[Review] Sofirn TF84 - tactical HighCRI flashlight

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Lux-Perpetua
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[Review] Sofirn TF84 - tactical HighCRI flashlight

Hello everyone,

Sofirn kindly sent me a free sample of their brand new product TF84 in return for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks a lot for the nice opportunity.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any kind of compensation except for the light in return for this review.

 

What's special about Sofirn's TF84?

While many of Sofirn's flashlights are typical side switch lights, they also have some tacticool and even tactical lights in their portfolio, e.g. C8F, SP31 V2 and SP70. Now, TF84 ("T" probably stands for 'tactical' here) is meant to be a true tactical flashlight for a wide range of applications (hunting, security, military, law enforment etc.), offering a user interface and some accessories that can usually be found in other tactical flashlights of different brands. While Sofirn's SF47T is great for medium distances, their new TF84 model is the more appropriate tool for shorter distances and convenient carrying on one's tactical belt. Highlights of the TF84 model are its constant current buck driver, the choice of a high CRI emitter, its capability to use CR123A batteries, a modern USB-C port, a quite sturdy design, a reasonable output / power consumption ratio as well as a quite remarkable tint - more about this later on. Similar to SF47T this model also comes with two mode groups to support individual needs.


Some specifications:

  • Dimensions: 143mm (length) x 35mm (head diameter)
  • Weight: 120g w/o battery
  • Emitter: Samsung LH351D 90CRI, 5000K CCT
  • Max. output: 1,200 lumens (manufacturer's rating)
  • Max. runtime: 336 hours (Moonlight mode)
  • Peak distance: 200m (manufacturer's rating)
  • Peak intensity: 9,908cd (manufacturer's rating)
  • Driver: constant current buck driver
  • USB specs: type C port, 5V 1A input
  • Battery: 1x 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery or 2x CR123A lithium-ion battery
  • Water resistance: IPX-8 up to 2m
  • Impact resistance: 1m
  • User Interface: tactical triple switch UI with stepped modes (Low, Medium, High and Turbo with hidden Moon mode as well as Strobe/SOS/Beacon) and two mode groups (outdoor, tactical)
  • Mode Memory: Yes (standard modes only)
  • Low voltage protection
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Thermal regulation "ATR"

Where to buy? (non-affiliate-links):

There are different retail versions of TF84, from the bare flashlight up to a kit-3 version with remote switch, red diffuser and battery.

>>> Sofirnlight.com(link is external) <<<

>>> AliExpress(link is external) <<<

This model will certainly be also availabe on Amazon anytime soon.

Please note that Sofirn frequently promotes discounts and coupons on BLF, so I recommend checking for these before you hit the purchase button.

 

Unboxing

This model comes in Sofirn's typical neutral cardboard box design, being used for flashlights with a larger head diameter. There is not much to say here. The box serves its purpose to protect the content. Some customers may look for a more exciting "unboxing experience" but personally I prefer an environmentally-friendly box that is easy to open.

The kit-2 version contains the light, a 3000mAh battery, a USB cable (type A-C), a remote switch, two spare o-rings and the manual.

The shape of TF84 is quite similar to many other tactical dual-tail switch flashlights like Klarus XT12S, XT2CR Pro, FX10 or Fenix TK16. In fact, TF84 is a competitor to many of Klarus's, Jetbeam's and Fenix's tactical flashlights. There are very slightly protruding heat fins but this is not an issue at all since overheating will never occur with this light as you can read later on. The head features a crenelated stainless steel bezel to add more support when used to break windows or in case the light falls onto the ground. The protruding side switch features an indicator LED to show battery/charging status as well as to indicate the electronic lockout mode. I did not encounter any problems with this switch or its tactile handling. The clip is very sturdy and probably hard to remove. I discovered minor scratches on the clip's groove even though I did not try to move it. The tube knurling works well to add more grip in one's hand during operation.

I did not manage to unscrew the tube from the head. I guess Sofirn glued them together to provide better long-term reliability with its dual-tube design. I would have liked the chance to remove the tube entirely, though. The threads are non-anodized as you can see below. They were not lubricated either, so I recommend to do this once you get started with the flashlight. However, the tailcap went on and off very gently.

Below you can see a close-up of the positive terminal with the driver (left picture) and the negative terminal in the tailcap (right picture). The springs are quite flexible to support different lengths of 18650 and CR123A batteries.

