Review: Sofirn SF36 - 1100lm XP-L2 18650 rear clicky

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gchart
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Review: Sofirn SF36 - 1100lm XP-L2 18650 rear clicky

Sofirn SF36

I was kindly offered this light for review by Tracy at Sofirn. I have made my best attempt at keeping all remarks honest, fair, and impartial.

Packaging: the SF36 was in a nicely padded box and included the usual suspects – an instructions card, two o-rings, and a basic lanyard.

LED Tint: the LED is listed as an XP-L2 V6 with 2A-D tint. I couldn’t find the tint listed on Amazon, but it is in the instruction guide. It appears neutral to my eyes, similar to some of the 5000K lights I have sitting around. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same problem that most XP-L2 lights face that I’ve seen so far – terrible tint shift when white-wall hunting. In practice (around the yard, woods, etc), it doesn’t make too much of a difference. I would think the situation could have been improved by using an orange peel reflector, but according to this recent post by Tracy of Sofirn, it sounds like they’re switching over to an XP-L V6 (not the XP-L2). Sounds like a reasonable solution to me. (Note: beamshots may appear green-ish in the photos but are neutral in actuality as confirmed by my wife)

Beam Pattern: the SF36 has a moderately sized hotspot and largish corona, as you’d expect from a flashlight of this size. I own several Convoy lights, and the beam pattern falls right in between an S2 and the C8 (unfortunately I no longer have a M1 to compare against). Great for mid-range distances. I could see this useful for camping, hunting, walking around the yard, etc. There is a slight bit of ringy-ness to the beam, probably due to the stainless bezel or smooth reflector with XP-L2. In practice, I don’t find it bothersome.


Note: any green-ish tint in this photo is from the camera and does not appear in real life

Modes: the SF36 has four well-spaced modes (specs: 1, 50, 300, and 1100 lumens). Hidden (hurray!) strobe can be accessed through a double tap. Memory is present. I think having four modes is just about the perfect amount – allows for good spacing, but not so many that you get lost. I currently don’t have a device to measure lumens, but I’m skeptical of the “1 lumen firefly” mode. It’s much brighter than the supposed 5 lumen mode of my Klarus Mi7. It’s almost too much to read a book by at night, but then again, I’d probably reach for a smaller light for that task. It’s a decent mode, it’s just not 1 lumen and certainly don’t call it a “firefly” (you’ll get flamed here for that!). One last thing… my review unit exhibits a ½ second delay when changing modes. It’s not terribly annoying, but just seems a bit odd. It just goes dark for an instant before moving on to the next mode.

Sofirn SF36 (left, “1 lumen”) vs Klarus Mi7 (right, “5 lumens”)

Note: any green-ish tint in this photo is from the camera and does not appear in real life

Styling & Build Quality: I really like the styling of the Sofirn SF36. The size is great and would work well in a jacket pocket. There are a few deep fins to aid with heat, but not so many that they’re distracting from the design. There’s enough mass here to handle a reasonable amount of heat. The stainless bezel is classy and should do well to protect the business end of the light. And while I’m not a fan of crenelations, they are shallow. The threads are square-cut, lubed, and smooth. The glass appears to have a very light AR coating. And the anodizing… it’s beautiful. A smooth, flawless satin finish. It feels great in the hand. The knurling is nice and grippy without being overly aggressive. The one negative point here is that while the light does tailstand, it is quite wobbly. The switch protrudes ever so slightly beyond the rim of the tailcap. That should be an easy fix though.

Protruding tail switch:

Mod Potential (extra credit): I was able to easily and quickly disassemble most of my light with normal tools. No glue! The bezel untwists easily. The driver is held in by a reverse-threaded retaining ring. Once I figured that part out, it was removed without too much trouble. The switch is standard fare. I stopped short of actually making any mods, but it should be pretty easy if you want to.

Conclusion: I really like the size and quality of this light. This light will definitely see some use. I think with a few tweaks (such as Sofirn’s planned switch to XP-L), this could be a go-to light.

Size comparisons: Convoy C8, Sofirn SF36, Convoy S2, Astrolux SS

Thank you Sofirn for providing the opportunity to review the SF36.

Edit: I was asked if the beam has a green tint in real life, it does not. Adding notes to the beamshots to clarify this.

Edited by: gchart on 07/20/2017 - 09:31
AgentSteel
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Yes, a nice light overall.

Please let us know if you swap the emitter Smile

Flashlights, blades & beer
Let’s stay relatively optimist!

gchart
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Yeah, I’ll have to put in some time with it to see if the XP-L2 bugs me in the long run. I have a bare Nichia 319A 5000K that’s been sitting on the bench, just waiting for a suitable host. That might just make it’s way in at some point.