Astrolux MF 04 flashlight review:
Is this the Lumintop BLF GT killer?
Astrolux started as an in-house budget-priced brand at Banggood. Their line up has expanded rapidly with the Astrolux MF04 being the latest addition, and it’s a monster thrower. Throughout the review, I will talk about the Atrolux MF04, but it is the same light as the Mateminco MT35 Plus.
From specs, this is going to go after the BLF GT that I also reviewed. The MF04 is going to be a very interesting competitor when it comes to long-range flashlights. Does it actually out-throw the Lumintop BLF GT?
I, and many others, have been looking forward to this extremely far-reaching flashlight since it was announced. It is supposed to reach as far as the BLF GT, but at a lower price.
|LED||Cree XHP35 Hi|
|Beam intensity||1,460,000 cd|
What you’ll get:
- Astrolux MF04 flashlight
- Carton box with a plastic handle
- Atrolux Manual
- Spare O-ring
- Tripod mount screw
- Carry strap
After waiting for 2 months for shipping I finally received it, after paying $60 on import taxes. Here in the Netherlands we have strict import rules, and this one didn’t get through it, even the invoice said it was valued at $60….. so I paid the same for import fees and taxes.
But nevertheless, I finally received the flashlight. Inside a carton box with enough padding.
Handling of the light
Keep in mind that this is not an EDC flashlight LOL. The body seems to be a little off-balance compared to the longer BLF GT. Although the body is much shorter than the BLF GT it does however provide enough grip. Because the head is so big compared to the body, it is a little front-heavy. Depending on how strong your wrists are, this might become a little annoying when using it extensively.
The switch is a bit recessed in the body which is a Pro! This means that it is less likely to activate accidentally. And it also helps to “find” the switch on the feel when in complete darkness.
Does it tail-stand?
Because I do photography, I own a Manfrotto tripod with a special 029 head. It uses the Manfrotto hexagonal quick release plate! And guess what! This light also doesn’t fit, just like the BLF GT :–)
But Astrolux did something differently. They changed the size of the screw-in tripod mount hole to a larger size so you could use a different kind of tripod. But they also included an attachment in the plastic bag, that makes the tripod hole the regular size. Just notice that this little attachment is actually screwed onto the lanyard attachment.
Build Quality and Anodizing
Anodization is the actual coating on the flashlight. The quality of this particular light is fine. It is however rather sensitive for fingerprints etc. I was lubing the big O-ring behind the front lens element and touched the head afterward that left some clear fingerprints. Check the pictures below.
For the rest, the build quality has nothing to complain about. The bezel was rather easy to take off, and below I will be talking more about the threads etc.
The threads came slightly lubed and weren’t sharp. The threads between body and head fit well, as well as the threading on the tailcap. Again, this is done professionally without any problems.
LED, Lens Bezel and Reflector
The reflector is made of aluminum and is smooth. If you look up close you can still see some machine rings. Plastic reflectors tend to be the smoothest.
- Diameter head in: 118 mm
- Diameter head outside: 135 mm
The bezel is of aluminum, and not stainless steel, unfortunately : –). This makes it a little less bling.
The dimensions are equal to the BLF GT. See the comparison below. The BLF GT on the left, and the Astrolux MF04 on the right.
XHP35-Hi LED for max throw but without having a pencil-type beam.
Flashlight manufacturers mainly show dimensions in millimeters.
- Length Astrolux MF-04: 235 mm
- MF04 head diameter: 136 mm
- MF04 Width reflector: 125 mm
- Width body and tailcap: 52 mm
- Lens Diameter 131.7 mm
- Lens thickness 3.14 mm
- Weight Astrolux MF04 empty: 1290 gr / 2.84 lb.
- Weight Astrolux MF04- with Samsung Q30*4: 1460 grams / 3.2 lb.
Compared to the Lumintop BLF GT, the head is the same! So in theory they would “throw” the same, unless of course there is a different emitter and driver used….. which there is. Check the pics below for comparison.
The battery carrier has a metal construction. It is best to use high drain, button-top 18650 batteries . The carrier is designed specifically for buttton tops, and flat tops won’t touch the positive pole. At the positive poles on the battery carrier are plastic rings/washer to prevent from reverse polarity, inserting your batteries the wrong way can cause a short. The good thing is that these little plastic washers are easy to pry off from the protruding button on the carrier.
Your protected batteries may not fit!
