Fenix CL26R Lantern Review

Today I have for review something we don’t see too much of.  A lantern!  This one’s made by Fenix, is powered by a single 18650, and has two types of use – lantern and “down” light, too!  Read on to see how it tests.


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There is only one version of the CL26R, but it’s available in 3 colors.  Red (seen here), Black, and Green.  The green is very mustard green, and the red is an orange-y red.  Both are good choices, I think.

Price

This light goes for $60 right now.


Short Review

This is a neat little light, and useful in the tent or for camping.  The down light option is a bit of a gimmick I’d say, but would be good for reading.  That the light has a cell including and on-board charging makes it a fairly good deal.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Fenix CL26R Lantern
  • Fenix 18650
  • Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Split ring and hook
  • Spare o-ring
  • Manual and paperwork

Package and Manual

The CL26R ships in a complicated box with a window for viewing the product.  The manual is stuffed in the bottom, and the cell is already in the light.

Remember to remove the isolation protection from the top of the cell before use!  (Otherwise it won’t work).  Or do like I did and try to charge the light first….  Nothing bad happened, but just don’t do that at home kids.

Here is the manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The CL26R has a nice solid feel.  The lantern light is diffused very well from what looks to be around 6 columns of COB emitters.  The emitters are unspecified.

Here’s the top and bottom (right).  The bottom has a secondary light instead of a magnet, and the top has a threaded tripod mount and a magnet.

The top unscrews in this way, and the ring that’s attached there is practically required for the right grip.

Both the head and tail have springs.

The threads are square cut and of course, plastic.  They don’t seem to be lubed, but are very smooth anyway.

The top has a magnet!

I didn’t attempt to break the body down.  The parts do not seem to screw together; typically in this style light, they’re ultrasonically welded.

Size and Comps

Width: 1.93″
Height: 3.8″
Weight: 116 grams (excluding battery and accessories)

It could probably be smaller, sure, but this is a nice and surprisingly small lantern.

Retention and Carry

This isn’t really a light that will be carried daily. Much more like a “leave with the camping gear” light. So retention will cater to that.

On the head there are three options. First and maybe most useful is the hanger that is permanently attached – remember you sort of need this loop to remove the cell.

Next is the threaded tripod mount. It’s plenty useful.

The final option on the head is the magnet, which is plenty strong to hold the light in any position.

Power and Runtime

Power for the CL26R comes from an included 18650 cell. Though the light offers on-board charging, the cell is not proprietary. Any 18650 will work since the light has two springs.  The light will also work with 2xCR123 cells.

Whatever cell you use, Fenix demonstrates what orientation it should be installed. The positive end of the cell goes on the cavity first.

I performed a runtime on the highest mode.  This is an uncalibrated test (the output is only relative), and I didn’t log temperature.

The included cell is a 2600mAh button top.

As evidenced by the writing on the label and the length of the cell, it’s a protected cell.

The charge port is on the opposite side from the switch.  The feel is practically the same, but the charge port cover isn’t concave like the switch.  The cover fits into it’s place nicely, but is easy to remove when it’s time.

Charge is a speedy 1.2A, and the cell tests well over the rated 2600mAh capacity (the chart is 2.6Ah from the 5V source).

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single switch on this lantern. It’s an e-switch and it has a clicky, kind of dead click to it. It’s plenty big, and a bit concave, so fingers fit nicely.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Battery Check
Off Hold Lantern Low
On Hold Off
On Click Mode Advance (LMHL>Down L>Down H)
On Double Click Steady Red Mode
Red Click Red cycle (Steady > Blinky)

The UI is surprisingly simple.

LED and Beam

The emitters used in this light are unspecified. All of them on both the body and down light are nice and warm (or at least neutral). The lantern is of course completely diffused, but the down light really is too – just a bit more directional.

The light doesn’t show up in my normal headshots but I’ll include them anyway as a metric.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

The Big Table

Lantern:

Fenix CL26R
Emitter:
Cell: 18650
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? Yes
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 400
Measured Lumens (at 30s) ~
Claimed Throw (m) 25
Throw (Calculated) (m) 17.7 (70.8% of claim)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 59lux @ 1.15m = 78cd
All my Fenix reviews!

Down Light:

Fenix CL26R
Emitter:
Cell: 18650
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? Yes
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 25
Measured Lumens (at 30s) ~
Claimed Throw (m)
Throw (Calculated) (m) 4.6
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 10lux @ 0.73m = 5cd
All my Fenix reviews!

* Standard measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

Conclusion

What I like

  • Complete package light
  • Very diffuse, as a lantern should be
  • Relatively small
  • Built in charging is nice

What I don’t like

  • Down light could use more power and focus
  • No possibility to use as a powerbank

Notes

  • This light was provided by Fenix for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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