Sofirn Q8 - SP36 - C8F - Initial thoughts and impressions

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rcwiily
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Sofirn Q8 - SP36 - C8F - Initial thoughts and impressions

After about a week with these 3 lights, I thought I’d share my impressions.


Quick little note on my background, I have been into LED flashlights since 2007 when I bought 2 Brite Strike lights an 80 and a 290 lumen model and then lights from Fenix and 4 Sevens occasionally during the years until recently upon finding this forum. I’m not an expert but have owned at least dozen lights over the last decade mostly small CR123 lights.

With all the holiday deals offered on BLF during the last month I bought a bunch of new lights as I wanted to see how much the technology had improved since I first started buying lights.

A few pics



Comparing the SP36 and the Q8,

The build quality is excellent on both models with the main differences being:

SP36 has a built in USB-C charger and uses 3 × 18650, New switch
Concealed charging port would have been better. Rubber boot USB cover is terrible, opens very easily.
More economical to run: 3 × 18650 (charger included) vs 4 for the Q8 (separate charger required)

Q8 4 × 18650 (no built in charging), Old Switch
More throw and light for longer in a slightly larger package.
The old button on the Q8 dates it compared to the SP36 and C8F

The Q8 is larger, but in my hands I didn’t find the extra size to make it uncomfortable, and appreciated the longer time it took to get hot. I also preferred the longer throw and better spill it has over the the SP36. The SP36 ramped down from turbo quickly (about 2 min head temps were 65C) and stepped down output much more noticeably than on the Q8. The hotspot on the Q8 is better defined and while cooler more even than the SP36 which I observed as rosy/pink in the spill and greenish yellow in the center. These are both powerful lights that at peak brightness should be able to handle most lighting scenarios including some extreme searching. My feeling is that if you want a light in this category you’re better off with the Q8 as it’s got more throw and since with either light you’ve committed to a pretty big light anyway so might as well go for it.

My C8F had issues with PMW for the first few days I had it. I tried the included Sofirn 4000mAh, Samsung 40T and Vapcell 4000 mAh – 30A continuous (Sony VCT6A). In an attempt to “fix” the issue I screwed and unscrewed the battery tube into the head about 10x and it now runs fine. I like the size of the C8F and it doesn’t heat up fast like the SP36 and the Q8 however the throw and spill can’t compete with the other two lights so I’d prefer to take a floody light with me if that’s what I need or a small thrower if that suits my needs for a given task. BTW the Mini GT is tiny and I was able to lose one in my shorts pocket for longer than I’m willing to admit the other night.

Of note: Even though the specs for the SP36 and Q8 both state that button top batteries are required, both lights worked with Flattops, Button Tops, and Protected Cells.

I will try to get some beam shots and post them tonight.

ADDED 1/2/2019
More beam shots to come

Sofirn 8Q @ 300 m

Sofirn SP36 @ 300 m

Sofirn C8F 21700 @ 300 m

Reference shot (same camera settings)

Edited by: rcwiily on 01/04/2019 - 18:55
lotrbfme
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Thank you for this. My SP36 arrived tomorrow. I look forward to the beam shots pictures.

woodyt
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Would like to see those nite shots.

RobertB
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woodyt wrote:
Would like to see those nite shots.

Heres a Sofirn Q8 beamshot

justanotherguy
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I am very sad I missed the $30 Sofirn Q8
Sad

anyone in NE ILLinois into get togethers?

woodyt
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Yes me too but I did just buy one anyway, I really like the light.

rcwiily
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Added a couple beam shots to first post

Sofirn 8Q @ 300 m

Sofirn SP36 @ 300 m

Sofirn C8F 21700 @ 300 m

Reference shot (same camera settings)

dotBLF
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LOVE my Sofirn Q8, can’t wait for my BLF Q8 to get here. Then I need to buy some brass screws and some 22awg wire……

I have some wicked lights and it immediately jumped to the top of the pops for me.

woodyt
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Thanks for those nite shots very nice, both lights. Like both the Q8 & SP36.

Lexel
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yes the SP36 is one of the most interesting 3×18650 lights on market right now

woodyt
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That’s good to know as its on my real short list.

cyclops
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Nice review covering all the details. Since you have both, can you please compare the output of the BLF Mini GT with the C8F?

rcwiily
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cyclops wrote:
Nice review covering all the details. Since you have both, can you please compare the output of the BLF Mini GT with the C8F?

Sure! I’m curious to see them myself Wink Let me see what I can come up with.

rcwiily
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Here’s a few quick C8F vs GT mini shots…

In hand

C8F 100m

GT mini 100m

C8F 150m

GT mini 150m

Tony Cape
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Great idea to group those lights together for review.I have had all 3 in my shopping cart before but was unsure which I would like best.In the end I bought the Q8 but was left wondering until I read your excellent review.

PBWilson
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Thanks for putting up the comparison pics.

I’ve been using my Q8 lights since they were released and love the throw and spill they offer. It’s a great combination. The battery life and output are fantastic. The rub for me is that they are just too big to carry around for a length of time. Mine live in different parts of my property and usually see the outdoors on a camping trip that isn’t a backpacking one. I’m much more conservative about weight if I’m lugging all my stuff on my back. The kids and relatives LOVE playing around with a Q8 in the woods as it blows everything else away that they’ve tried by a mile.

I’m finding that my SP36 is just that much smaller (still a chunk of metal) that it fits in a jacket pocket easier. It holds in my hand easier and the battery life and output (still with good throw and great spill) make it a solid choice to rely on for a bunch of tasks. I agree about the USB rubber plug. It’s not the best design although it holds in place better than most of my other USB lights. I’d prefer not having it there at all. The other thing is that I wish the emitters were swappable with less effort. They’re not bad by any stretch, but they aren’t nearly as nice as some of my other warmer and high cri lights.

Overall, I love these two lights but my nod goes to the SP36. Gotta keen an eye out for those nice deals Sofirn offers every so often.

Ilumenati
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Great review and comments, helped me make my decision.

I just ordered the SP36 and want to get a couple matched sets of protected batteries. Illumen has the LG MJ1 INR18650-MJ1 3500mAh at a good price but mentions that they are only for use below 8A. Would it be OK to use these or would the protection circuit trip in Turbo?

Hugh Johnson
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A great and relevant comparison. I also like the trail beam shot. That’s how I use my lights.

Sillen
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@rcwiily thank you. Bet your neighbors love us as much as mine love me when I’m testing torches.

PBWilson’s remarks have convinced me I NEED an SP36 (djozz planted the seed).

PS Visited Rochester, NY in 2011, lovely place – the red barns and green forests in the area reminded me a lot of my native Sweden, not so much Australia Wink

Anthon
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The SP36 is nice, but I don’t like the led choice, and I modded mine with XPL HI and there is a big difference against the Q8 (SP36 4000lm and 450m, Q8 5000lm and 700m)

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Anthon wrote:
The SP36 is nice, but I don’t like the led choice, and I modded mine with XPL HI and there is a big difference against the Q8 (SP36 4000lm and 450m, Q8 5000lm and 700m)

Yes, Sofirn was clever to use the XP-L2 in the SP36 so that they could give it the same specs as the Q8 in a smaller package. And I do not blame them for that because the output is really there and most non-flashaholics are fine with the beam (even I found the beam of the SP36 if not great, still very agreeable).