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Sofirn C8L review: thrower flashlight
Sofirn C8L specifications
|LED||CREE XHP50.3 HI|
|Max. Lumens||3100 lm|
|Max. Beam intensity / distance||70,500 cd / 531m|
|Blinkies||Strobe / SOS / Beacon|
|Review date||July 2022|
I don’t think Sofirn needs much of an introduction here. We’ve reviewed 13 Sofirn flashlights so far. This one is the Sofirn C8L, which is a “C8” style flashlight. Sofirn have produced a few of these before (C8T, C8F, C8A) and other manufacturers like Convoy are well known for them too (C8 and C8+).
All these lights have a single cell, tail switch and a head around 45mm. They’re very easy to slip into a jacket pocket and are a good balance of big enough for some outdoors power and light enough to bring along on a trip just in case. Having a tail switch, they’re also slightly tactical too.
Most have a single LED, resulting in more throw distance than overall lumens. The Sofirn C8L is special as it uses the new XHP50.3 HI LED, that promises good throw whilst also being very bright.
Nothing special from Sofirn here. The C8L came in a cardboard box with a little bit of foam and bubble wrap. You get all the expected accessories in the box though:
- Sofirn C8L flashlight
- 21700 battery
- 2 Spare o-rings
- USB A-to-C cable
- Cell spacer (so you can use 18650 batteries)
Flashlight in use
The first thing you notice when you pick up the C8L is that the knurling provides very good grip. It’s OK but any more aggressive knurling would be uncomfortable after a while.
Around the head there’s fins for heat dissipation. These have indents in them, preventing the light from rolling.
The C8L has 2 switches: a tail switch that’s forward clicky and a side e-switch for changing modes. Being forward clicky means it supports momentary on with a half press. The e-switch also has an indicator light to show battery status.
The tail switch protrudes a bit. This makes it easy to access but means the light won’t tail stand. The tail end also has holes for a lanyard attachment.
Another useful thing the light has is a port for USB-C charging.
The C8-size light is just right for fitting in a big trouser pocket, holster or small jacket pocket. The beam profile is more practical than most throwy C8 lights, which makes the C8L a very good all-round outdoors light.
Build Quality, and Warranty
Like nearly all flashlights, the Sofirn C8L is made of 6061 grade aluminum. This is anodised for protection and seems to be covered evenly. The threads are square cut and smooth.
The tail has 2 medium thickness springs but the head only has 1. You may get a few more lumens with a spring bypass in this.
Sofirn may be known as a “budget” brand but the quality of the C8L is leaps and bounds over an average 990000 lumen light you’d get on AliExpress or eBay.
Sofirn provides a 2 year warranty on their lights by default, though cells are only covered for 1 year.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Sofirn has used the CREE XHP50.3 HI LED for the C8L. This is a 5050 size dedomed LED but the light emitting surface only takes up part of that area. This results in a more focused beam than lights that use a XHP50.2. Normally having a more focused beam means you sacrifice lots of lumens. Not so with the XHP50.3 HI, which can output over 3000 lumens.
The CREE’s .3 emitters (XHP70.3 and XHP50.3) seem to have less of the CREE rainbow too. By eye, the beam looks very even, with no hint of green.
Opple Light Master Pro measurements:
- CCT: 5860K
- DUV: 0.0043
In front of the LED is a light orange peel (LOP) reflector, smoothing out the beam but still retaining good throw. There’s also a glass lens and a crenelated bezel, which appears to be aluminum.
Sofirn’s website says the light has 26 degrees spot and 82 degrees flood. In practice, this makes a great balance for outdoor use.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Sofirn C8L dimensions||Millimeters||Inches|
Flashlight size comparison
From left to right.
- Amutorch XT45
- Sofirn C8L
- Cyansky H3
- Convoy S21B
- Sofirn C8L
- Armytek Dobermann Pro
Driver & User Interface:
The main thing you need to know: the tail switch turns on and off, the side switch changes brightness.
That’s the basics and means that you can hand the C8L to someone and not be concerned that they’re going to get it into a weird mode.
But the Sofirn flashlight also has a few other tricks, with shortcuts and a more tactical mode group.