I discovered some dust in the reflector but not as much as in my sample of SF47T. Still, I would appreciate it if Sofirn were to put more attention to dust-free assembly. TF84 features a dual-tube design, i.e. the inner tube works for electronic signaling to operate the paddle switch and the outer tube for current flow. Although the tube looks like it could fit 21700 batteries the inner diameter is too small.

Sofirn chose a smooth reflector in combination with Samsung's LH351D 5000K 90CRI. This is quite unique as many tactical flashlights only come with coldwhite and low CRI emitters. The beam profile works great for short to medium distances with a typical hotspot and lots of useful spill around it. The emitter is very well centered. I did not detect any major distortions of the beam due to the stainless steel bezel. The flashlight can do a tailstand but not very stable. Its tail switches work properly but the paddle switch is a bit too sensitive. It sometimes happened that I accidentally triggered strobe mode or changed the modes while having my thumb rested on the on/off switch.

Size comparison

from left to right: Sofirn C8F 21700, Sofirn TF84, Sofirn SP33 V3, Sofirn SP35, Sofirn SC31 Pro, Wurkkos FC11 (with 18350 tube)

User Interface

Like many other tactical models with dual tail switch layout, TF84 comes with a classic UI. You can select from two mode groups called "Outdoor" and "Tactical". Both mode groups have dedicated stepped modes in common. TF84 supports turning on and off both via side switch and tail switch.

 

Group 1 - Outdoor (default)

Light is... Action for tail switch Action for mode paddle switch Action for side switch Result
OFF Tap and hold     Momentary mode
  Press     Turn on (Turbo)
    Hold   Momentary strobe mode
    Hold (2s)   Continuous strobe mode, another click for turbo mode
      Hold Moonlight mode, another click for standard modes
      Click Turn on (with mode memory, will be reset once tail switch is triggered)
      Doubleclick Strobe, another click to cycle through strobe - SOS - beacon, another doubleclick to return to previous standard mode
      4 clicks Turn on/off electronic lockout mode for side switch
    Hold (3s) Hold (3s) Change to Tactical group (light blinks one time)
ON Press     Turn off
    Click   Cycle through modes (turbo-low-medium-high)
    Hold (2s)   Continuous strobe mode
      Hold Turn off (works only if tailswitch is not activated)
      Click Cycle through modes (turbo-low-medium-high)
      Doubleclick Strobe, another click to cycle through strobe - SOS - beacon, another doubleclick to return to previous standard mode

 

Group 2 - Tactical

 
Light is... Action for tail switch Action for mode paddle switch Action for side switch Result
OFF Tap and hold     Momentary mode
  Press     Turn on
    Hold   Momentary strobe mode
    Hold (2s)   Continuous strobe mode, another click for turbo mode
      Hold Moonlight mode, another click for standard modes
      Click Turn on (with mode memory, will be reset once tail switch is triggered)
      Doubleclick Strobe, another click to cycle through strobe - SOS - beacon, another doubleclick to return to previous standard mode
      4 clicks Turn on/off electronic lockout mode for side switch
    Hold (3s) Hold (3s) Change to Outdoor group (light blinks three times)
ON Press     Turn off
    Click   Cycle through modes (turbo-medium)
    Hold (2s)   Continuous strobe mode
      Hold Turn off (works only if tailswitch is not activated)
      Click Cycle through modes (turbo-medium)
      Doubleclick Strobe, another click to cycle through strobe - SOS - beacon, another doubleclick to return to previous standard mode

 

Runtime and thermal analysis

As mentioned before, TF84 uses a buckdriver with constant current regulation. This kind of driver is known to be very efficient and great for constant output. The flashlight maintains its full output for about 4 minutes before thermal regulation (ATR) is triggered at approx. 40°C surface temperature, followed by a very decent stepdown that levels its brightness to around 66% for a duration of a bit more than an hour. After that the driver fell out of regulation, probably when Vf on the LED and the battery's voltage under load matched. A buck-boost driver would have enabled a bit more continuous output. Unlike to Sofirn's SP35 with ATR the output here is completely flat without any significant fluctuations over the course of the graph. The temperature never exceeded 45°C, so this flashlight can be considered as a safe tool without burning one's hand. Being a bit nitpicky as usual I would have liked a slightly higher temperature threshold to offer a bit more regulated output. OTOH, you get a very useful runtime, especially if you need to rely on CR123A batteries.

