Supfire F5 review

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam
Supfire F5 review

I found this new type of sliding zoomie 18650 flashlight on the Supfire website, and it had my interest as it looked like a slimmer 18650 version of the Supfire F3 (3xAAA and 18650 with sleeve). I have done some nice 100kcd mods on the F3, and this F5 looks like it can obtain the same result in a better looking and bit smaller package. I found it for sale on Aliexpress and Dhgate, for almost 30 dollar, which is too much for this flashlight IMO. The light was sold including battery and charger which I don't need. But because I had some credit leftover on Dhgate want to stop buying there anyway (AliExpress is more diverse), I bought a Z5 for 27 dollar shipped ( http://www.dhgate.com/product/2015-supfire-new-flashlight-f5-waterproof/...|915027769 ) to see what it is like. I hope to see it cheaper in other places soon.

It came well packed in a box with lots of chinese (this packaging is clearly intended for the chinese market) and lots of Supfire-tape Cool, inside some foam and a very presentable Supfire box (though not specific for the F5)

Upon opening, the flashlight was revealed, a 18650 charger with European lead, a whole lot more chinese, and The Handbook of Used

Not sure about the quality of the charger, it is not my expertise, the innerts look like this, the micro-USB looks like an extra power input:

Inside the flashlight i found the battery, again taped in Supfire tape (I want a roll of that Smile )

With the packaging removed. The battery seems unprotected and no capacity is given, on my BT-C3100 V2 charger I measured 2128mAh, not a bad capacity for a ***fire battery.

On to the flashlight. Here it is compared to a few other flashlights, from left to right Uniquefire UF-T20, BLF Eagle-Eye X6, Supfire F5, Supfire F3

The flashlight looks well-build, with a shiny but quality looking anodisation. The threading is not square but seems quality enough. To describe the dimensions that influence the performance, I compare it to the Supfire F3.

The F5 lens is 26mm diameter (left), the Supfire F3 lens is 27mm (right). They share the same lens but the F3 has it a tiny bit more exposed.

The F5 slider has a bit more travel than the F3:

This results in a bit wider flood (Smile, and the F3 flood was already quite good), and a zoomed focus that goes just a bit beyond sharp focus of the die (Smile again, it will probably focus a led on a thicker Noctigon as well).

Flood compared (F3 left, F5 right):

Throw compared (F5 left, F3 right)

As you can see, the F5 led is a bit more cool/purple than the F3, not sure if that is a general thing or just this led. I have no reason to doubt that this is a genuine Cree led.

The F5 shows a very high frequency PWM, hardly visible if at all, while the F3 has very low frequency PWM (picture=waving the two flashlights fast before the camera, F5 top, F3 bottom)

Edit: In my focus on the technical aspects I totally forgot describing the UI, it is worth mentioning because it is the nasty high-med-low-strobe-SOS with the ridiculous next-mode memory. 

I measured the current on high for two different batteries: Sony VTC5 and Panasonic NCR18650B. Weird enough this flashlight draws more current from the lower drain capable Panasonic (2.1A) than from the Sony (1.8A). I checked with the new high drain Samsung 30Q (1.8A) and another NCR18650B (2.1A), so this is consistent: this driver draws more current from a low-drain battery Undecided. Btw, from the accompanying Supfire battery it only draws 1.35A.

With the NCR18650B, the output (30 seconds after switch-on) in flood was 430lm, in throw just 106lm. A bare XM-L2 T6 at 2A  I measured at 880 lumen so in flood modus half the light of the bare led is lost in the host, as expected from a zoomie (see my thread: Where does the light go in a Supfire F3 zoomie). To compare that: in my average budget reflector light without AR-glass, the loss is just under 40%. The flood-to-zoom-ratio is a factor 4 (compared to 3.3 for the F3), this is really high but expected because of the wide flood combined with the long focal length of the led: from flood, the lens has to travel very far from the led to be focused.

The throw of the stock light, throw modus on high setting and with the NCR18650B battery, was 12.4 kcd. Not impressive, but for the lens size, XM-L2 and 2A current, that is expected.

It must be said that the output was pretty inconsistent and I blame the switch for that. The Supfire F3 is well-known for its bad switch, I fear it is no different here.

The flashlight in pieces:

Look at that pill, it is loooooooong! Compared to the F3 pill:

And without altering the design significally (just shifting the tube threading for the pill up a bit)  they could have used a more than 1cm shorter pill and therefore a more than 1cm shorter flashlight.

The suspicious switch can easily be replaced by one of our standard Omtens on a up to 20mm board (left stock switch, right big Omten plus pd68's 20mm switch board, a tail cap clamping ring is not shown but fits nicely):

The 20mm driver was a surprise, the design is unknown to me and it shows a torroid. Can it buck or boost something? Can it explain why the lower drain battery works better than the higher drain one?:

 

Conclusion 1: I like the design and think the build quality is pretty good for a budget light. Of course the performance with its 2A and XM-L2 is nothing special, but I've seen bigger lights with less performance. It has its flaws, like the seemingly inconsistent switch, the unneccessary long pill and the ancient and bad user interface with nextmodememory. I think if we wait for other sellers and it can be had for around 15 dollar, without the useless charger and battery, it is a nice zoomie that has its use.

