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in Lights - Flashlights & Headlamps

Average Rating
4.75 / 5 (4 reviews)

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eric levine
( ericl )

Northern Colorado
Fenix LOD-CE (CREE 1-AAA) on 02/10/2007 02:48:49 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My observation is that there are two types of lightweight backpacking flashlight users. The first are those who want a basic nighttime camp light. Lights such as the photon weigh a few grams and are suitable for most uses around camp. The second flashlight user is the serious night hiker. Adequate lights for their activities demand a substantial focused beam providing hours of stable brightness.

For the past several years, all these lights have been based around the luxeon LED, which puts out up to 10 times the light of regular LEDs. The Princeton Tec EOS is a popular 3 aaa cell luxeon headlamp of this type. With lithium batteries, it weighs about 3.5 oz. and provides 3 levels of illumination and runtimes.

Now there is a new LED on the block called the CREE. It’s similar to the luxeon, but puts out about twice the light for the same power draw. The color of these first generation CREEs is very white, unlike the early luxeons which varied widely.

The Fenix LOD-CE is a mass produced one aaa cell penlight which is currently in a class by itself. It measures about 3” long by ½” wide, has 3 brightness levels as well as strobe and SOS. (I consider these last two modes mostly worthless.) The high beam is rated at an amazing 50 lumens, with a measured runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes with an E2 lithium. For comparison, this is about twice the level of the original luxeon lights such as the ARC. Medium output is 20 lumens for 4 hours, while low produces a still quite bright 7.5 lumens for 9 hours. ( The listed weight is 14.5 grams, and my weight with key ring, clip, and aaa lithium is about 24 grams.


Fenix lights are known for their high quality and the LOD-CE (about $45) is no exception. The aluminum body has the most durable type III anodized finish. Even with the key ring attached, the light can stand on its tail. A simple twist on-off cap controls the various modes, while a coated glass lens protects the LED and provides “dunkable” water resistance.

One thing I don’t like too much is the use of pulse width modulation (PWM) for the lower two brightness levels. PWM pulses the light on and off very fast. The easiest way to determine if a light uses PWM is to shine the light on your index finger while moving your finger from side to side. You will see many fingers with PWM, but only one with a constant brightness light. That said, it’s done much better than most earlier lights, and the high beam does not pulse. The beam itself is a wide spot with a very generous sidespill. Unfortunately, the spot is too wide to throw a beam as far as its prodigious output would otherwise permit. Even so, I greatly prefer this beam to my Princeton Tec EOS, which I find useful but disconcertingly narrow. Fenix lights have a reputation for going through O-rings faster than most, but at first glance I don’t see a problem and my light came with a few spares.

Fenix also sells a small monster 135 lumen CREE light which uses a single lithium 123 cell. While it’s only a matter of time before an assortment of small CREE headlamps hits the market, I’ve never made that much of a distinction between small flashlights and headlamps. I usually hike hand carrying my lights anyway, to see better. Small lights can be easily fit to a hat brim or even held in one’s mouth for basic short chores.

The Fenix works well in all these carry modes, and for now it has become my ultimate ultralight light.

Edited by ericl on 02/12/2007 02:38:02 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Princeton Tec EOS priced at: $33.74 - $44.99
Princeton Tec Flashlight priced at: $59.99
Shop Fenix products at GearBuyer
paul johnson
( pj )

LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Fenix L0D-CE on 02/10/2007 05:00:22 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The L0D-CE ("cree edition") uses a fixed focus Cree 7090 XR-E LED with a 50,000 hr life (approx). It is digitally regulated like most of the Fenix flashlights.

It's only a bit larger than the single AAA battery that powers it too! The battery isn't include though. It is ~2.9" long and ~0.5" in diameter. Weighing in at a whopping 0.7oz it is perhaps the lightest, powerful lighting device available to the UL backpacker.

It has five modes of operation, selectable in the following order, and having the following light outputs for the regulated "burn" times indicated:

Primary (when first turned on) = 20 lumens for 3.5h

Low = 7.5 lumens for 8.5h

Max = 50 lumens for 1h

Plus Strobe and SOS modes.

The flashlight is turned on by tightening (turning it clockwise) the "head" and turned off by loosening the head. Modes are selected by somewhat quickly turning the head/flashlight off-and-then-back-on within 1.5seconds of being turned off for each mode-selection operation. Leaving it off for ~2s cancels any prev. mode selected.

It has a rugged Al body. No plastic for this Little Lighthouse! While it doesn't come with a carrying case like some of it's bigger bro's, it does have a very handy detachable pocket clip. Just put in on "backwards" from the direction you would normally associate with clipping it to one's pocket or belt, and it clips directly only the brim of a ballcap or hat, allowing the light to shine in front.

There is a six mo. limited warranty* through, limited lifetime warranty through Fenix in China (which is the country of origin/manufacture).

*BrightGuy warrants the Fenix L0D CE LED flashlight (when purchased from BrightGuy) to be free from manufacturing defects for a period of 6 months from the date of purchase.

Edited by pj on 02/15/2007 06:54:28 MST.

Shop Fenix, Max, SOS products at GearBuyer
Jonathan Ryan
( Jkrew81 - M )

White Mtns
Great all around light source on 03/12/2007 13:56:01 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I bought this light a few months ago and I have been very happy with it. Along with my Arc Premium they have replaced all of my headlamps in my hiking kit. Along with a Velcro strap that I use to attach it to my shoulder strap on my pack, it provides a tremendous amount of long lasting light. In the end, I do not find that I miss the feel of a sweaty headlamp band at all.

Update (07.27.09): Two years later and this light is still going strong. I have used it to navigate through the Grand Canyon at 3AM, to take a night-time waterfall shower on the Na Pali coast and on several dark hikes back to the car. Still my light of choice when intense night hiking is not in the cards.

Edited by Jkrew81 on 07/27/2009 13:24:15 MDT.

Shop ARC, Canyon, Premium products at GearBuyer
James Lee
( JLeephoto )

Excellent little pocket rocket on 12/02/2009 13:55:05 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

This is an excellent little pocketable light. It oozes quality both in it's beam and it's finish. Non-flash light fanatics are often amazed by the amount of light this tiny pen light puts out compared to their full size D cell mag lights at a fraction of the size/weight. I've put mine though some of the harsh treatment over the years, and it still works flawlessly. Placed in a shoe, pointed up into the ceiling of the tent, it works as well as any lantern.
Still, there were a few things that keep it from being perfect. I wish it had a lower "low" as I find the setting still a bit bright for reading around camp mates. I could also do without the SOS & Strobe settings as you have to cycle through them to get to the most used settings. Finally, a "pocket clip" would be useful for attaching to baseball hat brim, making it an excellent dual duty head lamp. But what really keeps it from getting a 5 in my book is the expense at around $40+.
I just ordered a Maratac AAA Flashlight for half the price. It looks like it might meet all the criteria on my wish list.

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