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FireFlyLite LEP02 review
FireFlyLite LEP02 Arrows specifications
|Brand/model||FireFlyLite LEP02 Arrows|
|Flashlight category||LEP / long-range / searchlight|
|LEP||See through + Aux LED|
|Max. output||500 Lumens|
|Max. beam distance||1300 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||??? cd|
|Review date||October 2023|
LEP flashlights have become the hype in the flashlight world for the last couple of years. And many company have jumped on the bandwagon to get their own share.
FireFlies, or FireFlyLite, has also jumped on this wagon and introduced 2 LEP models at the same time. The FireFlyLite LEP01 Hunter, and the FireFlyLite LEP02 Arrows.
This particular review is on the LEP02, Arrows version.
Let’s find out how good the LEP02 performs
Keep in mind that mine might still be prototype products, so I received mine in a generic FireFlyLite package, with this inside:
- FireFlyLite LEP02 Arrows
- 21700 battery with 5,000mAh and built-in USB-C port
- Remote control switch
I did not receive a manual, and no other accessories were included, like a charging cable, or holster etc. The listing on firefly-outdoor mentions a battery of 4800mah, but mine is the same as the LEP01, namely a 5,000mAh battery.
Flashlight in use, Build Quality, and Warranty
The LEP01 looks okay, and has some typical FireFlyLite design patterns.
It’s black anodized with a relatively matte finish, without any problems or color differences. In the past we had some FireFlies with different colored parts, but these look pretty nice.
The threads on both ends of the battery tube are not anodized.
I must admit that I am not very fond of the extremely gritty threads. I shared my feedback to FireFlies , hoping they address this before sending them out to regular buyers. Adding lubrication will help, but the aluminum almost feels too soft, resulting in a lot of aluminum shavings. As a precaution, I do recommend charging the battery inside the flashlight to avoid any complications with these threads!
I also had trouble getting one of these light to work (LEP01 or LEP02), since it uses a secondary tube, sitting loose inside the battery tube. This secondary battery tube is crucial for the switch or USB-C charging circuit to work I assume. I would suggest FireFlies to have another look at this, since a loose tube like this can lead to complications. And we’ve seen the same issue with the popular Lumintop FW3A from a couple of years ago. If you reverse the battery tube, the inner tube can not be removed from the rear, which makes it a bit less finicky.
The reason why mine had some trouble, was mainly because of a loose driver retaining ring. After tightening it, I didn’t have this problem anymore. So make sure your retaining ring is tight, and your tailcap as well.
The Arrow uses a very quiet e-switch, located in the tailcap, just like the Hunter. And right next to the switch is the built-in USB-C charging connector located, below a metal cap.
In normal underhand grip, you need both hands for operation. In the overhand position, you can rest your thumb on the switch, which make it pretty easy to use, single-handed.
FireFlies also provided a remote switch, enabling you to mount the flashlight on a rifle. This feature positions the LEP02 as a potential hunting flashlight. Beyond hunting, you could use it for search and rescue, wildlife observation, marine navigation, of as a emergency beacon.
It can tailstand, but not very stable.
- Product Warranty
We provide 3 years’ manufactory warranty to fireflies flashlights. (Consumable batteries are not in warranty. )
DOA products can be returned and refunded within 15 days. We will bear all the returning shipping cost.
Side note: as a company, Fireflies or FireFlyLite is not very active at responding to inquiries. This is my experience of dealing with them over the past several years. I don’t know how they do it on the larger scale, but I just wanted to share my experience, since that could reflect the way they handle your warranty claims as well.
LEP, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Delving in the heart of the flashlight now, so let’s explore some of the key components. And first things first, the FireFlyLite LEP03 Arrows is not an LED flashlight, but an LEP. LEP stands for Laser Excited Phosphor, and basically means that the light source is actually a laser. But the blue laser beam gets a little treatment from a layer of phosphor resulting in a yellow-ish/white-ish beam. And at this point, you would not think this to be a laser any longer. The beam looks just like an LED flashlight.
At the moment there are 2 types of LEP modules. There is the classic mirror type module, and there is a ‘shine-through’ module. And the FireFlyLite is using the latter.
The biggest benefit of this type of module is the smaller module size. Instead of an inch by an inch module, you can get it as small as a half inch wide, and about an inch long.
However, FireFlyLite didn’t just insert an LEP module, they also included several blue AUX LEDs that can be turned on for fun… yeah, they don’t serve much of a purpose. Or maybe, you can use it to locate the flashlight in the dark.
