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Thread: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    This is a review of the Astrolux C8 flashlight. Basically, this is a Convoy C8 flashlight host, using a FET driver for 60% more output and intensity than the Convoy C8.


    Specifically, the Astrolux C8 uses a FET+1 driver. The FET driver is used on high modes for maximum output, and the 7135 driver is used on low and medium modes for efficient and regulated output. The LED is a Cree XP-L HI, available in neutral or cool white. A single 18650 battery is used to power the light, and a high-drain cell (such as the Samsung 30Q) is recommended for best performance.


    The light achieves a maximum output of 1300 lumens, and a candella of 100,000 for a throw of 640 meters. I think this may be the longest throwing budget light available in stock form.


    Other than the high output and throw, one of the things I like most about this light is that it uses the same user interface as the BLF A6. This is a great interface, and allows both forward and backward stepping through mode levels. Best of all, the strobes are hidden.


    The light was provided by Banggood for review purposes. No other form of compensation is provided.






    There is a video review of the light I put up on youtube, here:




    There is a link to the light in the video description, for more details.





    Overview:


    The Astrolux C8 is a well-made light, constructed of anodized aluminum, that is reasonably compact. As far as I can tell, the host is identical to the Convoy C8 (except color), which is also a very well-made light. The light is designed for throw, with a large smooth reflector, and a Cree XP-L HI LED to maximize throw. However, there is a reasonable amount of useful spill, so you won't get a feeling of "tunnel vision" when using the light.


    Like other C8 lights, it has a good feel to it, and is easy to carry in a pocket. I usually carry a Convoy C8 on a lanyard around my neck, when on walks or bike rides. However, due to the extra throw of the Astrolux C8, I will now be carrying it instead. The difference in throw is very noticable, as I will show in comparision images below.


    The FET driver allows for an output of 1300 lumens (my measurements), using a freshly-charged Samsung 30Q 18650 battery. This compares to an output of 800 lumens (my measurements) of the Convoy C8 (same tint), using its 8x7135 driver. The intensity of the Astrolux beam is also 60% greater, as expected due to the identical LED and reflector design.


    One downside of the FET driver is that as the battery depletes, the light will gradually dim. For example, by the time the battery is down to a resting voltage of 3.72v (approximately 50% depleted), the Astrolux C8 maximum output is down to 900 lumens (losing over 30% brightness).


    However, I find the Convoy C8 also suffers from dimming output, despite using 7135 drivers. I think that using 8 7135 chips prevents them from allowing full regulation. The Convoy drops to only 600 lumens, using the Samsung 30Q battery at 50% charge.


    So, I think it's very important to keep your battery charged, regardless of what C8 you use. A built-in battery check helps in this regard.


    Finally, the user interface of the Astrolux C8 is fantastic. It is identical to the BLF A6 interface. That is, it supports both "short" clicks (0.5s or less), and "medium" clicks (0.5s to 1.5s). Short clicks advance mode levels, and medium clicks reverse mode levels.


    There are a total of 7 modes, from moonlight through maximum. Or, you can program in a 4-mode group, which is my favorite. Mode memory can also be turned on or off. My preference is on, so that when I'm using the light on maximum, it remembers maximum for next time I turn on the light.


    Hidden strobes and battery-check mode can be accessed by a medium press from the lowest mode.


    My only complaint is that there is a 45-second step-down when using the light on maximum. This steps down from 1300 lumens to 800 lumens (the same output as the Convoy C8's maximum brightness). I completely understand the need for a step-down (this is a bright light that produces a lot of heat). However, unlike the BLF A6, the Astrolux C8 has much more thermal mass and can take about 3 minutes of maximum output before getting too hot. IMO, they should have set the timer to 3-minutes, not 45 seconds. Luckily, it's very easy (short click) to bump the light up to maximum again.


    The Convoy C8's biscotti interface (available on the silver version) is also a very nice interface. I'm not sure which I prefer, but I like them both. They're similar.


    An overview of the Astrolux C8 specs follow. I give more details later in the review, as well as a comparison to the Convoy C8. My own measurements line up extremely close to Astrolux's specs (well within my margin of error). You can find the manufacturer's specs in the site link above.


