Piling on the Thorfire C8s reviews

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gangstead
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Piling on the Thorfire C8s reviews

I, too, heard the siren call of “reviewers needed” and accepted a Thorfire C8s. I’ve never done a review before and there’s already been a number of other reviewers but I accepted the flashlight so I’m going to post anyway. My Amazon review has been up for a while now, for that one I kept it aimed at what I thought was the average Amazon shopper, pretty high level, but I thought I’d try to be a little discerning here. My focus is on adding to the earlier reviews and covering things that I didn’t learn from them or the manufacturer.

TL;DR up top
I think the trade offs you make to get this light at a budget price are mostly in tint, driver efficiency and reverse clicky switch. The physical build is pretty nice. Biggest draw back for me is the tint.

Obligatory “box of stuff” shot:

It’s a box. With stuff. I’ve never replaced an o-ring on a flashlight or read a manual except for my first Zebralight.

Comparison
Lineup:

From the left: BLF A6 (anodized & unanodized mashup), Thorfire C8s, Nitecore MH12, MH20, Olight S20R.

Lineup after earthquake:

I don’t have many flashlights and my collection skews towards 14500 / 16340s because good things come in small packages. The c8s is definitely the throwiest light I have. I wouldn’t call it pocketable, but I’d definitely say it’s “cargo-pocketable” because it’s not as big as I was expecting. You can see that length-wise it’s within a couple mm of the MH12 and width wise it’s half again as wide as my MH12.

Here’s one more shot of just the C8s and MH12 because that’s what I consider to be my closest light in terms of throwiness:

I tried to put the dinky little clip that comes with the MH20 on the C8s. It kind of worked, but the C8s is slightly bigger in diameter, even in the recessed area where it looks like a clip should go, so it doesn’t really fit around. Removing this ill fitting clip ended up putting a faint scratch in the anodization, but I don’t count that against Thorfire because I was messing around with parts that I should have known wouldn’t fit.

Externals
All the other reviewers I saw said how free of defects the finish was from the factory so I paid extra attention when I opened it up to try to prove them wrong and this was the best I could do:

It took a large lens on the camera and lots of shots to get this to show up: a tiny siny spot just at the edge. It’s not really noticeable in practice. This is my first light with the matte black finish and I like it, but a word of caution: do not use this light on fried chicken night. A well worn patina can look cool, but it’ll also show a big grease mark just as easily.

The specs brag about the anodized threads for lockout but they are only anodized on the tail cap side:

From the top: Nitecore MH12, MH20, BLF A6, Thorfire C8s
You can still lock out, but if you are holding the big fat bezel and the tail cap when you lock out there’s a 50% chance you loosen the unanodized side. I realize the Nitecores are in a different price range, but the A6 is definitely a budget light that has anodization on both ends. I don’t know how common this is. Both sides came nicely lubed from the factory.

I like how the bezel isn’t too sharp. It’s scalloped but isn’t so sharp that it’s scratching up desks and tabletops that I stand it on. I don’t consider a sharp bezel a feature, but I’m not a big believer in the self defense usefulness of smacking someone with a flashlight.

I don’t know if a pocket clip is really practical with the big reflector on this light, but we’ll never know since it didn’t come with one. I think a stiff clip could come in handy if you wanted to be able to clip this onto a bag to keep it handy but instead it just comes with a lanyard — might as well come with a fanny pack.

Internals
Other people have covered that it’s easy to take apart and mod. It comes with a copper star which I think is somewhat hard to find on a budget light:

Other things to note: lots of grease, centering ring, mediocre soldering (the joins didn’t heat up enough, they should be shinier and “bubblier” instead of having a flat spot from the iron). I’ve got an electronics background so I hold my soldering jobs to a high standard.

I haven’t modded a light yet but when I start it’ll probably be an emitter swap here.

I think the springs could be slightly stiffer to hold the battery better. It doesn’t rattle enough to cause the light to wink off, but if you give it a shake or hold it in one hand and bump your fist with the other you can hear the battery rattle inside the tube. This isn’t something that the other lights have solved though. My A6 does it as much, my Nitecore MH12 and MH20 do it a little bit but my Olight S20R doesn’t do it at all. It can probably also be solved with another battery wrap or getting a battery with a thicker wrap on it. It’s a little thing but it makes the light have a more premium feel when it doesn’t rattle.

UI
It has a “hidden” strobe mode. It’s hidden well, which is good because many people don’t like strobe modes. I find it to be a little too hidden and I can’t always get it on the first try when I want it.

If I understand the terminology correctly it has “off time memory” for the modes. Mode changes are based on the light being off for a very short time. I believe Thorfire says it’s less than 3 seconds, to me it seems like it has to be less than 2. This is nice and intuitive and the same way the A6 works.

Beam Shotz
Be gentle, dear reader, this is my first attempt at beam shots.
I don’t have access to a cool barn off in the distance like everyone else seems to have so I have ceiling shots ~7 ft away from the front of the light. Here are a couple comparisons to my other 18650 lights. All shots are manual exposure 18mm focal length, f/3.5, 1/125 exposure and ISO800.

C8s:

Key features: tight hot spot (due to smooth reflector), no artifacts (due to matt black bezel), blue spill, lobed appearance.

MH20:

Key features: not as tight hot spot but tighter spill (also smooth reflector), a few more artifacts but still pretty clean pattern (shiner anodization plus a few other “features” in this bezel), neutral white beam (this is the MH20 with NW option), some but not as much lobiness (more of a middle region between hot spot and spill)

A6:

Key features: bigger hot spot, wider spill (orange peel reflector that is much narrower than the other two) for a much floodier light with smooth transitions, much warmer white tint (this is the 3D tint).

If I did have that field with trees off in the distance for my beam shots I’m sure they would show the C8s throwing much farther than my other lights.

Summary
This is my first light of this C8 style but I like it. Don’t discount how nice it is to get a light 2 days after you order it instead of 3-99 weeks since Thorfire lights are available on Amazon Prime rather than shipped direct from China. It would also make returns much easier. I think the biggest compromise you make to get this for a budget price is in the emitter and driver. The cool white tint isn’t that nice when you have other NW tinted lights that are just as bright. Also 900 lumens is like table stakes for a nice light these days. It’s not bad, but XM-L2s can be driven brighter and other emitters even brighter. Still Thorfire has made this a good deal for $25. It could also use a forward clicky switch, but I don’t know if that’s something everyone would agree on.

Edited by: gangstead on 04/20/2016 - 02:30
The Miller
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Nice review!
Like the humor, please do us all a favor and get yourself some more lights to review!

JakeDjanitor
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nice review

giorgoskok
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Nice review Smile

Dimbo The Blinky
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The Miller wrote:
Nice review!
Like the humor, please do us all a favor and get yourself some more lights to review!
Amen, brother Miller!

“There is no darkness but ignorance.”