Accessories

Sofirn sells their TF84 in different kit-versions. Kit-2 comes with a battery and a remote switch. Kit-3 also includes a red diffuser which could be used as a traffic wand. By the time my review sample was shipped the red diffuser was not yet available. Barry kindly provided some pictures to show you how it looks like. Since I do not have any rifle to mount TF84 to, I can only show you the remote switch loosely attached to the flashlight.

 

Beamshots

I was very positively surprised about the beam and tint quality. The SMO reflector offers a distinct hotspot for more range but also provides a good proportion of spill. Samsung's LH351D is not a good option for throwers but here it seems to be a well-balanced choice between peak intensity, output and tint quality. I did not see any greenish tint shift at all. On the contrary, I would say there is even a slight hue to rosy in comparison to the same emitter in Wurkkos's FC11.

All outdoor beamshots were made with following settings to represent a realistic impression of brightness by human eyes. The left picture is a "check shot" in darkness, the right one represents TF84 on turbo mode.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ-62
Focal length: 25mm
ISO: 400
Aperture: f / 5.6
Shutter speed: 4s

The white house is about 120m away.

It's about 35m where the foodpath makes a left-turn.

It's about 15m until the foodpath makes a right-turn.

Side by side comparison between Wurkkos FC11 and Sofirn TF84

Conclusion & Verdict

Sofirn did a good job launching a new tactical flashlight with high CRI and a very pleasant neutralwhite tint as a unique selling proposition. The buck driver works great for those who prefer constant brightness as well as using CR123A batteries. TF84 is definitely not a typical EDC light but more aimed to hunters, LEOs or even military staff. There's some potential here that I could not test for reasons of legal restrictions.

 

Pro:

  • good constant regulation
  • remarkable neutral tint with slight rosy hue
  • good overall beam profile for tactical purposes
  • high CRI for optimum color rendition
  • many (optional) accessories
  • integrated charging via USB-C
  • operational with both side switch and tail switch

Neutral:

  • very moderate output of only 1200lm (probably a bit less than that)
  • ATR is set to 45°C while 55°C is more common, offering a bit more output
  • I am not a big fan of strobe modes - TF84's UI is full of ways to trigger strobe modes.
  • I would prefer the clip not being mounted by factory

Con:

  • paddle tail switch triggers too easily
  • outdoor and tactical group only differ by brightness levels but not by a more flexible UI
  • small amounts of dust/debris in the reflector
Edited by: Lux-Perpetua on 04/19/2021 - 10:56
Caleb
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Thanks for the detailed review.

Sofirn
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Thanks for your great and profesional review. Big Smile The TF84 tactical flashlight is available on Amazon.us as well. And we’are providing almost 50%off discount for this light. If you’re interested in this one, please feel free to ask me for a code.

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Thanks for the review. What is the strobe frequency for this light?

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thanx for all details

 

Unheard
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Nice review and pictures, thank you!

In outdoor mode, I’d rather like to have turbo on long pressing the paddle.

It seems Sofirn now has a good temperature regulation algorithm.

Smile, you cannot kill them all.

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stephenk wrote:
(...) What is the strobe frequency for this light?

I wish I could tell but I have no idea how to measure strobe frequency.

 

A final word regarding those two mode groups, outdoor and tactical:

TF84 always starts on turbo mode, no matter which mode group you have selected in the first place. You can use mode memory but it only works via side switch and only if the tail switch is not being used. IMHO, this is not the best UI since I would expect and appreciate the light to start on low mode in the outdoor mode group.

The mode order follows this pattern:

Outdoor: Turbo - Low - Medium - High

Tactical: Turbo - Medium

stephenk
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Lux-Perpetua wrote:

stephenk wrote:
(…) What is the strobe frequency for this light?

I wish I could tell but I have no idea how to measure strobe frequency.


 


A final word regarding those two mode groups, outdoor and tactical:


TF84 always starts on turbo mode, no matter which mode group you have selected in the first place. You can use mode memory but it only works via side switch and only if the tail switch is not being used. IMHO, this is not the best UI since I would expect and appreciate the light to start on low mode in the outdoor mode group.


The mode order follows this pattern:


Outdoor: Turbo – Low – Medium – High


Tactical: Turbo – Medium


I test strobe frequency by moving the light during a 1 second camera exposure, so you can see the light trail and count the flashes. More importantly is the strobe constant or alternating frequency? (This can be observed).
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I just received mine. As you noted in your review the tint is nice, and the paddle switch is a bit sensitive. I am happy with the build quality, it feels solid and a good size and weight. The switches feel ok to me, and the UI works for me too. My only real concern is the output. It’s entirely adequate for most purposes, but Sofirns other flashlights have significantly my re output. I wonder why they went for the emitter they did? And 21700 compatibility would also have been good.

Bonum commune communitatis.

Yarp.

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Right, if compared with other lights TF84 may appear a bit dim in maximum output. I guess the flashoholics among us are too much spoiled by excessive lumen numbers. I can only guess why the took LH351D 5000K 90CRI. First, they probably have plenty of them on stock. Second, maybe the wanted to try something new by combining a more neutralwhite tint incl. high color rendition with a tactical concept. At least it adds some USP to this model that cannot be found anywhere else.

I would have appreciated a more efficient Luminus SST-40 or even the new SFT-40 in 5000K CCT. But both emitters seem to be out of stock right now. They could also look for XP-L HI in 3A/3D (5000K) or even 4A/4D (4500K) tint but these are hard to source, too. I try to give them recommendations on a frequent basis. A 21700 tube would be a nice upgrade, indeed.

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I’m very tempted by this light at clearance price, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried it on a weapon that has a fair amount of recoil.

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Lux-Perpetua wrote:

stephenk wrote:
(…) What is the strobe frequency for this light?

I wish I could tell but I have no idea how to measure strobe frequency.



The light strobes at 7Hz and 16Hz, This alternates as the strobe runs.
P.S. There is no PWM to be seen on this light. A good thing.
All the Best,
Jeff
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dthrckt wrote:
I’m very tempted by this light at clearance price, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried it on a weapon that has a fair amount of recoil.

Haven’t tried it mounted yet. Think it would be fine on a 556 or PCC. A shotgun might be another matter.
Still the battery is spring loaded from each end and perhaps would not take a battering.
But it also might give the battery a chance to get a run at the shock.
I have another review up on the light. Mine didn’t have as much output at high and turbo as indicated in the specs. Not sure what the deal is. Sofirn is usually in the ballpark spec wise.
All the Best,
Jeff
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jeff51 wrote:
Lux-Perpetua wrote:

stephenk wrote:
(…) What is the strobe frequency for this light?

I wish I could tell but I have no idea how to measure strobe frequency.



The light strobes at 7Hz and 16Hz, This alternates as the strobe runs.
P.S. There is no PWM to be seen on this light. A good thing.
All the Best,
Jeff

Thanks for the info. Sadly, another light struck off the list for light painting photographers due to the alternating frequency strobe instead of constant frequency.
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jeff51 wrote:
dthrckt wrote:
I’m very tempted by this light at clearance price, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried it on a weapon that has a fair amount of recoil.
Haven’t tried it mounted yet. Think it would be fine on a 556 or PCC. A shotgun might be another matter. Still the battery is spring loaded from each end and perhaps would not take a battering. But it also might give the battery a chance to get a run at the shock. I have another review up on the light. Mine didn’t have as much output at high and turbo as indicated in the specs. Not sure what the deal is. Sofirn is usually in the ballpark spec wise. All the Best, Jeff

Saw your review. Thanks.

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stephenk wrote:
jeff51 wrote:
Lux-Perpetua wrote:

stephenk wrote:
(…) What is the strobe frequency for this light?

I wish I could tell but I have no idea how to measure strobe frequency.

The light strobes at 7Hz and 16Hz, This alternates as the strobe runs. P.S. There is no PWM to be seen on this light. A good thing. All the Best, Jeff
Thanks for the info. Sadly, another light struck off the list for light painting photographers due to the alternating frequency strobe instead of constant frequency.

Curious. Why should a manufacturer tailor their strobe specs going forward for light painting photographers while others (maybe some majority of defensive strobe lovers) prefer the alternating frequency perversion? (I mean version.)

“In many things in order to truly understand the small picture you have to understand the big picture first.”

True Color Rendition (TCR)/Simplified Definition:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating, a TCR will equate to what true colors you see in sunlight vs the same object’s colors you see when illuminated with a flashlight. The closer the two are, the higher the TCR rating will be.”