Conclusion 2: Of course I look at this light as a mod host, and I think it will prove an excellent one. I would be surprised if the 100kcd is not reached with a dedomed XP-E2 at 2.3A, or even a XP-G2 with FET-driver. In the last case it needs a replacement switch, but that is fairly easy done.

thanks for reading!

Edited by: djozz on 10/04/2015 - 18:42
ChibiM
ChibiM's picture
Online
Last seen: 7 min 53 sec ago
Joined: 05/09/2011 - 10:25
Posts: 6245
Location: Holland

Thanks for the review. Love your work!

Billy X
Billy X's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/03/2013 - 05:50
Posts: 557
Location: South of France

Thanks Djozz.

djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam

Thanks Chibi&BillyX.

The rest of this post is reserved for a mod with the Supfire F5, someday, in the not too remote future.

Alcius
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: 09/02/2013 - 01:51
Posts: 496

Thanks Djozz for this nice review. 8)
I find it interesting cause i’ve bougt, and offered to relatives, five or six Supfire F3. Supfire F3 is imho a good zoomie : well built, has a decent output with 3xAAAs, therefore can be put in the hands of non-flashaholic non-lithium users. If this one has the same quality and can be modded, it could be the first Supfire I buy for myself .

MRsDNF
MRsDNF's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 51 min ago
Joined: 12/22/2011 - 21:18
Posts: 13256
Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Thanks djozz for the review.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

Intracloud
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 05/22/2015 - 16:59
Posts: 103
Location: Sweden

God review as usual djozz. My modded F3-L2 is my favourite zoomie, but this one looks nice too… But I not very fond of the switch sticking out that much. Looking forward to see how it turns out after your future modding.

djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam

Intracloud wrote:
God review as usual djozz. My modded F3-L2 is my favourite zoomie, but this one looks nice too... But I not very fond of the switch sticking out that much. Looking forward to see how it turns out after your future modding.

No, it's not a tailstander and will never be one, that is the only step back for me, compared to the F3 Sad  (and some do like the 3xAAA option of the F3). The mod will not have a different result than a F3, but the host just is slimmer, even the head is 2mm narrower.

totilde
totilde's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 12/27/2012 - 12:22
Posts: 1157
Location: spain

thanks for the review
I have more than enough zoomies with the f3. I barely use it, but i came in to see what kind of light it was. I liked the quality of the F3 for the price

Mooooooo

djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam

I forgot to add some serious information in the review (just edited the OP). For a modder completely irrelevant but for a non-modder quite dreadful: the light has next mode memory, very annoying Sick

Alcius
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: 09/02/2013 - 01:51
Posts: 496

Next mode memory is a serious problem … :Sp . Do you know if the now classical method described in this BLF thread , add a 470 Kohm resistor on top of the cap, works with the driver of the Supfire F5 ?

djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam

Alcius wrote:
Next mode memory is a serious problem ... :Sp . Do you know if the now classical method described in "this BLF thread":http://budgetlightforum.com/node/14342 , add a 470 Kohm resistor on top of the cap, works with the driver of the Supfire F5 ?

I don't know much about electronics, but am good in just doing stuff, I will try that and report! But which of the two caps? Undecided

mhanlen
mhanlen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 4 days ago
Joined: 03/01/2013 - 11:42
Posts: 2601
Location: Eastern USA

Looks decent. Definitely needs a driver swap though. Thanks!

Alcius
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: 09/02/2013 - 01:51
Posts: 496

Looking at your picture of the driver in post number 1, I think it could be the one to the right, and
the other one (at the bottom, on the left) could be associated with the torroid ? I’m not an expert, just trying to guess.

djozz
djozz's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 09/07/2012 - 17:04
Posts: 16703
Location: Amsterdam

Alcius wrote:
Looking at your picture of the driver in post number 1, I think it could be the one to the right, and the other one (at the bottom, on the left) could be associated with the torroid ? I'm not an expert, just trying to guess.

Well chosen Alcius, I planted a 470KOhm resistor on top of the cap on the right and memory is removed, it always starts on high now, much better!

(eventually the driver will go, but at least it is not annoying now Smile

Alcius
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: 09/02/2013 - 01:51
Posts: 496

I’m happy if I’ve been helpful in some way Smile . Thanks to you for this successful experiment.

Melven
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/12/2011 - 12:59
Posts: 142
Location: Utah, USA

I had a friend bring me a flashlight back from his trip to China and it turned out to be a Supfire F5. The tint is very purple on mine also, and next mode memory is ridiculous, but it is not a terrible light and I am sure I can find a use for it. I have just been spoiled with My A6, X6 and X5.