Imalent        
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Disclaimer


    This light was kindly sent to me for review by GearBest.
    Coupon: GBLED2016
    No other payment was received for this review, and a free light does not stop me from being critical if required during reviews.


    Introduction


    Convoy have an increasing reputation for quality, well constructed lights at a budget price point. The Convoy C8 is Convoy’s popular 18650 compact thrower, and has been through quite a few different revisions. This review is of the new (late 2016) clear anodized (silver) version of the C8, sent to me by GearBest. This comes hot on the heels of the popular, and stunning clear anodized Convoy L6.


    Note that some of the clear anodized Convoy C8s being sold by different sellers are different in specification. This version has 8*7135 chips for high output (2.8A). This is the maximum number of 7135 chips found in the stock versions of the Convoy C8. The user interface (UI) in this version is new and improved “Biscotti” Convoy UI for 7135 chip based lights. This light also has AR glass, and DTP board.


    Note: C8 is a generic name for similar large head 18650 throwers. C8s from different manufacturers vary highly in quality.


    Design


    The Convoy C8 has an XPL HI emitter, a good choice for maximising throw in a compact light. The reviewed light has a V2-1A emitter, and is thus cool white. Neutral white U6-3A and warm white U3-7A are also available. The LED was perfectly centered.


    The Convoy C8 has a wider head than the body, and smooth reflector to maximise throw. The body accepts 18650 li-ion cells. I tested it to fit cells between 65mm and 68.9mm in length, and up to 18.7mm in diameter. The battery tube has springs at both ends which allows for both button tops, flat tops, most protected, and unprotected 18650 cells.


    The threads were smooth and well lubricated. The tail cap has a clear rubber boot, which felt good. The glass is anti-reflective (AR) glass, and is perfectly clear. Internally, the LED is mounted on a DTP board. The only included accessory was a lanyard. Built quality is excellent as is expected from Convoy. The clear anodisation creates an very cool silver look to this light - very space age, and beautiful light to look at!








    I’m not a modder myself. However, the Convoy C8 is well known to an excellent choice for modders. It is fairly easy to swap out the stock driver for a driver with even more output (e.g. FET driver). Below is an x-ray of the Convoy C8’s internals.



    Operation


    The new firmware (known as “Biscotti”) is massive improvement over the previous user interface on the C8 which had a few quirks related to memory mode. The 12 mode group options and reverse clicky switch should suit most user requirements, other than those who require forward clickies for momentary output. Options included or excluded from some mode groups include moonlight, strobe, bike flashing, SOS, and battery check. The mode groups are as follows:
    1 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check
    2 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
    3 100%, 35%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
    4 1%, 20%, 100%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
    5 1%, 20%, 100%
    6 100%, 20%, 1%
    7 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%, strobe, biking, battery-check, SOS
    8 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 50%
    9 50%, 10%, 1%, 0.1%
    10 1%, 10%, 35%, 100%
    11 100%, 20%, strobe
    12 100% only


    Changing mode groups and turning memory on/off is fairly easy process, starting with 10 taps to enter configuration mode. I managed to stuff it up a few times before I learnt to tap the button instead of a full click. Fast reaction times are also required. I currently have mine set on mode group 2 - 0.1%, 1%, 10%, 35%, 100% with memory on. To advanced to the next mode requires a tap, rather than a full click. Memory mode (when on) works well. I really like this user interface!


    Due to a known “overclocking” issue, the current versions of this firmware runs faster than usual. This means that low and mid modes have higher output than the mode would suggest, and the flashing modes flash twice as fast than expected. This should not be a major issue for most users, and is expected to be rectified in later revisions.


    The new firmware includes low voltage protection. When the cells are nearly discharged output steps down to moonlight output, and the light continues to run with moonlight output for a few hours. This means that user won’t be suddenly left in the dark. Eventually the low voltage protection will kick in. The cell used for testing was at a resting voltage of 2.91V at 2 hours after the low voltage protection kicked in. The light can also be locked out by slightly unscrewing the tail cap threads.


