Fenix PD35 (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIME, VIDEO+

thedoc007

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
3,632
Location
Michigan, USA
The PD35 has been my EDC light for quite some time now. It is not cheap, but I like the reverse clicky, the UI, the quality (so far so good, at least) and the amount of light provided when I need it. I haven't needed a moonlight mode yet, but it would be nice if it was available too.

Just a minor correction. The PD35 comes with a forward clicky, not reverse.
 

gen127

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 6, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Europe
Thank you for the correction thedoc007, I meant to say forward clicky (with momentary on)
 

WarRaven

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Messages
2,135
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
I'm pretty much hooked on this light right now.
Went and bought a second one as back up.
Yes could be a sign of crazy but I feel better having one perfect and one user.

Have a great one.
 

ven

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Oct 17, 2013
Messages
22,534
Location
Manchester UK
I'm pretty much hooked on this light right now.
Went and bought a second one as back up.
Yes could be a sign of crazy but I feel better having one perfect and one user.

Have a great one.

Its good to be crazy:whistle::D

:)
 

WarRaven

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Messages
2,135
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Its good to be crazy:whistle::D

:)
+2
As 2is1 after all.
b7fcf7e334614cfe731f1135b26b6585.jpg


Image test. Hoping Tapatalk resizes automatically, if not I'll remove asap.
 
Last edited:

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
good to see this thread still going! Ive had a couple PD35's now have the UC35 which throws the same beam with the same output but has the best heat sinking in the class due to all that extra metal behind the reflector where the mini USB port is. Thus I use the UC35 more than the PD. I bought an original "850" lumen PD35 on discount from Knifecenter and its defective. Only Turbo works 100% the lower modes come on for a second then flicker out. I contacted Knifecenter about it and they gave me the run around so now Im stuck dealing with Fenix themselves. To me the light is still so good sending it to China is worth it. Its not like I dont have my UC and dozens of other lights to hold me over. Amazing its been a few years now since the PD35 hit the market and still it and the UC35 are kings of the category. One of the best LED lights ever
 

thedoc007

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
3,632
Location
Michigan, USA
Amazing its been a few years now since the PD35 hit the market and still it and the UC35 are kings of the category.

I like the PD35 too, but I don't know if it is "king". There are a LOT of lights with the same form factor, and most of them are competitive. I actually like the Thrunite TN12 the best of the ones I've tried...it has a real low, a better holster, it can run far longer at high brightness, and it can tailstand. It is also less expensive than the PD35.
 
Last edited:

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
yes there are a LOT of competitors in this category most of which I own. You are right about the TN12 Ill have my NW version coming in the mail today. I say the PD/UC35 are the kings of the category because from the PD32 then to the PD32UE Fenix really had to step it up to follow up the 32UE which they did with the original PD35 sparking the current 1x18650 high output cigar tube sized LED market. What sets the PD/UC35 apart is build quality, mode spacing and a beam profile that is unique to only the PD/UC35. Biggest hot spot that transitions perfectly into lots of usable spill. The rest of the class have hot spots half the size that are much more defined and slightly narrower in diameter overall beams. I freely admit that its a mystery to me why Fenix hasnt engineered in a tailstanding ability but Ive read where Fenix has said this is because they want the best switch access possible. I to would LOVE a moonlight/firefly mode Fenix claims adding this would screw with how well the electronics are already set up which I dont believe. You are absolutely correct about the sheath. The Thrunite comes with the best sheath in the class! As for running at turbo for longer they both run roughly the same amount of minutes at turbo before the TN12 starts ramping down to the next setting and the PD35's electronic regulation drops it from turbo to the next setting no matter how hot or cool it is. Keep the Tn12 cool enough and it will indeed run at turbo for longer.
 

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
Love the mode switch of the P12 and its voltage read out function as well as the P12's 3 blinky modes. Also love its low low mode. Dont like its narrow beam smallish hot spot and its regulated drop from 960 lumens to the next lowest which is like 300 lumens that is quite a drop and can be disorienting. Sunwayman P25C is surprisingly good. Has 3 blinky modes as well as true 1000 lumen output that unfortunately drops to 270 lumens I believe through regulation. Does NOT come with a sheath. Love the styling of the light.

TN12 2014 what else can be said? Its the only direct drive (on turbo and high only) light in the class. Keep it cool somehow and turbo/high will blast away until the battery gives out. Excellent 800 lumen high setting to drop down to. Lower modes are near perfectly spaced. Only has strobe though no SOS or beacon mode. No led beneath the side switch with the P12's cool functions. I predict a 2015 TN12 with an XP-L emitter.

UC35 has the same near perfect close range beam profile as the PD. Output is the same. What makes the UC special is all the extra metal behind the reflector for the mini USB port. Look at that part of the UC35 closely and you will notice Fenix designed in wide low cooling fins that go around the tube. The UC has the best heat sinking in the class.
 

thedoc007

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
3,632
Location
Michigan, USA
As for running at turbo for longer they both run roughly the same amount of minutes at turbo before the TN12 starts ramping down to the next setting and the PD35's electronic regulation drops it from turbo to the next setting no matter how hot or cool it is. Keep the Tn12 cool enough and it will indeed run at turbo for longer.

The TN12 doesn't have any defined stepdowns. It will eventually lose brightness gradually as the cell becomes depleted, but it never ramps down to a lower mode, whether you cool it or not (there is no thermal management). It will therefore get quite hot if you don't have any cooling...but it will run at higher output for longer - selfbuilt's graphs show that quite clearly.

