- 1 Preface
- 2 Packaging & First Impressions
- 3 Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)
- 4 UI (User Interface)
- 5 Form Factor
- 6 Beam Style/Beamshots
- 7 Mode (Output) Spacing
- 8 Tint & CRI
- 9 Waterproofness
- 10 Lockout Capability
- 11 Scale Comparison (Ruler)
- 12 Summary
- 13 Where to Buy Links
- 14 Our Latest Reviews
It is not often that Fenix produces Neutral White (NW) flashlights. When they do, those models are often well-received by flashlight lovers/addicts/users.
So is this “2017” AA/14500 model still a valid flashlight to get in 2018?
Packaging & First Impressions
This is what the light will come with as shown below.
- Comes in the usual Fenix signature style packaging.
- Appears to be like a AA version of the Fenix PD32 2016 we reviewed previously.
- The threads and o-rings were mildly lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).
- Battery tube opens only at the head portion.
- The provided clip are not reversible. Hence, attachment of the light to a baseball cap for hands-free usage is not possible.
- The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
- The tail switch requires more force than most normal forward clicky switches to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
- Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs, as expected from Fenix.
- The provided lanyard may seem flimsy at first but is able to support the full weight of the light; and should hold up to the test of time.
- Battery compartment holds Sanyo/Panasonic Eneloops, Energiser Ultimate Lithium (L91) and (Energiser and Duracell) alkaline batteries without any fitment issues.
- Only Button Top 14500 batteries can be used.
- If using the provided Alkaline battery, the insulation/protection tape (Kapton tape?) has to be removed from the negative terminal first.
Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)
- Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
- LED: XP-G2 R5 Neutral White
- Battery Format: 1 x AA / 14500 (3.7V rechargeable/1.2V NiMH rechargeable/1.5V lithium primary batteries/1.5V alkaline [not recommended]) ONLY
- Output & Runtime (with Fenix 14500 800mAh / AA Ni-MH 2500mAh / AA Alkaline (included) battery):
- Low (5 lumens – 50h / 60h / 40h)
- Mid (30 lumens – 11h / 13h / 9h 40min)
- High (70 lumens – 3h 30min / 5h 40min / 3h)
- Turbo on AA Ni-MH / AA Alkaline (150 lumens – 1h 45min / 50min)
- Turbo on 14500 (320 lumens – 1h)
- Max Beam Distance: 135m (14500) / 94m (AA)
- Beam intensity: 4,500cd (14500) / 2,200cd (AA)
- Waterproofness: IP68 Standard (2m)
- Impact Resistance: 1m
- Dimension: 102.5mm (length) x 20.5mm (body diameter) / 21.5mm (head diameter)
- Weight: 58g (excluding batteries)
- Battery reverse polarity protection
- Accessories Included:
- 1*AA Alkaline Battery
- 1*Spare O-ring
- MSRP: ~$65
UI (User Interface)
UI for this light is perfect for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is relatively simple and straightforward to use.
Switching ON and OFF is done by the main switch at the TAIL of the light. It is a forward clicky switch which also enables half press for momentary activation where necessary.
- 1/2 Press (TAIL) – Momentary access to last used Mode (last mode memory).
- 1 Click (TAIL) – Light will switch ON to last used Mode (last mode memory).
- 1 Click (TAIL) – Light will switch OFF.
- 1 Click (SIDE) – Mode change per Click (light cycles through LOW, MID, HIGH, TURBO -> LOW, MID, HIGH, TURBO).
- HOLD (SIDE) [~1 sec] – STROBE is activated. 1 Click (SIDE) will return light to last used Mode.
Mode memory will remember almost instantaneously whichever non-blinky mode (Strobe is not memorized) the light is in.
For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.
This light fits a medium sized hand easily. Switching between overhand and underhand holding method wasn’t an issue and its (lack thereof) weight certainly helped in it feeling rather well-balanced on hand. The knurling on the light enables the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.
The light is unable to tail-stand by itself due to the slight protrusion of the tail switch.
For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the fairly deep Smooth Reflector. With the XG-G2 used, the beam is still sufficiently “throwy” for most close range duty.
The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. Owing to the more “throwy”-nature of the LED used, the beam has a distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly wide usable (almost circular) spill. It also helps that the XP-G2 led is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some slight rings in the beam when white wall hunting but not visible in real world usage.
All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (LOW: 2, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 0.8, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, TURBO (AA): 0.8, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB and TURBO (14500): 1/2, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB).
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.
LOW (5 lumens):
MID (30 lumens):
HIGH (70 lumens):
TURBO AA (150 lumens):
TURBO 14500 (320 lumens):
Mode (Output) Spacing
Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).
It would be nice if Fenix would incorporate a lower LOW mode to one that is at moonlight level (sub-lumen or 1 lumen) for those bedtime runs or during which having 5 lumens is way too bright for the night-adjusted eyes.
The ability to use a 14500 battery to get a higher TURBO output whilst retaining all other mode levels is a great move from Fenix. That said, there is a 5 minutes timed stepdown from TURBO to HIGH, to prevent the flashlight from getting too hot.
Tint & CRI
Fenix did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 4500K and 80CRI ballpark.
The hotspot is neutral white whilst the corona possess a slight yellow-green tint; and the spill having a neutral white tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.
The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on Turbo.
No signs of water intrusion in the head, switches or body was seen.
No electronic lockout but mechanical lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.
A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the head or tail portion of the light will enable mechanical lockout.
Scale Comparison (Ruler)
To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a definite YES.
The flashlight’s straightforward UI and the ability to use both AA and 14500 batteries ensures that it is easy to find replacement batteries when needed; are both major plus points for it. The neutral white tint aids in providing a better color rendering beam which is certainly a welcome change from Fenix. While the output might not seem much for an AA/14500 light, the “throwy” nature of the XP-G2 LED makes up for the slightly lesser output with more throw.
However, as mentioned earlier, we look forward to the day that Fenix incorporates a lower LOW mode into the LD12, like in the Prometheus Lights Beta QRv2 we reviewed previously.
Here is a bonus size comparison with the Fenix PD32 2016, that the LD12 has seemingly has taken its design cues from (apart from the ability to tail-stand).
As with all gears, two is one and one is none.
The Lite Review
Disclaimer: Light was provided for by FastTech for this review. No other compensation was provided.
Where to Buy Links
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Fenix LD12 2017
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