settings all the way up to its brightest settings.
After the lantern has been turned off, it will come back to its previous brightness setting once you turn it back on.
The Moji lantern does not have legs or a stand and is meant to sit on a surface or be hung with its two hooks either onto a tree branch, cord, or tent loop. It will sit just fine on a flat surface but illuminates light upwards and out.
When hung on a cord, loop, or branch, it will emit light downwards and out.
Moji’s hanging hooks are easy to use and they help “lock” in place onto a cord, branch, or tent loop by using two overlapping hooks instead of just one single open-ended hook.
The hooks fold down out-of-the-way into the lid of the lantern when not required.
Moji Lantern Specs:
- 100 Lumens
- 122g (4.3 ounces)
- 70 Hour Max Burn Time
- IPX Rating of 4
- 3x AA Batteries Required
Moji Lantern Feature Highlights:
- Light and Packable
- Simple and Easy Use
Black Diamond Apollo LED Lantern
Right away I love rubber-tipped foldable legs of the Apollo.
The legs help elevate this lantern off of any surface such as a camping table, tailgate, or ground. The Black Diamond Apollo measures 9.5”x3.3”x5.3” with the three legs extended and packs a nicely powerful diffused 250 lumens when on High.
With its legs, the lantern is elevated about 5” and the soft diffused light is spread further outwards than the Moji.
It may not be an issue for you, but I really do not like electronics that require AAA batteries. I’d much rather power as much of my gear with an arsenal of AA rechargeable batteries that I already have in my gear closet. The Apollo also takes three AA batteries which again is a priority for me.
One advantage to the Apollo versus the Moji is its internal Lithium-Ion battery.
You actually do not need AA batteries so long as you give the Apollo a good charge-up via the provided USB cord before a trip.
Since the Apollo can be run from two different power sources, it has an internal onboard battery selector that you use to tell the Apollo which power source you prefer to use…press the power source button and hold to switch between the internal Lithium-Ion battery or tell it to use the AA batteries.
The Apollo has a handy power level indicator that is broken into thirds.
Not fully necessary, but it is nice to know if your lantern is fully charged, dropping to about half charge, or if it’s entering its last legs of power for the night.
When combining both a charge of the internal Lithium-Ion battery as well as loading it up with three AA batteries, you have roughly a whopping 150 hours of light available for your camping trip!
Like the Moji, the Apollo lantern is dimmable via its main push-button… simply hold the button pressed in and the lantern will cycle through its lowest settings all the way up to its brightest settings.
Just like the Moji, after the lantern has been turned off, it will come back to its previous brightness setting once you turn it back on.
As seems to be standard with most Black Diamond lanterns, the Apollo also has hanging hooks that are easy to use and they help “lock” in place onto a cord, branch, or tent loop by using two overlapping hooks instead of just one single open hook.
Both the hooks fold down into the lid of the lantern when not required.
Lastly, the Apollo has a USB output which gives the ability to charge electronic devices that can be charged via USB.
Apollo Lantern Specs:
- 250 Lumens
- 344g (12.1 ounces) with batteries
- 24 Hour Max Burn Time
- IPX Rating of 4
- Internal Lithium-Ion battery
- USB ReChargeable (cord included)
- USB output for electronic device charging
- Power Meter
- 3x AA Batteries
Apollo Lantern Feature Highlights:
- 250 lumens on tap
- Rubber tipped legs
- Internal Lithium-Ion Battery (chargeable via USB)
- Power Level Indicator
- Up to 150 hours of light
- Lightweight and Packable
They are durable, light and packable, they last a long time when fully charged, and they emit a great amount of light for their size.
Both of these lanterns are stellar and perform well. I own three Apollos and six Mojis and I use them all the time!
During my camping trips, I find that I typically use the Moji lanterns inside my tent, and spread around the perimeter of our campsite as safety/scene lights.
I always go to my Apollo lanterns for tabletop lighting and for cooking light.
The Moji in the picture is the NEW Moji (you can tell from the ridges on the lid). It’s rated for 150-200lm, and 6.5h – 120h depending on how bright you run it. I guess its not one the reviewer actually tested.
Ok… This was a review, not a test. Testing shows that Black Diamond got it all wrong with the (new) Apollo lantern.
You quote their incorrect claims: (Up to) 24 hours burn time on full + Up to 150 hours of burn time on lowest level….
Let’s go to the 24 hours on max. They state that this figure comes from 6 h (internal battery) + 18 h (AA batteries) = 24 h.
Their claim of 6 h burn time with the internal battery seems to be valid.
However, AA batteries that can give you the stated performance have not yet been invented. And it will take MANY years before such batteries show up (if they ever do). Energizer Lithium Ultimate, the very best battery out there, got an upgrade this year (2019). This upgrade makes it about 11% better (compared to previous version) with the load that the max setting on the lantern represents. There are NO batteries around that are even close to the performance of the new Energizer Lithium Ultimate. Still the Apollo lantern will not run more than around 9 hours on those batteries! That is…. half of Black Diamonds claim. The box and manual for the Apollo says “Power up with Duracell”. So, one should think that the best Duracell batteries (Duracell Ultra Power)) should give you burn times close to their claim. However you will get less than 5 hours on those batteries. That is VERY far from the 18 hours they claim!
Black Diamonds claim about burn times from the AA batteries is complete and utter nonsense. Would be interesting to know how Black Diamond got those completely false numbers.
Unfortunately there is more bad news about the Apollo lantern…… The battery meter for the AA batteries is just as wrong as their stated burn times. For me, the sensible use of the lantern is to use my Eneloop batteries as the first source of power, and having the internal battery as a backup. This (as you say) can be done with a switch. But given the completely incorrect meter, you nearly get “no” power out of the rechargeable batteries before the lantern switches to the internal battery. You simply have to empty the internal battery to get the lantern to use most of the power from the AA batteries. The same problem applies to Alkaline batteries (like Duracell), but you should expect to get a little more power out of them before the lantern switches.
The only batteries that will make the battery meter work somewhat as expected are the Lithium Ultimate. However, they are out of the question given their extreme price.
Black Diamond has failed completely when designing and testing (if they ever did) this lantern.
You mad bro?