    Heat at 100% power is managed quite well for such a small light. I manually stepped down after 7 minutes (in hot 26C ambient heat and no wind) as the head was getting too hot for my liking (I’m quite cautious). In cooler ambient conditions, the C8 should be able to run the light on high for considerably longer. Heat is not an issue at 50% or lower modes.


    Output


    Aside from the usual initial drop in output (due to li-ion voltage drop) immediately after turning on, the Convoy C8’s output is relatively stable, declining slowly as the battery discharges. Thus maximum output can be sustained with no automatic step downs until a manual step-down is required due to heat management. I personally like the Convoy’s lack of automated step downs, though it does mean that the user needs to be aware of the risk of overheating (i.e. don’t leave the light alone for long periods of time on 100%). Automated step downs only occur as part of the low voltage protection on discharged cells, which was explained in the previous chapter. I do not have the equipment to produce runtime graphs - sorry!


    Output was tested to be between 950 and 1000 lumens at 30 seconds (with freshly charge Sanyo NCR18650GA cell) based on a ceiling bounce test. Lux was not tested, though other reviews show the Convoy C8 XPL HI 1A to have an lux measurement for approximately 65k cd. The throw certainly has a “wow” factor, and provides useful illumination well beyond 200m. Despite many new entries to the compact 18650 thrower market, the Convoy C8 still has more throw than the majority of competitors. Interestingly, on only 10% mode, it out threw my LED Lenser P7.2 (on full zoom) on 100% power.


    The beam is typical for a thrower, with a small intense hotspot, and less bright spill beam. If you want a brighter, wider spill beam, and less intense hotspot, look at the floody Convoy S2+ instead.




    Convoy are well known for having a choice of tints in most of their lights, something which other manufacturer need to learn from! The reviewed 1A tint is cool white - this sample was fairly pure white with only a slight hint of yellow around the hotspot. No blue or green tints! The CRI appeared to be in the typical 70CRI range. The cool white tint allows for higher output and throw than the neutral and warm white options. As more of the beam is reflected back by airborne particles, then it created more of a mid-air light sabre effect in photos. The neutral white and warm white options will have better colour rendering, but less output, and less of the mid-air light sabre effect. Whilst I prefer neutral and warm tints in floody lights, I prefer cool white in throwers for the above reasons. Hats off to Convoy for having multiple tint options in their lights, something more “premium” flashlight manufactures should learn from.


    Conclusion


    The Convoy C8 has impressive throw for such a compact light. With no automatic step down, and impressive throw, this light has better “real world” output and throw than some of the newer, and more expensive compact 18650 throwers that have recently hit the market. The flexible but simple user interface has options that should suit most users. The build quality is far above the low price point. The choice of tints is excellent. Finally, the clear anodising looks very cool. This light comes highly recommended!

    Note: the trees are 220m away!
    Last edited by stephenk; 12-15-2016 at 06:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,309

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Thanks for the review. Yes, these Convoy lights provide excellent value and performance for the money. The Convoy brand stands out to me above many other "budget" brands.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,468

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Thanks also for the review of this worthy, excellent value compact thrower. I purchased mine from banggood but seem to have the same light though in a more neutral, very pleasing to the eye, tint.

    And yes the flashes during programming come fast and furious but counting out loud the mode number to oneself each time each group of flashes occurs, makes it easy. Also wanted to reaffirm that the programming half presses should be briskly executed. None of this is difficult to do, the program options are worth it.

    The surface of this light is premium though some may consider it to be smoother in texture/grip than others. It feels like good quality.

    I have previously posted on cpf member Tulipbush's Convoy C8 thread my perspective on the user interface.

    Hopefully stephenk can check out the battery meter function. It seems to be a '4 flashes is full' indicator. Also can you tell us where you got the x-ray image?