My Panasonic NCR18650B’s cells with protection do not fit because they are too long for this battery-carrier, but other users say they could use their protected batteries. For sure you can use unprotected cells, and for certain brands also, protected.
See the pictures below of how this works. One thing to keep in mind is that it is easy to pry off the washer, but impossible to put back on. LOL.
Note: this will void any warranty! So do this at your own risk!
Solution: Another way to use flat-top batteries is by using small magnets. But you need to be very careful because they could end up making a short as well.I wouldn’t recommend loose magnets for long-time use, unless you’d solder them to the batteries.
Fortunately, this one has a simple user interface again, unlike the BLF GT :–)
There are 2 mode groups. 1 main, and 1 for the blinkies. The main group has 4 modes, Moon, Medium, High, and Turbo. The second (and hidden) mode group consists of a Strobe, SOS and Beacon.
A Beacon mode can help save lives.. It will flash at max power for a split second. This extend battery life to max, and you are still able to show your location! SOS could be used as well, but the batteries would run out of juist much quicker.
From the OFF position:
- 1 short click: back to last mode
- Double click: Turbo
- Triple click: blinkies menu
- Long press: electronic lock-out
From the ON position:
- 1 short click: runs through the menu from mMoon to Max.
- Double click: Turbo
- Triple click: blinky modes (with a single click you go through the 3 options.)
- Long press: flashlight turns off
Yes, the MF04 has some blinky modes, and you can enter the blinky menu by clicking 3 times quickly from the OFF position. It will start at Strobe, then with a single click to SOS and Location Beacon. Yet another click will turn the light off again.
- Press and hold the switch for about 3-4 seconds when the flashlight is turned off. If you use the switch, nothing will happens. Hold it again for 3-4 seconds to return to normal use.
- Behind the switch cover is a very small LED. This stays on as long as the light is turned off. When you do a lock-out, the LED will switch off! This can be handy to save some battery life.
Unfortunately, I had a very hard time measuring the battery amps. And it is impossible to unsolder 1 LED wire to measure amps, and didn’t want to break anything before taking it outside. I think it is more important for this kind of flashilght to measure “throw” and not battery life.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that the battery life really depends on a few factors, and not just the mAh a battery is supposed to have. Some batteries will last longer than others while in Turbo mode. So sorry I don’t have any numbers here at the moment.
How far can the Astrolux MF04 Throw?
Everyone is waiting for this one… will it out-throw the BLF GT? I did my first measurement indoors at 5 meters (16.4ft). You have to calculate the Lux into Candle (cd) first and this little tool helps with doing that: https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/light/lux-to-candela-calculator.html
Measured at 5 meters
- Astrolux MF04 throw is: 825kcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
- BLF GT throw is: 802kcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
Measured at 10 meters
- Astrolux MF04 throw is: 1.027Mcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
- BLF GT throw is: 810kcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
Measured at 15 meters
- Astrolux MF04 throw is: 1.19Mcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
- BLF GT throw is: 814kcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries)
- BLF GT throw is: 834kcd on Turbo (4 Samsung 30Q batteries + Pana NCRB)
I tested them both with the same Samsung Q30 flat top batteries (using the magnet trick I mentioned earlier). My measurements always seem to be a little on the lower end compared to others. Astrolux claims a throw of MAX 1460000cd 1.4million candela. Which is almost double of what I measured.. at least at 5 meters. I know measuring at 5 meters for such a flashlight is pointless, but it was the easiest to start off with!
The conclusion is that my Astrolux MF04 throws quite a bit farther than the BLF GT, at least my GT!
Astrolux MF04 Beamshots
Astrolux MF04 vs BLF GT
Camera settings for the pictures below: Canon EOS 5D mark II 50mm, ISO 1600, F4, 1/4 second shutter speed, 5000K. Distance to the shed is about 50 meters (164 feet).
Below shots were taken on a winter night with some haze in the air. The first tower is 650 meters (0.4 miles) away from the camera. The flashlight was about 5 meters away from the camera on the right. The small shed is about 10 meters and the larger shed about 60 meters.
Canon 5D II, 50mm, Shutterspeed of 0.5 seconds, F4 ISO 1600, 5000K
Overall conclusion of the Astrolux MF04
- Cheaper than the BLF GT
- One of the farthest-reaching LED flashlights in the world
- Carry strap included
- Simple user interface
- Because of the nature of this beast, the light is a little front heavy.
- Anodization is a little sensitive for fingerprints
5 stars: Excellent
I tested it for functionality, quality, and throw, and it’s a great performer.