These AUX LEDs can be (de)actived by 9 fast clicks. And this is also a problem, because you need to do the clicks very fast, but it’s difficult to get exact 9 clicks without activating the light or strobe mode.
The bezel is removable, and I’m not sure whether it is stainless steel, but to me, it looks like coated aluminum.
In contrast to the LEP01, the LEP02 has a much nicer beam. In my conversation with FireFlyLite, they said they are working on the LEP02 beam. But my suggestion is to check the beam on the LEP01, not the LEP02. I added some beamshots at the bottom of the review.
Dimensions and its competition
|Length||154 mm||6.1 in|
|Head diameter||37 mm||1.5 in|
|Body diameter||27 mm||1.1 in|
|Tailcap diameter||34 mm||1.4 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|FireFlyLite LEP02||Weight in grams||Weight in oz.|
|Without battery:||194 g||6.9 oz|
|With battery||265 g||9.4 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
LEP Flashlight comparison
Size compared to other LEP flashlights
Group 2: FireFlyLite LEP01, FireFlyLite LEP02
FireFlyLite LEP01 UI : User interface and driver
The available main modes:
- High, Low
- Momentary mode High
The available special modes (blinkies):
- Constant Strobe
How the UI works when the flashlight is still turned OFF:
- Single-click: turns on in High
- Double click: Strobe
- Fast triple-click: activates Tactical mode (Momentary High) (the light is activated in High mode by pressing the switch, turning off upon release). A double click + hold at third click will deactivate. You will see a blink, to indicate the tactical mode activation.
- 9 fast clicks: activates AUX LEDs and repeat to deactivate
- Press and hold: nothing
How the UI works when the flashlight is turned ON:
- Single-click: turns off
- Double click: strobe
- Triple-click: nothing
- 4 clicks: lockout mode (this is not written anywhere on their website)
- Press and hold: switch from High to Low
Shortcuts within the UI:
- To High: single click from off
- To Strobe: double click from on/off
- No, always starts in High
- Yes, continuous strobe. Activated by a double click in on/off.
Low battery warning:
- Not that I could see
- Well.. not according to their information, but I could lock my light with 4 clicks from ON. Repeat 4 clicks to unlock.
- Not visible by eye
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
- The UI is pretty easy to understand, but I don’t particularly like the double click for Strobe. And activating the blue AUX LEDs is also not very easy.
- The hidden Lock out mode is a little strange to say the least
FireFlyLite LEP02 Hunter charging and batteries
The FireFlyLite LEP02 includes a rechargeable 21700 battery, labeled a 21750 battery, and with the following product code: USB-21750. However, there is no brand name printed on it. So it’s just that, plus an indication of 18.5Wh, and 5,000mAh. I measured the length at almost 77mm.
Upon arrival, I measured the battery at 4.11 V, similar to the one provied with the LEP01. And even though they didn’t include charging cable in my package (which I assume they will do once they start selling these), you can use any USB-C cable you have lying around. I tested it with a good old USB-A to USB-C, and a USB-C to USB-C, and both worked plugged directly into the battery..
Charging the battery with the built in USB-C port (not in the flashlight, but in the battery itself) is actually pretty slow. It charges at about 0.7A with a maximum of 0.9A, but never reached 1A when I checked. The total charging time was 5 hours and 20 minutes, with an end voltage of 4.18V. This is also a little unusual, because it is shorter than the one I got with the LEP01. It’s probably because I used a different USB device for charging. During the charge you can see a green light, that turns blue when it finishes charging. The battery was down to 2.98V after the discharge tests.
You could also use other 21700 batteries, including flat top, unprotected batteries. But since they are pretty short, they will lose contact when you bump it.
|Charge type||Fits||No fit||Charge time|
|Batttery with onboard USB-C||All 21700 sizes||–||06h 07min|
This is the gear I used for testing:
|Gear||Purpose||Link to buy|
|Hagner E4-X||Measuring beam intensity (throw)||Inquire at Hagner.se|
|2* Extech SDL400||Lumens and logging runtimes||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,|
|Leica Disto D2||Distance for throw measurements||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,|
|Sekonic C-800||Spectrometer for LED measurements||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk|
FireFlyLite LEP02 Hunter lumen measurements:How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements.
The output measurements in this review are based on my homemade integrating spheres, each equipped with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter. For consistency and accuracy, a calibration light (Convoy S2+ with 249lm and a Convoy S2+ with 261lm) is measured prior to each set of lumen measurements.
For high-output lights, one of the lux meters uses an ND camera filter to prevent the lux meter to max out. This is either the Kenko PRO1D ND16 up till about 80,000 lumens or Gobe ND32 for anything above.
All of my readings were taken with the included battery, that was fully-charged before each runtime, and each major test.
The measurements were taken manually at turn on and 30 seconds. The 10 minute numbers are taken from the runtime graph.
|Low||Specified||Measured at turn on||30 sec||10 min.|
|Low||150 lm||61 lm||59 lm||60 lm|
|High||500 lm||312 lm||282 lm||241 lm|
It couldn’t reach close to the specified output, not even at turn on. Not in Low, nor in High.
FireFlyLite LEP02 Hunter Battery life and runtimeHow Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Runtime tests were conducted in my 50cm home made integrating sphere, paired with the Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI FL1)||Time till shut off|
|Low||4h 30min||7h 32min||7h 32min|
|High||1h 30min||4h 08min||4h 08min|
Specifications weren’t filled out, but 1 of the images showed: Runtime 90 min and 4.5hrs.
But they clearly haven’t tested it. The runtimes aren’t even close to specified..Who came up with these? So very strange…….
Added the runtime with the first 30 minutes. The spike towards the end of the runtime in Low mode is also a bit strange.
FireFlyLite LEP02 Hunter Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurementsAbout Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Measurements were taken indoors and outdoors with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. The measurements were taken 30 seconds after turn on. Indoors at 5 meters, and outdoors at 20 meters.
Both modes were measured at 5 meters indoors, and at 20 meters outdoors. Specs are in distances, instead of candelas this time, simply because that’s all I could find.
|Mode (distance)||Specified||I Measured||Meters||Yards|
|Low (20m)||700 m||76,000 cd||551 m||603 yd|
|High (20M)||1300 m||380,000 cd||1233 m||1348 yd|
|Low (5m)||700 m||87,500 cd||592 m||647 yd|
|High )5m)||1300 m||410,000 cd||1281 m||1401 yd|
During my testing, I noticed a larger difference between the 5 meters and 20 meters measurements. But that’s mainly with candelas. In terms of beam distance, you wouldn’t really notice it, since 1233 meters and 1281 meters isn’t really a big deal.
You’d need 4 times the candelas to get double the beam distance.
I tested the LEP02 twice outdoors. The first time was a couple of days earlier, and it reached 8,000cd higher. Which is basically nothing in terms of difference in distance. It’s only 13 meters more compared to the measurement in the list.
Fortunately, the numbers in High mode weren’t that far off from specified. 1281 meters / 1233 meters instead of 1,300 isn’t something I would really worry about.
For the following beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D mk2 with a 100mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 0.5sec, F4, 5000K
The tower is about 450 meters / 492 yards away.
Compared to the following flashlights:
- FireFlyLite LEP01 Hunter
- FireFlyLite LEP02 Arrows
- Lumintop X0
- TrustFire T30R
- Fenix HT30R
- Mateminco FW2
- Maratax LEP DX Reach rev2
It’s very hard to get the beam of LEPs in picture, especially at close range. These were done at about 5-6 meters, and give you some idea about the beam. But it’s not 1 to 1 in comparison to seeing them in person.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to us for review at no cost by FireFlyLite. We have not been paid to review, nor have we been holding back on problems or defects.
- Interesting design
- Simple UI with 2 modes, High and Low
- Always starts in High
- Has a Tactical mode (momentary mode)
- Longer runtimes than advertised
- Rough bare threads
- Loose secondary tube
- (de)activating AUX LEDs is not easy
- Double click for strobe
- Runtimes were extremely off specs
- Not reaching output specs
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.
The FireFliyLite LEP02 has the characteristics of a typical FireFlyLite (or FireFlies flashlight). However, this is one of their first LEP flashlights produced. And that’s makes it quite exciting.
It’s not a bad performer at turn on, and the output doesn’t drop much over the first 20 minutes after turn on.
I do think that small companies like FireFlyLite should be more trustworthy with their specifications. I have no idea how they came up with the lumen output, or with the runtime specifications. Those are so extremely off, you will have a hard time believing anything else from their advertisements.
The UI is the same as the LEP01, which is good, and bad at the same time. The UI is easy to understand with 2 modes. But the the double click for Strobe, and 4 clicks for lockout (only when the flashlights is turned on), and the hard to (de)activate the AUX LEDs, make it hard to recommend.
I hope FireFlyLite will adjust these things asap.
Since this is a prototype flashlight, and in the hope they can fix these issues soon, I refrain from rating it. If I had to rate it, it would be …. a little low….