    Pictures follow these specs.




    Modes: 4 or 7 (moonlight, low, medium 1, medium 2, high 1, high 2, maximum). Plus, some strobes. The light can be programmed to have mode memory on or off.


    LED: Cree XP-L HI, 4800K neutral white, or cool white.


    Lens: anti-reflection coated. Protected by bezel.


    Size: 143mm long.


    Weight: 197g with a Samsung 30Q battery installed.


    Construction: Black anodized aluminum. Waterproof and drop-proof (2 meter). Good grip on body. Threads are very nicely square cut, and came lubricated. Space on tail for a lanyard (included). Feels solid and well built.


    Battery type: 1 x 18650 lithium-ion. High-drain recommended. The light has low-voltage protection.


    Output: 1300 lumens maximum (FET driver). 150 lumens on the middle-mode (uses 7135 driver). The 7135 driver (medium and lower modes) are well regulated.


    Throw: 100,000 candela. This represents a throw of 640 meters to 0.25 lux. It's very impressive for such a small light. I find it's usable out to about 400 or 500 meters, as long as your eyes are dark-adapted.


    Heat: The light will get hot on maximum. A timed step-down prevents overheating, but you can bump it back up to max a few times without worry.


    Tint: 4800K neutral white. I'm not sure what the cool-white is, but I suspect about 6500K.


    Beam pattern: It has a bright hot-spot, and some usable spill.


    PWM: I could not detect any PWM either with my eyes or with a high shutter speed camera, but it very likely uses it on modes other than maximum and medium (where the drivers are running constant).


    Tail-stands: yes.


    Operation:


    Nice! (See prior discussion.)


    You can optionally lock out the light by slightly unscrewing the tail cap (due to anodized threads).






    My impressions:


    Pros:


    - Very very bright, very very good throw!


    - Great user-interface. Nice mode spacing. Ability to remember modes so you can use it as a "maximum-only" light if you wish.


    - Well made. Waterproof to 2m, drop-proof from 1.5m.


    - Heatsinking seems good.


    - Available in a neutral white tint.


    - Very good price/value for this design.




    Cons:


    - The step-down timer should be longer.






    Here is a chart on how I rate it against the Convoy C8.










    And now, for some pictures.






    Contents:


    Contains spare o-rings and a basic lanyard. It comes in nice box, and is well protected.










    Various pictures of the light construction:


























    Let's compare this to the Convoy C8:










    This is a stand-alone beamshot of the Astrolux C8:









    Here is a side-by-side beamshot. Note that the Astrolux is a lot brighter.










    An outside beamshot comparison:









    Better outside beamshot comparisons:













    Finally, some outside shots, just using the Astrolux C8:






























    That's all for now. Thank you for reading.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    These are awesome beamshots. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    Thanks for the review. The step-down is the only thing that stopped me from buying it. They could have used the X5/X6 driver that they are selling for a dollar or so more - and it has a temperature step-down.
    May the Light illumine you

  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    Yes, temperature step-down would be best. Or, at least increase the timer to 3 minutes. I really like the rest of the user-interface, though. It's the BLF A6 interface, which is my favorite for a mechanical clicky switch. To be honest, though, I mainly just use max on a thrower, and occasionally battery-check.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    I assume the step down is not user configurable?
    Can I ask what exposure you used for the outdoor beam shots?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    I assume the step down is not user configurable?
    Can I ask what exposure you used for the outdoor beam shots?
    No, the step-down is hard-coded to 45 seconds.

    I used a variety of exposures for the outdoor shots, most were around 1-4 seconds at f/3.5 and iso 1600. The longer exposures show more than what you can see with your eye, but I tried to mimic what you would see with dark-adapted eyes. Of course, your eyes won't remain dark adapted for long if you shine the light at something close.

    Trying to mimic what your eyes see at night is tough, because your vision has far more dynamic range than a camera. So, if you try to expose for the dark areas, the light areas look far more exposed than what your eye sees. If you try to expose for the lighter areas, then the image doesn't show the dark areas that you can see with your eye. I tried to do it somewhere in the middle as a compromise.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* MAD777's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Astrolux C8 Flashlight - Compact Thrower

    Great review, thanks!

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