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* emarkd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Georgia, USA
    Posts
    858

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by KITROBASKIN View Post
    And yes the flashes during programming come fast and furious but counting out loud the mode number to oneself each time each group of flashes occurs, makes it easy. Also wanted to reaffirm that the programming half presses should be briskly executed. None of this is difficult to do, the program options are worth it.
    Just wanted to point out that this isn't intended behavior. Convoy is an awesome brand who sometimes reaches out to the enthusiast community for ideas, and in this case they did so for some new firmware. The same person who wrote the firmware for the latest generation of blf special lights made this for Convoy (and anyone else who wants it. Its open source). Unfortunately the factory who made the lights specc'ed a slightly different mcu than was specified and the FUSE values don't match. So effectively the lights are shipping with the wrong clock speed; they're overclocked significantly leading to some quirks. Its apparently being addressed in later batches but these first-run lights will be effected. You can fix it yourself if you've got an AVR programmer and are bothered by it, or you can just get used to it.

    Full disclosure: I have no first-hand knowledge of any of this. I'm just repeating what I've heard elsewhere.

  5. #5
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Thanks for the review! I have one of these on the way. Key difference to the black version? As far as I can tell, it's an AR coating on the lens, and a copper DTP board.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by KITROBASKIN View Post
    Hopefully stephenk can check out the battery meter function. It seems to be a '4 flashes is full' indicator. Also can you tell us where you got the x-ray image?
    I'll test the battery test function when I get the chance. I'm currently snowed under reviewing the XTAR DRAGON VP4 Plus, so might be a few days.
    The x-ray is from a medical digital x-ray unit, which I have access through my work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daneel View Post
    Thanks for the review! I have one of these on the way. Key difference to the black version? As far as I can tell, it's an AR coating on the lens, and a copper DTP board.
    ...and the new UI, which is only in the clear version at present.

  7. #7
    Enlightened
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Slovenia
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Thank you for the review, I have a U6-3A on the way and now I'm even more impatient. Why does it have to take so long for the shipping

    p.s. Is it possible to get a bigger (higher resolution) x-ray image of the light?
    Last edited by Trango; 12-15-2016 at 03:29 PM.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trango View Post
    Thank you for the review, I have a U6-3A on the way and now I'm even more impatient. Why does it have to take so long for the shipping

    p.s. Is it possible to get a bigger (higher resolution) x-ray image of the light?
    I post a larger version later when I'm home from work.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    ny
    Posts
    1,285

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Great review! Not to disagree with you but is that a messuared distance to the tree line? It doesn't look 220 meters away?
    If i had one day left to live i would want to be at my workplace.Because every day is like a frickin eternity.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by thermal guy View Post
    Great review! Not to disagree with you but is that a messuared distance to the tree line? It doesn't look 220 meters away?
    I think the photo exaggerates the beam as well, like those used in advertising.
    You and others like you might be the reason lights aren't better made. Buying new flashlights like others devoutly buying the next generation of smartphones, are you pushing innovation or just consumption? Wider head for even more throw. Wow. That's new.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Thank you for the solid review.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by scs View Post
    I think the photo exaggerates the beam as well, like those used in advertising.
    The distance was measured on google maps at 220m. The HDR (from single RAW) photo actually does the opposite of exaggerating the beam - the post processing in LR was highlights to -100, shadows to +100, and noise reduction to +50. Exposure was 10secs, f/8, ISO800. Due to the HDR processing (so that you can see me in the photo) there is actually less contrast in the image than in reality. This light can easily highlight animals or people at more than 200m.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trango View Post
    p.s. Is it possible to get a bigger (higher resolution) x-ray image of the light?
    OK