It is funny that you mention the large hotspot of the PD35...I still have a PD32UE, and I like it BETTER than the newer PD35. It has an even larger hotspot, and I lucked out with the tint lottery...one of the nicest beams in my whole collection.

It is good to have choices! There are many solid contenders in the class, so there should be one that is suitable for just about every buyer out there.
 

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
agreed. Ty for simplifying what I was trying to over explain get kinda OCD sometimes. Love the TN12, love its direct drive turbo and high. Love that high is 800 lumens. Yes the large hotspot on the PD/UC with its diffuse definition into its wide bright spill. To me its the most useful beam profile in the class these are after all close range lights. I had a PD32UE once, somebody stole it at a party I was at showing it off. I remember being struck by the tint. It was the first time I had seen LED tint like that. I dont remember the beam profile being as you describe but then again I had the light for about a week before somebody else walked off with it. LOVE all the competition in this class! Despite its lack of thermal regualtion and a real high mode Im pretty darned impressed with the Sunwayman P25C. Has a design that stands out. Love the stainless steel bezel. 1000 real lumens (with CR123's) a low low mode and a very nice soft touch side switch that also features all 3 blinky modes. I got it when it first went on sale for less than 40 bucks! Its tint is pleasantly white without any stark blue or purple. Beam is artifact free. Gets hot but not as fast as the TN12 and P12. Sucks it doesnt come with a sheath. Its still a hell of an entry into this class from Sunwayman. That being said Ive got a NW TN12 showing up today and the new XP-L Jetbeam WL-S2 showing up tomorrow gonna be a fun week
 

blah9

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
2,065
good to see this thread still going! Ive had a couple PD35's now have the UC35 which throws the same beam with the same output but has the best heat sinking in the class due to all that extra metal behind the reflector where the mini USB port is. Thus I use the UC35 more than the PD. I bought an original "850" lumen PD35 on discount from Knifecenter and its defective. Only Turbo works 100% the lower modes come on for a second then flicker out. I contacted Knifecenter about it and they gave me the run around so now Im stuck dealing with Fenix themselves. To me the light is still so good sending it to China is worth it. Its not like I dont have my UC and dozens of other lights to hold me over. Amazing its been a few years now since the PD35 hit the market and still it and the UC35 are kings of the category. One of the best LED lights ever

Did you try the tightening of the tailcap retaining ring technique? Just curious as it has fixed some similar problems in the past.
 

1DaveN

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 5, 2015
Messages
593
Location
Upstate NY
Did you try the tightening of the tailcap retaining ring technique? Just curious as it has fixed some similar problems in the past.

And how are the threads? I've got an E25 that hates Super-Lube - I have to use the least amount I can or it doesn't work reliably at all. If I had to bet, I'd say that's a property of that specific light, because I lube them all the same and that's the only one that doesn't work afterward.
 

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
Done a lot of research over the past couple days. One thing I did that actually improved things was I took the light totally apart and cleaned all the contact points with rubbing alcohol. I couldnt believe how filthy they were but are now very clean. The tail ring is nice and tight. I even cleaned both ends of the 18650 Im using in it. The Results? Lowest setting still does not work whatsoever. Next lowest setting no longer flickers out it flickers(not as badly as before)but stays on now. Next mode up has an occasional flicker where before it would also flicker out in a few seconds the two highest settings appear to work perfectly now before high mode also flickered out now there doesnt seem to be a problem at all. Turbo is nice a blindingly steady and bright. Strobe functions fine.

Also contacted Fenix themselves and according to them the distributor I bought it from is supposed to do any warranty work no matter how long its been since I bought the light. I got the light from Knifecenter which was a big mistake. My experience with their CS has been awful they will do anything they can to avoid having to do a return or repair or replace anything under warranty. I contacted KC back in October when I bought the light about this issue a couple of times only to get no response both times. Should they continue this charade Ill be reporting my experience directly to Fenix. This is ridiculous I bought the PD35 because they were having a sale at the time. Ive spent enough money at KC to put at least one of their kids through college the least they could do is perform warranty work or replace the light as they agreed to do when they became a Fenix dealer.

The light is better now but still broken. Maybe I need to take apart the switch and clean it piece by piece?
 

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
oh and the threads were totally dry. Used Nitecore SG7 silicone grease and lubed up the dry O rings and threads. Screwed back together like a champ
 

blah9

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
2,065
It sounds like you have pretty thoroughly troubleshooted the issue. Unfortunately I don't really have many other ideas. Cleaning the inside of the switch might help too, but that might make it more difficult to get warranty service depending on what's involved.
 

CelticCross74

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
3,994
Location
Fairfax Va
Fenix actually has a tech helping me via email. So far so good. Next step is to take the switch apart and clean it piece by piec
 

blah9

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
2,065
That would be great! I'm also kind of surprised that they're encouraging you to take it apart. That's cool!
 

Hacken

Enlightened
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
216
Location
USA
I just placed a order on the pd35 2014 edition along with a fenix 3400mah battery thru fenix-store. I thought it was difintely time to upgrade from my old tk11 r5 I've been using for years. First thing I am doing when I receive the light is cleaning and relube it with nyogel and removing the ugly clip. Can't wait... been so long since I've ordered a new light.
 
Top