Available modes: Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo, Strobe, SOS, Beacon
In group 1, which is the default…
- 1 click tail switch: On (mode memory)
- Half press tail switch: On (momentary)
- Double click tail switch: turbo
- Single click tail switch: Off
- 1 click side switch: change brightness (eco, low, medium, high)
- Double click side switch: turbo
- Triple click side switch: strobe
- Press and Hold for 3 seconds: switch between mode group 1 and 2
- To Eco: hold down the side switch whilst turning the light on with the tail switch
- To Turbo: when on, double click side switch. When off, double click the tail switch
- To Strobe: triple click side switch when on
Low voltage warning:
- Yes. The light will blink once and step down, then turn off around 2.95V
- When in strobe mode, double click the side switch to cycle between strobe, SOS and beacon (not memorized)
- None, aside from unscrewing the tail cap
- None visible and I could only detect a little on eco
Additional info on the UI:
- When on mode group 2:
- Side switch only selects between medium and turbo
- Double click (tail or side switch) goes to strobe instead of turbo
- Mode group 1 is excellent – it’s simple for anyone to use and also has quick access shortcuts.
- The indicator light shows the battery voltage for about 5 seconds when the light is turned on:
- Green: 70-100%
- Flashing green: 40-70%
- Red: 10-40%
- Flashing red: 0-10%
Batteries & Charging
Sofirn often includes a battery with their flashlights and the C8L is no different. It came with a Sofirn branded 21700 cell, with 5000mAh and 50A on the wrapper. The cell is a flat top and 70.8mm long.
The light has built in USB charging, thanks to the type C port that’s under a rubber flap. Sofirn says it can charge at a max of 2.5A, fully charging the included 5000mAh 21700 in 3 hours. When charging the indicator light goes red, then turns green when done. The C8L managed to draw 2.2A from a powerbank.
Good news if you’re a fan of USB-C: a C-to-C cable charges the light fine, as well as the A-C cable provided.
When charging you can also access the lowest eco mode.
Thanks to the springs in both ends, button top cells seemed fine too.
Lux meter: All lux and lumen measurements are from my home made integrating sphere, calibrated with a S2+ measured by Maukka. Measurements are done with a UNI-T UT383S lux meter and Adafruit TSL2591 connected to a Raspberry Pi (using RuTiTe by bmengineer). Expect them to be within +/-10%.
DMM: Current readings were taken with a Precision Gold PG10B DMM for low currents and a Mustool X1 clamp meter for high currents.
Cell: I used Sofirn’s 21700 cell.
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @10 minutes|
The C8L seems to be hitting about 80% of its specs. This kind of difference isn’t going to be noticeable by eye but it’s a shame it’s not advertised accurately.
I’m impressed! This is the kind of sustained output you get from Olight. Acebeam or Thrunite.
Turbo holds close to 2500 lm for 4 minutes before stepping down to 1500 lm for another 5. It then maintains over 1000 lumens for almost an hour and a half before trailing off.
High is very constant at just over 1000 lumens for about 1h45m.
Medium is constant too, staying above 400 lumens for almost 6 hours.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI)||Time till shut off|
ANSI FL1 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.
Throw numbers: Peak beam intensity
Throw was measured indoors at 10m at 30 seconds with a UNI-T UT383S lux meter.
|Low||2308 cd / 98m||2,620||102||112|
|Medium||11675 cd / 216m||13,475||232||254|
|High||31275 cd / 345m||36,433||382||417|
|Turbo||70,500 cd / 531m||83,845 cd||579||633|
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produce a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
The distance to the building is 170m. Photos were taken with a Pixel 6 Pro, set to 1/12s shutter speed and ISO 400, F1.85.
- Armytek Dobermann Pro
- Convoy S21B (W2)
- Cyansky H3
- Sofirn C8L
- Sofirn IF22A
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Sofirn. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Great balance of throw and flood
- Sustains over 2000 lumens for 4 minutes
- Sustains 1000 lumens for an hour and a half
- Comes with battery and built in USB charging
- Doesn’t quite hit lumens 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
5 stars: ★★★★★
On paper there’s nothing that exciting about the C8L but the more I used it and reviewed it, the better I realized it was. Sofirn has done a great job with the C8L and you can see that it’s the result of many years of design improvements and feedback from users.
The dual switch user interface and indicator light is excellent. The LED and beam profile is excellent. The sustained output from the included battery is excellent. Sofirn may sell the C8L at a reasonably low price but considering how well made it is, I think Sofirn are hot on the heels of the likes of Acebeam when it comes to quality flashlights.
The Sofirn C8L is a great flashlight to recommend as soon as someone wants something better than what’s available at a hardware store.