    PS: That is a protected NCR18650GA in the image, the PCB components can be seen at the -ve end.
    Last edited by stephenk; 12-16-2016 at 05:50 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    The distance was measured on google maps at 220m. The HDR (from single RAW) photo actually does the opposite of exaggerating the beam - the post processing in LR was highlights to -100, shadows to +100, and noise reduction to +50. Exposure was 10secs, f/8, ISO800. Due to the HDR processing (so that you can see me in the photo) there is actually less contrast in the image than in reality. This light can easily highlight animals or people at more than 200m.
    Thanks for the detailed reply. I know nothing about photography.
    Pflexpro sells C8s with XPL-HI driven well over 3 amps, and they get around 60-70k CD. Say 80k CD.
    80,000 CD/ 220^2 = 1.65 lux ON TARGET. The amount actually reflected back, which in this case, by foliage and tree bark, would have been even less.
    I'm just saying the photo makes the target look very bright. 1.65 lux is not nothing, but certainly not as much as the photo makes it out to be.
    You and others like you might be the reason lights aren't better made. Buying new flashlights like others devoutly buying the next generation of smartphones, are you pushing innovation or just consumption? Wider head for even more throw. Wow. That's new.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by scs View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. I know nothing about photography.
    Pflexpro sells C8s with XPL-HI driven well over 3 amps, and they get around 60-70k CD. Say 80k CD.
    80,000 CD/ 220^2 = 1.65 lux ON TARGET. The amount actually reflected back, which in this case, by foliage and tree bark, would have been even less.
    I'm just saying the photo makes the target look very bright. 1.65 lux is not nothing, but certainly not as much as the photo makes it out to be.
    I have high integrity during a review, and have called out exaggerated claims on other lights (see my Klarus Mi7 review).

    I can assure you that the Convoy C8 has a useable throw (i.e. allows the user to discern medium to large discern animals, humans, etc) in excess of 200m on near fully charged cells. This will of course vary on other factors such as ambient light, and the human eye's adjustment to the dark. I was also able to get a reflection from roadside reflectors more than 400m away on the way back to the car. If you don't believe me, buy one, and see it for yourself!

    A photo (whether "straight out of camera" or heavily post-processed) is never going to match exactly what the human eye sees. Cameras are far less sensitive, have less dynamic range, and have different colour receptivity than the human eye - which is why this photo required 10 seconds at high ISO to see something that the human eye sees instantaneously!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    I have high integrity during a review, and have called out exaggerated claims on other lights (see my Klarus Mi7 review).

    I can assure you that the Convoy C8 has a useable throw (i.e. allows the user to discern medium to large discern animals, humans, etc) in excess of 200m on near fully charged cells. This will of course vary on other factors such as ambient light, and the human eye's adjustment to the dark. I was also able to get a reflection from roadside reflectors more than 400m away on the way back to the car. If you don't believe me, buy one, and see it for yourself!

    A photo (whether "straight out of camera" or heavily post-processed) is never going to match exactly what the human eye sees. Cameras are far less sensitive, have less dynamic range, and have different colour receptivity than the human eye - which is why this photo required 10 seconds at high ISO to see something that the human eye sees instantaneously!
    I'm not questioning or attacking your integrity, just pointing out that someone might expect that light to shine as BRIGHTLY as presented in your picture, at the stated distance. As the simple calculation shows, it won't, not even when the numbers assumed are stacked in its favor.

    Roadside reflectors are designed to be very reflective. Using that metric, my S1A shines very far, too. But the subjects in your photo doing the reflecting are leaves and bark, and they are very well lit in the photo.

    I'm not taking away anything from your review.
    You and others like you might be the reason lights aren't better made. Buying new flashlights like others devoutly buying the next generation of smartphones, are you pushing innovation or just consumption? Wider head for even more throw. Wow. That's new.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,468

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Well now I can't see any images on this thread. Hopefully they can be restored. The enlarged x-ray image is very interesting and a very nice touch to the review. Thanks.

    If I remember correctly, the long distance image may have been taken with a zoom, and thus compressed distances. Also the picture was taken away from the flashlight itself. That means the camera was not having to look through the atmosphere lit up by the beam to the target (like typical flashlight users). Not trying to disagree with anyone; just wanted to point those two things out. I have this flashlight and the throw is very nice.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Quote Originally Posted by KITROBASKIN View Post
    Well now I can't see any images on this thread. Hopefully they can be restored.
    The images are hosted on imgur. I can see them at the moment, maybe there was a server outage?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,468

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    Images are back. Great shots

  20. #20

    Default Re: Review: Convoy C8 Clear (XP-L HI, 1x18650)

    It's a little late in the game, but I purchased a pair of these units (in U3 7A tint), based on this and other reviews, and love these lights!

    Thanks to the original poster for posting this review :-)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •